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Forum Stats

JX Valentine

Ever-Discordant
So I was recently forwarded these screenshots of the Discord server, and after some thought, I've decided to post every bit of information I have on the status of the forum.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10BN60gmYUNh44EUcRdtGmwxKA6btCGDU7jnUL4bVFqg/edit?usp=sharing
The above spreadsheet contains every version of the leaderboard from now all the way back to its beginning. Navigate the bottom tabs to view each month in its own separate sheet. This does not include every reviewer who posted in a given month, but it should give you an idea of who was the most active when.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ztOwS32hrPQsWzQU5VXrBMurDA8QEW4kl-KqifuQSVY/edit?usp=sharing
This is a spreadsheet I built to determine who the next featured fic should be. On the first tab, you'll find review stats for the current month. The highlighting is for my reference only and should be ignored.

The second tab contains every fic that was posted in from May until now, along with similar stats to the first sheet. Fics that have been frequently brought up in the server's fic-love channel and fics that have been recced in Nerdy McNerdface's interview thread are highlighted for visibility.

The third tab is a comprehensive look at the number of reviews and chapters/one-shots/parts posted per month, along with an overview of the highlighted fics on the second sheet and how many reviews were posted per month. (Note concerning the latter: The number in parentheses for each pulled-out fic is not the number of chapters posted in a month but rather how many chapters the reviewers are covering. As in, if a chapter was posted in the previous month, and a reviewer is commenting on it now, it's included in the count in parentheses.)



I'm not going to tell you what to do with this information. I'm not even going to tell you my own analysis therein (in part because I've already told several of you). I'm simply going to give you this thread to do with it whatever you deem necessary for the future of the forum. If you need any work done, please consult Psychic, Dragonfree, or bobandbill; for the sake of objectivity and to avoid hindering thought, I will not be taking any part of the discussion or its outcome except to moderate in the case of any rulebreaking or thread derailing.

Best of luck to all of you.
 

Chibi Pika

Stay positive
This is really interesting data, thanks for posting it. What stands out to me is the fact that the people who give the most reviews also tend to receive the most reviews (or just more broadly, that active members tend to get more reviews that those who just post a chapter and vanish until it’s time for the next chapter.) This is something we’ve suspected for a long time, but never actually had any real concrete proof of. So if you’re a new member (or an old one returning from hiatus) who’s been debating becoming more active around the forum, but have been hesitant/nervous about it—don’t be shy! In addition to feeling good supporting your fellow authors, it’s also proven to increase visibility to your own work!

When I get the chance, I’d love to analyze the data more thoroughly, compare posts made to posts received. I especially want to see if there's a correlation between a fic getting reviewed by a big-name reviewer and then also getting more reviews from other people as well. That would mean that big-name reviewers have the ability to shine a spotlight on a fic simply by posting in a thread! If so, we could definitely take advantage of that, imo.
 

Firebrand

Indomitable
Chibi, nothing you've said is wrong, but I think you're missing the forest for the trees. The issue here isn't so much that we don't have many reviewers on the forums (the data in sheet one pretty clearly shows otherwise), but rather what fics are being reviewed. The give reviews to get reviews rule is well established pretty much everywhere I've ever posted writing, and no one is disputing that. The trend I see most in the data is the fics of the discord clique getting the most reviews. And I'm sure part of that is that you, Cutlerine, Amby, and DreamSayer are all prolific reviewers, and therefore are subject to the reciprocity rule, but look at who else is getting the brunt of reviews, and who gets talked up all the time on fic-love. It is incredibly rare that the discord chat talks up someone who isn't actually on the discord, and that creates an ingroup. There are a lot of people on the forum who don't want to participate in that chat, and the data bears out that they are being left behind.

Despite various attempts to ring focus to lesser known writers and fics (the leaderboard spotlight, Del's new thread, etc.), the discord largely doesn't talk about them if the writers aren't in the chat. And even if you examine the data closely, the reciprocity rule starts to fall apart. Bay, for example, is fairly active in the discord and consistently ranks in the top half of the leaderboard, and yet her work sees very little traffic. Anon, on the other hand, isn't much of a presence on the leaderboard barring a spike in July (which, now that I think about it, may have largely come from his review of the latter chapters of Halvarsaga), is disproportionately represented in the fic-love channel and in the sheer volume of reviews he receives.

