On changing requirements and fanfiction.net
Jeconais posted on Wednesday 6th June 2012 1:53pm
As everybody knows, over the past few days there's been a bit of a furore about fanfiction.net enforcing some of their rules. And with that, I've had some people ask me about joining this site.
This site has one explicit rule, and one implicit rule, when it comes to content. The explicit rule is "No graphical sexual content between characters that are under the UK legal age of consent." The implicit rule is "No X Reads the Books commentaries."
The first one is to protect me from the messy English laws on publication and obscenity, the second because, no matter how well done, the majority of your work is based on someone else's skill.
With these rules, a lot of the stories that have been removed from fanfiction.net would not be welcome here anyway.
But, as I've had several requests, and the fact that this whole site is barely relevant anymore, should I change the entrance requirements? At the moment, it's basically a judgement call by people too busy to make those judgements, never mind getting around to producing our own content. And if I do, what should those requirements be? I've no wish to make it public sign-up, as I would hate for the site to be littered with one 800 word chapter fics which are 70% "Plz reviez lol".
On a slightly more personal note, my time is non existent, as I continue to spend every non-working moment making sure our August move from London to a small town north of Edinburgh (Scotland) goes smoothly. Once moved in, I should have a lot more free time. I do hope to release some new chapters before then, but I can't promise anything.
To make this clearer: The rules are staying, they are not up for discussion. What I was trying to say was:
Should I change the rules for acceptance of new authors, from the current system, to one that is more open to new authors - where a new account is on request only. And if so, what should the criteria for accepting new authors be?
Keats449 posted a comment on Monday 11th February 2013 11:24am
If you don't have the time to look for new blood for the site then some kind of commitee of authors/reviewers/ppl you trust here seems best. Failing that, I'd suggest just making a Site News post asking for ppl to post their top 1-3 recs for authors to be added to the site. Have some basic requirements: stories containing only content allowed on the site, they must have completed a fic of 100k words or two fics of 50k words each, must have posted new material within the past 6 months, whatever else. Leave it open until you get a decent number of replies, then just invite the top 1-3 choices.
If there are still authors contacting you about posting their work here, you could basically just make a News post, but instead of asking for recs, just post a list of the ppl seeking admittance and links to their work and have ppl vote on it.
kb0 posted a comment on Sunday 13th January 2013 3:23am
Hmm, I guess I should have read the News section sooner. :)
I agree that some new authors are needed, as long as they have good quality stories. I'll throw my agreement in on having a "3rd section" for trial authors ("Hopefuls" or whatever you want to call it).
To make room for them, I'd also suggest creating a 4th section at the very bottom called "Archives". Move the authors who haven't posted in 3 years or more to there. If they post again, move them back up (I assume the software would do that automagically). That would make room for 9 more authors.
tlc_bax posted a comment on Friday 19th October 2012 11:04pm
This website is the only place that I can go to be guaranteed something quality. I completely agree with your assessment on 800 word chapters with grammar and spelling mistakes, rife with "I must get x number of reviews before I'll post the update", "I suck at summaries just read and review", and those morons that can't even spell character's names correctly. I don't just mean the occasional typo, I mean those people that are under the impression that Ginny's full name is Virgina, the people who have decided that Harry isn't exciting enough, so it must be short for anything that they can think of that starts with Ha (Harrison or Harold would at least make sense, but some of the stuff that people come up with is ridiculous)
That being said, I am rather attached to this website being as it is. I think that it does need some expansion, some new blood, and it sounds like you've just found yourself without time to find it. It's something of a dilemma- I can say with certainty that you shouldn't just open up admissions to whoever wants it.
In the other comments, people have suggested trial runs. These sound like a good idea- let someone post a few stories, let them prove that they're commited to their stories enough to actually finish them, let the regular readers of this site judge those stories by their standards. Once the story has been completed, then if it was deemed worthy by those who are familiar with the standards of this site, and have come to value and expect the quality that FFA delivers on every time (seriously, I have read almost every story on this site. Quality fanfiction is so hard to find), then you read the story. It would cut down on the stuff that's a complete waste of your time to be reading, but you or the people who normally help you make these judgements are still the ones with the final decision. Similarly, you could also put it to vote.
