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  #1  
Old 01-29-2013, 01:07 PM
Redlorry
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Default Writer's Beat, for all members.


It’s not often the staff speak out about forum matters on the boards for all to see. Normally we handle things confidentially on a staff-to-member basis to avoid blowing things out of proportion, but lately we’ve seen threads blowing up all by themselves because members aren’t getting along, refuse to walk away and won’t use the ignore function. We’ve tried to calm things down with a reminder about forum behaviour but it hasn’t had much effect. We’ve also tried in-threads posts on a smaller scale, yet the dissatisfaction seems to stick and the atmosphere remains unchanged.
We see members complaining about the way staff handle things with the argument going both ways:
  • We should be harder on members who cause trouble, argue or use offensive language.
  • We shouldn’t become a dictatorial forum on which nothing can be said without consequence.
We’re aiming for somewhere in the middle, combining the best of both worlds.

However, there have been times lately when we've been accused of doing the wrong thing; people feel smothered or singled out and complain their treatment is unfair. Some people aren't prepared to take responsibility for their actions and it’s always him or her who started it. We’re regularly asked: if I’m being talked to, why isn’t he or she as well? Members conveniently forget the staff are here for the whole forum. They expect us to back them up in arguments that several people have taken part in. Or, because people can’t see what we’re doing behind the scenes, in line with keeping things confidential, they make assumptions that we’re not doing anything at all.

We cannot be everywhere at once or online all the time. We rely on members to report inappropriate behaviour so we don’t miss it. And if you have a personal concern about the forum we are all more than happy to receive a PM from you and will try to help in any way we can.

The staff team is currently made up of seven volunteers who are located across the globe and in different time zones. We work together and confer on issues to make sure we always treat our members fairly and objectively. We take everything into account, including previous behaviour and if members have been helpful to others and made a valuable contribution to the forum. If you’re unhappy about how we handle things, please tell us, so we can review what we’ve done and make sure we acted in everyone’s best interests.

It doesn’t help us when people complain on the boards about how they’ve been treated and start saying they’re going to leave. If you’re going to behave like that we’d rather you did just go.

We want Writer’s Beat to be a happy, helpful forum to be part of. We’re equally dedicated to our own writing as the rest of you are and it’s our aim to make the forum the best it can be for everyone.

Writer’s Beat is a community, and a thriving one at that, with just under 10,500 members. Obviously some members are more active than others, and we’ve never had everyone online at the same time. But the size of the community does mean that just like you would in real life, you will find people you get along with and people you don’t.

If you do find yourself clashing repeatedly with another member, please take the opportunity to be the bigger person and apologise or walk away or use the ignore function so you don’t have to see what they post. There are so many ways to avoid getting into conflict and keep Writer’s Beat a nice place to be.

We’d like members to try and resolve things like mature, responsible beings. Creating bad feeling on the forum makes for an awkward atmosphere and can put younger or less confident members off of posting, which is the last thing we want to do.

We’re working really hard to make this forum the best it can be. We love working on the Writer’s Beat Quarterly and promoting our forum and the work of our very talented members. But it can be frustrating when so much of our time is taken up fire fighting the arguments and clashes around the forum.

Therefore, in the spirit of making this a forum for the members, if you have any constructive, helpful comments about how we can make Writer’s Beat a better place, please do post on this thread. And we’re not above constructive criticism either. So if we do something now that you think we should do differently please say. We’ll consider every serious comment, and where we can’t do something we’ll try and give reasons. We do reserve the right, however, to remove any sarcastic or unhelpful comments.

Many thanks you for your time.
The Writer’s Beat Staff

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  #2  
Old 01-29-2013, 01:52 PM
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The most annoying thing recently has been more than one member removing posts left right and centre. I can understand feeling a bit of a prat over a post I do that all the time but it is frustrating when the thread is already being discussed to have the original post removed.

In the fiction boards I understand removing the post when a sale has been made.
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:41 AM
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Thanks Anya,

We've seen that too and we agree, it annoying and frustrating not to be able to see posts because the member has edited them down to nothing, for whatever their reason may be.

