1. Daniel

    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors Founder Staff

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    Our Vision, Mission, and Core Values as a Community

    Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Daniel, Feb 23, 2017.

    I recently published a page explaining our new formal mission and vision for WritingForums.org. I would encourage every member of the community to read the full statement and to join in on the discussion of our vision for the community, the future of WF, and our core values.

    You can read the full the vision/mission statement here.

    Our Vision:

    To enable writers to achieve their goals.

    Our Mission:

    To enable all writers to achieve their goals by providing an energized and collaborative community, comprehensive resources, and need-driven tools.

    They are simple statements, but they are, in essence, the purpose and long-term goal for WritingForums.org. I encourage you to read the full statement as it offers a much more detailed explanation.

    Over the next two weeks I intend to review existing rules, policies, and operations and cross them with this vision of the future.

    I would like to solicit help of the community in identifying and agreeing upon our core values. What do we value as individuals, writers, and members of this website? What values will help us achieve our goal of enabling all writers? What values will help us build a stronger community?

    Core values are important because they help shape our vision and the culture around our community. When applied, they become a part of our community identity. Ultimately, they will help keep us grounded and make our community stronger.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
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  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Hmmm...

    I find this site (and other writers' forums) are more likely to get in the WAY of me achieving my writing goals - I come here to procrastinate, not to learn! :(

    But, in terms of the general idea as it may apply to others... the "comprehensive resource" goal, as touched on here and elaborated on in the larger statement, may be a bit... impossible? There are so many different opinions on just about every aspect of writing, from the craft itself to the business of publishing, that we can spend (and certainly have spent) weeks arguing about minutiae. Add to that lack of concrete answers the reality that things change so fast that something that seemed true at the start of one of these discussions may no longer be nearly as true by the end of the discussion, and... well... it all gets pretty circular.

    I'd say the best resources on a writer's site are the members themselves, assuming they're actively involved in some aspect of writing/publishing. It's a nuisance when newbies ask the same questions over and over, so maybe some sort of FAQs could be developed (writing/publishing FAQs, not board culture FAQs), but they'd need to be updated REGULARLY, and may work best as links to ongoing discussions rather than concrete resources themselves. Of course, in the discussions it's often difficult to distinguish between fact/well-supported-opinion/speculative-opinion/absolute-drivel without having a reasonably long history of reading someone's posts and forming an opinion of the poster's expertise. I'm not sure how that can be solved, especially as many posters are retaining some degree of anonymity.

    The other writer's board I frequent is the AW Water Cooler, where there are a lot more published writers/industry insiders, but where the culture is much more rigid and less accepting of variety of opinions. I'm not sure if there's a way to combine the knowledge base of that board with the less top-down, more community-based culture of this board, but if there is a way, it'd be great!
     
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  3. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Banned Contributor

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    In other words the staff rudely ban people for no reason.

    http://absolutebanning.blogspot.co.uk/
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
  4. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    So you want to know what I value? Have at it!

    When I stumbled in here I didn't know shit about writing (if you want a laugh look up my intro-post from way back then) and couldn't judge. If I had found one of the more sophisticated boards I'd probably been too intimated to start out with my newbie-writing - never mind posting something to be taken apart. But then I'd never have started writing in earnest; and that's a view into the Abyss from where I am now ;)

    I stayed around here because people seemed friendly and no question was stupid enough to not get answered. I got involved with some other newbies and together we learned some. When I was a bit more confident I looked at other boards, and I hooked up a bit with scribophile. But while scrib is great for critiquing (at least I find the tools that the site offers very easy to use and comprehensive, not to say clear), it's not so great for making friends and hanging around.

    This place here is much more welcoming and there are no topics which-may-not-be-discussed. I like that in a place, the freedom to just talk and not shut up because of (insert random-sensitive-topic). I have found genuine friends here, not only critique partners (though there are those as well) :)

    I think @BayView's suggestion of 'Often asked questions' is a good idea, though I don't think it will stem the flood of newbie-questions. But hey - that's why I came here in the first place, because I was allowed to post like that!

    If you ask what can be made better for me personally, then my answer is the tools for critiquing. I like giving critique (but if someone gets one from me, beware and take cover! :D ), but I don't find it easy to do here because of the lack of a framework. That's about the only thing which I really miss.

    I don't think we need a specific 'mission' *see me rolling my eyes*. If the board carries on as it is, that's good enough for me :)
     
  5. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Is this something you're aspiring to, or something you think already encapsulates the board (with a bit of room for growth)?