There are endless numbers of options, and none of them are going to make everyone happy. But you definitely need to uphold the quality that this site is known for, first and foremost.
Korisovra posted a comment on Tuesday 31st July 2012 5:46am
There are some very good ideas here. I personally enfdorse both gadriam and, of course, Brian64.
Use a 3 rd section and main page entitled "Hopefuls" or somesuch and have a voting system included. Ficwad would be an easy rip-off for the code. That way the regulars for this site know not to expect a great deal out of it and can make both their opinions and you can make your opinions known.
I love this site and have since it's inception, it just needs a little more...updating. Or to have some of the current great works completed. *coughcough*
E. C. Scrubb posted a comment on Saturday 7th July 2012 10:43pm
I love the fact that I know I can come to this site and no matter what author I choose, I will get a quality story. If you lose that, then you lose the heart of what this site is about.
So what is the work around?
After reading a few of the above approaches, I thought about a couple options:
1. Designate a number of readers here that you are familiar, and have them help you judge whether an author should be on this site or not.
2. Another option: Set up "Trial" membership for authors, and have those who read the stories designate whether the fic is worth your reading. You can set the rules so that only one story can be posted on their account, and that story must be completed before a second story is started, (not to mention a limit on time between updates). It also has to have a certain percentage of approval and a certain percentage of reads. If any of those are not met, the account is terminated. If they are met, than a notification goes to you and you can then choose whether to invite them to the overall site.
I wonder if it could all be coded so that once written, you only get a notification to invite the author after say, three sequential stories have made it. Oh, and they also have to be new stories, so that you have a fresh idea of the material they produce, instead of something that's been reworked twenty times after a hundred comments.
3. Say screw it, this is your website, and when you get around to it, you'll actually read them. Until then, too bad!
Hope at least one of them helps.
john17 posted a comment on Monday 2nd July 2012 6:23pm
The Site needs new authors but I think it should remain invitation only, or if you do get other authors there should be restrict rules and applications should be screened.
headbanger posted a comment on Monday 2nd July 2012 2:18pm
The admission requirements really should be more open, because the site is pretty stagnant and could use some new blood. However, I propose you make a new category of authors, like the No Smut, No Slash section and call it "Hopefuls". Authors in this category would be free to post their stories for a period of time and after the set period expires, based on the reception by the community, the author would be able to join the regular ranks or be told to try again with a better story.
Finbar posted a comment on Thursday 28th June 2012 7:33am
I joined this site when it began due to the quality of the authors. To me, it is one of the biggest things here.
I disagree with it becoming an open site, but rather, suggest it remain invitation only. This coul dbe facilitated by a board of authors who already exist on the site, choosen by Jeconais, who can peruse the applications to join and review theiir work. Then, make a decision and extend or decline to extend an invitation to the author.
With regards to the Chater length, one of my favourite authors on ff.net averages tiny, 200-300 word micro-ficlets of just one scene. However, I do not feel they belong here. This, to me, is a site where there are novel length, quality fics with superior writing. (I would also suggest that if any new writers do come on boar,d a strict 'no asking for reviews' policy be implemented. Authors who hold new chapters to ransom for reviews and who beg for reviews to feed their shallow and insecure self image, need to be flogged.
One thing I would like to see is a policy of Updates. I understand the 'muse' can be erratic for some, but I would like to see Authors who post on this site go for less than a year without updating unless they have an incredibly good reason. Someone like Rorschach's Blot who is now stationed in Antartica, would have a reason .
Katsuhito posted a comment on Wednesday 27th June 2012 2:43am
I agree: FFA is definitely the site I go to to read quality stories. If I understand the current system for author accounts, it is by invitation only. I recommend only two modifications: open the gate slightly and allow direct author access requests (i.e. from the author themselves) with the option of attaching a story to the request, and open for third party author recommendations. I would treat these requests as just another way to bring your attention to an author, and you (plural?) can then review said author's work and decide if you want to offer them a spot. Kinda like submitting a resume and portfolio, and then being offered a job (or not).
