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  • I'm making this thread not because I'm angry about anything. Far from it, I've had a great relationship with this site and stuff over the years and I'm really happy with my experiences with it. But there are ways the site is run that make me concerned, things I don't agree with, that I'd like to see changed or addressed because they'd make the site better for everyone.

    I wanna talk about the process of submiting a story to the site, and how I think its inherently flawed. Strangely, a lot of the same problems I have now are the same ones I've had for years. To put it simply: I think the way the system works now inherently sets new users up for failure.

    The general way I understand stories are successfully vetted and published is: the first draft is posted on the Writer's Workshop, users give critique and suggestions, updates may or may not be made based on the critique, and then the finished story is submitted to the wiki proper. You could also skip the Workshop process entirely and submit the story right away, but its not advisable.

    All of this is great and all, but it isn't really explained very well for first timers, if at all.

    The Wiki Rules and Quality Standards are prominently displayed, certainly, but the submission process for stories, how they're reviewed and the best way to approach submitting one aren't given much detail. The only real way users come to understand how that process works is by just submitting a story and learning by trial and error. You could say "oh, but if they've read and understand the rules, why should they even worry?" but here's the problem: even if you know all the rules, you can still break them. It could be a misinterpretation. I speak from experience when I say you can end up breaking a rule or quality standard without even realizing it, and its super disheartening when, as a result, your story gets deleted.

    Now, lets talk about the deletion process, because that's another can of worms. From my experience (and I'm sure this isn't universal and may have changed since) when your story bites the dust, you don't really get an explanation or message why. You just click the link and see "this page has been deleted." Naturally, the first thing you do is try ask what happened, but there's not a lot of places you can do that in a way that's immediately evident. If you're like me, you might end up going to the Deletion Appeal page and trying to ask "What happened?" in as detailed and clear a way as possible. You'll then get hit with a big "DENIED!" and you'll probably feel like you immediately did something wrong and screwed up, because you did.

    Now, the way Deletion Appeal is supposed to work is you're supposed to submit a new draft of the deleted story along with a detailed explanation of what you did wrong and how you messed up, and why you believe it should be reinstated. Of course, that's a little hard to do when you don't understand why the story was deleted in the first place, so you've kind of got an inherent paradox. That's probably why nine out of ten appeals get denied.

    Making people like they only have one chance to 'save' their story and if they fail its forever banished to the abyss isn't the way to go. Obviously, that isn't the intention, but that's what almost every user will take away from it the first time they have to deal with it. The Deletion Appeal process isn't even intuitively explained, its not directly in the rules or quality standards and you have to go through three other screens to get to it. The way most people will likely find out how it works is just by trying it and failing.

    I understand that its a good concept to have a place where users whose stories have been rejected can go post a new draft and try to get it put back up after observing critique and criticism. But we already have a place for that: it's called the Writer's Workshop. To put it bluntly, the Deletion Appeal system is actually pretty useless, since its purpose is fully covered by an existing system and it only serves to waste the time of people who appeal and the mods who have to sift through it only to just reject most of them anyway. Its a system pretty much designed to lead to failure, it just isn't efficent and its totally pointless.

    The Writer's Workshop is one of the most intregal and helpful features of the site, and yet its just barely promoted by the wiki. If I go to the front page and Ctrl+F "Writer's Workshop" I'll get a link at the very bottom that lets me view a random unfinished story from it. A great feature for regular users, but confusing and unhelpful to new ones who don't even know what the "Writer's Workshop" is.

    I remember a long time ago, the front page had a "Submit a Story!" button prominently diplayed, it was the first thing you might see. I remember commenting that it was kind of unfair to encourage users to submit a story so quickly. Eventually, they got rid of the button, but it wasn't replaced with anything. It was oddly sad, and it felt like part of the spirit of the site's user-content driven nature sort of withered away.

    My problems with Creepypasta Wiki aren't world-destroying or anything, but I think the solutions are fairly simple and would make the site way more inviting and helpful to new users: 1) get rid of the Deletion Appeal page because it wastes time, effort and resources and the way its used isn't intuitive or helpful. Then, 2) put a greater emphasis on the Writer's Workshop. Encourage more people to use it, and if their story gets deleted, automatically send them a message telling them to resubmit their draft to the Writer's Workshop for critique and review.