    Because I don't think any board can beat AW for the type of thing described in the statement:

    ...except the bolded part. You can find support on there, sure, but it's hit and miss and nowhere near a community like WF is. From the mission, I get the impression that you would like us to become more like AW, and to me that would be a disaster. I go there occasionally because, as Bay said, that's where you find traditionally published authors, but I only go there when I need specific information about traditional publishing or agents from people who have actually been through it. I come to WF for the people and the community; because I want to be here and not because I need to.

    I think most people would agree WF is mostly populated with either newer writers, or ones who are writing rather than seeking traditional publication. WF just isn't the place you go to get comprehensive industry info or to give you a "competitive edge" in publication. To try to change that would pitch you against AW, which is a David and Goliath situation, and to ignore it means we have a mission at odds with the majority of membership.

    I know I sound like the voice of doom (and believe me, this is NOT about fear of change!) but actually I'm saying WF is a great place to be because it isn't AW, and I for one would be very upset if it turned into another AW. Why not embrace our niche as the place newer and younger writers congregate?

    I also disagree with discouraging newbies from answering questions. I actually find it awful that there's a mod who posts sarcastic comments to newbies who bump long-running sticky threads to give their two cents. If you've answered a question 50 times before and are sick of seeing it, ignore the thread rather than be unwelcoming to a new person. It's not on from anybody, but especially a mod. As Lifeline says:

    Small thing, but I saw a typo in the statement:

     
  6. Arcadeus

    Arcadeus Senior Member

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    Core Values:
    Welcoming Attitude: Be Accepting of others and understand that we are not all the same.
    Respect Eachother: It's important to not get into arguments over beliefs. Constructive Criticism is not, "You're wrong."
    Integrity: Don't plagiarize the works of others or take another person's ideas without their permission.
    Teamwork: Work together to grow as writers.
    Encouragement: Writing is a difficult passion. Strive to encourage your fellow authors in their efforts.

    Or something like that? lol
     
  7. MarcT

    MarcT Active Member

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    I would never join a forum that took four weeks to approve my membership anyway, which is what happened to me when I signed up for Water Cooler last year.
    When I finally received an email from them to say that my membership had been approved (like I was applying for NATO membership), I thought "fuck it!" and binned the email.
    Being a newbie is like being a new boy/girl and replies like 'Google is your friend' help nobody, although I haven't seen much of that kind of high handed attitude here to be honest.
     
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  8. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    That about sums it up :) Well said!

    Double like for that one!
     
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  9. obi-sem kenobi

    obi-sem kenobi Senior Member

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    What I came here for and what I ended up doing here are in my case two different things, but that's because my focus in writing changed.
    I stumbled in here working on a story I've been not-quite-writing for years now, looking for the answer to a simple research question (MC gets stabbed, how long does it hurt?). I got answers both from experts in the field of medicine and people who literally lived through the experience. It was great, and still is.

    However, with that project fading into the backgtound a bit due to my sheer lack of writing experience, it was the Role Play section of the forum that kept me here. To some it might seem like a rather silly game to tickle one's imagination, but for me it's an exercise in learning the basics of being a writer. Creating a character and letting him or her grow, gauge reactions of other people on your writing by the way their characters respond to yours, crawling out of your comfortzone and get a grip on other kinds of characters than you're familiar with, the simple motivation to actually write something (almost) every day, and all that is just as a player.

    I know RPing isn't exclusive to this forum, but exactly because this place also has so much else to offer and such a strong sense of being an open, welcoming community, it is a very good place to get into it. I've tried some other places since, but they either lacked the sophistication (as in, actually caring about improving your writing skills) or an easy way of navigating the often huge numbers of (empty) RPs, and they all lacked the sense of community that this place has.

    So that's what I love about yhis place. That even a very early writer with little to no experience and no clear plan for the future can get better at writing, hone his skill and know that when he does get to that stage where he can sit down and seriously start exploring the idea of writing a novel, he has a place where he can ask questions and get help.
     
  10. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Supporter Reviewer Contributor

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    I also think it would be nice to have a FAQ thread so that we don't get the same questions over and over again.

