Recently I've been reading over the quality standards of the site and have actually noticed a few things that may need to be changed. Personally, I think that the QS of the site should be clear and professional. That way we can attract in better quality writers and not confuse new ones. The quality standards reflect on the site and what we are looking for with new stories. It only makes sense that it would be easy to understand and at least a little bit serious. At this point, I'm not suggesting an entire rewrite of the quality standards, but if the community thinks we should and anyone else is up to the job I think we could potentially do that.
First off I'd like to talk about the overall tone of the document. If you've read the quality standards, you know that there are a few jokes in there. Some of these jokes, however, come off as rude and snobbish. For example, in rule four of the quality standards, there's one sentence that comes off as mean spirited even if it's trying to emphasize a point. That sentence is: "There's no sane reason as to why anyone with a brain and even a basic knowledge of language would write like this." Insulting the author's intelligence and trying to make them feel bad isn't really the way to go. We shouldn't as a community try to make these authors feel bad for making a mistake. Earlier in the document it says that everyone makes mistakes, so doesn't it come off as a bit hypocritical to call them brainless idiots for making them?
The next thing is that the QS need to be more clear. Even from the beginning of the document, we can see the use of confusing language that makes the QS harder to understand. The sentence "Please note that while these are generally guidelines, passing these guidelines is, in fact, a requirement." particularly comes to mind. We could just save the reader's time by saying that each story is required to pass the QS. Instead, it just confuses the reader by saying they're guidelines, implying that they don't have to be followed, but also rules that must be followed.
If you actually read though the QS, it doesn't really give much of what we're looking for plot wise. A lot of things about grammar and spelling, but those aren't the only reason that stories on the site get deleted. I think there are only two instances of where we talk about plot and writing style and they're not even in the minimum requirements. The different sections make things confusing when writers are looking for why their story got deleted. We should put the basic and most important things in one section. Writers shouldn't have to constantly re-read such a large document to find why there story got deleted. I propose we survey a few of editors on the site to see what are the most common reasons they mark a story for deletion or review and add those to the minimum requirements, if they're not already there.
Next I'd like to talk about the size of the document. It can be debated on what's important and what's not, but the document is a bit too big. I propose that we try to trim the fat of the QS a bit and really emphasize the important things. There's a few redundancies that could be taken out as well. Making the document shorter, concise, and easier to read would save us a lot of trouble in the long run. That way, writers won't have to constantly go back to the quality standards to find what does and doesn't apply to their story.
I'd also like to propose we link some more things on the page. We should leave links to the writer's workshop and places where people can appeal deletions. Maybe even link talk pages of each of the admins. But to prevent spam we can leave a disclaimer about reading the QS and using evidence to support your claim.
If you guys have any other ideas on how we can reform the QS, please suggest them in the comments. I'm open to new suggestions about this topic, and any feedback and criticism of my proposal is welcome and appreciated. Thanks.
The QS needs to have anything off-putting removed. That means anything that the reader might take personally, especially insults like the ones mentioned by the OP. I agree that they need to be clearer. Anything that's vague or ambiguous needs to be revised. Things in all caps need to be lower case as it not only looks unprofessional, but is entirely hypocritical considering they are not allowed in a pasta in over abundance. I'm sure Empy could do a great job with this, as he is always very consice and clinical when explaining why someone's pasta was deleted.
Support - Personally, I don't mind the twinges of condescension I can find in the current QS, but that's only because I have a fairly thick skin when it comes to that sort of thing. I can definitely see newer authors being scared off by them or at least feeling discouraged from writing pastas if they're afraid they won't pass the QS. Not everyone has the confidence (yet) to not be intimidated by the harsh tone.
I don't think a total rewrite is necessary, just a good edit or two and a look-over by the admins should be all we need.
I guess it's really subjective, but maybe things like overuse of cliches or unoriginality.
There's this page: Creepypasta Wiki:Creepy Clichés, which talks about that, which is not linked on the QS page, adding it may help clarify some issues. The writing advice pages are already linked to the page through Creepypasta Wiki:Writing Advice, so the information on how to improve a storyline is accessible.
Support - I think it would help if an admin or two made a few edits to remove the caps and harsh wording.
I enjoyed reading the QS when I had first come to this site, I enjoyed the jokes and all that. However, I can see where there would be some moments where it could get confusing. And I can also see how some people may take a joke to heart. However, the way the QS are written gives an idea of what the site is also like. Some people are harsh, much harsher than they need to be. Others are too genital to really help the writer in any way.
The idea of reworking the QS could go either way for me, but I suppose that is because I have already read them and been part of this site for a while.
I can see perhaps a bit of a tweak in order. What I would say we should strive for is a professional atmosphere, rather than focusig on just being nicer. We still need to remain strict with the QS, so changing the wording of the rules won't result in a laxer reviewing process, but we could perhaps aim for a more inviting tone rather than scaring new writers into thinking nothing can get past the QS.
