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Where is everyone????

09 Aug 2017 22:32 #55760 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Where is everyone????
I don't understand how we got from "we need more members on SWM" to discussions of charging people to read stories or look at pictures? That'll bring 'em flocking in.

Seems like we took a U-turn somewhere.

I truly miss the free and wondrous internet thinking of the 90's. Sites run for the love of it, and funded from donations.

SWM is a lovely vestige of 90's internet culture. I'd sure love to see it stay that way.

Shadar
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09 Aug 2017 22:53 #55761 by fats
Replied by fats on topic Where is everyone????
TO do the pay to read/view I've two options, one is to set up a virtual store and offer a payment system, that way has the lowest cost what I would need to do is set up the store, and offer a payment option of say PayPal or Credit cards, I would then need to pay the author the percentage of what we take in on a story by story basis. costs would be under $200. the other option would be a subscription model, that is the easiest thing to set up as all the payment gateways are included but the costs are huge over $500.


Let me get the site sorted and then we can look at the options, but remember that once to go down the subscription or purchase options there is no going back, we need to get people to interact more on the site that should be our priority rather than the financial side of things.

Fats
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09 Aug 2017 23:38 #55762 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Where is everyone????

fats wrote: Let me get the site sorted and then we can look at the options, but remember that once to go down the subscription or purchase options there is no going back, we need to get people to interact more on the site that should be our priority rather than the financial side of things.

Fats


Amen to that.

IMHO, the last thing this genre needs is another pay-to-view site behind a paywall.

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10 Aug 2017 04:43 #55763 by AuGoose
Replied by AuGoose on topic Where is everyone????
Money at a scale this site could provide without dramatically changing it's characters doesn't seem likely to alter my level of motivation to create ubergirl fiction. I mostly do it for the applause and sometimes the feedback on the various elements I'm experimenting with in any given story. As I mentioned in my notebook once, to a reader who took the time to post that they wanted to see more of a story I was working on, "The best way to get a Muse to hang around is to ask her to." Their expression of interest was a very palpable boost for my continuing to work the project. A lot of the contributors here feel similarly, I think.

I do have some concerns about our feedback mechanisms here on the site. For the most part, they're confined to comments hooked to the library entry itself (down at the bottom) and the comments thread in the stories tracker. However, both of them require the highest level of effort for readers to use: they have to write something and they have to do it while they have the story open in front of them - if they even see the reply panel at all. The authors among us here shouldn't underestimate how daunting that is for a lot of our audience. Both technically and because doing so strips away a layer on anonymity many of the site's readers prefer/enjoy. Most stories end up getting almost no comments in either venue beyond the regular efforts of our librarian, who's required to read every piece as part of the submission and publishing process. I've seen a case just recently where a story went up, several people commented on it at the bottom of the library entry, and the author only discovered they'd gotten responses only by chance. Hearing the applause for your stories should never be left to chance!

At the other end of the spectrum of effort, I've experimented with keeping a notebook thread here on the boards. It gets less exposure than full library entries, but presents readers with a one-click way of acknowledging a piece. Believe me: I pour over those 'thank yous' very closely. In my experience if a piece is really clicking for people, it'll get about 6 thank yous. Interestingly the list of people who do click thank you often rotates and shifts, and I'm very aware of when a new name appears for the first time. I always enjoy getting more elaborate feedback in thread, but those easy-peasy thank yous do a LOT to keep my enthusiasm up :). They also give me some interesting data when comparing the in-notebook responses to feedback once I've moved finished tales to the library. I've often wondered if most site-users even know the notebook is there. My sense is most of the ones who write out responses do know - because once something goes to the library, there's virtually no further response or commentary at all. I try not to take the sound of crickets personally ;).

I feel like there's some space between full text responses and single click responses that could be explored. Some sort of one-to-five-stars rating of your enjoyment of a story, or even several rating for various aspects of a story you've just read? It would give readers a way of interacting a little more while still not having to de-lurk and attach their name to a response. However, since we do need and want authors of all skill levels stepping forward, I think any sort of "please grade my creation" functionality should be something you have to opt into when you submit a tale. Some folks are at a stage where they want there stuff picked apart, and some would prefer mostly positive responses that build the confidence to keep generating stories. There's some very successful creative-hosting sites out there that make "Artist desires critique." a very clear switch you can throw as a contributing creator.

