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Under New Management · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Show rules for this event
#1 · 5
First! I beat’em all :)
#2 · 3
Pretty good prompts so far. Starting to get some ideas with the ones that has been posted as of right now (just brainstorming).
#3 · 8
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony
At least:

Those of us who aren't going to Bronycon will have something to do this weekend.

#4 · 3
· · >>Zaid Val'Roa
>>Baal Bunny
I’m going, but I suppose I will have time to contribute something.
(Submits photo of stained cocktail napkin.)
#5 · 2
Hey, it’s my birthday so that means you have to vote for mine. I don’t make the rules.
#6 · 2
Frame it so it looks like a Rorschach test and you can claim it's deep.
#7 · 2
Will I remember to enter this time? Who knows!
#8 · 5
When Life Gives You A New World, Long Live the New Flesh! No Greater Love Getting Better Contrast? Well, That’s a First.

Midsummer Overindulgence, For real? Big Oof. More Tylenol Please.

Monstrously Clever Fellows Lock Cher Up, Living in a Glass House Under New Management.

That Moment in Time When You Realize That You Are Actually… Old Hat.
#9 · 6
Will be at BC this weekend, so no #mentors. Good luck, everyone!
#10 · 5
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Drunking right now. Make drarwing in cocktail capsule. Good luck evrypony!
#11 · 2
· · >>Rocket Lawn Chair
>>Rocket Lawn Chair
I need to know what a “cocktail capsule” is. It sounds enchanting.
#12 · 2
Oh gawrsh. With no mentors this can only go well.
#13 · 3
#14 · 1
All pics have at least two comments.
Yay for art!
#15 ·
You and I will have to share one sometime. I only wish I remembered what it entailed.
#16 · 4
· · >>CoffeeMinion >>Bachiavellian >>RogerDodger
I may be way off base here, and if so, just tell me.

For a long time now, what's been considered the biggest selling point of the writeoffs is the amount and quality of feedback you can get. People participate specifically for that, and it's a valuable tool in putting out a rough draft, refining it on the feedback, then publishing it on FiMFic or wherever. As I said in a comment in the last FiM short story round, reviewing isn't fun. It's work done to help an author, and it takes a significant time investment. During many events, the artists were clamoring to get comments, any comments. Any little bit helps, they said, even if it's from someone who doesn't know much about art and can only say what they liked. Given that, wouldn't it make sense to encourage reviewers?

What encourages reviewers? Pretty much the same thing as writers: just knowing someone read what you wrote. Obviously, it's best when someone finds your comments very helpful, but authors might not agree with what you say, and then at least an acknowledgement is fine. We don't get view counters on reviews, but other than that, it's the same as stories: upvotes and responses.

Here are some statistics for this round. First, the art.

Of the 4 artists, one responded to reviews.

17 reviews got 0 up-thumbs
8 reviews got 1 up-thumb
3 reviews got 2 up-thumbs
1 review got 4 up-thumbs

Some things admittedly got into a gray area as to whether they were actually a review. If someone just chimed in to crack a joke, for instance, I didn't count it.

Now the stories.

Of 10 authors, 4 responded to reviews, and one of those only to the most favorable review.

44 reviews got 0 up-thumbs
17 reviews got 1 up-thumb
2 reviews got 2 up-thumbs

Does every review deserve an up-thumb? Probably not, but that's up to each person to decide. There's something to be said for up-thumbing reviews on principle to encourage people to continue reviewing, and there's something to be said for up-thumbing only reviews you found helpful (or would find helpful if you were the author).

I realize it's only 3 days after the event ended and authors may still come back to make responses, but most up-thumbs happen during the event, not after. Is there just some tacit agreement now that everyone appreciates the reviews so there's no need for anyone to say so, particularly if it's mostly the authors themselves participating in a quid pro quo? Has most of that side of the discussion moved over to the Discord chat? Is it clear to a newcomer that the system works this way?

