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Thread: How to improve Words?

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    #26
    Quote Originally Posted by (Wordy)
    Thanks, definitely some good points raised.

    iLoveYouWithaKnife, I can definitely understand your concerns, which I think TheLoveBandit has addressed pretty well.

    One of the most important things (to me at least) is to maintain the supportive and free-spirited vibe of this forum. I'm confident that it'll be possible to maintain this, while at the same time stimulating more general discussion, making the place more vibrant and readable, and increasing the number of regular and occasional visitors. To pick up on TLB's metaphor, I'd like to see the place transformed from a quiet library to a vibrant cafe - a place where writers, readers and word-lovers in general can chat, compare notes, show/perform their wares, share knowledge, and develop friendships. But I can see the need for moments of quiet and solitude in this space too; and for seriousness, openness, and pouring out feelings without fear of judgement.

    It's becoming clear that reshaping the forum and letting it evolve will be something of a balancing act. I really hope that the "old school" Words folk aren't driven away by the changes. They've been (and I hope they'll continue to be) the lifeblood of Words.

    Re: categorising threads... I'll give this some thought. I can see a few potential issues with it. I can't see a problem with categorising threads about books (in the same way that the Film & TV forum categorises films and TV shows). We could instigate a category for creative writing, but I think some members might object to their work being categorised, even as creative writing (for example, if they're writing what amounts to a journal entry, or a true story from their life that they'd like to share). Sometimes it might be hard to tell whether it's creative writing or not. And I kind of like clicking on a thread without knowing what I'm going to find inside, other than the hint of the title (which might be a red herring! ). As Raz said, there is the option of previewing the thread (by hovering your pointer over it). Also categorising threads would amount to another layer of strictness / organisation, but if people are convinced it would improve the forum, then I'm prepared to listen to their arguments.
    its simple, man!

    get rid of the 3-post limit and the forum will BOOM i tells ya!

    the reason its so slow-paced is because theres a limit on how much one can post. if a crappy poet posts 100 threads, and each one sucks, I THINK that hed get bored and move on, leaving the rest of us regulars to our normal business.

    YOU are the mod, you can delete unecessary crap (or at least close it), so i think you should use your disgresssion and get rid of that stupid rule.

    my $0.02
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    #27
    Bluelight Crew up all night's Avatar
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    ^ I think the three post limit is the best thing about the forum. It stops the trolls before they begin.
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    #28
    ^thats why were getting a new mod.

    trolls = banned.


    ....besides, whod want to troll THIS forum? most people who "troll" look for fast moving forums where they can REALLY cause a lot of harm.

    itd be difficult to fuck up Words, especially when a mod sees a troll.
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    #29
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    Yeah troll was the wrong word (sorry it was just one of those quick I'm-at-work-and-shouldn't-be-on-BL posts).

    I think the three post limit gives everyone a voice. There are definitely people in here who would make the most of not having that restriction and I don't want to open this forum to see more than three threads started by the one person. Whatever happens, this is still going to be a relatively slow moving forum, and I think it would be nicer if there were many different thread starters rather than one person being able to post about whatever they want.

    Having the limit will also make the person who wants to post more than three really think about their threads which would (hopefully) mean they were of a higher quality.
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    #30
    Bluelight Crew (Wordy)'s Avatar
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    I didn't make the rule, but as far as I'm concerned the 3-thread limit is fair, and nothing but a good thing for the forum.

    wesmdow, what follows might be familiar to you, but I think it's worth restating here...

    Granted some writers on here are more prolific than others, but apart from ensuring that everyone gets their time in the sun, the 3-thread limit also acts as a kind of quality control, just as up all night said. Knowing that there's a 3-thread limit, people probably give more thought to deciding what they post on here, and if they're prolific, they'll probably limit their posting to what they think is their best stuff, rather than expecting people to read every last thing they come up with? Also I think it reinforces a couple of good lessons for all writers: the lessons of patience and humility.

    I think Words needs quality, not quantity. Which isn't to say that it's lacking in quality at the moment - far from it! There are some excellent writers who frequent this forum, and some excellent readers / commentators too. What we're trying to do though, is make the forum more vibrant and readable, more diverse and inclusive. Having 10 threads by one person on the first page doesn't achieve any of these things...
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    #31
    Bluelight Crew Mehm's Avatar
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    The 3 thread rule is a good. I also like the idea of having discussion type threads, book reviews etc. I really don't think these will clog the form or anything.

