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  #31  
Old 04-02-2013, 10:24 AM
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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.
Strongly seconded

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  #32  
Old 04-02-2013, 10:57 AM
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I usually put a piece at the top of mine that sort of describes the story and what I am looking for with the critique. Also were in the story it comes. Also it gives people an idea of what I will or will not accept - when it comes to my writing I have a pretty thick skin but like with Mayhem it is staying present tense and my characters in Cream and Black are staying gay .

I find that can help because at least I get the answer I want - like is it confusing or is it boring or does it hook - even if I don't get a full blown critique.

Something like:
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Length: This is the prologue of an 80,000 word story
Basic Blurb: Augustus Harlow rescues Iris Steele, a black singer from a group of men and takes her back to his hotel. They end up enjoying a glorious night of passion but when Augustus wakes up in the morning Iris is gone. She left taking something with her; his child.

Forty years later Brenda Wray, their daughter casts the spell that sets things in motion that will bring them back together.
Crit Level: Anything but I am particularly wondering if the parts were the paramedics actions cut into the vision if they are confusing or work.

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  #33  
Old 04-02-2013, 11:25 AM
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The other forum I frequent does that very thing.
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  #34  
Old 04-02-2013, 12:14 PM
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If anybody has read the FAQ, and the forum, and posting rules you will find that we do actually say that there should be a brief description before ones work, describing it, what you intend to do, what you want out of it and so on.
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  #35  
Old 04-03-2013, 03:26 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnConstantine View Post
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.


Seriously honey, bless you but I ainít that good. I did A level English Lit at night school, did consider going to uni, but made the decision to earn me keep. Iím basically self taught.

Actually my work contains very little poetic Ďclevernessí, for want of a better word. Itís more conversational than anything else, and the only Ďtalentí involved was a chance foresight to spot a gap in the market. That and a desire to prove someone wrong. I became driven by the first bit of feedback I ever received on-line, and I can remember the bit that got to me verbatim:

Ďthis is to poetry what Kate Nash is to music, fucking awful.í

I realised that I had to understand what was happening, behind the scenes, so to speak, in order to get the best out of what was inside me. Playing to strengths. I can appreciate peoplesí apprehensions when it comes to offering their opinions, Iíve been there myself, but as with all art forms, itís subjective, and there can be no right or wrong in expressing your opinion.

I firmly believe that critiquing is as equally important as the work itself, and so should be encouraged more. Getting writers to look at the what, why, how, will serve to improve their work, otherwise itís like trying to bake a cake without all the ingredients, or like Kate Nash trying to sing thrash metal on her piano.

Although on the boards they appear to go hand in hand, there are two very different art forms (poetry + critiquing) at play here. It may all seem a bit daunting, but seriously, if a dizzy Essex blonde like me can do it, how hard can it be?


xDrew
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  #36  
Old 04-03-2013, 04:03 AM
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If anybody has read the FAQ, and the forum, and posting rules you will find that we do actually say that there should be a brief description before ones work, describing it, what you intend to do, what you want out of it and so on.
Thought I remembered seeing it here, too, in the FAQ!
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  #37  
Old 04-03-2013, 04:35 AM
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Originally Posted by iDrew View Post
S
I firmly believe that critiquing is as equally important as the work itself, and so should be encouraged more. Getting writers to look at the what, why, how, will serve to improve their work, otherwise it’s like trying to bake a cake without all the ingredients, or like Kate Nash trying to sing thrash metal on her piano.
This I agree with - my ability with poetry actually grew as a result of critiquing on here. Just by saying I wasn't very knowledgeable but that I liked this bit and that bit and that is why. (Basically the same as I started out with with the stories).

But critiquing is a scary business when you don't realise that actually a reader opinion is just as valuable to a writer. Like the one that told me they wanted to know what Angus' father was doing on the other side of the door. For ages I laughed at it because the story is first person and my main character doesn't have X Ray vision. Then finally on this rewrite penny dropped and I realised the father could bang and kick on the door, Angus could guess about what his father was doing based on his knowledge of his personality etc That reader didn't know how to solve the problem but their comment was valid and contributed towards a better told story.