I guess my focus would be less on 'where is everyone?' and more on 'how can we make people feel like this is a place to be?' Both as writers and as readers who want to encourage authors they enjoy.
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10 Aug 2017 05:21 - 10 Aug 2017 05:33 #55764 by Monty
Replied by Monty on topic Where is everyone????
I absolutely agree with you Goose. The writing should be from inspiration. It would be good to see more author's posting on a separate library site to say 'hey, this is what I'm working on' to get feedback.
Sometimes you see a story, but there's no feedback from the author and it can read like a blank page sometimes. That sounds harsh, as I know the writer's put alot of time into their work. An example being Circes Cup's excellent La Porte Caves before it was picked up in La Porte's own thread. Now I wouldn't miss the next chapter for the world.
Last edit: 10 Aug 2017 05:33 by Monty.

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10 Aug 2017 05:32 #55765 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Where is everyone????
As long as we are putting everything on the table, the SWM culture is tilted more to providing affirmation to authors as opposed to critical feedback.

But some stories are hard to praise, and its often clear that some diplomatically voiced critique could help the author on their next effort.

But given the concerns about negativity and so forth, the unwritten rule on story comments seems to be: "if you can't say something mostly nice, say nothing at all."

That doesn't bother me given we're a genre enthusiast site, and not a writing development site, but it risks authors getting no feedback on some stories, and that doesn't help them develop.

I know in my past, back in AU days when comments were very frequent and detailed (as per the culture of the 90's through about 2005), I frequently had stories where most of the feedback was critical. I found that by welcoming and rewarding uncomfortable criticism, I became a much better author. Without it, I would likely have remained a poor writer, which I certainly was when I started.

Shadar

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10 Aug 2017 06:27 #55766 by AuGoose
Replied by AuGoose on topic Where is everyone????

shadar wrote: As long as we are putting everything on the table, the SWM culture is tilted more to providing affirmation to authors as opposed to critical feedback.


I agree, but I think a large part of that is because as readers we simply don't know what an author wants in the way of feedback. So we try really hard not to scare them off :). They're kind of a limited resource.

But given the concerns about negativity and so forth, the unwritten rule on story comments seems to be: "if you can't say something mostly nice, say nothing at all."


Which is a good policy in the absence of knowledge, honestly. That's is why I wonder if there's some way we can formalize the understanding of an author's goals instead of relying on a body of hidden lore about the habits of these rare birds. To flag which authors are looking for affirmation that their piece has reached a friendly audience and the ones that want some scars in the service of their craft.

The downside of the current 'walking on eggshells until proven otherwise' is its impossible for the writer to distinguish between in the silence of "oh my God, my stuff sucks" and "hey, a couple of our most chatty folks happen to have gone out of town for the weekend". We can't make silence less deadly, but we might be able to make it less the norm. From both sides of the bridge - making readers more confident they're giving feedback that'll get them more of what they want and giving writers any feedback at all ;).

That doesn't bother me given we're a genre enthusiast site, and not a writing development site, but it risks authors getting no feedback on some stories, and that doesn't help them develop.


That's a good distinction to make. The question is can we restructure or reformat SWM just a little and serve both kinds of audiences?

I know in my past, back in AU days when comments were very frequent and detailed (as per the culture of the 90's through about 2005), I frequently had stories where most of the feedback was critical. I found that by welcoming and rewarding uncomfortable criticism, I became a much better author. Without it, I would likely have remained a poor writer, which I certainly was when I started.


Indeed. That's a great kind of interaction to have... Once a writer's got that "my ego's the size of a small moon and can absorb some meteorite impacts". Meteors are rather more devastating when you've just built your first little house :). Moreover, having those kinds of intense discussion out in SWM's commons gives newer writers something to read that may help inspire them to take on another story.

"Only some of us can learn from other people's mistakes. The rest of us have to be the other people."
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10 Aug 2017 06:28 #55767 by circes_cup
Replied by circes_cup on topic Where is everyone????
On the idea compensation for authors, let's be careful about trying to solve problems we don't actually have. I haven't seen anything to suggest that, from the perspective of current authors, earning a few bucks on Patreon would make writing more appealing. The level of compensation that can be generated on Patreon, or here, doesn't come close to break-even for the amount of time and effort involved. I think most of us who write have conceded that it is an emotional investment with only emotional rewards. For those of you that are suggesting a compensation mechanism, I gotta undersand: do you write currently, or would you do so if more money were involved?