    The reason I come here is because of the people. They offer good advice and are fun to talk to about stuff other than writing. I agree that this place shouldn't be like AW. While I'm not a member there, I do think this a friendlier and more encouraging community, which is why it's such a good place for newer writers. :)
     
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  11. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    In terms of comparing to AW - I do appreciate the "Respect your fellow writer" rule over there. I don't always agree with how it's applied (or ignored) but I really like the theory behind it and would be happy to see something similar applied here. (ties in with @Arcadeus's post, obviously). I think disagreement is fine, but it's not constructive when it gets personal or when insults are thrown around.

    It would likely require some more mod efforts at least at the start, but as a member I'd be happy to point offenders to a rule like that if such a rule existed.
     
  12. Arcadeus

    Arcadeus Senior Member

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    Yeah, a healthy debate is one thing, but you can generally tell if a person is offended or upset about the topic, in which case it becomes more of an argument.

    Debates have winners, arguments do not.
     
  13. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Banned Contributor

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    http://forumsreview.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/absolute-write.html

    Absolute write have their in crowd of long term members who the mods completely turn a blind eye to while aggressively bullying new members while on some bizarre mod power trip, banning long term members not in the in crowd with almost 50,000 posts for no reason at all. Like ScarletPeaches. using language like:

    "Kevin, you and Robin have both been consistently rude, snotty, condescending, evasive, and utterly unpleasant in this room. Yet you feel completely free to insult other writers here, twist and misrepresent their words, and then say that *I* run a board with a double standard because I dare to let people disagree with you?

    Get lost. Both of you. Get the hell off my website.

    I'm sick to death of the misinformation, disinformation, propaganda, and outright bald-faced lies that some of you insist on spreading like it's gospel truth. Go start your own damned cheerleader forum where no one gets to post rebuttals, ask questions, challenge assertions, or disagree with your awesomeness and mighty self-publishing guru-ness and wisdom(!!11!), and good luck with it.

    AW is toxic as hell. It's not a good standard to follow.
     
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  14. Mumble Bee

    Mumble Bee Keep writing. Contributor

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    I don't think the core values and such of WF need to change. I really like the culture here.

    If we're trying to help writers succeed as writers though, we need a new section.
    As @Wreybies stated in a post a while back, the critique thread isn't to make 'you' a better writer. So we'd need a place that is supposed to.
    Maybe underneath the critique subforum, have a WIP subforum
    Posters would have to have at least 500 posts or something, and maybe 50 or so critique posts.
    Users could sign up to be motivators / alpha/beta readers.
    Experienced users could volunteer to keep tabs, and help when users get closer to point of submitting.

    There could even be some WF acknowledgement in the books we publish that would increase traffic, and help us promote our books.

    This is all probably a bit too optimistic though.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
  15. Daniel

    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors Founder Staff

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    I appreciate everyone's feedback so far. Please keep it coming. My goal here is not to inherently change WF. However, from my point of view, it's important to have a clear understanding of a website's purpose and long-term objectives. I don't want WF to fade into obscurity. I don't want it to fall short of it's potential (I have so many ideas, that if realized, I think everyone would love). I also don't want to force us to turn into something we are not.

    @BayView I understand the need for breaks and healthy distractions, but hopefully WF doesn't get too much in the way. Surely there's other reasons you use the website? Or other reasons that you could that are not presently fulfilled elsewhere?

    A "comprehensive resource" may be an unrealistic goal, but a comprehensive resource of a specific topic is not, in my opinion. I recognize there are differing opinions on many aspects of writing and that concrete answers can change, but even a written guide explaining these different schools of thought on a specific topic can prove to be a useful tool. I'm not suggesting that WF needs to be the comprehensive resource on everything overnight, but that comprehensive resources on specific topics would help would help us enable members of our community.

    We wouldn't start by trying to be a comprehensive resource on everything. We'd start small, for example developing the newbies comprehensive guides or some-such resource, similar to the FAQ you described, but providing the absolutely fundamentals every newbie should know on a specific topic. I'd love to create wikipedia-style guides on topics of interest, essentially curating information into a comprehensive guide on the topic, alone which could save someone hours and hours of research and study.

    For those of you who are afraid this means becoming more like AW, I can't say much about that as I haven't visited that site in many, many years. I can say, however, that though I would love more serious discussions, I have no desire to take away the community-based culture of our board or to develop into something overly rigid.

    Though I can't speak for the state of AW, I believe what you're describing here is essentially what I'm after.