    As far as commenting goes, I'm certainly guilty of skipping right to my own stuff (I do however read everything in "the new rhymes".) It is definitely worth my while to read ya'lls work because a lot of it is quite good.
    see ya around foks
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    #32
    Bluelight Crew katmeow's Avatar
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    Honestly, if I saw more than 3 threads posted at once by the same person, I'd be unlikely to open more than 2 of them anyway. I think it is to a poster's benefit to wait for a while in between posts

    The biggest thing that I think could improve, would be more people commenting on other people's work, which I know is something you can't force. But I was thinking about something that could be done from a mod's perspective: when a new words poster comes along, maybe a mod could send them a welcome to words PM and just point out that the best way to get something out of words is to put something back in, by contributing to other threads when you can.

    I do like the idea of having some more discussion threads, but I still think the focus should be towards original work.
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    #33
    Peace
    Quote Originally Posted by TheLoveBandit
    ^^^I was pleased to see you offer input - you've been missed in more places than just this forum

    One thing that struck me about the way the forum has been (pretty much exactly as you described it) would be a duplication of a journal (which we have). You've got an established group of friends, and you pour your heart out whenever you feel like it - those same group of friends respond if they want, comment on what you expressed and how you expressed it. But for the most part, the forum looked like a stack of diaries or creative-writing notebooks left on a table waiting for passersby to stop and read then comment or refrain from commenting (if they didn't already have some connection to the OP) I understand your point about everyone under the sun throwing in comments, even when they aren't wanted - but that's part of what kept this forum like a library, very quiet and not much interaction beyond "nice post" or "I've been there, and felt that".

    I think the Lounge is a poor comparison for any other forum on the site - it is an animal unto itself (and you are spot on with the smart ass and asshole fluency remarks regarding that forum). That forum is intended to host that sort of behavior, whereas I believe the mods intend for this to foster more intelligent and respectful (and ON TOPIC) discussions related to words. Really, how many forums are like the Lounge?

    I respect your opinion on a lot of things, and I especially appreciate a differing point of view that can shed light on an aspect that may be overlooked. However, I don't think a stack of journal entries makes a forum. I think a forum like WORDS can offer a lot more to our members in terms of discussions on writings, and I trust they'd not let it turn into the Lounge v2.0 where you've got 3 pages of mindless dribble to sift thru for the things you'd find worth reading or commenting upon.

    Still, these changes aren't my mission - I have no agenda other than to challenge the mods to best understand the wants and needs of the members. Then I consider it my responsibility to help them implement changes (if appropriate) for the improved enjoyment of their members. Even if that means not going in certain directions - so all voices and opinions are welcome and wanted.

    Whoa. I was very pleased to see that you took the time to read and comment on what I had to say. Thank you.
    I can understand exactly what you are saying. I guess sometimes it is hard for me to deal with change. Alot of newer things on bluelight have actually made me veer away from the site... and I just figured that if Words changed also, then I'm going to be even less likely to visit the site, then I already do.
    Ever since bluelight changed the last time, when they added all those features and took away features, i was turned off by it. Just simple things, like not being able to access things the way I was able to before, eg. the gallery stuff.... you cannot access a members gallery just from clicking on their name anymore. And I don't believe there was a journal section that was as highly used as it is now, but i don't even think there was a journal section when i first started using period.

    I think as far as the whole journal thing goes.....
    Um, even though I'd write almost daily about my life, it wasn't in journal form- alot of journal form to me is: I woke up at 7.30 I went to work at this time. So and So said this.
    That's not how I write, there for I don't think that my collection of Words should be placed into a journal.

    I also agree that the Lounge is a horrible comparison. Sorry. Heh.
    The only forums that I ever frequented regularly were Words, Lounge, and SLR.
    So I really didn't have much to go from.

    Perhaps instead of having a million different threads on books that people read.... couldn't it just all be combined into one ongoing thread?
    As much as people don't want to see a million posts by one member on the same page, i think the same amount wouldn't like to see Today I read this book.

    I guess maybe more discussion should be initiated, but I think it should be VERY WELL organized, as this forum usually is.
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    #34
    Bluelight Crew L2R's Avatar
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    While the three post limit is needed in this forum, i think it needs to be updated to: Three "Original" threads.

