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97186 No. 97186
I've come to wonder this lately. Have the community's standards, taste and culture in regard to fanfiction been decaying? What are some indicators of that trend, or the opposite, if true?

Since this fandom started churning out textual data, it has come a long way in certain regards. There have doubtlessly been some superstar authors, and we've seen the rise of at least one very prominent site designed exclusively for showcasing our individual proofs of having no life. Many of us take fanfiction very seriously. But one of the biggest changes, I think, has been in the volume of fanfiction in itself; earlier on, when the fandom was still growing, it produced a lot less fanfiction. Now, with so much new fanfiction being produced, I imagine it's easy to get jaded, especially for a reviewer or pre-reader who self-tasks with reading monumental amounts of the stuff.

I don't know about people other than myself, but I look back at some of the fanfiction I've read a year ago and realize that, to at least some extent, I was just hungering for more pony, and didn't care too much about the quality of the story, just so long as the characters were portrayed the same as they'd be in the show or "close enough." Also, way back when new episodes for season 1 were still coming out, we had little gems of randomness like this that would never make it to EqD today:
Let's set aside how such a thing would be received by EqD nowadays (or anything, for that matter) and take a trip back in time.
> pic
Have people come to expect more out of fanfiction?
Unspoiler all text  • Expand all images  • Reveal spoilers
>> No. 97187
I don't know if the average quality has increased or decreased, but the number of quality fics being made is definitely increasing. It's not that unexpected, really---more stories means more good stories.

Since there's a lot more content, it's pretty understandable that standards have also increased quite a bit. The scene is also a lot more developed. We have our own tropes and cliches and things to avoid and things that work well and a whole host of supporting resources that didn't exist back in February '11, so I don't think it's even far-fetched to say that average quality has increased too (but standards certainly have).

It also depends on who you're asking, I guess. The fandom has aged over a year, so the readers will have aged as much, making them all just a little more jaded and cynical (ho ho!).
>> No. 97188
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In some ways, yes. EqD's standards (lax as they may be, IMHO) have helped that, and the Samurai planting the seeds for /fic/ becoming the go-to writing improvement centre it is today has also greatly aided that. FimFiction, however--and excuse me if I'm being a bit jaded here--has actually been something of a negative influence. With its view-count feature system, sub-par stories that appeal to preubescent teenagers with their libido on the mind has dominated the lower echelons of "creative" writing.

Now, I'm not saying the site or its creators are to blame for that--if anything, they should be commended on making such a robust and feature-laden site--but the simple fact of the matter is that FimFiction has, however inadvertantly, shone the limelight on the dregs of the fandom's writing. Like a festering wound, those stories spread their ichor to other parts of the fandom.

But I digress, now I'm ranting. Just like how EqD made it look like the fandom's average writer was far more talanted than, say, a Sonic fanficer, Fimfiction gives the impression that poor stories dominate the collective consciousness. In the end, both sides essentially cancel the other out, although I believe that we, as a whole, have improved thanks to the standards and resources that have been established.
>> No. 97190
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We have no standards, beyond those we give ourselves.

The fandom was smaller back then too. In the beginning, the idea of a 200k my little pony:fim fanfic was a little absurd. Now, FiMfic's search engine - which doesn't even have all of the stories in the fandom - can find 12. Easily.

And yes, FiMfic is great at seeing that which is pleasing to the masses. And that's not always the best and the brightest really.
And EqD is great at spotlighting that which is held in high (or at least decent) regard. And that's not always perfect.

People expect satisfaction from fanfics. If you notice, most of the MLD posts start with 'I've never really cared for fanfics before'. When you start reading enough, your standards rise simply because now you have more material to compare what you're currently reading to.
Be it Chaucer or SouthpawFighter614 (name chosen at random).
>> No. 97239
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I'd point out two things:

One, the standards of Equestria Daily have risen. This is because there's a finite amount of posts that Sethisto can reasonably post in a day, and there's been a huge influx of writers since even last summer, when there was a massive boon of fan-created content. This summer, I expect the amount of content to rise even beyond that. At any rate, there's not nearly as much room for stuff that's just "okay" or "not bad" as there used to be; sure, some things get through that aren't stellar, but on the whole, either the standards had to rise or stories on Equestria Daily would get no spotlight.