    Both, to a degree. The vision really goes back to why I created WF in the first place, though I recognize the community has changed over the years. I think most members here have specific goals they'd like to achieve. If, as a community, we can make each other's goals our own collective goals and work to pursue them, all of our chances of success increase.


    Would you mind elaborating a bit on what impression you get when you say it looks like I'd like us to become more like AW? I'm not an active member there so it's hard for me to clarify.

    I would like WF to become a community that captures and amplifies it's current culture, but also one that takes the pursuit of our individual goals as writer's in a more deliberate, focused manner. This doesn't mean becoming strict or "business-only" or cold. It doesn't mean shutting out and scaring newbies away. It means working together to achieve common goals members of the community hold, through mechanisms like information awareness, support, motivation, and actively encouraging the development of each other's projects.

    In other words, It means working together to finish that novel, to find new freelance opportunities, to determine the best way to format and launch an e-book, to understand the current state of the writing industry.
    Does that make sense? Rather than simple discussion on a topic that fades away, I want to encourage the collective pursuit of our individual goals and to improve and refine our collective knowledge and skill-sets.

    Would you mind elaborating a bit more? I'm not saying WF should be a place only for seasoned writers, publishers, and agents. Not at all. Rather, I think it'd be great if we can further become a haven for new and intermediate writers and help them achieve their goals. If we can provide such writer's with the knowledge, tools, and skills to compete in the industry and achieve there goals, I would be immensely satisfied.

    @Mumble Bee I'm not trying to change our existing core values. Rather, I'm only seeking to better identify them and perhaps to suggest additional community values that may benefit us all. I'm suggesting we adjust our focus, not our entire direction.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
  16. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    If I may make a suggestion, on another critique site I visit, threads that end up being extremely useful and informational end up being locked and put into a sub-forum where future generations can look at the thread and study contents of it. I know we have articles, but occasional we do have threads where someone, or a group of people, dives deeply into whatever subject is being talked about and some really important and useful information comes out of it.

    You could try something like that.

    -OJB.
     
  17. Daniel

    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors Founder Staff

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    Thanks for the suggestion. This is essentially part of what I want to implement, and what I mean when I describe comprehensive informational resources. I envision curating information from such threads, perhaps in a wiki-style method, into some type of guide on these topics that's easy to read, is updated as needed, and contains essential information on the topic.
     
  18. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I'm honestly not sure I can think of a single topic where we've reached anything close to consensus on this board since I've been here...

    That's not a criticism of the board, it's just a reflection of the complicated reality.

    Like, for example... I put together a post about basic paths to publication, but the self-publishing/trade-publishing issue came up almost immediately in the comments. And I know I expressed a pretty "traditional" approach to getting an agent (queries, etc.) while I know others on the board think it's important to go to conferences or do pitch sessions or whatever other less traditional approaches may be favoured.

    You've experienced your own challenges lately in trying to find any hard data on self-publishing.

    There just aren't that many hard facts out there, as far as I can tell.

    Can you give an example of something you think would be suitable for an information guide?

    ETA:

    Re:
    With the current membership? I want industry insider information, but I get that elsewhere (or not at all) because there aren't industry insiders here. I want mentoring/guidance from people doing better than me in my genre, but they aren't here, either. I want to exchange opinions/experiences about working with different publishers, but most people here are either self-publishing or only starting out with publishers and don't have much information to share yet.

    So... I guess it's more positive to express it as @Tenderiser did and say I come here to be social (rather than to procrastinate!). If I want actual advice on writing I ask my editors, if I want advice on the business of publishing I ask my agent, and if I want advice/interaction with people doing better than I am I read their blogs. I get general information from author boards based around different publishers I work with.

    I'm not sure any of that could be easily replicated here...
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
  19. Daniel

    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors Founder Staff

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    @BayView I think you make a fair point. It is difficult to find the hard facts, but I don't think that means a informational guide outlining basic facts, common approaches, and then differing techniques cannot be easily done. Such a guide would need to have multiple authors, of course, to ensure it's complete and accurate. The guide would need to be written under a specific scope (i.e. traditional print publishing only).

    As for an example, I think independent electronic publishing would be my go-to choice.

    Publishing
    Traditional Publishing
    Industry Overview
    Finding an Agent
    Writing a Query Letter
    etc.​
    Electronic Publishing
    Industry Overview
    Understanding Your Market/Niche
    Editing & Formating
    Cover Design
    Marketing
    Marketing Fundamentals
    Common Techniques
    Case Studies​
    Choosing a Publishing Platform
    Publishing on Amazon Kindle
    Overview
    Getting Started
    Tracking/Analytics
    Obviously this guide can be more detailed, this is just a quick example example. The information would be complied and curated from the experience of our members and would improve upon existing information available on the internet.

