Worldsmyths



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Jedi Knight Muse

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Reply #30 on: November 07, 2018, 09:09:17 PM
Sounds a little too overwhelming, even for me, honestly. Also like we'd have to have someone who would specifically be able to spend the time really staying on top of it and such. Unfortunately, with my schedule being as random as it is, that's not me right now.

Fair enough - just sent you a PM about this. I think the thing we can do now is get some good topics going, workshop some writing and post some critiques. I've got a piece I wouldn't mind people taking a look at anyway :) I'll post it up shortly.
Yeah, I got your PM and am replying now! Awesome. :D
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Romancegirl

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Reply #31 on: November 08, 2018, 04:10:39 AM
I've also been on two other forums and I'm trying to remember how that was. One was basically a fan forum with the writer of a series and we would discuss all aspects of the series and find all the easter eggs and puzzles and such and the writer would actually respond with us. It was really cool. And every now and then he would host a writing class where you could bring your own work. We had meetings with him. It was awesome, I still really miss that writer and those meetings because they were amazing.
The other forum that I can remember was also for (fantasy) writers (I'm not sure if it was completely a genre thing or not) and it would have active book discussions and such because there were members who were actively reviewing books on there. But I remember being not very active on that forum and if I remember correctly the forum got disbanded because there wasn't anything going on at some point anymore.
Anyway, not trying to be depressing or anything. I'm not sure that if you can't find active members, and members who are willing to put in regular time and effort, you can really force the issue. We can all try and downsizing the forum might make it easier, but at the end of the day all the people have to be willing to put in that time and effort. I know tons of people who are part of forums but just like to lurk for whatever reason and I know people who will always be active and some in between. In the end, unless people are willing to put the time and effort in you can do all you want but the forum isn't going to change much.

And about the titles thing? It was just a post (one time it was a video they made for the announcement) with all the different titles and people could choose if they wanted to put it under their name or under their post or whatever. But that was an active forum (though the active members really shifted, every time I came back different people were being active all the time) with a lot of young people and the whole forum was a bit whimsy and so were the games and such.
This forum feels much more serious so maybe it doesn't attract people who like games? Maybe it attracts people who like to read and maybe discuss serious things? I dunno, I think it might be good to look at what kind of people you attract and if that is the kind of people you want on the forum.


Lord_Aetius

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Reply #32 on: November 08, 2018, 05:33:44 AM
1. Agree with the points about the forum, too many topics for me, I'm never sure where to post or look. Could there be one place for writing support, one place for general non-related chat etc then people know where to go to get the thing they've come for.
2. Agree with the friendliness/nice atmosphere.
3. About the USP or purpose of Worldsmyths - this is an issue. Presumably people come here because they are fantasy writers and want to develop their craft. I get that we don't want it to become a critiquing site per se, hence the limited critiquing of stories - if it's purpose is not primarily critiquing, people won't critique much, they will look elsewhere for that. That's not going to change. Equally, presumably we want it to be more than simply a place to chat and play games, the social side should be an extra benefit and would happen more naturally if people were on more regularly. I've mentioned this before, and bdcharles I think referred to it, I think a good option would be to work towards publishing a Worldsmyths anthology. When I suggest this, I don't mean the admins do it all - if we had an audit of members, we might find a few of us with some kind of publishing experience, I'd certainly be happy to take a role. If we did this, there would be a purpose to work towards, a reason to share/critique stories and everyone would benefit in some way, whatever their current level of experience. Not everyone will want to get involved, but if we have 12+ members who are interested I think we could pursue it.


bdcharles

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Reply #33 on: November 08, 2018, 06:59:41 AM
I think a good option would be to work towards publishing a Worldsmyths anthology. When I suggest this, I don't mean the admins do it all - if we had an audit of members, we might find a few of us with some kind of publishing experience, I'd certainly be happy to take a role. If we did this, there would be a purpose to work towards, a reason to share/critique stories and everyone would benefit in some way, whatever their current level of experience. Not everyone will want to get involved, but if we have 12+ members who are interested I think we could pursue it.

