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Introduction and Rules

Discussion in 'Archipelago Archive' started by myrddin173, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. Dreamhand

    Dreamhand Troubadour

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    Maybe you're starting too big? Judging by the posts, this was intended as a writing collaboration, but there hasn't been much writing because building a world is a huge undertaking (evidenced by the volumes of fabulous content you've all generated). I've been reading the posts and it's all a bit daunting... I haven't gotten through half the material yet and it doesn't seem right to try and jump in without honoring the source material.

    I have a suggestion... take it or not, but it might ground things and shift the focus back to what was originally intended. I offer it purely in the spirit of someone who would very much like to join in, okay?

    Many years ago, Robert Aspirin and Lynn Abby came up with the idea for "Thieves' World," a simple anthology of stories written by different writers all set in the same city. There were locations that had a basic commonality (like the Vulgar Unicorn tavern in The Maze) and a few shared characters, but by and large, they agreed only on the bare essentials of government and politics and then let the STORIES do the fleshing out.

    It was the first shared-world literature I had experienced and it was brilliant!

    Why not pick a city in the Archipelago and just open it up to whoever wants to write in it? The "buy in" to play is to come up with a business, a religion, a landmark (with brief background), and three diverse characters (also with brief and incomplete backgrounds). Throw 'em all on the table and then challenge everyone to come up with a short story using some combination of those elements as the foundation. Everyone's contributions are fair game for everyone else (this whole "I own this thing and you can't use it" is very limiting and territorial). You want to stake your claim on something? Earn it by writing a complete story about it.

    Yeah, it'll be mayhem and chaos for a bit. In the event that two authors come up with conflicting content, the the founders (or a community vote, even) can decide which is "canon" and which is "apocrypha". Nothing forbidden, all's fair because WE WANT TO WRITE, not dicker over details.

    We can still use all the awesome source material that everyone's come up with as "the world" around the city, but the stories focus on a narrower scope. A central, neutral city, a melting pot where wanderers and diplomats and merchants and adventurers inevitably pass through coming from or going to "the next big thing".

    What do you think?
     
  2. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    I'll try responding to both the above at once, since they're interconnected.

    What do we need? Everything.

    Where is there room for contributions? Everywhere.

    How can you be sure a piece on X would be welcomed by the moderator of Y? Ask.

    So much for generalities. As far as specifics go: could you create a new race (I'm hoping you mean culture, not species) and put it on the map somewhere? Sure, why not? Bounce the idea off whoever's in charge of that area. If that moderator feels the island is already sufficiently developed to the point that such a thing won't fit (some of the smaller ones are), then try somewhere else. You don't need to do all the work ahead of time; if it doesn't fit there, and won't work elsewhere, file the notion in your personal notebook and use it for your own writing sometime.

    These two sentences seem contradictory to me: people won't collaborate if they have "their own" area to work in, yet not having "their own" area will prevent people from joining the collaboration? I'm guessing that's not what you meant, but it does come out sounding that way.

    All the better reason to make smaller contributions within existing ones rather than trying to build up something larger in scope, neh?

    [I will add this, since it's been bugging me for some time now—since long before you two arrived, so don't take it personally: whenever I see someone complaining that "all the islands are taken," or wanting to add a new one, I find it difficult to interpret in any way other than that person wanting complete "control" over an area. Because anything other than that is already allowed. In other words, coming along and making an issue over it leaves me the impression of a lack of interest in collaboration, not a desire to do so. Just saying.]

    Now, for the parts where I'm in (at least general) agreement with you.…

    The original structure—which, by the way, I was not part of: I'm already creating 95% of a shared world in the forum directly above this one—was a largely spontaneous affair: someone said "Let's do this," someone else provided a map, the notion of local editors was put forward, the areas went to the first people who got involved in the project. So far, so good. The idea of a moderator for each island or large section thereof wasn't to give anyone in particular control over that area: it was to make somebody responsible for seeing to it that whatever went into that area remained consistent—without overburdening one or two people with having to do this for the entire archipelago at once. I might have structured it differently if I'd been the initiator; but I didn't, and don't, see any problem with the structure per se. That being said.…

    Execution is a separate issue. Some of the editors haven't been particularly active since claiming "their" islands; it's possible we need to set guidelines concerning how much activity is expected from an editor. On the flip side, if no one's contributing to their areas, what are they supposed to do? Keep developing them on their own—non-collaboratively? Keep in mind the objection you raised about time commitments: should the island editors be expected to put extensive work into their areas, just because no one else is doing anything there?

