#2 Fedora Magazine editorial workflow
Closed 2 years ago by asamalik. Opened 2 years ago by asamalik.

Let's discuss a new workflow for the Fedora Magazine!

There are a few issues with the current one I see:

  • Higher barrier to entry — We kind of expect that ideas for articles (pitches) are submitted by the writer, which might prevent people who are not writers from submitting potentiaily interesting topics. Also, it happens right in Wordpress which might make newcomers to feel too committed or worried they accidentally brake something (I felt that way back then).
  • Tracking state — It's not always easy to tell whether certain article is in progress and being actively worked on, has been done, or is stalled. Also, it's hard to distinguish pitches that have been just submitted vs. approved, and claimed vs. free to take ones.

I tried to fix some of that some time ago by using a Kanban board, but that didn't prove to work as the process still expected things to happen in Wordpress and the board — while providing some of the benefits — seemed as an extra work. So I sat with @bcotton during Flock and we put together a whole new process built around using an external tracker.

Fedora Magazine editorial workflow

As ideated by Adam Šamalik and Ben Cotton at Flock 2019

  1. Idea — this is 1-3 sentences to describe the general topic of an article. It can be submitted by a writer or a reader. (but can be more, which might speed up some of the next steps)
  2. Article spec — this is a longer description of an article, similar to the pitches we ask for now. An Idea becomes an Article spec when it is accepted as post topic by the editorial team. Anyone can claim one and start writing.
  3. Article in progress — An Article spec moves into this state when it is claimed by a writer who is working on it
  4. Review — The writer moves the article in this state when it is ready for editorial review. If it requires non-trivial edits, the editor moves it back to Article in progress
  5. Formatting — The article is entered into the content management system (CMS) and given the appropriate style and metadata. This also includes editing
  6. Art — Artwork is generated for the article, if required
  7. Queued — The article moves into this state when the Formatting and Art are complete. The editorial team schedules the article for publication
  8. Published — The article is published


  • This flow is designed such that articles do not need to be in the CMS until they are complete. Authors may choose to write in the CMS, but may use any mechanism reasonable for writing and editing
  • Part of the goal of having small ideas that get approved/rejected by the editors is to encourage the separation of author and subject matter expert (SME). SMEs may not be able or willing to write articles, and authors may be able to write articles that they are not an expert on. By making ideas and requests more visible, the hope is that writers will see an interesting article and claim it
  • We intentionally did not include implementation in this workflow, although we did consider it. For example, Ideas might be submitted as Taiga issues, which get converted to user stories when they are approved as an Article spec
  • The guidelines should suggest that Idea content focus on “how?” questions

This workflow sounds good to me.

For my part, I didn't have an issue submitting ideas to the magazine, but tracking what was going on when a part of the editing team was a bit confusing. As for the proposed workflow, I think it is an improvement to our current state of affairs.

I like the overall flow. It is an improvement over what we have currently.

I think to attract authors and suggestions we may need to develop multiple 'user stories' (or flow documents or be very clear about who owns each step. While I believe this information is in the original post it has to be pulled out of the writing.

  1. Idea -- who: reader or author
  2. Article Spec: -- who: Editorial Staff


1. Idea -- submit a topic you would like covered for the editorial staff to review. Note, that topics that are approved will still need to have an author adopt the idea.

1. Idea -- you can submit an idea to the editorial staff to review. The editorial staff will work with you to shape the idea in to an article spec so you have a clear idea on how to write an article that can be published in Fedora Magazine.

  1. Article Spec -- You can claim free article specs suggested by readers and write an article for submission to the editorial staff

  2. Article Review -- Once you submit the article for review the editorial team will work to ensure the article is ready for formatting and artwork. Unless the article is sent back for additional re-writing you can relax while the editorial team works on article formatting and artwork.

This is just me spit balling... not sure which approach I like, but I want to ensure we make the process clear and easy to follow.

Great job on moving this forward. I believe we will work this through to a final form that will help attract new authors and better overall content.

A picture is worth a 1000 words. That looks excellent and easy to understand who does what and what all the steps are.

Charles beat me to the punch on ownership for these steps. Looks great now; I would amend the text to match the ownership shown in the graphic.

I've just finished the documentation update: http://asamalik.fedorapeople.org/magazine-docs-new-workflow/

It also links to the Taiga board.

Please review and let me know what you think!

Metadata Update from @asamalik:
- Issue assigned to asamalik

2 years ago

Hello @asamalik,
I think it looks very good. Easily followed and understandable.

@asamalik Do you think this is done now?

@pfrields Oh, absolutely, thanks for the ping!

Metadata Update from @asamalik:
- Issue status updated to: Closed (was: Open)

2 years ago

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