Yeah, I mean, I would love to get involved in something like this. Full disclosure, I have no publishing or editing experience, and my publishing credentials is a solitary competition win on Fantasy Faction (hey, I made it to their front page!), but I've done a lot of critique and mentoring on other forums, I think my writing ability is not too bad, and boy oh boy do I like to pick holes in other peoples' stuff which in my mind is a useful - if despicable - trait in a sort of editorial role teeheehee ;) And I love fantasy. Love it. All of it.

I do understand however that it's a big ask and also if this forum software doesn't support it then it may be "for later". Getting back to USPs, a social spot is nice but again, the whole if-you-build-it-they-will-come mantra doesn't always fly, so yes, there ought to be a "thing" to bring the people. I've just seized pow- I mean I've just been very kindly entrusted by Ally with the Twitter account for this site so I will do my best by that (already boosted our follower count by ... wait for it ... two! In the last twelve hours!) Meanwhile I'll try and think of some sort of writing-y, discussion-y topic that we can all argue about. Plotting vs pantsing, anyone?


Jedi Knight Muse

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Reply #34 on: November 08, 2018, 10:24:31 AM
The other forum that I can remember was also for (fantasy) writers (I'm not sure if it was completely a genre thing or not) and it would have active book discussions and such because there were members who were actively reviewing books on there.
We do have a book club that one of our semi-active members started this past summer. Unfortunately, it's died down quite a bit.  :-\ But I would love to see people posting reviews and discussing books and such. I've been really bad about reading lately, so it's hard for me to lead the way with that. 

Quote
Anyway, not trying to be depressing or anything. I'm not sure that if you can't find active members, and members who are willing to put in regular time and effort, you can really force the issue. We can all try and downsizing the forum might make it easier, but at the end of the day all the people have to be willing to put in that time and effort. I know tons of people who are part of forums but just like to lurk for whatever reason and I know people who will always be active and some in between. In the end, unless people are willing to put the time and effort in you can do all you want but the forum isn't going to change much.

Yeah, this is definitely the key issue. But the thing is, the people who don't want to put in the effort are only making the issue worse, so you would think that if anything, that would be an incentive to try and make things better. On the other hand, we have people like @Penguinball who busted their butts trying to revive old topics and start new ones and such and it barely worked, so then she got to the point where it was like..."why bother?" And I can't blame her for that.

But if we want this community to survive, and we don't want to just close it and use Discord and not care so much about whether or not you can find old topics and easily catch up on things, then everyone needs to make the effort. It can't just be the staff members and certain members, it has to be everyone who really does want to be part of the forum. So if someone is reading this response who hasn't been that active because of the activity issue, I hope that maybe this will be an incentive to, going forward, try and make a better effort to be part of the forum and not add to the activity issue. We can't solve it if people don't make an effort. (I'm not calling anyone specific out about this, I'm just saying it in general.)

Quote
And about the titles thing? It was just a post (one time it was a video they made for the announcement) with all the different titles and people could choose if they wanted to put it under their name or under their post or whatever. But that was an active forum (though the active members really shifted, every time I came back different people were being active all the time) with a lot of young people and the whole forum was a bit whimsy and so were the games and such.
This forum feels much more serious so maybe it doesn't attract people who like games? Maybe it attracts people who like to read and maybe discuss serious things? I dunno, I think it might be good to look at what kind of people you attract and if that is the kind of people you want on the forum.

Ah, okay. I mean, we could try and do something like that (maybe not the video, though), I guess. I'm not sure how many people would actually like that kind of thing, but it might be fun to try.

I mean...it is serious, but there's nothing wrong with being fun and goofy, either? It's what we do in the Discord. There's no difference between being silly in the Discord VS being silly on the forum and playing some games. I'm going to work on reviving some of the old games and see if it helps any...just for the heck of it. (Probably not until after we've tried to condense the forums down more.) I really don't care if people want to play games. They should! There's nothing stopping them, except for the fact that, right now, the current game threads haven't been active in months, so maybe no one wants to revive them. But there isn't a necroposting rule on the forum, so...

