This morning I was perusing stories both from my network and those not in my network as well.
Don’t act so surprised. I’m actually an equal opportunity reader, folks.
Fret not, my lovely, talented, awe-inspiring, love you oodles and oodles, kiss your hiney, and your feet network of writers. I still love you (read you) more than those baddies in “Based On Your Reading History” land.
You all okay in my network land?
As I was saying, I was perusing stories in the place which shall remain nameless, and I found this rather bone-jarring, but well-written article on the latest changes to which we writers have been trying to adjust.
Now in my humble opinion, Pam Livingston is an edgy, most-times on point writer who speaks her mind in a kind of “take no prisoners” fashion. A lot of times, she just lets it fly, unencumbered, and in your face.
Not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea, but sometimes I need a little slapping around to get my thoughts in line.
I also think Pam makes some valid points. Not so much her reasons for why she used to read articles she knew were political refuse and garbage, but her reasoning that in the past, she controlled how writers of crap and stinkhole pieces got paid.
To this, she makes a valid point.
Now, if we jump into a rant, be it political or otherwise and read the entire piece or at least three quarters of it, only to come up with the steadfast opinion it was the worse piece of stinking garbage we’ve ever read, by virtue of us reading, the writer of this latest political Mein Kampf gets some of our money.
Well, Pam is spot on with the observation. They do get our money, and here’s the real kick in the head.
There’s no way to get a refund.
Hey, come on. Even bookstores have a refund policy.
Amazon will refund an ebook if it doesn’t meet your expectations. The Barnes and Nobles outlets have a 30-day refund policy. I even checked out a couple of moms and pops, and yes, they have refund policies as well.
However, most of the smaller stores offer an exchange policy in place of a refund. The outcome is the same. I either get my money back by returning a piece of trash book, or I get to pick another one I think I’ll enjoy.
As a published writer, I hate to see it happen, but I deal with refunds on a day in, day out routine. It’s hard to admit the entire world doesn’t simply love my work, but the truth is:
The entire world doesn’t simply love my work.
So why don’t we have something like a refund process here? Why, if we read an observation piece or a story and we’re more than halfway through only to discover the entire article has less substance than a StayPuff marshmallow, should the writer get our hard-earned money, and we not be given an opportunity to a refund?
Hey, they got our money for reading the piece. We thought it stunk and we want our money back. To be ethically fair to the paying community, bookstores do it all the time.
So why not here?
I have several thoughts on this subject (oh dear Lord, P.G. we’re stunned, and a little bit frightened), and none of them are probably the real reason, but here we go anyway.
#1. It would be a logistical nightmare.
The payable and receivable departments would all have to go to extra therapy sessions when they begin to have hourly stress meltdowns.
#2. The cost of subsidizing these meltdowns in health insurance premiums would force a rise in monthly membership dues.
This increase could severely hamper revenue streams and potentially cause a decrease in current and future members.
#3. No one in the coding department has figured out how to make the new algorithm think in negative terms.
It was positive yesterday a writer scored a read on his/her piece. How does one make the algorithm who declared the writer had a read yesterday, think the writer doesn’t have that read today?
#4. Most writers only get paid about a couple of pennies a pop.
So, the cost of refunding a reader because they read some insane trash on why we don’t have a refund policy and now want their pennies back just isn’t worth it.
#5. The algorithm doesn’t want to refund for fear someone will run out of money and not be able to pay the electric bill.
Although just a baby algorithm, it’s smart enough to know someone needs to keep the servers running. Even algorithms have the urge to survive.
#6. Adding a checkbox at the end of the story, “Pay This Writer” (next to the little hand that used to mean something to all of us) would be too difficult.
The new algorithm doesn’t do checkboxes very well and doesn’t understand what an unchecked box means. Plus, the programmers don’t want to put a pop up that asks, “Are You Sure You Don’t Want To Pay This Schmuck?” on every flipping story.
#7. Last, but certainly not least, the algorithm is supposed to be the one deciding who gets paid.
Certainly not the reader. What are you folks thinking?
So I guess the best advice is to take Pam at her word and do what she plans to do. When we see one of these writers who is attempting to clickbait us into reading a crap story, we’re just going to have to take a pass and scroll on by.
I’m thinking, for now, that’s the closest thing to a refund we’re all gonna get. Think of it as better than a refund. Think of it as cost avoidance.
But who knows what the future holds?
Maybe in the future, someone will figure out how to teach an old algorithm new tricks, and we’ll get to see a refund policy put in place. Or maybe we’ll see a “Pay This Writer” checkbox alongside a wimpy hand that no longer works as intended.
I’m thinking for me, it won’t matter. By the time these changes happen, everybody in the world will simply love my work, and I won’t have to concern myself with nasty old refunds anyhoo.
The year 2525 is just around the corner right?
Oh wait, I’ll be majorly dead by then.
Let’s keep in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
© P.G. Barnett, 2019. All Rights Reserved.