Cites & Insights in HTML: The Challenge


On December 24, 2012–admittedly not the best time to get your attention–I posted “Want HTML versions of Cites & Insights essays? It’s your click.”

Briefly, the post said that I’m reconsidering offering Cites & Insights essays in HTML form (which I’ve been doing at least most of the time since 2004), partly because the one-column 6×9 “online” PDF seems to fill the same need, partly because I’ve never been entirely happy with the results. (And, in fact, the results are terrible when graphs or pictures are involved: They’re not there.)

And continued as follows:

So: If you really want HTML versions of C&I essays, it’s up to you…to pay for them.

Total voluntary financial support for Cites & Insights in 2012 has not reached three digits, or even high two digits.

If you want HTML essays, contribute–the PayPal secure Donate button’s right there on the home page.

If I see at least $1,000 in donations between now and the time I’m ready to publish the February 2013 issue–which I’m guessing will be around January 20-22, 2013–then I’ll keep doing HTML separates at least through 2013.

If I don’t get even within shouting range of that total, I’ll probably drop them: The one-column 6×9 PDF format should meet the needs of most e-readers. And, y’know, considering the price…

Purchases of C&I annual volumes will count as contributions, at the full rate of $50 each, even though I don’t net nearly that much. And you get great travel photos on the covers, plus indexes that are not otherwise available. (The indexes alone are worth, well…more than nothing.)


So far, the first week of the HTML challenge has yielded a nice round number: $0 donations, 0 sales of C&I annual volumes.

But hey, it’s the new year. There appear to be a few hundred people who read the HTML versions–there were, in fact, more than 100,000 HTML essay pageviews in 2012–and if even 100 figure it’s worth a paltry $10 a year, it will continue.

Here’s what I might hear you thinking or saying, and my response if any:

  • Other people will provide the contributions you’re seeking; I can be a freerider. Could happen, but consider the total to date.
  • I certainly don’t think the HTML version C&I is worth enough to pay for it, not even $10 a year. That’s fine, but don’t be surprised when the HTML goes away.
  • You’re trying to get loads of money; you probably won’t even tell us when you start making progress. Nope. I’ll offer weekly totals whenif there’s any total to report. Sure, I’d love to get a few $K, since I think C&I is worth it, but…
  • You’re bluffing. No, I’m not. Note that I didn’t say C&I itself was endangered, at least not yet: that might be a bluff.

If you find C&I worthwhile but don’t care about the HTML version…contributions are also welcome. [If they come via PayPal, I’ll thank you via email–and if you specifically don’t want your contribution linked to the HTML challenge, you can tell me so at that point.]

It will take 40 $25 contributions or 100 $10 contributions or, for that matter, 20 copies of the annual volumes at $50. We’ll see what happens

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