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 The Site Revamp Suggestions Thread

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BrassButtons
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PostSubject: The Site Revamp Suggestions Thread    Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:32 pm

In the recent global announcement about his plans for the site, Rainshadow asked us plebs to offer our suggestions. So here is a thread where everybody who wants to can throw out random ideas and talk about them.

So here are some things I would like to suggest:

1. Can we get rid of the scrolling text at the top? Please? I like having a message up there with announcements and stuff, but the actual scrolling drives me insane. It stutters, and is distracting.

2. In chat the other night Dinwar had the idea for a private forum, which I really like. People might have some work (or topics for discussion) that they want to share with the WBG, but not the internet in general. Sort of a "safe space" for things that people might be more self-conscious about sharing on a public board.

3. Concerning the contests I would like for entries to be actually posted in a submissions thread so that everyone can see them while the contest is ongoing. I think it would drum up more interest if people actually saw things being written and entered.

4. As cool as it is for people to get actual physical prizes for winning contests, I think it might be a bit too much trouble for a long-term thing. I'd like to see winners get custom titles or some kind of graphic next to their posts. Makes things simpler, and it gives people a sort of badge of honor.

Hmm, I think that's all I've got for now.
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PostSubject: Re: The Site Revamp Suggestions Thread    Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:45 pm

For #2, most of the website is private. I think there is only like 5 forum sections that are always completely visible. True that equals a big chunk of posts, but really it's mostly general discussion area stuff that's visible.

Plus it is possible for us to create a whole separate group and forum where you and your buddies to hang out. It's up to RS.

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rainshadow
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PostSubject: Re: The Site Revamp Suggestions Thread    Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:49 pm

1. What scrolling text???





(just kidding)

Yeah, I suppose we can get rid of it.

2. We already have that option available, as Peter said. Even niftier, some of those threads are actually blocked from search engine bots, so you could feel free to post there without fear of certain text winding up in a google search result. I don't know for sure what forums they are for sure as it's been a long while since I set it up, but I'm thinking it was more forums than not that were blocked.

If you do happen to want your own little corner of the forum any one of the admin could set you up a private forum. Consider permission granted upon request. Poke!

3. One of the reasons I kept certain stories from being posted way back then was to protect the anonymity of the work. But then I failed to do a decent job of passing along the entries after winners were determined.

4. You prize suggestion is noted for consideration. I'm still rethinking the whole contest thing from top to bottom.

It's a good start, BB.

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PostSubject: Re: The Site Revamp Suggestions Thread    Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:06 pm

Not so much a "suggestion" as it is "food for thought" ...

Contest Prizes: Some of us have skills outside of writing and may be willing to contribute to the "prize pool" ... depending on the contest (ie: one I have no time or desire to enter myself), I'm sure there would be one a year that I'd be willing to donate a piece of Stained Glass for - maybe a "no larger than X" x Y" piece, designed to winner's desires (within reason)" type of thing.

--------

In regards to BB's Point #2 ... maybe a sticky somewhere to let us know which forums are "members only"? Or a Tag of sorts on specific thread Titles so we know if ther're M.O. or Public.
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talonnolan
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PostSubject: Re: The Site Revamp Suggestions Thread    Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:23 pm

All forums are members only, except for Competitive Spirit, Introduction Forum,Entertainment Drabble,General Discussion Forum (And all its sub forums), Fan Works (I have no idea why this one isn't.)

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PostSubject: Re: The Site Revamp Suggestions Thread    Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:34 am

Fan Works isn't because you can't copyright a work with intellectual property belonging to someone else. Typically anyway.

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PostSubject: Re: The Site Revamp Suggestions Thread    Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:40 am

I like the idea of having the entries of a contest posted. If you want to protect the anonymity of the creator, you could: a) have us still submit them to you, and then you post them under your name so no one knows who did what, and/or b) ask if the creator wants to remain anoymous or not in the first place.

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PostSubject: Re: The Site Revamp Suggestions Thread    Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:18 am

True enough. That was actually considered at one point, but it didn't work out because it didn't have time to. I wound up moving and a lot of things were set aside. Of course we have a chance to work toward reconciling that now.

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PostSubject: Re: The Site Revamp Suggestions Thread    Sun Jul 03, 2011 12:09 pm

I mentioned this to our Glorious Leader in a PM, but I'll throw it out to the general public to see what you guys think.

We need a place for pre-writing. This is a forum for writing, but right now we primarily show the final product. Which is nice, but not necessarily the most useful thing in the world. A lot of writing happens prior to a full story--things like character sheets, outlines, little blurbs of a story that are currently floating in a vacuum, even completely random pre-writing. BrassButtons did some of that earlier, with her 15 minute story thread, but I think the site would benefit from providing a place to critique more of the pre-writing.

