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File: 1354515655827.png (458.95 KB, 880x907, patchy_the_pirate.png)

/fic/'s Day Out 1799[Last 50 Posts]

#Discussion #Event

Ponychan thread: http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/125201.html

Operation Manual: https://docs.google.com/document/d/12XmgV1H5K0ZRhAfNaU2L9ikY6hVk8aQtg6xWwyag3Ms/edit#

Review Guidelines: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GcqQPmje5XvavquheJ5dGEiVnDkbR1PUbHvd-3f6j5c/edit

Registration form: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFIwOHdtQzZjV1NSQmlhbklvWlFCeEE6MQ

"On the featured box on the 13th? /fic/ comes for your head" - Seattle_Lite

In which the reviewers of /fic/ have a fun day out.

The idea is that on the 13th of each month, we mobilize and go to Fimfic to leave reviews on Featured Box fics. These reviews will be blunt and comprehensive, preferably line-by-line breakdown: think greentext reviews of Training Grounds lore. No personal attacks, less snark, more srs bsns. We will review [insert arbitrary number] words, no more, no less, and end the comment with a signature, possibly "[insert name] of /fic/".

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.

The procedure is as follows:
1) Reviewers sign themselves in to an IRC or Skype room, which will be the base of operations
2) Reviewers are assigned fics there
3) Reviewers read the fics, discuss points if necessary and leave a review of the first [insert number] words
4) Wait for the next month to come

It will be swift, it will be sudden, and it will most likely be a ton of fun.
––—
This thread is for discussion of details, modus operandi, pretty much everything really, as it's still in the conceptual stage. It's also to gauge interest, because to make this work, we'll need to keep it up for at least a few months, and to do that in turn, we'll need reviewers.

The estimated workload is, as mentioned, a comprehensive review of an arbitrary number of words once a month. I'm thinking maybe 2500, though some have suggested we do the first chapter instead.

So, whaddaya guys think?

IRC discussion logs: https://www.dropbox.com/s/mazwr5m40uhskpf/logs.txt
This post was edited by its author on .

1802

Sounds great. I might give this a shot.

Just please make sure this doesn't turn out like the train wreck known as the TWE. Remember that there's a difference between a solicited and unsolicited review.

If this is an organised thing, I suggest that each story have a Google Docs document made of it so that the technical errors can be kept separate from the more abstract things which are more fun to discuss and read. Also, nobody really wants a bunch of comments saying "hyphen", "missed comma", "run-on sentence", etc. on their story after those errors have been fixed. More to the point, this avoids everyone pointing out the same error multiple times.

Some decided leader could PM the author a link to the Google Docs document full of corrections, or we could have someone post a link to it in the comments.

Are we really doing this thing where we post every post twice?

I_Post_Ponies!7ZxXoTz/pI 1807

File: 1354519431749.png (67.71 KB, 858x930, surprise_by_empty_10-d4uuezn.p…)

This sounds interesting. I like talking about my opinions. Makes me feel smarter.

Casca!blANCA/Sq2 1808

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>>1802
>Just please make sure this doesn't turn out like the train wreck known as the TWE. Remember that there's a difference between a solicited and unsolicited review.
Unsolicited, though, is what I was thinking of. The potential for disaster is mitigated in that 1) it's the Featured Box we're going after, with authors who have enjoyed some degree of hugboxing, 2) it's monthly instead of fairly consistently, so we become more of a spectacle rather than an annoying thorn, and 3) /fic/'s reviewers are simply better at not being idiots than (the bad apples of) TWE.

Also, useful criticism is a lot more less likely to be turned down, least of all when it's public.

>Also, nobody really wants a bunch of comments saying "hyphen", "missed comma", "run-on sentence", etc.

This is a good point, I think. We could make a GDoc copy of the target story and just provide a link at the end of the comment post, e.g. "Technical edits: link".

>posting twice

Ah, noted. I'll edit in a link to the sister post.

>>1807
I know right?

1809

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this greatly interests me as well.

Demetrius!WDFBcC5x22 1810

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This sounds like a great idea!

An important point that almost goes without saying: we should all save all the work we do reviewing in some other visible place. Never entrust critique to the mercy of a fic's comment feed; I recall an instance where an author wiped out all criticism for whatever reason.

I think a good way to go about doing this would be to post the review in on the blog, then in the comments with a link to the blog post. If an author deletes the review it's all good because they still know where they can find it, so just in case they want to remove the comment for display purposes on their story comment feed (but respect your critique nonetheless) they don't feel quite as bad about deleting it, and they know where else they can find it. Time willing I'll participate in this, and I'll make it a personal policy of making effort to not get upset if an author wants my comments to die in a fire.

Another important thing: authors are not our enemies. This could only be a good thing if we did it in the spirit of popularizing writing improvement.
This post was edited by its author on .

Casca!blANCA/Sq2 1811

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>>1810
>Never entrust critique to the mercy of a fic's comment feed
I'm thinking that the reviewers would write their own reviews in GDocs, pass them around for confirmation bias, and the person who wrote the review would then do the posting on the story itself. Rather than give a link to a blog, having the review in the comment itself would be good.

With that, the reviewer would also have full permission to post the review to his/her own Fimfic blog. I'll collect the links to these review blogs and do them on a blogpost of my own, perhaps.

Not to sound like I'm getting jumpy over this, but we're doing this in the comments section, not in a moderator-tier front page blog post. This is clear, right?

Demetrius!WDFBcC5x22 1812

>>1811
Fair enough. If anything, it is easily seen as a gesture of being non-ostentatious.

Though, by blog post I meant personal fimfiction user blog posts (which are mostly invisible on the site and are mainly noticed only by subscribers) and not the front page mod blog posts.
This post was edited by its author on .

1814

The author won't be the owner of the Google Docs document anyway, so they won't able to delete the comments.
This post was edited by its author on .

Aquillo 1821

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Hmm.

Well, this might help out with /fic/'s publicity problems. You'd have to leave a link, though: the name alone is not going to be enough. People need to know where you came from if /fic/ itself is going to receive any benefits from this.

And that is the main thrust of this: Helping /fic/ over helping the authors. Roger makes a good point over the solicited vs. unsolicited reviewing. I would deeply suggest contacting the author to confirm whether or not a review would be accepted before you post it, to save yourselves from wasted time if nothing else.

Another thing to mention is that you should resist the urge to savage the usual tripe that makes its way into the feature box. Those who view your work are either going to be fans or detractors; you are not going to get the publicity you're aiming for if all people see is you telling them why "My Little X 2: The Reboxing" is a sucky idea that taints the world by mere utterance of its name — even if it is done politely. /fic/ is more known for its ability to improve upon a good story than to point out the elephantine turd in the closet. Utilise that.

Would you also be doing updated stories as well? As in, will the latter three boxes of the feature box get counted in to /fic/'s reviews? Or is this just going to be for the recently posted fics?

Casca!blANCA/Sq2 1824

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>>1821
All good points. Thank you for raising them!

>link to /fic/

At the risk of this thread devolving into community splintering again, a question to be raised: To which /fic/ should we link to? I suggest we link to both, at the cost of confusion: name text goes to MLPchan, /fic/ text foes to Ponychan. Or vice versa is fine too. Which is why it'd be good if the sticky had a statement making it clear that MLPchan and Ponychan are sister communities and not separate boards in spirit, even if they are, well, separate boards.

>I would deeply suggest contacting the author to confirm whether or not a review would be accepted before you post it, to save yourselves from wasted time if nothing else.

Hmm… Whether or not the advice is accepted is up to the author. But by leaving our comments there, unless it gets deleted, it should achieve our purpose: shock, then curiousity luring them to follow the link.

If we have enough people on board, we could have two review comment posts per story. Two long-ass comments would make one hell of an impression, I should think, and people would definitely notice the absence of a tag-team comment thing.

>Another thing to mention is that you should resist the urge to savage the usual tripe that makes its way into the feature box. Those who view your work are either going to be fans or detractors; you are not going to get the publicity you're aiming for if all people see is you telling them why "My Little X 2: The Reboxing" is a sucky idea that taints the world by mere utterance of its name — even if it is done politely.

>/fic/ is more known for its ability to improve upon a good story than to point out the elephantine turd in the closet. Utilise that.
Hmm. This deserves some further thought.

>you telling them why

People usually just say "this sucks" or "this is good". I think being able to say why is an improvement from the norm, and being able to phrase it with the proper terms or just sounding like you have an idea of what you're doing heh would be a good show of analysis. There are calls for both line-by-line and overall reviews. Overalls would certainly be easier, but line-by-line is impressive. If the TWE managed a page, af/fic/iandos could whip up two. Well, maybe. But that's up for debate, too, since practicality vs. deadlines vs. helpfulness vs. reception, and everything.

Part of the reason for storming the Featured Box is because that's where the attention is. Any loss to our name would be mitigated - we're critiquing what Fimfic, apparently, thinks is "good", and showing them why it isn't good - and how "bad", or "good", or "mediocre" can become good. Which would then tie in to:

>improve upon a good story


You're the one hailing from Fimfic, so I'll take your word on what people think of us. Perhaps we're too disillusioned about the Featured Box, in that we have not once wondered "what if the story's actually good?" But if it is, well, we'll go on to make it better. We've got reviewers capable of doing that all right, and if it really is perfect, I don't think any of us have the habit of being stupid.

>Would you also be doing updated stories as well? As in, will the latter three boxes of the feature box get counted in to /fic/'s reviews? Or is this just going to be for the recently posted fics?

Good question. Well, we're going to do a set number anyways, and every story has a chapter 1 ripe for the ripping reviewing. So I think we'll do the updates as well. Spare no souls, that kind of thing. =P
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Aquillo 1826

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>>1824

>To which /fic/ should we link to?


Link it to wherever TTG is most active. The first thing people should see is the heart of /fic/; all the other parts of the community, including the boards that operate under /fic/'s thumb, can be discovered later.

My opinion, though, so take it with a grain of salt.

>we could have two review comment posts per story


So you'd be reviewing every story in the feature box? That will require a fair amount of manpower to pull off.

>If the TWE managed a page, af/fic/iandos could whip up two.


I don't doubt it: one of my earlier interactions with TWE was about the length of their comments when compared to places like /fic/.

There are differences, though. TWE posted fast; you would not have the luxury of waiting a day or two to post your comments, or else the review will be hidden inside of the second page and less easily accessible and viewable. You'd have to try and snipe these reviews in at the first or second page in order to get the impact you're looking for.

>we're critiquing what Fimfic, apparently, thinks is "good",


That's a common misconception about the feature box. One that's almost as common, in fact, as the idea that Fimfic functions as an Eqd without standards.

Fimfic is a dumping ground for Mlp fanfiction, and the feature box is intended to function as a way of highlighting works from new or undiscovered authors. How well they do these is a side issue—that is their main purpose and raison d'etre.

The algorithm used for selecting fics for featuring mainly functions on the number of views granted within a limited time frame. If you were looking for "good" stories that were recently posted on Fimfiction, there's the "What's Hot" list.

>You’re the one hailing from Fimfic


Ha! No, I hail from SALT, Casca. Trying to use me as a judge for the popular opinion about /fic/ is probably a mistake: I’m a chronic lurker and occasional anon TTG poster on these boards. I might not throw my name around that often, but I’m mired enough in /fic/ to not know what the outside thinks.

My main point of this, though, was the difference between pointing out why a story is bad and how a story can improve. /fic/ gives the latter more often than not, and it is that spirit you should be carrying with you. Even a well reasoned piece on why a story sucks is less useful than a comment on how it can be improved.

>Good question. Whaddaya think?


If you are reviewing updated stories, I am going to try and update mine on the thirteenth.

That is what I think.

1827

>>1824

>shock, then follow the link


Hehehe~

>Perhaps we're […] Featured Box


If #fimfiction is anything to go by (oh boy …), they hate it as much as we do.

Also, you might want to get knighty in on this before we start anything hasty. That way if people complain, he already knows what's going on and won't try to stop it (if he's willing to not do that).

Casca!blANCA/Sq2 1828

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>>1826
>link to where the TG is most active
Hmm. It's kinda sad, but neither of the TGs are what I'd call active now, on account of the regular reviewers currently working through a batch of claims and nobody new coming in. Plenty of time to see whether this'll change, though.

>That will require a fair amount of manpower to pull off.

Yep. I'm hoping for at least ten people, one story to each, and then maybe a trade so that'd be two stories per person.

We've got around 7 people so far who have expressed interest, and it's only the first day. I'll ask for confirmation on the 7th or 8th, and then we can get this thing kickstarted.

>or else the review will be hidden inside of the second page and less easily accessible and viewable

That's actually a very good point. It'd be mean-spirited to leave short, unoffensive hugboxy comments, and then edit the reviews into them, wouldn't it, eh?…

All righty then. I'll mull over this. Anyone who has magical insight into predicting Featured Box entries in the meantime is free to rock up and share thy wisdom.

Of course, there's also the option to hit the frontpage rather than the Featured Box, which would hit the people who might be more receptive to concrit, given that they're mostly "mai furst fic r&r". But aside from the higher risk due to the greater similarity to TWE which is on everyone's minds (which is actually not necessarily a bad thing), there's also the issue of whether we can handle an influx we'll give it a pilot run first and worry about that later.

If it's frontpage we're going for, then we can mobilize based on timezones, and keep up some form of consistent reviewing for the whole of the 13th. Maybe not all that come through, but a fairly high ratio - like 1 in 3? If we don't dodge the hard cases, and do a low wordcount per review, we'll be able to hit that much, I should think.

>Even a well reasoned piece on why a story sucks is less useful than a comment on how it can be improved.

Well said. This line will go into the modus operandi guideline manual thing if/should I write one up.

>>1827
>That way if people complain, he already knows what's going on and won't try to stop it (if he's willing to not do that).
Hmmm, good point. Yeah, I should ask him that.

1831

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>>1824
>Linking to both boards.
Bad idea. This is why we haven't had as much traffic lately. Everypony's confused. I actually feel like we should have one of the TTG threads locked to further avoid confusion, but I know Pascoite disagrees with me on this.

>>1828
>Of course, there's also the option to hit the frontpage rather than the Featured Box,
Reviewing featured stories would probably get us more attention. Since that's pertly why we're doing this, that would probably be a good idea.

But whatever; I'm in!

Aquillo 1832

File: 1354552596894.jpg (607.86 KB, 731x731, celestia_by_caramelbrulee-d56d…)

>It'd be mean-spirited to leave short, unoffensive hugboxy comments, and then edit the reviews into them, wouldn't it, eh?

Yes.

A better approach would be to leave a comment along the lines of "This story has been chosen for a review on /fic/'s Day Out. Review will be edited in to this comment later on today.", or something similar. That way you can get the review in a prime position whilst also warning the author.