    @BayView I appreciate your candor, though I think you may be an outlier in this regard as you're further along than most of the member base here. Not many people here have direct access to agents or publishers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
  20. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Uncle! Supporter Contributor

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    My 2 yen:

    I'm quite happy with the way things are here, but I'm not nearly to the level of needing publishing/agent information yet. This forum has several positive contrasts to the one that I came from, the now-defunct Fictionpost.com.

    That forum was The Lounge, specifically the Mental Health Thread and the Not Happy Thread, all day, all the time. This isn't saying that I don't visit those threads here, or that I didn't have a good time and make some friends there, but I recall posting a story for critique and having one member say it was "awesome", but nothing more. I repeatedly begged for people to read it, or a portion of it, and tell me what they liked or disliked, even if it was a small section, to dead silence because someone was having a crisis in the social section of the site. This forum has a robust social area, but the Workshop, Creative Writing, and Applied Writing sections are well attended also, and questions are almost always promptly and politely answered.

    FP was also under-moderated. I don't know how things ran behind the scenes, but it didn't seem that the mods had any actual power, and the Admin had lost interest and was pretty much an absentee landlord, which lead to a number of infamous characters in the various writing forums having free hand to run roughshod over other members. This forum doesn't seem to have that problem; the issues I've seen and/or reported seem to get taken care of pretty quickly, and I haven't witnessed any mods behaving badly.

    There's one positive policy that FP had that might be good here. I don't know at all how forum software works behind the scenes, but their "Lounge" was called "The Spam Forum", and postings there did not add to the members' overall post count. I know I spend a lot of time in The Lounge, and my numbers would probably be cut at least in half, but if there was a way to grant post count points only for postings above the "Community Interaction" line, or list Workshop critiques separately from the continual running battles in the Debate Room, members' contribution to the site as a writing forum, rather than another social media outlet, might be better reflected.

    That was a big two cents. TL;DR: Not much broken around here, don't overfix it.
     
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  21. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Sounds good in theory, but when you elaborated in a later post, the problems become clear:

    This is a very good example of what Bay's been talking about. By "independent electronic publishing" you mean self-publishing, right? There was a lengthy discussion on WF recently about self-publishers calling themselves independent publishers. The term 'independent publishers' has a well-established meaning of smaller traditional publishers. Many of us reject the co-opting of the term by self-publishers, because it creates confusion. Personally, I find it's usually used out of ignorance or a deliberate (and dishonest) attempt to disguise that one is self-publishing. If I browsed a site and read an Official Resource for Independent e-Publishing, and realised it was actually talking about self-publishing, that site is cheapened for me. Are they ignorant of what the term means, or do they have an agenda? Either way - not a resource, or a site, that I trust.

    This is what Bay's saying, I think. By presenting these things as resources instead of discussions, you're going to alienate anyone who disagrees with the 'official' stance. And there is hardly anything in writing, and especially publishing, that we all agree on. I can't think of a single thing. And if you present it as a discussion... well, how is that different from any other writing forum with threads discussing things?


    Here again - the divide is either print publishing and e-publishing, or traditional publishing and self-publishing. Electronic publishing isn't synonymous with self-publishing, and a site who thinks it is... well, it's not a place I'm going to find reliable information!

    But so few of our members are published in any form. WF isn't the place that experienced, published writers congregate, so how can we be the place to do that? There's certainly nobody here that can improve on the information you can get on the many, many blogs from actual editors, agents, and successful published authors. There are two regular members who could talk about their significant traditional publishing experiences, and two regular members who can talk about their significant self-publishing experiences. Not exactly comprehensive, right? :D

    That's a lovely vision, and I think this is exactly what WF does. The support and encouragement is incredible. I just think you have to realise that most people don't sign up here with the goal of querying an agent or submitting to publishers or self-publishing their book. They're mostly people new to writing, who are nervous and excited and want to talk about their baby (their story) or ask very basic questions about plot, characterisation, and word mechanics - the ones we've all seen on here a thousand times. Or they're people who've been writing for fun for years and want other writers to talk to about it.

