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  #1  
Old 02-14-2007, 12:53 AM
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Default Writer's Beat wants your feedback


This is a community, and to function properly as a community it has to heed to the communities demands.

So, what would you like to see on Writer's Beat? Changed, Added, Removed, etc.

WB needs your feedback.


Thanks,
Daniel

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Old 02-15-2007, 07:53 AM
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I think that we could make the judging open. The judges could shortlist maybe three entries, then the final vote would be open to all members (shortlisted candidates not allowed to vote). This could be for the writing comps or for the one-off comps, like the profile comp and any others.

Examples of one-off comps we could have are:

‘Best Thread’ comp – nominations for the thread that made you laugh/cry/inspired you the most. You can nominate your own thread or someone else’s. Judges shortlist then it’s open to votes. The winner is not just the person who started the thread but the people who contributed to make it a special thread. So everyone’s a winner here!

‘Best critique’ – nominations again, though I don’t think people should be allowed to nominate themselves, the nominations could come from the people who’ve been critiqued. I’ve noticed some of the crits are really in-depth and others are quite short and vague. If you want to encourage more people to critique and to do so well, then this would be a good comp to have.

‘Winner of winners’ – do you already do this? Get all the winning entries for the last year and select the top winner of them all, as an annual thing. This could be open to votes as well.

I’ll think up some more, but that’s my contribution so far.
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Old 02-15-2007, 11:14 AM
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I just wanted to call your attention to a discussion going on in the cafe at the moment concerning beginner/advanced issues. I won't transcribe it, but . . . http://www.writersbeat.com/war-peace...html#post82627
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Old 02-15-2007, 03:02 PM
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I think that we could make the judging open. The judges could shortlist maybe three entries, then the final vote would be open to all members (shortlisted candidates not allowed to vote). This could be for the writing comps or for the one-off comps, like the profile comp and any others.
This is an interesting idea. The only problem with it is that of vote cheating. I've been on a few sites that tried this, and they end up becoming extended popularity contests, with a few clear favorites emerging. Other users create 50 accounts at once and vote all for one category. The staff voting system allows for clear critiquing of each piece (that's what I like most about the contests, the critiques), and for a fairly honest vote of each piece.

I just wanted to call your attention to a discussion going on in the cafe at the moment concerning beginner/advanced issues. I won't transcribe it, but . . . http://www.writersbeat.com/war-peace...html#post82627
The problem with this is that it leads to elitism. Who judges whose poetry is good or not? There's the private VIP club for some of this, so hopefully that'll take some steam off the situation.

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Old 02-15-2007, 05:53 PM
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These are all issues that have actually been covered in the thread at one point or another. We haven't come up with any good ideas as to how to deal with the issue, things are just being tossed around. I mostly just wanted to bring it to your attention so the staff members would be aware that it is in the minds of the users.

I believe the whole thing started as some kind of tension between a few members. Nothing major at all, by any means, but having that kind of thing around takes away from the point of this site.

I personally have not definitve suggestions, as yet.

Cheers!
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Old 02-16-2007, 12:36 AM
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Other users create 50 accounts at once and vote all for one category.
hmm, point taken, never thought of that one. I suppose I'm honest at heart.
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Old 02-16-2007, 09:57 AM
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Well, I figure I may as well bring this up: how about updating the Featured writer every say... month? As far as I can tell, it's been Oasis Writer for quite some time.

Other than that, all's well and I wuvs you, WB.
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Old 02-16-2007, 11:36 AM
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What about birthdays at the bottom of the fourms homepage? I like that because then I know whos birthday it is and how old they are. It's a good reminder.
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Old 02-16-2007, 01:10 PM
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What about birthdays at the bottom of the fourms homepage? I like that because then I know whos birthday it is and how old they are. It's a good reminder.
Actually, that is enabled. During the days when there are no birthdays, it won't be displayed.
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Old 02-22-2007, 09:22 AM
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I would like to be able to edit my username.
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Old 02-22-2007, 09:42 AM
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You can. Point Store.
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Old 02-23-2007, 09:34 AM
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Have you all ever tried opening a chat room?

Another writing forum I go to has one and it is very popular, as well as a very good tool. The writer's have a chance to talk live to each other, write at the same time they also chat and basically give each other encouragement.
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Old 02-23-2007, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by rocklion View Post
Have you all ever tried opening a chat room?