Ultimately, the problem here isn't that we're lacking for review activity. The review totals for the last few months bear that out. And of course, there are writers like me who are more than happy to just throw their work out and not really engage in the review community. For me, and I assume for others, the validation of a review is nice, but I'm not in this for recognition. No, the way I see it is that we've created an ingroup and a feedback loop where we laud a small handful of authors and works within that circle, leaving the rest of the community out in the cold. Even within the discord chat, despite me being still a somewhat active participant, I've found myself drawing out of discussions because it always gets railroaded back into talking about the same four or five fics. I decided to only talk about my work in the vaguest, broadest terms a while back because it was plain to me that nobody really cared what I had to say, and it would always go back to whatever the hot fic of the moment was. Basically, the problem we have is that unless you play by the rules the ingroup has decided upon amongst themselves in a closed of chat server, the game just isn't very fun anymore.
 

Chibi Pika

Stay positive
Despite various attempts to ring focus to lesser known writers and fics (the leaderboard spotlight, Del's new thread, etc.), the discord largely doesn't talk about them if the writers aren't in the chat.
You make an interesting point here, and perhaps it might be worthwhile to open this question to everyone as to why? My answer: it feels kind of awkward having an in-depth discussion about a fic if the author will never get to see it (and kinda boring--after one or two points what else can you say?) Recs are a little easier to make cause it's just a sentence or two saying you liked a thing. At the risk of sounding awkward now, I should announce that I'm a fan of Tiktok's work and I rec it a lot on the server. ^^; I review it regardless of the reciprocity rule cause I just plain like it.

And even if you examine the data closely, the reciprocity rule starts to fall apart. Bay, for example, is fairly active in the discord and consistently ranks in the top half of the leaderboard, and yet her work sees very little traffic.
I thought five reviews for one chapter was pretty good. :S Impressive even by the standards of the old days of the forum. The majority of the fics that have been getting big archive binges lately have, well... an archive to binge.

Anon, on the other hand, isn't much of a presence on the leaderboard barring a spike in July (which, now that I think about it, may have largely come from his review of the latter chapters of Halvarsaga), is disproportionately represented in the fic-love channel and in the sheer volume of reviews he receives.
Right, there are definitely some outliers, and that's why I was interested to see if there was a correlation between a fic getting visited by big-name reviewers and then getting a spike from other visitors. (To give an example in action, I read Fledglings because it was recced by a prominent reviewer, even though Spiteful Murkrow doesn't post much.)

Even within the discord chat, despite me being still a somewhat active participant, I've found myself drawing out of discussions because it always gets railroaded back into talking about the same four or five fics. I decided to only talk about my work in the vaguest, broadest terms a while back because it was plain to me that nobody really cared what I had to say, and it would always go back to whatever the hot fic of the moment was.
That's understandably disheartening, and I'm sorry that happened--that's definitely not fair to you (or anyone else.) (I thought a lot of people decided to read Halvarsaga because of the server though?) But anyways, do you think it'd be better for people to take the initiative in starting conversations about fics other than their own, or just being more contentious to avoid drowning someone out when they want to be heard? (The latter seems more natural, imo.)
 
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Cutlerine

Gone. Not coming back.
You make an interesting point here, and perhaps it might be worthwhile to open this question to everyone as to why? My answer: it feels kind of awkward having an in-depth discussion about a fic if the author will never get to see it (and kinda boring--after one or two points what else can you say?) Recs are a little easier to make cause it's just a sentence or two saying you liked a thing. At the risk of sounding awkward now, I should announce that I'm a fan of Tiktok's work and I rec it a lot on the server. ^^; I review it regardless of the reciprocity rule cause I just plain like it.

I mean, I guess the thing to do here, then, is to move the focus of conversation back to the forum. Like, I joined the Discord because I felt like any interaction I might have once had with the other writers here had shrunk down massively, and then stopped participating when my dislike of that format versus the forum became too much to ignore. Which is not a great place for the forum to be at, I think. It's here that the stories are, here that the bulk of the authors are, and here that will attract new authors, if anything will. (Those are something we also really need, by the way, since you know, a small number of active forumgoers can only create a small amount of activity without pushing themselves unnecessarily harshly, and those authors are going to be attracted by a lively-looking forum rather than one where all the conversation has shifted off-site.)

