Better wording and navigation for the "Discussion" page

Submitted by Marilyn Goldhaber on Sun, 02/10/2019 - 12:44

Dear Webmaster,

May I suggest clearer wording for the Discussion page, especially important for newcomers, like me.

Calling NABOKOV-L a mailing list is incorrect, even if you used to call it that. Better to call it a 'chat room' or 'communication forum.' Also, your Forum page now has three parts. That should be made clearer. Many words on the page can, and should, be hyperlinked for better navigation. Here is my suggested rewording, with links:

"From 1993 until 2018, the bulk of Nabokov-related scholarly discussion took place on NABOKV-L, our previous online communication forum. Our current website hosts a complete archive of NABOKOV-L here. From 2018 onward, online discussion can be viewed on our site’s three Forum sections. All three sections are are open-access for viewing, but in order to post to them, registration to is required."

Thanks, Marilyn

P.S. I have similar suggestions for other pages, if interested.

My suggested link for Forum is in error and should go here:

But I see you are working on these pages as I write (they are changing before my eyes!). Please disregard my comments if these pages are currently in flux.  

I'll be back.  

> Calling NABOKOV-L a mailing list is incorrect, even if you used to call it that. Better to call it a 'chat room' or 'communication forum.'

I'm not sure about this - can you please elaborate? As far as I know, submissions were by email, and they were sent out to subscribers by email, which is the definition of a mailing list (even if it also had an archive on a web site).

According to Wikipedia:

'A mailing list is a collection of names and addresses used by an individual or an organization to send material to multiple recipients. The term is often extended to include the people subscribed to such a list, so the group of subscribers is referred to as "the mailing list", or simply "the list".'

Choose a Forum below:


Members’ Forum:

A place for scholarly discussion, previously called NABOKV-L (click here for archives)


Website Forum: 

Learn about and help improve this website’s content and flow


Alexey Sklyarenko Forum:

Annotations on Pale Fire, Ada and other Nabokov works here.

Dear Marilyn:

Thank you for your excellent suggestions and please don't hesitate to send more. I like your wording very much and will use it.

Best wishes,



The Nabokovian is the name of the website and journal of the International Vladimir Nabokov Society. The Society and journal were founded in 1978 by Nabokov’s former student and close family friend, Stephen Jan Parker, the year after Nabokov's death. In 2018 the current website came online subsuming the former email-based communication forum NABOKV-L, which operated from 1993-2018, and adding much more. Activities of the Society, journal and website are supported financially by the Vladimir Nabokov Literary and Foundation and furthered by the many persons dedicated to the study of the life and works of Nabokov.

We invite you to become a member Vladimir Nabokov Society (register here) and welcome your participation in all aspects of this website by providing news about your or others' work or forthcoming conferences; engaging in discussion forums; and offering information of any kind relevant to Nabokov's life, works, and legacy. Researchers may submit Notes for peer review and publication in the journal (here is how).

Hi, I took the liberty to edit the About page (just figured how).  Hope that's ok.  Someone who knows HTML should adjust the text flow around the image and caption.

I have a couple of questions:

1. What does the list of contributors refer to? Journal reviewers, Notes authors, website designers, etc.? 

2. What does the term "Notes" refer to? Journal articles? Were there previously both Notes and longer articles?

Thanks, Marilyn

Dear Marilyn,

I'm sorry but I don't see the point of the changing the wording of the About Page. Checking it through the Revisions option, I see it was last edited by Brian Boyd in the January of 2019, I thought it was well written as is. Maybe, other Nabokovians can weigh in on this?


1) List of Contributors refer to the content added by specific Nabokovians, in this case the Annotations Page which is accessible if you're a member of the IVNS. Like the Photographs page which was recently updated and painstakingly developed by Gerard de Vries, the Dutch Nabokovian. As for the Annotations, I'm sure you can see that different people from all parts of the Globe (from Japan to America) contributed to this.

2) Notes: Yes, I believe so, as you say. Brian Boyd had mentioned somewhere that the Notes and Queries Section of the Nabokovian is very specific, focused on the particular aspects or details of a VN work that have not been explained before. For long(ish) overviews and essays, there's the online Nabokov Studies, Cycnos, and others. You can see them in the Journals Page.

Dear Arzoo,

Thank you for the clarifications. I think we are getting a History page soon from Stephen Blackwell where the term “Notes” will become clearer.

Why are website contributors listed here on the About page? Why abbreviations?  How do we use them? Perhaps this list would make more sense placed elsewhere.

Thanks, Marilyn


Gosh, I hope I did not offend anyone on the list, or anyone trying to make this great website greater.

I’ve been focusing on the site navigation from an outsider’s or new comer’s point of view and trying to understand some of the historical aspects of what I see on the site.

If the list of site contributors makes sense here on the “About” page, how about having a subsection called “Website Development” or something like that? Also, labeling the list “Website Contributors” would clarify, as there are many contributors to the journal articles, Notes, discussions, etc.

Dear Marilyn,

No, no, nobody's feelings were hurt. I had immediately messaged Dana Dragunoiu regarding the About Page, the day I posted my comments but everyone seems to be too busy to respond. Yes, you're perhaps right about having the subheading Website Contributors. Well, to my knowledge, this website is very new and very fresh - right? Many of the Pages and sections have still to be developed and it's up to us to add content. As you might see - I have been doing just that under various guises. My favourite Page would be the Quotations (to which I had a query - if you can see?) and my general takeaway would be to work or add stuff were one feels most comfortable. Are you at ease with the navigation? I mean - which part is where and so on? There's a lot of stuff here and if you need help getting started, I will try to respond accordingly.

Again, as far as the About Page is concerned, I feel other Nabokovians have to weigh in on this. Like you said: Stephen Blackwell is working on a History Page? Maybe he can settle whether and how the About Page should be changed.


Thank you, Arzoo, 

This is a work in progress and I am only too pleased to be welcomed to participate (as are all Nabokovians). I have worked on site navigation (how pages are worded, organized, and linked to one another) a bit. It's always a challenge but a rewarding one. I'll check out the Quotation page.

Best wishes, Marilyn

Checking through the Revisions of the About Page, I guess the queries have been resolved.

If you could add me to the contributors page (for my PF annotations) I would appreciate it.



I'm sorry I didn't notice it earlier. I thought there was some other reason because the Annotations Page of Pale Fire was a bit different than others. I mean without an introductory (or Key Note) and some other formalities (like your email address was missing). Anyways, done.