    This limit should not be applicable to discussion threads IMO.
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    #35
    Bluelight Crew (Wordy)'s Avatar
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    L2R, that was actually discussed earlier in the thread, and is now part of the forum guidelines. The 3-thread limit applies to original work only.

    iLoveYouWithaKnife, that's a valid point about having one thread for books people are reading. I'm more than happy to have a "What are you you reading at the moment?" thread. Then probably most people will post book-related stuff in there. Although I'm not averse to people starting threads about a particular book if they want to have a more in-depth discussion. Same goes for particular authors people would like to discuss. But I guess we'll see how it pans out, and what people prefer. I will start a reading thread though - thanks for the idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by katmeow
    The biggest thing that I think could improve, would be more people commenting on other people's work, which I know is something you can't force. But I was thinking about something that could be done from a mod's perspective: when a new words poster comes along, maybe a mod could send them a welcome to words PM and just point out that the best way to get something out of words is to put something back in, by contributing to other threads when you can.

    I do like the idea of having some more discussion threads, but I still think the focus should be towards original work.
    Yeah I agree, and thanks - that's a good point about PMing new Words posters.

    Finally, getting back to categories / tags for different types of threads... what do people think of the following:

    * "Book" for a thread about a particular book.
    * "Author" for a thread about a particular author.
    * "Creative Challenge" for threads like "Post a haiku" or "Write a story entitled 'The Sky is Red'" or "Post a 60-second poem".
    * "Original" for original pieces of writing that people want others to read and comment on. Bear in mind that only positive comments should be made about other people's work unless they specifically request constructive criticism (by posting "Please critique!" or similar).

    ???

    As far as the creative challenges go, I'm keen to post some of my own, and for the other mods to do the same, but would also like to encourage other people to start them if they have a cool idea.

    Also, I anticipate that some threads won't fit into the above categories, but I'm cool with that...
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    #36
    that sounds good to me... maybe a bit cluttered, but we shall see.

    also id like to say that commenting on other peoples original work is a double-edged blade.

    most of the stuff here sucks ass, and people dont usually post looking for criticizm. i find myself at a loss of words, most of the time, because i cant contribute anything positive.

    i like the idea of adding OTHER topic types because itll allow for more positive posts in this forum (at least from me!).
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    #37
    Bluelight Crew (Wordy)'s Avatar
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    Ok, from now on we'll be using the following tags for threads:

    Book: for a thread about a particular book (e.g. Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas)
    Author: for a thread about a particular writer (e.g. Hunter S. Thompson)
    Writing Challenge: for creative challenges (e.g. "Post a haiku about your right arm" or "Write a story in 100 words")
    Discussion: for discussion topics / questions (e.g. "Where do you get ideas for writing?" or "Why are poets so badly dressed and pretentious?")

    The tags are to be placed in the thread title, like this:

    "Author: Dr Seuss"

    or

    "Discussion: Do you read in bed?"

    So, if you create a thread that fits into one of the above categories, by all means tag it, but if you forget... don't worry, we (the moderators) will fix it up for you.

    We've decided not to tag threads containing creative writing by Bluelighters (poetry, fiction, etc). We expect this will remain the most common type of thread in Words, and we weren't 100% comfortable with putting a label on these threads, because people tend to be protective about their own creative writing. If all threads were tagged, it would probably be a case of over-signage, which would cause confusion and make the forum less approachable to newcomers. Itd also be a hassle for the mods to keep tagging new threads.

    So if a thread has no tag, you can pretty much assume it contains original writing by a Bluelighter (unless it's one of the above thread categories and we haven't got around to tagging it yet! ).

    If anyone has any issues with the above, or suggestions for any other tags you think we should use, let them be heard in this thread, or else PM one of the moderators (myself, Raz or up all night).

    Cheers,
    Wordy
    Last edited by (Wordy); 08-12-2006 at 02:01.
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    #38
    Bluelight Crew felix's Avatar
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    Thumbs up
    Quote Originally Posted by wesmdow
    i was thinking that maybe there could be a thread run by _____ (mods maybe), that could highlight a certain author each Xperiod of days.

    kinda the way wikipedia does its daily random articles, we could maybe have a weekly featured author.
    I thought this was a great idea. I'm always looking out for new books and authors, as I'm sure many other people on here are.

    I was thinking it wouldn't have to be done by the mods every time - perhaps a regular could be invited to create one now and again? A special guest appearance kind of thing, heh.

    Anyway... I have a feeling I've said this before, but... I like this forum more and more all the time. It's very useful for resuscitating my IQ after spending too long in certain other forums.

    Keep up the good work.
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    #39
    Bluelight Crew (Wordy)'s Avatar
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    Oops, meant to reply to this a while back! Thanks for the feedback felix.