I'd also agree with Firebrand that the Discord is kinda monotonous -- which I'd expect, honestly, given that it's only a small subsection of an already small community talking to itself. Everything about it -- its size, its disconnection from the forum itself -- really tends to encourage insularity, I think, in a way that discussions hosted on the forum itself don't. I don't know that I have answers to these problems; attempts to move the locus of conversation from the Discord back to the forums haven't really gone very well, and the thing about channels like fic-love in the Discord is that they don't really solve the problem either -- they consist of single lines thrown out there often without much comment, and that isn't really a workable replacement for a proper discussion. The actual thread of conversation always goes back to the same few fics, dominated by the same few voices.

And I don't know if altering the fabric of the Discord to try to address that would do much good if that didn't translate into fair attention being given to fics on the forums, too. Lots of us are reviewing more, and a couple of us are reviewing more broadly, too, but like the data shows and Firebrand pointed out, Bay's not getting much in the way of reviews despite being an impressive leaderboard presence, and she isn't the only one who's being short-changed by the review culture here. I don't think we need to only review according to the rule of reciprocity and never give reviews to fics we just really like, but there needs to be much more of an effort to work by that rule.
 
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Chibi Pika

Stay positive
(Those are something we also really need, by the way, since you know, a small number of active forumgoers can only create a small amount of activity without pushing themselves unnecessarily harshly
I don't have the time to write up a lengthy reply, but I just want to pop in quick to say that I really appreciate this point being made, because thus far it's always felt like the onus to fix things has been thrust upon the... what, seven of us doing the bulk of the reviewing? And that the conversation always came back to, "Hey, you guys doing all that reviewing already: review more/you're reviewing the wrong things."

And I don't know if altering the fabric of the Discord to try to address that would do much good if that didn't translate into fair attention being given to fics on the forums, too. Lots of us are reviewing more, and a couple of us are reviewing more broadly, too, but like the data shows and Firebrand pointed out, Bay's not getting much in the way of reviews despite being an impressive leaderboard presence, and she isn't the only one who's being short-changed by the review culture here. I don't think we need to only review according to the rule of reciprocity and never give reviews to fics we just really like, but there needs to be much more of an effort to work by that rule.
Bay is a solid contributor to the forum, and has gotten a soild response on her work, and I'm not sure where people are getting the idea otherwise? Is it because she's posted so few chapters, and lots of lengthy chapter fics have been getting read lately? I'm genuinely confused here.

In any case, I highly agree that it makes more sense to focus on the forum itself in this conversation rather than the server, as somehow getting the server to spend a lot of time discussing fics by authors not present would be really awkward, unlikely, and wouldn't even help much. In particular, I think it would be important to discuss if there's any ways to, well, get more people in on reviewing by the rule of reciprocity? Cause we definitely need more people in on it.
 

JX Valentine

Ever-Discordant
I know I said I wouldn’t contribute to the discussion, but a note of warning concerning railroading. The onus was never on active reviewers to review more; the whole point of the discussion I’ve presented for months—as well as the data here—was I was warning people concerning apathy.

Furthermore, it won’t do to force the data I’ve presented to mean something it most definitely doesn’t. I’m not sure where you got the idea that the spreadsheets are saying prominent reviewers receive the most reviews when the data is formatted in a monthly basis to show reviewing trends over time, rather than among people. In other words, this is hard evidence of what I’ve been saying for months about trends on the forum.

Moreover, it’s a good idea to stop thinking in terms of what’s good or bad before the uptick in activity. Remember: it was incredibly difficult to be reviewed, period, during the years you’re using as a point of comparison. You need to look in terms of now in order to avoid sliding backwards because what we’re trying to do is keep moving forward, not look back on the progress we’ve made. Bay didn’t receive five reviews; she received four reviews in a month, then one and one again for her latest. Four may still sound great, but when you line it up with anon’s counts (as he doesn’t actively review in comparison—which he’s acknowledged via the screenshots, never mind the data from link 1), four is kind of nothing, especially given how much work she puts in. Also, note that her main reviewers at the time were not from the server, which may be evidence of what Cutlerine and Firebrand were talking about. But if you’d like a full spreadsheet that goes into detail comparing the participants of the leaderboard to the amount of reviews they get back, I’d be happy to build one tonight.

