Approved by Astinus on the basis of, "Hey, why not?"
Anyway, as some of you know, we recently had a mini-revolution. This was to revamp the FF&W and get it moving towards a more open community where writers can actually communicate all over the community and help each other out with feedback. We're starting to get a lot of reviews going on (for which I thank those of you putting in the effort to do so), but it's not quite as open as we can possibly get it.
So what do we do?
Review exchange with a twist!
(For those of you who remember the old review exchange thread, this is different, so bear with us, 'kay?)
Here's How It Works
Writer A starts us off by posting a link to your story. Writer A being one of you, not multiple of you.
Writer B comes along and reviews Writer A's story. Writer B subsequently posts a link to his/her review as well as one to his/her story. As in, unless you're the chain starter, do not post a link to your thread without a link to the review you wrote on the story before yours.
Writer C comes along and goes through the same process with Writer B's story.
Or, to make things clearer, here's an example of what will be going on.
I'll start off the chain with Astinus's Adventures In Generic Region, (link to A's story).
Reviewed! (link to a review of A's story)
Now, here's my story, Epic Pokémon Fanfic: (link to B's story)
Reviewed the above. (link to a review of B's story)
My story: (link to C's story)
Isn't that pretty simple? Only one review is necessary to be included in a chain, and it doesn't really matter how often you review the same fic. You just need to review the story in the post directly before yours.
Of course, while this all seems pretty easy, there's a few other things to remember.
1. While we don't expect you to write a book or to write pages upon pages of reviews, we at least expect you to point out specifics in your review. As in, do not write a one-liner "this is good plz write more! :):):)" review because those won't count. Instead, find something specific to say. A review can be as simple as this:
"Your story's pretty cool. I especially liked that main character, particularly in that part where she whipped out a Magikarp and won the tournament battle with it. Using Flail like that was a really awesome strategy. And if she's just one character in your cast, I can't wait to see who else comes along."
See how short that is? Even that's better than a one-liner, and that's the minimum kind of thing that will be accepted in this exchange. Yes, we will check. If you don't say something specific about the story, we'll warn you. After your third warning, we'll put you on a blacklist for awhile, which means people will be encouraged to ignore your link in the chain. It's just not something you want to have happen.
2. All PC rules apply. (This includes the character/word limit. Sorry, guys.) That means no flaming and no spamming in your reviews. Astinus probably won't like having to clean up the story's thread, and if she has to do that, you'll probably end up on the aforementioned blacklist permanently.
3. Please don't post links to threads that haven't been updated in more than a month. Although you can bump your own fic's thread, your reviewers can't. If that happens, we'll just remind you gently about this rule, but no blacklist for you.
4. Remember, you need a link to your review on the story before yours to post here. A post that lacks a review link should and will be skipped by the other links in the chain.
(For anything else I can't really cover above.)
Q. Can I review fics here, even if I don't have a story?
A. Sure. You just don't need to post in this thread to do it.
Q. Someone ninja'd me while I was posting my review and link here! What do I do?!
A. Relax. It's kosher to have multiple writers post links within a few minutes of each other. You can either keep your post there (see below if you're someone coming after that little knot) or delete your post and opt to review the ninja's.
If you're coming into this thread to look for a fic to review and the last links of the chain were posted within a few minutes of each other and in response to the same fic, YOU HAVE THE POWAH. You can choose any of the fics posted, although you're encouraged to go with the first one. Or you can review all of them. It's completely up to you, but if you're feeling lazy, you just have to tackle one of them.
Q. What if the person ahead of me broke a rule, and no one caught it?
A. Skip that post and go back to the link before it. Of course, you'll want to avoid mini-modding. Astinus is (lovably) psychotic as it is.
Q. What if the link in the last post is for a story that hasn't been updated in a month?
A. If the story before it is still an active thread (i.e., has had a post within the past month), just skip the last post and review that one. If the entire thread only has stories that haven't been active for more than a month, we'll get you started on a new thread.
Q. How do I shot review?
A. If you're interested in figuring out how to refine your reviewing skills, how to get reviews (other than in this thread), and how to conduct a writer-reviewer conversation without getting into a flamewar, you can find bunches of helpful tips on this guide.
Q. Isn't that a shameless self-promotion?
A. Yeah, pretty much. But it's relevant, so hey.
Because I'm not a selfish git, I've decided to be fair and let someone else have the first post. Ergo, the first person to post will get to be the first link in the chain.