Even wayward writers should be approached with respect. It is up to them to lose it, not you to withhold it from the offset.

>which is actually not necessarily a bad thing


Probably not, in all fairness. The demise of TWE has opened a large hole inside Fimfic's psyche. There isn't probably a better time to slot /fic/ into it.

One thing I would say, though, is that having some form of organisation on Fimfic—even if it is just a front—would be preferable to not having one. Fimfiction's users have an unquenchable urge to keep their business on Fimfiction; having a 'face' for them to address on there before bouncing over to /fic/ proper will probably iron out a few issues before they crinkle.

>nobody new coming in.


Somewhat tangential, but has Eqd made up its mind about which board it's sending rejectees too?

Anonymous 1833

>>1832
They will send them to where there are people. You can't send to an empty place was the general consensus, and I have to kind of agree.

1836

>>1831
Both /fic/ in general have been dead of late.

1839

>>1836
Quite would be the word, but we're not afraid of shouting matches.

>>1832
Boop.

http://www.fimfiction.net/group/301/%2Ffic%2Fception

Talk to Filler, Grif, or Pascoite.

1843

>>1836
That's what Azu is saying. Both are deader because two are open. Should there be one, that would be the first step to rectifying, along with:
>has Eqd made up its mind about which board it's sending rejectees too?
That would rectify this as well.

Grif 1844

>>1843
I may have said this before, but I'll just mention it here again.

With the rise of FimFic as a viable alternative to getting your story featured, the importance of EQD sending rejectees here has diminished considerably. While standards have tightened on EQD (and I speak from experience. My first three story was published in 2011 without much of a fuss. I only managed to get another one just last week after much editing and reviewing.), FimFic did not follow suit. There has been an alarming trend of authors content to stay on FimFic, forsaking EQD spotlights, simply because they can get all the attention they need on that site. This has an indirect effect of depressing interest in the /fic/ board in general, since getting on EQD was the primary motivation of many writers seeking the TG in the first place. After all, why bother going through the hassle of getting a review when you can get a story on the featured box merely on interesting concept/pairing/clop.

I believe the state of the TG these days speaks volumes on the situation.
This post was edited by its author on .

Bleeding Rain!DROPScczL2 1846

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>>1807
I missed you.~

>>1808
I think I can sum up the point of the main part of your post with this link.
http://www.egscomics.com/egsnp/comics/2010/02/20100216_kq6j.png
I know we aren't officially considered "experts", but I like to think as a community moderately known for it's ability to improve stories, our words would at least carry some weight.

>>you telling them why

People usually just say "this sucks" or "this is good". I think being able to say why is an improvement from the norm, and being able to phrase it with the proper terms or just sounding like you have an idea of what you're doing heh would be a good show of analysis.
This. An hour after the season premier, there was already a Sombra story up. I told the author that the story was boring, because there was no hook, and no unanswered question that forced me to continue reading. He thanked me for at least telling him why I disliked his story, instead of just thumbs downing it.

> there's also the issue of whether we can handle an influx

Well, if Nick!Nack ever waltzes in here… I'll probably be itching to dive back into TTG by that time, and I'd like to think my knowledge of mechanics and composition has improved since last time, owing to the fact that I actually picked up a book, and studied the writing style down to the letter while I was reading it. Speaking of which, I should go do more of that right now. >.>

>>1832
>A better approach would be to leave a comment along the lines of…
Heh, was about to suggest this. Great minds think alike?

>>1844
>why bother going through the hassle of getting a review when you can get a story on the featured box merely on interesting concept/pairing/clop.
This, sadly. While there are still a few Feature Box authors who genuinely want to improve, I've met quite a few who used the rationale "Dude, I'm already in the feature box, why do I need *your* help?"

Aquillo 1848

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>>1844

I agree, which is mainly why Casca's proposal is such a sound idea. The centre of fanfiction stopped (regrettably) being Eqd a while back. Another, non-/fic/ based indication of this would be the off-topic comments underneath each Eqd story post.

Fifmfiction has become the location of both the readers and the authors, and yet the main location of the reviewers is off site. Part of the reason why TWE became well known was that their reviews could be seen on the stories, a type of advertisement which doesn’t require getting chewed up and spat out by the Prereaders. If there’s a chance that /fic/ can catch the same wave, then the best of luck to it.

Oh, and one other thing. Whilst getting featured has become the primary drive for a lot of writers, there still exists a large body who seek to improve. In its latter days, the TWE did have a section set up to deal with reviewing requests from authors. Whilst it’s right to say that the main aim is no longer to reach Eqd, there does still exist a drive for improvement within the writing base. The number of stories that have a comment in the description requesting a review is somewhat indicative.

>>1839

I was aware of the group, but thought it to be more slated towards promoting stories than /fic/’s reviewing services. Regardless, that would function as a face, and a link to it should probably be included in any reviews made, if only to stop the perception that Fimfiction is being raided by an off-site collection of reviewers.

>>1833

Same. Still, I was curious.

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 1862

Reading and nodding along in agreement with the posts here. I'd love to participate if nothing else.

I think I'm in a particular position to be useful to this project given my willingness to read (and enthusiasm for) clopfics.

Is there anything stopping us from editing this post's OP and using it as a base to just go out and start doing this right now?

Anonymous 1864

>>1848
>I was aware of the group, but thought it to be more slated towards promoting stories than /fic/’s reviewing services.

Ah, I see. My apologies. However, PMing one of the administrators with a friendly interest in what is to become of the group couldn't hurt.

Grif 1865

>>1864
Group was mostly started to have a central repository where /fic/ regulars could gather their stories. Sorta a silly idea I had while in IRC. It hasn't evolved beyond that yet.

It'll be no problem to extend its function, but I am wondering what good an FimFiction group would do, apart from giving a public face to the thing. (in which case, a custom group would probably work better.)

1867

>>1846
>Dude, I'm already in the feature box, why do I need *your* help?
Argh! That would be infuriating for sure.

Nonetheless, if someone says that, just say, "If you don't want any help, then we'll respect that and no longer offer it to you." There are many others who would appreciate the reviews, and arguing over it is both a waste of time and gives a bad impression.

Any sentence from the author along those lines is certainly a huge "Abandon ship!"

1877

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To summarise my thoughts on this and the IRC discussion that just ensued: Bureaucracy is very necessary for this to work.

The biggest concern raised is with people giving off a bad impression of /fic/. I like to think we can trust people to be responsible, but given the reviews seen in the last write-off thread, I can't be so sure.

We need a centralised face for this initiative that people can turn to for answers. If an agent provocateur wanted to ride on the coattails of this initiative for their own ends, we can point and say "It's not us." I propose that all assignments for this initiative be logged in a spreadsheet that is linked at the top of this thread and any other base of operations. Any reviews done outside of these assignments are explicitly not a part of the initiative.

I understand this has its issues. Bureaucracy can make things slow. Some people just want to review things right now. That's great. I wholeheartedly encourage this. Tactical has already taken such initiative and begun reviewing feature box fics. However, if you want to do this, please don't associate such reviews with this initiative. I suggest closing such reviews with a message that identifies yourself as a member of /fic/, but that your actions are your own. For example,

>If you liked this review, come check out [/fic/]. I'm a reviewer at [the TG] there, and we're always looking for new writers/reviewers.


The slowness of bureaucracy isn't an issue when there's a month to plan between each /fic/ Day Out. Additionally, the benefit of organisation for things such as a centralised review document for technical errors (as I explained the need for in >>1802) is immeasurable. It helps the reviewers know what they're supposed to do and gives a single place to find all the information they need to get to work, just as the TG spreadsheet does.

The next point I'd like to raise is mindset. Don't go into the story thinking you're going to "tear it apart". Our goal should be as it always has been: we're there to help people become better writers. That's still our foremost goal.

I think a lot of us have an unnecessary prejudice against feature stories. I won't go into where I think this comes from, but please try and put these biases aside. How many of us actually read the featured stories? This might be a good opportunity for Fimfiction to show us what it's got.

Grif raised a very interesting point: Why do these reviews need to be unsolicited? There are 10 stories in the feature box at any one time. If we send out a request to review their work, a timely response from enough of them is more than likely. This avoids a number of issues such as authors unprepared for or unwilling to accept criticism, and any unfortunate associations this initiative might get with the TWE.

Stories in the feature box stay there for a good while, normally. If it's up there for an hour, it'll probably be there for a few days. We can identify candidates and ask for permission to review on the 12th, and the reviews can be posted on the 13th. The review does not necessarily have to be near the top. If it's mountainous enough, it will still stand out amongst the rest of the comments.

The additional benefits of soliciting reviews is that there's more freedom in what you can say. A mountain of valid criticisms delivered robotically could still do more harm than good if the recipient is unprepared for it. This doesn't mean that it such vitriol as "Your action scenes are shit" is acceptable, but it certainly gives you breathing room to stick in a little snark and/or wry humour. We still want to have a little fun with this, after all.

In summary, I think we need the reviews to be solicited and a centralised review spreadsheet with the reviewers and the technical review document for each story.
This post was edited by its author on .

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 1879

>>1877

I understand, though I still argue that having this be an event on a designated day is problematic.

I've removed mention of this initiative from my review, and I invite people to keep an eye on me and let me know if my tone or anything about my attitude and/or approach is off.

I_Post_Ponies!7ZxXoTz/pI 1884

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>>1879
I hunted down one of your reviews and wanted to give some feedback on it. Specifically, this one: ==Link to mature fic removed. Story is called Reflections; can be found in featured bar at the moment.==

>Very poorly deployed
>we have another very poorly used reveal.
Something I would expect in a review from this board… but not on an unsolicited review on fimfic. I would suggest being easier on the author, given the context. Yeah, I know. Hugboxing. But if this thing is to build a positive image, we're gonna have to do a lot of it.

>This is called infodumping, and you should work at avoiding it. Right here is a very clear example. As much as possible, you should avoid using a paragraph or even so much as a sentence to just stop and tell us about something. Do a show-don't-tell job of it, in short. This is a tough thing to learn, as I know from experience, but it's well worth doing.

I really liked this. Perfect balance of criticism and counter-offer for improvement.

>I know I said I wouldn't nitpick, but this is a tense derp. "had recieved" implies that what you're about to say happened when Celestia had already recieved the letter in the past i.e. she was only worried after the letter's arrival "had happened."

Neutral. Tone is good, but you say, "I know I said I wouldn't, but I did anyways." A bit pretentious, I think.

>Besides the fact that this line falls particularly flat, this entire section, recounting what's happening with the mirror pool, is infodumping from start to finish.

Ouch. Probably a bit harsh. See first point.

>keep an eye out for adverbs like this that could be replaced by a show-don't-tell.

Solid, but perhaps you could offer an alternative in this one instance?

>Personal opinion? This whole bit needs an introduction to why suddenly Twilestia. I would expect Twilight to be servile and scared of doing anything untoward. It could be as simple as having Celestia in her infinite wisdom notice Twilight's faint arousal in the presence of her Princess. Or, heck, having known about it for a long time, then being amused to see it in this Twilight.

Good feedback.

>No seriously, I'm not the best about this either, but this is way, way unjustified. You give us no reason to accept Twilestia.

I like this as well.

>very, very clear example of Lavender Unicorn Syndrome.

As well as the denizens of /fic/ may know what LUS is… I don't think the general writing population does. Remember, this is aimed at helping the author, but we also want other commentors and readers to see this stuff and be impressed or at least interested.

>Skimming through the sex scene because I'm not here to nitpick and because aside from Twilight becoming more and more dominant you haven't put much here besides trying to get a "rise" out of the reader. This is some crazy shit, so emphasize that. Celestia must have some pretty interesting thoughts going through her head.

Solid.

>Goddamn you are bad about Lavender Unicorn Syndrome.

Tone doesn't translate well over text. This could be taken as a personal attack.

>Ouch. This is a way flat and unsatisfying ending. I suppose I should've expected that, considering the fact…

I cringed a bit at this. Again, for someone coming to /fic/ or another editor for advice, this really isn't so bad. But on fimfic with an unsolicited review… just, ouch.

>I know it looks bad for me to self-promote like that, but I can't be arsed to poke around and find you another example.

First, never self-promote. Either find another writer's example, or don't mention an example at all. Second, the tone of this speaks like you couldn't be bothered to put effort into your review.


That's what I have to say. Maybe I'm a softie. Opinions on my opinions? (metaception?)
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!!Spike 1890

>>1884
Posting with modtrip because I don't have anywhere convenient to save it.

>>This is called infodumping, and you should work at avoiding it. Right here is a very clear example. As much as possible, you should avoid using a paragraph or even so much as a sentence to just stop and tell us about something. Do a show-don't-tell job of it, in short. This is a tough thing to learn, as I know from experience, but it's well worth doing.

>I really liked this. Perfect balance of criticism and counter-offer for improvement.
Disagree. He didn't define what infodumping was, nor did he give it defining characteristics. One of the biggest issues with "show-don't-tell" is that it can mean pretty much anything. The line in question:
>The clones were an extension of the pony who summoned them
is easily pigeonholed under show vs. tell, but how does one go about improving on show vs. tell? (Here, I'd sat through maintaining a consistent narrative voice and perspective, but that's a topic you can write an entire essay or nine about.)

>No seriously, I'm not the best about this either, but this is way, way unjustified. You give us no reason to accept Twilestia.

>I like this as well.
Not sure about this part, since shippers can ship without solid reason. I'm biased against shipping in general, but I see this as a key characteristic of shipping.

Agreed on the more meta points.

Also, keep in mind that the story Tac reviewed is Mature.
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Casca!blANCA/Sq2 1893

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PSA: Link to the Ponychan thread is in the OP. It is advised that you poke at it every now and then to keep yourself updated.

>>1831
>But whatever; I'm in!
>pic

>>1832
>A better approach would be to leave a comment along the lines of "This story has been chosen for a review on /fic/'s Day Out. Review will be edited in to this comment later on today.", or something similar.
I like this very very much. Someone come in and tell me why we shouldn't do this?

>One thing I would say, though, is that having some form of organisation on Fimfic—even if it is just a front—would be preferable to not having one.

Hmm… but Fimfiction is horrible in terms of group management. I'd like to open the floor to anyone who has an idea of what the group should be and what it should do (think: what it shouldn't do).

Maybe a group with links to the review blogs, an introduction thread directing them to /fic/… and something else?

>>1846
>I've met quite a few who used the rationale "Dude, I'm already in the feature box, why do I need *your* help?"
Which is partly why I'm advocating reviewing no more than a certain number of words. Brush-offs are easier to ignore if it's just a moment's worth of work, and the reviews are there not just for the viewing of the author, but for all the comment trawlers as well.