The only bad critique is a shopping list of faults, in my opinion. A long list of what is wrong without any indication where in the story the problem is or suggestions as to why it is wrong.

It was critiquing others that gave me a lot of confidence with my work because I realised what was right and what was wrong in my own works.

A forum of critiques where we could critique the critques or something similar would be awesome. I've asked for it on a number of forums. None seem to recognise that actually the critiques are more important to their success than the writing.

Last edited by AnyaKimlun; 04-03-2013 at 04:37 AM..
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  #38  
Old 04-03-2013, 07:14 AM
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I'm one of those who hasn't been around much, oops. Got too little time for writing/critiquing, and even less interest in endless arguments with strangers about nothing. I've also been focusing on art so thats where my internet time goes.

But if you're interested in suggestions to improve the site and encourage more members to join/contribute, here's an idea or two.

1) Widen the parameters of what you allow posted for critique, and make the distinctions more visible on the main page.

Examples - include art and music sections. Make them dedicated forums for critique and include the lyrics and script sections in those. I don't use Writing Forums anymore because I got kicked off for being an arsehole (oops again) but they're heading in the right direction with their visual arts and other media sections - http://www.writingforums.com/forum.php

So maybe checking out their main page and taking some pointers from them would help get things started here.

2) make a dedicated section for other media and publishing methods, e.g. self publishing, editors' sections, cover art/layout etc. Take a look at Absolute Write for pointers on that kind of thing.

3) Generally be more pro-active around the site, encourage critiquing and also encourage people to join up when you can. Main encouragement should be a focus on critiquing and posting work, not on chatting or talking about publishing etc, because that lessens the seriousness of the site.

4) Organise the challenges/contests into something more streamlined and have other prizes, not just inclusion in the Quarterly. Don't get me wrong, thats a nice prize but if there were other little things like recognition on the boards for poetry/art/music challenges - like a fancy coloured username for a month or a badge or something - that would go a long way to encourage members to take part more. So, maybe a dedicated challenge for each section, or the most used sections. Again, Writing Forums have a good set up with poetry challenges and their monthly literary manoeuvres. You could have something similar here with a staff member dedicated to each challenge. Small prizes for the section challenges, and a big prize - inclusion in the Quarterly - for the monthly challenge. And make a big deal out of them on the boards and elsewhere so people get interested and want to join up because of them.

WB might be small but it doesn't have to be. And if people want it to be serious, they have to stop arguing about that and get serious themselves. If there was a dedicated art section, I'd spend a lot more time here because thats my focus. I like this place and a lot of the people here, but without any incentive to stay, my time gets spent elsewhere.

Anyway, just some thoughts and suggestions. Hope you guys take them onboard and think about them.

Cheers

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  #39  
Old 04-03-2013, 07:45 AM
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The shorter word challenges do tend to be more popular with or without prizes purely because they take less time.

A much smaller site I belong to does the seventy-five word challenge every month (I post them on here sometimes) and regularly gets over fifty entries. The only prize is to pick next month's genre and theme. The really short stories are good practice for honing skills.

The standard of writing is amazing. Also the critiques on them don't take long either.
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Old 04-03-2013, 08:56 AM
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These are all really good suggestions, CandraH and Anya! Thank you!
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:37 AM
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?

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  #42  
Old 04-15-2013, 04:30 PM
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Take everything in stride. Don't lash out and belittle yourself. Learn what you can and move on. Sometimes an aggresive crit can work in your favor.
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  #43  
Old 05-02-2013, 07:45 AM
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Why do all the newbies and spambots think that a thread created by the moderators about improving WB is the best place for them to break rules and spam our forum.
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  #44  
Old 05-03-2013, 09:15 AM
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Huh? What did I miss?
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:32 AM
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Numpties!
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:56 AM
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Lol. Looks like not much then.
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Old 10-24-2013, 08:14 PM
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Ignore function? Wow, that's better than an Easy Button. Didn't know there was one.
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  #48  
Old 11-02-2013, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by AnyaKimlun View Post
Some forums have an ability to edit for an hour but after that it can't be. Is that possible here?
("...I doubt that I could stay if I couldn't get at my posts to edit them further..." ventured the goblin, adding "...I think most people are responsible if one explains the consequences of their actions to them, where I always withdraw those posts that offend the forum, though I mostly keep a backup elsewhere in case of any mishap, simply I'm sensitive to the needs of the forum while having my own agenda too...")

