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View Full Version : Adding a page requirement to the rules?


Gummy
February 18th, 2008, 05:17 PM
Lately I've noticed a lot of fics that were only a paragraph long being posted. Also, a lot of reviewers are saying that these chapters are too short. However, there doesn't seem to be a page requirement in the rules so the best our mod could do is move these fics to the revision bin. I request we add a page requirement to the rules so we actually have the grounds to close some of these fics. It doesn't have to be anything serious, maybe we could even start out at atleast two pages for every chapter. What do you think?

Dr. Mack Foxx
February 18th, 2008, 05:51 PM
Certainly sounds like a good idea to me, or at least two pages worth per post, anyway. Some chapters are rather short, but a paragraph per post is quite annoying, in my opinion.

JX Valentine
February 18th, 2008, 07:19 PM
Some chapters are rather short,

That's part of the problem with a page limit. I know of a few authors (like Blackjack Gabbiani) that sometimes produce one-page chapters that aren't lacking in quality. As in, though they're short, they get across enough action and character development to be perfect as they are, rather than anything longer than what she wrote, if that makes sense. And to top things off, they're not actually rush jobs that are barely readable. She spends months trying to compact that much information into a tiny space.

Additionally, there is a format that some authors use called the "drabble," which is a kind of story consisting of one hundred words -- no more, no less. Those end up being just as difficult to craft, what with trying to figure out how to weave a story that's both complete and concise, without going over or under your limit. (I have, to date, never read a drabble that was badly written in terms of syntax or storyline because the author needs that sort of malleability in creativity to pull it off.)

However, for chapters, yeah, I'd have to say that drabble chapters don't exist. You could try, but it'd really just be annoying after awhile. Other than that, if there should be any sort of requirement, it should be on quality, not so much quantity. Rather than constantly stating that a writer needs to make a chapter longer, perhaps it would be better to state that a writer needs to add something of value the chapter. Not so much an additional scene at the end as description or a scene in the middle to make things make sense, if I'm getting my point across. Really, what I'm trying to say is maybe there should be an emphasis on guidelines for readability. Then, from the reviewer, an emphasis on not quantity but the quality of the work.

Just my two cents.

Bay Alexison
February 18th, 2008, 08:25 PM
True, there are a lot of fics that does not have the greatest quality in the world. I do at first was a bit worried that there's not must quality fics posting here. However, after some time thinking about that at work (it was a slow day, haha) I think we shouldn't be all suddenly get mad at them for not producing the best work. They probably read the rules and they're trying their best to write a good fic. Everyone has to start somewhere (sorry if I interpret this wrong).

As for the page requirement: It can be used as a starting ground for the beginning writers. They'll first see if they can write the chapter two pages and then after that they'll be able to think more of quality then quantity. The reason I said that is I believe with time the new writers will soon be able to write well. I know it took me a while from where I am now (I'm still striving to improve, though). Probably the rules can be said that if you're a beginner then you can first have your chapters be at least two pages and then from there keep improving on your writing.

Gummy
February 18th, 2008, 08:28 PM
Although it would be great if we had a quality requirement, who is to say if something is of good quality or not. Quality is way too opinionative to be placed in the rules, but quantity will always be the same no matter who is looking at it.

JX Valentine
February 18th, 2008, 08:58 PM
Although it would be great if we had a quality requirement, who is to say if something is of good quality or not. Quality is way too opinionative to be placed in the rules, but quantity will always be the same no matter who is looking at it.

Again, quantity is just as sticky as quality can be, given that there are well-written short fictions. (If you would like me to link you to some of Blackjack's page-long works, I'd be more than happy to do so. Otherwise, her current ongoing project is called Obsession, and it can be found on BMGf.) You can't really just restrict the literary freedom one has over the length of work just because bad authors generally only write a page of work to post at any given time because you're closing the door on those people who may only write short bursts but are actually decent authors.

With quality, the main factor is, as I've said before, readability. There are ways to discern this, namely Block O' Text formatting, extremely bad spelling, incoherent sentences, et cetera. So, in that sense, yes, you can determine levels of quality as much as you can quantity. (This requires a bit more effort in creating a set of guidelines for, however, in that you need to define the rules of grammar and syntax and define how many violations to those rules would warrant being under the forum standards. Generally, though, if your eyes cross at reading it, it's most likely a bad-quality fic anyway.)