>>1848
>but thought it to be more slated towards promoting stories than /fic/’s reviewing services.
Which is what I thought to. I'm of the opinion that if we're going to leave blunt concrit all over the place, we should keep our own stories out of the way. =s

>>1862
>I think I'm in a particular position to be useful to this project given my willingness to read (and enthusiasm for) clopfics.
Given the amount of clop in the FB lately, I agree with that immensely (I don't read clop).

>start doing this right now?

I'll make a new thread for the actual event. This is just to post discussions. I'd rather have the main event thread be free of all the ironing walls-'o-text.

>>1864
>PM admin
I've shot knighty a PM. All that's left is to wait and see.

Of course, even if he says no, I'm tempted to just go along with it anyways.

>>1867
>Nonetheless, if someone says that, just say, "If you don't want any help, then we'll respect that and no longer offer it to you." There are many others who would appreciate the reviews, and arguing over it is both a waste of time and gives a bad impression.
Mmmmm, response ethics.

I'd suggest that we do not reply comments via comment. If someone replies to the review post comment (lol), if a reply is required or justified, we do it via PM. Go in, go out, leave nothing more than that. It's cleaner that way, I feel, and better for presentation rather than get mired in a string of debates over the validity of Oxford commas.

>>1877
This post.

Now, for a justification of why I wanted it to be unsolicited:
1) The shock factor. It doesn't sound pleasant, but if the author throws a hissy fit, that's more publicity. All we need to aim for is people to be curious, regardless of whether that way's good or bad. The more publicity generated, the more people choose which side to be on - and I'm thinking I'd rather have numbers than proportions (event goes big: having 20 people support us even though there's 80 people whining, as of compared to events being small: 3 people supporting out of 5 who know of the shindig).

Also, nobody but us knowing is part of the presentation, which I admit I place on a pedestal slightly higher than it should be. I dunno, but I think it adds to the fun for ourselves as well.

>The next point I'd like to raise is mindset. Don't go into the story thinking you're going to "tear it apart". Our goal should be as it always has been: we're there to help people become better writers. That's still our foremost goal.

>I think a lot of us have an unnecessary prejudice against feature stories. I won't go into where I think this comes from, but please try and put these biases aside. How many of us actually read the featured stories? This might be a good opportunity for Fimfiction to show us what it's got.
These two points are worth repeating. Thank you for that.

>review spreadsheet

Mmmmmm… I'm horrible at those, and was thinking of just assigning the things manually via IRC or email. IRC is also important for support and discussion, so if someone's confused on a certain point they can just ping a buddy.

>>1879
> having this be an event on a designated day is problematic.
It's thematic. You know, because 13, unlucky number and everything.

>>1884
Heh. You're nice, IPP, didja know? I'll get to poking at that later when I return.

A Summary of Discussion Points and Questions
1) Where do we aim?
>Featured Box
>Front page
>Popular Stories list

2) Unsolicited or Solicited?
>Unsolicited
>Solicited via PM
>Semi-solicited? - "leave a comment along the lines of "This story has been chosen for a review on /fic/'s Day Out. Review will be edited in to this comment later on today.", or something similar"

3) How much to review?
>year of the pegasus words
>First chapter
>First chapter + second chapter, over two comments

4) Degree of harshness?
>Standard /fic/ fare
>Toned down

5) Where do we link to: Ponychan or MLPchan?

6) Base of operations on Fimfic: what do?
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Anonymous 1895

>>1884

If I may offer my own opinions.

As the writer of Reflections, the entire review was kinda unhelpful. Not because it wasn't factual, but because a lot of it didn't contain any real examples.

For instance, I only got apostrophes down straight a while back. I'd had people go 'jesus christ you idiot, you're GETTING THEM WRONG'

but no one ever sat me down and said 'hey, 'Car's is possessive, cars' is plural possessive'.

The same goes for this review. Bitching to me about 'show don't tell :V ' as I've heard a thousand times before.

But what does that even MEAN?



Also, whining about lavender unicorn syndrome and then whining about word repetition in the same breath… dis mofo serious? I have 'lavender unicorn syndrome' specifically to avoid word repetition or putting in the characters name a redundantly huge amount of times.

The rest of his problems were all based on the story itself. I tend not to mix sex with the plot. Plot comes later. Keeps the different flavours separate. Perhaps not the best way of writing, but it keeps it all neat in my head.

In short. I didn't find the review very helpful at all.

It's like having someone barge into your shit, point at different things and say 'THIS, THIS, and THIS sucks! FIX IT!'

'But how do I fix it sir? How do I make it better?'

'FIX IT!'

<Warden>!54EdiTorz. 1897

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Well, this sounds like it would be pretty fun. I've read through the thread, and it looks like most of the logistical issues are being sorted out.

I like the idea of making the reviews unsolicited in that I don't think we should ask the author before-hand. I do like the idea of using a placeholder comment.

I think the most important thing we can offer is in critical advice. Not in the pointing out of errors, but in the offering of prescriptive terms. A lot of the time professors have told me not to offer this kind of advice on classmates' stories, but it's also the kind of thing /fic/ can and should do. We claim to be able to make a story better. A quick review about what's wrong won't do that. We should be able to explain why it's wrong and what the author might be able to do to fix it.

>>1895
Especially since these reviews will be (assuming they are) unsolicited, then this reaction is something I think we can curtail to a degree by the bureaucratic stuff Roger mentioned. Ideally we would get some peer-review and cross-checking between the notice of a review and the review itself.

In any event, I'm in.
[Edit] Oh, I'm willing to look at the clop side of things as necessary too.
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Pav Feira!ToolDoTeR. 1898

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My Twilestia alarm went off!
>mature
Oh. Eh.

So, my concern with pure unsolicited is that we'd run into exactly the same situation as TWE had. Part of me like the "This story has been chosen for a review on /fic/'s Day Out" idea to combat that concern. Part of me also likes the idea of not really centralizing the thing. "This isn't an official group; we just happen to be individuals who like to review stories" It's kinda a plausible deniability cop-out, but I feel like we'd run into the same issues that TWE had, of being unable to police its members (and really, that's kinda a nonsense responsibility if you ask me. Individuals will act as they please.). By not centralizing, each individual is on their own, and it's their own neck on the line if they turn into a raging ass. If they happen to refer authors to /fic/ as they review, so be it.

Before you call me a hypocrite, for belonging to such a FimFic group myself, I'd argue that works because all reviews are collected and approved by the group before we submit together. If /fic/ wanted to do something like that with checks and balances, then absolutely. But if this is just individuals running and gunning through the comment section and speaking their mind, it feels way too risky to unite that under a banner. I may trust the regulars on /fic/ now, but TWE used to trust all its members too. Then a few bad eggs enter the mix and ruin it for everypony.

Anyway, I wanted to talk about Twilestia. And giving unsolicited reviews. Behold: the hypocrite. In my defense, they made an unofficial sequel to one of my stories, so I felt entitled to speak my mind. :P For your consideration: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/45163/Love-works-in-mysterious-ways#comment/1735726 The short version is that it was a kinda rushed alternate-ending-in-a-wish-fulfillment-way that turned a bittersweet ending into a happy one without really addressing the conflicts of the original. One of the characters literally had the sense slapped into them, and cue cuddling. Now sure, you could point out why that type of alt-ending fic is doomed from the start, and tear down the author. I understand it's some reviewers' style to be confrontation, make an impact, open eyes and turn heads. That's gonna cause big problems with unsolicited reviews though, particularly when offered protection by some group's banner. Offering my personal style of reviewing up for discussion, I don't go for the vitriol. Way I figure, if you leave enough bad points, without raising their guard by being confrontational, and if they care at all about their story, they'll see the huge mass of necessary edits in front of them and come to their own conclusion about the quality of their work. Honey and vinegar, etc.

>>1895
Thanks for stopping by and offering your own side! Review of the review, as it were. You raise a really important point: this should ideally be a learning experience. Both the author, and the author's readers while they skim the comments, can take the opportunity to specifically learn not just what is wrong, but how to fix it. Thus, explaining terms, offering examples, providing grammar guide links, etc etc are all important points.

EDIT: And of course, whenever more clarification is needed, we're always willing to help via PMs, or the boards here at /fic/.
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1899

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Copy Pasta from Ponychan: I wouldn't mind taking part in this, as long as it's civil. I've taken the time to leave reviews on EqD stories several in a row, though I used a template I use in the writing contest I run on another site. My reviews are mostly my thoughts on Spelling & Grammar, Ease of Read, Entertainment and overall Quality.

If I may be so bold as to suggest we use such a template, it might make things easier for people to review. An example of a review I did like this can be found on Seattle_Lite's 'Moving On' story. It's his second comment, in fact.

Obviously that was a bit low on words, but my second review of his second chapter is much meatier. Both can be found on his FiMFiction story, if you're interested in the examples.

1901

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>>1895
If I may elaborate on a few points.

>Bitching to me about 'show don't tell :V ' as I've heard a thousand times before. But what does that even MEAN?

This is kinda hard to grasp, especially at first. The simplest way to explain it would go like this.
>Lyra was sad
>Lyra whimpered
But that's only the tip of the iceberg. I'd have to see which ones Tactical marked to fully explain it to you.

>Also, whining about lavender unicorn syndrome and then whining about word repetition in the same breath… dis mofo serious? I have 'lavender unicorn syndrome' specifically to avoid word repetition or putting in the characters name a redundantly huge amount of times.

When you say "The lavender unicorn" you do two things. One you tell us what the character looks like, which we already probably know and it's better to have character description mixed with actions. The second thing you do is make the reader think about which character you mean, which reminds the reader that they are reading (which is bad) and makes it take that much longer to read the story (it doesn't seem like much, but they add up.) Also it would be pretty rude to call Fluttershy "The yellow pegasus" when we already know her name.

>I tend not to mix sex with the plot. Plot comes later. Keeps the different flavours separate.

This means that you could easily skip them without missing anything. Any scene that doesn't advance the plot or reveal character should be cut.

Edit: I'm gonna go though Tac's review real quick.
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Anonymous 1902

>>1901

Ah yes, but I'm not trying to tell a big huge story here. I wrote it for the clop. The clop is the point of the story.

The storyline itself, about clones and errything. That's flavour.




And here, the specific area where he complains about LUS:

>making the alicorn whimper faintly and shudder


>very, very clear example of Lavender Unicorn Syndrome.


the specific paragraph in which it was mentioned (and wow I hope I get the spoiler tags right)

Hidden for NSFW
Flushing hard, Celestia allowed Twilight’s urging to push her nose down until it bumped against the unicorn’s [MOD CENSOR, SORRY], the scent of her at that range inescapable, making the alicorn whimper faintly and shudder, already grinding her thighs together slowly.


I don't refer to her as 'the white alicorn', or 'the large alicorn'. There is no descriptor except just that, 'alicorn'. I want you to know that it's Celestia… but I don't want to repeat her name. Again. It feels really, really redundant to me to use the character's name multiple times in the same paragraph, not to mention the same sentence. And then let me just point out the fact that it's two females in the scene. I can't differentiate between them without the simple she/he, her/his identifiers.

so unless you can give me an example to show me exactly how that's supposed to be fixed, I really can't take that kind of 'critique' on board.
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Tactical!fRainBOoMw 1903

>>1895

First off, I'm sincerely sorry for not giving you a decent explanation of "show don't tell." I would usually talk about what show don't tell means, and I forgot to for your sake. It really is one of those things that's useless without satisfactory explanation, and half the explanations I see kind of suck. So here's how I tell people about Show Don't Tell:

Edit: Azu nailed it. "She was scared" versus "she tried to hide." The former skips description that could've been there.

That's where the advice that I actually did give comes from: Keep an eye out for times where good description is important, and be careful that you're not skipping that description by not doing show-don't-tell. If it really matters that Lyra is sad, the scene is much stronger if you show what she does/looks like as a result of being sad.

>Also, whining about lavender unicorn syndrome and then whining about word repetition in the same breath… dis mofo serious? I have 'lavender unicorn syndrome' specifically to avoid word repetition or putting in the characters name a redundantly huge amount of times.

Okay, so, you're wrong. Like, you're wrong about what you just said. Yes this is why LUS happens, but the term LUS exists because it's regarded as something you shouldn't do, not just by me. Logically this should imply that those people find ways to avoid it. Personally, I just use "she." Making that work when you have two female characters in the same room takes some finesse, but it's a thing that is very possible to do with the English language.

In this case you referred to characters just by their race. Do you not understand how that's annoying? More importantly, though, you're talking about "a lavender unicorn" doing something. It's Twilight, dammit, not "a lavender unicorn."

I gave you an example of a situation where using LUS is okay, and even good.

Edit: I'm not going to rewrite your lines for you.

>The rest of his problems were all based on the story itself. I tend not to mix sex with the plot. Plot comes later. Keeps the different flavours separate. Perhaps not the best way of writing, but it keeps it all neat in my head.

If you consciously want to write this way that's fine, but I'm not talking about making clop all super significant to the story, I'm talking about making use of feelings and opinions and emotions in clop scenes. If you consciously don't want to talk about anything except screaming pleasure, then you miss out on what I kept complaining about—in the specific example, how interesting/strange it is for Celestia to be submissive.
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I_Post_Ponies!7ZxXoTz/pI 1904

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>>1895
This post brings up a good point, I think. We may be used to using our own terminology or being vague on things that, honestly, are not givens. Really, the reason I think some people accept the vague "Show don't tell" or "This is wrong" here is because most everyone else does. That won't fly on fimfic. Hell, even I thought that was a decent review until the author pointed out how ambiguous it was.

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 1905

>>1904

That's not even it. Show Don't Tell is a piece of advice most of us have heard since grade school, but it's a tough one under any circumstances.

It's hard without an example, like Azu gave.

1906

>>1902
Change "the alicorn" to "The Princess" same number of words, but it's not rude to call her the second one.

Anonymous 1907

>>1906

I use that descriptor all the time, too.

So… things like 'teacher', 'student', 'princess', 'librarian', 'smaller', 'larger' ('the smaller female' for example), are okay, but specifically using their species as an identifier is a no-no?

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 1908

>>1907

No. Using species is a no-no because it is saying "some alicorn" was moaning in ecstasy. "her princess" isn't a WHOLE lot better, but it is describing her as she relates to Twilight.

Twilight is doing something to "her princess." Much less irritating than her doing something to "an alicorn." You're talking about a character in terms of something that actually matters, and in terms of the character and the meaning of the action that's going on etc.