Two, the standards of /fic/ have risen. Even though I can only count the number of reviewers that have been here since last April on one hand Minty, Samurai, myself, Starman, and Ion; Snarkle, Seattle, and Dykas have left, it seems, the community that Samurai and Vimbert created back in last September has grown and become incredibly knowledgeable. "New blood" like Cassius, Filler, and Demetrius when he gets past his unwarranted self-doubt are all incredibly talented.

There's also the fact that reviewers here are continually learning and refining their craft. This has created a feedback loop that has rippled through the community, where reviewers get more efficient at both picking out bad portions of a story and better at explaining how how to fix them.

In short, reviewers improving writers has improved the reviewers that improve the writers.
>> No. 97289
And the day that I post that, Seattle warps back into existence. That's probably my favorite way to be wrong.
>> No. 97294
Heh, yeah, I'm /fic/'s own candyman. Funny, I tried to post for the first time in a month earlier today in Minty's thread, and got faceplanted with ERROR-ERROR screens. Tragic, right? So then I lob over to the IRC to say ello an they're all "Oy Nick's been talking about you again!" Go figure that I'm then lucky enough to run into everyone's favorite grumpy griffon in person, who I note writes as slowly as I do these days.

Anyhow, circumstances owing, it looks like I'm back in the /fic/ game for a bit. This pleases me.

>mfw in preparation for getting another error message
>mfw posting off-topic, so many new reviewers!
>> No. 97295
holy shit one post actually went through?! excuse the doubles but I stand in awe- this is literally like the 100th time I've tried to post today.

>> No. 97296
Pessimism, for the win.
>> No. 97299
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>mfw grumpy griffon

Also, do you have Google Chat anymore? I don't know how to circumvent being in an IRC channel to simply PM someone.
>> No. 97315
This is 100% conjecture, but if FiMFiction is any indicator of popular taste (not the taste of those who are actively trying to find skillfully-written and interesting fanfiction and give it attention) then it's in a decline...somewhat. The mere fact that drivel every so often gets loads more attention than it deserves is quite telling. But for what it's worth, Minty (>>97190) is right. I too didn't know good fanfiction until I had done some more reading. So, maybe the thumbs-up to non-deserving fics are from people who haven't read enough good fanfiction (or books) yet, and given enough time, they'll improve. Reading does wonders for the brain.
> Wish I could include the "reading rainbow" gif, but can't because of errors :-\

I'll confess I lol'd first time I read "Berry Terrible Tale" and at one time thought Past Sins deserved all the praise it got. But I certainly would never argue against EqD tightening its criteria for posting material. It's only natural that they pick the best (or at least better) stories to post, for reasons already mentioned. Being such a high-traffic site, little things made in so many disparate sub-communities of bronydom are far too numerous to warrant showcasing front-and-center, but are best left passed around between buddies for a good laugh, whereas the best stuff deserves the limelight.

Seattle, Nick, I love you guys.

And fricking dammit, I need to resume work on my coding side project.
>> No. 97318
Join an empty channel if you're not using LightIRC or something, like #gildaistotallybestpony or something.
>> No. 97319
Well, a little over a year ago, EqD posted "The Conversion Bureau" and a clopfic.

That answer your question?
>> No. 97321
Well, a little over a year ago, EqD posted "The Conversion Bureau" and a clopfic.

That answer your question?
>> No. 97323
>Year ago
>On the internet
Internet years make dog years look like seconds.
TCB was before the standards really took hold, and the clopfic was for the biggest story in the fandom ever (FoE), so it got an exception.
>> No. 97327
Yar, then the problem be seein' when Arizona_Lite be online.
>> No. 97328
There are more clopfics on EQD; most of them came well before Fallout:Equestria was a thing, back in the days when it was really just a /co/ blog instead of the central hub of the fandom.
>> No. 97347
Cease your expulsion of bile lest I slip some wonderglue into your dentures.
>yar, I'll be hoppin' on that account more often now. Though I like your roundabout backhand to the IRC pop. Classic Nick.