I would say remove all sarcastic comments and simply write a set of standards in the most plain English possible. Break it down "Barney Style" as we used to say in the Army.
Support - Just make sure it doesn't get too lenient. I think removing the mean jokes would definitely give new users a better impression of the wiki. Also, if authors want to reference their work on this site (e.g. to an agent or publisher), then the formality of the QS definitely counts as a first impression.
Other reminders of common mistakes in writing that I think should go in the new QS edit:
Numbers under 10 should be written in full, i.e. one, two, three.
When using dashes, only use ONE at a time and put spaces before and after - like that.
Names of existing video games, movies, novels or other media need to be emphasised in italics.
Ellipses consist of three periods only (not two, or ten) and need a space after them.
I'm going to try to re-write it a bit (taking these comments into consideration) and submit it to the other admins (and then this thread) for approval. So we may need a week while hammering out the finer points.
Here's what we got so far (I trimmed some sections as a lot of this can be answered in the WA section and tried to remove anything I found condescending. Note those redlinks will hopefully be resolved when uploaded onto the main site). Sorry for the wait. Feel free to post concerns or things you want amended:
These are the quality standards of the wiki. Following these rules is essential to writing a good creepypasta or a good story in general.
Please note that these guidelines are mandatory to every user posting stories on this site. Any story that fails these standards will be, without prejudice to the author or any other factors, deleted. If you are looking for a more in-depth as to why your story was deleted, you can ask an admin, post it to the Writer’s Workshop, or read this guide: So We Deleted Your Story: An Overview.
Before you post your article to this site you MUST have proofread and spell-checked the document. This includes, but is not limited to, the proper use of capitalization, spelling, punctuation, spacing, and paragraphs. Most document editors, like Microsoft Word, have a spelling and a grammar check feature built in. We suggest using that, then copying and pasting into source mode on the site to eliminate any possibility of formatting conflicts. Failing that, there's always SpellCheck.net. You may also use source mode in the wiki editor to spell check. As a sidenote, ALWAYS store a copy of your work locally on your PC or tablet, or on the cloud. This will save you a lot of trouble later if the story is found to not be up to quality standards.
If you upload a pasta that has the issues outlined above, you acknowledge that it can and in most cases will be deleted as soon as it is uploaded. Pages that are a single, massive block of text (Wall-o-Text) are hard to read. In short, they will be deleted. If you have questions with either of these violations, kindly leave a message on one of the administrator's talk pages and one of them will gladly help you out. We are trying to improve the overall quality of stories on the site and we need your help and dedication to do this, as a well-written story should be the author’s prerogative.
This is not to say you must upload pages without any mistakes or you will be banned. We all make mistakes, and we have more than enough qualified editors (including you!) to help out with minor tweaks.
You must properly capitalize your page titles. See the Style Guide for a refresher course in capitalizing titles.
The long and the short of it is that titles must adhere to the following standards:
Do not use punctuation in the title as it’s bound to trip the spam filter. Titles do not need closing punctuation.
What We Generally Look For
Your story should have a consistent plot. It also should have a decent, original plotline. Please note that if your story shares a similar premise to another story or uses a number of Cliches or tropes, it will likely be deleted for not being up to our standards. This is extremely important. Your story could have impeccable grammar and meet every other rule, but if the story is riddled with plot holes and/or is very generic, we will have to delete it.
Please do not capitalize every word (or entire phrases) as a means of conveying emphasis. Italics or exclamation points suit the same purpose and are generally viewed as being less gimmicky.
There should be a good level of description. Too little description will make the story vague/bland/boring and too much detail can slow down the story and make it hard to keep reading.
Avoid awkward phrasing. Make sure there's a flow. Read your story aloud to yourself to make sure everything rolls off the tongue naturally.
If the formatting of the story breaks visual mode on the editor (Classic or not), it will be deleted. To prevent this, use the Source Mode on the editor and paste your story there (see above again). If needed, add a line break between paragraphs to avoid the resulting wall of text.
Don't indent in Source Mode. Yes, in books every new paragraph is indented. However the wiki's format is quite different in that indentation isn't used. If you indent on here, your text will show up in an annoying box with a slidebar you have to use to read the story from left to right. This can make it difficult for stories to be read easily.
It should be spelled correctly (already in there). Also, know the differences: "Your" (possessive) "You're" (You are). "There" (A place) "Their" (possessive) "They're" (They are.) "It's" (It is) "Its" (possessive).
The story needs to be coherent. It should be consistent and readable. Now, many of you are saying "Wait, what if I want to have a more fragmented approach to telling my story, ala David Lynch or Quentin Tarantino?" Well then, go for it. Just make sure that things eventually come together.
Stories that fail to capitalize proper nouns, have homophone issues, multiple misspellings, grammatical issues (it’s/its, their/there/they’re, failure to use apostrophes in contractions, etc.) are likely to be deleted within a few minutes of being uploaded.