Likewise, my rant about quality versus quantity was mostly aimed at those people who just said "make this longer" without actually stating how. I get the feeling a lot of reviewers who say that just believe that a very short work isn't well-written, when in reality, what makes it badly written is the fact that it's missing something in the text, if you know what I mean. That's actually a mark of quality, not quantity, and it should be pointed out more than the obviousness of length. I mean, seriously, if you have to tell someone that their fic is too short but nothing else, that just tells the author that you didn't bother to read the fic. And if it's really short, and you didn't bother to read the fic, that's kinda saying something about the way you review anyway, you know?

Naturally, I'm not really taking into consideration the fics that are only a paragraph long, but we can set the bar at "it has to be more than a paragraph or two," define a paragraph as being so-and-so, and leave it at that. That way, we'll be able to eliminate the Block O' Text fics as well while keeping the bar low enough so that it doesn't inadvertently state that drabbles and well-written short chapters aren't welcome on the boards.

Astinus
February 18th, 2008, 09:42 PM
Okay. I get it. I'm a horrible moderator and I'll just crawl into a hole with only my Sims for company. They still love me. ;;

Anyhow, this as actually been on my mind for a while (hence why I skip classes at school. Too much on the mind :3). The one problem that I am having is actually what standard to place in. There are the long chapters, the drabbles, the Blackjack chapters. (Heh. She's got her own classification now.)

So I'm beginning to lean more towards quality over quantity in deciding if a fic remains open or not. As said before, it's hard to determine quality, but there are a few tell-tale signs. Namely, grammar that makes you think that the person who wrote the fic was sniffing glue, eating paint, and being whacked repeatedly in the head with a hammer all at the same time. I'll think of other examples later when I'm not dealing with bald toddlers in tuxedos. Dx

And Gummy, there's a reason why I'm not moving fics into the Bin anymore. Well, there are a few reasons. The main one being that there aren't any evaluators. Six out of eight are too busy; one is gone from the forums; and the other one feels as if he doesn't have to review. It takes a long time to write a review to help a Bin-worthy fic. And time won't give me time.

So I have been thinking about rewriting the rules for some time. It's just that I work plans out in my head before writing things down, and it's been hard to find the time to actually implement any sort of changes. (Seriously, I'm behind on school work.)

I'll keep saying this though. I'm open to suggestions from you members. Tell me what you want to see. Discuss it. Talk amongst yourselves. And if need/want is high, I fulfill it.

Melody
February 18th, 2008, 10:57 PM
Well, I think the review bin is a great idea. Maybe you could add more reviewers and see if that helps the bin situation any. I'd be willing to help review fics. I dont know if I'm quite good at it or not. I'll leave that up to you to decide.

Astinus
February 19th, 2008, 10:43 AM
Well, I think the review bin is a great idea. Maybe you could add more reviewers and see if that helps the bin situation any. I'd be willing to help review fics. I dont know if I'm quite good at it or not. I'll leave that up to you to decide.
There aren't that many reviewers to choose from. The ones that were picked are rare gems. I've been keeping my eyes open for more reviewers like that, but they're so hard to find. The fics that would be in the Bin need a lot of review work placed into them to cover nearly everything. The reviewer needs to be a steady reviewer to help the author on every chapter.

Unless I'm just making a big deal of this.

I'm still leaning more towards the quality. The problem that still remains is how to define quality. How much are we asking for? I'm guessing just the basics, neh? Proper usage of the space and Enter buttons, punctuation, capitalization, spelling. Just the basics for grammar.

define a paragraph as being so-and-so
More than just a word of dialogue? :P

I'll start writing some mock-up in the middle of math class. I'm an English major. Why do I need math? D=

And keep talking amongst yourselves.