Speakin' of slappin, DEM, I'll slap the dragggon out of ya if I read what I think I'm reading. Are you still seriously caught up in your lack of confidence? Man, snap out of it! I've read your work. I've seen your interactions with others, and you've given me damned good advice on my own stuff. If you didn't have what it takes, I assure you, I'd have told you up front a looooong time ago. In fact, I remember doing so when you first showed up with your PS praises! So at this stage, continuing with that line of thought you're harboring is, in fact, a slap in the face of your colleagues at the inference of coddling and favoritism. le gasp.

>on topic
So as far as quality goes, there's no pretension of this being a black and white matter. In analysis, we have to on the one hand cast a critical eye at the pre-readers, taking into account their own qualifications, personal biases and preferences, all while remembering that they're volunteers. >In fact, I'm not sure if I've yet congratulated Vim on his appointment, if not - I'm proud of ya mate.
Now, on the other, we have to weigh the sheer, sphincter-locking volume of submissions being thrown at these gate-holders for what's perceived to be the pinnacle of literary achievement in the pony realms.
Anyhow, as this isn't a new position or anything, I don't really have a yea or nay on the subject, as I've only been able to read maybe like 3 fics in recent times.
>that's a lot of words for an idunnolol.jpg
>> No. 97352
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I have to say this is pretty much exactly how I feel.

I feel FimFiction is emphasizing short, usually shallow (in both senses of the word) fics as opposed to more delicately crafted pieces. Heck, until Background Pony came out, I was convinced that it was utterly impossible to write a complete fic in any less than 13k words (I know it isn't a one-shot any more, but it was good enough to be). So I'm a bit disheartened to see so many 2k and 3k fics get so much attention. Unfortunately, I think that's just a result of the audience. Like it or not, the majority of bronies are 15-19 year-old males. They mostly just aren't interested in investing the time to read a longer work. I'd like to emphasize the 'mostly' part. There are certainly plenty of bronies out there who DO look for quality writings.

I believe it goes to show what is popular isn't necessarily quality... though I still like to entertain the notion that quality can still be recognized where it exists.
>> No. 97360
The age of the story is also a factor. Long-bombs can't be featured. It makes sense since it keeps multi-chapter stories from dominating the featured bar for their lifespan, but the change opened the door for crappy one-shots to fill the void.
>> No. 97427
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Okay, you know what Mr. Northwest? I was merely expressing how I enjoy communicating with you two guys, as do I with Cassius, Uma and numerous others. I have admittedly at times feared (just a tad) that I was building a hugbox around me by digging deeper into this community, but then I thought, "these guys? Nah." Because I've only ever seen honesty, or at least, what with my limited perception across the internet, I cannot but perceive as honesty, from both of you when it comes to opinions about me. Seriously though, I do often have to try to not dismiss that confidence in you guys as me just flattering myself. So I may need a good slapping after all.

Anyhow, yeah, my standards have risen, personally, over time. I can only hope that everyone else's do as well.
>> No. 97505
>13k as the shortest "complete" story

I hereby sentence you to the short stories of Cold in Gardez
"The Proper Care and Feeding of Monsters" + "The Contest" together come out to 13k words. And feature bestpony, so what's not to love, right?

Thanks to time in the Training Grounds, I have read plenty of 20k-60k shallow, not short stories. And, rarely, rarely do the authors put in the time to fix them.
>> No. 97566
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>13k as the shortest "complete" story
Bro, you are (or were) missing out.

And that isn't even half of it. Celestia's Teeth, Bubbles, The Liar and all of PhantomFox's excellent episode-style fics spring to mind as excellent, complete stories shorter than 13k. Some of the /fic/ Write-Off winners probably count to.

Sliding a little further down the wordcount scale, I feel like all these insubstantial short bits of fluff on FIMfic may have caused a bias against good short things. Most of my fiction output before ponies has been flash fiction: stories with 1k words or fewer. It is possible, and I've read some great works in the format. See here for non-pony examples: http://www.flashfictiononline.com/f_archives.html

As for pony examples... http://www.equestriadaily.com/2011/07/story-true-king-on-waffles.html? Two bizarre little 2k word pieces that have stuck in mind for months.

My standards increased massively when I started reviewing. I used to not even notice dialogue punctuation errors, but now I'll literally find something else to read if there are too many of them.