I think this would go a long way towards boosting traffic based on the purpose of the website. There's a lot of things that I'm thinking about that are in the pre-writing stage, for example, but no where near sufficiently developed for a full story. I don't feel comfortable posting them, as they're not completed--but I'd feel comfortable posting an outline. And I can't be the only one.

Second, if you do good pre-writing you can write much, much better. I've noticed in my professional life having a standard outline focuses my thoughts, and I can write a better report than if I was just given a blank piece of paper and was told "Explain paleontological monitoring." However, most people don't really know how to do this. Most people haven't even developed these skills to the point where they're usable, much less useful. I think a place where we can critique pre-writing would be a fantastic way to help us all become better writers.
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PostSubject: Re: The Site Revamp Suggestions Thread    Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:15 pm

Sorry for the double-post, but I had another idea in chat that I wanted to share.

Is there any way to get a professional writer to offer advice, criticisms, etc.? I don't necessarily mean for them to be a permanent presence here--I doubt that would happen anyway (most of them I've seen either don't use the 'net or have their own full-time projects). But it wouldn't hurt to send an email saying "I'm a mod/admin on a forum devoted to creative writing. Could you provide some advice to people who are just starting? Some basic tips, tricks, things to do, things not to do, etc.? I'd like to post your response in the forum." I mean, the worst they could do is say no, right? And if they say yes, we can get some feedback from people who have actually succeeded in this. It may also bring in more traffic.
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PostSubject: Re: The Site Revamp Suggestions Thread    Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:34 pm

To expand Dinwar's idea ... maybe someone here is friends with a Professor of writing/language/etc.. Maybe they could drop in every blue moon and offer some advice/criticism ...
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PostSubject: Re: The Site Revamp Suggestions Thread    Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:47 pm

I've actually considered something along those lines, such as occasionally getting a guest writer to pop in or give an interview or something along those lines. As much as I would love to get something to work along those lines, I'm not sure it could be accompished without a price tag. But as DW mentioned, the worst that could happen is they could say "no".

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PostSubject: Re: The Site Revamp Suggestions Thread    Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:39 pm

Dinwar wrote:
I think the site would benefit from providing a place to critique more of the pre-writing.

I'm going to springboard off this idea, and say that we need a place devoted to critiquing, period. We don't really have that right now. We have forums for sharing various works, and a bit of critiquing does take place there upon request, but....

Let's be honest. As critics, we tend to always have kiddie gloves on. We say far more positive things then we do negative. If someone asks you to critique their story, and all you can say is "great job, but you misspelled a few words" then you are a lousy critic. Nobody here is that good of a writer. I don't think anybody anywhere is that good of a writer.

A favorite teacher of mine used to say that critiquing something should be like putting it in a crucible. You put something in a crucible if you want to melt it down, not to keep it intact. Similarly you ask for criticism because you want your work to be torn down so that you can rebuild it better, not so that you can be told that it's perfect (it isn't).

I would like to see an area of the forums that operates on the same principle. You post something there, and the expectation is that every single response will be pointing out something wrong with it. I think it might take awhile for everyone to get used to the idea of being this harsh, but I also think it will greatly benefit anyone who chooses to subject their work to that.
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PostSubject: Re: The Site Revamp Suggestions Thread    Wed Jul 06, 2011 9:49 pm

I think as long as people explain why they believe something is wrong (or at least give an example of what they feel would be better), the idea of "The Crucible" sub-forum is a great one.

edit: Easy enough to implement a new sub forum in the Creative Writing forum ... and I vote to name it "The Crucible" to remove any doubt of what will ahppen to somethign posted in there Smile
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PostSubject: Re: The Site Revamp Suggestions Thread    Wed Jul 06, 2011 10:06 pm

The Crucible.

Sub-forum rules:

1) Write about as many flaws as you can find. If it's less than ten per page, you're doing it wrong.

2) If you can't handle this, you need to leave.

Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: The Site Revamp Suggestions Thread    Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:17 am

Dammit I've been asking people to be more critical of the stuff I post for a while now. You're all too nice for your own damn good Razz

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PostSubject: Re: The Site Revamp Suggestions Thread    Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:50 am

Calwyn wrote:
Dammit I've been asking people to be more critical of the stuff I post for a while now. You're all too nice for your own damn good Razz
You may regret saying that later Evil Plot
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PostSubject: Re: The Site Revamp Suggestions Thread    Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:57 am

Consider the Crucible subforum a done deal. At the very least, something along those lines.

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PostSubject: Re: The Site Revamp Suggestions Thread    Thu Jul 07, 2011 6:53 pm

Rainshadow, the offer is in your PM Very Happy
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