Finally and most concerning (and the main reason I’m posting), it’s not a good idea to cast aside points people are making, either. Perhaps this is why you’ve always gotten the wrong impression about who I was talking about whenever I’d bring up literally the data I’ve presented here (not to sound accusatory; simply stating a possible misunderstanding), but the point here is that Cutlerine and Firebrand aren’t talking about bringing the conversation of this thread back to the forum. They’re talking about, literally, bringing the conversation back to the forum. Sure, you may want to talk about fixing the forum, but that doesn’t mean you can’t talk about the possibility that the server is one of the forum’s problems, especially if that’s a concern people are bringing up.

Tl;dr, you all can still decide whatever you want to do, but literally pay attention to what the other people in the discussion bare saying, even if it’s not something you want to hear. That’s a good way to derail the conversation hella fast. (Also, please be careful when reading those spreadsheets. They’re a flipping mess, I know, but there's a point to them.)

Final note of clarification: It’s fine to discuss other ways to increase activity on the forum. I’m simply concerned that the context of doing so right now seems to ignore Cutlerine and Firebrand’s points, and that sort of direction can be highly circular and not at all productive.
 
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Firebrand

Indomitable
To respond to a few points... again, forest for the trees. Chibi, you seem to have gotten hung up on the review reciprocity and quantity of the reviews, and if that's the rabbit hole you want to keep going down, so be it, but that's really not the issue here, or at least it isn't in how I'm interpreting the data. What I (and I believe Cutlerine as well, though correct me if I'm wrong here) am trying to address is that we have a stratified community, and the actions of some of our most active members continue to reinforce that divide. No one is saying that the prolific reviewers need to review more or that they can't review whatever they want. Honestly, as far as I'm concerned, it's not about reviews at all. We as a community have elevated a handful of writers and said that they are the ones writing the fics the community is going to center around, and anyone who doesn't like it is welcome to keep plugging away at their own stuff, but they don't get to sit at the cool kids table.

Like it or not, most of this comes down to the server. When it kicked off, it was a good way to bring the community together to chat in real time and it worked as a good supplement to the forum. But especially lately, the chat server has turned into it's own isolated satellite community with its own hierarchy and elite. The writing-chat channel has siphoned away a lot of activity from the AC, and not in a positive way. I remember a few years ago, the AC had lot of new discussion threads popping up all the time, and sure, a lot of them were repetitive and extraneous, but there was plenty of good talk there too. The nature of a live chat isn't really conducive to the kind of discussion that would really enliven this forum. And I know this has been brought up in the writing-chat itself, that some of the topics that are brought up there would do well to be cross-posted to the AC, but they never are. I've noticed a lot in writing-chat that someone will bring up a topic, and if it isn't railroaded away so that someone can talk about their fic, it's kicked around a little bit until one of the Voices of Authority steps in and says "I think xyz about this" and... discussion stops. Because a Voice of Authority has spoken, and that's the end of it. Sure, that can happen on the forum too, but instead of kicking around a topic for an hour or two, the discussion could go on for a couple days at a time, and not get whisked away in the chat archive.

Which sorta leads me to something else that's been bugging me. I don't really care for how some people on the server use it to talk at length about themselves. That's not to say it's in bad taste to talk about yourself or your projects or whatever, but there are definitely some people who use it like their twitter feed and/or personal writing blog, and that doesn't sit right, because it goes right in with the point I made last night about how I feel discussion is consistently drawn back into the same feedback loop of the inner circle. That kind of stuff doesn't work in forum style posting, so like Cutlerine is saying, bringing the conversation back to the forum and away from the closed circle of the chat server will help the community flourish. The foundation is there with the activity around the leaderboard, and I really think if we get more people talking shop in the AC, we'll start seeing a more unified and bustling community. We have a lot of people posting material and a sizable crop of active reviewers.

To address a few of the points you raised directly in response to me though:

As far as Halvarsaga gaining a readership thanks to the server... I just don't know. The vast majority of my reviews on that fic came from two reviewers who started reading in the middle and continued to leave reviews on a chapter-by-chapter basis after they got caught up. It was also up for a couple of awards, and those nominations went up before the server, iirc. So I've got know way of knowing how I got an audience, because the point I was trying to make is that I always felt it was an inhospitable climate to talk about it on the server. Any time I talked about it in a way that wasn't a very broad question about writing in general or as an example in response to a specific question someone was asking, it was quickly glossed over in discussion so people could get back to talking about the fics du jour, usually WSSTK, snowstorm or OtD. I only remember it being mentioned in fic-love once, possibly twice, although that recollection is hazy. Please don't think I'm bringing this up to complain; that fic is over, I'm satisfied with the finished product, and like I said in my post last night, I'm not doing this for glory. I only mention it as an example of one of the fics that wasn't uplifted by the server.

