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message 1: by Brigid ✩, No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. (new)

Brigid ✩ | 11973 comments Mod
- Sorry that this is so long/rambly, but I would be really grateful if you guys could read this whole thing and help me brainstorm ways to improve the feedback system in this group. -

I've been meaning to tackle this problem for a long time, but I'm pretty bad at organization so I haven't gotten around to it until now. So ... sorry about that. Basically, the problem is that this group has grown to be pretty enormous over the past few years and there are a lot of members posting writing and then not receiving any feedback for it. I guess I can only speak for myself, but personally I feel like there are so many stories getting posted and I get kind of overwhelmed and don't know where to start––and then I end up not reading anything. I've seen a number of people get upset about the lack of feedback and/or suggest that we have more of an organized system ... so I'm trying to come up with a good way to deal with that. Right now I can only think of two things (both of which I think have been suggested in the past by a few people):

- We set up some kind of swapping system. I am not a huge fan of swaps for a number of reasons, but I think they can work well in some instances––mainly if both participants of the swap are equally invested. If we were to do this, I think we should set up a thread where people request swaps and specify what kind of feedback they want (that is, how in-depth they would like the critique to be).

- We have a weekly member/story spotlight. If the other mods are on board with this, you could help me out with it ... otherwise I could probably just do it by myself. But anyway, each week one of the mods could choose a group member or a specific story to bring attention to, and everyone would be encouraged to give feedback to that person during that week. Of course you wouldn't be required to do so, but the idea would be to kind of "assign" a story that everyone could focus on so there's less of that overwhelming feeling of not knowing what to read. It would basically be like workshopping, I guess. If we were to go this route, it would probably focus on the more currently active members, just because there are hundreds of people in the group and there's not much of a point in giving someone a ton of feedback if they probably aren't going to see it. (And just to clarify, I don't mean "active" in the sense that the member must have posted a billion comments in the group––just that they've posted recently enough that we know they actually check Goodreads on a fairly regular basis.)

Anyway, I would appreciate it if some of you guys would:

1. Tell me whether or not you like these ideas, and/or which one you prefer (or if you think we should use both of them).
2. Address any concerns you have about these ideas, and whether you have ideas as to how to improve them.
3. Suggest any other ideas you have for how we could handle feedback in a more organized manner.

Thanks. ;)

message 2: by Allison (new)

Allison | 679 comments I like the story spotlight idea. I don't do swaps unless I know the person in real life and I trust them. But I'm kinda wary about the story spotlight for the same reasons. Do we have to show a link for the whole thing, or just post one chapter? because I'd feel better for just one-five chapters so nobody is like, copying other people's whole stories if they click copy, and paste.

message 3: by Grace (new)

Grace (Fives) | 1090 comments So, I actually like both ideas! We could do the swap system for the group members to kind of do themselves and then do the weekly story one to get the author's story out there. Because, I think, that some people may not want to do the swapping and then the weekly story would be a good idea, but then again, some people would enjoy the swapping. Unless anyone has any ideas, I think that doing both would be the best.
Perhaps, we should try out both the swapping and weekly story ideas to see how the members react?
I'm really bad at coming up with ideas for this sort of thing, so... I'm not gonna be that helpful.

message 4: by Isaac (new)

Isaac | 8014 comments I appreciate the effort, I really do. I've noticed this problem myself. The ideas you have aren't flawless, but I think you realize this, and they're better than anything else we have here.

I guess one of my problems is I'll read something and have nothing really to add because I like it already or I'm afraid of offending. But that's just me, so maybe that will work for other people, and I need to learn how to criticize more anyway. :P

message 5: by Grace (new)

Grace (Fives) | 1090 comments I think with the swapping, people will know that they will get negative feedback. And doesn't the person asking for the swap get to ask for what kind of feedback? Like, "Try to be nice," or "Sugarcoat it" and such?

message 6: by Brigid ✩, No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. (new)

Brigid ✩ | 11973 comments Mod
@Allison - I was thinking I'd just provide a link for everyone because that would make things a lot easier. There would probably be a folder for spotlights and a topic for each one, which would include a description of the story and a link to it. So it wouldn't have to be completed, but it would be a link to whatever the writer had already posted. I'm debating over whether or not I should consult the writer first before spotlighting them, in case they would want feedback on a partial story or would want to wait until the whole thing was finished ...

@Grace - That's kind of what I was thinking––that we could do both and people could do whatever works for them. I'm just worried that things could get a bit chaotic with both going on, but maybe not. I guess it wouldn't hurt to try it and see what happens.