Another writing forum I go to has one and it is very popular, as well as a very good tool. The writer's have a chance to talk live to each other, write at the same time they also chat and basically give each other encouragement.
Chat would be an excellent idea. I know we used to use TeamSpeak for chatting, but I haven't used that in a while.

Dan, if you want, vBulletin has a few chat room scripts. There're also some free PHP-based ones, which tend to go a bit faster.
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Old 02-25-2007, 08:46 AM
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I think there should be a separate forum for Suggestions/Feedback, so each one can be taken on its own instead of being lost in what I imagine may become quite a long thread Maybe in this section, under Site Announcments?

Also, signatures are now limited to four lines (so I'm told when I change mine). Is this four lines as they would appear under a post or four lines in the little edit box? If it's the latter, it's slightly harsh, since the box is TINY! Is there a way to make it wider that I'm missing, cos replying to posts can get a bit confusing when using it and you don't want to do a full reply.
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Old 02-27-2007, 11:43 AM
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I would really love it if we had a Anime section for, like, contests and stuff!
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Old 03-05-2007, 12:51 PM
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This is a very general suggestion but I think that there should be less competition on the forums. . .

Writers seem to place a strong emphasis on individual achievement but shouldn't this forum be primarily for writers to see each other as equals? we can leave competition to the publishers I think.

Otherwise, I love this community. The best I've ever been too so far.
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Old 03-05-2007, 04:27 PM
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Cuchulain, can you elaborate? Are you referring to the contests?
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Old 03-21-2007, 05:17 AM
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I agree in a different way to Chuchulain. Doesn't it make sense to have the members vote on the competitions? I have a hard time agreeing with a person that has "Critic" as their signature line. We are all equals but some are elitists. I also think that we should do away with the "star" system in critiquing others work. It's usually one persons opinion, and it does zero good for the writer. Especially when a fantastic writing has one star because some "so called" expert says so.
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Old 03-21-2007, 09:42 AM
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Doesn't it make sense to have the members vote on the competitions?
We are actually working on implementing a contest like this. The difficulty with expanding the judging/voting base is that with deadlines to meet, the more people involved the harder it is to coordinate. When it's just six or seven people, I can easily hound them to death until they submit their scores.

But remember, the staff are members, too, just like you. Yes, we've volunteered to put in the time to judge contests and critique, but that's not because we're elitist in anyway - rather it's to guarantee critiques on a regular basis. No one is saying the judges are more qualified to judge than anyone else. So think of the contests as being judged by regular members, because that's what we are.
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Old 03-21-2007, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Toyzrock View Post
I agree in a different way to Chuchulain. Doesn't it make sense to have the members vote on the competitions? I have a hard time agreeing with a person that has "Critic" as their signature line. We are all equals but some are elitists. I also think that we should do away with the "star" system in critiquing others work. It's usually one persons opinion, and it does zero good for the writer. Especially when a fantastic writing has one star because some "so called" expert says so.
We'd LOVE for members to vote, but most times they usually don't, unfortunately. Most are concerned with getting feedback on their own writing first, everything else second. This is understandable, but at times it can be a drawback for others hoping for a ton of feedback on their work.

'Critics' are those who volunteered to work for the forum (for no pay) by reading and offering opinions on stories when no one else seemed to step up and do so. I don't know about the 'star' system and half the time I don't remember to use it (and I forget the official 'crit stamp' too). It IS like being graded, but at the same time it gives the writer a goal of sorts - got 3 stars this time? Next time I'll make 4, and so on. Forum Critics do this for free and there's nothing 'elitist' about it. Most of us are just hoping that we get feedback on our own work as well. And, for the record, I've NEVER given a 1-star rating to a story that deserved 5 stars. All crits are nothing more than one person's opinion, which is (hopefully) honest as they can make it. If a story sucks, I will say so, but with facts & examples to back up my reasons for saying so. If it's great, I'll say so as well. I rate as accurately as I can - that's my 'job' here. Now if there's something like this occurring (overly or undeserved negative rating/critiques), please point it out to any staff member. Sometimes members give someone a low rating or a bad crit out of meanness, but if we see them doing so, we have them booted from the forum. Trolls do not last long here.
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Old 03-21-2007, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Icarus View Post
No one is saying the judges are more qualified to judge than anyone else. So think of the contests as being judged by regular members, because that's what we are.
Amen to that

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Old 03-21-2007, 08:57 PM
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One more thing about contests - competition makes things interesting. If they didn't, people wouldn't enter them. In fact, if we did away with contests, we'd probably lose a few regular members, ones who enjoy participating every month whether they 'win' or not (including those who show up only to post writing in the contest sections).
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Old 03-23-2007, 08:27 AM
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Don't do away with the competitions!! I need deadlines or I lose my motivation. I love competitions, like you say, not for the thought of winning necessarily as the satisfaction of getting it done and entering.
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Old 03-29-2007, 04:14 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by Icarus
No one is saying the judges are more qualified to judge than anyone else. So think of the contests as being judged by regular members, because that's what we are.