As far as your theory of fics getting a popularity boost after being reviewed by a big-name reviewer: I think my own body of work disproves the hypothesis. Both Halvarsaga and Hawlucha Man have received reviews from most of the top scorers of the leaderboard, but that doesn't have a trickle down effect. The surest results for a fic to catch on here is for it to be promoted regularly in the discord chat (and going along with that, be one of the 4-5 writers that the discord chat generally promotes).

As uncomfortable as it might be to admit, the problem with the community on the forum might be the closed-off community the discord group has created.
 

Bay

YEAHHHHHHH
Ok, since I've been namedropped in this thread a few times and I was the one that mentions about not getting noticed several times, I'll give an explination/two cents here.

To be clear, I'm grateful for the reviews I got for Foul Play. Not just here, but also over at PokeCommunity, so I got more than enough feedback for the first chapter if we're counting both places. I got comments how people are looking forward to more and such. I often talked about what plans I have for the story in Discord and people say they're interested what I have in store.

When it comes to fic-love and the recs in the "Interview the Reviewers thread," I get none of that. I usually see icomeanon06, Negrek, Cutlerine, and a few others gets more mentions and gushing in Discord. I then get self doubt if I'm good enough, if I'm a fake and I'm not delivering. I thought perhaps I'm overreacting since my fic only has a couple chapters, but I also did several one shots where while I did get some comments, I feel ignored in favor of other writers when fic recs are being discussed.

Concerning the screenshots where I mentioned about the server alienating the forums, Firebrand and Cutlerine already hit the main points that I was feeling. I still enjoy the server sometimes for small talk, but I won't deny the way writing discussions are carrying it does seem closed off.

As for getting the forum more activity, I would love it if we can spotlight the more underrepresented writers and promote the discussions going on in AC. However, as Firebrand mentioned despite the Review Leaderboard with the Fic Feature and Del's thread, those aren't attracting much attention.
 

roule

take it all or leave it... I Feel You
it was quickly glossed over in discussion so people could get back to talking about the fics du jour, usually WSSTK, snowstorm or OtD.

I hate to detract from your original point (which I agree with) or seem argumentative, Firebrand, but I feel like it's mostly me talking about snowstorm. That’s my own fault, by bringing it up too much, but still, I think it’s a little unfair to assume that my fic is super popular on here or the discord. For a good while, I rarely got reviews for my fics, and I never had a really vocal reading audience. I tried my best to promote it, because I had the same feelings that Bay has, that I'm an inferior writer and because I’m not reccomended, I should just delete my account and give up. I hate to sound like I’m complaining, but I was under the assumption for a while that no one really cared about my fic, and wrote more chapters because it was better than doing nothing iand that maybe in a year or so, someone would read it and enjoy it. However, I could be wrong about this, and I appreciate you giving your opinion.

I’m with everyone else that there should be more threads on AC. There are still people who frequent this board who are not on the discord, and we’re forgetting about them and closing off viewpoints by keeping discussions there. I will be frank, and say I’ve been guilty of doing that, and that I’m sorry for doing it. Also, I feel like it’s a better way to participate with the community for people like me who can’t review all the time. However, I think the discord is still useful for discussion and helping other authors iron out kinks with their fics, and I’d like to see it improved, not discontinued. However, me, and everyone on the discord really needs to step out into the forums and have these discussions in writing-chat on the forums instead of just there. Especially when these conversations can both go on for much longer and have more input in the AC.

As for activity, I want to remain a little optimistic and say that it’s better than it was when I first started posting in December. We’ve been seeing different fics by newbies or returning members. However, we are still struggling with reviews/activity in AC. I still see many of the problems I saw when I first started posting in December 2016 of perfectly fine fics getting little to no reviews and dropping off the front page and never appearing again. I think a lot of folks (including me) have this belief that “oh, someone else will write that review and it’ll be better than mine, I probably shouldn’t write anything because it won’t be good”, and that kind of sucks total ***! I have a little bit of an excuse in that I’m really f*cking busy, but for a decent few, there really isn’t an excuse. That sort of self-deprecation gets absolutely nothing done. It’s probably been said before, but if we start having active discussions in AC and review more fics that aren’t from the same few people, we’ll probably end up with a positive reputation, and more activity on the forum in general.
 