And, of course, when I go back to some of the first few fics I enjoyed I gag a bit at how cliche and overplayed everything about them feels. The more you read, the more cliches you notice.

As for the community as a whole: I think EqD's standards have certainly increased, but with how big FIMfiction is these days, a lot of stuff that might never have seen the light of day on EqD is getting massively popular. People are entitled to like what they like, I guess.

Something that I've also noticed is that no matter how many bad fics get on the featured bar on FIMfic, you'll always see classics like Sunny Skies All Day Long or The Best Night Ever up alongside them as soon as their authors make FIMfic accounts. The good gets recognised along with the bad, so at least it's a case of low standards rather than a case of actually preferring bad things.
>> No. 97623
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I clicked the link to check those fics out and ironically, I've already read them.

I've also checked out vimbert's Interference and Distorted Perspective, as well as some other shorter fics.

I suppose I was misleading in my earlier statement. I used to feel shorter fics couldn't tell a complete story as in: set scene, establish interest, craft well-rounded characters, form dilemma/climax/resolution, connect with reader and give adequate 'payoff'. The shorter fics I've read can do almost all those things well, but I never feel the payoff with them that I do with longer fics. In the end, it's just a personal preference. I can understand how someone would think the shorter fics are the better, it's just not my thing.


>My standards increased massively when I started reviewing. I used to not even notice dialogue punctuation errors, but now I'll literally find something else to read if there are too many of them.
Ah, the Critic's Lament. It used to be so easy for me to enjoy fanfics. I'd look at the tags and synopsis and think, 'oh that seems interesting' and just read it. Then I decided to write my own fic, which involved many hours on /fic/ for reviews and such. Now I find myself critiquing stories before I even start reading! When I get around to reading a story I'm interested in, I can't just get immersed and enjoy it.
Still, even if I had the chance to undo my time here, I wouldn't.
>> No. 97682
That feel when people think Fimfiction is basically lowering the quality of fanfiction in this community.

Feels bad man. But oh well, not much I can really do about it. I personally would love to raise the min word count to 3k or so but it's just not feasible.
>> No. 97685
It's a mixed bag. Because 90% of everything is crap, an increase in overall volume directly relates to an increase in crap. And FiMFiction certainly has made it easier for one to publish.

On that note, I think standards have actually risen since, say, last October for the following reasons:

1. EqD story updates no longer get their own posts, and as such, updates get helluva lot less attention. Long gone are the days where Past Sins, Fallout: Equestria, On a Cross and Arrow, Silent Ponyville, Pony Psychology, Antipodes, and other such long fics I cannot name off the top of my head dominate the Most Popular Posts bar to EqD's right. Compare the popular fics today. Anthropology et al. are nowhere near as... everywhere. I don't even know their names.

2. An overall increase in fic volume dilutes the attention of readers as a whole. It's like back in the day when the USA only had three television channels, there were only so many shows to watch, and as a result, everyone watched I Love Lucy. Now there's like five different channels just for golf. Today, there's a new fic going up on FiMFiction every... ten minutes, was it? And a new fic on EqD about three times a day. Back then, there were only so many longfics to follow. Now, I didn't know what My Second Life by Coal Buck was until it was on chapter sixty something, and I doubt it's the only ultra long fic I've never heard of.

These two combined makes it harder for any one fic to actually stand out amongst the rest, so if any one fic does actually manage to stand out, it'd have to be a far cut above the rest, I'd think.
>> No. 97689
I think stories should get their own bump on EqD after X number of words. Every 25K or something to bring it back into the collective consciousness.
>> No. 97700
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The main issues with Fimfiction right now as far as content delivery is concerned are:
• Featured stories are put into a feedback loop, which over-amplifies their attention. If you get a few friends to get the ball rolling, and your story is at least mediocre enough to get feels for the largely low standards in the audience, it's going to stay up there for a while.
• Attention is focused on new stories rather than story updates. This has caused a marked increase in the number of people pushing out incredibly short stories because it maximises the amount of attention they get per word written.
• Featured stories are static for all users.
• Mature stories are put in the featured box regardless of it they're un-ticked or not.

