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Serebii Discord Server

The fanfic discord should...

  • go back to being public

    Votes: 14 82.4%
  • stay as is

    Votes: 2 11.8%
  • be dissolved

    Votes: 1 5.9%
  • other

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    17

The Great Butler

Hush, keep it down
If it's able to provide the community with a way to have a general chat and get quick tips/help (where they would not work on the actual forum)

This is the ideal, I think. Or at least it is in my mind.
 

icomeanon6

It's "I Come Anon"
My opinion is closest to DP's. I feel like we've come dangerously close in the past to equating individual connections with cliques, and I find that as alienating as cliques proper. I want to be clear though that I'm not upset at anyone for raising concerns about cliques. I think we're all speaking and acting in good faith, and more than anything I want us to understand where everyone is coming from and have Serebii FF be a place where disagreements end with resolution rather than resentment.

A live-chat's purpose is ideally to foster camaraderie in the community, but the cost is that it can only build camaraderie among users who go there and enjoy chatting there. And the strengths of both forums and chatrooms aren't universal: some people find chatrooms taxing and forums engaging, others the opposite, and some thrive in both. Making a community that's perfect for everyone is impossible, but I think it's safe to say that everyone here wants every member to feel like they belong on Serebii FF whichever kind of platform they gravitate to. My opinion is that we can we can keep the community's center of gravity on the forum proper (which is where it belongs because it's the part that's visible to potential new members) without alienating the Discord regulars, and to do that I think we should overhaul the Discord so that it can't act as a replacement for the forums.

Overhaul Proposal:

#fic-love but also #shameless-advertising and #bunny-farm have direct forum counterparts, so I would recommend their removal. #writing-chat is trickier because there's a real gray area between what's "chit-chat" about the daily grind of writing and what would work well as a forum topic. This would involve a larger culture change on the discord, but I would recommend splitting it into #writing-advice and #the-grind. The former would be a sounding board and advice area specifically for fics that users are writing/thinking about writing. The latter would be day-to-day stuff, venting, encouragement, word war, etc., and the guidance would be that discussion about writing topics in the abstract belongs on the forum. #suggestion-box can be where discord-events are suggested, sorted out, and given approval, with the rule being that it has to be something that can only be done in real-time, and that other events belong in threads. Maybe combine #nanowrimo with #the-grind as well.

#fanart I'm unsure on because I'm not an artist and have less stake in it. Maybe limit it to fic-related art and add an encouragement to check out the Serebii Fan Art forum for other art. #ask-a-bot I don't think needs any change (I keep it on mute because it can get noisy with dice rolling). As bobandbill said, #general-chat and #pokemon-gaming overlap with the general Serebii discord. My opinion is that #general-chat has a legitimate purpose in that we're specifically a community of writers, and any community can use a place to just commune. A channel for writers to talk about a specific non-writing/fic topic that has official sections elsewhere though I think has less of a purpose, so I'd consider #pokemon-gaming for removal.

To summarize, here is how I would restructure the channels:

[spoil]#rules-and-info (rewritten because the original rules post is gone)
#announcements-and-events
#introductions-and-hellos
#event-suggestion-box

#general-chat
#writing-advice
#the-grind
#fic-fanart
#ask-a-bot

#vocaroo (this is the voice chat channel which some of us use on weekends; don't know where the name comes from)[/spoil]

So those are my suggestions. Whatever the mods and staff decide though, I think it's most important that we the users adjust with civility and in recognition of each others' good faith.
 
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Samayouru

Rabid Dusclops Fan
I honestly wish I was able to make a long post about my full thoughts about this situation, but when it comes right down to it I really don't have much to say. I suppose I can see it from both angles here: on one hand the discord was a fun place where I made some good friends, but on the other things have changed on the forums where there's been more activity and new faces now than I've seen in just under two years. A lot of points have been made for and against having the discord too, but to be truthful I find that I really don't miss the chatroom - mostly because it actually ended up getting more of my attention than my fanfics did.

When it comes right down to it - I would rather see more activity from the forums, because that's what most newcomers are going to be interested in. If they see that we're a friendly community who help each other out "in public" so to speak, it'll show them just how active we really are. It isn't quite the same if most of it happens in a discord server that most newcomers probably won't be interested in if the forums are as quiet as they were during the last year or so.
 

Venia Silente

[](int x){return x;}
As a person who is not in the Discord server(s) I probably do not have much to say about how those servers are run or not; however, I think I can properly speak about why am I not there, or in many other places, which is also related to why I am not too active overall and some matters about personal preferences and feelings about connectivity and independence, so caveat emptor.

It all boils down how tiring it is to be part of a community, and I don't mean it in a bad way but more in a utilitarian, "work to live / live to work" kind of way. I'm already on five or six Discord servers and I am thinking of leaving some of them all the time. (I asked once for a Serebii invite but never followed up on it simply because I have that much on my plate already) Simply put, I function better in systems such as e-mails or forums where the world "pauses" sort of so that you can take your time (out of IRL, spare time, sleep, et cetera) and prepare a proper response even if it takes half or a full week because of the aspects above, whereas live chats add a sort of 24/7 stress about you are going to miss out on stuff if you are not there right there and then. It's all part of the current trend of living in a fast and outwards world I guess, but it's still there nonetheless, and I'd rather keep it at bay while I can.