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Chibi Pika

Stay positive
Honestly, as far as I'm concerned, it's not about reviews at all. We as a community have elevated a handful of writers and said that they are the ones writing the fics the community is going to center around, and anyone who doesn't like it is welcome to keep plugging away at their own stuff, but they don't get to sit at the cool kids table.
I'll be honest, I thought it was about reviews because the data in the opening post was about reviews. I'm sorry if it seemed like I was fixated on that. I didn't want to detract from what you were saying, I just misinterpreted what we were talking about.

The writing-chat channel has siphoned away a lot of activity from the AC, and not in a positive way. I remember a few years ago, the AC had lot of new discussion threads popping up all the time, and sure, a lot of them were repetitive and extraneous, but there was plenty of good talk there too.
This is fair. And while I, personally, find real-time chat to be a more meaningful and enjoyable way to interact with writers, I understand that not only is that not the case for everyone, but not healthy for the forum long-term.

The foundation is there with the activity around the leaderboard, and I really think if we get more people talking shop in the AC, we'll start seeing a more unified and bustling community. We have a lot of people posting material and a sizable crop of active reviewers.
If you think that will help, then I support you on this. And I guess I'll kick this off with something I like--the recent threads "update schedules" and "oversleeping." This might sound silly, but I like the fact that everyone felt like it was... ok to talk to each other in those threads? The AC has always felt so... formal. Come in, answer the prompt, leave. I'd love more genuine interactions like in those threads.
 

Cutlerine

Gone. Not coming back.
To respond to a few points... again, forest for the trees. Chibi, you seem to have gotten hung up on the review reciprocity and quantity of the reviews, and if that's the rabbit hole you want to keep going down, so be it, but that's really not the issue here, or at least it isn't in how I'm interpreting the data. What I (and I believe Cutlerine as well, though correct me if I'm wrong here) am trying to address is that we have a stratified community, and the actions of some of our most active members continue to reinforce that divide. No one is saying that the prolific reviewers need to review more or that they can't review whatever they want. Honestly, as far as I'm concerned, it's not about reviews at all. We as a community have elevated a handful of writers and said that they are the ones writing the fics the community is going to center around, and anyone who doesn't like it is welcome to keep plugging away at their own stuff, but they don't get to sit at the cool kids table.

That's exactly what I meant, yeah. I might have worded it slightly ambiguously, for which I apologise, but what I meant by "review culture" isn't necessarily quantity of reviews, it's the culture surrounding reviewing: fic discussion, the veneration of certain people and fics, the unhealthy feedback loop the Discord promotes, and all of the stuff that goes into deciding who gets fic recs, who gets the bulk of reviewing attention, and so on. What I meant by "activity" wasn't just reviews either, it was discussion, conversation, all the stuff that the AC used to host but which now has moved over to the Discord -- and, frankly, suffered for it; the discussions are more closed, less interesting, and more prone to being shut down by a single voice at the end whose opinion everyone seems to agree constitutes the final word on the matter. Honestly, that kind of conversation is, quite apart from being distasteful, boring. And it's not even on the forums, so while it does create a community (for a given value of the word "community"), it doesn't help to build one here.

As uncomfortable as it might be to admit, the problem with the community on the forum might be the closed-off community the discord group has created.

Again, yes. That's what I was trying to get at.

If you think that will help, then I support you on this. And I guess I'll kick this off with something I like--the recent threads "update schedules" and "oversleeping." This might sound silly, but I like the fact that everyone felt like it was... ok to talk to each other in those threads? The AC has always felt so... formal. Come in, answer the prompt, leave. I'd love more genuine interactions like in those threads.

I agree with Firebrand on this, too. We've got reviewers, we've got new material -- we don't have discussion. These three things feed off each other, and if we can balance all this, it can only really be a good thing. If you like those threads and the way discussion kicked off in them -- which, why wouldn't you, it's been great how people have interacted like that -- then honestly the best thing to do is make more. Let's start more threads, encourage conversation here, and revive the AC. I know a couple of people have expressed reservations with the forum format as opposed to the Discord one, because this feels more formal and people agonise over shaping and crafting their posts; the answer to that would be, I think, to encourage the phenomenon that you describe and build on that sense of interaction, making this place feel less formal and more like a forum for conversation.
 

bobandbill

Winning Smile
Staff member
Super Mod
Just quickly - while closing the whole discord server is a rather radical 'solution', what are people's thoughts on removing the fic-love channel given it does appear to be a source of the clique and etc?