1. Agree with the points about the forum, too many topics for me, I'm never sure where to post or look. Could there be one place for writing support, one place for general non-related chat etc then people know where to go to get the thing they've come for.
2. Agree with the friendliness/nice atmosphere.
3. About the USP or purpose of Worldsmyths - this is an issue. Presumably people come here because they are fantasy writers and want to develop their craft. I get that we don't want it to become a critiquing site per se, hence the limited critiquing of stories - if it's purpose is not primarily critiquing, people won't critique much, they will look elsewhere for that. That's not going to change. Equally, presumably we want it to be more than simply a place to chat and play games, the social side should be an extra benefit and would happen more naturally if people were on more regularly. I've mentioned this before, and bdcharles I think referred to it, I think a good option would be to work towards publishing a Worldsmyths anthology. When I suggest this, I don't mean the admins do it all - if we had an audit of members, we might find a few of us with some kind of publishing experience, I'd certainly be happy to take a role. If we did this, there would be a purpose to work towards, a reason to share/critique stories and everyone would benefit in some way, whatever their current level of experience. Not everyone will want to get involved, but if we have 12+ members who are interested I think we could pursue it.

I don't think we're going to narrow it down that much, because it might be too condensed for people, and I can see it getting unorganized very quickly. We're currently working on trying to figure out the best set up for it, and then once I have that I will post a link to the test forum (probably in a different topic since there's so many replies in this one) to get feedback and then we'll go from there.

As far as an anthology goes, we've discussed this multiple times, as staff, in the past. There's a LOT of logistics that would need to go into it. I've never tried doing anything like that before, so I really wouldn't know what I was doing. I don't think that now is the best time for us to be trying to do anything like that, though. Yes, it could help with the activity, but there's no guarantees, and I think the focus should be just getting activity to the point of being better than it currently is right now. I don't want to put too much on our plates at once, you know? Maybe in the next year or so we could try, depending on how things were going. If/when we get to the point of feeling confident in the activity of the forum, we'll discuss it behind the scenes and then we'll see if we can get volunteers to be part of some kind of a team for it. I really don't think now is the right time to try it, though. There's just too much going on.

And...honestly, I want to see more of the people who are suddenly appearing, because of this discussion, make an effort to be part of the community and be active and not be scared off by the lower activity. If you see that the forum is kind of quiet? Make a discussion post about something writing related. Start a game. Post a book review. It shouldn't be 100% on the staff to be doing these things, because when it falls onto us, we get burned out trying to come up with things and then we get frustrated when hardly anyone participates. Granted, it's part of the job of being staff to come up with these kinds of things, but I've never seen any other community be SO reliant on the staff to do so. Usually it's the members who post them.

So I really want to see more people outside of the already active members who've been coming onto the forum make more of an effort to be part of the community. I'm not naming anyone in particular, because that applies to a number of people, so I hope no one feels singled out by me saying that. I just want to see the community be, you know, an actual community.

I think a good option would be to work towards publishing a Worldsmyths anthology. When I suggest this, I don't mean the admins do it all - if we had an audit of members, we might find a few of us with some kind of publishing experience, I'd certainly be happy to take a role. If we did this, there would be a purpose to work towards, a reason to share/critique stories and everyone would benefit in some way, whatever their current level of experience. Not everyone will want to get involved, but if we have 12+ members who are interested I think we could pursue it.

Yeah, I mean, I would love to get involved in something like this. Full disclosure, I have no publishing or editing experience, and my publishing credentials is a solitary competition win on Fantasy Faction (hey, I made it to their front page!), but I've done a lot of critique and mentoring on other forums, I think my writing ability is not too bad, and boy oh boy do I like to pick holes in other peoples' stuff which in my mind is a useful - if despicable - trait in a sort of editorial role teeheehee ;) And I love fantasy. Love it. All of it.

I do understand however that it's a big ask and also if this forum software doesn't support it then it may be "for later". Getting back to USPs, a social spot is nice but again, the whole if-you-build-it-they-will-come mantra doesn't always fly, so yes, there ought to be a "thing" to bring the people. I've just seized pow- I mean I've just been very kindly entrusted by Ally with the Twitter account for this site so I will do my best by that (already boosted our follower count by ... wait for it ... two! In the last twelve hours!) Meanwhile I'll try and think of some sort of writing-y, discussion-y topic that we can all argue about. Plotting vs pantsing, anyone?