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  #49  
Old 11-03-2013, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Redlorry View Post
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...
I agree. Now, I think members are being better at respecting each other. I have to say though, that it's really only a few members being disrespectful. I've been here for a while now, and I had seen many good critiques, people who genuinely wants to help. There are of course those who tend to start arguments, but I think we shouldn't forget all the other members who follows the rules. Also, and more importantly, from the time I'd been here, I can say with certainty that the staff really does try to make this an environment where all can learn and improve. So please, don't accuse them of what is going on. They are vastly outnumbered by members and really, they can only do so much. You guys want a better place, one that you would love to interact with? Well then, it's time that the members stepped up to the plate also. Staff are here to help, but i believe we can all settle small incidents among ourselves and leave the big things for the staff. They're doing their best.

As for the threads being cluttered, an easy way to solve that would be to keep the coy of your previous attempts so you can keep track of it and not having to worry your post vanishing for whatever reason or due to editing. And I agree that posters should always specify what they are looking for from other member's comments, just to post as a guide.
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  #50  
Old 11-09-2013, 06:20 AM
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If it's inappropriate for me to post to this thread, please delete.

I think that the loss of strong voices is the issue. A format for posts won't take the place of the ones who are trying to do well while helping others to step up their own work.

Not listening to critiques is the cancer. Not really wanting to improve regardless of where you start out is the slow loss of blood that kills. I don't think there's a way to force things one way or another. Boot the bad tempered and promote civility. I don't think you could be expected to do more.

I see where we were and where we are now. It's impossible not to notice. But things are getting better. I want to encourage all of you who spend your time making this a destination for us. You're all wonderful, hardworking and intelligent, and many of us are indebted to you for your efforts.

I'll stay if you'll stay. I've thought many times about leaving lately. But something brings me back. I think it's all of you, the permanent good, that inhabits this wonderful work in progress. Take heart, keep doing what you've been doing all along and market forces will repair the damage. There is a market for good feedback and new blood and old hands and even tearful farewells. Throw ideas around to improve engagement. We need that.

But leave here today knowing that what you do matters, and we have taken notice of the work behind the scenes that keeps the Great Oz Great and the Beat beautiful.
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  #51  
Old 11-09-2013, 06:30 AM
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of course you are allowed to post here.

Wow, KBR that's really nicely said. We are doing our best in reviving the spirits and what you say is very true. The beat is only be as good as the member and staff makes it. I do hope you stay though. From what I saw, you are one of those who aren't afraid to give constructive feedback and I think we need more of your type among others of course.
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  #52  
Old 11-09-2013, 06:35 AM
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This capability is very important! I'm one of the ones who's done complete rewrites based on good criticism. It was never meant to offend. Just the opposite, it demonstrated the power of the critique. Please on my hands and knees don't take this away. It's one of the cool things about the beat!

Originally Posted by Redlorry 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?
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Old 11-10-2013, 06:03 PM
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Are things really that bad? Or was this site that amazing in the past?

I'm not sure, but I have had only positive dealings with people on this site. Perhaps it is because when I am critiqued I am grateful that someone has spent their valuable time and energy reading my piece and providing me their important views and feedback. Sure, I don't agree with all of it, but every view point is valid.

I have certainly seen some 'heated' discussion around critique, but every time I have witnessed this it has occurred becuase the author has taken exception to a perfectly valid observation. What I have also seen is people extracting themselves from these situations with dignity and civility.

Now this may be because I am in a timezone where all the bullshit occurs between midnight and six a.m. for me. If this is the case then the moderators have done an exceptional job of tidying this all up like little 'bad-mouth begone' pixies, so I never see it.