As said recently in the main channel, I also am very open to having writing related discussions be encouraged (or even enforced if that doesn't work?) to be paralleled in this subsection for activities' sake, even if the discussion in discord is short/concluded with an answer.

Lastly, if we're struggling with highlighting/discussing/reviewing different fics, then maybe that should be some sort of weekly goal or event (both forum and discord advertised) to give reviews to the oft ignored writers, old and new. I have nothing concrete on this atm but throwing it out there.
I agree with Firebrand on this, too. We've got reviewers, we've got new material -- we don't have discussion. These three things feed off each other, and if we can balance all this, it can only really be a good thing. If you like those threads and the way discussion kicked off in them -- which, why wouldn't you, it's been great how people have interacted like that -- then honestly the best thing to do is make more. Let's start more threads, encourage conversation here, and revive the AC. I know a couple of people have expressed reservations with the forum format as opposed to the Discord one, because this feels more formal and people agonise over shaping and crafting their posts; the answer to that would be, I think, to encourage the phenomenon that you describe and build on that sense of interaction, making this place feel less formal and more like a forum for conversation.
Sounds good to me!
 

Firebrand

Indomitable
I think there is a place for writing-chat on the discord, especially if someone has a quick question on a specific topic that they need feedback on or an answer for, or someone looking to organize a word war. Those benefit from a real-time response. I don't think the answer is to scrap the discord, or even the fic-love channel necessarily, but to make a concerted effort to bring it back in line with its original purpose, as a supplement to the community rather than a replacement. It would seem to me that enforcing people to cross post between the discord and the AC will only make people post less in both places, but encouraging a culture where the discord people actively decide to bring their discussion to the forum will bring this about organically.
 

Samayouru

Rabid Dusclops Fan
All right. I'm going to throw my thoughts into here too - mostly regarding the discord/ac discussion.

It's funny - just a few days ago I was thinking about this sort of topic and what has changed since it was brought on. On one hand I really like the place because it allows for conversation and discussion, but on the other I've noticed how discussion on the forums has slowed down to a faint trickle. In fact I've started visiting the discord less and less now because I feel that too much focus is being put on the chatroom. I'm not saying it's completely bad or anything but I do feel that there needs to be a balance.

I went ahead and did some digging, bringing up older threads to see the difference between activity then and activity now, just to see if there really was any change and it wasn't just me being nostalgic.

I decided to take a look at a section of topics that were being created just under 6 years ago and I can certainly see that there has been a dip in activity and that was around about the time that the discord server went up, whereas the topics from 6 years ago had more of a steady output of topics and conversation. That being said, quite a lot of the topics had casual answers too - it had a little bit of both worlds so it wasn't too formal either.

I believe part of why this has happened is more to do with convenience. Most people who write or even roleplay are usually on sites that "demand" less from their users such as DeviantArt or Tumblr and of course chat programs like Skype and Discord.

If I had a dollar (or Great British pound in my case) for every person I came across who told me they hated this forum's fanfic section and its cafe because of the standards it had. But that was the draw for a lot of people like me - it made me want to improve my standards and get better. I'm not sure if that worked in the end or not, but it certainly helped.

Culterine summed it up perfectly:

Culterine said:
We've got reviewers, we've got new material -- we don't have discussion. These three things feed off each other, and if we can balance all this, it can only really be a good thing. If you like those threads and the way discussion kicked off in them -- which, why wouldn't you, it's been great how people have interacted like that -- then honestly the best thing to do is make more. Let's start more threads, encourage conversation here, and revive the AC. I know a couple of people have expressed reservations with the forum format as opposed to the Discord one, because this feels more formal and people agonise over shaping and crafting their posts; the answer to that would be, I think, to encourage the phenomenon that you describe and build on that sense of interaction, making this place feel less formal and more like a forum for conversation.

Unfortunately I don't have much in the way of answers - I am aware that a lot is going to be needed to help get more discussion in the AC and I am unfortunately in a position right now where my attention needs to be invested in things outside of the internet. But if you guys want to bring some life back to the AC, I'll try to help where I can.
 

The Great Butler

Hush, keep it down
My opinion on #fic-love is that it should be adapted back to the forum in some way. I've been working on developing some ideas for it that aren't quite ready yet, but they're in the pipeline.
 