@Emily - It wouldn't be required or anything. If you didn't want to participate in giving feedback you wouldn't have to. And I mean, we could still more or less do things the same way we do now––just that we'd have these additional things to give some people a push to give more feedback, if that makes sense. ;)

message 7: by Isaac (new)

Isaac | 8014 comments Ahh, that makes sense. I like it.

message 8: by Brigid ✩, No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. (new)

Brigid ✩ | 11973 comments Mod
Cool. :D

message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

1. If it's not too much effort, I think both make sense. The reason I say this is because...
2. Swaps might not work as well for people who don't know a lot of site members or who are scared to put themselves out there, and spotlights would take a loooooong time to get around to a significant amount of members. Using both makes the most sense to me just because it balances the cons of each option to some extent.
3. Nothing for me to say here. This group is a lot to handle and I think all of you mods are great! :)

message 10: by Colby (new)

Colby (colbz) | 3211 comments I'm fine with both of these. I'm not a huge fan of swaps because they tend to just be people wanting feedback, not wanting to give feedback. But I am also just drawing that from how it always ended up on Figment, and we are much smaller than Figment, even if it is a big group, especially when you consider how many of us are actually active. Hopefully having a smaller group of people will make the swaps actually work better, to some extent.
As for the 'spotlight' idea, my only concern here is how the people would be chosen for each week so that nobody gets upset/offended because they aren't chosen.
And I am sure that whatever you guys do will be helpful. Thanks for all the hard work!!

Elliott Alicia  | 22636 comments Mod
I think both of those are great ideas! And I would actually love to do swaps with people because I love giving feedback to people (as long as I'm allowed to actually critique it without fear of offending, but if I was swapping with anyone I'd make sure they were okay with that). And also I would definitely help out with the story spotlight if you ever needed anything, Brigid!

I love reading the stories on here and giving feedback, but like you said, it can get crazy overwhelming. And these ideas might help! I'll definitely use them to the best of my ability and if everyone else who wants to be a part of it does the same I can see it working out nicely. :)

message 12: by Brigid ✩, No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. (new)

Brigid ✩ | 11973 comments Mod
@Maxy - Yeah, those are good points ... doing both would probably help to balance it out more. :)

@Colby - Haha yeah, Figment (and Inkpop, when it used to exist) is exactly the reason why I'm not a fan of swapping. The problem is that it's often not reciprocated and/or one person gives detailed feedback while the other barely puts in any effort. But yeah, in a smaller circle of people it might work a bit better.

And that's also something I'm not sure about, because I haven't decided how I'd choose people to spotlight. Maybe if there were some kind of guidelines, and/or people had to request to be spotlighted that would help.

@Alicia - Yeah, I'm thinking people could fill out some kind of short form saying what kind of feedback they'd prefer (that is, whether they'd like their story to be totally ripped apart or they'd rather just have gentler suggestions or whatever). And we could pair people up accordingly. Or they could pair themselves up. I'm not sure yet. :P And thanks, I'll let you know if I need some help!

message 13: by Helix42 (new)

Helix42 | 55 comments I like the second idea. That could be a really cool thing to try out. The only real hurdle would be figuring out where to find all of the stories. I'm assuming that there are more stories buried around the group, and not just in genre topics. Of course, that could all be fixed by having a submitting folder, where everyone could just post links or talk about their writing.

Elliott Alicia  | 22636 comments Mod
I think having people request could be a really good system. And then maybe we could rotate through genres a bit? Like one week we'd have a realistic fiction story, the next fantasy, the next sci-fi, etc.

message 15: by Grace (last edited Jul 28, 2014 01:40PM) (new)

Grace (Fives) | 1090 comments @Alicia, that does sound like a good idea. Perhaps we should have a set genres to go through.
Like do Realistic Fiction the first week and then Fantasy next. (And keep doing that for every month? And then that just sounds like what you just said...)
Or would that be a lot of work? I feel like that might be too much work and then there may not be as many stories in Fantasy than Realistic Fiction...
Ugh, I don't know! But that sounds like a good idea.

Elliott Alicia  | 22636 comments Mod
I don't think it should be super set, because like you said some genres have more stories than others. But it could alternate as much as possible while still giving everyone a fair chance.

message 17: by Brigid ✩, No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. (new)

Brigid ✩ | 11973 comments Mod
Yeah, I like the idea of rotating genres––partly to give more people a chance, but also so we're not all reading the same genre over and over again. Probably we couldn't have a fixed rotation schedule because of what you guys have already pointed out ... but we could at least try to avoid having the same genre two weeks in a row.

message 18: by Dana (new)

Dana (danachewy) | 735 comments I also think that perhaps for the spotlight we could possibly spotlight some sort of "unknown" stories..... Like some people post a story and they get a lot of comments while others get barely any feedback. So perhaps we could spotlight someone who's active but not enough to get lots of feedback already.

