An LWN reader survey
Posted Feb 1, 2007 8:36 UTC (Thu) by ekj
Parent article: An LWN reader survey
My main idea is to more brutally focus on doing that which Lwn does uniquely good, and sacrificing that which 101 other sources do in a similar way.
Many of the Lwn-kernel-articles explaining details of how the kernel works are unmatched anywhere else.
The grumpy Editor series is among the finest reviews of software found anywhere, they work so well because our Editor fundamentally "gets it", he is one of us. I have no interest in reading: "I never used anything other than Windows until last week --- here's my take on mutt" type articles. It also helps that our beloved editors are just plainly good writers. The articles are funny, witty, frequently tongue-in-cheek, rife with internal references and jokes and just generally on-the-level. I realize that means they're completely useless for my Grandmother who is looking for an email-client, but it means for *me* they're perfect.
The "lets-take-two-steps-back" articles are also vital. It's easy to find articles focusing on what happened this week. It's a lot harder to find articles where it shows that the author has a memory. Where the larger, longer lines are drawn. "What's up with X this decade -- where does it come from, where migth it be headed." kind of articles.
Linux in the news is often interesting, more often than not due to the intelligence of many readers here. You frequently get to hear takes on things that you'd be unlikely to find on say /. Your deliberate choice to cover only what you consider important ("Recommended reading") is brilliant. Quality beats quantity every time.
On the other hand, some other sections are distinctly non-special and in many cases there's lots better sources.
I don't particularily *care* which 3 (of the total zillion) distributions updated their libfoo to deal with the bar-vulnerability reported X weeks ago this week. I migth wonder if *my* distro has fixed the problem, but apt-get, yum or whatever tells me that.
I don't particularily *care* how to set up HylaFax 3.1.2 on a Sparc. I'm guessing perhaps 0.01% of your readers actually care, and those that do are unlikely to care at the precise moment that you choose to cover it, so don't. It's not news. Lwn is not TLDP (and shouldn't try to be)
The event-calender is worse than useless. The large major events *migth* be sligthly interesting. Those that it's remotely possible that 10% of your readers care about. Those events that Lwn would consider covering. But the local events swarm them. How large a percentage of your readers care that the Baltimore LUG has a meeting where Samba will be presented ? Lwn ain't nearly complete enough to be *useful* for local stuff either. So, what I see is something like: 5 large international actually-interesting events. 100 miniscule special-interest or extremely-limited-geographically events. And at the same time, the local events in *my* (or any one) geographic area are very very unlikely to be listed at all. My advice ? If Lwn wouldn't consider covering an event, it's not interesting enough to be included in Lwn. (put it under a "click here to see local events" if you really want to keep these at all)
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