The first issue is a large result of the current featuring algorithm. Since a story's "featured ranking" is inversely proportional to the time it's been up for, if you can zerg it with likes early, it spirals out of control into a feedback loop. Being featured leads to more views and popularity, which leads to more views and popularity. But how can you feature stories without this side-effect? It's not something that you can solve easily, unfortunately, but might be something worth experiment with. I really don't want to get into a discussion about certain genres being preferred over others, because that's something that you just can't solve.

The second issue is a result of two things: story updates are given less priority than new stories, and story length is not factored into "feature ranking".

For point one: like Minty said, we don't really have any Serious Businesses and Fallout Equestrias anymore because story updates are not considered worth promoting as much as new stories. Combine this with EqD's (not really) new story updates mechanic, and you can see that authors are currently inclined to pump out one-shots rather than extreme epics. If you didn't get on the train early, you're likely to never see it again. (See especially: End of Ponies vs Background Pony. Skirts got as much---if not more---attention on the latter as the former, even though the former has had tonnes more work put into it, because nobody is being exposed to End of Ponies any more.)

For point two: a story that is posted with a thousand words is considered equal to the algorithm as a story posted with ten thousand. Readers are more inclined to check out the thousand word story because it's shorter, and more readers will finish and vote on shorter stories, giving them an increased likelihood to become featured. While this may help reinforce good word economy, it's simply not possible to write a full story in a thousand or so words, and puts an obvious bias towards shorter stories.

Considering the two points above, I think it's obvious that: a) story updates should be treated equally to---or at least share as much attention and likelihood to be featured as---new stories; and b) word count should factor into "feature ranking" weight. I believe these are both problems with workable solutions.

The third and forth issue are matters of the featured system not considering the user at all. At the very least, issue four should be addressed. And if you've got the stones to tackle it, you ought to try and tailor features towards the user's previous liked stories, etc. Unfortunately, it's hard for me to think of solutions without any kind of data to start from. Tailored content delivery is an enormous, multi billion-dollar programming problem that all the big guys like Amazon and Google pay out the ass for. so don't push yourself into implementing anything of the sort.

>That feel when people think Fimfiction is basically lowering the quality of fanfiction in this community.
Please don't feel like it's your fault. Fimfiction is by far the most sophisticated fan-fiction website I've ever seen, and you've done a seriously good job of developing it so far. It's a huge boon for the community, and the community is really what's making it not so great. Just because it isn't perfect doesn't mean it isn't great.

That's my spiel, really. I think issue two is one that has the most readily apparent solution, so I feel it's what you should work towards solving.
>> No. 97703
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>what Minty said
Correction: what Filler said.
>> No. 97717
We have some plans for user recommended stories. It's unfortunate that it's a lot more awkward to do that story-story recommendations. Regarding your other points, it used to be that story updates received the same attention as new stories. I changed this because I think it was a lot worse that way around than the way it is now. It was ok when we didn't have that much posted, but now we have stories being posted every 10 minutes almost around the clock. If we had the system we used to, you'd find the new stuff just disappeared instantly. Both methods are flawed, just one was less flawed in my opinion.

Anyway, another point you mentioned was people checking out shorter stories because they're easier to finish. I have 2 things to say to that. 1. If people want that, how exactly can I "fix" that? Is it actually a problem if people are reading what they want? 2. I think that logic is flawed anyway. The 2 most popular fics in this fandom are FoE and Past Sins, both incredibly long stories.
>> No. 97720
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>If people want that, how exactly can I "fix" that?
It's not that people prefer long- or short-fics per se, it's that the very nature of a long-fic causes it to get less viewes.

Assume, for demonstration's sake, that there are two parties: those who would read shorter stories, and those who would read longer stories. Both groups are equal in size and read the same amount of words per minute.

In a day, n words of short-fic are read.
In a day, n words of long-fic are read.
Hence, in a day, more short-fics are read than long-fics.

The resulting case is that more short-fics get read, voted on, and hence get more attention, even though there is just as much interest for both types. I believe the featuring algorithm should account for this discrepancy.

>The 2 most popular fics in this fandom are FoE and Past Sins, both incredibly long stories.
That's because they had a total of 46 and ~15 blog posts respectively, one for each update. The shorter stories only got one. If you chart the popularity to word-count ratio of the top stories in the fandom, the long-fics would probably still lose to one-shots like Simply Rarity and Bubbles.