But we can't do anything about it without taking away everyone's ability to edit their posts. The edit function is one of our most valuable tools, particularly in the 'Write Here' area of the forum.
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:10 AM
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Some forums have an ability to edit for an hour but after that it can't be. Is that possible here?
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  #5  
Old 01-30-2013, 05:25 AM
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Such a function would mean that members can't edit their writing pieces after receiving feedback on them, something that helps avoid cluttered threads with three different versions of the same text.

It's something worth keeping in the back of our minds, though
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  #6  
Old 01-30-2013, 05:40 AM
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We can certainly look into that. But it would mean members receiving critique on posted work would have to post the whole thing again to incorporate minor tweaks. Would everyone feel the same way about losing the ability to edit?
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:02 AM
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I don't know but to be honest posting again would also be less confusing. I like to read the threads and the crits and again it can be confusing when the OP has changed.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:39 AM
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I agree with Anya. It's easier to see what the original post was and then the altered version after critique.
It is what I do, because as writer you want to keep the original version too.
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  #9  
Old 01-30-2013, 05:25 PM
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I agree also, Luckyme. I also considered the 'clutter' that Ilseum pointed out and remembered another forum using a day limit on threads in their crit. area. I think it was a ninety day limit and then its deleted.

Just a suggestion, but this could be done in the members only section, seeing that some of these threads are deleted after a while by the poster anyways.
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  #10  
Old 03-05-2013, 07:35 AM
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I like keeping all the versions of what I am writing but perhaps it's not what can be used on such a Forum (I do it on my computer). And I do not like the idea of limiting the edit period by one hour. This is not the Forum target as I understood it. I post here because I want to know the opinion of others and absorb some of the positive feedback.And have it seen.
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:10 AM
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This is a terrific thread, and I'm glad that you're trying to keep it that way...


THANK-YOU !!!


P.S. Where is that ignore button?
I haven't noticed it... a good idea
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:54 AM
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I'm new here and don't quite understand about people deleting other people's posts? Never seen that possibility on a forum before.
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:58 AM
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Members can't. Staff can. Same as everywhere else.
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:43 AM
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I like this thread. Its good to know that you guys care so much. Keep up the wonderful work!
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Red Lorry View Post
We can certainly look into that. But it would mean members receiving critique on posted work would have to post the whole thing again to incorporate minor tweaks. Would everyone feel the same way about losing the ability to edit?


We NEED the ability to edit our work, in order for it to be critiqued and changed accordingly.
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  #16  
Old 03-26-2013, 08:14 PM
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It's a pity that we could not limit the percentage of change to the first post in a thread... so that, say, no more than a 50% alteration could be made. That would keep people from deleting the OP, forcing them to leave at least half of it there, but leave plenty of wiggle room for editing.

But I prefer things as they are with full editing possible, I just wish people did not delete their post then repost it... makes it rough to keep up with multiple stories when some are vanishing, then popping up again under new names.

As for the gist of the OP in this thread, writing forums are not like help forums or general topic forums, people have their ego tied to their creative work. This is normal. When critiques are not gently couched it is easy to get ones feelings hurt and for those of us who lack thick skins... well... Let's just say that kindness and tact can only do so much, but should never be lacking.
Enforcing tact can be tricky, but I think it is the way to go on a forum like this.

That's my two cents.
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:57 PM
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I actually feel life the share your work sections are actually okay.

For the most part everyone is real cool there...

It's the writers cafe, the intellectual table and the tips/question sections where enforcement is lax.

People aren't mad because the mods aren't taking their side. they're mad because they're being treated like dirt and the mods are doing nothing about it.

the OP puts no blame on the admins or mods. All the blame on their members. that's terrible to read.
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Old 03-29-2013, 12:27 PM
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Instead of an attack towards the members, the opening post in this thread can be seen (and should be seen) as the staff asking everyone to calm down and help pull together to once more make the forum an enjoyable place to be. Because for a while, a couple of weeks back, it wasn’t fun anymore. If you take a look at the date on which this thread was started, you’ll notice it wasn’t put up recently. The beat has calmed down a lot since the thread was opened, partly thanks to serious action taken by the staff.

At the time this thread was opened, several members posted very little writing-related things on the forum, and only took part in trollish behaviour on conversational threads, attacking other members. For a while, those threads were really not a nice place to be, and we agree that some members were treated like dirt. The reason we did not take immediate action is because we were hard at work backstage to handle things on the long term. Soon after this thread was opened, several members were permanently banned from the boards because of their behaviour – something we don’t take lightly.