Still, that does lead to a thought and that is that having a forum or forum-like community, built around a forum platform, where the slower pacing and more open part were to be still dependent on a more live, instant, 24/7-ish presence requirement to be aware of things only makes it feel much less welcoming to me, and that's even before getting to the subject of cliques. I've always considered that such "live" communities have to be only secondary, or tertiary even, to the central platform that has a more easily browseable and recordable presence, lest activity in the platform itself become an obligation due to a dependency on an external and more demanding authority, like how there is a current trend going on that if you don't have a Linkedin profile it's like you simply don't exist for jobhunting. This is also why I am averse to some community efforts here such as the Reviewing Leaderboard, which I feel basically focuses attention only on people who can be incredibly active here and penalizes everyone else, thus making it more of a circlejerking matter not too unlike the Discord cliques; this is a subject I have talked with Bay at least in a similar context on how to revitalize activity in a different community.

From all that, and back to the more local issues, I draw from a personal perspective two things:

* There's basically the notion that if the cliques are that much of a problem, they have to be dealt with before dealing with the Discord or in parallel, or they will just slip over the next implementation as a problem. Even a "reopening" of the Discord server would do nothing if the same people are there recommending the exact same fics (for the exact same reasons).

* Whatever activity I have on Serebii is gonna focus on the forums, simply because of their nature; it doesn't matter how interesting the subjects that come up in Discord conversations are if they never map to here, and thus, from the perspective of what I can see and how much time I spend here, this place sometimes looks almost empty, so I end up going somewhere else. So a programatically implemented mechanism that can map subjects or threads from here to there and viceversa, even if only for notification, would probably be useful (and helpful in that the idea is to not have to add extra management burden to either side, or the mods thereof). So, there's a social problem to solve and a technical problem to solve.

* Still, the same problem (and others related) is also happening in other communities, so it's not like we are alone in this regard. But I feel the fact that the Discord server is "unofficial" (and that there is another, "official" one), colors the palette of possible solutions in a way that other communities are not going to have, and much of the solution comes through what do the Serebii admins expect from a Discord side to their community.

* ...Whatever happened to the Serebii IRC? Or did I dream of that? I always liked IRC more as it is a simpler, open, more independent protocol and platform (among other ones, your client can keep and organize logs which with Discord is impossible; can not require Electron which means it can run in an old, secondhand machine; and is run by your own community, meaning it is not subject to a third party's rules, whims and monetization; all those are things I like for virtual presence)
 

Negrek

Lost but Seeking
So it's clear that people are worried about cliques on the forums and the potential for Discord to make those worse. What should we do about it? icomeanon6 made a lot of suggestions, and in particular I think removing the #shameless-advertising and #fic-love channels is pretty much a no-brainer. What do people think about splitting the #writing-chat channel like he proposed? Or does anyone else have some suggestions for how we should restructure the Discord channel?

It also looks like some people don't like how the reviewing leaderboard works right now; don't know whether it would be worth it to spin off a topic about that. (I think implementing some kind of system where you can save/bank points, so you can get some reward eventually even if you don't review a ton in any given month, or something that allows you to compete against your own best rather than just the top monthly reviewers, might help address the issues it sounds like people have with it.)
 

Firebrand

Indomitable
So it's clear that people are worried about cliques on the forums and the potential for Discord to make those worse. What should we do about it? icomeanon6 made a lot of suggestions, and in particular I think removing the #shameless-advertising and #fic-love channels is pretty much a no-brainer. What do people think about splitting the #writing-chat channel like he proposed? Or does anyone else have some suggestions for how we should restructure the Discord channel?

While I think anon's ideas are good ones, and I support getting rid of #fic-love and #bunny-farm, I'm not sure how I feel about axing #shameless-advertising considering it's far more visible to the more vocal members of our community than the forum thread. And while the idea is of course to move people back to the fourm, I don't think axing the channel and expecting everyone to periodically check the shameless advertising forum thread is actually going to solve that problem, at least not yet. It's clear that people hang out on the discord, while they only check the forum. Your fic is by far more likely to get a little visibility bump if you post your link on the discord than if you post it to a forum thread that... kind of doesn't see a lot of activity. Our goal should be to get that particular forum thread more popular, but just saying "Okay, this is where you advertise new posts now!" is not going to work, not with the forum set up the way it is currently.

I'm also wary of us just restructuring the discord into more compartmentalized channels and thinking that the problem is solved. There are a lot of misgivings and apprehensions from users both in this thread and the previous one that I don't think are being sufficiently addressed by keeping the conversation focused on how to fix the discord channel. As I tried to articulate before, right now the discord is basically a chat room for people who have connected via this board to hang out and chat outside the confines of more formalized forum posting. And that's okay, that's a thing that happens with online communities nowadays, and I think that even if we were to completely shut the discord down tomorrow, one of us would probably just create another discord chat for the users to hang out in. I don't think that's ideal, but at this stage I'm also not comfortable with just opening up the discord to the general public again, not until we've figured out what kind of community we've wanted to be.

