?

What's your opinion on these features?

Poll closed Aug 28, 2013.
  1. Reputation: System is a must - keep it!

    48.6%
  2. Reputation: Lose the system - better off without it

    2.7%
  3. Reputation: Indifferent

    37.8%
  4. Albums: support, add new advanced photo albums

    24.3%
  5. Albums: opposed, lose them completely

    21.6%
  6. Workshop: support rating system

    54.1%
  7. Workshop: opposed to rating system

    24.3%
  8. Workshop: support hidden erotica section

    54.1%
  9. Workshop: opposed to hidden erotica section

    21.6%
  10. Marketplace: strongly support

    24.3%
  11. Marketplace: indifferent

    62.2%
  12. Marketplace: strongly opposed

    5.4%
  13. Publisher Discussion: support

    73.0%
  14. Publisher Discussion: oppose

    2.7%
  15. Tagging system: I use it

    27.0%
  16. Tagging system: what's that?

    48.6%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    Your feedback on features affected by the upgrade

    Discussion in 'Support & Feedback' started by Daniel, Aug 7, 2013.

    We will soon be upgrading the forum software. This upgrade will bring many new features and functionality, but I need some community feedback on some particular features. The upgrade will affect some of these features, so I'd like your opinions on whether we want this functionality or not.

    Functionality affected by the upgrade

    Reputation System

    The new software doesn't have a classic reputation system. This means, unless I find a solution, you'll lose rep points, rep bars, and rep comments. The new system instead users a "Likes" system. You'll be able to like content, but you don't build a direct reputation and can't comment. It's possible I can come up with a solution that will allow us to keep a similar reputation system, though it's possible I won't be able to save existing reputation. My question is: is the lose of the existing reputation system a big deal? Is it a must have/keep, or are we better off without it?

    Photo Albums

    Currently we have a limited album system that allows you to create photo albums and upload photos. While the albums aren't directly upgraded into the new system, I can add a separate but integrated album system and import existing albums. If I don't do this, all photos and photo albums will be lost (not many people use them, so it's not that big of a deal). My question is this: do we want a photo album system?

    Taking a look at the potential new album system, it's very nice as far as photo albums go (demo). You'd be able to create albums, tag people, control privacy, set photos as avatars, like and comment on photos, share with other social networks, along with more features. My concern is that, though nice, it will be just another distraction from the focus of the site: writing. Additionally, I don't want to go through the trouble of setting up this system if no one will use it. Thoughts?

    Tagging System

    We might lose some or all of post tags with the upgrade. I see this as a virtual non-issue. However, I'm wondering if anyone actually uses tags, either to tag threads or to search.

    New possible functionality & features

    Writing Workshop Improvements

    - Thread prefixes/ratings:

    In the past this was discussed, but never implemented. I'll now easily have the ability to set up thread prefixes that could be used as a content rating system. For example, you could list your Writing Workshop entry as [All Ages], [13+], [17+], or something like [Sexual Content], [Explicit Language], [Violent Content]. This would allow those who wish to avoid such content to do so easily, without even opening the thread. It's possible I can even set up a system where you can adjust your preferences and hide specific types through your settings. Thoughts on such a system? I'm not sure if it's even needed, as I haven't seen an email or thread about such concerns in a long time.

    - Erotica/Adult short stories section:

    This, too, was discussed in the past. We decided against it. However, new functionality will allow us to address the concerns of those opposed. The new system will allow me to completely hide a forum based on age; this would stop those under 17/18 from even knowing the forum was there at all. This section is something I'm not keen on adding, but I'm not strongly opposed either - so I'm wondering if there's a community consensus either way.

    I'm also open to adding new Writing Workshop forums if there's an obvious gap - feel free to mention it. For example, maybe a YA section?

    Marketplace

    This is something I'm sure opinions will be split on heavily. I understand those who are opposed to adding a marketplace. However, I am considering adding a marketplace section where businesses and individuals can list products and services such as editing services, design services, writing software, writers needed, publishing calls, contest announcements, etc. If implemented, spam and deceptive advertising would be prevented (and act as a revenue source for the site) by requiring a fee to list a thread and by only allowing established members to do so. There would, of course, be other features and restrictions. Is this something the community wants?

