515 Comments

this new dashboard rules but I think mine is broken...the numbers on it are way less than the example image can y'all fix that??

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did you restart your computer? that usually takes care of it

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Yeah, I totally miss the old blogosphere where you never paid, there weren't various privileged classes of subscribers with elites who could comment and rabble like me who were excluded. Where everyone could comment, and Ideas were the issue of interest, not how to make more money.

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me too, I was there, and there was a lot of good in that world -- and, it was a fantasy.

those servers that hosted all those blogs were paid for by someone...by companies that were either spending investor's money as they 'grew,' or collecting revenue from advertisers who hoped to sell those bloggers and their readers things—usually both. We were all deluded for a good long while that it was possible for the internet to be free. It's an old old story, but we confused free as in gratis with free as in 'open' (aka libre).

Substack isn't perfect, but it's much more realistic than that early false "free," and more honest than having things paid for by VC pump and advertising.

I've written about my involvement in the early days of the internet here

https://bowendwelle.substack.com/p/12-wired-tired-fired

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I was there from around 97 and on. I got one of the first Gmail accounts when it was in beta and was all invitation only. To create a blog back then you had to invest in the software and then find someone with skills to create a presentable page with the features and format you liked, then you had to get a domain name, then find a server somewhere that would host you at a reasonable rate and not trap you by billing you by visits, etc. It all cost money and it wasn't free ever. So your point is taken. But remember this- unless you were setting up a commercial site, you weren't in it for the money, just the joys of the ideas and having a booth in the marketplace of ideas. It was a form of social media true and it did have its addictive elements, but nothing approaching the toxicity of the current era.

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People who aren't "in it for the money" usually have money or are on Medicaid because they aren't in it for the money.

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Perhaps so Donald, perhaps so. But I like to imagine that economic motives are not the only ones that impel we humans. There are loves of various sorts- of mountains and sky, of Beauty and Justice, of the wonders of science and mathematical discovery.. the total shared by people of all manners of wealth and poverty. Ars Gratia Artis, l'art pour l'art, are not empty phrases. When I was young and living from day to day, I pursued many things with no hope of financial reward and some things that I knew would make me poorer.

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very cynical, Donald...very restricted view of life.

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Whew, appreciate your writing this personal history connecting the threads of 90s internet advertising to surveillance capitalism 0_0!

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I've made my site open to everyone. People can get a free subscription, pay $5 a month, or $50 a year. And I will never close off comments to anyone. I write about politics, history, culture, and travel from Texas. Substack has allowed me to reach readers that my publisher never did, even with an NYT best selling book. https://jamesmoore.substack.com/

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You're on the side of the angels. I know Substack has to make a living-no pro bono operation this big is sustainable if you forego advertising revenue or sell your subscriber base demographicsto mass mailing operations... But still I dream of a set up where I pay Substack a monthly fee for the privilege of operating a newsletter in this environment and have NO paid subscriptions or tiered levels of readers. I foot the cost and subscribers get to read my rants free of charge

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I'm thinking of going paid because that is the only way I can pay Substack.

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Well, you can do all that, except for paying Substack for their platform. Just have a newsletter that everyone can get for free. You are not required to charge, I don't think. Or if the subscription button includes fees, just tell your readers to click "free," because I know that's loaded in there. Also, use Chat. Perfect way to share rants in real time with subscribers. I suspect you are someone who has something to say. You oughta go after it in some form and this seems to me, for now, the best place to get it into the great out yonder.

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Well as it happens my substack is free and doesn't even offer subscribers the option to either pay or pledge. It's all free all the time. Don't have much to say and I don't rant, I'm swearing off and politics, especially Texas politics since I'm an old Texican who remembers those old red and blue Texas history lessons books they gave us schoolchildren in the fifties and I remember Franky Randall and River Oaks and the Texas Observor and the Shivercrats, all the Gothic politics of the Bluebell state I called my home.

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I like the monthly fee option. What about a hybrid model? a monthly fee gives you X# articles/mos. And fee-based writers can still limit access to their highly specialized stuff (some people do write for a living after all) while having the choice of opening the rest of their stuff to the platform-wide subscriber. Everybody wins. If you really want to incentivize it, maybe Substack could get a commission for every new paying subscriber to a fee-based newsletter brought in via the monthly platform membership. Hell, why not incentivize it for readers too? Like Amazon sellers, give them an incentive for turning someone on to a paid newsletter and for a platform subscription.