People have to take accountability and responsibility for their actions, and the staff cannot be held responsible for the way members act. We can only take action on the behaviour we see or that is reported to us. Unless on trivial matters, we do not take action until the whole team has discussed a situation and arrived at a decision we believe is fair for all.


We keep all discussions about members and any actions we take behind the scenes to maintain confidentiality. This thread was posted because we could see feelings between WB members had gotten so bad, we needed to speak out and call for calm. Perhaps it has escaped your notice that a number of our more serious members no longer visit the forum. This is because of the back biting and bad attitudes on the forum, which we did our best to control, but which we could not stop. Mods and admins are not a cure-all for behavioural problems on the boards; we cannot prevent anything from happening. All we can do is deal with things that happen.

If you feel like the staff is not handling things right, please feel free to contact us via PM or reported posts, but we’d like to ask you to refrain from openly bashing us when there seems to be no good reason for it.
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Old 03-29-2013, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Ilseum View Post
Instead of an attack towards the members, the opening post in this thread can be seen (and should be seen) as the staff asking everyone to calm down and help pull together to once more make the forum an enjoyable place to be. Because for a while, a couple of weeks back, it wasn’t fun anymore. If you take a look at the date on which this thread was started, you’ll notice it wasn’t put up recently. The beat has calmed down a lot since the thread was opened, partly thanks to serious action taken by the staff.

At the time this thread was opened, several members posted very little writing-related things on the forum, and only took part in trollish behaviour on conversational threads, attacking other members. For a while, those threads were really not a nice place to be, and we agree that some members were treated like dirt. The reason we did not take immediate action is because we were hard at work backstage to handle things on the long term. Soon after this thread was opened, several members were permanently banned from the boards because of their behaviour – something we don’t take lightly.


People have to take accountability and responsibility for their actions, and the staff cannot be held responsible for the way members act. We can only take action on the behaviour we see or that is reported to us. Unless on trivial matters, we do not take action until the whole team has discussed a situation and arrived at a decision we believe is fair for all.


We keep all discussions about members and any actions we take behind the scenes to maintain confidentiality. This thread was posted because we could see feelings between WB members had gotten so bad, we needed to speak out and call for calm. Perhaps it has escaped your notice that a number of our more serious members no longer visit the forum. This is because of the back biting and bad attitudes on the forum, which we did our best to control, but which we could not stop. Mods and admins are not a cure-all for behavioural problems on the boards; we cannot prevent anything from happening. All we can do is deal with things that happen.

If you feel like the staff is not handling things right, please feel free to contact us via PM or reported posts, but we’d like to ask you to refrain from openly bashing us when there seems to be no good reason for it.
You need to grow thicker skin. You're not being bashed because someone thinks your doing a bad job and perceiving things the wrong way. You're being appropriately criticized.
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Old 03-29-2013, 03:52 PM
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Yes, thank you, and we've responded (see two posts above).
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:17 AM
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As this is my first reply and only the second post that I have read, I would just like to say a quick thank you for the reassurance that such an open and honest post brings.
I hope that those site members who have been experiencing difficulties take on board and embrace the good common sense advice that you offer.
Good Post. Thank You.
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Old 03-31-2013, 03:43 AM
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Originally Posted by 1easywriter View Post
As this is my first reply and only the second post that I have read, I would just like to say a quick thank you for the reassurance that such an open and honest post brings.
I hope that those site members who have been experiencing difficulties take on board and embrace the good common sense advice that you offer.
Good Post. Thank You.
Yeah, and if they dont take it on board, we'll smash their faces in!

Only joking guys. Dont ban me. Oh FFS! i'll get my coat!
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Old 03-31-2013, 04:40 AM
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*chomps Rincewind's leg*

*munch, munch, munch*

There. Now you can't run. Mwhahahahahaha!

On a more serious note: Any other suggestions for staff? Any concerns that you can PM us with, or place in-thread here?

Comparatively speaking, the atmosphere here is much better than it was a couple of months ago. A special "Thank you" to all who are helping to keep WB a nice community to be in.
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Old 03-31-2013, 05:10 AM
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I completely agree with Devon about the improved atmosphere. A couple of months ago we weren't (as a forum) in a good place.

