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  • I've taken note of a few things with these boards recently. I'm going to start with the Showcase.

    The showcase board is supposed to bring attention to new stories. I did ask about one issue with this on another thread (creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/Thread:478429), but here's the thing. I've looked at a lot of the story posts there - and it's basically a group of "1 message, 1 message, 1 message, 2 messages, 1 message). I'm already fully aware that the number of messages on the posts don't mean that it's not serving its purpose, so I took a look at some of the stories posted there, including my own.

    The Dress and Cat Mask - 1 comment

    In Torment in Hell - 2 comments

    The Jump - 7 comments

    Spiderland - 12 comments

    Now, just to make sure I covered all of the bases, I looked at the history of each page, as attention tends to be brought more to pages that are constantly edited. Spiderland and The Jump both have medium amounts of edits done to them. Meanwhile, In Torment in Hell has 8 edits (counting its creation) altogether. The Dress and Cat Mask has 5. Note that In Torment in Hell has broadcasted probably everywhere that the author could possibly broadcast it from.

    In other words, I'm pointing to the fact that the writer's showcase doesn't really serve its full and complete purpose. There seems to be a lack of attention to it, and thus the stories on it. There was supposed to be a template (the one we're supposed to use) making the showcase appear on the main page, but I've looked. It's been months and this hasn't really been looked at or addressed. The template is not on the page. What happened with this template? On an additional note, how can we bring more attention to the Showcase in and of itself, and by extension to the showcase authors?


    And now we get to the Workshop. It's got an attention problem as well, but slightly different. The attention given seems erratic. Some posts don't get answered, others get one to two messages, and others get twelve or thirteen, or even twenty. The reason this seems like cause for concern is because we're looking for quality work and helping people improve their writing. Some stories not getting a single review doesn't help the authors of those stories, and it most certainly doesn't help us get new quality content or bring good authors to the site. My only theory as to why some posts don't get answered while others get an answer from almost everybody at once is because a lot of those stories are pretty long, which is understandable to some extent. It can take time to fully review a twenty page story. No one can do that in five minutes.

    But then there are a few I've noticed that don't get much attention but aren't that long. So, the question lies here: What can we do to spread attention over the Workshop's stories more evenly so everyone can get at least one or two answers, preferably more than that?

    The reason I'm asking these kind of questions and bringing this up is because in the end, these two things are meant to help new and experienced authors. With attention problems getting the way, they don't. So I've decided to bring this up and see what can be done about the current attention issues and address them.

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    • We're actually working out the wrinkles for the WW issues as we speak (probably expect a blog this weekend with a proposal). I can't go into too much detail as I still need to run it by the others, but MrDupin likely knows what is coming if my proposal gets okay'd. (As he proposed it to me in the first place a few months ago.)

      As for the showcase, that's a bit of a harder nut to crack. A lot of users don't really know about it and those that do, rarely visit and read stories. LOLSKELETONS really took a majority of that project on himself so I'd bet he'd had a ready answer. Very few comment on the thread itself which also can make it seem like there is little connection to the WS and getting stories read/commented on. SO I'm not sure what can be done about this one.

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    • Since he still checks his talk page, I'm going to run this thread by Bones to see if he did have a ready answer. There has to be some way...

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    • I do find it kind of weird when a bunch of people critique the same story on WW, but the one time I did that myself was because someone asked me to on my talk page. That could have something to do with it. Normally, I pick one that no one has critiqued yet. I also pick short ones but that's just because I prefer short pastas.

      I figured the Writer's Showcase was just a failed experiment, as it doesn't seem to be effective. None of the pastas I put on there got any additional comments except one of them, but only one or two comments, and I doubt it was because of the showcase. People were talking about having them show up on the main page but it never happened so I figured it was abandonded.

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    • Umbrello wrote:
      I do find it kind of weird when a bunch of people critique the same story on WW, but the one time I did that myself was because someone asked me to on my talk page. That could have something to do with it. Normally, I pick one that no one has critiqued yet. I also pick short ones but that's just because I prefer short pastas.

      I figured the Writer's Showcase was just a failed experiment, as it doesn't seem to be effective. None of the pastas I put on there got any additional comments except one of them, but only one or two comments, and I doubt it was because of the showcase. People were talking about having them show up on the main page but it never happened so I figured it was abandonded.

      I can see why. I see the Showcase haing some potential, but right now it only seemed to be a good idea on paper. I'm trying to see if we can make this actually work.

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    • The dress and the cat mask is newer than the other stories, the jump was Marked for Review, so that brought it a lot of attention as it needed a lot of revision (that turned out to be a very great story IMO). Some of the comments on that pasta were even about the revisions needed.

      I think if the template on the page can add stories to the front page (or the "recent activity page" would be better IMO) that would be great. That's great MrDupin and Empy are working on getting more attention to the writer's workshop. Another thing we could do in regards to that is, add a template to the page (if it's possible, but I don't see why not if it can be done for Writer's showcase) to bring a couple stories from the writer's workshop and the writer's showcase on the front page/recent activity page at the same time. I think that would be worthwhile. Mabye wherever those get placed, it could be two boxes with a couple random stories from both forums. Is that a good idea?