Elliott Alicia  | 22636 comments Mod
Yeah, definitely. People who get tons of feedback probably don't need to be spotlighted (unless we run out of stories or something) but they can still participate in swaps.

message 20: by Taylor (new)

Taylor I presented this idea awhile back, but everyone seemed fine with the way thing were run before. Guess that's changed.

In addition to what has been proposed (except swaps…I rarely get feedback when I swap), I think it would be cool to have an "editor's desk" folder. That way, people like me who are actively interested in giving feedback can say, "This is what I'm interested in reading. If your stuff fits my criteria, come at me brah." So instead of stuff getting lost in this never ending slush pile and never getting read, it can be presented to willing "editors" for review. Much like how real-life writing works. You go to them, not the other way around.

Does that make sense?

Elliott Alicia  | 22636 comments Mod
I think if you want people to come to you, you can make that known and others can hit you up. Or maybe even in the swap topic you can be like "I'll read anything without you having to read something I've written" and I'm sure people will be into that.

message 22: by Tesni (new)

Tesni (ohmarcello) | 5031 comments I like the idea of both - although I do have some reservations about swapping (from the days of inkpop etc), I do think that, so long as each pair left an equal amount of feedback, it could work quite well. whenever I do have time to read stuff on here (which I don't, so often), I tend to only read the work of my friends and those I know well, so the idea of swapping and/or focusing on a different work each week would probably get me to come across stuff I wouldn't have otherwise.

message 23: by Allison (last edited Jul 31, 2014 10:54AM) (new)

Allison | 679 comments Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* wrote: "@Allison - I was thinking I'd just provide a link for everyone because that would make things a lot easier. There would probably be a folder for spotlights and a topic for each one, which would inc..."

Ah, yes. That makes more sense. I would just feel uncomfortable getting feedback from people I don't really know that well, and I also am a little hesitant about posting everything I have done for the whole copying thing. One of my favorite authors had posted her story on a writing site before it was published and someone copied it word for word and changed the title.

And I'm also scared about either idea because I don't read things that go farther than innocence and what I believe to be right and I don't want to have to tell someone I won't be reading their story anymore because it glamorizes mature stuff like that.

Elliott Alicia  | 22636 comments Mod
I think if you wanted to participate in a swap you could say "I don't want to read stories with this, this, and this." And then somebody who also doesn't write about "mature" things could swap with you.

As for the posting online, that's always a valid concern. Maybe you could email your story to someone who wants to swap with you?

message 25: by Allison (new)

Allison | 679 comments That's a good suggestion about emailing it.

message 26: by Brigid ✩, No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. (new)

Brigid ✩ | 11973 comments Mod
Sorry I've been bad at keeping up with this, I've been busy the past couple of days. :P

@Dana - Exactly, that's what I was thinking. There are a lot of people who post writing and then get no feedback, so the idea would be to help bring attention to those stories. :)

@Taylor - Yeah I thought it was you who suggested it, but I wasn't entirely sure. :P As for the editor's desk idea, it could work but I'm kind of worried that people who offered to read stories would just get absolutely swamped while the swapping system would go neglected (since people tend to prefer free feedback over swapping). So less stories might get read that way, if that makes sense. Although maybe you could have a limit, like a certain number of stories per month or something. I don't know, I'll give it some thought.

@Tesni - Oh inkpop ... *war flashbacks* Haha but yeah, maybe we could have some kind of requirements for feedback––like a word minimum or something? Not that it'd have to be extremely detailed, but at least long enough that it was helpful to the writer.

@Allison - Assuming we're talking about swapping here ... as Alicia said, you could email the story to whomever you were swapping with––and I see you like that idea, so yay! As for your concern about certain content: I was thinking there'd be some kind of form people would fill out when they wanted to swap, and one part of that could be "things I don't want to read" or something along those lines.

message 27: by Taylor (new)

Taylor @Brigid

Well, I don't like swapping, so if it goes neglected I won't be too butthurt. :P

message 28: by Brigid ✩, No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. (new)

Brigid ✩ | 11973 comments Mod
Okay, but what I'm saying is people might become too reliant on submitting stories to you (or whoever offered to read stuff) and wouldn't swap as much with each other, which might mean less stuff getting feedback.

message 29: by Allison (new)

Allison | 679 comments I'm for either idea. :)

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