    If you invest all this time in creating resources around publishing, most members are going to read it once, think, "Oh, interesting" and then go back to writing the novel that they won't finish for another two years. Or you might attract AW-like authors at stages further along their writing journey, and change the entire demographic of WF, which would probably mean losing the supportive community feel that makes it so special.

    It's summed up in my last two paragraphs there ^. WF is a site for new and young writers. What you're planning to do is (in my opinion) not of use to that demographic, and is either going to be useless OR will change us to a mini-AW.

    I love that and think it describes WF very well. :agreed:


    ...but this is where I can't see the logic. Who on WF is looking for "freelance opportunities"? I think I'm the only regular member who writes for a day job (apologies if I forgot anybody) as well as writing novels, and I'm not freelance. Who is this resource going to help? Who's going to write it?

    Rather, I think it'd be great if we can further become a haven for new and intermediate writers and help them achieve their goals. > Yes, yes, yes! If I was hired as a marketing consultant for WF, I'd be telling you that your niche is a place where newer writers can come, where no question is a stupid question, where they will find support and encouragement from people in the same boat, and where the atmosphere is relaxed.

    If we can provide such writer's with the knowledge, tools, and skills to compete in the industry and achieve there goals, I would be immensely satisfied.
    > This part is at odds with that, as I feel like I keep repeating (and I'm sorry, I don't like being a party pooper). Most WF members aren't seriously looking to "compete in the industry" at this time. They just want to write their novel.

    ---

    I've got to say again that I love WF for what it is, and I think it has a brilliant niche and selling point that is very much needed. I'm just not sure this core purpose, mission, vision, actually reflects what's so great about it.
     
  22. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributor Contributor

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    I'm too new here to have an opinion. Just wanted to help with a typo I caught in the statement:
    a community that encourages writers of all types and experience levels to pursue and achieve there goals
    I think you mean "their".
     
    Daniel likes this.
  23. Daniel

    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors Founder Staff

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    @Tenderiser I appreciate your response.


    I wasn't aware that the term was being co-oped. I'm aware of traditional independent publishers, though I guess I'm pretty ignorant on independent electronic publishers. In saying "independent electronic publishing" my only intent was to clarify that I'm not talking about electronic publishing through existing publishers, or about print self-publishing. Rather, I'm referring exclusively to electronic self-publishing. If this was an actual resource instead of an example no such mistakes would be made. Point taken, though.

    I understand and largely agree with your points about accuracy and on having the experience to create such accurate information.

    However, I don't see the issue here with informational resources as I envision them, especially if we're discussing wiki-style community-created content. There would be no official stance, and in areas where there was a disagreement of opinion, all approaches could be mentioned or discussed. The idea of such a resource would partly be to inform readers that such differences of opinion even exist, and what options exist based upon which school of thought you may subscribe to. A layered guide: facts, overview, approaches, schools of thought. Simply a overview of a topic, but one which diverts into detail as one explores the topic in question. Perhaps it would be better to think of it as a snapshot or starting point rather than an all-encompassing, comprehensive resource.

    The difference - and benefit - over a regular discussion thread is that such a resource would be maintained and curated (perhaps from the thread's original discussion). Forum threads grow old, outdated, and honestly, they're difficult to read if you're searching for information. No one wants to read through a 2 year old 30-page thread to find the best information. Important information should be easy to find and digest.


    I understand the difference, in was a poor choice of words to specify electronic self-publishing. I don't think it's fair to let my mistake in terminology invalidate the idea here. I do understand the need for trustworthy, reliable information. :dead:

    Personally, I learn the best from pursuing knowledge and applying what I've learned. Building such a guide (for me at least) would give me a very strong understanding of the topic. If such a guide was built by the community, that alone would be beneficial, and would expand our collective knowledge. It may not be possible to improve upon techniques without the experience or access, but even a summarization/curation of existing information adds value and could be argued as an improvement. If I could find a wealth of knowledge on electronic self-publishing in one easy-to-use guide, rather than scouring the internet, reading and re-reading, filtering, and then comparing conflicting information from scores of websites - I'd be very happy. That is, of course, assuming the information contained therein is detailed and accurate. ;)


    So are you against developing such informational resources, or only resources that don't cater to our community's demographic? Again, publishing was only an example. It's what I personally would want information on. Other informational resources are likely better for our community. It the community is going to support the vision of enabling ourselves to achieve our goals, it's up to the community to identify which goals are most common and most important.