>[I]t used to be that story updates received the same attention as new stories. I changed this because I think it was a lot worse that way around than the way it is now.
Two things:
• If this isn't already the case, when a story receives an update, all of its feature-algorithm variables should be reset, as if it were a new release. I think each bit of content, regardless of its place, should be equally considered for featuring.
• You changed it so that there are two separate tabs, but by nature of one of them being the default, "New Stories" get more advertising space. I would suggest merging the two tabs and allowing the user to deselect one or the other from appearing (i.e., "I only want to see New Stories, New Update, or both".)

The current method favours newer stories by the default tab being towards them. I get that there's more content being released, but I don't think content packaged into a single story deserves less net attention than the same net content spread amongst many stories.
>> No. 97722
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It might be good for you to use a tripcode and make it publicly visible somehow on FiMFiction so that people can be certain it's Knighty and not some troll.

Knighty is doing what he can and that's respectable. In regard to the community's taste / standards there's not much he can do to directly or immediately influence it. But I tend to agree with Roger (>>97700) and Filler (>>97685) on pretty much everything. And, if the system can be gamed to give an inordinate amount of attention to any one work, it can result in relatively mediocre fare sitting atop things that are potentially much better.

Granted, it's not an easy task to accurately assess quality, especially in an algorithmic manner. That's because of star/thumb-bombing, and it doesn't require any actual intelligence to vote on a story (also, you don't even have to read it). So, it's a long road ahead.
>> No. 97727
I'm not really fussed about people impersonating me. If I have anything important to say about Fimfiction I think it'll be quite obvious it's me. I've never bothered on 4chan. Anyway, I simply cannot go back to the system of showing updated stories in the featured box. I don't know how long you've been on Fimfiction but there was a significant length of time where the only thing that would appear up there was repeatedly updated stories. It was a serious problem which I addressed with the current system (which is incidently the same path EqD took). I mean, yes, it's not fantastic for people who write sprawling epics, but with that system it totally ruins the ability for anyone who writes a 15k one shot to get any popularity whatsoever from the featured box. The issue of popular stories getting more popular is multiplied by a million by having the featured box show stories regardless of their approval date. This is the problem that exists when we have such a wealth of content now, it's just not possible to give everyone the same time in the spotlight, much like DA and youtube can't do that.

At the end of the day, the featured box is there for readers to find new stuff that they're likely to want to read. Maybe that's not great for all authors but the readers are the main force on the site in this aspect of site functionality (Authors come ahead on most of the site, don't get me wrong).
>> No. 97730
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We have, as a community of writers, evolved.

WHen I started first reviewing fics, I poured over sloppy pages of writing trying to dig diamonds out of dung. Now adays, most of the fics being posted for review have only one or two major flaws that prevent them from becoming good stories, rather than a plethora of problems that would sink them like stones.

Our quality is improving, yes, but so is our quantity. Mediocre fics, which may have gotten 4 or 3 star reviews on EqD are now instead rejected and relegated to FiMFic or (shudder) Fanfic.net.
>> No. 97731
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>but with that system it totally ruins the ability for anyone who writes a 15k one shot to get any popularity whatsoever from the featured box
Which is what my second point deals with, silly. Your solution was fixing the wrong problem. It wasn't that stories were being constantly updated; it's that they were constantly updated with low word counts and the featuring algorithm didn't take that into consideration.

And I seem to get the impression that you think short-fics deserve as much screen time as long-fics. They don't. An author can only write one long-fic in the time he/she could write many short-fics. I believe an author should get an equal chance of screen-time independent of what length stories they choose to write; otherwise, it encourages authors to stick to writing shorter stories, which is the problem we were trying to address.

>The readers are the main force on the site
Anything that benefits the readers benefits the authors, and vice versa. Improving the content delivery means that authors are getting more deserved attention and readers are getting more of what they're after. Notwithstanding that most of the readers are authors themselves.