But like Cutlerine, myself, and several others have tried to express, this conversation is only going to keep stalling if people keep trying to frame it in the context of "how do we fix the discord". If this isn't talked about from the angle of "how do we fix our forum community" we're just going to have another thread like this in a few months time talking about the same crop of issues. Now, we can be a community that is centered around an off-site, dubiously related discord chat, if that's what we want. But if that's the route we want to take, I think we owe it to our community to at least be honest with ourselves about it. The questions we need to be asking are not "how do we avoid cliques?" and "what's the best way to restructure our off-site chatroom?" We should be asking "How do we make our community more welcoming and open to new voices?" and "Since forum events and reviewing games aren't cutting it, how do we promote user engagement?" While sites like FFN and AO3 have the advantage of a wider userbase and more varied content, we have a tighter knit community that can be supportive and (I think) more open and willing to offer constructive advice. FFN is a loud, confusing metropolis, we should be a welcoming small town. The problem isn't and has never been exclusively the discord. We can restructure it if we want, and maybe that will help some, but it's just a bandage. In the long term, we need a better action plan. It's not going to be easy, and tbh I don't think the issues have simple answers we can lay out in a thread and then act on. I don't have the answers. I'm not going to pretend I do. But I think we all should be wary of anything that seems like an easy solution, because the solution isn't going to be easy.

It also looks like some people don't like how the reviewing leaderboard works right now; don't know whether it would be worth it to spin off a topic about that. (I think implementing some kind of system where you can save/bank points, so you can get some reward eventually even if you don't review a ton in any given month, or something that allows you to compete against your own best rather than just the top monthly reviewers, might help address the issues it sounds like people have with it.)

As far as I can tell, the leaderboard seems fine as it is, and even if changes should be made, that decision is ultimately up to Amby. He's running the thread, and it's his project. It's not for us to step in and tell him how to run his show.

That said, as far as banking points go... why? The leaderboard exists to reward activity and engagement. If you aren't as active and engaged as you'd like to be on a given month, or don't have the time, then don't worry. The slate gets wiped clean on the first of every month and everyone starts fresh. I don't know if we're still maintaining the spreadsheets that started the last thread, but if we're not, then maybe Amby or someone else who wants to work with him should do that again. Those had clearly laid out data that allowed participants to track their monthly totals and compare personal bests on a month-to-month basis. Now that we've settled on a more equitable point system, that data should be clearer and more representative of what the actual totals look like. But again, it's up to Amby if that's a thing we bring back or not.
 

diamondpearl876

→ follow your fire.
I agree people would just make their own chats if the Discord weren't a thing anymore. No doubt there's been small chats on the side already, before the Discord, and in fact, I can think of at least one off the top of my head that even made their own forum on the side. :p If that's what we want to be, fine, I agree to just say so and don't give people false hopes. It's not what I want in the long-term, personally, but I'm only one person. Even just me/Firebrand/Cutlerine/etc are a small select few of this whole community.

As far as I can tell, the leaderboard seems fine as it is, and even if changes should be made, that decision is ultimately up to Amby. He's running the thread, and it's his project. It's not for us to step in and tell him how to run his show.

I don't think anyone's demanding he run it a certain way, although I can be awful at gauging someone's tone over the internet... Regardless, Ambyssin is very capable of reading this thread and stepping in here if he's uncomfortable with us talking about it in this thread or anywhere. I agree that he's the one who ultimately makes the decision because yes, it's his project now, but there's no indication right now that we can't at least talk about ideas when that's what we want this thread to be about - ideas to help the community at large. I also agree with you that we're open enough to talk about these things and offer kind advice, as has been proven to me quite a bit in this thread.

That said, as far as banking points go... why? The leaderboard exists to reward activity and engagement. If you aren't as active and engaged as you'd like to be on a given month, or don't have the time, then don't worry. The slate gets wiped clean on the first of every month and everyone starts fresh. I don't know if we're still maintaining the spreadsheets that started the last thread, but if we're not, then maybe Amby or someone else who wants to work with him should do that again. Those had clearly laid out data that allowed participants to track their monthly totals and compare personal bests on a month-to-month basis. Now that we've settled on a more equitable point system, that data should be clearer and more representative of what the actual totals look like. But again, it's up to Amby if that's a thing we bring back or not.

What about those who consistently can't be that active for any month for whatever reason - a demanding job, health issues, whatever? What about for people who have concentration issues and simply are incapable of working at the same speed as the top leaderboard people? There's a badge for those who win the most months out of the year, but for a more community feel, I suggest finding ways to include anyone of any personality and of any capabilities. The leaderboard doesn't cut it there for me.

Banking points and the monthly total can work independently of each other. The monthly challenge can be reset, while banking points are kept as a separate number to allow for people to cash in prizes or be rewarded when they reach a certain total or something like that. This is a system I've implemented myself and it's worked just fine. It's slightly complicated, sure, but that's where the engaging part can come in: being open to questions if someone's confused, encouraging people to try, etc.