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I think he was joking.

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Yes...I too am disappointed...but it WAS a joke...

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Alex Dobrenko, joking? Impossible!

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Yeah, same issue over here.

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Looks to be a global issue.

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yep -- open a DOS prompt, type FORMAT C: and hit return

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Wow that's dangerous, BD. I kicked of with DOS - you can do a lot of damage with this tool? Maybe things have moved on from the 1970s? I lost touch with Tech in 1995 - but found WIN 95 a massive improvement on WIN 3.1 :-)

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Win31 -> Win311 -> W4W -> Win94 -> Win95. Same junky 16-bit code.

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I thought WIN 95 was the first 32-bit - Intel 386DX (OK so maybe 16x2 but I found it wonderful at the time.) And it all rests on DOS anyway? But then I'm an old soldier brought up on Unix in the late 1960s, so why doesn't everyone use Linux I wonder? Yes I know, marketing inertia.

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> I thought WIN 95 was the first 32-bit

Not the core. They had Win16Mutex to get in there.

> And it all rests on DOS anyway?

Ofc. Look at your file attributes.

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Agreed - I'm not technical so just an observer and pick up bits and pieces of techy stuff which could easily be crap! Yes it all does rest on DOS which i worked with in 1985.

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baahaahaa! Always with the wise cracks @Alex... you know what they say though, better to be a smart ass than a dumb ass. I love it!

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same! mine are ALWAYS less than the example imagine, that they should be.

i. that i imagine. still: FIX THAT PLEASE! (i also dont have time to write much. fix that too? thx!) _JC

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HAHAHA!!! Yeah, I was thinking the same thing 😄

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It's those darn sunspots again! :D

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I didn’t get two new paid subscribers on my last post. 🙁

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That's hysterical! Same here!

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Thanks for the chuckle! Mine must be broken too! ;)

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Hopefully someday can we switch for dashboard views for newsletters like mine that aren't seeking growth or revenue.

More like meaningful connections, help and learning from each other.

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This is great feedback, thanks Josue!

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I completely agree. It would be helpful if we could slightly customize the dashboard. Perhaps there could be a 'hide' button for the 'publication health' section? I find constantly looking at statistics is highly distracting, so I intentionally like to stay away from looking at numbers on the daily. I prefer to set aside time one day a week to see what's going on verses every time I login. Thanks so much for taking feedback!

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Yes please get rid of that at the top and make it optional. It's in the way and slows down my work.

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I also often wonder who shares my posts. That, we can't see ...

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Yes Maja, I would like more info on Shares as well 😊

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Exactly. Rather off-putting that Substack seems to believe "publication health" is tied to money and growth. For me, I consider my publication healthy if I'm still enjoying writing it.

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It seems that ship has sailed. Everything Substack has been doing lately seems to be in pursuit of "publication health" as measured by the number of subscribers (not readers) and in encouraging an obsession with view stats and so forth. It is off-putting, but it's their platform and they're going to run it the way they see fit, as they should. Unfortunately, it seems it's just not possible these days to maintain a focus on quality over quantity/ nums/ stats/ etc. And I'm glad you're still enjoying it William. That's the most important.

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In as much as substack should consider publication’s health, I believe that we should all give @substack a round of applause.

Why? Two platforms I have been at and people focused on both in building just readership and enjoying themselves, Clubhouse and Bitclout, today don’t exist.

Substack is a business, they have tried and sometimes I struggle to figure how long before the investors start getting on their neck and they stop listening to writers completely.

They listen to our suggestions in this platform, hence I believe our submissions should be sent as SUGGESTIONS rather than BLAMES, so that we can all still see substack in another 10-20years, else...some of our newsletters will not exist again in this platform if they implement all the non-business submissions.

Having said this, I join the chorus that for mental health reason, some of substack features should be optional to turn on or off.

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I don't think anyone is getting rich or will get rich owning Substack shares.

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True, but you never know.. 😉

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Someone else will come along, for sure.

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Well said Victor.

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Would buskers still play their music in subways or on street corners if the hat didn't get a few coins each day? I do have a jones for the joy created when finishing a piece that resonates. Getting a few bob as well, that just adds to it.

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Exactly. Not all about the numbers. More about the connections.

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very insightful feedback, Josué. I agree that perhaps another pane showing connections, readers, recommendations, comments, activity would be [perhaps more] interesting.