For the last few rounds, it seems like quid pro quo is the only thing driving reviews at all. Why would a non-participant be motivated to contribute when it's not clear the authors are even reading the reviews?
#17 ·
· · >>Pascoite >>RogerDodger
I do think it’s easy to miss that part of the discussion has shifted over to Discord. Discord is fine, but it’s invisible to passers-by unless you get the app and actively go on it. (I only got back into Discord because of BronyCon Bookstore logistics needs; otherwise I tend to forget it’s there and not check it as much—though I’m probably an outlier.)

In contrast, the Writeoff site has a perfectly functional forum that doesn’t require another app to join in. It keeps reviews tied to the stories over the long term, whereas a Discord chat could get hairy to look back through.

I’m... kind of advocating for people to come back and do their reviewing on here, I guess. Though I’m also acknowledging that sometimes people split the discussion across both places, which is an understandable use of technology, but sometimes more confusing than helpful.
#18 · 2
That's a different matter entirely, but one worth bringing up. If I enter a story, and there's extensive discussion about it in the Discord server, it's very unlikely I'll notice it. Then if it takes me several months to get around to revising that story, it's going to be hard to find the feedback again, if I even know it exists, by having to search the chat logs. Here, all that feedback is conveniently organized below my story.
#19 · 2
· · >>CoffeeMinion >>RogerDodger
I completely agree. Reviewers are not getting enough steam right now.

I think another aspect of the reviewing element that's been almost entirely lost is the extensive cross-talk (reviewers responding to other reviews) that happened back when we were using the Fimfic forums. Granted, those rounds had a lot more participation, but the truth is that nowadays we get virtually no chatter here in the forums now, with some of it having gone to the Discord chat.

As a reviewer, what's personally stopping me from replying to other reviews is that I'm typically afraid to inflate a story's comment count. My proposal to fix this was for story comments to have a little checkbox for "Is this comment a Review?" and have the gallery page track marked reviews in addition to total comments. But it sounds like Rog had concerns about this approach, so I'd love to hear if anybody has any alternative approaches we can take to encourage review discussion.
#20 · 1
Yeah, I agree that the comment counter can create a disincentive for actual discussion and crosstalk.

Help us Roger-wan KeDodger, you’re our only hope—
#21 · 3
It's not great if there's too much discussion being held on Discord, since it's harder to find there. When possible people should try to leave comments here rather than there, or to copy the thoughts they wrote there over here.

Of course, the assumption that that discussion would appear on the site in the absence of Discord is probably not right. A lot of these discussions are spontaneous or off-the-cuff, which on a forum probably wouldn't happen at all. So I think the real issue is a search problem.

To that, there's an easy solution: if you happen to be involved in a Discord chat about a particular story, just put the story title in the chat—an entire discussion can easily go by where the title isn't actually written out once, started off by some comment like "hey so what about that story where the thing happened?" Then the author can search and find all discussion for their fic easily using Discord's built-in search.

My proposal to fix this was for story comments to have a little checkbox for "Is this comment a Review?" and have the gallery page track marked reviews in addition to total comments.

Main issue I see with this is adding friction to the commenting process. If we've already got an issue where there's too much posting on the lower-effort Discord, then adding an extra step to commenting here only makes that problem worse. We'd have to decide where the line between "review" and "comment" is, and we'd have to decide which category every post we make goes into; and if people disagree on how to do the categorisation, or they forget to do it, then the data is worse than useless.

That's not to say that the idea can't work, just that it's more complicated than it seems. The data needs to be accurate and comprehensive, and it needs to be gathered in a way that isn't a burden. The procedure I'm thinking of is something like:

- Anyone, including the commenter, can mark a comment as being a review. Appears in the tally immediately.
- Anyone can dispute that a comment is a review. The dispute is resolved by ??? (this is the really annoying part)
- A comment with a resolved dispute cannot be disputed again.

The other issue is that there won't be any historical data, so the data still won't be that comprehensive if we wanted to, say, display the number of reviews someone's done on their profile.

I recognise that using "number of comments" as a proxy for "number of reviews" dissuades people from making short, mildly helpful or kind posts, since that would be taking from the entry's "review quota" and maybe get it less attention than it otherwise would have. It's just that it's a good enough solution and the proper one of getting comprehensive data on what is and isn't a review takes a lot of work. I'll try and look into sorting it out once I've finished with other priorities. (But you know how that usually ends up...)