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Seeking Readers’ Feedback on Subscription and Redesign

Homolog.us blog is written by professional janitors dedicated to clean up US science. During lunch breaks and other time off from the job, we discuss bioinformatics. The name 'homolog.us' is not a spelling mistake, but is derived by taking Arabic translation of the 'O' in the original word.

Please follow us on twitter – @homolog_us.

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Dear Readers,

Tutorials

We have been looking for ways to complete our tutorials, which were not updated for a while. The original plan was (and still is) to freely provide state-of-the-art information on various bioinformatics methods and algorithms in the tutorial section, so that the students and researchers can use them for their work. It is possible to learn about the same topics by reading many papers, but that takes a lot of time. Having all in one place and being explained in simple language would be helpful for those trying to catch up with this rapidly advancing field.

Sadly, we got extremely busy with other work over the last year and could not pay attention to the tutorials. Recently the section is starting to get many hits and the last thing we want to do is to let others rely on incomplete information.

We have been thinking about ways to free up some time and start working on the tutorials. One option is to get a list of paid patrons of our blog. The daily topics in our blog are free and we like to keep them free always. Therefore, we were toying with ideas about what additional thing we can offer to the subscribers in return for their patronage. We must offer something extra, because nobody (except one person we collaborate closely with) bothered to press the donate button over the last two years.

One option we are thinking is that we will send a report/newsletter once a month (around 1st week of each month) to the patrons discussing some advanced topics, such as a newly release program or paper, in detail. Also, in the newsletter, we can provide a highlight of topics discussed in our blog during the month. That way, you do not have to read all of them and can come back and read the topics that interest you. Any other idea on what would benefit you is welcome.

OB-YT773_coffee_G_20130904024204

We would also like to keep the cost of subscription as low as a cup of Starbucks coffee in China. That way people from all over the world can benefit from what we write and can contribute to our continued existence. The original purpose of this blog was to use the internet technology and spread information around the world. One reason we spend quite a bit of time to cover conferences and Meetup presentations is that it saves time and money for people from distant countries, who are interested in learning about cutting-edge technologies and research without flying across the world to be at various conferences.

Another option for pricing is to choose a variable model (‘minimum contribution’-'expected contribution’) so that everyone can help us at a low level and some can choose to help at a higher level.

Questions for you -

(i) Do you think it will be helpful to get the tutorials finished and will you be interested in having a separate subscription option for blog patrons? Any suggestion about what price is affordable, etc. would be welcome.

(ii) What do you like to get in return for subscription? If it is a monthly newsletter, what topics interest you?

Once again, our blog will be freely accessible as before, and we have no plan to even put a registration option.

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Blog redesign

As you may have noticed, we have also been working on redesigning various pages of the blog(s). The categories are being streamlined. We also created a clean and simplified front page. Please feel free to provide any other suggestion and we will try to incorporate them.

One question – can you access the pages easily from a mobile device or do you like to have a more responsive theme?




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Heroes and Heroines of New Media--2014

I am strongly influenced by Charles Hugh Smith, who runs his insightful social blog of Two Minds. I hope he will not mind, if I copy his style of acknowledgement to the supporters of our blog.

Our blog is deeply honored by the generous contribution of the following readers. Without their patronage, this site would go away.

Outstandingly Generous:  
Amemiya C. Schnable J. Bowman B.

We are also looking for subscribers to get help to finish the tutorials. Please see this post for details.

4 comments to Seeking Readers’ Feedback on Subscription and Redesign

  • Ram RS (@_ramrs)

    I really do think a paid subscription will set us apart, especially with the tutorials added in and with the current good quality posts. I would be glad to help out in any way I can, be it in helping edit tutorials or a monthly financial contribution.

  • samanta

    Thanks Ram RS. We appreciate your help.

  • Ruibang

    For the monthly subscription, invited comments on latest papers will attract me.

  • samanta

    Hi Ruibang,

    Thanks for your reply. Would you please explain in more detail, what you mean? Do you like me to invite the authors to comment of their papers, or do you like me to go through the papers?

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