Like I told Aetius, I think we're a long ways from being able to do an anthology. We need to see a massive improvement in activity. I'm thinking we need to condense the forums, work on balancing things out between the discord and the forum, see what we can do to give us a bigger social media presence, really boost up the activity...and then maybe we can discuss putting a team together.

I have to leave for work, but I'll come back later and reply to you more fully.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 10:26:04 AM by Jedi Knight Muse »
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bdcharles

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Reply #35 on: November 08, 2018, 11:15:38 AM
I think we're a long ways from being able to do an anthology. We need to see a massive improvement in activity.

I definitely agree. Best to focus on the fundamentals for now.


Lord_Aetius

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Reply #36 on: November 08, 2018, 02:47:08 PM
OK JKM so gonna reply here, but could maybe message each other after this. I'm not feeling singled out and hoping you take this in the positive way it's meant.
1. Yep that comment on the forums was meant to be a general one rather than a specific suggestion - I have no idea how exactly to organise it and am happy to leave that to your good selves.
3. I'm up for doing more to help in general, focusing on my writing more now rather than trying to do that and working as well, so should have more time than last year. I've made a start, I've even joined up on Discord, though not sure that is 'me'.
However, I still think there are some crossed lines here, or a chicken and egg thing, re the purpose of worldsmyths - when you say you want more activity, fundamentals, participation, it's not necessarily clear what it is you want (at least to me). If you are frustrated that a few staff are doing all the work I'm definitely up for taking some responsibility and moving forwards with the anthology idea. I'm not suggesting right now, but maybe in the New Year, we could put out feelers and start a sub-group of interested writers. Anyway, that's my suggestion/offer.

In the meantime, I'm happy to do some occasional critiquing/beta reading. There's a big load of stories now since the last time I looked, not always clear to me which ones are a priority/still want feedback, so if anyone wants to message me for a critique or a swap or whatever, happy to do that.

Jamie/Lord Aetius


Penguinball

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Reply #37 on: November 08, 2018, 05:10:28 PM
Regarding a Worldsmyths purpose/mission statement, for me personally, I see it as a place to talk about and celebrate fantasy in a non-judgemental place. We can get feedback on ideas from people who are part of our genre, so its more focused than an all-genre forum.


Jedi Knight Muse

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Reply #38 on: November 08, 2018, 10:50:42 PM
3. I'm up for doing more to help in general, focusing on my writing more now rather than trying to do that and working as well, so should have more time than last year. I've made a start, I've even joined up on Discord, though not sure that is 'me'.
However, I still think there are some crossed lines here, or a chicken and egg thing, re the purpose of worldsmyths - when you say you want more activity, fundamentals, participation, it's not necessarily clear what it is you want (at least to me). If you are frustrated that a few staff are doing all the work I'm definitely up for taking some responsibility and moving forwards with the anthology idea. I'm not suggesting right now, but maybe in the New Year, we could put out feelers and start a sub-group of interested writers. Anyway, that's my suggestion/offer.

In the meantime, I'm happy to do some occasional critiquing/beta reading. There's a big load of stories now since the last time I looked, not always clear to me which ones are a priority/still want feedback, so if anyone wants to message me for a critique or a swap or whatever, happy to do that.
Jamie/Lord Aetius

Like I said in my reply, I really wasn't talking about any one specific person. There are multiple people that what I was saying applies to. I'm not trying to make anyone feel bad or anything, either, by saying that. I'm just hoping that, going forward, more people can come out of hiding, see that we're really trying to make an effort to turn things around, and will decide to start being more active on the forum from now on.

