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Majestic: Issue #2 December 23, 2001
In this Issue:
Letter from the Editor
Site Spotlight
The New Site is Live!
New Rankings for Staff and Members
Sunday Night Write-Off

 Letter from the Editor
It’s nearly 2002. Lit.Org has come a very long way since it’s creation. Lit.Org started out as a web site hosted by a local isp on my home account. It was called “The Alter of Ink” and was very much like what you see at Lit.Org now, just not as advanced and only two or three people submitting. That was in 1995-1996. On April 17th, 1997 I bought Lit.Org and have been running it since. Though we’ve had periods were real life got in the way, we still managed to keep her running. We also had our share of down time. There were times when it was our fault and others when it was beyond our control. We stand at the threshold of a new year and we have much more planned than we can possibly get done. We look forward to a great year in 2002 and hope you come along for the ride. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Holiday. I wish you and your families a happy and prosperous new year.

This year hasn’t been without it’s own share of ups and downs. Some of my favorite web sites closed down. Some of which was due to the so-called dot.com fallout. Others were due to personal conflicts or a change in distribution models. Most of those sites were young, even by Internet standards. They just didn’t find their niche. Some of them will rebound and be back stronger than ever. My point is I’m thankful that we are still here serving up stories year after year. I too have thought of closing the site down to pick up other interests, but because so many of you participate in the site, because so many of you write me to tell me you love the site and ask how you can help, Lit.Org remains. As long as I’m the one running the show, Lit.Org will remain open and free to everyone. Thanks to everyone who’s been there since the beginning and I hope the rest of you stick around. There’s much more to come!

Merry Christmas!

Chrispian H. Burks
Editor - Lit.Org

 Site Spotlight
The Thought Café is a quiet corner of the internet where writers and poets of all kinds can meet, discuss writing, post their work and receive feedback. We have an archive of over 1,000 pieces, a weekly online newsletter, a monthly writing exercise and lots of interesting articles and features. We're very friendly and it's all free, and free from commercial content so why not pour yourself a cup of coffee and come and join us? See you soon at The Thought Café. www.thoughtcafe.com

 The New Site is live!
Last time I told you I would have the new site up by January 1, 2002. Well, there is just no way to make that happen. There is too much to get done. The good news is, I got more done that I thought possible. Though we won’t have all the features done by Jan 1, we do have the new site ready, and it’s live even as I write this issue of the newsletter!

Thanks to everyone who sent in feedback. This change has streamlined the way the site is navigated and how things are organized. At first glance, it may seem like much of the navigation has been removed. We have actually added navigation, not reduced it! Everything is just organized much tighter. This new layout is also less daunting to new users. The previous design was scaring off new members ­ there was just too much info to digest.

New features include a Beta Mailing list where you can send your stories before you post them live to get feedback and improve your work prior to posting it. It’s a great list to perfect your stories and build stories with other writers. We have a few more lists coming down the pipe that should be up soon!

We’ve also added the Newswire. This section is in early stages development and we have the basic system in place. The Newswire will be the latest news, announcements, and press releases from around the web. The newswire is meant to help keep everyone up to date with a quick and convenient tool. We will be adding feeds to the wire as we go along so check it often!

Much of the sites redundant system items have been consolidated into fewer pages. We’ve also improved the top, side and footer navigation to be more relevant. We will continue to streamline this based on category and which pages load.

We’ve improved the over all speed of the site as well. With fewer database calls, considerably less html tables, page rendering has been reduced to just a few seconds per page on most pages.

Look for more changes frequently. We’ve got tons planned including expanding the profiles, advanced searching, sorting, themes, personalized preferences, private and instant messages, who’s online, subscribe to categories, authors, email updates on comments, and much more. We are very excited and hope you enjoy all the new goodies!

 New Rankings for Staff and Members
If you’ve seen the new site, you’ll notice that strange titles are appearing by people’s names. Some are what we call vanity titles. These titles are gained by the number of posts you have. We have also implemented a new ranking system for staff members.

Archon’s are the only people who can set Lit.Org policy or speak on behalf of Lit.Org itself. Only Justin and Chrispian are Archon’s.

Magistrate’s are Moderators in both the Forums and in the Archive. They are there to help post items, keep things on topic, and to help with general maintenance of the site. They help maintain the sites structure by helping to enforce the guidelines set forth in the faq.

Acolyte’s are our eyes, ears, and hands on the “street”. They let us know of errors, send in bug reports, scour the web for great resources and help spread the word about lit.org.

Guardian’s are Lit.Org Mentors. Many sites have a mentor program and our site is getting so big that we must also adopt this type of program. A Guardian’s role is to help other members use the site, improve their skill and quite often run or judge some of our special events.

The reason these titles came about was because of one user. Parteepants has been very active, very supportive and extremely helpful without anyone asking him to do so. He took it upon himself to plan events, get things going and just generally be a nice guy to have around the site. I saw this as an opportunity to reward him with a “title” if you will, considering he was already doing the work.

If you would like to apply for a staff title, we would love to have you. The best way to do so is to get involved with the site. We’ll probably ask you to join the staff!

 Sunday Night Write-Off
Every Sunday night, I’ll be holding a writing competition called, “The Write-Off.” It will feature two Lit.Org authors, keyboard to keyboard in a test of their creative abilities. Each week the featured competitors will be provided with the same story starter and they will have a limited time (approx. 4 hours) to finish the story using about 1,000 words. Both stories will then be posted at lit.org to be rated by all of our wonderful members.

This week’s featured competitors are Beckett Grey and Parteepants. Who has the bigger story writing cajones? That is up to you to decide. Read these stories during the week and rate them based on creativity, grammar and story writing prowess.

Friday night the winner will be announced along with the next week’s competitors. If you’re interested in flexing your literary muscles, email me at parteepants@lit.org.

The First Write-Off will be held Next Sunday, December 29th.

Richard Dani
Editor ­ Lit.Org

 The Lit.Org Store
Help support Lit.Org authors. Visit the Lit.Org store and buy cool swag. The proceeds go to help support he writers of Lit.Org! You'll look cool in front of all your friends. Go buy something today. Visit the Lit.Org store.


  Tell Your Friends
Tell your friends about Lit.Org. Every visitor you send us enters you in the pool for a free T-Shirt and Free book! You don't have to do anything. Just fill out the form on our site and we'll take care of the rest. We'll announce the winner in a few weeks! Tell people about Lit.Org now!

 THE FORUMS
Meet the members and staff of Lit.Org. Chat about everything under the sun and let everyone get to know you. Visit the Forums.

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