I gave the example of "her slutty faithful student."
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1909

>>1907
Here's the rule of thumb I use, as I have said before. Let's say you're trotting down the street and you saw your friend going the opposite direction on the other side of the road. Now you want to say hello to your friend, but how do you get his attention. What do you call him after you say hello.

Do:
>Hey, Bob!
>Hey, buddy!

Do not:
>Hey, Blond dude!
>Hey, tall guy!

The last two are rune while the first two aren't. Now, back to going through this…

Anonymous 1910

>>1909
That awkward moment when those two are valid nicknames and used widely by my friends…

Hell, that awkward moment when you notice that Bobby has no more meaning than Blonde Guy and its only you that gives the meaning.

I mean, you see people use identifiers all the time in fiction, classics or not, and here in /fic/ everyone acts as though they were poison.
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Anonymous 1911

>>1908

See, now THAT is information I can use, thank you. In the review, it really just wasn't clear what you were trying to get at.

>>1909 Yes, if only all descriptive writing was like walking down the street. My problem was that I use 'alicorn' as a descriptor when other words are getting redundant. I'd already used 'Princess' a bunch of times. Alicorn was the next easily available way to discern Celestia from Twilight while not using redundant words. I won't do that no more.

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 1912

>>1911

I've seen reviewers *require* that people who submit also leave replies to the review.

Besides the fact that it shows me how I'm doing, it is also the only way to help you with things like me not giving you an example of show-don't-tell (again, sorry about that).

And I still say that just describing characters having sex, and pointedly not talking about stuff like "oh Applejack you're so strong I feel so safe in your hooves I love how strong you are" is a serious detriment.
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Anonymous 1914

>>1912

The easiest way to help someone learn is by example.

Instead of

> the clone Twilight asked worriedly.


>It's not SUCH a bad example, but keep an eye out for adverbs like this that could be replaced by a show-don't-tell.


Be like

>this is wrong

>Try: “You’re not… sending me back to the well, are you?” the clone Twilight asked, biting her bottom lip, looking worried.

And THEN explain why the previous version was wrong compared to the new.

Or whatever sentence would most make sense. Or whatever. I HOPE that's show - don't tell right there. Still not sure. It's something that requires me to change such a deep level of my writing that it'll take months for me to get right, methinks.

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 1915

>>1914

technically "looking worried" is totally tell, but what matters is that you gave us a bit of description, you didn't let "worried" speak for itself.

Review of Tactical's review 1916

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>It wasn’t the real Twilight. It was a clone. A clone conjured up from the mirror pool.
It's a clone. It's just a clone, Celestia thought.

>The clones were an extension of the pony who summoned them

Uh, didn't they explain this on the show? I forget. Anyway, exposition isn't always a bad thing, as long as it's interesting.

>It was one of the only things that had kept Celestia going for that millenia.

It's the only thing that has kept me going all these years, Celestia thought.
Maybe have the whole paragraph as Celestia's thoughts, I don't know.

>That way, the clone would be obedient and unlikely to do something crazy.

A big part of Show Don't Tell is keeping things a mystery. The way I figured this out was with a Lyra x Bon Bon story I wrote awhile back. In it, I say something about how Bon Bon is scared of getting close to Lyra, because she thinks Lyra will cast a magic spell on her that will impregnate her. See, it sound really stupid when I say it. But by having Bon Bon always shy away from Lyra's horn and glare at it, you keep the reader asking why Bon Bon's acting the way that she is, which keeps them reading.

>the clone Twilight asked worriedly.

the clone Twilight asked whimpering.
Edit: use >>1914 instead.

>Come to think of it, the whole "creating a Twilight clone to be my personal servant" is a little uncomfortable.

Okay, that was uncalled for, Tactical.

>Celestia stated coldly.

>Where'd that come from? Celestia was blushing and totally unable to keep the strong face on a minute ago, and now she's ice cold and right back in control of herself.
>Google "mood disorders" for why this is wrong. Though I did a character as bipolar once…

>Point of View switch.

Generally, you want to write a third person limited story in a way that reads like a first person story where the narrator refers to herself in the third person. Bubbles did this really well.

>“Sleep here with me for tonight,”

Gee, is there a less exciting way to say this? Actions are stronger than words!

>, but by far the biggest problem is the fact that…

The only thing I can say about this is a suggestion that you study psychology. Find books at the library, read websites, watch lectures on YouTube. There are reason's why ponies like the… things they like. What am I doing with my life?

>>1911
When this happens, I just go through a cycle of the words, making sure to never repeat the same one before using the others first.
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Tactical!fRainBOoMw 1917

>>1916

I disagree with, like, everything about this from start to finish.

But Azu's opinion counts too. He's a reader and he has opinions about what he read, so different perspectives are fine.

Soundslikeponies!bQsJPGMNfw 1918

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>>1914

Here's how to find and understand "Show; don't tell"

The key words that make 'telling' identifiable are words that are emotions or variants of.

Happy, happily, happiness.
Sad, sadly, sadness, sadden.
Annoyed, annoyedly.
Bored.

Chief offenses look something like this:

>Being with her friends made Twilight a lot happier.

You are directly stating Twilight's emotions rather than showing the cause and effect.
>With all her friends around her, Twilight couldn't help the bright smile that spread across her face.
Notice how the former feels a bit flat and dull, while the latter feels quite a bit better.

A personally dubbed "grey zone tell", isn't always bad. Although it's rarely good. These "grey zone tells" show up in published writing all the time, and they're things like:

>Twilight gave Fluttershy an ecstatic look. "That's it!"

"Ecstatic look" could be further elaborated on. For e.g.,
>Twilight looked at Fluttershy, her eyes widening as a massive grin stretched across her face from cheek to cheek. "That's it!"
Again, the latter feels better than the former, however the former doesn't feel too bad.

The places that grey zone tells show up in published literature is in difficult to describe actions, or in actions where showing would take a lot of words, and bring an unwanted amount of attention to something small.

>Twilight sighed in frustration.

This is a perfectly acceptable grey zone tell, because a sigh can be interpreted a couple different ways (disappointed sigh, shaking-your-head-and-smiling sigh, defeated sigh) and showing which type may be more trouble than it's worth.

So in summary, looking for those key words similar to the ones mentioned above (or any "emotion" words) will help you weed out most of the telling problems with your writing. Keeping an eye out, and learning to have an alarm go off in your head whenever you want to write "Twilight gave her a ____ look." or "Twilight had a(n) _______ expression." Will help you slowly move away from telling, and eventually it'll be second nature to divert to the showy versions instead.

EDIT: Although it seems your problem is also with exposition telling rather than emotion telling (or as well as emotion telling; I haven't read your fic).

Exposition telling is, like a grey zone tell, something you want to use in some cases. The way to catch this kind of telling (or any telling, really) is state of being verbs. The chief ones of which are:

are
is
was
were

>The Castle was old.

Can be elaborated to:
>Decaying, moth-bitten banners hung from the walls, a red and yellow sigil of an ancient house resting on them as they emitted a mildewy smell from being hung in the weather-worn—and now leaky—hall.
Showing is usually longer than telling. And it's a beginning writer's first instinct to go to telling since it's so much shorter, and because they don't have creative practice in coming up with these showing descriptions.

And something like:
>The clones were an extension of the pony who summoned them
Could take a hell of a lot more words (entire paragraphs even) to show through narration rather than tell, but it does sound like something you should probably show.

This is where dialogue is your friend. Dialogue is not only very engaging to the reader, but you can also "show" things in far fewer words by having characters' conversation drift to whatever topic you want.

Two characters talking about the history of the old capital is more interesting than a giant exposition dump because it also builds characterization of those two characters, and there's a dynamic between the two characters that's inherent in any conversation.

Using my earlier example:

Dash shivered beside Twilight, staring at the empty hall. "This place looks like it's been abandoned for a while, huh?"

"We're the first ones here since the incident with Nightmare Moon more than a thousand years ago," Twilight replied, stepping inside. "The city was abandoned after Celestia and Nightmare Moon clashed, and now their magic is embedded in the Everfree forest."

The above might take pages to properly show in narrative.
This post was edited by its author on .

Casca!blANCA/Sq2 1921

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PSA: Review Guidelines draft and registration form are now in the OP.

Feel free to comment on the draft.

1926

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>>1921
You probably should've had two different spaces in the form; one for your user name and the other for Email. I would be very surprised if everyone filled it out correctly.

1929

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>>1898
Author's reply to the feedback I left (see link in previous post):

Your comment left me feeling warm and fuzzy, since you didn't immediately condemn my mistakes, but told me what I did wrong in an educating way.

1930

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>>1926
Standard name + email syntax is [name] <[email]>, e.g., RogerDodger <[email protected]>.

>>1929
Nice work, bro.

Casca!blANCA/Sq2 1938

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>>1930
>>1926
Question: if I add a second question, does that screw up the entire spreadsheet as a result?

1942

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>>1938
Not if the first question stays at the top. If you're not careful, it'll screw up the whole thing at least it did for me.

Though I imagine that Demetrius or somepony knows how to fix it.

Seattle 1991

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>>1799
>mfw and nervous laughter on seeing that quote

I swear by all that is winged and horned it was a MUCH more benign concept than it appears from those words alone. Im catching up on this thread, and… god damn you guys are impressive.

I'd especially like to thank Aquillo for bringing the level-headed and positive approach needed to the fore on this project, and Dolf, I want to hear those other ideas for /fic/ - fimfic projects. Shoot me an email mate.

I'll be catching up in full on this run-away train soon!

1997

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Tactical!fRainBOoMw 2054

>rumble clop in the featured box
>rumble clop in the
>RUMBLE
>MOTHERFUCKING RUMBLE

Must… not… rage-review…

Fuck it. Both barrels. I'm mad.

2055

>>2054
This is the point where we need to consider erasing evidence. I assume you guys all came prepped with self-destruct sequences?

In all seriousness, is it too hard to ask for you not to drag /fic/'s good(?) name down into the mud?

Soundslikeponies!bQsJPGMNfw 2056

>>2054
>>2055
I'm just dropping in to say that someone needs to disallow tactical from participating.

2057

>>2054
Reviewing while in a rage? That doesn't seem like a very good plan. I might go so far as to call it…
(⌐■_■)
…a tactical error.

No but seriously, there's also a Twilight-DT mature fic in the featured box with… something extra. Yay for popular topics?

I_Post_Ponies!7ZxXoTz/pI 2058

File: 1354845482491.png (245.26 KB, 500x647, 1354710714184.png)

>>2054
Yikes.

(If you are being sarcastic, please disregard this. Sorry, whole "can't translate tone over the internet".)
If you want to rag on an author for having what you see as a poor fic make it to the feature box, no one here is going to stop you… but if you want to be a part of this, I would suggest you adhere to rule #2.

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 2059

>>2058

No I don't actually intend to review in a rage.

It's just, the last time I dropped an unsolicited review on clop in the featured box, the response I got was "Look, I just wanted it to be porn, stop trying to tell me to make it a story."

I have never dragged our good name through the mud and I do not intend to.

>>2057
I'm going to come over there and smack you.

Casca!blANCA/Sq2 2066

File: 1354848545750.png (317.65 KB, 661x448, okay_2.png)

>>2055
>>2056
>>2059
So in the end, no harm done. Yes.

PSA: Model, or Operation Manual is now up.

Also, this is a draft made so that we can get the ball rolling. I'm not actually going to start until everyone on board is fairly, reasonably happy. I don't believe in perfect starts, I believe in improvement.

You'll notice that we're going with unsolicited. That's partly because mobilizing people to go to stories and to leave preemptive comments kinda takes time which we don't have if we want to start in 6 days.
This post was edited by its author on .

2068

>>2054
Dare I ask what Rumble Clop is? Or do I probably no want to know?

2069

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>>2068
Rumble is a background pony.

2070

>>2059
If you're reviewing a clop story, all I can say is try to review it as clop. Use the trusty gauge of your sex organ to see if that part of the story is effective. If not, tell the author in as instructive of a way as possible. Sometimes it works better if it's a good story with clop in it; other times it's just a sex scene with a token idea to draw in a few extra readers. You can usually tell and judge accordingly.

>>2068
I don't think this is exactly the thread to talk about the story, but my thoughts on it are below.

Eh. I went through the story to see what the fuss was about. In short, it's a team blowjob competition between three pairs of fillies who have all been "aged up" to appropriate levels. The story is in present tense, with weak characters, even judging by my lower standards for clop. Eh. I left a comment and gave it a thumb down.
This post was edited by its author on .

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 2071

Find me a heterosexual clop one-shot that isn't shitty wish-fulfillment vacuous porn,

And I'll find you someone with low standards.
This post was edited by its author on .

!Kojak.IXbI 2072

File: 1354851627790.jpg (23.37 KB, 304x380, kojak12.jpg)

>>2071
That's an incredibly narrow niche you're asking for, and then loading the statement.

Like, "find me a garbage bag full of entrails that isn't unappetizing and I'll find you someone with low standards."

>clop

>one-shot
>specifying heterosexual?
>isn't "shitty wish-fulfillment" (whose wish?)
>vacuous porn

Oh, okay, lemme rummage around the internet to find something suitable for you - oh wait, you just want to trash it regardless.

How about you find a
>fanfic that contains a heterosexual romance scene that has a story behind it
And you read it objectively?

Eustatian!Wings60m9. 2073

We are /fic/. We write and review explicit stories now. Not all of us, but some of us do, and enjoy it, and it's not even against the rules. So there.

I thought this was discussed before we decided to move. If it's still a sore subject, we should talk about it more.

My opinion on the issue is that unsolicited criticism is not something I'd like to be known for. And that's coming from someone who doesn't mind being a known fan of Trixieverse, what with its recurring themes of dubious-consent and sexual naivety being shockingly educated, and many other things that people aren't willing to even try to appreciate.

I'm not saying this project is 100% a bad idea, but it does have the opportunity to turn really, really bad.

Please do not make "you should change this" comments about anything more subjective than spelling, punctuation, and proofreading.

The average author is not able to take that kind of criticism. You must have consent for your words to have any positive weight at all.

Talk about what you like, mostly. Talk about what you didn't. Compare stories to others - and find points on which each is stronger.

I can support that sort of thing. But don't try to fix stories. That don't work and just gives us a bad reputation.

>>2057
Twilight x DT foalcon

tl;dr I am an anti-foalcon bigot.

Couldn't resist reviewing. Boiled down to, yes, there are some ideas that are inherently bad. They can be perfectly written by the best of people, do no harm, and still be worth hating - because there are some things author doesn't have the right to ask the readers to do.

Buying some of the contrivances needed to even begin not-hating 99% of foalcon is more than I'm willing to do for an author.

2074

>>2072
Your comments sound really silly from the perspective of someone who's more familiar with the person you're arguing with than you seem to be.