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    • Speaking as one of the "regular" reviewers in the Writer's Workshop (Although I've been a bit absent lately), I wanted to add my thoughts to that bit. These are my general observations and "theories" of the workshop.

      You're correct in the assumption that the longer stories are usually glossed over. Most users (including myself) don't want to put in the effort to read through and write out a review of a story that's 3,000 words + (Especially if it's not interesting or poorly written), unless the author of said story is one of the more well known users here.

      I've noticed that people don't tend to stick around in the Workshop. If a new user posts a story there, they may offer critiques and advice to other users for awhile, but most disappear once their story has been critiqued/posted. I have noticed an uptick in the amount of traffic lately, so maybe there's reason for hope.

      As for why certain threads pull in more critiques, that depends on the thread itself. If the author is well known, then more of the regular users here put in the time to review their story. If the story is written incredibly poorly, then a lot of users like to pile onto the story and post what's wrong with it. Some users are more active than others and tend to pull in more traffic as well.

      On to the issue of reviews themselves, not all users offer helpful or in-depth critiques. This is an issue because others will pass over the story because it's already "been critiqued" when it in fact has little feedback. Thankfully, most of the regular reviewers offer insightful and useful feedback.

      I generally don't see any stories with 3+ reviews on the board. Most threads that have more than eight comments tend to have half of the comments coming from the author themselves. That makes the story look like it's been reviewed a lot, when in fact it's usually a conversation between the author and the reviewer.

      When an author decides to bump their story due to the lack of sufficient (or any) reviews, that thread tends to be overlooked, as it looks like it's already been replied to. I think a lot of users see that a story ahs more than one comment on it and pass it over, which generally buries the story further.

      I try and review most stories that don't have any comments on them (and aren't already posted on the wiki), although there are some I simply can't offer advice on, so I skip them and review another story. Unfortunately, every time I or another user does that, it buries the thread further until it's eventually forgotten about. If it's possible, there should be a way to organize the threads so that the stories with no replies are the first on the list. Either that or creating a little "availability list" of people who are up for reviewing a story (so prospective authors can message them) might work as well.

      Whew, that was an essay. Hope it makes sense. I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but I think there's enough there. As for the Writer's Showcase, yeah, I don't think it quite worked out as hoped. It's hard to gauge traffic however, as we can't look at the viewcount a story receives (can we?), so we're stuck looking at how many comments it receives.

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    • "Note that In Torment in Hell has broadcasted probably everywhere that the author could possibly broadcast it from."

      I am a radio tower, broadcasting my signal acrossed the globe. I have artificially created the Wow! signal through my broadcasting system. I am the alpha radio tower.

      In all honesty, if someone in the writer's workshop wishes to pass over the stories, it may just not be of interest to them. Perhaps we are not writing a brand of horror they enjoy? Maybe our plots caused them to lose interest? Maybe our writing style is to chaotic, or even organized?

      It's never the customer's fault.

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    • Wow, I was actually about to post a blog about the WS too. Weird.

      Anyway, one very tiny suggestion that could get a bit more views is put a link from the main page to the Showcase. The Writer's Workshop has one, so why not the Showcase too? I'm sure that if we add a link to the Showcase below the Workshop's link in the front page (inside that white border) it would get a few more views, with little to no effort on our part.

      The thing is though, there is no way to know if the Showcase is working or not, unless we can get individual page views. Comments don't really mean anything. And I believe only admins can see how many views a page gets, but I'm not sure.

      I tried to work something out using the Insights, but I doubt they are that trustworthy. But what I found with a little experiment of mine is this:

      One of my stories was getting about 15 views per week (according to the Insights). Then I posted it on the Showcase. The following week it had about 50 views, but no comments. I don't know if the thread in the Showcase had anything to do with this, but it is worth mentioning.

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    • Adding this here, since I think it's kinda relevant.

      Me and SoPre have been working on something to do with this, basically it's a template with two links, each of which take you to a random (recently active) post on either the Writer's Workshop or Writer's Showcase. You can view it in action here (it uses Javascript, so you may need to purge your cache in order for it to work).

      There are a couple of issues with that version of the code, so there is also a more updated version at my sandbox wiki, though the template itself doesn't exist there, only the redirect pages (w:c:underscorre:Special:WW and w:c:underscorre:Special:WS).

      SoPre was suggesting something like this could be added to the main page to encourage the viewing of threads on the WW and WS, opinions?

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    • This is a nice idea. It would be a good addition. My only problem is that it seems as if one is clicking the link to either the Showcase or the Workshop itself, and not a random page inside them. Of course, we can change that easily.

      Also, it is quite slow at the moment. I guess that's because it's taking a while to calculate the links. If that's it, maybe we could do those calculations as the page is loading, and not the moment the user clicks on one of the links. Essentially, the links would be pre-calculated.

      I'm not sure if that's possible though.

      Another thing, where can we take a look at the code? And another question, is it possible to add PHP scripts? I guess not, but they may be useful in this case.

