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Old 11-18-2013, 10:41 AM
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Default Changes at Writer's Beat


The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed a few changes in the staffdom recently, and a few changes in our behaviour.

Following on from much unrest which has plagued the forum for the best part of 2013, we’ve decided it’s time to return Writer’s Beat to its former glory. We want it to shine once more as a friendly, supportive place of learning and development for the many writers who make up our membership.

The first and hardest decision we made was to put the WBQ on hiatus . Hardly anyone was contributing and we felt there was very little return for the forum, based on the amount of time and effort we invested. We’ll use the break for brainstorming and idea development, so when it does come back it will be bigger and better than ever before.

However, this means we now have more time on our hands to welcome new members and critique work posted on the forum, along with the rest of you. Because this is the best way for us all to work together and make this into the forum we all want it to be.

Another change we’re hoping to introduce is pretty spectacular and something that will allow those members interested, to take a bigger role in supporting the forum and their fellow members.

Following on from feedback we’ve received, on January 1st 2014, we plan to introduce a brand new area of the forum, called: The SPaG Workshop; a learning area for those who don’t feel confident with their spelling, punctuation or grammar.

Members who use the workshop can post one sample or excerpt of their work--of around 500 words--per week, to receive help, advice and explanations about any SPaG issues they find unclear. Applying the information and learning they’ve received, they can then work on the rest of their story with the aim of making overall improvements.

And this is where we need you!

The SPaG Workshop will be supported by SPaG Ninjas (laugh all you want, we just loved this name)

SPaG Ninjas will be forum members who volunteer for the role because: a) they want to help fellow members and b) they are confident and competent with SPaG.

SPaG Ninjas will need to be committed to working on a reasonable number of pieces each week, depending on demand. Their aim is to support members posting in the workshop and help them learn more about issues they have trouble with.

Members who become SPaG Ninjas will be given purple robes and have the title changed under their name to ‘SPaG Ninja’. The robes and name change do not mean you’re on the staff, but are a way for members to identify you across the forum, any time you post.

We’re still hammering out the finer details at this time, but we’d like to get an idea of how many people would a) find the SPaG Workshop useful and b) volunteer to become a SPaG Ninja.

If you don’t want to post your reply on this thread, please feel free to PM any member of the staff.

Thank you for your time.

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Old 11-18-2013, 11:51 AM
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sounds like a fab idea! My SPaG is poop so cant help but still a great idea
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Old 11-18-2013, 04:12 PM
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God too see!!!

I lov this idear coz my speling is shite to. Not, to god, with comma's "ether';.

Seriously, great idea. I will be visiting when it opens.

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Old 11-18-2013, 04:59 PM
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Can you still spag writing if you're not a ninja? Or if it's in another forum? Or correct a ninja's corrections if they're wrong? Or? Or?

But, no--it's a fantabulous idea. It could be a great staple of the site, I think, as long as upkeep is good. Plus, you should have British-English and American-English specialists! Lol.
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Old 11-18-2013, 08:46 PM
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Sounds like an excequintastic idea. Very much looking forward to it.
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Old 11-19-2013, 01:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Firefly
Plus, you should have British-English and American-English specialists!
That was the idea, yes!

Originally Posted by Firefly
Can you still spag writing if you're not a ninja? Or if it's in another forum? Or correct a ninja's corrections if they're wrong? Or? Or?
Only Ninjas will be allowed to enter the realm of the SPaG Workshop threads, but of course we're not going to keep members from critiquing in the regular writing areas The Workshop is really designed as a learning place for those wanting to learn, not in order to take any SPaG-related things out of the regular boards.

If there is an issue with a SPaG Ninja (incorrect information for instance), the head SPaG Ninja, Devon, can be contacted and things will be dealt with We want it to be a nice, productive, positive environment, so we want to avoid open criticism in the actual thread. Of course, any incorrect information should be corrected, and will be corrected after the Ninjas have been made aware of it.

As for your 'Or? Or?' questions, the answers are 'yes' and 'no.'
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Old 11-19-2013, 02:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Ilseum View Post

If there is an issue with a SPaG Ninja (incorrect information for instance), the head SPaG Nnija, Devon, can be contacted and things will be dealt with
Devon, clean up on isle 5. Devon
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Old 11-19-2013, 02:57 AM
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Woops! Lol! My fingers seem to be a little fumbly these past few days . . . and the typos I make tend to be in posts about SPaG, too
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Old 11-19-2013, 03:03 AM
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Originally Posted by risk10 View Post
Devon, clean up on isle 5. Devon
Devon, clean up on aisle 6. Devon
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Old 11-19-2013, 03:09 AM
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*whips out mops*

*grmbl*

Hey, my job hasn't even started yet. You see "Head SPaG Ninja" under my . . . um . . . whatever that thing is there? Do ya? Do ya?? Eh??? EH??? What? Can't hear ya! I'm virtually deaf.
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:28 AM
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Lols Dev and Risk. We're happy there are so many positive responses. Remember though that the finer details are still under discussion. This is just to give all of you a quick heads up to what is to come

Volunteers welcome! *Gives a mighty howl to all you SPAG Ninjas recruits out there.

Well then, anyone? You get the shiny purple robe...
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:48 AM
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You get the shiny purple robe...
Ooo, are they made out of tin foil? Tin foil's shiny.
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Old 11-19-2013, 06:14 AM
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I used to spend a lot of time doing line-by-line edits, and trying to explain the basic rules or principles behind them. Then I noticed something -- despite getting that input from me and other forum members, the authors never seemed to improve. Even after I stopped doing SPaG critiques, I kept an eye on them, and over the years, I have never noticed a change in that pattern.

