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Old January 3rd, 2013 (8:11 PM).
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Welcome to a brand-new year! There are a few surprises in store for FF&W in the upcoming year, and I'd like to share them with everyone to perhaps get some feedback?

1.) Reviewing Challenge
It was asked in the last Reviewing Challenge's thread about perhaps having the challenge happen more often throughout the year. Well, it's happening every third month. This means that the next reviewing challenge will be in March. Then June, September, and around again in December.

But what about the rest of the year?

2.) Writing Challenges
Every April, July, October, and possibly January (unsure as of right now due to recovery from the holidays and other events), there will be a writing challenge. These will happen in different ways. Some will be prompt challenges, where you'd have to write a short story based on a prompt given to you. Others will be free challenges (EXAMPLE) where you can pick your own goals.

The schedules of these might change due to possible Get-Togethers or other PokéCommunity-wide events.

3.) Other things
There was also talk about constant events. For example, we could do a chain story, smaller prompts, or other events to keep some activity in the off-months.

There will be a new Quick Question&Answer thread for the new year. This will be used for questions that don't require a lot of discussion.

More Writer's Lounge discussion threads will be happening. This will give members an opportunity to learn more about each other, and perhaps create more of a community feel.

4.) Poetry Subforum
The Poetry subforum will get a brand-new Poem of the Week thread to hopefully boost activity. Further discussions about this will happen when the thread for that is posted.

And that is, so far, what is planned for FF&W in 2013. Feel free to ask questions, make suggestions, or just give general support so I don't feel like I'm just taking to my four Furbys.
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Old January 3rd, 2013 (11:26 PM). Edited January 4th, 2013 by Bay Alexison.
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The Review Challenge during those months sound doable as long as something doesn't suddenly come up. I hope to join at least a couple of the challenges.

I'm all for the blitz to come back even though I only finished one fic for that, haha. Prompt challenges are fun too (and perhaps a good way to get back to Pokemon fanfiction).
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Old January 4th, 2013 (2:19 AM). Edited January 4th, 2013 by Cutlerine.
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    Those months for the Reviewing Challenge sound pretty doable, although the way this one went, I'm not so certain about December, to be honest with you - it seems like it's a busy month for many people, or possibly just a month of unparalleled festive laziness.

    I'm always up for a Writing Challenge, so I'll just accept that yours is probably a more reasonable schedule for them than 'every two minutes' and leave it at that. Oh, and the Blitz was sublime, so I'm always happy for that one to pop up again. If I remember rightly, I promised 10 4,500-word chapters in one month for that, and for some reason I actually managed to do it; anything that gets me writing so much is fine by me.

    Constant events also sound fun. Chain stories, perhaps weekly prompts to generate some under-1000-word one-shots - all of these sound like good fun ideas that should help generate activity, if only because many people feel a lot more comfortable writing than reviewing (presumably as it's often seen as being more fun).

    As my forays into the world of poetry are restricted entirely to improvised haiku about lobsters and marmalade, I feel totally inadequate to comment on the Poetry subforum and will now gracefully give up the floor to the next speaker. So to speak.

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    Old January 4th, 2013 (12:57 PM).
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      With more frequent reviewing challenges, I think it would be better if the reviews required to actually complete the challenge were a toned down a bit, especially with this past one coming out with only one winner. Actually, the requirements to complete the review challenge might be better off if they were based on the month. (For example, December requires less reviews than would June. March and September would require slightly less compared to June as well - I'm biased to believe that June would probably have the most activity being the first month of summer vacation for most people.) Perhaps we could even do something along the lines of "why you should review and how to review." Just throwing apples peaches at the wall here.

      Writing challenges sound awesome. The chain story sounds fun too, but I'm wondering how us members can get to know each other better through discussion threads. I would think having a general discussion about literature in general would help with community, or any other fun-filled thread with unicorns and fire-breathing binders.

      So yeah. Off to a great year yo
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      Old January 4th, 2013 (3:42 PM).
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      Quote:
      Originally Posted by Bay Alexison View Post
      The Review Challenge during those months sound doable as long as something suddenly come up. I hope to join at least a couple of the challenges.

      I'm all for the blitz to come back even though I only finished one fic for that, haha. Prompt challenges are fun too (and perhaps a good way to get back to Pokemon fanfiction).
      Bay!

      Your post does bring up an interesting question as to whether the prompt challenges would be Pokemon fics only. On one hand, this is a Pokemon forum. On the other hand, the fics aren't being judged like they would be for the SWC, so it's not like they need to be Pokemon-based to get reviews. It probably helps though.

      Quote:
      Originally Posted by Cutlerine View Post
      Those months for the Reviewing Challenge sound pretty doable, although the way this one went, I'm not so certain about December, to be honest with you - it seems like it's a busy month for many people, or possibly just a month of unparalleled festive laziness.
      Hmmm, that's what I was thinking a little. That maybe November, December, and January are just quieter months? We could still do something so the forum doesn't have complete inactivity during those three months. But then again, people have holiday celebrations, school, work, and lives outside PC. So... it's something else to think about. And psyanic brings up a good point.