Originally Posted by OnceUponATime View Post
Amen to that

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Believe it or not we have rules to follow. I've had to learn to be impartial all my life. It makes my family batty at times. It has become second nature, both at home and at work. Sorry if it causes problems on the Beat, we do not think ourselves better then others. We are just taking what we know and trying to help others. Personally I love being critiqued. Because I know it can only make me better. I am sorry if some people don't feel the same.
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Old 03-30-2007, 07:11 AM
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I’ve been doing a lot of critiquing lately on the youwriteon.com site, not here, but I noticed yesterday that I haven’t critiqued here for a while so I set about rectifying that! What I’ve found is that in reviewing and critiquing other people’s work, I am now able to look more objectively at my own. This is especially so when I follow a constructive pattern of criticism, looking at specific areas.

Something that I’ve picked up that often happens is the lengthy sentence. I know that I do this myself and I’m seeing it in other people’s work. I’m trying to focus on making my writing short, sharp and snappy. When I look at other writers here or elsewhere, I can see where they have room for improvement. Then I look back at my own and it immediately stands out.

So what I’m saying is that we’re all doing each other favours by critiquing, but we’re also doing ourselves a favour. The only way you can improve your writing is to be able to critique it, and the only way you’ll learn to critique is by practice. My assumption of the WB staff is that they have a lot of experience in critiques and so they tend to provide thorough critiques.

However, I would still value critiques from new members who’ve had experience elsewhere, and someone who has never critiqued before but is looking from a reader’s point of view, rather than the jaded eyes of an experienced editor!
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Old 04-01-2007, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by josiehenley View Post

So what I’m saying is that we’re all doing each other favours by critiquing, but we’re also doing ourselves a favour. The only way you can improve your writing is to be able to critique it, and the only way you’ll learn to critique is by practice. My assumption of the WB staff is that they have a lot of experience in critiques and so they tend to provide thorough critiques.

However, I would still value critiques from new members who’ve had experience elsewhere, and someone who has never critiqued before but is looking from a reader’s point of view, rather than the jaded eyes of an experienced editor!
I've critiqued off and on for about 6 years now online, and I figure after all that time I must have picked up a few things. Another set of eyes on one's work is always helpful. What I keep trying to tell new members is that you don't need to be a top-notch grammarian in order to critique. The average, everyday reader can look at a story and tell the writer which parts sounded funny or didn't make sense. Sometimes that's all the writer needs to know. An editor won't bother to critique (especially for free), and besides, just because they're editors, that doesn't mean they know how to pick a story that will sell. Plus, I know a few writers who've paid for editors that ended up ruining their manuscripts by cutting too much or suggested way too much rewriting - mainly because they skimmed the story rather than sit down and truly read it. There is such a thing as editing a story or novel too much.
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Old 04-02-2007, 05:59 AM
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All of the above...this may not be the place for this little moan, but I just want to say that us critics can't win...

People say that us 'critics' are wimps because we give praise...it takes hours of hard work to write a piece fiction, non-fiction, poetry, whatever, no matter the standard of it. All the staff critics on writer's beat know and understand this, we are here to help and encourage, just wiping the floor with someone because it's not particularly good, isn't being encouraging.

Then on the otherside of the coin, we then get hammered when we try and assist...and yes some of it will be negative, but we then get...so who the hell are you?!

Like I said we can't win.

IMHO Every person on this site has the right to give a critique...and what gives them the right? They are the 'reader' and if you read you have the right to say what you liked or did not like about it and why, and that includes all the staff critics and I don't apologise for it.

Staff critics have the title 'critic' in our signatures because we have volunteered to do the deed and agreed to weather the storm! An average critique can take an hour and longer (my latest has taken 12 hours and counting...)...that's our time we're putting in to give you the benefit of our opinion. If we think something is a piece of **** we will say so, but we will also say why we think that and give suggestions on how to fix it.