    Tell me, though: did you really have difficulty finding people interested in collaborative work when you started here a few days ago, Devor? One unfortunate turn of phrase aside, I'd argue that you did not. In fact, I'd argue that your proposals have generated the single most intensive collaboration we've seen thus far. And I'm damn glad to see it happening, too.

    As for an "open" city: I suppose it hasn't been made particularly clear—in fact, I'm pretty sure it hasn't—so I will now: Kilvikasa, on the north coast of Emperor Island, is essentially intended to be just that. It was suggested as a meeting point for the three main sections of Emperor Island, and while the original notion was that the three editors of that island would develop it in conjunction, it was intended to be the most cosmopolitan location in the archipelago. Just as there's nothing preventing anyone from contributing to any part of the world, there's even less preventing anyone from contributing to the life of this city.

    So, in order to facilitate (and clarify) the above: I am now naming myself editor-in-chief of Kilvikasa (I pretty much was anyway, to the extent any work has been done on it). I not only invite but strongly encourage people to feed ideas into it. As far as writing stories set in it goes… write. If you aren't sure something is appropriate and want pre-approval before you put time and effort into it… ask.

    It really is that simple.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
  3. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    ^ ^ ^

    What he said.

    It takes a pretty well developed forum community to find eleven people active enough to keep up those kinds of commitments over time, while at the same time, simply elevating some people who may not even earn it to a higher status pushes everyone else into the status of a lesser-citizen, so to speak. You could have a few moderators directing the project, or else have enough space for everyone to have their own piece to develop, finding subsequent ways to intermingle them. In that sense, the Archipelago is exactly the wrong size - too large for a few people to direct the traffic, too small for everyone to be equal partners.

    One possible solution which might help to solicit contributions is to manage the project in stages. This week we're going to focus on the different countries, the next month we're going to focus on trade, and after that we're going to build organizations inside each country. Post your nation or organization or whatever-of-the-month here. Let's have a discussion about agriculture, and in the process figure out all-at-once where each island is in the system, and never mind whether that island's sacred guardian is on hand to pitch in or update the post.


    I'm happy to work with you on that piece, but to be honest, I don't know if I agree wholeheartedly that I didn't have trouble finding collaborative work. I've been a part of, and responsible for, more than one successful forum community in the past, and in those communities I would have expected easily for four to six people to really pitch in on a piece that was as out there as that one was.


    Testing, 1, 2 . . . 3.


    I like it, Dreamhand, but cities can be a little limiting for people. Also, I think there's a trend towards pushing down World-Building as though it has nothing to do with the story, and I think World-Building deserves more credit. There should be a place for it. But I think you're on the right track, and you're definitely right to think we should be focusing on something people will want to write about more readily.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2011
  4. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Not arguing. Just giving the reasons why things are the way they are at the moment.

    Go for it. (I wouldn't want to completely once-and-for-all settle everything, as doing so would discourage future potential participants, who might feel cut out in their turn… but certainly, general principles covering broad areas could be sorted out. We've already done some of this, in terms of magic and tech levels; any remaining vagueness is deliberate, for the foregoing reason.)

    Thank you. Always happy to bounce ideas around.

    I missed the question…? ;)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  5. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

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    I have to admit I am mostly to blame for the present system, when I came up with it I thought not very many people would want to be editors. I am hesitant on the whole blank-of-the-month thing, I envisioned a more organic process but I suppose it is worth a try.