It's so much nicer now, I for one feel we have more time to concentrate on the positive things for the forum, magazine, contributing threads and giving critique, and working on our projects.

I'll get you a link to it in two shakes of a lambs tail...

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Old 03-31-2013, 05:44 AM
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I'd like to see a micro/flash fiction contest/bit - something for under 100 words every so often. They are really useful for focusing skills and don't take as much time as a full blown short story. (well depends on the writer ) I can give half an hour/an hour to something short but a short story takes about 3 or 4 hours if I am to edit so others can read it.

Also something to encourage more critiques would be good. I know running contests is hard work so understand no as an answer but the one thing every forum I have been on that writers have asked for and never got (for which there might be a good reason) is a crit contest.

I wondered if we could alternate that and the writing ones - (the winner of the contest can opt to have theirs done). Then people can vote for the best critiques - or something similar to give an idea about what is good.

I've always appreciated it when a writer has given me feedback on their critiques.
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:38 AM
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Well I only loiter around the poetry board, so can only really say what I see is happening there. Meaningful critiquing is practically non-existent. Three or four people are tending to dominate the board, showcasing their work as if it is their blog, whilst offering very little, if anything in return. This really is the fault of a system that allows this to happen.

Firstly the ‘like’ button is a good idea in principle, however in practice it is self destructive in terms of promoting a workshop environment.

Secondly I would prefer to see a system where by a poster has to provide two or three worthwhile critiques before they can post a new piece of work. Replies such as ‘nice work’ or ‘good read’ etc., are not critiques.

I joined this site to improve my critiquing ability. Being able to understand what is happening within a poem, in a technical sense, is as important as understanding what iambic pentameter is, or forced rhymes, or whatever. I don’t think I’ll be around much longer as it is all beginning to seem a bit pointless.


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Old 04-02-2013, 08:59 AM
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Problem is I don't think many members really know as much as you, Drew, about poetry, myself included. I don't even really read poetry, so it's not my place to critique. On the occasion I'll leave some garbled response in the poetry section as that's the only writing in general that I have the time/energy to read. There's too many interesting books out there and not enough time. I presume there's just too many people like me here and not enough serious writers. Or perhaps some serious writers without enough time on their hands.

No doubt in my mind that you're in a very small league around here. It's a shame you aren't being stimulated, or gratified, I think you're very talented.
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Old 04-02-2013, 09:26 AM
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I think John hit the right spot there: as far as I know, most of the members that wrote/read a lot of poetry and critiqued a lot in the poetry section are no longer very active on the boards, or have disappeared altogether. While I enjoy critiquing poetry, I find it hard to get the time on my hands to do so.

While I agree it's no more than fair for a member to provide a couple of meaningful critiques before having their own work critiqued, I'm not sure if a hard system like the one you suggest would be the solution. The way it works now is that the more you critique, the more easily other members will critique your work when you put it up. So it's kind of implicitly the same effect you'd want to achieve by making members post one or two critiques before being able to post again. I see how that implicit system would be difficult in the poetry section though, considering the small amount of members active there.

As far as I'm concerned, this was a good wake-up call to pay more attention to that section of the forum, so thank you, iDrew!
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Old 04-02-2013, 09:55 AM
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That isn't true I can critique my socks off and still have work go unread. In fact I am more likely to get it read when I am posting and not critiquing.

I confess to have given up (right now not doing so many) because of it.

We do need something to improve it.
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:17 AM
Redlorry
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I agree with John about critiquing poetry. I tend to avoid that area of the forum because it's not my strong point, so apart from saying I liked it or I didn't there's not much more I feel equipped to add.

But in other areas, like Anya, I've spent days reading and critiquing and had nothing in return. I've got more than one piece posted up here that's not had a single response.

We've also had people in the past who don't take critique well, they're only posting to showboat and have got quite aggressive when someone has suggested ways to improve their work. If a newbie or less resilient member is on the receiving end, it tends to put them off, understandably.

We want to get back to how it was a year to 18 months ago. When people knew they would get the support they were looking for if they posted. We've lost a number of talented members lately because of the way things are going around here, and others are staying away more and more because there's not much point coming here just to argue in the conversational threads.

Any suggestions for how to improve things are more than welcomed.
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