American Go E-Journal

Reader Survey asks “What’s in a name?”

Monday January 16, 2017

Revival of our annual Reader Survey was sparked by a longtime reader’s suggestion that we drop the “E” from the E-Journal’s title. Since we’re usually focused on more substantive content and design issues, this seemed like a cosmetic change of minor import but it did get us thinking that this is a good time to check in with our readers. Please click here to let us know what you think about the E-Journal, including whether we should change our name.

Deadline to weigh in is Friday, February 27.

A quick history of the Journal and the E-Journal: The American Go Journal made its first appearance in Fall, 2017.01.16_Journal11949, with a 16-page 8 1/2 x 11″ mimeographed edition that featured a game record — of the 1941 Honinbo match — in Korschelt notation, and hand-drawn diagrams.

The Journal, an intermittent “quarterly” that was mailed to members of the AGA, continued in this basic format until the September 1961 edition, after which it went on an extended hiatus, when the American Go Association agreed to distribute Go Review, the Nihon Kiin’s new, monthly magazine, to members.

Revived in January 1974, the Journal kept the same 8 1/2 x 11 format but now 2017.01.16_Journal2featured a cover with a slightly heavier stock and began to include black-and-white photos. The Journal went to a 5×7″ format in the July/August 1976 edition, a format maintained until 1997. In the mid-1980s a separate publication, the American Go Newsletter — also a quarterly — began to be produced, focusing on go tournament schedules, reports and player ratings.

In early 1998, the Newsletter and Journal merged and returned to the 8 1/2 x 11 format, this time with lots of photos as well as the go news and instruction the Journal has 2017.01.16_Journal3always featured. The American Go E-Journal first appeared on April 24, 2000, focusing, as the Newsletter had, on tournament reports and club news. Originally a text-only email publication (which were often referred to as “e-zines” in those days), it has developed over the years into a multimedia publication including photos and easily accessible sgf game records.

By 2003, with the E-Journal’s readership expanded to over 5,500 worldwide, while the Journal was being produced at significant expense soley for the AGA’s 1,700 members, the Journal was suspended and the resources reallocated to the E-Journal and an annual printed American Go Yearbook, which itself was discontinued in 2009.

The E-Journal, which now has nearly 10,000 readers worldwide — making it the 2017.01.16_Journal-EJmost widely-read English-language go publication — integrated with the AGA website some years ago and has been publishing on a often daily basis, especially during major events like the annual US Go Congress, US Pro Qualifiers and Cotsen Open. AGA members continue to receive special content in the weekly Member’s Edition, as well as the annual online American Go Yearbook compilation.

The rationale for changing the name is that since there hasn’t been a print Journal since 2003 the “E” is now an irrelevant distinction; the E-Journal is functionally the Journal and has been been for many years. The counter argument has more to do with sticking with a 17-year tradition and the EJ’s name-recognition.

As the creator of the EJ and the Managing Editor of all the AGA’s publications for many years, I don’t have a strong opinion on the name either way. I have been extremely proud to help carry on the AGA’s now nearly 70-year commitment to publicizing go, especially during a time when our communication tools have changed — and continue to change (check us out on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) — so dramatically. What we call our publication is far less interesting to me than the question of how we’re meeting your needs as go players. So whichever way you vote on the name, please be sure to take the survey and let us know how we can improve.
- Chris Garlock, Managing Editor
American Go E-Journal and Yearbook

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