    Publisher Discussion

    The new upgrade will add a writing resource section of the site, where you can submit writing resources such as agents, publishers, writing websites, common grammar issues, etc. All submissions will be moderated. With the publisher resource section, the new software would allow a thread to be automatically created with each new publisher resource. We could potentially have a dedicated forum or Publishing subforum for the purpose of discussing specific publishers. Whenever a publisher was approved in the publishing directory, a new discussion thread would be created, which would act as the location for ongoing discussion about that specific publisher. There would only be one thread per publisher allowed, and it would only be approved/moderated publishers.

    I added a poll, but I would absolutely love some thoughts and comments on these features. The reputation and albums systems are my main concerns - the others are just ideas. Let me know your thoughts!
     
  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I was going to stop here, but my message is 'too short' to be accepted as a post ...so I'll rabbit on here for a while, to no real purpose, la de da de da de da.... I'll check if I've done enough...
     
  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I'm okay with losing the rep points - a lot of them seem to be generated more in the lounge then for writing advice anyway. The likes
    would be fine with me as long as there's no dislike button.

    I'm neither here nor there with the photo album as it probably would be distracting.

    I'm not really crazy about erotica - I've come across a lot of badly written pieces, and they can be tougher to critique - there's
    no easy way to tell someone their sexy story is not sexy.

    The marketplace sounds interesting as long as that could be closely monitered.

    I'm all in for the Publishers Discussion!
     
  4. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    I would be really sad if the reputation system went away... I think it works really nice for telling someone you appreciate what they said. And it's always nice to get it too... and I just got my contributor badge and am very attached to it... lol

    That said, I would rather the rep system go away than be replaced with something that could be used to beat people down, like negative rep or dislike.

    As for the Photo Albums, us in the RP community seem to use them a lot more... They don't seem to be vital to the site, but it's just kinda nice to know that you can set one up specifically for an RP you're running or something like that. If we can keep them, that would be awesome.

    I don't like the idea of an Adult/Erotica section, but i wouldn't leave the site if we had one... I would just avoid that forum.

    Workshop ratings are fine!

    Marketplace, I really don't care... I think it would take some work to monitor, but it doesn't seem like that big of a deal.

    I really like the idea of a publisher discussion. It would make this site into a more all inclusive writer's resource I think.
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    If there were to be a hidden section for Erotica, I'm cool with that. People who write this kind of work tend to hang in their own places on the web (personal experience) but were we to have one, I would be happy to act as the bouncer and monitor it given that I'm familiar with the work.

    Publisher Discussion is something we should have had ages ago! :D Bring it!

    The photo albums I can take or leave. No big whoop.
     
  6. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    likes/dislikes thumbs up/thumbs down - all the same to me although the rep system is fine as far as I'm concerned.

    Marketplace and photo albums are non-issues, if you can make some money then why not?

    Tagging system? By this do you mean giving someone a mention? Or literally tagging someone in a photo? If the latter I don't care but It's good to tag someone in a comment to make sure they see it.

    Erotica section? Not sure how we're going to find it if it's hidden - how do we get the key to that room?

    Political discussions? Hmmm not sure I saw that being flagged - maybe next door to the blue room would be good
     
  7. redreversed
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    redreversed Active Member

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    The marketplace can definitely work, ive seen it work on a different site while not about writing I could see no spam. And not only that but that site has a lot more traffic and no fee system or established member requirement. So I see no reason not to implement it.

    The rest I'm indifferent about.
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Tags are categories that you can then search by. I never use them but other people do so I'm neutral.


    If you had a marketplace sub-forum anything that had an unintentional link deemed to be advertising could at least be moved to the sub-forum instead of just being deleted. You could still limit spam by having a minimum requirement of 100 posts or something before allowing access to posting in that sub-forum. I hate spam as much as anyone, but when I tried to share something I found, it was deemed advertising when that wasn't my intent at all.
     
  9. rhduke
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    rhduke Contributing Member Reviewer

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    For the workshop rating system, do you mean like the number of stars a thread gets that we use currently? I don't think a rating system is needed because, for one, people don't seem to be using it anyway, and second, I think low rated stories would likely get less visits and therefore less critique for improving. Critique is more important than popularity.