......

Another area we could consider a change would be a clearer separation between the NSFW/erotic content and the non-erotic stuff. I for one clearly reside in the erotic category (a preference I developed, ironically, by reading Shadar's early stuff, even though he is now in the other category). But whatever the content of my own material, I can completely respect the fact that some people don't want erotic content on their screen or part of their life. I imagine some people have left the site quitely when they concluded perioidically stumbling across erotic content was not for them. Perhaps the erotic stuff should be separated by more than a story tag. We may wish to consider a toggle switch that allows participants to screen that stuff out of their browsing experience (like DA's Mature Content Filter), or perhaps we begin to sequester erotic content in its own section of the site.

......

On the topic of feedback, I can certainly see how having the right culture of discussion could make existing authors want to write more, and also could inspire new authors. For my part, I have to say that the sort of conversation / discussion / debate that emerged on the LaPorte Caves thread was perhaps the best experience I've had in five years of writing. With a few exceptions, that thread was a great example of how a discussion can be motivational to an author without becoming fake and syrupy.

In my view, the "right culture" is one where
- praise is genuine, never fake
- simple praise ("good story!") is accompanied by something thoughtful ("I like the way that you...")
- readers discuss and debate not just with the author, but also with each other
- criticism is delivered privately, on a PM or an email

That last point may seem strange -- to deliver one thing publicly and another privately -- but writing is always an emotional risk and requires some vulerability on the part of the author. Delivering criticism privately acknolwedges that vulnerability. And it's intersting to note that most larger and more anonymous sites, such as DA, feature very little public criticism.
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10 Aug 2017 13:37 #55770 by Woodclaw
Replied by Woodclaw on topic Where is everyone????
On the subject of compensation for the authors and whatnot, I think that it's a can of worms we shouldn't open right now.

For the present I'm more concerned with the feedback system. I agree that at the present we have two very distinct, but also intertwined problems: the system and the culture.
On the system side I believe that the most sensible thing to do would be to find a way to merge the comments at the bottom of each story and the threads ina single entity, but this isn't that simple. While this probably doable with single installment stories, any kinf of multi-chapter story will present a host of possible complications.
As far as culture goes, I belive that AuGoose, Circes Cup and Shadar already said most of what I think. The biggest difficulty is that often author and readers think in slightly different ways and the "positive only" feedback system can create many problems (as Au highlighted).

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10 Aug 2017 15:21 #55771 by luchodemeyer
Replied by luchodemeyer on topic Where is everyone????
To be honest, my main concern was not the compensation nor the payment :huh: but the possibility to commission stories for those who don't feel able to write ones (for various reasons).
I still think this could attract people to know that they could have their fantasies put into a well written story but yet, I understand that regular writter are more unspired with their own ideas. I know that writing a story is time something (don't have the word).
That could be just an portal where regular writters signal when they are interested to be given some inspiration..

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10 Aug 2017 16:37 #55772 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Where is everyone????
As far as value add for our stories (in contrast to superhumans on movies and TV), I think an enhanced Jessica Jones style of erotic content (tailored for our specific sub-genre) provides something that many readers will find interesting.

SWM has always been somewhat tolerant of soft erotica for text (not so much images), and I'm incorporating more of that than in my new story. As long as the story is strong enough for erotica to be 'spice' and not the main course, then it works for me. Who doesn't like a spicy story.

It depends on where we want to draw new readers. If the target is people who enjoyed Wonder Woman or Jessica Jones or Luke Cage or Supergirl, etc and want to go deeper into the ubergirl genre, including but not exclusive of adult themes, then that could work.

Personally, I think that's where we want to draw new readers, not just zero sum swap them with DA.

How many people saw WW and fantasized about other themes that a bunch of Amazons could present? Or Supergirl TV? Think of all the fetishes and sub-fetishes we share, whether its strength or invulnerability or sexuality, etc. The stories behind the story that can't be told with a PG13 rating or are too specific to our genre for a general audience.

We could have specialized fan-fiction or alternate history story tracks that are inspired by current movies or TV shows. Historically, that has proven successful, and now with so much general audience superhuman material out there, and vast new audiences, this should be a prime time for alternate stories based on those popular characters or universes.

In any case, to draw new readers we have to do something well that others aren't. Whatever that is. And we have to market that once we have some content.

