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Showcase Forum Split?

Discussion in 'Ask the Staff' started by BWFoster78, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

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    Hi BWFoster78,

    I joined this site in December 2013 and, although I've participated in a few challenges, I only recently noticed the Showcase section in the forum.

    I recently saw that Svrtnsse had posted his story and received some critical comments and advice. I had enjoyed reading his extract and commented that I found it amusing and entertaining.

    I had written the beginning of a comedic story about a time traveller and a shop assistant for Phil's 28 day genre challenge and had posted it on the site. Although I thought it was funny, no one had reacted to it, so I copied and pasted it into the Showcase section just to see if it got a response.

    Most readers didn't bother to write anything, but a few people said they enjoyed it and wanted to find out what happens next, as do I! :D Svrtnsse wrote a helpful, very positive critique.

    Overall, I found it a positive experience. I now think I will continue the story which is a kind of chic lit/time travelling/comedy.

    I wasn't looking for a detailed critique of my extract. I thought it might amuse and entertain readers.

    I think that for a detailed response, one would send one's writing to beta readers or critical partners.

    I would agree with other comments here that the Showcase allows you to post a piece that is not part of a challenge, just to see if anyone likes it or wishes to give some literary advice.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2014
  2. AnneL

    AnneL Closed Account

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    Some random thoughts:

    I suspect one of the reasons criticism devolves into nit-picking is that nit-picking feels like it's being helpful when a reader doesn't like a story but still wants to have something to offer. Nit-picking combines the human compulsion for finding errors with the desire to be a contributor.

    One of the things about any work is that there are going to be some people who "get" it and others who don't. Also, people's expectations really color the reading experience. And I think that makes it harder to get useful criticism from folks you don't already know and trust as objective readers. There is a learning curve in knowing how to critique.

    When I think "Showcase," I think something is on display and not up for dissection.
     
  3. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    Would everyone prefer for the name to be changed to something else? If so, I am open to suggestions.

    When I was first building this site, the original name for that section was "Critique Requests", or something similar. Before opening the site to the public I invited feedback from other writers and some of my friends, and part of the feedback that I received was that "Critique Requests" may seem intimidating, and would discourage new members from posting there. The name "Showcase" was offered as an alternative, as it may encourage more posting, and members could stipulate how much feedback they would like.

    But if you guys feel that the name has become a problem, we can certainly change it to something else.
     
  4. The Blue Lotus

    The Blue Lotus Auror

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    I don't think it is necessary. If it were a vote I'd vote no.
    I think people are putting far too much thought into the section name, and not nearly enough into how to improve its usage.

    Sorry I don't mean to come off as rude, if that is how it sounds.
     
  5. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I don't feel that the name is what's at issue. But a "Showcase" usually is for showing off, not for critiques. If it's up for discussion, the alternative that comes to my mind would be some use of the word "Workshop," like a "Writer's Workshop" or a "Story Workshop." Maybe the first for the Showcase and the second for the Brainstorming/Planning to give that forum more clarity? Just a thought.
     
  6. The Blue Lotus

    The Blue Lotus Auror

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    And see for me "Workshop" brings two thoughts to mind.
    First: Santa's elves slaving away on toys ahead of the big holiday. (JK) ;)
    Second: (I'll be serious this time.) I think of tutorials. And I know that is not what that area is for.
    I could be wrong, just how I feel/think.
     
  7. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Writer's Workshop is what they use at most college campuses. "Workshop" implies a place where real work happens. Something like "Writing Center" would suggest tutorials.
     
  8. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    Why not "Open Beta"?
     
  9. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    I'm personally happy with the name Showcase, but if a name change is being considered, maybe "Showcase & Feedback" would work? Something to indicate it's for both showing off your work and for asking for comments on it. "Proving Grounds" may be another idea.

    Still, I'm fine with Showcase and I'm not sure how much a name change would really change things.
    What I'm thinking is that it's better to try and foster good posting habits in some way. Maybe when someone posts a piece for feedback, first ask what kind of commentary they want - if they haven't included that. This isn't something that requires a moderator to do, any member who's on the ball can do this.

    Another thing that can be done is use the subject lines to set examples. I believe most people will include a word count for their posts. The main reason I did that when I posted my first showcase request was that I'd seen it in other thread titles. I probably wouldn't have though about it otherwise.

    Finally - there's a fairly long sticky thread in the showcase about how to use the showcase forum. There's also an FAQ with some other info. It may be a good idea to try and consolidate all of that information into one post in order to give newcomers a better overview.
    I'd be happy to give it a go, but won't have time until Wednesday.
     
    The Blue Lotus and Ankari like this.
  10. AnneL

    AnneL Closed Account

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    I wasn't suggesting a *need* for a name change, just saying what the word implies to me and what I would expect to get if I put something up, which would be oohs and aahs and so forth, not critique. If the name is "Showcase" and the content is mostly critiques, that may be sending mixed messages to people both about what to post and how to respond.

    But is this a really big issue? Are lots of people dissatisfied with it, or feeling that it's not serving its purpose? (This is an informational question, not a rhetorical one.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2014
  11. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    There is one good point to a name change: If we were going to try and make changes to the Showcase, a name change is a great way to signal that and get people to approach it with fresh eyes.
     
  12. The Blue Lotus

    The Blue Lotus Auror

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    Now that is true... :)
    Ok let me toss this out there and see what you guys think: Two posts, One with the work to be read and one with what is sought in posting it. Example:
    Post one: I wrote this little poem while half asleep and I'm thinking of turning it into a story so I sat down and wrote this:
    Word count <100 words.
    Mary walked down the lonely dirt road. Her prized lamb in tow, close to her side.
    A twig snapped in the woods to her left, and the lamb stopped dead in its tracks.... Etc. etc. etc....


    Post two: "What I'm looking" for as the subject line .
    I know it is a rip off of the nursery rhyme, but what do you think, could it be a viable children's tale revamp?
    Etc. etc. etc....


    What if any post without directions as to what type of feedback is desired were locked until the poster fixes it?
    That would also solve the "I don't know what they want" issue.
    And make that the default post for the thread the directions post so the people replying actually read it. Because a lot of the problem is that they just don't bother and that is very annoying to some.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2014
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