    When I came up with this system I envisoned the "submission process" to be like this. A member of the community comes along and thinks "I want to write a story that takes place in an inn in the Port City of Enessia" (that was a lot of ins). Then they look at what there is already, see that "oh there aren't any inns! I will make one" and make a thread like "Enessia - Port City Inn" and then detail there ideas and how it would fit then the editor, the idea-person, and whoever else would work to fit that idea into the larger fabric. Then the person could write their story. (If you need that explained better please say, I don't know if that actually makes sense to anyone besides myself.)

    One example is that anihow and I are working together on the Enessian Religion because she is interested in writing a story about the heretic faction, while this is happening outside of this forum it is still happening.
     
  6. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Please compare the two statements and try to understand why the one-moderator-per-island thing is holding this project back.

    And then consider.... why can't I have my own sticky-moderated thread about the Inn of Enessia? If it's detailed enough, it will stand out distinctly from the more sweeping descriptions of the Island. And as it stands the Moderator could choose to cut my whole description of the cook who wears red chef's clothes instead of white and cooks with a skillet carved in the shape of an old rune he associates with his religion. And then to update the thing I have to go through that same moderator? How is that fair?

    Of course the answer is that it then starts to get out of hand, but I'm trying to suggest that it already IS out of hand.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2011
  7. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Pre-P.S. I just re-read what you wrote in the Kilvikasa thread, and realized I misinterpreted something, leading to an incorrect answer. Please check back there. Sorry about the confusion.



    I still think that it has yet to get in hand: it hasn't had the opportunity to get out of hand yet.

    I honestly can't remember anything yet being vetoed that didn't directly contradict things already agreed upon, of which there are few enough. Anticipating problems before they arise is all well and good, but only if the proposed solution is likely to lead to fewer ones down the road. To which you've already given an answer, in this case: "then it starts to get out of hand"—in other words, at best, no improvement.

    We have two moderators-in-chief; we have a community of collaborators who can weigh in on, and if necessary vote on, any issues that do arise. If an island editor is being unreasonable, we can address it when it arises. Until it does, I'd rather place my faith in the good will and collaborative spirit of the people who have already been working together as parts of the project… and who, to date, have not created or experienced the sort of problem you're foreseeing. (In fact, it's kind of insulting to suggest otherwise, really, though I'm sure you don't intend it that way. But look at it from the "inside" for a moment—since you're going to be in that position soon enough anyway, whenever the next person comes along.)

    Maybe some day you will have your own "moderated thread about the Inn of Enessia." (Or whatever: let's stick to that for an example, though it might be an unfortunate one in its limitation of scope.) If it's justified. If it's sufficiently well-developed that it seems to deserve a status equivalent to that of other major sectors of the archipelago's culture, structure, etc. You notice I left out "sticky": if we start sticking everything, we'll have nothing but pages of stuck threads—which is why much smaller things than individual inns, such as the planet losing a moon, aren't stuck. Though size isn't really the issue: if the inn turns into the meet-and-greet place for the archipelago, then, yeah, I'd say it probably ought to be stuck at that point. So do it. You don't need to be the moderator of a "topic" thread—none of them have moderators, apart from the two people moderating the subforum as a whole: just start the discussion. Like myrddin did on astrology, or JC on agriculture, or jhahilt on language, or Kaellpae on the idea that eventually led to the loss of a moon. Topics don't need to be planned out in advance: so far, none of them have been. If you've got something you want to address, bring it up. And as for writing stories rather than discussing details, the same applies: none have been rejected yet, because none have been written yet. (Unless someone's been hiding them in the Showcase, and I haven't noticed them.) When we actually start seeing them, we'll almost certainly create our own Showcase in here, to give them a home… but it's hardly likely to encourage people to submit their own if they go to it and see only an empty subforum, so I see it as only being counterproductive before there's anything to put there.