You of course have the right to ignore what we say...which is fine too! I can understand that some people think that we have no right to say what to change in their work...but you would get a lot worse from a publisher or agent...the worse thing you can get here is the truth (as we see it), from them...the bin!

One of the main reason people join forums like this is to interact with other writers and get feedback on their work. If we lose the staff critics on the site...people won't join...it's that simple...although some members do give in depth critiques, many more just don't...

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Old 04-02-2007, 08:10 AM
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Amen to that!...
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Old 04-02-2007, 05:18 PM
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Well, the way I look at it is that there will always be critics - not just for stories, but of what we do. If people like the feedback they get here, they'll stay. If they have a problem with it, too bad. There are plenty of other forums out there who will say 'This was great, write on!' to someone who wants to hear only good about their writing. Even better, why don't they just ask their grandma - or mom, or dad, or whoever. They'll be guaranteed a great response then! The point is, if a piece of writing doesn't do anything for the reader, then it's something the writer needs to know. If they can't deal with that fact, then it's not your problem nor mine.

Writing for fun or profit is up to the writer. Not everyone can do it successfully, and in fact the number one reason why most wanna-be writers fail is because they can't handle the slings and arrows of criticism. Criticism is and always has been part of the writing process. If a writer can't handle a few constructive comments from a forum, then they SURELY can't handle a rejection notice from a publisher. Even if they manage to publish, what if they get a horrible review in a major magazine, seen by hundreds of thousands of people? As a writer, they have to learn to let this kind of stuff go, learn from it and move on.

A word of advice to critics: don't let negative reactions to crits get to you. We volunteer to read stories for people in the spirit of helping them. Some people feel that their writing is brilliant and can't handle being told that it's NOT what they thought it was. Well, if it's so bloody brilliant, then let them submit it to a major publisher and get the word straight from the big dogs themselves. Some of them don't even believe it then - preferring to think all publishers are ignorant and do not know what 'good writing' is. If I had a nickel for every time I heard a writer say "The publishers just don't know a good story when they read one," I'd be a rich woman today. Even if a god story is occasionally overlooked, it's usually picked up by another publisher, somewhere/somehow. There's no helping people with a negative, self-absorbed mindset. Just walk away from them.

Again - Don't let negative comments get to you. If people think we're 'elitist,' ignore them. They're wrong. We're writers like they are, but we've picked up a thing or two in our travels. If they think we're 'wimps' then they might have a point. If a story is crap, say so, but with REASONS. If they don't agree with the reasons, too bad. Let them try a real agent or publisher who won't be nearly as nice about it as we are. This isn't about trying to make people 'like' us. That sounds harsh, but it's true. It's about sharing the knowledge we've picked up with others so that they may improve, too. I could care less if a writer likes me or not. I'll give them an honest opinion. Hopefully, they'll look at their story in a new light - from the reader's perspective. If not, oh well. They can take their incredibly brilliant but unrecognized work elsewhere and get the same response. The ones that accept criticism in the spirit of getting honest feedback and have a desire to improve WILL stick around. Which kind of writer would you rather deal with anyway? I'll take the one with an open mind every time.

'Nuff said.

- Jillian
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Last edited by OnceUponATime; 04-02-2007 at 05:58 PM..
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Old 04-02-2007, 06:07 PM
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People say that us 'critics' are wimps because we give praise...it takes hours of hard work to write a piece fiction, non-fiction, poetry, whatever, no matter the standard of it. All the staff critics on writer's beat know and understand this, we are here to help and encourage, just wiping the floor with someone because it's not particularly good, isn't being encouraging.


I'll also add here that there may have been a few times as I might have wanted to say "This story sucks," I NEVER have. Even the worst writer in the world can get better. (In that case, there's nowhere to go but UP). I had one guy tell me by PM that unless I published a novel myself, I wasn't qualifed to give advice to other writers. Well, I might not have published a novel, but I've been published (a couple of short stories, a few contests and several hundred column inches of news copy). No, I'm not going to discourage anyone just to make myself feel better. I know I will one day be published - somehow, someway and provided I don't drop dead first - and I don't need to squelch the hopes and dreams of other unpublished writers to get there. When looking at a given piece of writing, I try to find good things and point those out as well as the things that need work. That way, the writer gets feedback without feeling like their story was 'slaughtered' publicly.

Additional thought: just because I don't care if a writer likes me or not doesn't mean that I don't care about their feelings. I'll never discourage anyone from writing.
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