I want to end this post by saying what I've liked about this community for the longest time. There's an air of positivity here I don't see in a lot of other places. I've always been impressed with how some authors reach out to others through VMs or PMs just to ask how the next chapter's coming along, or to say thanks for nominating me in the awards, or to say I saw in the Authors' Cafe you were having a hard time are you okay, or to just say welcome back because I haven't seen you around in a while. I honestly never thought I'd be able to talk about my fics with people in an actual conversation/outside of reviews because goddamn that's awkward, but here, it's very easy with people. There's also numerous reviewers here who clearly spend a ton of time not only reviewing, but sitting down to collect their thoughts and leave in-depth, helpful comments for authors. I'm not saying everyone or anyone has to do these things, but I think we've got more of a headstart on the community feel than maybe we're giving ourselves credit for.
 

Ambyssin

Winter can't come soon enough
I suppose I should give my two cents here. I really don't want to hijack this thread and turn it into a discussion about one specific thing. So, I'm just going to start out by saying that I'm seeing a lot of talking, and some ideas getting tossed around. But really, it has to start with a mentality change. Especially from those who've been here awhile and "planted their roots," so to speak. I could go into a very long talk about how we've moved into an age of instantaneous gratification, and forums are a bit outdated to suit those desires. People like Discord servers (or similar ideas like Skype or group texts) because the real-time conversations give them that instantaneous gratification. We're all human; we're hardwired to enjoy others' company (with some exceptions/outliers, of course).

So, I think, if you want to shift the community away from cliques and more toward conversations that can carry in the forums, then we'll have to make an effort to make topics where there can be actual conversations. I admit I'm totally guilty of making self-centered posts in many Author's Café topics. Problem is, I can't really think of any good ideas for topics that can, y'know, foster community. At the very least, maybe some sort of "author introduction" type of thread. I know there's a forum for introductions, but maybe having something where people can talk about their writing/reviewing experience and give an idea of what they're looking to get out of posting on the forums? I feel like that existed before in the past and died out; but maybe now's the time to revive it? Another element is in regards to the competitions or contests. With all do respect, they go on for way too long. I know, the folks running them have their own lives to lead. But, it's hard for an event to feel "involved" if, for example, it's announced in the spring and then doesn't officially "end" until the end of the year. People will forget about it. They need to be smaller and more intimate.

Along those lines (and to address the Leaderboard stuff), a good way to make newer folks feel welcome is probably through reviewing. I'd love to wave a magic wand and make it easier for people to review stuff (and to make it more intrinsically rewarding), but I can't do that. I get it; we all lead busy lives offline. I'd be willing to guess the average age of a member here back in the 2006-2011 heyday was younger than it is now. And that's life. As I'm given to understand it (and I might be wrong), the Leaderboard was an effort to raise participation, namely in response to the rather lackluster turnout for the 2016 fic awards. It was meant to be competitive. The nomination phase for 2017 seems to suggest that the idea did manage to spur participation. With that said, I'm perfectly willing to make changes, if that's what the community as a whole wants, though (versus a few individual voices who have a lot of pull). It was designed during a "low activity" time in the forums, so maybe certain changes need to be made to make it welcoming for higher activity levels.

With that said, I have reservations about purely converting things from a leaderboard to a "bank" (or something similar). The biggest thing is that, if we do that, it becomes a team effort. I have no artistic skills, GFX knowledge, or even programming/web design abilities to design some sort of external whatever for dolling out some sort of reward. On top of that, I can say form experience vBulletin forums are... limited in customization options. And I'm pretty sure post badges would get tiresome and old. And not everyone wants some sort of treat like a shiny in their game copy. So, I'd really need outside help here. But, frankly, that poses problems. I cannot in good confidence ask others to volunteer to do things for prizes. For one, that's unnecessary stress that no one needs. For another, forums can have high turnover/unexpected hiatuses, which could make it difficult to keep people stocked for that. And then, I don't have a means of compensating people who did help. Yeah, I could give points toward the bank... but I personally feel that's not really enough. I'm willing to talk about this more, of course, especially if it's what everyone really wants.

But, yeah, my opinion is that it's got to start with some attitude adjustments, so to speak. I don't have concrete ideas, and I'm very sorry about that.
 

DeliriousAbsol

Call me Del
I suppose I should give my two cents here. I really don't want to hijack this thread and turn it into a discussion about one specific thing. So, I'm just going to start out by saying that I'm seeing a lot of talking, and some ideas getting tossed around. But really, it has to start with a mentality change. Especially from those who've been here awhile and "planted their roots," so to speak. I could go into a very long talk about how we've moved into an age of instantaneous gratification, and forums are a bit outdated to suit those desires. People like Discord servers (or similar ideas like Skype or group texts) because the real-time conversations give them that instantaneous gratification. We're all human; we're hardwired to enjoy others' company (with some exceptions/outliers, of course).

Popping in again to say I agree with this completely. Having the live chat going on not only spurs my writing, but also gives me someone to talk to. If I post in a forum, I don't know if someone has replied straight away, and sometimes I want an instant reply. I can easily throw a question into Discord with help restructuring a sentence, or checking a word makes sense etc. Prior to that, I'd be bothering my sister and her degree in Creative Writing (and she's not always available =P )

Also, it's nice to have a little social outlet. People might not be there in physical form, but short of gathering a daily writing group into a local coffee shop, Discord or something of that ilk is the next best thing.

