Does the Skirmish Line Suck?

by Mike Kendra on August 20, 2009

junk_mail_mailboxLast week I got the newest issue of the Skirmish Line. I picked it up, flipped through it, and threw it on a pile of old magazines. There just didn’t seem to be anything good to read in it.

What has happened to my favorite magazine? I used to look forward to it arriving. It used to have interesting articles and great stuff to look at and read about. Then I used to pick it up later and read it again.

Now it’s just boring, and I have a list of complaints:

  • Why does my Skirmish Line arrive four to five months after the scheduled arrival date? I just got my April-May-June issue on August 13th.
  • Why does the editor seem to insult the people who are complaining in the “Letters to the Editor” section? Yes, he screwed up, he is the editor and should know all the rules that pertain to running the Skirmish Line. Even I know about the rule in question, I read about it in a previous issue! It’s probably forgivable mistake, but I didn’t really feel like he apologized for screwing up.
  • Where are the “Shooters Profile” Articles? I haven’t seen one in about three or four issues. They were the best articles in the magazine!
  • Now that we’ve moved to a quarterly publishing schedule, must we fill half of the issues with results from a previous National? There’s hardly any room for historical or shooting articles.  (Yes, I know this issue isn’t the editors fault, but the Board of Directors should make some kind of adjustment to correct this)

I’m not sure I’d call the current issue of the Skirmish Line terrible, but it’s pretty poor considering. Some people may not like to hear this, but I think Rick Dunbrook used to do a fantastic job as editor. I don’t understand why the Board of Directors let him go.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Rouch January 11, 2010 at 11:15 am

Great article Mike. I like the way you tell it like it is. The SK has a long way to go to get back on track. Keep up the good work. Oh, don’t confuse me with my grandson, he won the young skirmisher award and he’s better looking too. Thanks.


Mark Wadsworth February 1, 2010 at 9:24 am

The Skirmish Line is looking very thin and does not have very much to read in it anymore.

Alan Spencer April 14, 2010 at 9:59 pm

I too agree with your last statement, and I don’t care who sees it.. I liked the way that the SL looked when Rick was at the helm. Guess we will all have to wait and see how it progress… Good luck to Steve….

Rick Dunbrook June 28, 2011 at 8:43 am

Response composed on June 28, 2011
After re-reading some of your older posts I feel that I need to clarify a point which I think the Board of Directors may want everyone to believe. I too made an error in one of the last issues when I was Editor. I got some of the profiles for the individuals running for office mixed up. I know this what an issue for some of the members of the Board. My dismissal was just an excuse for them to get there old editor, Steve Meserve, back on board as editor. He was already in place on the Board as Rules Chairman and friends with many of the older Board members. The one person who was the instigator on the Board to have me removed was Craig Stanley of the Central Virginia Region. The Board makes lots of bad mistakes that most members don’t even know about, but to remove me and my effectiveness to communicate with the general membership to provide a political agenda is like reading the news about politics in Washington, D.C. these days. I wish the new Editor success and luck, because he or she will need it to protect themselves from the Board. My only advice to the new Editor would be — WATCH YOUR BACK!!!!! Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to your excellent e-mail. What The Skirmish Line needs is a dedicated member like you to be the Editor. One who stays in contact with the membership and is not afraid to say what is on his mind. We don’t need any more editors to always agree with the Board.

Glenn Kaye June 28, 2011 at 5:32 pm

It’s all well and good to complain about The Skirmish Line (TSL) sucking, but I guess to a large extent it is only ever going to be as good as what we put into it. My understanding is that the content of TSL is dependent upon what articles are submitted by members. If we don’t submit any good articles, then there isn’t much to print.
When I was a fledgling skirmisher, I really looked forward to every issue of TSL, and relied upon it for shooting tips, to better understand the rules of skirmishing, and the workings of the N-SSA. Maybe now that I’m more seasoned, I should get off my ass and submit and article or two.
I think that a printed version is very important, and should be resumed. For one thing, there are (believe it or not) a significant number of active members who do not use computers, and would be shut out of the communication loop. This is a disservice to them. Of course, you could argue that they should wake up and join the 21st Century, but it’s hard to make that argument regarding an organization that by definition emulates the 19th Century.
I think a printed version is more effective in getting information to the membership, in that it is more likely to be read, even by people who relish the electronic format. If you are checking your e-mail and decide to gloss over your TSL, you are less likely to go back to it and read it than you are if you put your printed version on your desk or in your den or on top of the toilet tank.

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