Sit back and watch, please.

>>2071
Tactical, I'm sure you've read (spoilered for mature content) "Belief" by Proteus, but could you give it another objective look to humor this gentleposter?

I thought it wasn't "vacuous." Not high art, sure, but not "vacuous" either.

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 2075

"wish fulfillment" and "vacuous" were meant as insults, not as actual qualifiers, though I will defend "vacuous" as being pretty much certain to be true.

One-shot because right off the top of my head, one of the best-known fics in the fandom has an explicit heterosexual scene.

Anyway I just wanted to emphasize that there are no exceptions and you will have to systematically pick through hundreds of meat processing plants to find me a garbage bag full of entrails that is in exception to the rule.

Anonymous 2076

>>2075
Have you read Our Last Good-bye by Raging Semi?

2077

Please stop derailing this thread.

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 2078

>>2074

Don't white knight for me when I'm being a dick.

edit- to clarify-

I'm just saying don't call people out on my behalf when I'm in the wrong
This post was edited by its author on .

Anonymous 2079

>>2077
Is this our first official derail?

Eustatian!Wings60m9. 2080

>>2078
Ah, excuse my interruption, then.

Back on topic

>>2066
>1. Thou shalt be helpful.
One day a Scout showed up to his troop's weekly meeting almost forty minutes late. Everyone kinda gave him funny looks, but they were learning Morse code, you see, and pretty much engrossed in what they were doing.

Well, the SPL - that's the boy the scouts have put in charge, ya see - walks up to the kid later and says, "Listen, I don't wanna be a hard-ass or anything, but we've got the expo coming up, and we kinda need everyone to be doing his best if we're gonna win the contest. We need you."

The kid answers, "I wouldn't have been late, but I had to help Mrs. Anderson cross the street."

"Really? For forty minutes?"

"Yeah. The old fart didn't want to go."



The general tenor of the guidelines leans towards unsolicited helpfulness. This is a bad idea and I don't want to be a part of it if that's the case.


DERAIL
>>2079
I think so. Let's party.

Rule: You can only post on the derail in conjunction with a substantial on-topic post. That's the /fic/ I believe in. Because fun and srsbzns are not mutually exclusive.

Azusa!fG2qnvpWXU 2081

>>2069
>>2070
Why did I ask…

>>2073
>>2080
Kind of the point of posting artistic endeavor online is to obtain constructive criticism. Is your story's so good that it doesn't need any, then why aren't you selling it? It's stupid to post a story online thinking that you won't get any comments suggesting how to improve. That said, some of the stories we will be reviewing will probably be from people like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcAoWDDoQ4w

Anonymous 2082

>>2080
Fic did derail and then continue talking about whatever it was on the thread.

I still insist, if you want porn and story, and in a heterosexual one shot, you have Like Fine Wine and Our Last Goodbye to scratch that itch.

>>2081
There is the possibility you just want to share the magnificent thing that you created and you mere mortal can't figure out their genius.

Point being, you are taking a lot fro granted if you think everyone wants other people opinions, specially negative opinions.

2083

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>>2082
I take it you didn't watch the video I posted. That was probably a good idea.

Casca!blANCA/Sq2 2084

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>>2080
>You can only post on the derail in conjunction with a substantial on-topic post.
That, or until the OP comes in guns ablazing, which is standard etiquette I think.

>>2073
>unsolicited
Mmmm… concerns noted. Addendum made to the Process section.

>Emails will also be sent to the authors of Featured stories, informing them that they will receive an in-depth review on the 13th. This PM will be a rather mysterious/ominus-looking notice, not a request for permission:


>Dear [author],


>Please be informed that on the 13th of this month, you will receive an in-depth review of your story, [story name]. Thank you.


>/fic/


Would you find this an acceptable compromise? It'd be 5 or 6 days before, which is plenty of time for the novelty to wear off.

Anonymous 2085

>>2083
Random videos in the internet, that sounds as dangerous as pressing this tinyurl link:
http://tinyurl.com/b6q9a4r

>>2084
I am not sure if this sort of solicited/unsolicited model works.

This like giving them the black mark. And if they refuse the review? Everyone wasted their time?

!Kojak.IXbI 2086

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>>2085
>Of course, I click it anyways

>My first view of the new Youtube layout


>mfw

<Warden>!54EdiTorz. 2087

>>2080
When I think of offering prescriptive criticisms i. e. "You should change this." I think that such advice should be limited to what you can back up with reasoning. Something along the lines of:

"In scene X, you have Twilight Sparkle in a desperate hurry to see Rarity and warn her of an impending disaster. She runs through town to get to the Carousel Boutique as quickly as possible. Instead of having her run, consider having her teleport from the library directly to Rarity. Doing so lets you emphasize how urgent the situation is by having Twilight ignore the social nicety of not teleporting into ponies' private property."

Or something. It's not the best example, but it's what I came up with on the spot. I think offering improvements to more than just the mechanics of writing. Good English does not a good story make.

Grif 2088

>My opinion on the issue is that unsolicited criticism is not something I'd like to be known for.

This. Consider my application withdrawn if we continue along this path. I find it rather worrying we value our own opinion over others.

<Warden>!54EdiTorz. 2089

>>2084
I think the original model works best. We're basically just commenting on stories in a structured manner. Even if our comments are going to be more than the usual fare, I don't think there's a reason we would have to give them a special heads up.

Anonymous 2090

>>2088
So, what exactly is your model? "Hi, we are the /fic/ witness, would you like to hear about better writing?"?

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 2091

>>2087

"Not saying anything subjective" is like saying "make sure you leave a pointless review that picks at grammar and gives no interesting or important direction for improvement."

>>2070

I have WRITTEN clop with a token idea to frame it. It was goofy and cute and continuously rolled with the idea that started it. It tried to have a strong beginning and ending.

Earlier in the thread, I reviewed a story that had d/s play as a major theme—TWILIGHT as the domme and CELESTIA as the sub. The characters never, *ever* addressed how bizzare that is.

So, yes, I *can* give criticism even on things that are just plain old porn.

Eustatian!Wings60m9. 2092

>>2084
> compromise

I'm not a fan. Remember that you're entering a little part of the noosphere that belongs to them, this is kinda personal. I might read such a note as

> Dear Sirs:

> Please be advised that we'll be along to burn, pillage, rape, enslave, and murder your women, children, livestock, homes, and farm implements - although not necessarily in that order or combination. We haven't decided yet. How does the thirteenth sound to you?
> Sincerely, the /vik/ings

Counterproposal:

- No prescription at all. (Also, this is an emotional issue so >>2087 reasoning won't help.)

- We'll descend en-masse on the Featured Victims Stories and have Opinions about them.

- The rules dictate at least one Positive Opinion and one Negative Opinion must be had per Contestant.

- Opinions (TM) being what they are, we will disagree about them and fight, politely, with each other.

- Authors and bystanders may choose to sit back and eat Popcorn, which shall be provided in the form of a Comment by a Contestant briefly explaining What the Fuck is Going On.

- Authors/bystanders may also choose they like some of our Opinions, at which point they are free to solicit more entirely of their Own Volition. They will not be lead in this direction with anything more than a passing statement by the First Contestant that "We're /fic/. We pre-read works-in-progress, but that's not what we're doing today."

- Again, we shall exercise Politeness, Common Courtesy, and as much as possible not be Condescending Pricks about it-

I mean, politeness, common courtesy, and as much as possible not be condescending pricks about it. Oh darn. That's gonna be hard for me.

Casca!blANCA/Sq2 2093

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>>2085
>>2088
>>2089
> We're basically just commenting on stories in a structured manner. Even if our comments are going to be more than the usual fare, I don't think there's a reason we would have to give them a special heads up.
Which is what I thought, but yes, there seems to be a weakness in this regard.

This is the new notification PM:
>Please be informed that on the 13th of this month, you will receive an in-depth review of your story, [story name]. If you would like to opt-out, please reply before the 9th. Thank you.
So we assume permission and allow them to opt out. Is that better?

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 2094

>>2088

Hey guys!

Remember the time I bitched about structure being nothing but a good way to hamstring this idea?

Casca!blANCA/Sq2 2095

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>>2092
Ninja'd. Whoops.

*reads*

You know, I actually like this model quite a bit. It's a lot less hard-hitting, but has a lot more potential to be amusing, which is also a good interest generator.

I pity whoever has to play Good Guy, though.

So this is what I think I'm going to do: I'm going to adapt that to a second model, and then we'll vote on one or the other. Before I do so, I'm going to wait for people to mull over this and possibly convince me otherwise, or such forth and so on.

Eustatian!Wings60m9. 2096

>>2094
I half agree

Structure as "This is how we shall arrive at and present our opinions" => very bad indeed.

Structure as "This is where and when we'll show up and here are a few ground-rules so we're less likely to hurt anypony badly" => what I'm proposing and supporting.

>>2095
Everyone has to play good guy on some aspect of the story. I suspect we'll find it isn't that hard when we try. After all if your average FiMFiction reader can do it, how hard can it be?

At least this isn't a debate contest where you have to argue both sides of an issue well. I've done those before. Lots of fun, but hard.

And OP loves me! *Hugs back.*

2097

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>>2092

This post.

God, I love you. Have hugs.

>>2096
All the hugs!

Grif 2098

>>2093
An opt-in model would be best for everyone involved. If the authors do not reply, their loss and our gain. (Avoids the issue of unwanted reviews.) We also avoid the ethical issue of giving authors criticism they did not solicit to begin with. Who are we to dictate on whether or not their work require fixing up? It is on them to decide, not us.

Casca!blANCA/Sq2 2099

File: 1354857532024.png (121.79 KB, 963x320, miracle.png)

A summary of progress:

Model 1
Targets (which are referred to as such because wording them more diplomatically isn't as smooth) are PMed with the option to opt out before being reviewed.

Reviews are standard /fic/-style analysis and suggestions, a line-by-line of the first 2500 words and an overall review of characters, plot, tone, etc. - essentially, a structured way of commenting.

Model 2
Two reviewers are assigned to a story. Each are to come up with at least one positive and one negative opinion, with good reasoning. Each are then to find one point of disagreement in the other's critique, and proceed to have a mock argument, almost a derail in nature but not really, because it pertains to the story (and derails, as we know, are fun).

Reviews are overall-kind, and pertain to elements. Less examples of word choice, and more writing philosophy/theory. Potentially no word limit, because arguments pertaining to plot can be undone with revelations in later chapters.

>>2098
Personally, I was hoping to avoid it, because opt-in means potentially giving the author the monkey wrench to our system. Also because I think my mindset is stuck with that which I had during its conception, a mindset which very conveniently left the author of the stories out of the question, since they're not the target of our reviews - the bystanders are.

Which is also why I'm liking that second model.

2100

Clearly I'm missing something. I fail to see how reading a featured story, offering some thought-out criticism on all aspects of it, (even if only the first 2500 words) and directing them to /fic/ if they would be interested in additional critical opinions in any way causes a need for the author's permission. It's not like we'll be filling the entire comments section with the review; even if it's a large comment, it's still only one comment they can choose to respond to or not.

>The idea is that on the 13th of each month, we mobilize and go to Fimfic to leave reviews on Featured Box fics. These reviews will be blunt and comprehensive, preferably line-by-line breakdown: think greentext reviews of Training Grounds lore. No personal attacks, less snark, more srs bsns. We will review [insert arbitrary number] words, no more, no less, and end the comment with a signature, possibly "[insert name] of /fic/".


>>2099
These seem like fine, but altogether different ideas. The first is like a mini/preview review of the story in question. The second is much more akin to debating the merits and flaws of the story with other /fic/ members.

Each seems to me to serve an entirely different purpose. The former presents /fic/ as the place for constructive and honest critique of the written word as it pertains to MLP fanfiction. The latter seems a lot more like a bunch of us going out on the town and having a discussion precipitated by featured stories. It seems much less purpose-driven, but more fun-oriented, if that makes sense.

Casca!blANCA/Sq2 2101

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>>2099
Misc. opinions regarding Model 2
There's potentially no word limit unless we restrict it to the first chapter, which could be much more than an arbitrary word count.

We'd need a lot of people if we were to cover all the Featured stories with 2 people to each.

We'd also need people who can word their reasoning well, because reasoning would be the meat of the post - although that's not too much of a problem, since it's mostly regulars who are joining in.

Adopting a model that doesn't have as much similarities to being a horde of vikings means we can forgo the 13th quirk and go with something tamer, like maybe the second Sunday of each month instead - something like what Aquillo suggested.

The arguments would be allowed to go on as long as it is within the 24 hours of the chosen day, and no more than that, or it'd feel like it'd go on for too long.

Planning a few days beforehand would allow the reviewers to prepare all their replies, and it would simply be a matter of copy+pasting after a reasonable amount of time between posts, and thus cram in as much exchange as possible - and thus get a larger chunk of the screen.

Reply posts would have to be substantially weighty. If possible, nothing less than at least six sentences (arbitrary).

Casca!blANCA/Sq2 2102

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>>2100
I suppose the issue is that not all authors can take criticism, and we don't want to find out the hard way. Spirit of goodwill, perhaps. I mean, I don't quit get it either, tbh, but I am open to trying.

>Each seems to me to serve an entirely different purpose. The former presents /fic/ as the place for constructive and honest critique of the written word as it pertains to MLP fanfiction. The latter seems a lot more like a bunch of us going out on the town and having a discussion precipitated by featured stories. It seems much less purpose-driven, but more fun-oriented, if that makes sense.

Which is also true. But I don't mind events evolving like this.

I'd say that the second model is a more indirect way of promoting PR (perceptions), whereas the first is a way of promoting exposure (acknowledgement of existence). Both are relevant to /fic/ currently, but I'd like to think that exposure rather than PR is better in the long run. I mean, look at SALT, which people generally think well of but don't really know of.

2103

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>>2101
You have no idea how much I love this plan. Professional Reviewing/Debating? Like Wrestling? Glorious, simply glorious.

My body is ready.

>>2100
>It seems much less purpose-driven, but more fun-oriented, if that makes sense.

Do you have any clue how much /fic/ is in need of a little fun every now and again? I know I need it. You could do with a little yourself, I'd surmise.

Grif 2104

>>2100
Because we're doing it under a banner of an organisation and with the goal to promote said organisation. The fact that we are willing to use unsuspecting authors as test subjects in order to promote our own board strikes me as wrong and does not sit well with my principles.

2105

File: 1354858959825.jpg (37.97 KB, 462x462, 9842349_gal.jpg)

>>2104
>The fact that we are willing to use unsuspecting authors as test subjects in order to promote our own board strikes me as wrong and does not sit well with my principles.