JX Valentine
February 19th, 2008, 12:01 PM
More than just a word of dialogue? :P

XD For the sake of guidelines, pretty much. Typically, in an academic setting, the definition is "paragraph = four sentences," but with dialogue and fiction in general, it's hard to say. However, usually, one of the first five paragraphs in a literary work tends to be narration of some sort, which should be longer than four sentences anyway, especially for the beginning chapter. Likewise, if your chapter has nothing but dialogue, with only a short exchange like so:

"Yo," said Bob.

"Yo," said Mary.

Then I think it's safe to say that your story just fails.

Astinus
February 19th, 2008, 02:37 PM
Yo.

XD Okay, since I'm of the opinion that math is not needed, then I wrote up the qualities fics need to have to remain open. Well, I only got up to grammar, but grammar is all right in my book.

Grammar

All fanfics need to be properly paragraphed, have proper capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.

And then there would be quick guides on how to do each correctly. When to paragraph and how to do so. What to capitalize and how. What punctuation to use and when.

And most of all: Why.

Now this is where I'm turning to you peoples. (Peoples. XD) I'm going to need help writing up these guides. Any volunteers on explain paragraphing, punctuation, and spelling (or how to check spelling). I already have a claim on capitalization, since...it's easy to explain. ._.;

And then I can toss it into the rules and then there will be much joy and jubilation.

Avey
February 19th, 2008, 02:52 PM
The obvious option is to get more evaluators, but seeing as that probably won't happen, I'm more than happy to help out with these new guidelines.

Jax, the Mary and Bob lines made me laugh the hardest I have in years.

Scarlet Weather
February 19th, 2008, 05:11 PM
And Gummy, there's a reason why I'm not moving fics into the Bin anymore. Well, there are a few reasons. The main one being that there aren't any evaluators. Six out of eight are too busy; one is gone from the forums; and the other one feels as if he doesn't have to review. It takes a long time to write a review to help a Bin-worthy fic. And time won't give me time.

Er... I heard that. Technically, I have an excuse as well if joining a debate team counts. By the time I'm done refuting why my classmates haven't proved the resolution because of this, that, and the other argument and been told why I'm completely wrong I'm usually too tired to do the same thing with fanfiction in my free time. (Plus, any time I use for fanfiction is likely to go into my own, because I can't help feeling that I'm not an adequate reviewer if I don't prove that I can do what I'm telling other people to.) Point taken, however, and I'd start reviewing again right away in retaliation if it weren't for the fact that most binned fics are completely dead at this point. Therefore, I believe it's time for me to go and actually review a few fics in the main forum (le gasp). So if you'll excuse me...

Astinus
February 19th, 2008, 08:45 PM
The obvious option is to get more evaluators
Gee, I wonder if the moderator of this section thought of getting more evaluators? I don't think so. It's hard to find a reviewer of the caliber needed for the Bin.

Unless, you know, they're hiding in some other section.

Technically, I have an excuse as well if joining a debate team counts.
ACC-kun, you were one of the ones I said was too busy to review. ^^; I know what it's like.

And about the dead Bin? I haven't moved any fics into the Bin since it's kind of pointless without reviewers. I just leave them in the main forum. Hurray for two dead sections.

Gummy
February 19th, 2008, 08:53 PM
Hurray for two dead sections.

The main forum isn't dead! It's just... dying. I'm still pitching the quantity idea until we come up with a better way to determaine what is of good quality or not. And quanity doesn't have to be number of pages. It could be number of paragraphs or number of horrible grammatical mistakes made before closure.

txteclipse
February 19th, 2008, 09:37 PM
Perhaps there is no way to define what deserves to go to the revision bin: maybe it should just be on a case-by-case basis. Sure, you can tell readers to polish their grammar and not just post a paragraph, but it's usually fairly obvious if a fic needs work. The best advice I can come up with is to make a guidlines thread showing some general tips for keeping your fic out of the revision bin. Then, if fics still show up that are weak, you could move them to the revision bin and also politely refer the writer to the guidlines thread.

JX Valentine
February 20th, 2008, 12:03 AM
number of horrible grammatical mistakes made before closure.

Um, that would be more of a reading of quality, actually, given that you're analyzing the, well, quality of the work. Yes, you're basing a decision off a number of mistakes (which would itself be a slippery slope in that you'd need to come up with a ratio of length of the installment compared to the number of errors that occur: ten mistakes in a short work is a bit different than ten mistakes in a twenty-page chapter), but you're still focusing on the actual quality of the work more than counting typoes. Or at least, I hope you are.