    For the reputation system, I think it's a nice feeling to have someone personally tell you that you helped them and it encourages people to give good critique in the workshop. Not having a cumulative reward system would hurt that.

    I don't care much for the albums.

    I like the thread prefix idea.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Erotica, whether hidden or not, attracts a skeevy element that will make this site less friendly.
     
  11. JessWrite
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    JessWrite Word Nerd & Proud! Contributor

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    I voted on the poll, but was wondering about something that wasn't mentioned.

    Will visitor messages on profiles still be kept in the upgrade? I use those frequently and would be disappointed if that ability was removed.
     
  12. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    Nevertheless, they are authors as well and I thought this site was for all authors.

    What, exactly, is meant by "hidden?" On one site I'm on, I really like how they do it. There is one subforum that is locked and a person must PM the owners in order to be added. This way, it is pretty much unavailable to everyone else. I think that also helps in the 18+ idea. The other thing I'd ask is that titles of these works be rated R or less, because the titles will show up in the recently posted/discussed lists.

    Other than that, I look forward to the changes.
     
  13. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Agreed on all points. I think the issue with thread titles could easily be handled by the same permissions that allow the member access to the sub-forum. There are current sub-forums for Supporters and for the Moderator team that don't update in any of the tickers unless you have the permission for that area.
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The site can be open and useful to all writers without allowing all types of content. Keep in mind that the Writing Workshop is not a showcase, it's a place to improve writing skills. It's not necessary to open the Workshop to potentially offensive material to exercise writing skills. The writer can learn as much by selecting or generating excepts within the still broad range of permissible content.

    We seldom have problems with the writers, anyway. Most of the problems are from the spectator members, those who show little interest in actually working on improving writing. That's the element I fear will be brought in by opening the doors to erotica or limitless violent content.

    Those who do the actual work take it seriously. It's those malcontents who have an ax to grind who cause the problems, those who make the most noise and the least product. It's spectators who want all the stops pulled out, and don't care one whit about quality that we don't need.

    Every time the site tries to be all things to all people, it becomes shabbier to those the site was ostensibly created for - writers looking to improve their writing in a non-hostile environment.
     
  15. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Sorry, Cog, but I couldn't disagree more. Writing good sex is like writing good comedy, an art in and of itself. And the comment on 'showcasing' is a non sequitur and frankly a bit of a red herring. Why would a subsection for erotica be any more or less valid in the quest to improve one's writing in a given facet than a subsection for science fiction or mystery?
     
  16. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    I understand your concerns, and actually think them legitimate. I think many of them could be addressed by doing something simple, like only allowing those who have actually reviewed and posted for review to then post in the restricted section. It'd stop a lot of those you're concerned about coming onto this site, IMO.
     
  17. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I agree, Wrey, but with the proviso that we have to admit that one person's erotica is another's vomit-wrenching nonsense. I approve of the freedom-to-write aspect of your opinion, but I've been on erotic sites before, and one thing that always happens is that someone claims "My erotic writing is JUST FINE, but anyone who thinks YOURS is sexy is a depraved pervert and should be hanged!" I see a lot of vehement arguments coming if we have an erotica section, and if it's taken too seriously. :)

    That said, I voted in favor of it.
     
  18. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'd like to highlight this. As I've said among the moderators before, advertising is the hardest thing to moderate in this forum. What, exactly, is advertising, and does the poster's innocent link to something of interest to writers count as advertising? You can get pretty draconian about this, and I don't like to do that. On the other hand, we don't want to spam the place up.

    So I agree that a marketplace section of the forum is a good idea. It allows us to put posts that might be inappropriate in the main forum in their proper place without having to issue infractions to somebody who may have had the best of intentions. It might not be perfect, but it's an idea I think could work, and we should certainly try it. It sure beats slamming some poor soul just because they mention Scrivener or some such thing, or announces proudly that they sold a story.
     
  19. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    I know the issue about advertising is a headache, but I was wondering about context too. For instance, if someone is asking how they work out a character, and someone else bought a character map or some such thing that helps, I'd love for them to link to it so I can read about it in that thread. To me, that's more of a helpful hint than advertising.

