What features would you want? (Please read/respond)

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Jedi Knight Muse

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What features would you want? (Please read/respond)
« on: January 21, 2017, 11:28:14 PM »
If you could imagine the perfect custom made, brand new platform for (fantasy) writers with all sorts of features for sharing stories and interacting with each other and giving/receiving critiques on their writing, what features would you want it to have, knowing there were (likely) no limits to what it could do? Think of websites like the NaNo site and Figment.com and Wattpad.com and the features that they have that you like and don't like, and that you wish they had. (Things like word count trackers, author profiles, following/unfollowing people/stories, etc)

There's a reason I'm asking this, but I'm keeping it vague on purpose until further notice. Whatever features you can think of would be great to have for this purpose.

Examples:

Word count tracker, project progress tracker, featured authors/stories, a dark theme, user friendly, etc etc.

Please respond a.s.a.p!
« Last Edit: January 21, 2017, 11:56:38 PM by Jedi Knight Muse »
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MagicMagor

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Re: What features would you want? (Please read/respond)
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2017, 04:44:23 AM »
Ok, you ask to dream big so here is my idea of the "perfect" one-stop site for fantasy writers:

1. Forum

- Straightforward a forum to discuss various things related to writing.
- Maybe an extra section dedicated to general fantasy-stuff, not directly related to writing

There would be a flag on the account setting, to set oneself as an "author". Basicly this means, the site would cater to authors, but also to people who just like to read fantasy.

2. Project management

2.1 General
The meat of the site, for me as an author would probably be the project management.
I can create a new project, say a novel. This is a bit similar to the NaNo-site but i can give it more than just a simple genre. Instead there is tagging system with a big list of
premade useful tags, but i can also give new tags. In addition i can set things like if it is part of a series or a stand-alone novel, what world it is in etc..
Upload a cover and write a blurb or synopsis. And a field for the status of the project. Am i currently in the planning or plotting phase, worldbuilding or am i actually writing the first draft? Stuff like that.
All of that stuff would be publicly visible on the projects page. Once the novel is finished and published the projects page could include links to amazon f.ex. (Maybe with the site being an affliate, to finance all that stuff)

Tracker in a way similar to the word count tracker on NaNo would also be part of this. Main difference is, that a target wordcount is purely optional. I could still leave that
open and just have it track my daily wordcount. I edit my wordcount purely on a per project-basis, but i could also view a graph of my productivity over all projects i have. That is for example useful when i'm working on two projects at the same time.

A small tool to do word sprints. Just a timer and have the entered wordcount at the end automaticly add to the selected project. These sprints could also be used to track my word per hour metric (If i write 500 words in a 10 minute sprint, my WPH is 3000). My WPH could obviously also shown as a graph (for a single project, or combined). Seeing these metrics increase over time, can be a huge motivator.

2.2 Library
Once a chapter or the project itself is finished i could upload it to the site, similar to the current library. I can choose the visibility of that piece of writing:
- Private: Nobody but me can access it.
- Invite only: I can invite other members of the site to read it.
- Authors only: All registered members, that are flagged as "author" could read it
- Members only: All registered members of the site can read it
- Public: Even non-registered people can read it (this would also mean it would be searched and indexed by search engines)
Links the chapters or the whole piece (if it is a short story for example) would show up on the projects page, for the last two options.
The pieces could obviously be commented but there is a difference if something is posted as a comment, as opposed to a critique. Comments are visible under the story itself, critiques would only be visible to the author and the critique.

The library section of the site would include a search engine. Searching for keywords/authors, specific tags etc. There would even be a setting (default off) to inlcude projects that fit the criteria even if no material has been posted (yet) or i'm not allowed to read the posted material.
People can bookmark projects and authors.

The author could also upload the story directly as an ebook, which would then be available to download on the project page (depending on the visibility setting)

3. Useful resources
A section of the site is dedicated to usefull articles. These might be articles about the writing process, how to plan or outline a novel, the editing process or how to publish (traditional and self-publishing).
Another section contains usefull links. To resources usefull when writing (name generators f.ex.) or when publishing (paid editors, publishing companys that are known to publish smaller fantasy authors) etc..

4. Author page and blog
Every user flagged as an author would have publicly visible author page. Something like a beefed up profile page. This would also include a personal blog.


I think thats enough daydreaming for now. This whishlist of features isn't complete, but it is already big enough so i will stop here. The basic idea would be to bring authors together to enable critisism and discussion of the craft, but also to bring authors and readers together, to allow authors to gain popularity and build their brand.