Additionally, the proposal I made concerning paragraphs would most likely be a base. You'd still have to work from there to weed out the subpar fanfiction because, as I've said above, definitions of quantity tend to blanket over good fics as well as bad fics, if that makes sense. A paragraph limit can, at the very most, stop blocks of text or a work only a handful of paragraphs long, but once you get past the paragraph requirement, that still doesn't mean that you've eliminated the problem of incredibly bad fanfiction.

On that note, I agree with txteclipse in saying that maybe submissions for the Bin should be on a case-by-case basis, with guidelines to attempt to teach authors the basics in order to avoid being put in the Bin.

As for the subject of the attracting reviewers who may or may not be in Other Writing back to the Pokemon Fanfiction forum, I say offers of cookies and/or naked women should be involved.

Elite Overlord LeSabre™
February 20th, 2008, 01:16 AM
XD Okay, since I'm of the opinion that math is not needed
You are quite wrong there XD

Anyway, as a long-time user of the report button for poor-quality fics, I've developed my own opinions on what separates a passable fic from a report-worthy one.

First, I'm of the opinion that one-shots, drabbles, and even prologues to chaptered fics can go without a page limit. These often can successfully be pulled off by a writer with sufficient skills. For chaptered fanfics, there should be some sort of limit, otherwise you could end up with this:

Chapter 1
Dave was woken up by his alrm clock he was late! profesor Maple would be mad ohnoez!

Chapter 2
at maples lab, the prof. said dave im giving you a Pikachu because u wer late.

Chapter 3
outside teh lab Dave ran into membrs of team Rocket! Ohnoez they sent out koffing &Ekans!!!11!!

There are telltale signs of a fic that's bad compared to one that is simply written by someone with difficulty with grammar. Chatspeak/l33tspeak, for one. Complete lack of capitalization and punctuation, for another. If a writer is mixing tenses or homonyms, but otherwise has a decent fic, then it would be worth it to try to help them improve instead of outright closing the fic. But if a writer can't be bothered to spell out "you" or "for," that is another issue entirely.

I'll probably think of more, but I'm tired. Deliberately making grammar mistakes for my example above hurt my brain, as well:/

Gummy
February 20th, 2008, 09:11 AM
Um, that would be more of a reading of quality, actually, given that you're analyzing the, well, quality of the work. Yes, you're basing a decision off a number of mistakes (which would itself be a slippery slope in that you'd need to come up with a ratio of length of the installment compared to the number of errors that occur: ten mistakes in a short work is a bit different than ten mistakes in a twenty-page chapter), but you're still focusing on the actual quality of the work more than counting typoes. Or at least, I hope you are.

And once again Jax shoots me down.

Yeah, I guess you're right about that. Since there are so many different ways of writing a fic, it's going to be pretty hard to come up with rules that govern all aspects.

Astinus
February 21st, 2008, 06:36 PM
Since there are so many different ways of writing a fic, it's going to be pretty hard to come up with rules that govern all aspects.
Grammar is still really the only thing that can be written in the rules. It's hard to argue with what's taught about the basics of grammar. You just can't argue good spelling.

And yes, there's a difference between the fic with two/three typos out of fifteen pages and a fic that three paragraphs and every line has twenty mistakes.

If a writer is mixing tenses or homonyms, but otherwise has a decent fic, then it would be worth it to try to help them improve instead of outright closing the fic. But if a writer can't be bothered to spell out "you" or "for," that is another issue entirely.
That's really the basis I go by. There's a difference between a fic that just needs a little tweaking and a fic that's written like so:

and then i went to the lab and there was oak he gave me a pikachoo i went outside and there was my rival he sent out a mew2 pikachoo i choose you pikachoo ran out yelling pika and used tuderbolt
xD "tuderbolt". I love my broken n key.

Of course, it doesn't help when you tell someone to improve their grammar, and they come back with the "ITS JUST A STORY111" trite.

Depends on the type of math. Though calculus is fun! Matrices are my favorite, though. x3