    My question is this: why in the world do you want to moderate your own thread? Just so you can't be overruled? Sorry, doesn't work that way—it will still be possible to overrule you, regardless: myrrdin and JC will still be able to do it, and the collaborative community as a group will still be able to. I don't have "absolute control" over "my" area… a fact I've repeatedly emphasized whenever talking about it, to the extent that I generally include "my" in scare quotes. If you wanted to add something that contradicts what's already been written, directly or implicitly, I'll say no, and give my reasons why, and if they aren't convincing, we can put it before the group and let them decide. But if you can convince them otherwise, then it goes through. That's what collaboration is. And if you wanted to add something that I haven't mentioned, or never even thought about, I will be highly inclined to go with it: I'll probably still bounce things back and forth with you, but for the purpose of developing it and integrating it smoothly into the whole, not because I want to be the sole source and font of all things for that area. Or, just maybe, I'll tell you it's great, I can't think of any reason to change any of it, and to put it up as is.

    So how about maybe extending the rest of us a little credit, and trying things out the way that's worked so far?
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
  8. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Haven't I? I know I'm touching a nerve, here, but I also think I've been making efforts to contribute.

    I really want to make sure this point is being understood. People want to contribute without having to feel like we need to await somebody's permission. The moderators thing is preventing people from feeling they can just chip in. It's broken. It's the reason you're getting so few non-moderator contributions. It's the reason everyone wants to post a new civilization. It's not that they don't want to collaborate - you need to give people credit and not presume what their motives are - it's because "collaboration" in this case just means waiting for the single "editor," as you call them, to even respond. I could post about the Inn of Enessia, for instance, and fully anyone here is capable of reading through the Enessia post and saying "Hey, this seems to conflict, but here's a way to fix it." It doesn't have to be that one specific person. That's what's holding you back.
     
  9. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    I understand your point: I just don't agree with it. As you say, anyone here is capable of responding to contributions, not just the editor of that area, just as anyone here is capable of making contributions. I'm not presuming motives, just pointing out the appearance—from the point of view of someone who's already been working with the project, and who hasn't seen any problems thus far. (I would also add that you are yourself presuming motives, on behalf of people who aren't contributing: this may be true, but we have no evidence of that, since so far you're the only person who's said as much. I'm more inclined to think that the reason we aren't seeing many contributions is much simpler: we aren't getting them because no one is showing up and considering contributing in the first place, not because they're getting "scared away." In fact, in reviewing this thread, the only other comment I've seen on the structure so far was from someone who said he didn't feel any need to stake out "his own" turf.)

    As for waiting for an editor to respond: perhaps we need a rule that "silence assents." If the editor doesn't comment on a suggestion within a reasonable amount of time—say, a week: that would guarantee people who only get on during weekends (if there are any such) the opportunity to reply; at most, two weeks, to allow for people on vacation (possibly only if they post to "member whereabouts" that they're taking one, and want to be sure to have the opportunity to comment before anything becomes permanent)—then it's presumed there's no problem, as far as that editor is concerned. Anyone else spotting something they perceive to be a problem can also respond in the meantime, as you point out… so one way or another, any major conflicts should be caught quickly enough. As far as I'm concerned, any minor issues (what color the cook wears, for instance) that don't get addressed get chalked up to individual uniqueness, no matter what the culture's general practices are, even if the editor later decides that cultural practices do differ.

    This is essentially how I've been working, as with the lost moon: I throw out an idea and ask people for input… but I don't wait forever to see if everyone chimes in. Then I post what I come up with, and ask again if anyone has comments or wants changes. If not, it becomes "official."

    Would something of that sort help address your objections? At least in the short term, and barring the actual appearance of the sort of problems you foresee?
     
  10. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

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    The main reason for the editors was so that everybody didn't have to be familiar with all the aspects of the Archipelago. One person specializing in the island would know immediately if there was a conflict. While contributors to the Archipelago would probably eventually find the conflict the editor would find it faster. Its not so much "approval" as double-checking that the idea works.
     
  11. Kevlar

    Kevlar Troubadour

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    You say that having moderators is broken, and I am sorry you feel that way, but how else would you have it? If people could simply decide something is canon there would be an independant city every 10 miles in a tye-die of cultures that exist only illogically next to their neighbours. Perhaps the moderation isn't the best solution, but it is the most manageable.

