Hello, writing! There hasn’t been a State of the Subreddit post in a long while, and I believe we’re due for one. I’ll be covering several topics here ranging from stickied threads to meta commentary. Bear with me for a bit.


Salutations and Valedictions

For those who don’t pay too much attention to these matters, our moderator roster changed in the last half year, and we didn’t make a traditional greeting post because people have a tendency to be lazy. So, since the rest of the post was happening regardless of this particular matter, it seems fitting to fold it in.

Myself, Ed727, GulDucat, and Benutzer0815 are your newest overlords. I am officially saying hello now. The others can choose whether to do so or not. At any rate, genuflect, show some respect, down on one knee!

Now that that’s out of the way, we also sound the trumpets for one of the oldest of the Old Guard, who, after much consideration, decided to retire his post. BiffHardCheese was a mainstay of this subreddit for many years and provided countless people with publishing and editorial advice alongside his moderator duties. I'm not sure if he would have wanted this shout-out, but he deserves it anyway. Round of applause for BHC.

I’d like to think he’s on sabbatical, but in the interim, we’ll nevertheless be oppressing you in his stead. Now try your best to stay calm, and brush up your Sunday salaam.


Congratulations and Warnings

Thanks to each and every one of you, we recently surpassed 700,000 users! Somehow every single one of us exists in a superposition of "veteran professional capable of handing out sage advice" and "inveterate amateur incapable of making simple decisions about what to name their characters". Physicists are still pondering the ramifications this discovery will have upon the Standard Model.

But with great numbers comes great overplayed movie references. I would take a futile moment to implore everyone to read the rules before posting. Most janitors actually get paid for their work, and y’all are breaking my back. As we increase in number, this means we also increase in foot traffic, which means we also collect more and more simple questions. The question regarding those questions is, “What do we do to both encourage new writers and keep the subreddit from existing as a bizarre chimera of the same ten or so newbie queries?” Thus I violently segue into my next and most important segment.


Much Ado About Stickies

As I’m sure at least some people have noticed, we changed the framework of our stickied posts a few weeks ago, as a sort of unannounced experiment. To clarify our intent:

  • Increased foot traffic means more rulebreakers, and rulebreakers break rules less often when they realize there are rules
  • Many simple questions can be answered by reading the neglected wiki pages
  • Because the primary purpose of this subreddit is feedback and not self-promotion, it was more important that we maintain the stickied feedback thread than the stickied promotion thread
  • Reddit admins only allow a maximum of two stickied threads, which means we need to make tough choices

To that end, we stickied a restatement of the rules and a second link to the wiki, but we lost the critique thread in the process, and then we observed the results of this change.

The results were not great.

The Welcome thread has been essentially ignored or otherwise lambasted, the daily self-promotion threads have far less aggregate traffic, and there’s no place for general discussion anymore because the self-promotion threads disappear before they can accumulate adequate trending karma.

Now, it’s no great shame to not have a self-promotion corner, but it’s no great honor either. The main issue is that our hands are tied because of the two-thread rule. The secondary issue is that because of the increasing userbase, it becomes evermore imperative that we have a means to deal with “newbie questions” such that newbies can still ask questions, but the less transient users don’t claw their eyes out with repetitious questions filling the /new queue. I have seen marked success on “daily/weekly newbie question” threads stickied on gaming subs, and that might just be our solution here.

Read:  Blind character in fantasy?

Consequently, the mod team (i.e., me because I’m writing this post, but we’re in general agreement on the matter) proposes a solution:

The stays, and we incorporate the Self-Promotion segment of the former weekly sticky into it. Contest mode remains active, and fusing the two together will give self-promoters a space to hock their dreckbe proud of themselves while also further imploring users to look at neglected and desperate housewivesfirst drafts.

The thread stays in a fashion, but becomes excessively more robust. It will hold the General Discussion segment of the former weekly sticky and be relabeled to something along the lines of . The information about the rules and FAQ remain in the body post, but it will also be used as a hub for new or unsure redditors to ask questions that deserve answers, yet are far too singular to provoke genuine discussion. Non-exhaustive examples of such questions are, in no particular order: (1) character-naming; (2) title-naming; (3) specific tropes; (4) writer motivation; (5) character motivation; (5) genre; (6) punctuation; or (7) word count.