If you want an example: https://rpgmaker.net/ is a site that is similar in concept, but it's topic are rpg games, not fantasy novels. But it caters to both parts, people who just want to play these games, and those who create these games.
Title: Tigerhall (WIP)
Status: Writing
Word Count Total: 28,677
Word Count Draft: 19,087

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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: What features would you want? (Please read/respond)
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2017, 09:32:08 AM »
WOW, @MagicMagor! You officially rock, 'cause you came up with way more details for this than I did just by writing down a list in a notebook. I LOVE all of these ideas!

Quote
1. Forum
- Straightforward a forum to discuss various things related to writing.
- Maybe an extra section dedicated to general fantasy-stuff, not directly related to writing

Right now the plan is to keep the current forum, which I should have mentioned in my post...it would have a forum regardless, but this is the forum that we'd be using. But I do like the idea of adding a section for discussing the fantasy genre in general. I'll work on doing that later when I get home from work. ^_^
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JayLee

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Re: What features would you want? (Please read/respond)
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2017, 12:01:01 PM »
This is a hard question, but here goes...

The first thing I think would make a perfect site--A "home page" for each author. Actually, kind of like @MagicMagor said. Each author would have one place that they start out at, and that primary author page would have a few very important features. It would list your works, and allow you to post all your own works in one place (but still with tags so that people can be brought to them by genre). On the forums here, the only part of a story that would be posted is the synopsis etc... and the link on that would just bring you to the author's page. (I figure that could be complicated, but hey, I'm dreaming here :)) It would have a tab for all your stats, profile settings, etc. Hugely important, is that it would have an easy way to see what forums you have been involved in, and keep activity stats for those forums so that you can always link through to the right conversation and see what new comments have been posted. Of course it would have a huge link to the forums themselves.

Another wonderful dream would be to have "live" forums. You could see the moment when someone posts a new thread without having to re-fresh to avoid getting "ghosted". You can also see your post as it goes up automatically.

Something with a proper font, and text kerning, so that it doesn't hurt my face, but a very open, easy to read, uncluttered layout. I like nice dark light contrasts, but never light text on a dark background. Pretty little homey, floofy fantasy designs around the place. And 600% more dragons involved :) No, seriously though, I love dragons.

It would also be lovely to have PMs be a bit more like Wattpad PMs, where you can see your entire conversation, neatly wrapped up in one nice little bundle. Then you remember what you were talking about, and what they are talking about, and why they happen to be mad at you for pointing out a missing comma. Discussion should also be open at the end of works, so that comments/reviews can be posted, and the author can respond etc.

That's mostly what I can think of as far as the basis for what I would consider my "dream site" My brain just realized it's a little close to agentquery.com as far as basic layout goes... (with the author page and the forums, and people linking through to your page etc.). But I wonder if it would ever be possible to make a perfect site. I'm sure I'd think of a dozen other things if my "dream site" was ever made :)

So to sum up this really long response... I think anything that is user friendly and a single, cohesive site, would be good. If it were to anything along those lines, I really wouldn't be mad :)
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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: What features would you want? (Please read/respond)
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2017, 10:26:31 PM »
Quote
Another wonderful dream would be to have "live" forums. You could see the moment when someone posts a new thread without having to re-fresh to avoid getting "ghosted". You can also see your post as it goes up automatically.

Hm. o.O @Sheepy-Pie says that she's never ghosted, because apparently when she goes to respond to a topic and someone replies to the thread before you, it shows her the new message...it never does for me, though. Right now all it does is give a message saying that someone else has responded to the post and then you just refresh it.

Unfortunately, I don't think there's a way to avoid this (unless we figure out what the heck Sheepy did to make her avoid that...), 'cause if we had this dream website then we'd be keeping this current forum.

Quote
But I wonder if it would ever be possible to make a perfect site.

Well, I don't know if this theoretical website would be perfect, but it's definitely possible to have a lot, if not all, of these features that you and @MagicMagor have listed on this dream website.

Again, this is all a hypothetical thing, but it may become a reality.  8)
Current total goal: 25,000
July Camp Goal: 15,000 (4,474=difference needed to get to 15k)

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Sheepy-Pie

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Re: What features would you want? (Please read/respond)
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2017, 05:17:50 AM »
Check if you have the "return to topic by default" checkbox ticked in looks and layout in your profile. That's the only thing I think I changed?

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TkZ

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Re: What features would you want? (Please read/respond)
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2017, 10:55:21 AM »
I second what Sheepy said. It's kind of annoying being sent to the forum instead of back the thread you replied to.

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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: What features would you want? (Please read/respond)
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2017, 12:23:51 PM »
Check if you have the "return to topic by default" checkbox ticked in looks and layout in your profile. That's the only thing I think I changed?

Yeah, I did that last night. I just haven't had anyone else respond to a thread at the same time as me yet since then, so I haven't seen it actually happen. :P

Edit: skip that- I mean, it brings me back to the thread after I hit "save" now, but I haven't seen what happens when you reply at the same time as someone else, since apparently there's something different that happens with that, too? o.O
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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: What features would you want? (Please read/respond)
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2017, 09:27:59 PM »
Bump.