You don't think that we can separate the story from the author? Just because I don't like a story doesn't mean I think the author should die in a fire, and just because I like a story doesn't mean the person who wrote it is a saint. Ya, I think the authors should be informed, probably even give consent first. But we're using knighty's site for intents that it allows, and the author is—in some ways—tangential, as the spectacle is in large part for the readers. Though, Casca, do send knighty a PM about this to get an a-okay. His approval is more important than anyone else's.

Anonymous 2106

>>2104
I suppose you then dislike such things as, say, One Man's Pony Ramblings?

2107

>>2105

I already asked him via Skype around two days ago. He expressed tentative approval.

Anonthony!EEEEEEEE2c 2109

>>2105
Actually, I'm ahead of you by about 2 minutes. I just sent him a message.

>>2104
…The primary goal is, and always should be, the helping the author.

>>2107
>>2108
And you're ahead of me, heh.

Grif 2110

>>2105
>You don't think that we can separate the story from the author? Just because I don't like a story doesn't mean I think the author should die in a fire, and just because I like a story doesn't mean the person who wrote it is a saint.
Way to completely miss the point. I'm not saying we're going to descend on the authors like a pack of wolfhounds. I'm saying it is both a polite courtesy and would look very much better if we just asked.

>>2106
He's not using the comments to promote his own blog, is he? A difference in intent there.

2111

>>2103
I have nothing against having fun, nor the idea of the second model shaping up, it's just not what I thought the "plan" was with regard to the thread.

>>2104
On the contrary, we aren't using them as test subjects, we're offering a service to those authors in the featured slots, whether they appreciate said service is up to them. Is it wrong to promote ourselves at the same time?

Grif 2112

>>2111
I like how we automatically think this as providing a service to the author. We must be better than the authors, am I right? No really, this hubris has to stop.

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 2113

>>2104

Anypony who doesn't want negative feedback should request that nobody comment on their story at all, because their tiny little egos can't handle negative comments. A comment that says simply "this wasn't very good, downvoted" is twice as negative as the kind of thorough criticism that we're talking about here.

>>2112
We know badfics when we see them (in b4 tactical you're so arrogant, your shit sucks and you have no right to call a fic bad) and we obviously won't be giving negative feedback to things that we like—only offering help if we see ways to offer help.

I'm going to stop replying to Grif and go catch up on Dashie's Foaling instead. I'm going to get legitimately upset if I keep doing this.
This post was edited by its author on .

Anonymous 2114

>>2112
…Reading an author's story (which is already a service, as they write them to be read, you know, attention?) and offering them (subjective) feedback (of any kind) is, in fact, a service. That you think otherwise says you must feel that /fic/ is 51% or more unhelpful or not a useful service to authors.

2115

>>2112
Better isn't at all the term I would use. We're saying we know a thing or two that the author may not, and that we're another pair of eyes and that we can offer something that many authors can't with regard to their own stories: criticism beyond self-editing.

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 2116

>>2111

For what it's worth, I think the idea of organized fanfic-review sophistry would be both fun and helpful.

I very seriously doubt there will be anything in the featured box that's SO bad that there will be nothing to defend.

Grif 2117

>>2115
>>2114
As you wish. I see I'm in the minority with regards to this. Just to make this clear, I'm not against the idea, but rather the fact we are doing this without the author's knowledge or consent.

>>2113
>in b4 tactical you're so arrogant, your shit sucks and you have no right to call a fic bad
tactical you're so arrogant, your shit sucks and you have no right to call a fic bad

:P
This post was edited by its author on .

Anonymous 2118

>>2117
I thought one of the options was to get the author's consent?

Grif 2119

>>2118
The option is opt-out, not opt-in. Meaning consent is presumed unless otherwise notified. I am not aware of a new option that requires explicit consent.

Anonymous 2120

>>2119
Opt-out… is pretty much saying "we would like to offer you what we feel is a service that will not only get your story more readers (us) but also us giving you feedback from our reading". And if they say no, then no. I don't see how that is, in any way, not sufficient. "Opt-in" isn't even feasible.

2121

File: 1354860457822.jpg (30.95 KB, 600x444, 4262056_gal.jpg)

>>2111
>I have nothing against having fun, nor the idea of the second model shaping up, it's just not what I thought the "plan" was with regard to the thread.

I have the perfect quote for you. It's from The Entrepreneur's Guide to Writing Business Plans and Proposals by K. Dennis Chambers:

While we are in the rarified company of flag officers, here’s another from a man who ought to know: “A good plan executed right now is far preferable to a perfect plan executed next week.” (General George S. Patton, Jr).

Plans change. But that is no reason to resist writing one. For example, if you were writing the first business plan for UPS back in 1907, you would write something to the effect that the company is specializing in messenger service in cities.

If you were to write a new business plan for UPS in the 1960s, you would observe that the package handlers are working from sheets of plywood placed on wooden sawhorses in buildings that were formerly gas stations.

Today’s UPS has a sorting facility in Louisville that is one of the largest buildings on planet Earth, with miles of conveyor belts delivering computer-controlled packages directly to waiting airplanes. Today’s UPS repairs laptops, shapes baseball bats, stocks parts for Bentleys, provides warehouse storage for shoes and cameras, and refurbishes cell phones. Oh, and they also deliver packages worldwide.

That is an example of stunning growth and an evolving business mission over a century. But it didn’t stop them from writing a good business plan for its time in 1907.

Fred Smith wrote a now-famous business plan for Federal Express in business school for which he even more famously earned a gentlemanly “C” from the professor. That business plan has little relationship to today’s FedEx, but we wouldn’t have today’s FedEx without that first business plan.

Similarly, nothing should stop you from writing a good plan now. Tomorrow will happen whether you have a plan or not. So let’s have one.


I love that quote, and for good reason. Plans change. Ideas evolve. Tomorrow will come, and tomorrow will bring its challenges. Better to face it head-on with some idea of what you want to do than to face it empty-handed.

Grif 2122

>>2120
You think it is sufficient. I don't. A difference in opinion, yes?

Anonymous 2123

>>2120
Now, wait a minute, how Opt-in not feasible?

The fourteenth of every month you send a couple of PM, you get the responses and then discuss those that accept on the next thirteenth.

How is is that not feasible?

Then, there is of course the fact /fic/ is basically this opt-in model, but that's just splitting hairs.

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 2124

>We should make it opt-in so that nopony's feelings get hurt!

>>2094

dolfeus!doseuxbE3s 2125

File: 1354861138523.jpg (15.2 KB, 203x285, 3076710_gal.jpg)

>>2123
>>2122
As a note, I support the opt-in model, but I won't have a fit if it's opt-out.

Casca, pray tell, what say thee?

Edit:

>>2126

Opt-in to be asked? I don't see how you could extrapolate that from "ask the author if they'll allow us to do this to their story; only do it if they say 'yes'" as opposed to "tell the author this shit's going down, and that he can stop it with just a word. Oh, but you have to say it by X date, but you wasn't logged on for a week and couldn't respond. Bummer."
This post was edited by its author on .

Anonymous 2126

>>2122
As an aside, "matters of opinion" don't mean both sides have equal veracity.

It's a difference of opinion, but yours seems… needless. I, as an individual, outside of the realm of any kind of group or activity like this, would be perfectly fine to go to any featured story, and without any kind of consent at all, read, and offer my feedback at any time I so chose. And if my feedback was honest in the slightest, as a reader who isn't a total idiot, it would be (subjectively) helpful, just as any reader comments would be. So actually asking them if they even want a thorough review is more than sufficient (in my opinion), which is why I find your opinion rather puzzling.

>>2123
…Exactly? Seems like the model we're talking about is barely even discernible in difference between opt-in/opt-out. I mean opt-in as in, they have to opt-in to even be asked, since that's the only distinction that can really be drawn.

>>2125
See above. It's basically the same thing.

>>2124
That won't even do that. Even if they get the choice to opt-in/out, they may not like what they hear in review. But that's what might happen no matter what, simply from what readers might say.

Anonymous 2127

>>2126
The notion one opinion is more valid than another must be made on basis if said opinion goes against testable measure or not. In any other situation, dismissing one opinion over the other is mere and total dickery.

And while I agree it will be fine for you, the individual, to go about making reviews, it doesn't quite work as an equivalent situation beacuase you actions do not only reflect upon you, they reflect upon a large group. If tactical up there gets stupid after an author responds to him too harshly, is not his reputation which will be affected, it is everyones reputation.

But let us disregard for a second and go with your argument that your opinion gives them an actual choice: today, I went into my fimfiction account after not being there for two weeks. Why? Life, liberty, and the pursuit of booty. Had I been somehow been amongst the selected, how in the world would I have known? You are giving people the choice, you are just covering your asses by saying "well, we did tell them we were going to ram this stick up their asses unless they said no, so it is still their fault."

Worse yet, if someone fucks up, or if Casca here thinks a joke is funny while the writer and the commenters don't, then we are just adding to the impression /fic/ is a castle made of bricks of assholery, with a moat filled with vitriol, and armies of twats.


As for there being no difference, refer again to my whole ramming a stick up their ass. In one, you are offering help (because someone is into that sort of stuff). In the other one, you have just fucked someone up. There is no compatibility between the two systems. As for right now, we aren't the one doing the asking, they are, but the principle remains the same: we offer help, someone people bite, we give it. Opt-out means: we go brandishing our /fic/ badges and give advice, then if asked why did we do it we point out the message we send and tell them it is all their fault if they didn't respond.

Anonymous 2128

>>2127
I was not under the impression that "no response" was equal to "consent." I'm not sure where that came from, anymore than "no response" would be consent for propositioning your lady-friend at Make-Out Peak. If it was said somewhere, I apologize, but I assumed rationally that non-responsiveness would not be construed as consent.

Grif 2129

>>2128
That is exactly what an opt-out system is. Consent assumed unless otherwise stated.

Anonymous 2130

>>2129
Then I'm an idiot after all.

Nevermind. Please excuse me. I've been tired.
This post was edited by its author on .

2131

I really don't see how asking for permission would slow it down that significantly. The people in the feature box are probably watching their notifications all day anyway. If you ask all of them, you'll probably get at least 2 responses within an hour.
This post was edited by its author on .

Anonymous 2132

>>2131
Agreed. I dont' understand this side mentality of "the writer doesn't matter into this" which seems to exists on this plan. Of course they matter, who else provided the story to do the show?

2138

File: 1354875346985.jpg (7.77 KB, 300x168, hakase_umm.jpg)

>mfw this thread

>>2127
>The notion one opinion is more valid than another must be made on basis if said opinion goes against testable measure or not. In any other situation, dismissing one opinion over the other is mere and total dickery.
In case anyone was wondering, this is why I've been withholding making anything in the model concrete. Making a poll would be too simplistic and dismissive of the nature of the argument. The irony of this statement is that this is what I am going to try and do now.

First off, a thank you to the people who've made their opinions heard. You're participating for a stake in this event, and that's to be appreciated no matter how you look at it.

We're at an impasse here: half of us think consent is not necessary, and the other half of us think it is.

The argument for non opt-in:
1) It slows down the process and possibly leaves large chunks of it empty

2) We don't need opt-in

The argument for opt-in:
1) increases the chances of the review being received or, at least, not deleted

2) the safe side of ethics

While I really, really do want to believe in non opt-in's (2) -
>>2100
>I fail to see how reading a featured story, offering some thought-out criticism on all aspects of it, (even if only the first 2500 words) and directing them to /fic/ if they would be interested in additional critical opinions in any way causes a need for the author's permission.

all the arguments point to opt-in being the safe measure. Safe, meaning no chance of getting accounts banned, or hard work deleted in a flash, or sore users whining to knighty, or anyone here leaving in an ethics-injured huff.

There's also the fact that I loathe to go ask puffy-headed 15-year-old cloppers "can we critique your work?" no offense, Tac, as if we owe it to them, but that's personal and unjustified.

So! All things considered, I've decided to adopt the opt-in model.

The PMs will be sent on the 4th or 5th, and will be altered to become a request for permission. In the absence of response before the 8th, we will assume permission until further notice. This is not because of principles or anything, but so that we can get things done.

Anyone who's desperate to prod at my reasons for this can shoot me an email, which is in the trip.

So that's that one detail solved, then.

2139

>>2138
>The PMs will be sent on the 4th or 5th
wut

I thought we were going after fics that are, you know, in the feature box at the time of posting the reviews. Why the nine day gap? That's way too long.

Proposed alternative: At 20:00 UTC on the 12th of each month, we send out PMs to every author of a fic in the feature box. Four hours later, 00:00 on the 13th, we divide the reviewers between every accepting author and create a technical review document (Google Docs), at which point The Games Begin. I'm pretty confident there will be enough responses in that time frame (especially considering it's U.S. prime time).

As an aside, rather than limit ourselves to some arbitrary word count, I suggest going up to at least the first chapter. We should trust the author has chosen an adequate point to introduce a break in the story.
This post was edited by its author on .

Casca!blANCA/Sq2 2140

File: 1354877222898.jpg (3.79 KB, 211x239, derp.jpg)

>>2139
>pic
Yeah, that would be my insecurity when it comes to people getting things done quickly. But we'll give that a run too, and if we don't have enough time, well, das kay, we'll just extend it next month.

I'm going to keep the 2500 word count limit, though, for the same reason as above.

2141

>>2140
Heh. Well, we could send them out 24 hours beforehand, if you want to be safe.

Anyway, I think drafting up the PM message now would be a good idea. First attempt:

> Dear Sir/Madam/Undecided,

>
> Your story, [Masteroxxor's Adventures in Equestrias], has been selected
> for /fic/'s Day Out. Should you choose to accept, your story will be reviewed
> by our multinational crack team of experts to the best of their abilities.
>
> By accepting this offer, you acknowledge that this may cause possible damage
> to your sanity and/or ego, and you will not hold /fic/ Day Out responsible
> for any unintended side effects of these reviews.
>
> Yours truly,
> [Sender], /fic/ Day Out organiser

It may also be worth creating a Fimfiction account to handle these messages, so that more than one person can handle responses (sort of like a shared mailbox).
This post was edited by its author on .

Grif 2142

>>2138
>There's also the fact that I loathe to go ask puffy-headed 15-year-old cloppers "can we critique your work?"
Personally, I feel the same, but in no way personal feelings should enter into a task of this scope.

I thank you for coming to this fair decision.

>>2141
Roger here has my full support.

A further issue I just thought of:
What about EQD featured fics that also happen to appear on the Feature Box? They are usually edited to (almost) perfection and are unlikely to benefit from this exercise.

2145

File: 1354881459982.jpg (13.38 KB, 244x207, righto.jpg)

>>2142
>EQD stuff
We review them anyways. No work is ever perfect, and being able to suggest improvements to an already good work gives us a chance to show our strengths.

