Hey all, here are a few brief housekeeping things I wanted to draw to your attention.

Secure Browsing

First, if you at the URL bar, you’ll see a padlock next to the URL for the website.

mere-o-secure

This is a sign that Mere O now has an SSL certificate, which is another way of saying the site is now secure. This has some benefit for us with ranking in Google, but the larger reason for that is so that we are able to receive online donations to help with our costs.

Paying Our Writers

That brings us to the second bit of news: We now have a simple donations system set up in the right sidebar on our home page:

mere-o-donations

To be sure, there are a lot of benefits that come from being a site that doesn’t have to worry about dealing with money stuff, not least of which is the fact that since my financial life as the editor-in-chief isn’t tied to Mere O’s brand in any way, it affords me the opportunity to generally ignore the Big Eva brands and not worry about whether or not they’ll like me or ask me to write for them. I have a level of editorial independence here that I cherish and much of that is down to the fact that I don’t make a single penny from the work I do here.

That being said, I would like to be able to compensate writers if at all possible. There’s two reasons for this:

  • First, I think it’s just the right thing to do if at all possible.
  • Second, there are plenty of sites out there that do pay. So if I want a piece from a writer and another publication that pays is also after it, I’m not going to get it for Mere O because the writer is going to take the paycheck. And I don’t blame them at all.

Toward that end, I’ve added this new donation feature on the sidebar of the home page. (NOTE: This is separate from the Patreon account Matt runs for Mere Fidelity.) I’ve also added a donation button at the bottom of all our recent posts and most of our most read historical posts. That said, our archives are large so getting it added to more posts will take a bit of time.

For the moment, the money that comes in from that plugin is going to go toward paying our other regular writers. I can’t say that this is what I’ll always do simply because I have no idea if or how this will actually work, but that’s the plan for the immediate future. If we ever got to where we were bringing in a more significant amount of money, then perhaps we could look into doing more podcasting or maybe even video. But for now the money will entirely toward paying writers.

Mere O Notes Revived

Third, in the past I ran a feature on a sub-directory of Mere O called Mere O Notes. It was meant to be a guide to the web that featured links to the day’s best writing. The trouble was maintaining Mere O Notes was a pain: I had to go in and create separate posts in WordPress every time I wanted to post a new link. And the only way people saw it is if they clicked through to the separate domain. So it was fun to maintain, but also really tedious and sometime last year I just stopped running it.

That said, I’ve found a solution that automates the sharing of articles I recommend reading. You can see the list (and each link there is a clickable link to take you directly to the article) on the right side of the home page:

mere-o-notes 2.55.11 PM

So if you want online reading recommendations, there you go.

Mere O Monthly

Fourth, I had to make some changes to the email signup on the right side of the page due to the shift to a secure site. You can see the new signup form on the right. James Arnold is the regular editor for Mere O Monthly, but as he is planning a wedding now, he doesn’t have much time for it. So I’m going to try my hand at it until he has more time in his schedule. The monthly will still look much the same, but I may also talk a bit about pieces we have coming down the pipeline or other projects we are involved with in some capacity.

The emphasis is still on words and arguments so the article view looks the same.

Fifth and finally, I wanted to point out that the article view for blog posts is still full-width without a sidebar. I want to make some changes to these kind of underneath-the-hood things on the site, but the main thing here is the same as it has always been: the written word. We want to say true things beautifully and so when you click on an article you’ll be given a page that is focused exclusively on that article. There’s a small donation button at the bottom of the post, but you’ll only see that once you have finished reading. My biggest priority here is to continue to make Mere O a place where words are valued, enjoyed, and used well. So I don’t want anything to get in the way of that. So the clean, minimalist layout on individual posts is staying the same as it always has.

Thanks for reading!

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Posted by Jake Meador

Jake Meador is a 2010 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he studied English and History. He lives in Lincoln, NE with his wife Joie, their daughter Davy, and son Wendell. Jake’s writing has appeared in Christianity Today, Fare Forward, the University Bookman, Books & Culture, First Things, Front Porch Republic, and The Run of Play.