      Quote:
      Originally Posted by psyanic View Post
      With more frequent reviewing challenges, I think it would be better if the reviews required to actually complete the challenge were a toned down a bit, especially with this past one coming out with only one winner. Actually, the requirements to complete the review challenge might be better off if they were based on the month. (For example, December requires less reviews than would June. March and September would require slightly less compared to June as well - I'm biased to believe that June would probably have the most activity being the first month of summer vacation for most people.) Perhaps we could even do something along the lines of "why you should review and how to review." Just throwing apples peaches at the wall here.
      Would that perhaps work? Instead of saying "must get ten reviews in for the month of December" (a goal very very few of us were able to achieve), perhaps have it be five or even lower? Maybe four? That would be one review a week for that month.

      So either the amount of reviews would have to be dropped rather low, or else the review challenge gets a break in December. Either way, it's fine by me. Or we could even fudge up the schedule a bit and do the review challenge in January or in another month that was originally an "off" month.

      Quote:
      but I'm wondering how us members can get to know each other better through discussion threads. I would think having a general discussion about literature in general would help with community, or any other fun-filled thread with unicorns and fire-breathing binders.
      I was thinking of really general discussion threads so we could at least learn what the writing process is for other people, or other small things like that. Right now, I can't think of any, so if there's anyone with some ideas about discussion topics, I'd love to hear them.
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      Old January 4th, 2013 (4:24 PM).
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      Arg, I failed that reviewing challenge, like a boss.

      I was thinking, since we are kind of sorta talking about activity. Maybe there would be more if we allowed less... organized reviews? Maybe allow posts expressing how a reader feels, not just actual beta like reviews? Those are nice, but it's also nice to know your fic is even being read.
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      Old January 4th, 2013 (8:52 PM).
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      If I'm wrong about what you're getting at, feel free to provide an example.

      But I think what you're saying is that instead of reviewing like this (sorry, psyanic, but you were the only one I could think of to get any example from!) you mean more like this (sorry, Bay, but you were the only example I could find!)?

      Honestly, the "constructive comment" rule wasn't put into place because I was expecting people to post beta-like reviews. It was put in place so that people can know that their fics are being read, as all the reviewer needs to do is just mention something specific about the fic they're reviewing. Like with Bay, she made a few short comments about IceKing's fic. Not a lot of in-depth ones and she never quoted the fic, but he knows that she read his fic because she mentioned something specific about it.

      Maybe this will be something to discuss in psyanic's idea here:
      Quote:
      Perhaps we could even do something along the lines of "why you should review and how to review."
      I know that we do have a reviewing guide in the Writer's Resource thread, but it's kind of buried. And as you said, Phantom, if people know that they don't have to post beta-like reviews, they might be a little more willing to review. Personally, it took me a long while to learn that I don't have to be really detailed in my reviews, and people are just really happy when you tell them that you liked a particular anything about their fic.
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      Old January 4th, 2013 (9:43 PM).
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      Indeed. All a review really needs is at minimum to be a couple of sentences relevant to the story. "I like *aspect of story*, due to ____." Maybe some speculation on what will happen in the story. Or talking about a character they liked. Or something that could be improved.

      Review we would delete would be of the 'This is the best fic!' or 'Please update!'. Something short and pointless and which could be arguably applied to most fics anyway without any noticeable difference. Beta-style reviews (or maybe just long, in-depth reviews) are certainly not expected though.
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      Old January 5th, 2013 (3:10 AM). Edited January 5th, 2013 by Cutlerine.
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        Quote:
        Originally Posted by Astinus View Post
        Would that perhaps work? Instead of saying "must get ten reviews in for the month of December" (a goal very very few of us were able to achieve), perhaps have it be five or even lower? Maybe four? That would be one review a week for that month.
        My knee-jerk reaction to that was that that was far too few, then I remembered how many reviews I actually did during December, so... Nn. I guess five's a reasonable number - four does seem too few - and it would probably actually be doable. I'm still uncertain about December, though... it seems to me like that's a month where, while many of us may have more free time than usual, we're not all that likely to be spending that free time reviewing other people's stories. We could give December a try next year with a lower Review Achievement Threshold (to give it the snazzy title it deserves), or R.A.T., but if it fails again I'd be inclined to write it off as a Month of Dead Days.

        Quote:
        Originally Posted by Astinus View Post
        I was thinking of really general discussion threads so we could at least learn what the writing process is for other people, or other small things like that. Right now, I can't think of any, so if there's anyone with some ideas about discussion topics, I'd love to hear them.
        As would all of us, I think. The more I think about 'general discussion' as a starting point for ideas, the more I realise that I don't actually know of anything I would suggest to discuss generally. If all else fails, I suppose we could set up a general discussion thread to discuss what our topic of general discussion is going to be - which, while sounding like a joke, might actually kickstart a discussion and grow into a true discussion thread.