If we can't come up with anything and have no alternative but to gush, then gush in an intellectual-sounding way - praise the plot for its detailed planning, or characters for the many nuances that build them up, or tone achieved by good word choice, with examples as such and such. After all, our critique also loses value if we cannot recognize what is good.

And, well, as mentioned so many times, EQD is a minimum, not a standard.

>>2141
Wholeheartedly approved. I've copied your template into the doc. Anyone up for making the account, then?

2147

>We review them anyways.
Fair 'nuff.

2148

File: 1354885984400.jpg (20.04 KB, 448x336, 11973939_gal.jpg)

So, no professional debate wrestling? Oh well, I have other things to worry myself over.

Anonymous 2149

>>2148
You could always have a devil's advocate if you wanted to, but whoever it is has to show to have an equally valid or better analysis of the stories.

As in, be good and make sense, or be laughed at.

But the feeeeelings! Eustatian!Wings60m9. 2151

Just a little thing, but I think it's important.

Anypony remember when American Idol started? Man that show was pretty good, especially once they were done with the weeder rounds and you had someone who who could sing on stage and a few people sitting in the front row who had decent opinions.

The whole phone voting thing was a real shame of course. Stunk up what could have be real classy show.

But if it were just Simon Cowell, it would have completely sucked. Even though dickish judge was best judge. Because the dynamic would have been Some Douchebag Nitpicks Good Singing.

Human social instincts have their roots in the Law of the Savannah that we come from. If one wolf shows up, you're scared. If a bunch of wolves show up, you're more scared. If a bunch of wolves show up fighting with each other, you just have to stay out of the way.

We're less threatening and thus more effective if we're not unified. Irrational, yes, but it makes perfect emotional sense.


>>2101
> We'd need a lot of people if we were to cover all the Featured stories with 2 people to each.

Or we each do multiple stories. I was imagining each-do-all, to be honest.

No you can't do a line-by-line breakdown. But that wasn't what I was imagining. Reader response, opinion, and multiple conflicting viewpoints.

I've been here over a year have yet to read a really good line-by-line. That's probably because 1) they're harder than they look and 2) I tune out and don't read them because I'm prejudiced. No, I take that back. Cassius's dismembering of "Fear of Falling" was almost what I needed at the time - and yet it didn't teach me much beyond "I'm still doing it wrong." Come to think of it, this is a huge topic and deserves more thought and a separate thread.

Casca!blANCA/Sq2 2153

File: 1354894010422.gif (811.72 KB, 500x500, shark_dance.gif)

>>2148
I'm thinking we can do that as a variation to keep things fresh. As it is, we've hammered out our points for one model in the course of three days, but that's because I had a clear vision of what I wanted. I'd prefer it if I had more time to develop the 2nd model before running with it, though it's certainly a good initiative that deserves to be put to action.

>>2149
That's the thing, though - it'd be fun to try fighting on the positive side for once. I do that with Seattle's Angels and it's refreshing.

>>2151
>But that wasn't what I was imagining. Reader response, opinion, and multiple conflicting viewpoints.
Yep, I was envisioning that too. Just making a point of it.

I mean, line-by-line in GDocs is very convenient for editing purposes, whereas line-by-line in comment form is more of a "gosh you're dedicated" but devolves almost into slog as you flip between windows. I agree with you on the separate individuals divided thing, too, but perhaps a united front is a better way to make a first impression. People remember the Train Wreck Explorers. You might think what you like about it, but I reckon it'll be in our favour, because we'll be a good deal better than them. And, well, my own line-by-line tends to grow into ugly paragraphs of reasoning why "John" is a horrible pony name, or why Applejack knocking on the door is less believable than her kicking it down - a good deal of fuss for a relatively little point, which at least, or so I hope, shows a desire to help.

2164

>>2138
>>2141
>>2142
When I saw that you decided to do an opt-in method, I got a little mad; for a moment I even considered dropping out of this. Then I realized that that would be stupid. If you do an opt-in, at most three people will reply, for the same reason why the opt-out was deemed a bad idea, because they probably won't see their PMs.

Look, so long as all of us promise not to start throwing fuel on the flames when the author gets mad by way of angry replies, then we should be safe. The author on the other hoof, will look like a complete buffoon.

Eustatian!Wings60m9. 2166

I'm kinda nervous about this - yet another moment to hurt our brand…

I hate to take the high-horse here, but people have told me that I'm kinda good at folk psychoanalysis. Usually I'm told this in private, so I'm not going to provide evidence and I guess you'll just have to trust me.

When I read this >>2141 it just reeks of smugness. Somewhere deep in my brain a voice says "Wow, this /fic/ guy is an asshole." And of course I know from my more extensive experience that that's not the case, but reviewees won't have that luxury.

You can't hide a feeling of superiority, just like I can't hide mine right now. I'm right and consensus is moving in a direction that is simply and objectively wrong. It's not wrong for rational reasons, you guys are smart - but I think you're even bigger fools than I am when it comes to caring for peoples' hearts.

I believe that, above all, for this project to work we must have a reasonable suspicion that the writers out there are better than us. Not in all ways, but in some very real and honest ways.

They are better than us. If they're not and we go picking on them that just makes us bullies. And, no, we can't fake humble attitudes because human interactions don't work that way. Unless you're lucky enough to be a sociopath.

Please think about your motivations. Mine right now is to protect the image of my tribe and thus benefit myself. To do that, I need to call what I think is a bad idea bad names and it's a calculated decision on my part to spend my reputation in the tribe for it.

Anonymous 2167

>>2166
>bullies
I don't find offering honest, objective-as-one-can-be review of a My Little Pony fanfiction to be in the ballpark of "bullying," even should it not be entirely complimentary.

>we go picking on them

Why would anyone pick on them?
Isn't it he stories that are being reviewed, not the author?

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 2168

Pretty soon I'm going to start my own thread.

The thread will be for discussing unsolicited reviews on fics in the featured box.

The thread will not be for quibbling about how not to step on the authors' tiny little delicate hooves, nor will it be for planning a coordinated event on just one day. The trajectory of this thread has vindicated, tremendously, my stance of >>2094
This post was edited by its author on .

Anonymous 2169

>>2168
As long as you do so as an individual, and preferably without mentioning any connection to /fic/. It's trying to rebrand itself here, with a new start and better image, more constructive and pro-active about its visibility.

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 2171

>>2169

The hell with that! I'll leave links to TTG and RFD because the idea is to let people know that we exist. And also to, you know, offer them TTG as a resource?

Edit: Here's the thing. I may not say outright that I consider myself to be representing /fic/ but by leaving links to TTG (which I consider just a nice thing to do) I basically am saying it anyway.

So we're not just talking about me and my annoyance here and wanting to replace this thread with a better one, we're talking about everyone trying to disassociate their opinions from /fic/ for fear of tarnishing the "image." Or, more likely, I'm being singled out, so screw you guys too.

Pretty soon I'm just going to have to hide this thread and start saying "la la la."

At this point we are talking adding something to every post that says "this post represents my own opinion and not those of any organization I am associated with, including TTG, MLPchan, the Trixie's Magic Bit readerbase, or the Boy Scouts of America."
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2174

File: 1354909141010.png (86.51 KB, 571x288, I-Dont-Know-The-Key-To-Success…)

Now that I think of it, if we have an opt-in policy, then the only ones who will opt-in are going to be people who get story critiques before posting their stories anyway.

There's so much stupid in this thread. I'm very tempted to go with Tactical and just review featured stories vigilante style.

Also, Casca, you're being too wish-washy. Stick to your guns! You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time.

Aquillo 2175

File: 1354909667587.jpg (78.38 KB, 359x548, 588__princess-celestia_artist-…)

Just when I thought this thread was dead, it undergoes a derailment, topic-change and rebrandment. I doubt I'm going to be addressing all of the issues, and may in fact just be adding more fuel onto the fire. However, I may as well try to attempt.

The opt-in model is a mistake as regards to the purpose of this event, which is this: "The purpose is to get /fic/'s name out. In short, to win publicity."

Why is simple: An Opt-in model requires time that you simply do not have. Arguments have been made about the expected speed of the response. Whilst fair, they still will not be fast enough: by the time a story has reached the feature box, most of the positions optimal for advertisement will have already been taken. As long as advertisment remains the primary goal, speed is the attribute needed most in this, and conducting backdoor negotiations before the event is not conductive to the maximization of that attribute.

If the primary goal has changed, then that needs to be mentioned. An opt-in model is one that functions best when the rationale behind it is to help the author; this is hardly a damnable rationale, but it is a different one from that which launched this thread.

>>2102

> Both are relevant to /fic/ currently, but I'd like to think that exposure rather than PR is better in the long run. I mean, look at SALT, which people generally think well of but don't really know of.


SALT has more of a problem with the number of people, to be honest. That, and it's dying: ongoing negotiations with the remnants of TWE hint that the rest of the team are going to be swallowed up into a jointly established Fimfiction group and SALT'll just be me, left all on my own. Fun times.

And you're correct: exposure rather than reputation is more important at getting in new blood. TWE had a high exposure coupled with a low reputation, and yet the section of it dedicated towards solicited reviewing was more active than TTG.
This post was edited by its author on .

Anonymous 2176

>>2171
>>2174
Hm.

I was actually somewhat against the idea at first, but…

These are decent points, and I was loathe to listen to Tactical but I had to look at it objectively.

I mean, can't we just be smart and perceptive and do this in a way in which the authors will most likely be receptive and appreciate the help?

2177

>>2176
We can. It's called not leaving angry comments if the author gets flankhurt.

Anonymous 2178

>>2177
Maybe I'm just a diplomatic type person, but usually it's not hard to perceive how best to make points about the things someone can improve on without inciting any flankhurt in response. I feel like most of /fic/ is easily enough able to do the same.

2179

>>2178
Then why are we acting as if this isn't true?

Anonymous 2180

>>2179
We are? :P

Well, most of us aren't. A few of us have some concerns but it seems like we're just making this more complicated than it needs to be.

2181

Sometimes I feel like some of you are far too impatient.

Discussion takes time. Deal with it. That we haven't yet come up with a solution in only 2 days is not unsurprising. Slow the fuck down, please.

>>2166
I wouldn't really call that smugness. It's more just my own brand of wry humour (though whether it is at all funny is debatable). But like I said, it's a first draft. Feel free to submit something in a tone you find more fitting.
This post was edited by its author on .

I_Post_Ponies!7ZxXoTz/pI 2182

File: 1354917197493.png (695.88 KB, 1920x1080, 1354712454884.png)

>>2166
I have no illusion of myself being even a half-way decent author. I love finding new stuff cause I can learn from it.

I do feel as though intentions are the most important part of this endeavor. It almost seems like the group's intentions have changed at least once during this discussion and may change again. Perhaps the best way to deal with this is to clearly line out what this is for. We have a "Gist" and a set of rules… but maybe a mission statement wouldn't hurt?

That sounds painfully bureaucratic. I'm going to smash my face into the wall now.

Pav Feira!ToolDoTeR. 2187

File: 1354935462273.jpg (62.04 KB, 505x395, 105242 - celestia cutelestia f…)

>Simon Cowell
Make no mistake, my favorite reviewer thread to date was http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/103290.html Like American Idol, however, people knew exactly what they were subjecting themselves to. A scathing teardown from Simon or Nicknack may very well be the kick in the pants that the writer needs, but unsolicited scathing reviews are going to lead to drama, not improvement. TWE is evidence of that. The goal is to help authors, not to boost our egos nor take Featured Box authors down a peg for the lulz.

I see comments like >>2174 and >>2167, and I'm purely confused. We ask them if they're receptive to our help. If they decline, you want to insist upon it anyway? In the hopes that publicly posting the review anyway will, what, embarrass them into changing their mind and heeding our advice? I really hope I'm misunderstanding, so please correct me.

Here's the difference in my mind. If someone comes to me and says "I'm a representative of Group X and I'm here unsolicited to tell you what's wrong with your story", this puts me on the defensive. I feel that all of Group X (rather than one individual) thinks that my story is lacking and that Group X holds themselves superior to me. Compare that to an unaffiliated individual, and even if the review is identical, now it's just some random guy's opinion. Bonus points if the review is worded as opinion instead of fact. Yes, it may lack some oomph, but it's less likely to put them on the defensive. The author feels like they have more power to dismiss you, and that ironically makes them more likely to listen.

How about this: we do this without any official banner (even if we coincidentally all do this on the 13th). The review is kept relatively short, no line-by-line, emphasize a few major points. End with "if you want me to review this more in-depth, feel free to PM me, or come to TTG and ask for me by name."

Advantages:
+ Shorter review == less wasted time if they ignore you.
+ You're encouraging them to reach out for help.
+ You sound more like a consumer of /fic/ than a representative, so your feedback is less likely to sound overly judgmental.
+ As unaffiliated individuals, we're not accountable for each others' actions (i.e. the downfall of TWE).

2188

>>2187
>We ask them if they're receptive to our help. If they decline, you want to insist upon it anyway?
No, we simply don't have the time to ask, and even if we did only the people who would reply are most likely to have already gotten a critique somewhere else.

Though I do agree that our reviews should be short TL;DRs instead of long line-by-lines.

>we do this without any official banner… …or come to TTG and ask for me by name."

>come to TTG
Can you see why this won't work?

2189

>>2188
If because "no banner" + "come to TTG" sounds contradictory, I repeat my earlier point that it's at least perceived that you're just one guy who happens to make use of the site, rather than "I represent TTG. Your story needs fixing". It's a nuance, but this kind of snap judgment matters.

If because you don't think anyone will bother to come to TTG… if they're not going to bother to visit a link and seek help, do you think they're really going to be receptive to a drive-by review either? You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink.

2190

>>2189
>"I represent TTG. Your story needs fixing"
Or you could change that to
>"I'm from TTG. Here are my thoughts on (Story X)"
which is much more humble.

Casca!blANCA/Sq2 2192

>>2174
>>2175
>Also, Casca, you're being too wish-washy
I admit this. It's taken a couple of slaps, but yes, I have been wishy-washy. I suppose that's diplomacy for you. So, my apologies, and thank you, Azu and Aquillo - you hit the head of the nail right on.

Which is why I'm not going to reply to this thread until tomorrow. Anyone have any arguments with the other side, post it out. I am going to slowly digest over the whole thing tomorrow, preferably after watching the new episode, and then I will make a decision on unsolicited or solicited. There will be something of a lengthy justification for it, I expect. There won't be any more changing after that.

A rational thinker is willing to forego opinions in the face of new evidence. But, well, this is the Internet, and there's only so much "new evidence" I can digest. So, there we go.