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AN ORDINARY DISASTER — one man's proof that despite what may seem like our inability to hear it, and all of our attempts to avoid it, we can all learn to listen to ourselves, and to act upon the inner voice of our self, our sanity and our soul.

https://bowendwelle.substack.com/s/memoir

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I write articles on such topics as Inner Voice and Intuitive Health Bowen

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Love this comment.

I'm tired of feeling like my Substack is lesser than, or can't be viewed as successful, because I'm not focused on paid subscribers or high numbers of subscribers.

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Be who you are and celebrate what you do, paid or unpaid. Don't worry about being loved.

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Great suggestion...

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See my rant above.

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How would you define a "meaningful connection?" Or learn that you had helped someone or were learning from someone? That info would have to come from ... Reader Comments, right?

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When you start to get a little bit of numbers, idk 100 subs, is more meaningful for me to connect more easily with each one when their interact with me. Like remember me to respond to a comment, or how many comments I have without reading.

When I chat with a sub, remember me when they subscribed, what other things they like and where else they want to be reached. The subs are persons, not numbers. They have stories and there is a reason why they started follow my writing.

Social is connecting, not selling.

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Selling makes the world work. Socializing is living off selling.

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True under capitalism,where you have to monetize everything and feel bad of enjoying the free time or doing something for free

But I know Substack can/would be bought/close one day as any company. I like what they do, but I'm tired of giving companies my work expecting something else. I create things for what they make me feel, because making a living from a company I have no power? Not today.

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Honestly, it's become a shock when a tech company actually improves features for its users~~thank you so much for this ongoing evolution of tools!

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I sometimes get a lot of new subscribers after I make a flurry of comments at other Substack sites. How do I find out where these new Subscribers are coming from if they didn't come from my most-recent article?

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Don't worry about where subscribers come from. Keep doing what you're doing, and celebrate your wins.

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haha I know right?

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Thank you for continuing to innovate and making this the best place for writers to share their work.

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When the metrics are presented in this way I can see that my growth is beyond what I thought it was. I needed this boost of confidence today. Thanks!

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I find the new dashboard is less helpful than before. It’s missing metrics I used to look at, it takes more clicks to find information

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I like the clean new layout and the dedication to adding more stats to help with growth!

I think it'd be interesting to see how a particular post, the newest one or even an older one, compares against others. For example, "This post got X% more likes than your average post" or "This post had your highest open rate," etc. There could be a section called "Standout Posts" collecting a few of these.

Even cooler would be to know how my posts are performing compared to other newsletters in my category / of my size. That's something I'd be really curious to know.

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Love this idea; our team can do some exploring in that direction!

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Glad you dig it, Jasmine! Excited to see what y'all come out with next. 🤓

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I love the responsiveness to humans by people who moderate Substack.

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Jasmine, I hope when you say that you love the idea, you are referring to the first part, seeing how your own posts compare to each other. The second part (comparing to other publications) would be a horrible misstep in the wrong direction. That's the last thing we need. I sincerely hope you never go there.

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Oh yes, great idea. Yes please to this!

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Remember, Substack is in business to make money. They can't spend money on things that don't help writers and Substack make money. Not everyone has time or money to waste.

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Thank you again to the dev team for continuing to make this /the/ place to be for writers.

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NICE!!! I am brand new to Substack and I am so impressed with the system. Thank you so much for these updates! Very sexy indeed 💖

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Sex is the best antidote to poor writing!

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Foxy Shazam, much?

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Do you actually know the song which I am alluding to? They are not popular, extremely politically incorrect and raunchy as all get out but Somanabitz that boy can sing and whip a mic stand like you’ve never seen. They could be up there with the all timers but I get the feeling they were late for dinner, intentionally. “Welcome to the church of Rock -n- Roll!”

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LOL - no - I had no idea although I was a young man in the 60s - say no more! I love Jazz, boogie, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf (naughty boy - he's a 'Back Door Man') https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kh3rG1YZaXo Littl' girls understand!

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Oh, I do believe you are going to like it, you’ll like it, you’ll like it, a lot!

(Unless of course, you choose to take offense but that is entirely up to you!)

https://youtu.be/4rz4I69mQMo

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Oh, ouch! I do hope you make tons of money, hand over fist, even! The little teaser prior to the ‘Paid Only’ banner does smart, but only a little.

