Squirrel Notes Ars Technica's (lack of) Editorial Tools

This note was published in Issue #41 of Squirrel Notes on Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Ars Technica's (lack of) Editorial Tools: Ars Technica is doing a series on “the future of work,” and they started by detailing how they work without a central office. The second half of the article reveals that they're on WordPress, which is not a surprise, but I was a little rattled by their rigged-up editorial workflow system:

Actual publication of a piece to the front page is delegated to a group of editors collectively referred to as the “newsdesk.” Staffers in that group rotate places on a dedicated newsdesk hot seat, and when a writer has a story that’s ready to run, the writer pass the story via the #readyforedits Slack channel

While Slack is important, we also lean heavily on a handful of collaborative spreadsheets that we maintain via Google Sheets. In spite of years of discussion about alternatives and a few abortive attempts to move to some other system, the humble spreadsheet remains the easiest way for everyone here to keep track of their stuff.

It's just a cobbling together of tools, which is probably much more common than we like to think ... but weird for a publishing company?