I would not recommend having a "potential authors" or similar section so that the public can review their works on this site. The reason being, if they end up not making the cut, then you'd have to disable their author access. That would be embarrasing to the author, and more work for the site admin(s).
The only other thing I would mention is that if the number of author accounts gets much bigger, a different layout might be needed on the main page.
blackdog posted a comment on Saturday 23rd June 2012 11:23pm
This is one of my favorite sites for finding good stories online, too many of the other sites have quantity instead of quality. I like what you are doing with it.
If you want to open FFA up for more authors it should be highly selective. Perhaps after your move is finalized and real life allows you to have some breathing room, you could add a section of three to six authors called "potentials" similar to the NSNS section. Then the admitted authors and some of the readers could review the work and vote on it. Keep voting for a month or so and if the authors get a certain percent approval move them in, if they fall below a certain percent drop them. Rinse Lather Repeat.
Or you could keep the same format and just let the site develop as it will.
Either way, I know I will check back everyday to see if any of the great authors have posted something new for me to enjoy.
Moving is a pain and remember that once you move in a whole new set of projects will come out of the woodworks. Good luck with all of it!
gadriam posted a comment on Monday 18th June 2012 2:39pm
To me, the FFA is the Gold Standard. It should be highly selective.
That said, i understand the need to codify the "good enough"-qualifier. I agree with the idea that applicants must have at least one completed story of sufficient quality to be accepted.
Chapter length should exceed 2.5K on average and be original while keeping the connection to canon. This way we will not suffer through Harry Dresden-books where someone has replaced Dresden with Potter all the way through. I've seen it done.=)
A history of writing, a history of quality should be required.
Users of netspeak, mid-chapter Author's notes and excessive use of LOL, OMG etc should of course be flogged.
I think a review-board would be necessary. Yes, i would volunteer.
Just my 2 knuts.
keldon posted a comment on Thursday 14th June 2012 5:21pm
I think the standards and rules you have are great, this is my favorite site for fan fiction, because lets face it fanfiction is terrible for the most part. While it may be an eliteist view, I greatly enojy the quality offered at this site over searching through 14 year olds self-inserts.
If you (and whoever else) are too busy to read and approve a new writer, can you simply open up the review process to other writers on the site? I feel like making the group vote on future writers, or even just trusted members voting, would be a way to ease your load.
Also, love your writing, perhaps even more the just for fun writing that you don't spend all the time in the world reviewing and improving than the harder work.
Tzu Con posted a comment on Wednesday 13th June 2012 7:17pm
I think the rules are a good thing, especially the graphic underage sex one.
As for new authors, why not have an election? 5 prospective authors YOU like are put to the public/user vote, best one is allowed in. Run an election every week or so and see how it goes?
Good luck with your move.
Dark King posted a comment on Wednesday 13th June 2012 2:00am
I see no need to change the requirements for being invited to this site.
Nor do I see this site as being irrelevant as you suggest. I like this place as it has a consistently high quality of fanfiction and original work, opening it up to the great unwashed would run counter to this IMHO.
alphaomega posted a comment on Sunday 10th June 2012 9:28pm
Personally, I do think there should be a minimum chapter length of 1000-1500 words. I am a part of FF.net, and while i don't like what they're doing, it's their site. These...people who are putting their petitions in as 'chapters' are true idiots who don't realize that the moderators don't read the chapters themselves unless they are reported. There are pros/cons to having more authors and such. I like both sites, yet I don't like the 'smut' people try and pass off as fluff is nothing more than PORN. There's a fiction rating for a reason, and if they want to read that kind of thing there are sites for that like adultfanfiction. Personally, I find it pretty close to child pornography in some of those stories, and have no issue with it being removed.
These 'reading the series' stories, while interesting, is not creative as they are using JK's work and just adding commentary. Now, if they were to use the premise, and not 'reproduce' the book, then it'd be their own work.
New Authors: Good Idea, as long as it's regulated by more than one person. Not a good idea to heap it all on one or two people.
MATURE themes- does not belong in a general fan fiction site.