A forum is, basically, a group of people with similar likes and ideas. They're for discussion. I agree discussions should be posted in the forum and not held solely in a private Discord chat, that way everyone can be involved. But a light chat and banter is something that only really works well in real time. That is something I will sorely miss if the Discord channel gets dissolved. Having so many fellow writers to speak to, going through the same joys and groans while spending hours writing and nattering together, is a really valuable thing to me, and I'm assuming everyone else too, since they're a part of it. Think of it as a little Knit and Natter Group except with Pokemon Fanfiction and Memes.
 
Many people have brought up some really good points about what to do with the Discord server (special mention to Cutlerine, Ambyssin, and especially Firebrand), but I've also noticed people going on about the Leaderboard, and I feel I want to throw in my two cents in that arena.

I've always seen the Leaderboard not simply as a way to get people to review a lot. I've always seen it as a way for people on Serebii to get exposure to different fics than they usually read. I know from my experience with it that I've learned of really good stuff that I wouldn't have noticed otherwise from just looking at the "fic-love" or "shameless-advertising" threads on the Discord. For that reason, the idea of "banking reviews" or whatever it was comes across as a little strange, almost as if, and I don't mean to offend anyone by saying this, it's like people are suggesting that they be rewarded for not really doing anything. For instance, to use myself as an example, as I don't review nearly as much as I'd like, I feel like I don't deserve any banked points because I didn't put in the work. My excuse is that I've been really busy, but that doesn't change the fact that I didn't contribute in that way. I dunno, I just feel really, really weird about that suggestion, and not in a good way.

My two cents, rambly as usual, make of it what you will.

-Phalanx, out.
 

Negrek

Lost but Seeking
Firebrand said:
There are a lot of misgivings and apprehensions from users both in this thread and the previous one that I don't think are being sufficiently addressed by keeping the conversation focused on how to fix the discord channel.
I chose to focus on the Discord with this thread since it's been a bone of contention over the past few months and because I think the current situation with it is not bueno. I agree that there are issues with the forum community, though probably not the same ones you see, and working to improve the culture is definitely a good thing. However, I don't think it's very productive to say, "Changing the culture is a more important issue." Like, maybe? But people have been chewing over very similar issues since at least 2004, so I don't expect things to be resolved soon. To me that sounds like a recipe for people grousing a bit, the discussion petering out, and then nothing actually getting done. The fact that the Discord server is not, perhaps, the largest issue facing the forums doesn't mean we should just ignore it until we solve this other large looming issue, just like I'm not going to ignore the fact that the sink's clogged until we solve world hunger. I do think we should try to take steps to make the Discord more in line with the forum culture we'd like to see. But I think we need to try something, even if it turns out to be a bad idea in the end, rather than just quietly letting things carry on as they are because we can't think of a fix that addresses all issues and transforms the board culture in and of itself. I'm choosing to focus on the Discord channel because it's something concrete that can be talked about and that we can put forward some simple, concrete steps towards fixing. Thus: how do we alter the. But before we can even talk about that: Discord--do we even want it? That's where I think we are right now.

So, yeah. I'm going to continue to focus on the Discord issue in this thread. Talking about general community improvement is fine, but Discord and how it plays into that is my primary focus with this particular thread. And you can always create another thread to talk about larger issues if you'd like! I definitely don't think it's an unworthy discussion. But with this thread I'm always going to be trying to pass it through the lens of Discord.

Firebrand said:
I'm not sure how I feel about axing #shameless-advertising considering it's far more visible to the more vocal members of our community than the forum thread. And while the idea is of course to move people back to the fourm, I don't think axing the channel and expecting everyone to periodically check the shameless advertising forum thread is actually going to solve that problem, at least not yet. It's clear that people hang out on the discord, while they only check the forum. Your fic is by far more likely to get a little visibility bump if you post your link on the discord than if you post it to a forum thread that... kind of doesn't see a lot of activity. Our goal should be to get that particular forum thread more popular, but just saying "Okay, this is where you advertise new posts now!" is not going to work, not with the forum set up the way it is currently.
To me, that sounds like an excellent justification for axing #shameless-advertising. If it is that much more effective to post in the server than the forum thread--and I agree that it is--then it's eminently unfair that people in the Discord server have access to it and other people don't. Especially because several current members couldn't post their stuff on the Discord even if they wanted to, since it's closed.

While saying "no more Discord advertising" doesn't automatically make the advertising thread more visible, I think it's a critical first step towards doing that. I think it might make more sense to change the advertising thread to more like the old "trailers for your fic" thread, where it's more a literal advertisement for your story that people can browse if they like, rather than having it be something you bump every time you post something new; the board currently doesn't move fast enough to really bury things (possible exception: late December/early January), so people checking the board . The usual PM list functionality can serve to alert people who aren't checking the fanfic board as often that you have a new chapter.

Ambyssin said:
At the very least, maybe some sort of "author introduction" type of thread. I know there's a forum for introductions, but maybe having something where people can talk about their writing/reviewing experience and give an idea of what they're looking to get out of posting on the forums? I feel like that existed before in the past and died out; but maybe now's the time to revive it?
It exists! At least, if I'm understanding what you're looking for correctly. But it could definitely stand to be revived.

Also, I'd be happy to volunteer to help out with any aspects of running the leaderboard that you'd need help with, whether you need help with additional prizes or additional functionality or whatever. You don't have to do it alone if you don't want to. But if you're not comfortable asking other people to join in, that's cool, too. But any of that would probably be a discussion for another thread.