Here is the direction in which your influence was (past tense) expanding my mind prior to hitting your (paid only) wall:

On the show Boing Boing, Jenny interviewed Die Antwoord and they talked about the days right before Yolandi went to the ATM and had difficulty reading the six figure balance. The performers had struggled with creating their image. One day, when Ninja was really beating himself up, Yolandi suggested he simply be the person he imagined he would be when they became insanely popular. He slid on those shoes, gave Yolandi a haircut and the Zef side began to represent.

Enter the Ninja by Die Antwoord can be seen on YouTube. Zef is raunchy, raw and honest. I like, I like it, a lot.

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I love your angle. Totally accessible and light with deep transformative juicy tidbits all mixed in. I have a yoga poetry substack if you want to check it out.

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C’est pas sexy. C’est du sexe.

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Oh I know you! Your were my buddy in school who never really noticed the ginger boys until I pointed HIM out... and how are the children these days? Hmmmm? (jk - I’m new also!)

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Substack is arguably the only platform I've seen that keeps getting better and better in such a good pace.

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The new dashboard looks pretty nice. I think it would be great to be able to customize it.

I'm like to get rid of all stats pinging my face when I open it up. I'm interested in posts, what's scheduled, what's in drafts, etc. I realize a lot of folks want this, but I think it would be great to have all the stat stuff on a separate page where you could click it if you want, or just let it be.

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Absolutely! We’re here to focus on content, not monetization exultation/shame loops.

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Numbers are part of the process, but I agree in part Victor as STATS can be confusing and I think incorrect as well

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Thanks, this is nice.

I would love to see some improvements on the "Subscriber report". Currently it is only possible to see the top 5 countries (and the rest in the map). Not sure how hard would it be, but I believe it would be helpful to be able to extend the full list of countries, so it is possible to identify how diferent countries are ranking (and even growth on each individual country over a period of time). I suspect this would be equally usefull on US states for the American audience.

Another suggestion would be to have a Subscriber report by source - It would be nice to see which social platforms / websites / substacks publications are driving the most new subscribers.

I know this can be a lot and take some time, but please consider it :)

Thanks again!

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These are great ideas. I think the subscriber report tab is one of the most powerful today to understand your audience. I am excited for how we can continue to supercharge it with more insights.

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I'm curious Miguel. I can see how knowing more about what sources subscribers come from would be helpful in deciding where to promote. But how would knowing more detail about countries and/or states affect what you do? To me, it's an interesting bit of info once in a while, but it doesn't change what I do. Would you tie that into promotion venues as well? I guess that might be one use case.

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In my case it might be more related to the content I used for my newsletter. I publish articles (in Spanish) where maps are the structure that supports the storytelling. I have subscribers mainly from Spain (around 50%), but the rest come from different countries within Latinamerica. This can drive what examples and maps I may use, so the reader can relate easier to the story.

Of course, this can easily be extrapolated to other publications that are focus on politics / culture events / sports across different countries and regions.

I hope this makes sense!

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Yes, that makes sense. Thanks Miguel. Maps. I should have taken a look at your stack first.

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Hi Miguel, I recently started a site for Spanish speakers but subs failed and now 0 subs. Would appreciate some suggestions 😊

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I'm not really an expert - I have been moving into different social networks for quite some time, and it's through those channels how I started to grow the audience of the newsletter.

Other thing that you can do is to try and engage with other Spanish publishers, to start getting some attention and, eventually, subscribers.

Good luck!

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Thank you I was trying to work out how to describe ideas like this and now I don't have to. I agree that it would be helpful to see by countries; could it also be by States in the US (I write mostly on US History). Also it would be nice to see the subscribers sorted by source to help with our marketing.

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Some of this is really helpful, but I would much rather have the scheduled posts on the home page than the drafts.

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Came here to see if anyone mentioned this... I didn't know where scheduled posts went and really like seeing scheduled pieces build when I'm able to actually work ahead.

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IMO the dashboard home page should have what you’re most likely to do front and center. I would argue that writing posts (and scheduling them) is the primary activity of Substack writers. Everything else on the dashboard is about tracking ... an activity which may be done far less frequently.

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My first reaction was "Oh, no - not yet another change to get used to!" But this works, admirably. Of course, the proof of any pudding ... but top marks thus far: it's clear and the images - which help me greatly to navigate my posts - are all there as a constant vade mecum. Well done SS.

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Yes Graham, these new Dashboard improvements have ticked some of my Asks esp. in terms of access to Draft material

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Impressive! Truly appreciate how coherent your roadmap is.

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