As there are too many pieces of advice to give for each genre/style of story, authors interested in writing a story should visit the Writing Advice section as those guides can go more in-depth and be more effective than trying to cover everything here.
If in doubt about your story, you should take it to the Writer’s Workshop and visit the Writing Advice section. The former will allow other users to help you troubleshoot and spot issues while the latter will help you with the finer points of writing.
Questions to Ask Yourself While Writing
Is this progressing the story?
Is this interesting, engaging or making the story better in any way?
Is this necessary to understand the story and/or will it come back later?
Why so many standards?
The users have commented multiple times that they value quality over quantity. We are trying to raise the value of creepypastas and only accepting stories that authors have put time and dedication into making it well-written.
Why can't you go easy on the standards a little bit?
If you randomly select a number of stories on the site, unfortunately a number of which are not well-written or have very generic/cookie-cutter plots that we are still trying to clean up.
My story got deleted as per these standards. What do I do?
Use Deletion Appeal. And when you do, MAKE SURE you follow the appeal guidelines set forth on the page. We have denied many people just based on the fact that they couldn't follow directions. Also it is paramount you take it to the Writer's Workshop for help or have a re-worked copy of your story before making the appeal. These stories are deleted for a reason and if you take a moment and look at the deletion appeal you’ll see direct correlation between appeals where the author has not revised the story and their denials. The Workshop has helped many people flatten out the dents in their story. Many of the stories eventually make it to the main site and are now quite good due to the input the writers got from our great reviewers.
What do you mean by description?
Put an image in the author's head. Don't overblow it and halt the storyline but don't make it vague and boring. Straight sentences without any form of legitimate description tend to make for a boring story. Using too much description can have the same effect.
It's about finding the "as perfect as possible" amount of balance in your story. Is your story like Tobias Wolff's Hunters in the Snow, a story which relies upon description of the setting and character attitudes along with Tub's perception of the other hunters in order to provide a symbolic foreshadowing of events? Or is it like Ernest Hemmingway's Hills Like White Elephants, which is mainly conversation and dialogue between two people and doesn't have to rely on it? Generally, it will be somewhere in between.
Do I have to spell everything correctly in a dialogue area? I want to intentionally misspell a certain character's dialogue.
Sort of. It depends upon the character's dialect. If it's a US southerner, what words do they commonly mispronounce? "Your" would be acceptable as "Yer", "Get" as "Git", so on and so forth. A stereotypical Russian badass will occasionally leave out words such as "an" or a "the" every now and then, because they don't fully know the English Language or it's not their first language. That character's dialect determines whether the intentional misspell is bad, good, or in between.
What do you mean by must make sense? Isn't this Creepypasta where stuff isn't supposed to "make sense"?
I meant the story itself, not its elements. Dogscape is a wonderful story that makes no sense or anything else. The setting is made of dog, the plot line is weird, and people do things commonly that we wouldn't even consider touching. On the other hand, you've got the bad side: Things like this. That's the bad kind of sense.
How are these standards enforced?
In a basic variety of ways. If it's not too far off - for example, just having a few misspellings, it's edited/fixed. On the other hand, if it's leaving out plot points, has a number of holes, is excessively bland, it gets deleted.
Though really, these are less like rules and more like guidelines. They only apply if said things detract from the story. While meeting them is a rule, these are meant for a general idea of why a user's story could get deleted.
There's nothing about "creepy" or anything. Is there some kind of guideline towards unnerving the reader or something?
Not really. Creepy is more of a subjective term here - that is, an opinion. We look at more objective approaches toward the acceptance of a story. That being said, we aren't expecting your first story to be Suggested Reading material right out of the box, just that you put effort into it.
Don’t you think it’s unfair to delete another author’s story?
Not at all. Authors should treat their stories like a student submitting a report. They should make sure their story is well written and without evident errors. This may seem harsh, but authors need to take pride in their work and do their damndest to make sure it shows. If you post a story you wrote in a few minutes, it’s going to show and readers aren’t going to be interested in reading your other stories.
In the event you write, upload, or transmit via any means a story, page, blog post, or article about a subject matter that is determined, at an admin's discretion, to be 1) in a highly clichéd genre/category/subject and 2) poorly written, clichéd, generic, or terrible in general, then the admins are free at their discretion and leisure to delete the page at any time without warning or recourse on their part.
The admins, editors, and any members associated with this site are not and will never be responsible or liable for any loss of data or stories that happen on this site for any reason or in any manner they may occur.
IMPORTANT COPYRIGHT NOTICE
Although most content is licensed under CC-BY-SA, not all content falls under this license. Please pay careful attention to the licensing of all stories. We are not responsible for damages, etc. that may arise from mishandling of licensing. When in doubt, contact the author.
Content that is not in the public domain or under a CC0 license must have attribution if used in videos or other media. This is not optional under any other Creative Commons license. That is copyright infringement.