In General

I think we have some general common-sense recommendations in getting rid of #fic-love and #bunny-farm. I also think removing #shameless-advertising would be a good move, too.

I'm also not sure that splitting/merging the other channels as icomeanon6 would be effective. I'm not sure how that would necessarily get people to post more discussion topics on the forums? But, I'm very thankful for the suggestion. Does anybody else have anything they think we ought to try that you think would improve the server/forum relationship?

@bobandbill - What are you thinking about where things stand at the moment. I know you mentioned potential conflicts with the main Serbii server; have you figured out whether that's going to be an issue yet?
 

Ambyssin

Winter can't come soon enough
I've always seen the Leaderboard not simply as a way to get people to review a lot. I've always seen it as a way for people on Serebii to get exposure to different fics than they usually read.... For that reason, the idea of "banking reviews" or whatever it was comes across as a little strange, almost as if, and I don't mean to offend anyone by saying this, it's like people are suggesting that they be rewarded for not really doing anything.
This does bring up another concern that I had about the whole thing. Mind you, I'm sure something could be worked out, but the big question then becomes: where do you draw the line, exactly? I probably wouldn't be overhauling the point system, so ultimately setting reward levels would become an arbitrary process. Set the numbers too low, and people could easily make the rewards and, say, overwhelm with requests for said rewards. Make it too high, and then it basically defeats the purpose of doing it in the first place. It'd have to keep getting tweaked.

And on top of that, if I did something like this, I would probably want to attach an "expatriation date" to the points anyway (e.g. you have three months to use your points or they're gone). Because resetting them every year (or never) could get cumbersome. But, like, real life's still a thing, so it's tough to predict what things will be like for people on a month to month basis. @.@

I chose to focus on the Discord with this thread since it's been a bone of contention over the past few months and because I think the current situation with it is not bueno. I agree that there are issues with the forum community, though probably not the same ones you see, and working to improve the culture is definitely a good thing. However, I don't think it's very productive to say, "Changing the culture is a more important issue." Like, maybe? But people have been chewing over very similar issues since at least 2004, so I don't expect things to be resolved soon.
But if the aim is to figure out how to properly integrate the server back with the forums, wouldn't the culture tie into it, then? I don't really think I can express it properly. But, like, if we just try to "fix the Discord," what's stopping any potentially contentious issues from spilling over into the Discord server and making things uncomfortable for everyone?

I get what you're saying with wanting to focus on something concrete. It's just that that concrete thing is, technically speaking, off-site... and the big discussion is about how to reintegrate it. Experimenting is fine. But what's stopping us from experimenting with things in tandem, exactly? Like I said before, Discord moves quicker. It's far more real time. Any changes it to it will probably have rapid reactions, whereas changes to the forums will need more time to safely process. That's why I think they need to happen together. That way, if something goes wrong with Discord, we can hit pause, so to speak, and focus on the forums.

To me, that sounds like an excellent justification for axing #shameless-advertising. If it is that much more effective to post in the server than the forum thread--and I agree that it is--then it's eminently unfair that people in the Discord server have access to it and other people don't. Especially because several current members couldn't post their stuff on the Discord even if they wanted to, since it's closed.

While saying "no more Discord advertising" doesn't automatically make the advertising thread more visible, I think it's a critical first step towards doing that...
I'm going to take a different opinion here. I don't think an advertising thread will really work on the forums right now, period. Speaking frankly, I completely ignored the advertising thread that existed, even while it was stickied on the main page. Even if it got brought back there, I would continue to ignore it. Because, well, it's on the same page as all the most recently-updated stories. Like, what's the point in clicking on that topic to see what's updated when I can scroll down a little bit and see it for myself? To me it seems unnecessary. Speaking personally, doing something to try and liven up a topic like that still won't get me to look at it. It is, by nature, extremely redundant on a forum like this.

For me, the #shameless-advertising thread was a good way to make a mental note to myself that "Hey, this fic updated. I guess I can read it later." Or to just jump right to the new chapter that got updated and save a few minutes of loading on my end.
 

Negrek

Lost but Seeking
Ambyssin said:
I get what you're saying with wanting to focus on something concrete. It's just that that concrete thing is, technically speaking, off-site... and the big discussion is about how to reintegrate it. Experimenting is fine. But what's stopping us from experimenting with things in tandem, exactly? Like I said before, Discord moves quicker. It's far more real time. Any changes it to it will probably have rapid reactions, whereas changes to the forums will need more time to safely process. That's why I think they need to happen together. That way, if something goes wrong with Discord, we can hit pause, so to speak, and focus on the forums.
Ah, sorry. I didn't mean to suggest that changes to the forums are unimportant or that we should solely focus on the Discord. Rather, I don't think that we should wait on changes to the forums before looking at how we handle the Discord. There's absolutely nothing wrong with making some changes to the forums as well, and of course they can be done in tandem. I wanted to focus on the Discord with this thread, but if there are any changes that ought to be made on the forums, then of course we can make some there as well. I just hadn't seen any of those suggested, that's all.