And sorry if I'm scaring you away or coming across as over-critical here. My interest is fully in helping the site improve, and I'm not really one for mincing words.
>> No. 97746
One option would be to have Featured bars for multiple genres/story types. Something for everyone, y'know.
Another thing I suggested earlier was the concept of a "Super Reviewer". These would be people who frequently gave detailed reviews, thereby demonstrating a level of competancy and understanding that the regular userbase has yet to show. Their ratings would be weighted far more heavily than a normal user's. Standard posters can still influence the featured status of a story, but their ability to raise sub-par work above other, more deserving stories would be greatly diminished. Since anyone that put the time and effort into giving comprehensive reviews could become a Super Reviewer, it couldn't be argued that it was a closed clique; if you have the drive, you can get in.
This sort of system is used on several websites to good effect, namely Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes (which is where I got the idea and name from).

FoE and Past Sins reached their status for the reasons that they got bumped every new chapter. I know I wouldn't have gotten into FoE if it hadn't kept bumping on EqD.
As I suggested here ( >>97689 ), getting a bump after so many words might be a good solution. It would keep people from flooding the site with thousand-word chapters, but still provide longfics the chance to grab the limelight.
On that count, the Featured system is determined by the age of the story, right? Perhaps you could add an algorithm to make the wordcount counteract that. If someone is producing content quickly enough, it would counter-act the time modifier.
>> No. 97747
Don't feel bad dude. You've provided an outlet and a centralized place for MLP fan fiction and replaced deviantart and fanfiction.net (and GDocs to an extent as a publishing factor). That is pretty damn good, and the only thing is that you get the greats, and the absolute shit.

Now, quality. I would say that we have more mediocre writers now as opposed to utter shit. I mean, EqD has admitted to having to raise standards because they can't post the amount of material that qualifies. Simply put, the shit writing is more visible. Before it was harder to find them on deviantart and fanfiction.net, hut FIMFiction is so streamlined and easy to use that a)people can easily post and b) easily find/display. Nothing much has changed beyond visibility.
>> No. 97791
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I'm split on the idea. On the one hand, stories are still getting a post for every chapter update; it's just hidden by an extra click, and shared with some peers. I kinda feel like if a reader was craving a good longfic, they might first scan through some of the story update posts. On the other hand, Ponyfall shows us that more visibility equals more views.

I like the Featured-per-genre idea. Maybe something like... Create a new page, Featured Stories. This would be split by category (Romance, Action, Overall, etc) as well as by update type (New, Updated, possibly Complete as well?). Each group gets up to five featured stories (potentially less if you have Mature filtered). Some stories might appear in multiple categories, if it had multiple genre tags—that's fine. The downside is that this page could have something like 12x3x5=180 stories on it, so it would be a bit cluttered. The upside is that no one genre can dominate the featured stories, and both new and updated fics get equal footing.

As for the Featured Bar, it takes the list of 180 stories from the Featured Stories page (minus duplicates that appear in multiple categories, minus Mature if filtered), and picks five at random. Each F5 picks another five at random.
>> No. 97792
I suppose this is also worth mentioning to some extent: A handful of writers put their fic in FiMFiction, and then later have it revised. As such, the fics that go up on FiMFiction at the time of their publishings are largely unpolished.
>> No. 97794
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If anything lowers the quality of fanfiction, it's new writers. But you know what? They get better as time progresses, and sites like yours (and ours!) give those writers an opportunity to shine.
>> No. 97795

On a note of the same vein, that being it being something worth mentioning, I feel that the group system has been unfairly used to min-max the Featured system, which is why you see stories like Ponyfall Or Derpy's Diary reach featured heights.
>> No. 97797
Every click is a huge deterrent. Fact.

Having a larger pool of featured stories would be far better.
I'm imagining a front page like YTMND's ( http://ytmnd.com/ ). With that, you have up-and-coming for the hot new shit on the block, recently created, top rated of the day/week, and the sponsor program, which could be used to generate some revenue for the site's hosting.

Yeah, it can be played easily by collaborations.
>> No. 97805
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> mfw my attempt at a constructive discussion thread derails into constructive discussion about something else

This pleases me. If Knighty uses the responses and insight offered to improve FiMFiction, we'll have accomplished something more than the sum of our ideas in this thread.
>> No. 97817
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A /fic/ derail that is worth more than the original topic? Perposterous! I demand we begin discussion about how terrible a My Little Dashie X Nyx shipfic would be immediately! We have a reputation to maintain here, people!
Saged for being off-topic.
>> No. 97824
USE STORY: I'm in the mood to read.