Shadar

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10 Aug 2017 18:06 #55774 by njae
Replied by njae on topic Where is everyone????

luchodemeyer wrote: To be honest, my main concern was not the compensation nor the payment :huh: but the possibility to commission stories for those who don't feel able to write ones (for various reasons).
I still think this could attract people to know that they could have their fantasies put into a well written story but yet, I understand that regular writter are more unspired with their own ideas. I know that writing a story is time something (don't have the word).
That could be just an portal where regular writters signal when they are interested to be given some inspiration..


That's something entirely different. Personally I'd line such a portal to not be limited to commissioning writing but it could be an interesting addition.


And looking at shadars post it sounds like a good idea to split fanfiction from original fiction.

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10 Aug 2017 19:42 #55775 by brantley
Replied by brantley on topic Where is everyone????

shadar wrote: As long as we are putting everything on the table, the SWM culture is tilted more to providing affirmation to authors as opposed to critical feedback....
I know in my past, back in AU days when comments were very frequent and detailed (as per the culture of the 90's through about 2005), I frequently had stories where most of the feedback was critical. I found that by welcoming and rewarding uncomfortable criticism, I became a much better author. Without it, I would likely have remained a poor writer, which I certainly was when I started.

Shadar


You couldn't put it better, I miss that kind of feedback.

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11 Aug 2017 01:40 #55777 by ace191
Replied by ace191 on topic Where is everyone????
So many good comments I do not know where to begin.
There has been a funk on this site with lower numbers which is why Fats was concerned. I would like to thank everyone for their input.

I think that we do have some feedback issues as several people have suggested.
I also think that we should try to encourage folks to write, draw and post news.

Illustrations really help stories imo. TSOS was a good example of that. I have a
TGK commission for TSOS that was done 10 years ago. Only Argo and Random have ever seen it. I am dying to post it, but I still hold out hope that Argo and I can get back on that story so that we can post it. I think we were two chapters away when we stopped writing.
This is my favorite place on the net and I sure hope that it outlives me!
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11 Aug 2017 02:48 #55778 by Monty
Replied by Monty on topic Where is everyone????
Hi Ace, Would really like to see and hear more of The Supergirl of Smallville. The last workshop presentation looked like good progress.

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11 Aug 2017 04:59 #55782 by ace191
Replied by ace191 on topic Where is everyone????
I am retired so I have plenty of time to work on it, but Argo who does the majority of the writing and editing still works. I am hoping after he finishes up Baker's Dozen that maybe we could get back to it. We had a good time doing the story for the last workshop. I am half way done with a story that I started a year ago. I need to get up off the couch and get her done.

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11 Aug 2017 12:51 #55785 by Woodclaw
Replied by Woodclaw on topic Where is everyone????

ace191 wrote: I am retired so I have plenty of time to work on it, but Argo who does the majority of the writing and editing still works. I am hoping after he finishes up Baker's Dozen that maybe we could get back to it. We had a good time doing the story for the last workshop. I am half way done with a story that I started a year ago. I need to get up off the couch and get her done.


Sound like a plan ;)

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12 Aug 2017 07:33 #55789 by oogber
Replied by oogber on topic Where is everyone????
Agree that feedback on stories is critical. I am certainly as guilty of not leaving feedback as most other people.

Instead of bringing money into it (which I don't think will solve the problem), how about a system where we reward people who leave reasonable feedback? We already have an incrementer that tracks a user's number of posts, for example.

I'm not saying this is definitely the way to go, but just bringing to the table the idea of rewarding users who critique library entries.

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12 Aug 2017 13:57 #55793 by SHTL
Replied by SHTL on topic Where is everyone????
I'm only very busy with my job recently but I check the site every time I can, as always and ready to contribute as always when this period will finish

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12 Aug 2017 14:17 #55794 by Sarge395
Replied by Sarge395 on topic Where is everyone????
oogber, funny but I was just re reading your Linda series on DA. Good stuff. Going to favorite as I go and leave a comment or two.

Remember that one option in any decision making process is to not change anything. I like things as is other than more people having more input and discussion or sharing of things they have found.

Maybe an easier way to remain more anonymous for those who are increasingly worried about work or Gov monitoring activity. Never use my work PC for anything too much sexier than the DailyMail trollops and skanks that are seen as clickbait. One of the Linda stories has a short scene where x ray vision is used to see that a teacher at school is a follower of basically the SWM site and has a bottle of booze in his desk. That could almost be me. hah.

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