Brian64 posted a comment on Sunday 10th June 2012 7:13am
Chapter length: Few authors are able to effectively write good short stories, and as a general rule I tend to avoid those with an average chapter lengths under 3k. But I wouldn't suggest imposing a chapter limit.
Author eligibility: I'd suggest minimum requirements should be at least one solid story already completed. By 'solid' I mean over 100k, or of well-above average quality and/or originality. For example, I'd consider Harry Potter and the Cursed Summer by Mountain907 to be a solid fic, even though it's 81k. (Shame the sequel appears ot have stalled).
Application process: Author's nominate themselves. Perhaps you can add a new author to the site called 'Applications' (or whatever). Each new author application becomes a chapter submitted by that author - it's their job to publically explain why they should be accepted. One chapter per applicant. Members here can add thumbs up or thumbs down, adding comments via reviews as appropriate. Final decision rests with Tim and his delegate/s. Not sure how you'd manage the application lodgement - maybe the author can fill in a comment form and one of the mods takes care of the posting? Or perhaps you can set that 'author' password to something like 'password' so that anyone can add to it, but each chapter has to pass moderation before being visible... I don't know what you can do with the site, so just throwing out some ideas...
If you're looking for authors, it won't take long for the members here to send PM's to their favourites to encourage them along, and I suspect there'll be posts on all the yahoo groups about it as well.
I think one of the questions that should be asked though is this: Do we want to simply archive good stories here, or do we want to this to be an active site? By that I mean there are very few of the current authors here still producing. Should there be a currency check that an author seeking to join has written something within the last x months to perhaps change that trend?
norrin.new posted a comment on Friday 8th June 2012 12:42am
Frankly, I'm appaled at what FF.net is doing. As I've noted in a few places, their Guidelines hadn't been updated since 2008, and only recently have they deemed a crack down on all of this. As a writer over there, whose got at least one peice with "graphic content" under the standard "M Rating" I think it's a bit bare bones loco to suddenly degree "sorry, if it's got out right porn/violence/drugs/drink/etc then it's gotta go, sorry. kthxbye."
The idea of having a set of people, avid readers on the site (those likely to post reviews) and even a couple of the authors to act as a panel to guage some of the peoples current works who wish to join the site would be ideal. By no means do I drop my own name, but I do consider it a worthwhile idea.
As far as your updates go, I know how mad a move can be, and thats just going twenty minutes down the road, I'd hate to be planning a large scale move from Jolly Olde up to Edignbrough (why, dear god WHY move there?!) so, as always, I'll wait with baited breath for your updates on your HP fics (Hogwarts Dawn and True Slytherin's are a MUST!!!!) and wish you a speedy and a hopeful trouble free move. Drop me a pm, maybe could treat ya to a brew if you live in a good part of London.
Galdric posted a comment on Thursday 7th June 2012 5:37pm
For those suggesting a minimum chapter length, some of the best stories I've read recently have had chapters lengths of less than 1000 words a peace. Admittedly the stories themselves had 50-100 chapters but still, a long chapter length does not equal a good story.
ladyimmortal posted a comment on Thursday 7th June 2012 4:21pm
I DON'T think there should be a rule on chapter length - chapter length is what it is. I sometimes think chapters are TOO long! You should allow authors to make the chapters whatever length they need to be for better flow. HOWEVER, I wouldn't object to a rule that says they should be, say, 3000 words or more... good authors can get that much out, I'd think.
However, quality is essential. Do not change ANY of your quality standards. No drek please!
Galdric posted a comment on Thursday 7th June 2012 11:00am
Posting this again in the latest news post so that it doen't get missed :P
For expanding membership of this site, I have to say that even when I don't like an author in general, they seem to have well written stuff on this site, so I would think that you could maybe get together some of the authors, and have them moderate any admissions. (That way you could maintain a certain amount of quality of writting, and not take up as much of your free time trying to judge who should be let onto the site.)
As for your personal note, your twitter comments made it clear that you simply don't have time for chapters right now, so no one (sane anyway) has any reason to complain that new chapters may not be coming antime soon. That said, good luck with the move; the times that I went to the Scottish countryside when I was younger were great.
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