To facilitate this transition, we’ll be coming down a bit harder on post submissions than before, and forcibly redirecting newbies to the thread. We’ll also rewrite the rules to reflect the new change. Nevertheless, this is a community effort, and if the community doesn’t embrace this change, the thread will never work as is intended.


Therefore, to gauge user support, I have made a poll. Please fill it out at your earliest convenience.

We want to make sure people are happy with this change. And if not, you’ll make me feel bad, so be sure to vote Yes. But seriously, if you don't think this will work, or you have a better solution, please post it. We're not going to make this change until next week at least, so as to make sure a reasonable portion of the active members have notice of this post and the chance to respond. I don't wanna get hit with a 12(b)(5) motion to dismiss, thank you very much.


Wiki Tiki Tavi

If you don’t understand that reference, I’ll gut you. Read some more Kipling, you plebeian.

Anyway, there’s been much internal—and some external—discussion in the past few months about the wiki/FAQ and whether—or how much—it’s anemic. As a mod team, we were planning on making it more robust. We still are, for the record, but I refer you to one of the first things I said in this post: People are lazy. Also people are busy. More the latter than the former, but they both contribute.

As a point of order, however, I wanted to get a head count on how many people actually ever look at it. If the traffic to that corner of the subreddit is as low as I fear, then making it much larger than it is may be a wasted endeavor, especially if we introduce the aforementioned There Are Such Things as Stupid Questions sticky.


Please fill out survey number two at my earliest convenience.

Is there anything you’d like to see added to the wiki? Voice your comments below.


Meta Commentary or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Irony of This Title

We’ve gotten a lot of back-and-forth in the past few weeks regarding “Can I write…?” questions and whether they’re allowed, and why they shouldn’t be, and why they must be, and why it’s so terrible to see them, and how bigots need to get with the program, and how the SJWs are ruining all light in the world, and ever-increasingly bad takes on what amounts to a simple question: Should I be spending my time worrying about a market pressure that won’t affect me for twelve years because I haven’t actually written anything more than my first draft of my first chapter and I’m wasting time on reddit navel-gazing and waxing politic instead of finishing my damned book?

Read:  Not every character is going to be or has to relatable. And that is a good thing.

The answer to that question is Yes, yes you should get back to writing your book because you’ve put the cart before the horse. Something like the Zhao controversy has a 0% chance of ever actually affecting your capacity to publish if you aren’t actually writing anything worth publishing.

But at a more practical level, we’ve had a lot of calls to disallow meta commentary even on a topic as vitriolic as the YA Twittersphere, and we’re hesitant to do so, since (1) it does stir up some good conversation even if it also attracts bad-faith actors (and I mean reaaaaalllly bad) and a lot of shouting matches; and (2) the topics of the present affect the decisions of the future, and if a community of writers can’t talk about the sociopolitical ramifications of particular writing, then that community is left blind.

You will notice that the two most recent posts on this matter were removed. In fact, they both got enough reports that the AutoModerator removed them while we were still deliberating on whether to remove them. These posts will stay removed, not because we want to silence debate, but because there’s been a bit too much of it to the point that people have proverbially missed the forest for the trees.

I reaffirm that metacommentary in general will remain permissible on any subject, but the mod team will use their discretion to determine when there’s been just a bit too much of it, and when such a thing happens, we’ll have an unspoken moratorium on the matter. I also reaffirm that you should get back to writing. Why are you even still reading this screed?


And now the end is near, and so I face the final curtain…

For what is a man, what has he got? If not himself, then he has naught! To say the things he truly feels and now the words of one who kneelsandthereitiscouldn’tuseanotheraladdinreferenceandfrankywasonmymindbutseriouslystartkneelingprole!

They say humor is the spice of life. Unfortunately, I lost all my humor years ago in a house fire, so I season my life with pop culture quotes and pretend that people like me. Alas. Tastes mostly like Old Bay, though, so at least it works with my crabby persona nyuknyuknyuk

But really, I’m stalling for time now, and I have no reason to do so. I guess I’ll answer the salient question: The state of the sub is pretty good, but it could taste better, perhaps with less Old Bay and a bit more salami.

What about you? Are there any grievances you wish to air, or suggestions on what you’d like to see? Now’s your chance to yell at us and throw tomatoes. We promise we’ll only black bag your comments in the dead of night, after all your friends are asleep and too distant to help.

Source: reddit post


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