        I've now used the word 'discussion' far too many times for one post, so I'll take that as a sign I should stop talking about discussion threads.

        Quote:
        Originally Posted by psyanic View Post
        I would think having a general discussion about literature in general would help with community, or any other fun-filled thread with unicorns and fire-breathing binders.
        Couldn't agree more. Fire makes most things a little better, and renders binders unimaginably so - and literary discussion is always a good thing too.

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        Old January 5th, 2013 (12:57 PM).
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        Quote:
        Originally Posted by Astinus View Post
        If I'm wrong about what you're getting at, feel free to provide an example.

        But I think what you're saying is that instead of reviewing like this (sorry, psyanic, but you were the only one I could think of to get any example from!) you mean more like this (sorry, Bay, but you were the only example I could find!)?

        Honestly, the "constructive comment" rule wasn't put into place because I was expecting people to post beta-like reviews. It was put in place so that people can know that their fics are being read, as all the reviewer needs to do is just mention something specific about the fic they're reviewing. Like with Bay, she made a few short comments about IceKing's fic. Not a lot of in-depth ones and she never quoted the fic, but he knows that she read his fic because she mentioned something specific about it.
        Quote:
        Originally Posted by bobandbill View Post
        Indeed. All a review really needs is at minimum to be a couple of sentences relevant to the story. "I like *aspect of story*, due to ____." Maybe some speculation on what will happen in the story. Or talking about a character they liked. Or something that could be improved.

        Review we would delete would be of the 'This is the best fic!' or 'Please update!'. Something short and pointless and which could be arguably applied to most fics anyway without any noticeable difference. Beta-style reviews (or maybe just long, in-depth reviews) are certainly not expected though.
        Both of those are great review examples.

        Thing is, after searching around for a bit, most of the reviews are somewhat beta like in nature, save for a few stories. It could be that we seem to have an influx of newer writers and that means more of a reason for beta like reviews. It's awesome that we have dedicated reviewers that are willing to do so, but it might be scaring writers away too.

        Another thing I thought of is that this multitude of beta-ish reviews might be a reason why the Beta Place isn't thriving at all. Why bother signing up for a beta when you can basically get a beta review just by posting it? Sure you risk your fic not being the best it can be when you post it, but when/if you repost it, either here or somewhere else, it will have that beta review to back it up.

        And yet, it's one of the reasons I like posting fics on forums. It seems that forums tend to be the best place to get in depth reviews like psyanic's. I have one main story I'm working on. Here, not a single review besides a few that were deleted because they were 'this fic is cool, plz update moars'. Those are nice to know that someone bothered to take a little time to post something. But honestly, I post on ff.net as well. There I have almost 200 reviews on said fic, of which 75% (honestly they do get better the more you update and the more readers get into the story a bit more) of them are reviews like that, and not reviews like Bay's. And I've had like two people go out of their way to PM me mini novel like reviews outside of the review system there. But that doesn't mean I value them any less. Every time I get an email telling me I have a review, however unhelpful or lacking in depth it may be I love it. It's more motivation to write. True it might be just requesting an update soon, but it still gives me that excited feeling and the want to write more and make every chapter the best it can be.

        Quote:
        Originally Posted by Astinus View Post
        Maybe this will be something to discuss in psyanic's idea here: I know that we do have a reviewing guide in the Writer's Resource thread, but it's kind of buried. And as you said, Phantom, if people know that they don't have to post beta-like reviews, they might be a little more willing to review. Personally, it took me a long while to learn that I don't have to be really detailed in my reviews, and people are just really happy when you tell them that you liked a particular anything about their fic.
        I think bringing a reviewer's guide back from the dead might be good.

        I post on AO3 as well, which brings me to my other idea. AO3 has a kudos system, basically a 'like' system. Maybe bringing it up in a reviewer's guide as a replacement to the 'plz update' comments might help a tad. The 'like' system here is fairly new, but this might be a chance to bring it up and give it more of a stable form of use, promote it if you will.
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        Old January 5th, 2013 (3:17 PM).
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        We used to have thread ratings here (out of 5 stars deal), but that was removed because it didn't get much use and also half the use it did get was just abuse (1 star rampages yaaay). At least with the Like system though you can't do that I suppose.
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        Old January 5th, 2013 (8:32 PM).
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        And if there is much abuse, I'm sure that we can take care of it.

        I'm going to have to think (and discuss!) the review system. Maybe that can be another discussion thread to join our discussion thread on discussion threads. That way, we can find out what people prefer more when it comes to getting reviews. I know there's a division in people's opinions about that, but I'll go more in-depth about it at a later time and when I can gather my thoughts.

        But keep the opinions coming, everyone. This is great to read what others think, because the members of FF&W have changed, and how the forum gets its activity should reflect that change.
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