We'd love some more suggestions, as it looks like this dream site may end up becoming a reality! Are there any other features that have not been suggested already that YOU would like to see? Even the most basic of features (besides the big one, like being able to use one log in to log into the forums and library?
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Cynadea

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Re: What features would you want? (Please read/respond)
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2017, 09:38:21 PM »
It would also be lovely to have PMs be a bit more like Wattpad PMs, where you can see your entire conversation, neatly wrapped up in one nice little bundle. Then you remember what you were talking about, and what they are talking about, and why they happen to be mad at you for pointing out a missing comma.

Go into My Message, look for Change Settings, the very first option: Display Personnal message. Pick as conversation. It will prompt you a popup warning you that it has to save your replies for it to work. Click ok.

It won't work for past conversations, but it will work for the future ones.


Regarding features:

As a reader:

A way to follow an author and/or a story (Favorites?)
An alert system that warns you when a favorite author/story has a new addition
An extra for the author to fill if looking for a critic/beta read for this particular piece and what they want to hear about (plot, wording, grammar, etc.) and how many review they want.
A private way to leave a comment.


As a writer:
a dark skin.
An author portal/portfolio would certainly be great


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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: What features would you want? (Please read/respond)
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2017, 11:47:52 PM »
As a reader:

A way to follow an author and/or a story (Favorites?)
An alert system that warns you when a favorite author/story has a new addition
An extra for the author to fill if looking for a critic/beta read for this particular piece and what they want to hear about (plot, wording, grammar, etc.) and how many review they want.
A private way to leave a comment.

As a writer:
a dark skin.
An author portal/portfolio would certainly be great

All good suggestions! I really like the one about giving options for what an author specifically wants a review to be focused on.
Current total goal: 25,000
July Camp Goal: 15,000 (4,474=difference needed to get to 15k)

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Ahryantah

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Re: What features would you want? (Please read/respond)
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2017, 09:35:04 PM »
I like a lot of the stuff that has already been suggested, most particularly: the author portal/page, a way to favorite authors and stories, and the ability to have different privacy settings on our own stories in the Library. I would like something focused at least as much on writing as on writing discussion, because while discussion is important and useful, it does get kind of tiring seeing the same discussion points over and over again.


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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: What features would you want? (Please read/respond)
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2017, 09:41:13 PM »
I like a lot of the stuff that has already been suggested, most particularly: the author portal/page, a way to favorite authors and stories, and the ability to have different privacy settings on our own stories in the Library. I would like something focused at least as much on writing as on writing discussion, because while discussion is important and useful, it does get kind of tiring seeing the same discussion points over and over again.

Yeah, I like the idea of an author portal/page as well. These are all great suggestions. Hopefully we can make it happen!

I do agree with you about the discussion points...it's just hard to come up with unique discussion topics, or what one might perceive as being unique and not something that's commonly discussed, and I think that's part of why there's kind of been a struggle to get more discussion topics started on our end, though it's always our hope that the general members would start their own discussions themselves and not just rely on us to do so. Do you have any suggestions as to how to come up with more unique discussions (that aren't also going to be controversial and lead to potential drama, obviously)? Like, what discussion topics would you like to see?
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Lord_Aetius

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Re: What features would you want? (Please read/respond)
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2017, 05:55:05 AM »
Re Forums/discussion
Personally, I would prefer a General Forum where most of the discussion takes place and a few specialist ones. This is because I am lazy and don't like searching through 10 different sub-forums for what is being discussed. It should allow you to quickly find what discussion is current/popular.

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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: What features would you want? (Please read/respond)
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2017, 08:12:17 AM »
Re Forums/discussion
Personally, I would prefer a General Forum where most of the discussion takes place and a few specialist ones. This is because I am lazy and don't like searching through 10 different sub-forums for what is being discussed. It should allow you to quickly find what discussion is current/popular.

Other than some minor changes, maybe, to the forums themselves, they'll be kept relatively the same as they are now. One of the things that we should be able to have is a stream of sorts (kind of like the activity stream) that will show the posts on the forum AND the library submissions. So in a way, we'd still have what you want, but it'd be found through the stream and not from just digging in one forum for topics. Personally, I hate having to do that because there would be hundreds of pages to dig through pretty quickly, and most forums have things separated into different forums because it's easier to organize.

I think it would be much harder to find discussions if everything weren't grouped into sub-forums the way they currently are. I'd much rather keep things organized and separated as needed.

The main goal is to keep the forums pretty much the same but integrate them smoothly with the new library.
Current total goal: 25,000
July Camp Goal: 15,000 (4,474=difference needed to get to 15k)

Storms of Magic - Draft 1