I know I haven't been around very much as of late, but I've been watching this unfold over the past few weeks, and I'd like to put in my two cents about this whole thing.

I'm very much with Firebrand and Cutlerine on this one, in that some aspects of the Discord chat seem to stratify the Serebii community a little more than I'm comfortable with. The reason that I mention this is because something very similar happened a bunch of years ago with the Fan Fiction Mafia club. You remember that old thing? For those who weren't a part of it, it was a thread on the forums where writers and reviewers would meet and discuss random writing topics, and sometimes advertise fics.

Sounds pretty familiar.

The thread eventually became an echo chamber of sorts, with only a small number of voices really having any say, and the community become EXCEEDINGLY insular, to the point where only a couple of members were really represented at all. Not really surprisingly, it was these people who were also getting the most buzz on the forums proper. Then, after some major conflicts, the thread died, and activity on the forums slowed to a crawl for a very long time.

Now, this may be me being a litter paranoid, I'll grant, but I'm worried that the Discord chat may cause something very similar to happen. As a response, I'm very much in agreement with some of the previous posters on this thread, where some aspects of the Discord could be slightly altered. The writing chat, I've always felt, should be for people who have very specific questions on specific aspects of their fic, not necessarily for broad topic discussion. That's what I've always seen the Café for. As for the fic love thread...it's become an echo chamber, guys, I'm sorry. I see the same fics being talked about over and over again, and if I remember correctly, wasn't it made to highlight fics that aren't being talked about that much and people should take a look at?

I know I sound overly pessimistic, but I LIKE the Discord chat, and I LIKED the Mafia, and I can see the former going down the same path as the latter if some changes aren't made.

My two cents. I'm sorry if I came off as redundant or grumpy, but it needed to be said.

-Phalanx, out.
 

diamondpearl876

Well-Known Member
I was interested in why Samayouru went 6 years back because that's a really long time ago to compare today to, given how things and people who were around then have changed in that time period, and... unless I ordered my search thing wrong (I'm awful when it comes to using forum search functions tbh) there were absolutely no threads started from 2011 to 2015. If there were, they must be deleted now or something. Like, that's pretty much my entire college career that there was no activity here. None. Zilch.

In 2017, we're not through the year yet and we have about TWENTY-FOUR discussion threads (again not counting awards discussion/mod-hosted events/locked threads). This is a massive, massive jump no matter how you look at it, and I do think Discord, which started very early 2017, is in part to thank for this along with all of the events/features we've had.


EDIT: Nevermind, nope I'm forum illiterate as suspected. There are threads during that time period. RIP me.

REGARDLESS, the activity boost all around the board so far has been great to see. Cliques or no cliques, everyone somehow has contributed to bringing this community back to feeling lively again. The activity is not boosted to a level that we want it to be at yet, no, and Discord is something that's holding us back, yes, I agree. I'm mostly posting to emphasize that I've personally seen some progress, and I hope we can continue to make progress in all areas. I've not felt the place to be interactive or personal in a long, long time, and I'm starting to meet people who have been on the forums with me for years and had never really learned much about, and I think that's pretty cool.

I agree on the points already made in the discussion of what's holding back the discussion in the AC and how to fix it (too formal, not interactive enough, et cetera), so I won't go into that again.
 
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The Great Butler

Hush, keep it down
So yeah, as I mentioned earlier in this thread, I think one thing we should do is take #fic-love off the Discord and make it a thing here. I've observed that it does tend to have people talking about the same few fics over and over again, and I think a small part of why that is is the real-time, sort of freewheeling nature of a live chat system.

What I'm suggesting is this. Cleave off #fic-love from the Discord and we'll make it a thread here instead. Right away, that should make it more accessible to people who just happen to read something they like and want to say they liked it. But it can't be completely free and without rules, either. We'll need to create a set of rules for it to prevent the kind of circular discussions that plagued it on the Discord. I haven't got many ideas for what those rules would be yet, but what the goal would be is to encourage diversity in posting and discourage endless repetition of the same stories being posted.

Once we get that thread going I think it could ultimately be built on as a basis for new reviewing games, too.
 

Cutlerine

Gone. Not coming back.
That actually sounds like a great idea -- maybe we could have something to prevent a story being recommended more than once in X period of time? It might go against the spirit of a thread in which people can just mention whatever it is they came across and liked, but I think that kind of restriction might be the kind of thing we need to avoid the circular discussions that the Discord has resulted in.
 
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