I'm logged in to FiMFiction. I want to read something.

First, I want to read stories I've already started and haven't quit in disgust. Call this the "Reading" list. Here, I'll pick up updates or stories that haven't finished.

The new "Favorites" serves this function, but the name is confusing.

But if I exhaust the stories I have an established relationship with, I need recommendations. Behind the scenes, FiMF ranks fics from most to least recommended. Call this number "Heat," and the ranked list the Hot List.

Currently, the five Hottest stories get promoted on every page. As far as I know, the rest of the Hot List is inaccessible. This creates an all-or-nothing contest for attention. It's even worse for readers.

I click around and decide I like three of the five featured. Two are one-shots, and I finish them. One, I want to keep reading. The other two fics end up being "Dumbfic the Mysteriously Featured," and "Collusion, Revenge of the Groupmob."

Now that I've looked at the five, the feature box is completely meaningless to me. I tune it out, like I would a banner ad.

Instead, I'd like be able to "Bury" the things I don't want to read. That way, I only have to see "Dumbfic" and "Collusion" once, not on every page. Likewise, once I decide to mark a story as "Reading," it's a waste of my time to continue to promote it to me.

Both "Reading" and "Bury" remove stories from that reader's featured-story box. Anonymous readers have the same experience as they do now.

This will spread registered reader attention deeper down the Hot List than merely the top five, giving upcoming or under-appreciated stories a chance at thumbs.

The Browse function should default to sorted by Heat. Updates, New, Popular Right Now, Highly Rated should be options, or possibly columns. Hiding "Reading" and "Bury" fics should be an option, defaults to hide.


Naming / UI

I love the new Favorite system. I loathe the name. "Favo(u)rite" sounds like it's a social recommendation system. It's not. *rant omitted*

The barest test of a fic's quality is, "Can it get a reader to the end wanting more?" If I want more, I have to fave, since track is gone. That's what people are supposed to use Fave for, right? Fics stay faved unless the reader unfaves them (because they're cleaning up their Faves or the story took a turn for the awful).

In that case it's a personal "bookshelf" or "collection." Things you want to keep around because a) you're reading them or b) you might want to read them again.

Suggested interface
Have two adjacent and exclusive buttons. Two options: Keep and Pass.

mouseover: Keep this story on your bookshelf. Doesn't affect rating.

mouseover: Pass on this story and try something else. Doesn't affect rating.
>> No. 97834
Note about the other popular fics: main page, right side. Should be under "Popular fics"
>> No. 97835
A "Popular" and "Recommended" (which would be moderated by people who actually know a good story when it slaps them in the face) featured bar could work.
>> No. 97842
Yes, I know that feature is there. But can you look at "currently popular Adventure fics rated T no longer than 30k words," for example. Not that I know of.

With any human-moderated recommendation system, I'd want the ability to choose who I take my recommendations from. What you describe exists - it's called Equestria Daily, and it's perfect if your definition of competency is identical to that of the editorial board.

I'll wait for you to stop laughing, now.

Any recommendation system is going to serve up stories that miss the mark. I think it's best to admit that and provide a technological means for readers to get the bad recommendations out of the way.

I can make my own decisions; the recommendations just have to be good enough I'm not pulling my hair out at the awfulness. (As happens looking at "latest submissions" - especially the FiMF new clop page. Oh gawd...)
>> No. 97847
That is incorrect, each selection is not the one of a group of people but rather a single individual who has to decide if the story is worth one of the limited slots within EqD, which inevitably leads to quite subpar stuff getting on EqD, and by the same token a story which would have made it simply had the bad luck of having that person review their story. There are reasons why there is always panel of judges, and why in the legal system the judge is more of an arbiter rather than the decision maker, and it is because a single person being called to make such a decision will inevitably be terrible at it simply because there is really nothing to restrain them. Of course, we also know that mobs are terrible judges as well, as FiMfiction shows.

In conclusion, all our current methods suck, but for different reasons.
>> No. 107757
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