    As for contribution I welcome anyone to contribute to the Harronyne. I know the general feel I was aiming for with the Harro and the Mysanese, but both still need a huge amount of work. The pirates of Reaver's Coast are completely undeveloped. Drop by the discussion thread, and remember: it's a democracy. If the moderator doesn't agree, but there is no conflict (theme counts as a conflict, I'd disagree with a Rome-like city on the Harronyne, but not a Saxon, Germanic, Gaulish, Celtic or early Russian-style one) the moderator doesn't have the power of veto. We're not working off the United State's United Nations policy. (You have to give me that one, and I'm not suggesting America is the devil. Canada has done horrible things too.) If worse comes to worse encourage others to weigh in. If too many people think the mod's being an ass there will be no choice but for the moderator to give in.
     
  12. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    First let me apologize. I should have let it go or taken it a private message before now. The last thing I want is to make a spectacle or to offend anyone.

    I apparently haven't been very clear, and after a few tries now that's ironic for a writing forum. The actual problem I would foresee is that nobody would contribute, and I think it's already arisen. Everything else has been hypothetical, a perception, an explanation of what somebody might be thinking when they choose not to participate. Maybe it should have been in italics. I haven't, at any point, meant to attack the efforts of any of the editors. I only mean to say that escalating so many people to a higher and more authoritative position looks and feels like you've established a bit of a nobility of land owners, and I think that's turning people away from the project.

    The alternative I've meant to suggest is to just focus on one thing at a time. Pick a location or a topic and build it up as a community - maybe a much smaller group of moderators can pick someone who is active in one discussion to lead-off the next discussion with an initial post of their ideas. I think that would be more collaborative, and it would give a more welcoming impression to people who aren't currently involved.

    Hopefully that's all. I don't care if everyone agrees, but hopefully you'll look past your first impression and see that the only thing I'm trying to do is get more people to contribute.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2011
  13. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Fair enough… and thank you for having the patience to clarify your intent.

    There's certainly no reason we can't do what you're suggesting, as far as choosing topics, or one location or another, to put intensive development into. My sole comment on that is to just go ahead and start doing it, whenever you've got something and whatever it is–which is what I think would most encourage contributions and collaboration: people seeing it happen. ("The bigger the crowd, the more people come.") Doesn't matter who starts it, and in the end it's the community, not any individual, who decides the outcome.

    So if you've got something, by all means please share. You lead, you're bound to find people following. :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  14. Took me a while, but I've finally got around to doing Say Tasmani some justice. (Or, at least, it has finally been expanded beyond one paragraph). Quite happy with their mad little developments so far :)
     
  15. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    Glad to see you back, Insanity!

    And Devor (and all others) as Ravana said - go ahead and start writing. Or coming up with stuff. You've definitely been contributing, but (from the little I've been able to read so far) it's been mostly reviewing and asking questions. This is valuable, but don't feel that that's all you can do. Once it starts, we'll work out methods for review and changing of suggestion and all that stuff.

    My real suggestion (to us all!) is to not take any of this too seriously. It's an exercise, not a magnum opus. Let's have some fun with it!

    Furthermore, in order to help get the ball rolling, I hereby pledge to write one of my first two stories based mostly on somebody ELSE'S island. Now, who's shall it be...
     
  16. Hominid

    Hominid Dreamer

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    Why can't I see the map? Do I need a certain number of posts?
     
  17. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

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    Thanks for saying something. Ordinarily I would say yes, I think you need at least five posts but since I can't see it either. Somethings hinky with it... Hopefully I can figure out what that is soon.
     
  18. Hominid

    Hominid Dreamer

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    Is there any other map of the Mythic Archipelago besides the one linked to on the first page?
     
  19. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    No other maps that I know of.

    Also, it seems that all image links are currently broken - at least, every one that I've tried is. We should probably let Black Dragon know.
     
  20. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    The broken images have been fixed. If they aren't showing up for anyone still, try clearing your browser's cache.

    To avoid this sort of thing in the future, we're going to ask for all images to be uploaded to our Image Gallery, and to be included in posts by using the method outlined in Image Tutorial. This method will be far more efficient, as the gallery stores the images in a separate database.

    Also, there's a section in the gallery designated specifically for images from the Mythic Archipelago.
     

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