I'm going to take a different opinion here. I don't think an advertising thread will really work on the forums right now, period. Speaking frankly, I completely ignored the advertising thread that existed, even while it was stickied on the main page. Even if it got brought back there, I would continue to ignore it. Because, well, it's on the same page as all the most recently-updated stories. Like, what's the point in clicking on that topic to see what's updated when I can scroll down a little bit and see it for myself? To me it seems unnecessary. Speaking personally, doing something to try and liven up a topic like that still won't get me to look at it. It is, by nature, extremely redundant on a forum like this.
That's fair. An advertising thread might never work as well on the forums as on the Discord, and I think that's okay. But I think if advertising on the Discord is preferable, but some people are being actively excluded from using that channel to get the word out about their work, it should be abolished.
 

Firebrand

Indomitable
I chose to focus on the Discord with this thread since it's been a bone of contention over the past few months and because I think the current situation with it is not bueno. I agree that there are issues with the forum community, though probably not the same ones you see, and working to improve the culture is definitely a good thing. However, I don't think it's very productive to say, "Changing the culture is a more important issue." Like, maybe? But people have been chewing over very similar issues since at least 2004, so I don't expect things to be resolved soon. To me that sounds like a recipe for people grousing a bit, the discussion petering out, and then nothing actually getting done

The fact that the Discord server is not, perhaps, the largest issue facing the forums doesn't mean we should just ignore it until we solve this other large looming issue, just like I'm not going to ignore the fact that the sink's clogged until we solve world hunger. I do think we should try to take steps to make the Discord more in line with the forum culture we'd like to see. But I think we need to try something, even if it turns out to be a bad idea in the end, rather than just quietly letting things carry on as they are because we can't think of a fix that addresses all issues and transforms the board culture in and of itself. I'm choosing to focus on the Discord channel because it's something concrete that can be talked about and that we can put forward some simple, concrete steps towards fixing. Thus: how do we alter the. But before we can even talk about that: Discord--do we even want it? That's where I think we are right now.

So, yeah. I'm going to continue to focus on the Discord issue in this thread. Talking about general community improvement is fine, but Discord and how it plays into that is my primary focus with this particular thread. And you can always create another thread to talk about larger issues if you'd like! I definitely don't think it's an unworthy discussion. But with this thread I'm always going to be trying to pass it through the lens of Discord.

I'm not sure why you're reframing the discussion to look at the Discord and the forum as separate entities now. I thought the whole point of this thread was to bring them back into one cohesive thing, where we communicate across the platforms as seamlessly as those two platforms allow. The reason I continue to point to the issues in our forum culture is because, and I no longer see the point in not putting it bluntly, the issues with the forum largely arise from the culture that has sprung up on the Discord, and the entire reason the Discord was separated in the first place is because that culture was determined to be detrimental to the forum as a whole, and it was quarantined. So until we've actually addressed those issues and take ownership of them, I am going to continue to maintain my position that the issues of the forum and the discord are inextricably linked, and we're better served affecting community change on this platform, and until we've actually started seeing results in community engagement here, we should keep the discord in its unofficial status.

I was certainly not saying we should ignore the clogged sink until we've fixed world hunger, and that kind of hyperbole is unproductive and unlikely to get us anywhere. No, what I was saying is that we ought to clean our house before we start trying to tidy the attic. If your idea of "fixing" the discord is rearranging channels, then sure, those are simple and concrete solutions that we could probably take care of. But I think it's clear to all involved that "fixing" the discord requires a considerable bit more than that, and those fixes need to be undertaken by the community as a whole in how they approach this platform. That needs to start on the forum, and that is what is what Cutlerine, Phalanx, myself, etc., have been saying since like, November. And I think we have just as much of a right to air our views about the community and its direction as anyone else.

To me, that sounds like an excellent justification for axing #shameless-advertising. If it is that much more effective to post in the server than the forum thread--and I agree that it is--then it's eminently unfair that people in the Discord server have access to it and other people don't. Especially because several current members couldn't post their stuff on the Discord even if they wanted to, since it's closed.

While saying "no more Discord advertising" doesn't automatically make the advertising thread more visible, I think it's a critical first step towards doing that. I think it might make more sense to change the advertising thread to more like the old "trailers for your fic" thread, where it's more a literal advertisement for your story that people can browse if they like, rather than having it be something you bump every time you post something new; the board currently doesn't move fast enough to really bury things (possible exception: late December/early January), so people checking the board . The usual PM list functionality can serve to alert people who aren't checking the fanfic board as often that you have a new chapter.

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear enough in my last post, but I thought I took pains to say that this is not a viable solution right now. Like Amby said, there's no point in using that thread when you can just glance down the page to see what's new. The original point of that thread was to allow for easy cross-posting to advertise new updates on the Serebii Fanfiction tumblr that never really took off. With that now defunct, there's no reason to post in that thread anymore, but I think it's possible to take the concept in a different direction. In the #shameless-advertising channel, I've seen some members posting a short one/two sentence blurb about their updates, and I think an advertising thread could adopt an approach like that, kind of like the trailers thread. Not only would the thread let other users know you've updated, it could also hook potential new readers if the plot of the current chapter and encourage them to read from the beginning to see how it works in context. That being said, I think it's a little too early to be axing the #shameless-advertising channel, because then people won't bother advertising at all. I think the best way to do it is to start encouraging people who advertise in the discord to also advertise in an appropriate thread on the forum, just to get into the habit. If it seems like an advertising thread has caught on and enough people are using it, then we can phase out the advertising channel.

