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Volunteers Needed! Readers for Audio Versions of the Posts. You Interested?

I don’t think I’ve made any kind of official announcement that we are doing a massive rehaul of the blog, a complete rebuild.   But I am now.

Official announcement:  WE ARE DOING A MASSIVE REHAUL OF THE BLOG, A COMPLETE REBUILD.

Well, technically “we” are not.  Steven Ray, my assistant from the beginning and mastermind of all-things-blog-related is.  He’s been working on it for many months.  It’s a major undertaking.  For some years now he’s been keeping the current version running on duct tape and bailing wire, having started it over eight years ago when technology and life as we know it was different.  Things have changed.  Now we’ll change better with them.

We are using the new blog structure to implement lots of other changes that we think will make the blog much better for blog users and to attain the goals of the blog itself better.  There have always been two goals:  To disseminate scholarly knowledge about the New Testament and the Beginnings of Christianity as broadly as we can, in simple terms that non-scholars can understand and appreciate, and to raise money for charity.   BOTH goals are really important to me.  And the new blog design will do better at achieving them.

I will explain more about what all that will look like later.  But for now, the most important thing: we will be moving to a tiered-membership.   Some members are happy with a no-frills option, some want additional benefits, and we’ll have several options.

Here’s the point of this current post:  The highest tiers will provide access to AUDIO versions of each new blog post, published weekly, a kind of podcast option available exclusively for members in these tiers.

I wish very much that I could record and produce that kind of podcast myself, but the reality is that it simply is not possible.  There just aren’t enough hours in my week.  (If anyone wants to loan me some of theirs, I’d happily take them….)   And so we will be going with a second best option: other people, volunteers, will read the posts.

So, here’s the point of this request.

I NEED VOLUNTEERS TO READ POSTS for the audio version.   This will require TIME and the ABILITY to read clearly and well.   It will NOT require much technological skill or expertise.  One blog member, an IT person with tons of technical skill, has already volunteered (incredibly generously) to do the actual work of publishing/posting the readings and taking care of the technological issues.  So what I need are readers to record each post.

This will NOT interfere with or even compete with the fantastic project that my other volunteer John Mueller has so generously been producing since 2017, the Bart Ehrman Podcast.  If you don’t know about it, check it out:  https://ehrmanpodcast.libsyn.com/   John reads one current post that is already “public” (not for members only) and one archived podcast, with the goal of reaching non-members and drawing them into the blog.  The podcast was all his idea and he does the whole thing himself.  Fantastic.  It brings in members and is growing and growing.

And it won’t be affected by the audio version available to those who are already members at the higher tiers.   This new venture will be done as a service to those on the blog, not to outsiders to draw them in.

So, for producing new audio version of all posts for higher-tiered members: The IDEAL situation would be to find ONE person willing to commit to doing it, reading all the posts ever week.  Period.  Same voice, every post, every day.  Perfect.   But that’s a real commitment and I rather doubt anyone will be game.  If you are, do let me know.

Second best situation: we find, say, three or four persons willing to do it on an alternating week basis.  Same voice for all five weekly posts; next week a different voice; etc.

Third best (OK, not nearly as good; but we’ll take what we can get): a range of people alternating days, different voices periodically on this that or the other post.

We won’t know which option we will be able to pursue until we see what kind of response we get to this request.  And so the request:

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING?  We would need people to commit to the project, not until the end of the world (which, frankly, may be next Thursday, though I’m still holding out hope) but for, say, a month or two, with lead time to find a replacement if it doesn’t work out.

If you’re interested, you need to do two things.

  • First: pick one of my recent posts.  Most of them these days are about 1400 words.  Read it out loud to yourself and time it.  How long does it take?  How long would it take to do five?  It would take a bit more time than a once-thorugh, if you have mistakes to correct, etc.  (But the good news: If you did an entire week’s worth, you would have all five to read at once: I would get them to you the week *before* I post them on the blog itself, so we can coordinate written and audio versions; doing five in one sitting will be much more time efficient than on five separate days).   Can you see yourself doing this?   A post a week?  Five posts a week?  Some weeks?  Do the whole darn thing?
  • Second: send me an email with the Subject Line: “Volunteering” Send it to my email address,  behrman@email.unc.edu, not as a comment here.  Tell me you’re interested.  If you are, then I will send you a fuller description of the project and what your involvement might be.  Equally important, I will be asking you to submit an audition audio of your reading one of my posts.  We will obviously need to have volunteers who read well!

I’m very much looking forward to hearing from some of you.  I’ll be taking requests to volunteer for a week, until January 31.  So let me know!

Many thanks to all of you on the blog.  You are why we do it and you are the ones who make it possible!