I'm more than willing to PM with you, if that's what you want. However, I'm kind of confused as to why it's not clear what it is we want when we've said what we want, because I've said it multiple times...we want the forum to be active. We don't want to keep making posts like this. I've been joining online communities for 20+ years and like I've said, this is the first one where it feels very divided. Some people want to make an effort and start their own topics and reply to each other, while some just want to browse and maybe reply once in a while...which, that's common on most forums, too, but there's usually still a fair amount of active members, so when there ARE lurkers, it's not as obvious. Here, it's definitely obvious, despite our best efforts. Basically, we just want people to put a bigger effort into being part of the community. I've already said things they can do - start topics. Reply to old topics - we don't have a necroposting rule. Come up with some fun games to get people involved in. Post a book review. They're all things that people should be doing on their own without expecting the staff members to do it all, you know? We want loads of people (and by "loads," I don't mean hundreds or thousands. I'm talking, like, even twenty people, consistently logging in on a daily or nearly daily basis) logging in and posting and SHOWING that yes, this is an active community that has something to offer and is worth being part of, because THAT is what people are going to look for when they go onto Twitter and they see the link for Worldsmyths- they're going to want to know that people are actively part of the community and aren't just logging in once in a blue moon and that's it. I'm not sure what else I can say to make what we want clearer.

As far as the anthology goes, like I said, I think we are a loooong ways off from that even being a possibility. We, as staff, need to see a massive improvement in a LOT of things, and honestly...if we tried to take on something as big as an anthology right now, even with people saying they'd help...I think we'd really be stretched too thin. We just want to focus on the forum and getting it to a good place. We want to start by doing things such as minimizing the forums, and then go from there with some smaller things, maybe. While, yes, it's awesome to have people saying NOW that they'd take part in it...it's just not the right time for it. The next year may not even be the right time for it.

Not to mention, I really don't think we have enough members who are at the point of being able to put a piece of their writing out there into an anthology like that. Maybe in a year or two we can do it? But maybe not. It's all dependent on a load of other factors.

I think a good option would be to work towards publishing a Worldsmyths anthology. When I suggest this, I don't mean the admins do it all - if we had an audit of members, we might find a few of us with some kind of publishing experience, I'd certainly be happy to take a role. If we did this, there would be a purpose to work towards, a reason to share/critique stories and everyone would benefit in some way, whatever their current level of experience. Not everyone will want to get involved, but if we have 12+ members who are interested I think we could pursue it.

Yeah, I mean, I would love to get involved in something like this. Full disclosure, I have no publishing or editing experience, and my publishing credentials is a solitary competition win on Fantasy Faction (hey, I made it to their front page!), but I've done a lot of critique and mentoring on other forums, I think my writing ability is not too bad, and boy oh boy do I like to pick holes in other peoples' stuff which in my mind is a useful - if despicable - trait in a sort of editorial role teeheehee ;) And I love fantasy. Love it. All of it.

I do understand however that it's a big ask and also if this forum software doesn't support it then it may be "for later". Getting back to USPs, a social spot is nice but again, the whole if-you-build-it-they-will-come mantra doesn't always fly, so yes, there ought to be a "thing" to bring the people. I've just seized pow- I mean I've just been very kindly entrusted by Ally with the Twitter account for this site so I will do my best by that (already boosted our follower count by ... wait for it ... two! In the last twelve hours!) Meanwhile I'll try and think of some sort of writing-y, discussion-y topic that we can all argue about. Plotting vs pantsing, anyone?

Like I said, an anthology is just not in the cards right now. We're already pushing ourselves to focus on the forum itself and getting it turned around, so I don't think adding something like an anthology into things would be the best option. We need to see how things improve, but I really can't promise if anything like that will ever happen. And honestly, I don't think an anthology is something that we should use to try and solve our activity problems. Activity issues are something that come from within the member group itself and the fact that it, as a whole, needs to make a larger effort to really help the forum...otherwise, we're going to have another discussion like this in another three or even six months. It gets to be very disheartening to, what feels like constantly, keep having these discussions.

If you really want to contribute to something like that, I would say focus on the challenges when we start them back up - submit to the challenges yourself, but also critique the submissions. Also focus on the submissions in general. That way, you can get more experience giving critiques while helping to get the submissions and challenges up with activity, since those are also something we've struggled with (especially the challenges).

From the responses I've gotten so far when I asked my "what does Worldsmyths offer" question, it sounds like we've gotten quite a few answers to what that "thing" could be. Maybe some of those answers don't include an actual feature, like an anthology or a blog or whatever, but...it's something, at least.
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