    Yeah I still like the 'spotlight on an author' idea. I might just get the ball rolling on that one... (give me a day or two).

    The new thread categories seem to be working well. I take it no one has any objections or issues with them?
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    Screw the 3 post/page limit 
    #40
    Gun
    I know this thread is old, but I have to register my voice. The 3 post/front page limit is stalling out the entire forum. In some way, it's restructuring the community to be far less than a community. We don't get to follow one another on a semi-daily, or weekly basis.

    I understand the reasoning behind it, but it's just reasoning. It's not perfect truth. What's happening in reality is the board is sluggish and boring. The potential NEW content is stifled and probably totally forgotten in the minds and hearts of our writers. I doubt they write their stuff and put it in a file in hopes that their 3 will someday fall from the top and they'll be able to plug in their next one... and they already have 10 writings... which will probably be the next half year's worth at this pace. Ick.

    Suggestions:
    1) Take the limit up to 7
    2) Give us the ability to make our posts go to the 2nd page if we choose once a day.
    3) Totally restructure the limit. What about 1/day?

    Anyways, I don't expect there to be a big shift since it probably took a bit of fire to enact the current changes.

    I'm just going to start a "Pyro's OnGoing Writing" Thread for those who want to track my daily/semi-daily stuff. I love sharing, and I love touching a community. So, yup... that's my word.

    Pyro
    P.S. the original pyro
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    #41
    Bluelight Crew (Wordy)'s Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback, Pyro. As you can see if you read back through the thread, the 3-thread limit has been hotly debated in the past. I still stand by the reasons I gave for keeping it, and it's my belief that the majority of regular posters support the limit.

    I don't see any problem with you or anyone else maintaining a single thread for your latest writings. That could work really well, in fact, and to be sure it's a lateral way of circumventing the rules - one which I respect. I'd suggest that other writers in the forum should do the same if they find the 3-thread limit too restrictive.

    In terms of your other suggestions for restructuring, having a "one thread per day" limit would be very difficult for the moderators to police - there'd be far too much checking involved in working out whether someone had exceeded the limit. As for having the functionality to allow users to move their threads to the second page, this would require development, testing, etc by the site engineers. But regardless, I think this functionality would disrupt the continuity and readability of the forum.

    Personally I don't think the forum's slow-moving. There's a much higher turnover of threads these days compared to a year ago. I'd probably like to see more discussion and writing challenge threads though, since these tend to get more people involved and bring the forum to life. Although I've noticed there's been an increase in feedback on original work, and more interaction in those threads, thanks to people such as yourself - and I'm really glad to see that happening.
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    #42
    i used to be a words regular, but honestly the forum needs (in my opinion) a lot of changes.

    i still say screw the postcount rule... how intimidated can someone ACTUALLY be of posting a new thread right in betwixt "WESMDOWWESMDOWWESMDO"

    i dont think any traffic would be lost, i think (and i think ive said this before) that it would have a paradoxical effect. look at the other forums... if someone starts to get ahead, other people catch on and make new threads of their own.

    this actually speeds up the forum! more = more GOOD poems = good.

    not to be offensive here but i REALLY dislike the 3 post limit because the kickass poets--wordy uan, ww, etc... are limited to only 3, where any idiot can make up some emo "the world hates me my soul bleeds" poem in 10 minutes.

    i think that since forum front-page space is so limited, allowing better poets to show off their work as they please would have a few improvements for this forum:

    better poems will get more responses and so STAY on the front page. crappy ones, likewise, will fall off quickly.

    this means our BEST poets are trapped, stuck with weeks to month old poems (long finished) still getting replies. if thats the point, its working... otherwise the forum seems it could get stale...

    making it a challenge to get your work posted on the front page of WORDS would force the more amature posters to work harder to make something that gets noticed. improvement = good, so does motivation for improvement.

    also: i am sorry i let my weekly poem thing die. real life called, and words takes up a LOT of time!

    i do think the idea rocks!

    also, a weekly poetry competition, similar to the photo competition in SO. (and before you start, photos AND poem qualities are subjective.) it would just be fun.
    Last edited by wesmdow; 11-04-2007 at 10:09. Reason: woops i reread the thread and realized my idea is veto'd
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    #43
    I think that the 3 post rule is essential.

    Words is a two way street, for reading and for writing.

    The three post rule avoids the forum turning into a 'all about "some user" forum' it also encourages people to read, and comment on other members posts.

    If you have a lot to spill and post, the best way to keep your old posts moving through the forum to make way for new posts is to take the time to read and comment other peoples posts.