    Many members aren't ready to pursue publishing, as evidenced by the contents of the publishing forum. I imagine that in six months, a year, or two years, many members will. What informational resources can take our member base to the next level? And by next level I simply mean achieving their goals.


    Freelance is a poor example, I wasn't suggesting it as a resource. We don't even have a freelance forum (I could totally write that resource though). My point here is that as a community we should support each other's goals.

    No worries, I appreciate your candor.

    I hope everyone reading understands that a vision statement is supposed to be a long-term, idealized goal. Something that is immensely difficult to achieve and might take ten years to accomplish. I'm really not suggesting that we change overnight and all start pursuing publishing prematurely. I'm merely suggesting we identify what our common goals are and find ways to achieve them better, faster, more efficiently, and more effectively.

    I see the disconnect you've pointed out, and you're not wrong. Just understand that my vision here is long-term, and realize that neither the vision or mission have anything to do directly with publishing. The idea behind this vision is simply that we should be a community that enables our members to achieve their goals. Most of us might not be seriously looking to compete in the industry today, but I suspect most of us would like to some day.

    I fear that the vision itself is getting lost in this discussion. When I say enabling writer's to achieve their goals, or when I say to compete in the industry, I really mean everything in between and leading up to that point. Remember, the vision statement is to enable writer's to achieve their goals.

    If that's means finding ways to help our members improve their writing, get better feedback, and become more skilled writers, that's what we need to do. If that means helping our members get published, that's what we need to do. If it's something else, that's what we need to do. :agreed:
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
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  24. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    First long thought:

    I strongly dislike the idea of the site's focus shifting from writing to publishing. Very strongly. I just can't express how strongly. The publishing isn't the creation, and I want to talk about the creation.

    On a blogging forum, I don't want to talk about pageviews and search ranks and how many hits I could get from a "Ten best ways to..." post.

    On a cooking forum, I don't want to talk about how to maximize profits from a personal chef business. I want to talk about that miraculous meringue.

    On a sewing forum, I don't want to talk about how to use one's wholesale purchasing privileges to maximize profits on alterations jobs. I want to talk about that glorious cosplay thing somebody made.

    On a programming forum, I don't want to talk about return on investment from programmer salaries. I want to talk about beautiful code, and about that app that's doing something nobody ever before thought of how to do.

    And on a writing forum, I don't want to talk about publishers and sales and how to convince a bookstore to let you sign your book. I want to talk about WRITING the book.

    If those forums want to have a subforum on those topics, fine, sure. I'll participate sometimes. But those topics aren't the point. Talking about writing to a quality level acceptable for publication is interesting, but it's primarily interesting to me as a measure of quality.

    I'm not here to learn about how to get an agent or market a self-published Kindle book and, oh, as a side topic, maybe touch on writing the actual book. I want to talk about writing the book.

    Second long thought:

    This site has a large, active forum that has plenty to read every single day. Thats an incredibly valuable asset. It's also incredibly easy to lose.

    I was once on a MUD (MUSH? MUSE? One of those text-based roleplaying games) that had Big Big Plans in terms of code and resources and background. But they "pre-opened"...for some reason. And the pre-open was a roaring success, despite the lack of that stuff. Tons of people, tons of plots, tons of roleplay.

    But the staff wasn't happy. They were a success THE WRONG WAY. They couldn't enjoy success without all that stuff; it wasn't the kind of success they had imagined, so it didn't count. So they shut down for months and months, to write the code. They finally reopened, and a trickle of people drifted back. The population very, very slowly started to grow, just a little.

    And then they closed again, because they hadn't written all the code! MUST HAVE ALL THE CODE!

    And then they reopened again. And hardly anybody came back. And they died. But at least they had pretty code!

    They had an incredibly valuable thing--an active, enthusiastic roleplaying population, in a time when text-based games were dying in droves. But they threw it away.

    Let's try not to risk doing anything like that.
     
  25. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    @Daniel, I think Chicken has summed up what I've been clumsily trying to say in about 3,000 words. :D I'm not opposed to resources at all - you saw the Differences in Regional English thing I've been doing - but I think they should be writing resources, not publishing, because WF is populated with writers and few publishers.

    Sorry! It wasn't an, "Aha, gotcha!" thing - just an illustration of how setting ourselves up as a comprehensive resource on publishing is a minefield when none of us are actually comprehensive experts (or even particularly knowledgeable, bar a few exceptions of which I am NOT one!) on publishing.
     
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