As far as the leaderboard goes, I stand by my position that the idea of banking points is inane. If you don't have time to review in a given month, it's fine! Literally nothing is forcing you to review. If you want to try beating your personal best, the leaderboard gives you the stats for that. If being at the top of the leaderboard means that much to you and aren't racking up the totals other reviewers are, then look into playing more strategically and maximizing your bonuses with the various routes the leaderboard offers (featured fics, etc.). The idea of banking points just sounds like participation trophies to me, and it definitely sounds like it makes more unnecessary work for Amby.

But if you'd like to try a system with banking points, you can always create another thread to give it a shot you'd like! There's nothing stopping us from having two different leaderboards really, at least for a little while until we can see which system works best in practice. But I certainly don't think it's fair to ask Amby to overhaul a system that is already equitable just so other users don't have to put in the work.
 

bobandbill

Winning Smile
Staff member
Super Mod
@bobandbill - What are you thinking about where things stand at the moment. I know you mentioned potential conflicts with the main Serbii server; have you figured out whether that's going to be an issue yet?
Recently got Serebii Joe's blessing that a fic discord server can remain in harmony with the official one. I still would be in favour of removing #pokemon-gaming and having that sit in #general just so we're not taking away from that server's dedicated channels on the various games.
 

Negrek

Lost but Seeking
I'm not sure why you're reframing the discussion to look at the Discord and the forum as separate entities now. I thought the whole point of this thread was to bring them back into one cohesive thing, where we communicate across the platforms as seamlessly as those two platforms allow.
I'm not treating them as separate entities. The Discord server is one aspect of the forum community, same as e.g. the awards or rules thread. I am focusing on one aspect of the forum community rather than the forum community as a whole with this thread. The point of this thread is to determine what people want done with it. To me it looks like people want it brought back as an official part of the forums, but with some changes.

Firebrand said:
The reason I continue to point to the issues in our forum culture is because, and I no longer see the point in not putting it bluntly, the issues with the forum largely arise from the culture that has sprung up on the Discord, and the entire reason the Discord was separated in the first place is because that culture was determined to be detrimental to the forum as a whole, and it was quarantined.
I disagree that the issues on the forums largely arise from the Discord. I think they've been present in the community since a long time before it was even conceived of. Ultimately, I don't see either of us changing our positions on this, so I'll just say one last time: I don't think that trying to improve forum culture is unimportant or should be ignored. However, in the absence of any idea of how to go about doing that that would preclude bringing the Discord back, I'd like to think of ways of improving the Discord, because I do think that bringing it back officially would be a benefit to the forums overall, or at least better than the situation that we have now. Of course you have a right to your opinions, and no one has ever said that you don't; I just disagree with them, as is also my right.

Firebrand said:
Perhaps I didn't make myself clear enough in my last post, but I thought I took pains to say that this is not a viable solution right now. Like Amby said, there's no point in using that thread when you can just glance down the page to see what's new. The original point of that thread was to allow for easy cross-posting to advertise new updates on the Serebii Fanfiction tumblr that never really took off. With that now defunct, there's no reason to post in that thread anymore, but I think it's possible to take the concept in a different direction. In the #shameless-advertising channel, I've seen some members posting a short one/two sentence blurb about their updates, and I think an advertising thread could adopt an approach like that, kind of like the trailers thread. Not only would the thread let other users know you've updated, it could also hook potential new readers if the plot of the current chapter and encourage them to read from the beginning to see how it works in context. That being said, I think it's a little too early to be axing the #shameless-advertising channel, because then people won't bother advertising at all. I think the best way to do it is to start encouraging people who advertise in the discord to also advertise in an appropriate thread on the forum, just to get into the habit. If it seems like an advertising thread has caught on and enough people are using it, then we can phase out the advertising channel.
No, I got that you don't see a viable replacement for it at this point in time. I just see trying to reduce some of the advantage that Discord regulars have over people who aren't on the channel as more important than having a place for people to advertise their fics. Serebii hasn't had one for 99% of its existence, after all, and people got along just fine without it; there are other ways of notifying people about updates or getting new eyes on your story. I don't really consider it a core part of the forum functionality? On the other hand, the disparity between the attention gotten by Discord members vs those who aren't on the server has already caused significant drama, so I think eliminating a potential source of that is all to the good. Trying to make the advertising thread more useful/interesting to draw more attention to it is all to the good, but if we axe the channel and still no one uses the updated/new thread? No great loss, imo. This isn't something where I see much benefit in phasing it out slowly.

bobandbill said:
Recently got Serebii Joe's blessing that a fic discord server can remain in harmony with the official one. I still would be in favour of removing #pokemon-gaming and having that sit in #general just so we're not taking away from that server's dedicated channels on the various games.

Great, thanks a lot for following up on that. So, merging #pokemon-gaming back into #general... and removing #fic-love, I hope? I think that's been a pretty heavily-requested change, haha. ^^;

Are we moving in the direction of connecting the server back to the forums, then? If so, are there any other changes we need to make before that happens?
 
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