A Day in the Life of QCoFM

Earlier today, I was talking to Melissa -- we spoke about the unique entity that is Shakesville, and how the community that so many of us feel here (I communicate more frequently with some Shakers than I do with some of my real-world friends) does not spring magiclly from pixie-dust -- it's the product of lots of work.

'Liss was saying that she felt exhausted, because she believed that she had expressed this to people many times, and made repeated requests for support and donations, and that she thought that people did have a good idea of how much she puts into it, so if they weren't donating, it was probably because they didn't value what she put in.

I noted in the thread for Petulant's post that many people said that they don't get to, or don't choose to, read all the comment threads, and since that's were I've mostly see Melissa talk about what she does every day to keep Shakesville going (and those comments have usually been highly underplayed, in my opinion), I thought I'd put this up right on the main page (IMHFO, it probably should be on one of the info pages, too).

I told her that I wasn't sure that people really did understand the extent of the work that she does every day to maintain and nurture this community -- and I asked her to do me a favor -- to just write up a brief factual description of her average day as the blogmistress of Shakesville. I told her that I wanted to post it here, and I'm doing so with her permission.

Day in the Life of the QCoFM

1. Check overnight email. Sort each into one of seven places: people needing immediate help, issues that need immediate attention, topics that I'd like/feel obliged to write about but aren't as time-sensitive, people who would like to be included in the blogaround or write a guest post, emails that just require a reply, threats, trash.

2. Research and respond to people needing immediate attention. As an example, I might get an email from a woman who's recently been sexually assaulted and needs help locating a survivor's advocate or an email from a man who's partner was sexually assaulted and is seeking advice on how to best support her.

3. Check overnight comments. Moderate and/or intervene as required.

4. Post Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime. Deeky does that now.

5. Reply to most time-sensitive emails that just require a reply.

6. Read morning headlines and sort out big stories that need attention.

7. Post any time-sensitive action alerts.

8. Spend several hours researching and writing either one long or several shorter posts, periodically moderating comments and checking email for things needing immediate response, which could be breaking news-related, blog functionality-related (e.g. "I can't comment" or "feed stopped working"), contributor related (e.g. help with coding post, second set of eyes to look for triggering language or holes in argument), a short-notice interview request, someone needing help locating local shelter or advocacy services, etc.

9. If it's a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, spend between 1-2 hours finding items for the blogaround, periodically doing rounds of comment moderation and email maintenance.

10. Time permitting, send emails to those who got linked in the blogaround or who have been hat-tipped in earlier posts to say thank you and link to the relevant post.

11. Spend some time in comments, facilitating conversation and just generally trying to be present and participatory.

12. More writing, moderating, email maintenance. Make any minor edits necessary to contributor posts for stylistic consistency.

13. Sometime during the day, work with guest bloggers as required to make posts Shakes-ready, i.e. edit submissions for style, coding, and potentially triggering language. Post submissions. Email authors to say thank you and link to the relevant post.

14. Look for a Quote of the Day, look for a Photo of the Day, post the Daily Dose of Cute, and/or coordinate posting of same with other contributors.

15. Assess mood of blog. Do we need something funny? Escapist? Something around which to corral unfocused anger? Something moving? Inspirational? Try to find something to meet that need.

16. Sometime during the day, email Shakers who I haven't seen around for awhile to make sure they're okay. Try to provide what support and help I can to those who aren't.

17. Spend time on phone with at least one contributor and usually more, talking them off the ledge or with them talking me off the ledge—frequently both.

18. Work with Space Cowboy to sort out technical problems and try to learn how to fix shit myself so I don't have to constantly bother him, not that he ever complains.

19. More writing, moderating, email maintenance, etc. I'm kind of like a shark, swimming in the same circles all day.

20. Post the Top Five at some point during the day.

21. If there are any requests from contributors for graphics, or if I write a post requiring a graphic, spend some time designing. Provide updates to graphics I've done for other bloggers when requested.

22. If there are any requests for additional services (e.g. ShakesQuill, a Shaker meet-up blog, book club, etc.), spend some time working to make those happen.

23. If I have been triggered by writing about sexual assault, or by a particularly vicious thread, or whatever, I take some time to try to recenter by pulling up some music I like on YouTube or watching a bit of Eddie Izzard.

24. Promote contributors' posts with emails to other bloggers and news outlets. Send contributors emails if their posts are favorably linked somewhere else. Spend time promoting on Twitter.

25. Compare IPs of any newly banned commenters against those on the threat list.

26. Post the Question of the Day.

27. Spend the rest of the evening modding periodically and responding to as much email as possible. If it's an evening where there's an event that needs coverage, e.g. presidential debates, I spend the evening liveblogging/live-Tweeting.

28. Make a list of everything I didn't get done that day, and hope I'll get to it tomorrow.

An average day is 10-12 hours of work, and around 10,000 words written.

~Melissa McEwan
I think that says it all.

Make a contribution to Melissa McEwan -- Click the Donate Button, scroll down, right sidebar.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

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