Turns our there's a reason for it -- one that can be backed up with research -- and that is, grammar correction as a means of teaching doesn't work.

I don't claim to be an expert, but from I've learned, what works is a more comprehensive approach that involves exercises and discussion -- teaching that combines implicit learning, or acquiring language by absorbing correct grammar over time with limited explicit learning that focuses on rules -- not something you can realistically do here.

In the forum environment, what's usually missing is the discussion and back and forth that allows for discovery, as opposed to someone just being told what's wrong with a cursory explanation.

Their aim is to support members posting in the workshop and help them learn more about issues they have trouble with.
This could be of value -- perhaps focusing on a single problem or issue by providing examples and discussing them, instead of marking up a 500 word piece line-by-line, which is what a lot of SPaG Nazis tend to do -- and which studies show is pretty much a waste of time.
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Old 11-19-2013, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Firefly View Post
Can you still spag writing if you're not a ninja? Or if it's in another forum? Or correct a ninja's corrections if they're wrong? Or? Or?

But, no--it's a fantabulous idea. It could be a great staple of the site, I think, as long as upkeep is good. Plus, you should have British-English and American-English specialists! Lol.
Yes - I have had several comments to the gist of "that must be an Americanism". I am not for sloppy writing but there is a difference in what is acceptable in UK versus US.
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Old 11-19-2013, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeMatt
This could be of value -- perhaps focusing on a single problem or issue by providing examples and discussing them, instead of marking up a 500 word piece line-by-line, which is what a lot of SPaG Nazis tend to do -- and which studies show is pretty much a waste of time.
That is the idea, yes. To discuss issues and troubles members have with SPaG, and have the ninjas give explanations until the member understands how the rule works, and can then apply it for him- or herself. We're not looking for simple SPaG nazi critiques with no explanation, that won't do anyone any good.

There is also room for members to start threads with specific questions they may have.
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Old 11-19-2013, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Ilseum
Only Ninjas will be allowed to enter the realm of the SPaG Workshop threads
That's kind of a bummer. It, though, immediately made me think of Big Bang Theory and wanting to stand off to the side to ask questions that'll stump the "Apple Geniuses." You know, like throw a subjunctive verb in there and see if anyone bites . . . lol.

Originally Posted by Mohi
I have had several comments to the gist of "that must be an Americanism".
Right! It took me years of frustration trying to learn those little differences--like whether or not the missing serial comma was common for BE (it is). And I still remember the first day I read a piece where someone threw a tire in his boot. It made me scrunch my eyes and say, "What!?"
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Old 11-19-2013, 09:22 AM
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It, though, immediately made me think of Big Bang Theory and wanting to stand off to the side to ask questions that'll stump the "Apple Geniuses." You know, like throw a subjunctive verb in there and see if anyone bites . . . lol.
I've likely seen the episode, but I can't remember what it's about . . .
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Old 11-19-2013, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Firefly View Post
You know, like throw a subjunctive verb in there and see if anyone bites . . . lol."
Lol could just imagine Sheldon singing: '"If I was a wiser man, would other men reach out and touch me...?" But the question is: do you wanna change me or not, punk?'
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Old 11-20-2013, 06:21 AM
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Can't I be a SPaG Communist? Everyone would be equal. I don't like Nazis, not even Skinheads. Maybe a SPaG Libertarian? At least we can get rid of a lot of red ink. Does Devon get to change robes at will, or will the dress be mauve? Don't Nazis wear black?

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Old 11-20-2013, 07:01 AM
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They shall be Ninjas, not Nazis
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:17 AM
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I'll be a really bold plum.
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:25 AM
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Hmm. Don't plums become prunes? Even bold ones? How about reddish-black? Oh, this is becoming so complicated.
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:43 AM
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How about reddish-black?
That would be way cool, though impossible.

Don't plums become prunes? Even bold ones?
Bold prunes?
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Old 11-20-2013, 09:12 AM
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"Bold prunes?" Are there any other kind? How about a red/black polka-dot? I think I may become a dress critic.

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Old 11-20-2013, 09:29 AM
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I used to be a spag ninja. But unfortunately my career came to an abrupt fullstop when i accidentally comma'd an apostrophe in the semicolon. Hiiiiii-ya!
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:37 PM
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Seen plenty of bald prunes...

The red/black polka dot would necessitate a change to SPaG Harelquins wouldn't it?

OK I'm leaving...
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Old 11-20-2013, 04:42 PM
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[QUOTE=Firefly;615833 I still remember the first day I read a piece where someone threw a tire in his boot. It made me scrunch my eyes and say, "What!?"[/QUOTE]

Wouldn't that be, "a tyre in his boot"? Or have they finally got over that archaic spelling?
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Old 11-20-2013, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Whiskers View Post
Lol could just imagine Sheldon singing: '"If I was a wiser man, would other men reach out and touch me...?" But the question is: do you wanna change me or not, punk?'
Lols Whiskers, Sheldon is the best character on Big Bang Theory. You can't help but love him no? And then when someone got upset, he wall sing "sweet kitty... soft kitty... little ball of fur." and so on haha

Originally Posted by JoeMatt View Post
In the forum environment, what's usually missing is the discussion and back and forth that allows for discovery, as opposed to someone just being told what's wrong with a cursory explanation.
This is a good point JoeMat. Perhaps it will be a good idea for us as the staff to have the workshop more of a discussion forum and not just correcting works of member. This would really mike it more productive. Thanks for making this point
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Old 11-21-2013, 03:55 AM
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I think the best change you could make at this point would be to just ban everyone and start over.
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Old 11-21-2013, 04:18 AM
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Done! The hammer falls at midnight tonight, Joe. There's also the mandatory small chip implant we'll use to track everyone's movements better. . .
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