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    • MrDupin wrote: This is a nice idea. It would be a good addition. My only problem is that it seems as if one is clicking the link to either the Showcase or the Workshop itself, and not a random page inside them. Of course, we can change that easily.

      Strange, it goes to a random page for me. Hmm. Have you purged your cache?

      Also, it is quite slow at the moment. I guess that's because it's taking a while to calculate the links. If that's it, maybe we could do those calculations as the page is loading, and not the moment the user clicks on one of the links. Essentially, the links would be pre-calculated.

      I'm not sure if that's possible though.

      The slowness is because, when one of the links is pressed, it is downloading another page, so basically, it doubles the page load time for the redirect pages.

      Another thing, where can we take a look at the code? And another question, is it possible to add PHP scripts? I guess not, but they may be useful in this case.

      The code is horrible and inefficient, since I never do Javascript and I made this in about half an hour (I'm almost embarrassed to post it), but it's stored at MediaWiki:Wikia.js at the wiki in question.

      With regards to PHP code, there's no way to add it to a wiki without staff assistance, but I believe staff are happy to install extensions (which I assume would include custom extensions by the wiki's community) if the community can show a need for it.

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    • Underscorre wrote: Strange, it goes to a random page for me. Hmm. Have you purged your cache?

      No no, it does go to a random page as intended. But because the link reads "Writer's Showcase" one might think that it goes to the Showcase (and not in a random page).

      The slowness is because, when one of the links is pressed, it is downloading another page, so basically, it doubles the page load time for the redirect pages.

      My knowledge of web development is a bit rusty, so care to explain this a bit to me? From what I understand, clicking on the link "sends" the user to a special page that in turn redirects the user to a random link.

      So, in that special page, the code finds via a method a random page, right? Can't this be done without the middle step (going to the special page)?

      If we were to do that calculation in the main page it would speed things up significantly. Then, instead of linking to the special page, we could link directly to the random page.

      The code is horrible and inefficient, since I never do Javascript and I made this in about half an hour (I'm almost embarrassed to post it), but it's stored at MediaWiki:Wikia.js at the wiki in question.

      With regards to PHP code, there's no way to add it to a wiki without staff assistance, but I believe staff are happy to install extensions (which I assume would include custom extensions by the wiki's community) if the community can show a need for it.

      Hehe, that syntax reminded me why I hate web programming so much...

      Anyway, thanks for the code. I have one thing I need clarified though:

      window.location.replace("/wiki/Thread:" + thread);

      I believe that this is the line that redirects to the random thread, right?

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    • MrDupin wrote: No no, it does go to a random page as intended. But because the link reads "Writer's Showcase" one might think that it goes to the Showcase (and not in a random page).

      Ah right, yeah. I was actually planning on changing that when/if SoPre gave me admin on his test wiki, lol.

      My knowledge of web development is a bit rusty, so care to explain this a bit to me? From what I understand, clicking on the link "sends" the user to a special page that in turn redirects the user to a random link.

      So, in that special page, the code finds via a method a random page, right? Can't this be done without the middle step (going to the special page)?

      If we were to do that calculation in the main page it would speed things up significantly. Then, instead of linking to the special page, we could link directly to the random page.

      The purpose of the special page isn't just to pick a random page, it is what gets the list of threads. It does this by loading an external page (the board page for whatever category's being targeted). This couldn't be done in the template itself, especially if said template was going on the home page, since we're loading two pages in one, we'd effectively be doubling load times on the home page (very bad for the end user).

      Hehe, that syntax reminded me why I hate web programming so much...

      Anyway, thanks for the code. I have one thing I need clarified though:

      window.location.replace("/wiki/Thread:" + thread);

      I believe that this is the line that redirects to the random thread, right?

      Yeah.

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    • Underscorre wrote: The purpose of the special page isn't just to pick a random page, it is what gets the list of threads. It does this by loading an external page (the board page for whatever category's being targeted). This couldn't be done in the template itself, especially if said template was going on the home page, since we're loading two pages in one, we'd effectively be doubling load times on the home page (very bad for the end user).

      Ah, I thought that the code was getting the threads from the servers' databases or something.

      I haven't done much in PHP, so I don't know if it's possible to save these threads in the servers ourselves. If not, then the way it is currently set up is probably the best.

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    • MrDupin wrote: Ah, I thought that the code was getting the threads from the servers' databases or something.

      No, Wikia have an API for interacting with threads, forums, etc, but there is literally no documentation for it, so I have no idea how to use it. The way it is currently is the best way that I know of. I have emailed the API support thingy in the hope that I just haven't been able to find the docs and they'll point me towards them, but I doubt it.

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    • I can see this working to an extent, but get all the kinks worked out and make sure it works beforehand. Let's hope it works.

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    • I added a title to the template that lets users know that the buttons take you to a random thread. View it here.

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    • SoPretentious wrote:
      I added a title to the template that lets users know that the buttons take you to a random thread. View it here.

      I've looked at it, and there doesn't seem to be that much of an issue. It's pretty slow, to an extent.

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    • It's also fine with me. I would love to see this added to the front page.

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    • A FANDOM user
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