    I may be misunderstanding your post, Minstrel, and if I am, I apologise.
     
  20. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You're getting at the crux of the question, I think. There's a difference between giving a helpful hint on the one hand, and advertising on the other. And if we're to help each other as writers, we should be able to give helpful hints, right?

    I think we're talking about the same thing. In your example of someone who wants character advice, then if someone else said, "In chapter three of so-and-so's Book of Writing Wisdom, she discusses that question. I've found it helpful", then I wouldn't call it advertising. It's directing another member at a specific resource that may help them, without the person directing gaining any benefit. This kind of thing is moderated more loosely now than it was in the past. Back then, a member was risking an infraction for mentioning so-and-so's book. It was considered "advertising."

    Some of these things fall into a gray area, and having a marketplace here would allow members to direct other members to posts in the marketplace without fear of running afoul of the rules. I'd love to mention a couple of great articles I've read recently about certain writing issues (one, in particular, really helped me clarify the show/tell thing in my mind), but doing so is currently against the rules as they're written. A marketplace would allow us to rewrite the rules to put such mentions in the marketplace, and everyone's happy. At least, that's what I'm hoping for.
     
  21. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    Thanks, and yeah, I think we're not just on the same page, but the same line as well. The only other thing I'd wonder about is someone who bought something and found it fabulous, and wants to come tell everyone about it. Kind of like your articles.

    Maybe instead of a "marketplace" subforum, it could be more of a, "Tools we've found helpful" subforum, with sticky threads such as "Articles on writing" and "Software for writers." I'd be much more inclined to go to that kind of a subforum rather than something titled "marketplace," mainly because I'd think it's all about advertising there. I'm on another forum (different topic altogether) that has a massive subforum that's all advertising from sponsors. That's what I'd equate "marketplace" too.

    Anyway, thanks for the clarification, and I think it'd be a great idea. BTW, if you think the articles are good, feel free to PM them to me. It's always smart to refresh by reading some new/different helps. . .

    Oh snap! I just realized that I posted links in a thread about writing female characters. You might want to go take a look at that, hopefully it's okay. If not, let me know!
     
  22. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    Likes can be OK, if done well. On another forum I'm a member of they use only positive likes, no negatives as such.

    They recently upgraded to have a range of different like types, so 'Like', 'Agree', 'Informative/Useful', 'Craftsmanship', etc. There are a couple of 'neutral' types, 'Disagree' and 'Unclear', but none are negative. The positives add to the total Like score, the neutrals don't add or subtract. With the negatives removed, there is no way to damage a person's reputation, only to not add to it.

    Regarding advertising, I've always felt that some space needs to be available for us to point towards (and even discuss) products that we have no connection with other than as 'happy customers'. I know it's a headache to police it, but it's a shame when we feel less free to help out others in such a way.
     
  23. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with this, although I'm not even certain that "marketplace" would always be the correct sub-forum for such a thing. To me, "Marketplace" means a more commercial area -- a place where people who want to sell something could post about that thing. Similarly, "advertising" implies that the person making the post actually has something to gain by someone else buying the item that is described.

    I do think, however, that it is extremely helpful to learn about books, tools, conferences, etc. that other writers have found helpful. There are many conferences and writing classes out there. I have seen on some other sites, and found it very helpful to be able to ask something along the lines of "I saw that X writing conference is happening in June. Has anyone been to it or know anything about it? I'm trying to decide whether I should spend the money," or "I would like to take a writing class. Has anyone taken one that they have found helpful that's either online or located in the Philadelphia area?"

    I know that it is possible someone could be advertising something that they do directly benefit from, and they are disguising that advertising as being a helpful post. I think this could be somewhat abated by not being able to post this sort of thing until one has made a certain number of posts. I understand the fine line and the danger, but I do think we are missing out on being able to get advice on things that we've found helpful from our fellow writers.
     
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  24. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Our newest mod has already offered to stand with his back to the door
     
  25. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    I think his worry (correct me if I'm wrong, Cog, I don't want to put words in your mouth) is that the element would not just be in that new section, but would flood over to the entire board and cause a lot of problems everywhere.
     

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