Ion-Sturm 2195

File: 1354949276231.png (433.24 KB, 485x760, mby6J.png)

Idea: With the impending doom review post, provide a link to a Gdoc of the available reviewers, complete with bios. If the writer so chooses, they may request a reviewer specifically but, in doing so, give permission to that reviewer to be as candid as they want.
>Pic related for if and when they choose yours truly

Eustatian!Wings60m9. 2197

>>2181

> my own brand of wry humour


Oh, it is funny, to nerds like you and me. And when I'm in nerd-culture mode, I'm not offended. But the likelihood that someone will adopt that perspective correlates with the N-S distinction of the Keirsey paradigm. And the S-type folks outnumber us N-types about three to one.

http://www.keirsey.com/4temps/overview_temperaments.asp || Scroll down to Communication.

Unfortunately, I am not a good enough spin doctor to take "I know what's wrong with your story" and turn it into something that doesn't come across as The Genius Deigns to Grace Your Fic With His Majestic Presence. That's why I'm hoping for a change in attitude.

>>2182

I want this to be about BONHOMIE, which is a really cool word, but is near useless because it's not in most people's vocabulary.

Bonhomie is what happens when you and your friends have a really good time together. You went to see a movie and you can't stop arguing about it - but you all love each other in the friend-love way that friends have, and so no matter how passionate you get, your friendship is actually heightened

Bonhomie is when you end up talking about nothing at all, and yet it's the best day in months. It is campfires and a car trip where everyone sings along with the radio. It is (for those who like that thing) condensing sexy to a seventeen-syllable clop haiku. It is telling really bad jokes.

It is one of the finest adult pleasures, and yet when you adapt it to include children too it doesn't become any weaker. Sometimes we have it in chat. That haiku thread over on fimchan had it last I looked. /fic/ could stand to have a lot more.

Bonhomie is the spirit of a tight-knit group - but at its best it draws in strangers too. It is certainly the nectar of friendship. It's almost magical how it works.

If we approach this project as "we are here to help," it cannot have bonhomie. It will be serious business, result in flankhurt, and further earn /fic/ its reputation as a place where people neither understand nor care about human nature. We will be satisfying ourselves with bread and water when there is a rich feast to be had.

So, no, I don't propose to make any story better. I propose to go out and enjoy the cream of the FiMChan crop - selected by the blind-monkey algorithm such as it is. We're gonna go bar-hopping, grand touring, spelunking, and above all I want us to do it together. Along the way, we'll find things to like and things to hate and things to disagree about with all the refined critical edge we have (and should share).

But how, I hear you ask, will that raise the overall level of ponyfic?

Fiction rises to the level of its audience. If we want better fiction, we have to be a better audience. I come to this conclusion after trying constructive criticism and evaluative criticism and you know what? Neither is the answer by itself. We need better authors and better relationships - better friendship.

Sappy, yes, but I'm convinced now that I've seen it work.

2200

File: 1354958187262.png (72.15 KB, 327x393, Gilderp.png)

Holy shit, this thing has been changing a lot.

I mean, damn, it's good to be organized and formalized and all, but I don't know what is this I don't even.

At any rate, I think I'll wait, mull this over, catch up with recent developments and jump back onboard later if I have time to spare.

Demetrius!WDFBcC5x22 2228

File: 1355045812996.png (153.76 KB, 363x461, TGAPTrixie-AreYouAWizard.png)

TL/DR I now have three things to say:
- Attitude is indeed important
- We don't need more organization
- We shouldn't constrain ourselves to the feature box.

I am trying to read. I am trying to care. However, while this thread has good ideas about the MO we should have (which can be generally applicable) I sincerely think that the organization aspect of this thing is growing into an avalanche of TL/DR. The original idea in the OP that I thought was worthwhile:
> The idea is that on the 13th of each month, we mobilize and go to Fimfic to leave reviews on Featured Box fics…No personal attacks, less snark, more srs bsns.
Now, how about that? That, and the examination of motives that Eustatian suggested? He's certainly right that you can't hide a feeling of superiority. But whereas he suggests we should suspect the writers are better than us, I say we should not suspect anything of any writer, because the worst reviews (at least in my experience) are those tainted by confirmation bias, whether in the direction of snark or of the hugbox.

In other words: assume the writer is your equal until proven otherwise. Think of them as someone like you, just trying to write an enjoyable story. That way you're not wracking your brain doing the "are you a wizard" thing with your eyeballs (see: pic) trying to find a justification for some apparent blunder an author made because you think they might be better than you and that your reading comprehension is actually shot. That, and you're not fuming with derision at embarrassing mistakes that you just cherry-picked for the sake of making your review a scathing one.

I know that not everyone will follow these simple guidelines. How we get around that problem is up for debate, but I certainly think that any more organization in this activity would be the the doom of it. Aquillo explains exactly why right here:
>>2175
> Arguments have been made about the expected speed of the response. Whilst fair, they still will not be fast enough: by the time a story has reached the feature box, most of the positions optimal for advertisement will have already been taken. As long as advertisment remains the primary goal, speed is the attribute needed most in this, and conducting backdoor negotiations before the event is not conductive to the maximization of that attribute.

As an alternative, I propose this: how about, instead of just the feature box, we review any new fanfiction hot off the keyboard? Also, instead of a meta-review process and/or submitting through a proxy FiMFiction account, we simply review, which would give it a more personal touch? Whereas, hunting down a poorly-written story in the featured box is easily construed as being motivated by a desire to tear down someone's ego, going out of one's way to have some one-on-one with an author in the quiet comments section of an unpopular story might actually get some fresh blood in here.

After all, how do you think someone with little to no readership would feel if they suddenly got a thoughtful review of their writing? I am of the opinion they'd be more likely to exhibit this response:

"Wow, someone actually read my fanfic and paid careful attention to it."

In Which Casca Rambles and Flips One Final Flop Casca!blANCA/Sq2 2230

File: 1355058487063.jpg (7.4 KB, 177x177, okay.jpg)

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 .

Grif 2232

>>2230
With this points in mind, I actually wonder. Why not do both at the same time? We can still have our /fic/ day out as planned, with all the solicited permission and what-not.

But we also can do the front page stories on our own free time, if we so choose. The fact that the stories in the Latest Update/Story tab will always cycle with new ones means that we would probably be able to cover more stories and it frees us the obligation of actually monitoring each other, since this will be a private review and not directly related to the /fic/ name per se. I suppose this is actually the idea Tactical had been going for, sans the fact that we won't be doing this under the aegis of /fic/.

Eustatian!Wings60m9. 2241

>>2230

>We need to help the author above helping ourselves, as we have always done.


But when I look back on myself honestly, I haven't always put the author ahead of myself. That is my shame and I must do better.

There isn't /fic/ consensus. Perhaps we shouldn't call either option a /fic/ event, then.

>>2232

I want to do a reader's circle, so I'm picking the 15th and 30th of the month for that. No need or plan to use the /fic/ name, but we'll base operations here and if we bring in fresh blood from FiMFiction, well, that's pretty cool.

Anonymous 2242

>>2241
>There isn't /fic/ consensus.
There isn't a /fic/ consensus on Write-Offs, but we call them /fic/ events, don't we? Do we need to have every single person who is considered a member of the community to put their approval on every aspect of anything it might want to do as a group?

2244

>>2242

There are voiced reservations on this idea, viz:

Myself,
Grif >>2112
Pav >>1898

and while I cannot speak for them, I am not at the moment convinced that ya guys aren't gonna go out and make mistakes I've already made. Mistakes I'd like to spare us from.

If there's similar dislike of the Write-Offs, I'm not aware of it. That's the difference. I'm willing to sign my opinion, too, and I challenge anyone to say I'm an outsider whose opinion doesn't hold weight. Sure I'm a self-righteous asshole sometimes (like now) and lazy as fuck (always), but I am a long standing member.

Anonymous 2245

>>2244
One of those was just about the unsolicited aspect, wasn't it? And that is more or less a non-issue with the authors opting to receive them only with consent? Still then, some reservations or people who don't agree with it aren't necessarily reasons to halt something. Most people find it interesting, find it has potential, want to try it. At least, from my reading of the discussion. No one's saying your opinion doesn't hold weight, not in the slightest, but the opinion and reasoning for it, while valid, haven't swayed people to hold the same opinion. Finding the best way to do this, then, rather than just "no, I dislike this, let's stop," seems to be where we're at.

2251

File: 1355083636769.jpg (6.52 KB, 184x184, Twilight131220836359.jpg)

>>2230
>On reviewing stories on the front page.
I've actually tried this before. The authors don't listen to anything that isn't the most obvious of spelling mistakes. Up until a few days ago, I assumed that everyone here tried doing this too at one point or another, but stopped for the same reasons.

>On solicited reviews of featured stories.

This places too much of an assumption on the fact that authors don't get their story reviewed before posting it. The only people who will accept are going to have already gotten editorial advice.

>mfw this post is ignored and no one replies to it.

If none of you will listen to me, then I'm just gonna forget it it being /fic/'s day out and not TTG and go review for the Orient Express Explorers. http://www.fimfiction.net/index.php?view=group&group=1940

2254

>>2251
OEE is a good idea and I am now following it. Sincere thanks are in order.

>I've actually tried this before.

Me, too. Clop, even. It didn't work out well to say the least.

Casca!blANCA/Sq2 2263

File: 1355107086280.jpg (136.59 KB, 486x701, marisa_patchy.jpg)

>>2251
>On reviewing stories on the front page.
>I've actually tried this before. The authors don't listen to anything that isn't the most obvious of spelling mistakes. Up until a few days ago, I assumed that everyone here tried doing this too at one point or another, but stopped for the same reasons.
I dunno, man. Perhaps I've been extremely lucky, but my comments have a fairly high acceptance rate.

If that happens, there won't have been much loss, since we'd be reviewing only a short number of words, and we'd get our presence out on the front page anyways. It's not a total flop is what I'm saying.

>On solicited reviews of featured stories.

>This places too much of an assumption on the fact that authors don't get their story reviewed before posting it. The only people who will accept are going to have already gotten editorial advice.
Better safe than sorry, I'd say.

>mfw this post is ignored and no one replies to it.

>If none of you will listen to me, then I'm just gonna forget it it and go review for the Orient Express Explorers
I cannot restrict your freedom to do as you wish, though I might as well mention that the OEE runs with solicitation as well, albeit phrased indirectly.

Pav Feira!ToolDoTeR. 2269

File: 1355116415351.jpg (111 KB, 1131x707, sweetie_belle_singing_by_mysti…)

>>2230
Gewd post, gewd post. The Featured section is spot-on. The frontpage section, I think you swayed me, re: the point that we'd be giving them what they want. I'm still a touch squeamish about the policing-our-members aspect, but eh. Hopefully it never comes to that.

>>2244
There are conscientious objectors to the write-offs. Can't think of any names, but the gist of the argument was that forced writing is bad writing, and writing/reading the entries is a waste of time better spent serving the "true purpose" of review threads.

I agree to the point that getting unanimous support just won't happen. I snarked somewhere (Skype?) that "when you try to please everypony, you succeed."

2348

File: 1355448473040.jpg (35.31 KB, 462x462, 9842195_gal.jpg)

So, what became of this?

Demetrius!WDFBcC5x22 2350

File: 1355454305492.jpg (102.86 KB, 400x400, 30698072.jpg)

>>2348
Oh yeah, it's the 13th. Gonna make some dinner and then head over to FiMFiction. I'm only going to do one random review though; I want to wrap gifts and work more on my own story tonight as well.

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 2352

So, the only clopfics in the featured box are one that is too long for me to tackle with my limited time, and one that's SECOND PERSON ANTHRO so I would just end up spite-reviewing it.

I might just sit this one out…

Demetrius!WDFBcC5x22 2357

File: 1355466872173.jpg (17.7 KB, 300x300, 131377129670.jpg)

Yay, random review done! I think I'll keep doing this.

http://www.fimfiction.net/story/69922/red-ink-and-long-jump
This post was edited by its author on .

cas (out of town) 2363

I'm out of town now, actually, but I'd invite you to go give the front page a random review. Test the waters sort of thing. I spent two hours doing a synopsis review and a line-by-line of just the first paragraph. The guy's three stories were all deleted missing. Well.

buuuump Demetrius!WDFBcC5x22 3507

File: 1358656259134.png (459.89 KB, 690x1909, 5th_Element_troll.png)

Now, how did I forget this? The 13th sort of slipped by me.

No matter.

I decided/pledged I'd go to FimFiction and find the story with the fewest ratings/views, and pick that one for review (http://bit.ly/WtSR7p). A few paragraphs in…

> "Get your stinking penises off our new invention!"


I don't even (have mature enabled)

I'm almost certain this is some kind of attempt at parody. And it is good. Still, I wonder if it's not intentional, and I'm tempted to burn a few hours doing a live reading for the lulls.

Casca!blANCA/Sq2 3508

File: 1358659083849.jpg (58.77 KB, 330x450, facepalm.jpg)

Did this because Dem made me feel bad for dropping it

Anyways, I went and picked something up off the frontpage. I had several lines of grammar things ready for comment, and then the ending:

“We have decided to give you all a presentation on a subject normally covered in a later grade.” Sparky said innocently.

“What subject?” Cheerilee asked fearfully.

“Sex ed.” Fatty replied simply. He slammed a boombox on a desk and put on some mood music. They proceeded to make hot dirty love on Cheerilee’s desk in front of their captive, and now sexually enlightened audience.

The end

Authors Note:

RandomHero wrote much of this, but said he didn't want this tripe staining his wall.

I have no such compunctions.

Also, I'd be remissed if I failed to mention that the beautiful coverart was by my hand, as was the description.

I'm speshul!


There was really no point in attempting to help someone who doesn't want help, especially when the piece in question isn't even his. So I closed my Notepad file and walked quietly away.
This post was edited by its author on .

Demetrius!WDFBcC5x22 3509

File: 1358660665560.png (765.01 KB, 1200x871, 1354574456657.png)

>>3508
Hey, it's an adventure.

Buck up, open Notepad again and find a different fic off the front page.

Aquillo 3513

File: 1358690051947.png (1.99 MB, 2560x1440, 1358547550279.png)

>>3508

You already kinda know my opinion on this dying down, Casca, so I won't say anything 'bout that. On the other hand, it's a dick move for me to just sit rooting from the sidelines. Here:

http://www.fimfiction.net/story/74550/1/the-name-of-the-cutie

Just as a piece of advertisement, this is a story worth the reading, even if it's only at the 1.27 K mark. The atmosphere is built up nicely and it isn't painful to read.

Oh, and the opening's gorgeous. There's that.

See you guys next month.


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