 


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Comments

  1. Avatar
    joemccarron  January 24, 2020

    This is great news that the blog is getting an update. It would be great if we could more easily see all the prior posts by category! Sometimes it is hard to find an old blog.

    Also I understand the need for reasonable limits on the replies. But it would be so much better if you just said someone could only make up to 3 replies per day and the total of those three posts can not exceed 1200 words, rather than forcing every post to be under 400 words. I would even prefer it if you could only post once per day but be able to at least post 1,000 words.

    I would be willing to read some back posts but I couldn’t commit to a weekly schedule.

  2. Avatar
    4Erudite  January 24, 2020

    To bad voice generated technology is not, as far as I know, advanced enough to just let a computer program read away…some day, maybe, and you will pick the ‘voice’ you want…looking forward to the blog overhaul/update especially the audio, it will be very handy when traveling. Much thanks to you for the blog and to all those that volunteer to make it a great source of good information to stimulate thought.

  3. Avatar
    joemccarron  January 25, 2020

    Will the comments on the current blog be deleted or lost when the new blog is put up?

    • Bart
      Bart  January 26, 2020

      Nope!

      • Avatar
        Judith  January 26, 2020

        Suppose if we want our comments deleted? I’ve been a member a long time. There are comments I wish I’d not made such as several having to do with misinterpreting the subtitle of Jesus Before the Gospels. If all my comments were eliminated, that would free up a lot of space and make me happy. 🙂

        • Bart
          Bart  January 27, 2020

          Ha! Sorry — as Pontius Pilate said, “What has been written has been written”! On the other hand, I woudn’t worry : some few people read through old posts, but hardly anyone reads through old comments.

      • Avatar
        joemccarron  January 30, 2020

        That is good to hear. So the existing blogs will stay up as well as the comments to them?

        Have you deleted or refused to post any of my comments?

        • Bart
          Bart  January 31, 2020

          Yup. The posts/comments will all be available still.

          Not to my knowledge. Did some not get posted? I post everything that is relevant and not disrespectful, snarky, or overly political (one way or the other)

          • Avatar
            joemccarron  February 5, 2020

            That’s great news.

            Although I certainly agree with your twin goals of sharing scholarly work with non-academics, and helping those in need, I can do both of those things without this blog. What I find makes this blog excellent is rather that you interact with people who may not work in your field of academia. Your level of interaction really is unusual among professors.

            I think there is a divide between those inside academia and those outside. Sure the flow of information is normally going from academics to those outside but I really think both sides can benefit from the other’s perspective. Sometimes I sense academics get frustrated why their views don’t take hold in society at large. Often this is because the public is not familiar with important information or arguments. But also academics share ingrained views that are not shared with the outside world and really should be examined. We can all see these ruts when we look at the history of an academic field, but it is hard to see what ruts you are currently in.

            As far as whether any of my posts have not posted, I think at least one was not but there could be others. I think I posted a response Jacqueline3s 1/20/20 comment to Tabor before the one I posted on 1/31 (and not my 1/25 post.) It is hard to know because sometimes the posts are on hold for a few days so I may not be able to know if they were posted until I come back in a week or sometimes I won’t read the blog for a several months. There are many different blogs that cover the similar topics (Hume, memory etc) I am not sure which blog I was replying to a week ago. I am not aware of a way that I can easily locate my comments.

            And even finding all the blogs that deal with a particular topic is not possible. Suffice it to say it is a very clunky process to even know if my comment was posted let alone know if a comment I made was responded to. I hope I don’t sound too negative, because the comments here are great, but it could be more user friendly.

          • Bart
            Bart  February 6, 2020

            We have a new rebuild coming, in teh works, that will change things massively for the better.

  4. Avatar
    RICHWEN90  January 26, 2020

    Blog posts sometimes contain Greek, so I imagine some fluency in that language would be required. I used to read for blind students but that was a long time ago. Once I was given a textbook on symbolic logic to read and I had to give up. Toooo much!

  5. Avatar
    John Uzoigwe  January 27, 2020

    Don’t Bart I read that the real sabath day is Saturday how was it changed to Sunday

    • Bart
      Bart  January 27, 2020

      Sabbath is the Jewish day of rest: Saturday. Christians shifted their worship to Sunday, because it was teh day of Jesus’ resurrection. sometimes they borrowed the Jewish term and called it Sabbath.

      • Avatar
        timcfix  January 27, 2020

        I thought the Pope did not want his people worshipping the same as the Jews. No restaurants, no gas stations, no malls were open.

        • Bart
          Bart  January 28, 2020

          Nope, goes back way before there were popes or gas stations..

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