tl;dr Solicited if we go for Featured stories, unsolicited if we go for front page stories.
I'm keeping this open to continue to discuss Featured vs. front page.
Plenty of rambling in here. You've been warned (I'm using this as an excuse to go all rambly, btw, so I really do mean it).
>The purpose is to get /fic/'s name out. In short, to win publicity. Authors would benefit somewhat from the editing advice we give, but the ultimate goal is to spread the awareness that there are skilled, serious reviewers on /fic/, should people wish to find such services.
There are two points here which, to some degree, clash. One is that we help the author; the other is that we help ourselves.
Now, all of this talk about solicited/unsolicited, reviewing ethics, code of conduct, the whole thing, has its roots in imagery - specifically, /fic/'s image. /fic/ is said to be seen as many things. Some have suggested that /fic/ looks like a lion's den; others say it's no more than a few extra characters in the board menu; but this does not encompass the majority, who do not know of us at all.
There are incentives to improve /fic/'s image. This isn't about improving /fic/'s image, this is about spreading it. Given that we have pretty much a blank slate for the most part, what kind of image do we want to spread?
Helpful, no doubt. Skilled, definitely.
Now, of these two main characteristics, which one do we put first?
This is an interesting case in that prioritizing one doesn't necessarily mean dwarfing the other. I'm talking about putting helpfulness first.
See, "skilled"… "skilled" is relative. Our services pale in comparison to professional editors, but trump, well, 99% of Fimfic, so to say. But helpfulness is a good deal easier to quantify, because it pertains to human emotions, the gist of it which can be grasped easily.
Skilled arseholes are confronted, considered, and then forgotten. As C.S. Lewis said in The Magician's Nephew, people have an amazing ability to forget bad things. Helpful people will however definitely be kept in mind, skilled or otherwise, because the author can find something to benefit themselves in that person. Put skeptically, we're appealing to selfishness, but isn't that what we pretty much do with reviewing? We review, and people disappear upon reaching EqD. But we do it anyways. It's a thankless job for the most part; the people who are resigned to it, embrace it even, have some way of dealing with this thanklessness.
That much being said, what exactly is an arsehole? The answer is surprising: almost anything.
People throw hissy fits fairly easily. The comments in knighty's blog prove this. You've got EqD rejects yelling that they got rejected for things as arbitrary and unreasonable as spelling. You've got someone hitting the Featured Box only to say "I had 45 dislikes, I don't know what went wrong!" and when people try to tell them just exactly what did, they ignore it. The point being, it's surprisingly easy to tick people off. This is the Internet, this is fanfiction, and there is so much ego.
Also, being an arsehole usually tends to blot out the "skilled" part. Did I mention that? Because, you know, when you get people on the defensive, they become blind to whatever good points you may have.
So far, we've got, "it's easy to be an arsehole, and being an arsehole is bad".
This is where the need for solicitation comes in. It makes them receptive, and thus disables a lot of the potential shock which would trigger authors into seeing us as arseholes. I'm assuming the worst of these people attitude-wise, the kind that yowl about "ITS THE STORY THAT MATTERS NOT THE GRAMMER" if you so much as mention the proper use of semi-colons. More importantly, it runs a significantly smaller risk of leaving a bad impression on /fic/.
/fic/ is a community. It's more than you or I. That's why there's so much fuss about regulations and making sure people stay in line, because your personal boundaries are not the same as mine, and the way we view others' personal boundaries is different as well. I can very well be called "paranoid" or "overly cautious" for being so careful, so conservative with other peoples' opinions. That's fine by me, because this is a community and I'm willing to do my part to respect fellow members of this community. It's just that simple. I'm not going to be what others might call an arsehole, so that my fellows will not be called arseholes, even if I don't think said action fulfills the requirements for arseholery. Arsehole three times in a sentence, a personal best.
So we've got "we're going to take the safe way because we can't take liberties with what doesn't belong solely to me" i.e. /fic/'s reputation.
Sure, our reviewers may be good at phrasing it diplomatically, and sure, I can check for all I want, but that doesn't mean we should forego being nice, shouldn't try our best to make sure we don't end up trodding on the fingers of the people we're trying to help. Because that's what it is, right? We're trying to help them, and not doing our best to help them is either half-hearted or contradictory.
I had a long-ish chat with several people on the matter, and I've come to see the light that we can't run this kind of event if we don't focus on helping the author first. Remember that little clash at the beginning? There's your priorities, then. We need to help the author above helping ourselves, as we have always done.
We can ask them for permission, word our reviews well, bla bla bla, and they might still be offended, but we'll have done the best we can. Isn't that what counts?
So the end of it is I believe we should get good publicity, although it will be less incendiary and therefore slower, than get an explosion of bad publicity, which we cannot afford to risk, no matter how small anyone thinks that risk may be - because, well, people. On Fimfic. You get the idea.
On the front page:
Fun fact: the original idea was to hit the front page, TWE-style. The idea came shortly after I found out of their disbandment, and thought that it'd be lulzy to do something like them, except without the stupidity of thinly veiled insults, and the risk of losing our base of operations, which is off Fimfic anyways.
Then the idea to do Featured stories came along, and it was a fun one. It's what everyone's thought of doing at one point - ripping up the popular, vapid stuff. And it would be done if not for the potential harm done to our reputation, which right now is, contrary to opinion, more or less a blank canvas. Doing it as individuals? Sure. Do it as an unrelated-to-/fic/ Fimfic group? Go on ahead. But /fic/, this particular /fic/? Unfortunately not.
And then someone raised the idea that we might possibly end up soiling our name if we went Rambo on them, and the result is this thread.
The front page is, I'd like to think, a completely different story. You've got the newbies. You've got the people who aren't utterly convinced that they're good on account of being popular. They're receptive
and I daresay hopeful that someone will come over and maybe leave a little blurb. That's why we won't need to PM them for permission; because we're what they want.
We can open a world of improvement to these newbie authors, show them that there's more to aim for with ponyfic than just being popular - there's being good.
Despite the disbandment of the TWE, there are still plenty of "this is bad and you should kill yourself" people around the HiEs, the OC alicorns, even the OCs. Massive blanket statement, but they're wannabes. If we start showing them the awesomery of helpfulness, maybe we can change the trend.
And the best part is that what we do, as long as the snark dial is, admittedly, toned down, will almost definitely be seen as helpful, and that's what will reel the fresh blood in.
There's plenty of publicity to be had from the newbies and the wannabes. They're not Featured-level popular, but since when have we ever been that kind of circle? It's always been the relative nobodies, the lurkers, ones without popularity but with heart
. The good Samurai, for example, Grif and Garnot and all the old-timers who churn out review after review.
There's also the massive savings involved with organization, i.e. no need for it, save for the review guidelines and the blurb before and after which introduces and then directs to /fic/, but that's not important just yet.
Well, it is, because that point alone is making me want to go with it, but this is a /fic/ thing, not Casca's thing. So there we go.
Also, the above is more or less agreement with:>>2228
And that's that.
This post was edited by its author on .