I like this place. True, I am very new and possibly naive. I do not frequent the 'news' section here, because it largely has an American 'Obama's a lying bastard' feel, which really doesn't interest me, so I can't speak to any shenanigans that may occur there, but the entire "Write Here" section has been a pleasure.

Sorry to bang on, but I really like it here and it is a bit sad that there appear to be some fantastic people and writers who are disillusioned and are talking of leaving. Please don't, if not for me, then the many others who have recently joined who would benefit from your wisdom and guidence.
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  #54  
Old 11-10-2013, 10:03 PM
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This thread was created some months ago, when several members felt it necessary to make their feelings known about other members, the forum and the staff.

It seemed some people were just here to bitch, sticking together in groups of outspoken individuals, all happy to take pot-shots at others and generally creating bad feeling throughout the forum. Through one reason or another those people have now left.

For a while the atmosphere got better, but the focus of WB seemed to be conversational threads and arguments. There wasn't much work being posted and hardly anyone was critiquing.

Many of you have already noticed some significant changes on the staff, and some new behaviours. The way to make this place into the forum you want it to be: helpful, productive, supportive and friendly, is to demonstrate those qualities yourself. This is what the staff are now dedicated to doing.

We're looking for ways to improve the site all the time, and yes, it was mentioned about removing the editing function. But though popular with some, others like KBR, (and myself) like the ability to go in and incorporate change on existing pieces. Not to mention the flood of posts this would create. There wasn't enough support for that particular idea for it fly. But we are always open to suggestions.

Any structural or process changes might not always be always be practical or possible, and change won't happen over night, but we will do everything we can to make this into the writing community everyone wants it to be.
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:07 AM
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I came to this site a fumbling newbie, made some mistakes then was fairly inactive for a while. Since becoming more active again, yes, I've noticed the quality of the critiques has gone up and the general cohesiveness of such a wide variety of members has impressed me.

I would hate to see anyone leave the site. Even those who I don't agree with give me valuable insight into how other people think. This is especially important to someone coming from such an isolated area as Humboldt County. I value your input, even as I'm disagreeing with you.

I know my writing has improved after just a few months here and I believe others can say the same. I think we've got a good crew here. We have our disagreements and our different ways of doing things, but did anyone join just to hear a bunch of like-minded individuals go, "Good job! That's exactly how I would have said it! Keep up the good work!," over and over again?

I think not.
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  #56  
Old 11-13-2013, 06:18 AM
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I'm a brand new member who found a reference to it on the Internet and followed it to this site.

I've posted sixty-some stories on SOL, but need more interaction with other writers than is afforded there. Therefor, I've been looking for a site like this. It gets lonely in Oklahoma when you look for intellectual companionship... Here in Muskogee, anyway.

As to flamers and other idiots, I ignore them. Why debate with the unlearned?

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Old 03-28-2014, 09:55 PM
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Have you thought about making the alert button have a second function. It's possible to do. Basically the idea would be, not just reporting the message, but making where it can't be edited by the author. Only members that are in charge of the forum (monitors). That way if it get's reported. Those trying to solve the problem can see the original post. It would avoid.. this person said this.. but can't be proven cause it's been change...
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Old 03-29-2014, 12:46 AM
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Hi SpidersWeb, thanks for thiking along with us! But we already get to see the original post When a post is reported, the report brings along a quote of the post at the moment it was reported. If the original poster decides to make changes afterward, we still have the original behind the scenes.
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Old 03-29-2014, 02:18 AM
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Awh, sorry. Trying to do several things. Multitasking is so fun.
I do realize that this isn't something that can actually be fix completely. It doesn't help that its a mesh of personalities. Some people just want to start a fight. Some just get offended easily. And then you got what ever is happening in their life at the time. So many motivation factor's..
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Old 04-02-2014, 07:38 AM
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Critique is essential for a growing writer, respect is equally important! As long as both are in play there is less likelihood for misunderstanding. We must remember to tread respectfully, honestly and without pride when writing or being read.
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