    This doesn't mean commenting each post with "i like it" or "you suck balls". The comments should always be honest reflections on other peoples work. If its not a positive reflection, it should be constructive critism.

    We are trying to avoid seeing users who poor their heart out, have their work fly through the forum with hardly any views and any comments because the forum becomes flooded.

    If you simply want to put a lot of your work on the net, get yourself an emo haircut, then get some myspace action and post a blog.

    When I see a user regulary posting work I like, I look at their profile and often follow links to their personal sites etc so I can see more of their work.

    I like to think of Words as 'the pool room' of writing. A place where simply excellent writers share their best work, either to share something special and or to improve their own style.

    The advantage of the 3 post rule is that it encourgages more unique posts and more users.

    I may not like everything I read, but I love words and all its members. Its a soul stirring home. Best of all, its open to anyone, anytime, anywhere.
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    #44
    its not that I personally want more space on the front page (im not sure if i inferred that or if it was insinuated)~

    as i stated, i think it would add a bit of competition and make the forum more productive.

    just because you pour your heart out doesnt mean your poem is any good. but its still taking the place of a potentially good one.

    i also like the idea of having 1 thread devoted to each persons personal works.... then thered be room for everything...
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    #45
    Quote Originally Posted by wesmdow
    its not that I personally want more space on the front page (im not sure if i inferred that or if it was insinuated)~
    I definitly did not mean to insinuate that you, or any other individual users are trying to dominate the front page, its clear that you amongst other members often have more posts (of great substance) to offer.

    I appologise if that was how you interpreted my previous post.

    just because you pour your heart out doesnt mean your poem is any good. but its still taking the place of a potentially good one.
    Thats simular to saying "old people should not get hospital treatment becuase they're going to die soon anyway, we should make more space for children". Its about how individuals value different things.

    Whether a poem is good or not is very much a matter of perspective. Admitably I have seen some posts that have made me question how I could get the time wasted reading it back, but some people like Missy Higgins and some people like Mozart - its all a matter of taste.
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    #46
    Bluelight Crew up all night's Avatar
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    I can definitely see where you're coming from wesmdow but I would hate to see Words become a competitive place in which people would only want to post their poems/ stories if they felt they were of a certain calibre.

    While I definitely appreciate reading good poetry, I'm just as appreciative of reading something in which someone has obviously poured their heart out. While this is a writing forum, I also feel sometimes it's part journal/ part dark side as well.

    I know that the vast majority of people would respect the other users of this forum and not clog it up with all their own work, but at the same time I know there would be people who post five, six pieces in a row and it would change the whole feeling of the forum. Yes, Words may be slow moving and it may be frustrating for some writers to have to wait for their work to slide off the front page before they can post again, but, alternatively, it also allows more time for people to come and see the work that is still there. I would hate for a poem that was posted one day to be off the front page the next and not give people enough time to discover it.
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    #47
    Quote Originally Posted by up all night
    I would hate for a poem that was posted one day to be off the front page the next and not give people enough time to discover it.
    I can't agree more.

    I would be frustrated to find I had missed out on a post that I felt was wholesome and special simply because I was not able to get to Words for a couple of days.
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    #48
    Bluelighter ice-9's Avatar
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    i'm disliking the bunch of stickies up top. maybe have one sticky that outlines most of those threads, and move forum rules as a header/link?

    it's no big deal, really. just a suggestion.
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    #49
    Bluelight Crew up all night's Avatar
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    ^ Good point. I unstickied two that weren't as necessary as they once were but I don't feel like I can really release the others. It's nice to have the lyrics thread easy to find.
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    #50
    Bluelighter Raz's Avatar
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    I don't know if this is beating a dead horse, but on the 3-post limit....I definitely think it's a good idea. Quality is generally a pretty subjective thing, and what I may think is a piece of shit might be someone else's favourite piece of writing ever; both of us are quite entitled to that opinion so it's not really fair to say that a "good" writer should be able to post more than a "bad" writer...

    Another thing that I think is important is that removing that limit doesn't necessarily mean that the writer you like is suddenly going to fill up the page with all this awesome and inspiring poetry or prose - a lot of people who post what I consider to be really good quality stuff here are not generally that prolific that it would really make that much of a difference if they were able to ignore the 3-thread limit. So there's every possibility that while you may not see more of the stuff you like, you might actually have to see more of the stuff you dislike.

    Them's my $0.02 worth anywho...
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