    I hope we can all have a civil, productive and drama-free discussion about these issues and I hope it can lead to an improvement in the way the site and community handles them. I'd love to hear your comments down below, whether you think I'm right or wrong.

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    • I have an idea; bring back the "Submit a Story!" button, but have it link to the Writer's Workshop instead of the actual wiki.

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    • I think part of the problem is the wikia/fandom general layout. Its always been a bit of a clusterfuck so thatĀ even a seasoned user like myself often finds myself saying "wait, I didn't mean to click that. Did that save my edits? Shit."

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    • Squidmanescape wrote:
      I have an idea; bring back the "Submit a Story!" button, but have it link to the Writer's Workshop instead of the actual wiki.

      This is such a simple and easy solution and I would love to see the wiki implement it. There are other things I would do, certainly, but this would solve 70% of my problems in one go.

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    • The fact that Writers' Workshop isn't as prominently promoted as it could be is somewhat by design.

      We've made the decision several times that we do not want to do anything to give the impression that Workshop is required or "basically required" if we can help it. In the end we're not going to force anyone to use Workshop even if their story gets deleted and they want to resubmit. Some writers just don't work well with online workshopping and if you think about it, forcing them to use it to resubmit deleted stories might actually discourage more wiki users from attempting to resubmit. The only time we'd be willing to force someone to use Workshop would be if they wanted to submit a story a third time after a second deletion.

      Now some might say "Well the admins here basically delete most stories that don't go through workshop anyway so we may as well require it," but that's simply not true. We do get a lot of first-time submissions that don't go through workshop that are not deleted, it's just that people tend to notice all the deletion notices in the recent activity feed more than they notice which new stories did and did not go through workshop.

      If we did make Workshop required, or promoted it in such a way as to give the impression that it was "all but officially required", that would have the effect of turning the regular reviewers on Writer's Workshop into unofficial staff members for deciding quality standards, and we've already had minor issues with trying to reign in gatekeeping behavior on Workshop.

      Also our current main deletion template does mention Workshop at the end.

      Now all that said, I do agree that we could stand to make Workshop more visible just in terms of people being able to actually find it, so I'll bring it up with the other admins. We have been slowly working on reorganizing the wiki since the layout came about piecemeal over several years under different admins.

      Regarding Deletion Appeal, it's really the best system we can come up, and Workshop is already promoted on the Deletion Appeal page. Again, we're not going to force anyone to use it to make a story eligible for reupload unless the same story is deleted more than once.

      We have historically been quite willing to respond to questions about why a story was deleted on our talk pages. We don't specifically invite them to ask us anywhere that I know of, but quite frankly, we need them to be able to make that leap of initiative on their own lest we constantly get low-effort "why did u delete my story?" questions by users who haven't put any thought into what they're asking, which we do already anyway. Although I suppose I could add a brief mention of the option to ask on admin talk pages on the DA page for sincere queries.

      I do understand that the deletion templates can be intimidating for new users. I've felt the sting of having an early submission deleted and getting this on my talk page. But, it really has to be that way. The deletion templates are highly impersonal boilerplate by design so that we communicate clearly what needs to be said while avoiding favoratism by using the same detached tone for everyone instead of using a harsher tone for new users with deleted stories than we did for regular users, which we inevitably would if we didn't have the templates, being that we are only human.

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    • My biggest proble, overall, has been communication in general. I can't remember getting a message from anyone after my first (and thankfully only) deletion, even a stock, generic one. But it's been a long time. I think an easy solution would be to take the stock message and make it more informative, maybe add a small paragraph to the list based on which rules the story broke. "Your story has been deleted because it violated: Rule 2" etc. Then you could add some stuff explaining what further recourse you have, what you can do next and who you can direct questions to. Stuff like that.

      And, me personally? I'm gonna come out and say it: I think Deletion Appeal is so absolutely useless it would be better to replace it with nothing. Resubmitting your story after editing it has the same intended effect and has a much higher success rate. But tbh, that's subjective.

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    • DoctorBleed wrote:

      And, me personally? I'm gonna come out and say it: I think Deletion Appeal is so absolutely useless it would be better to replace it with nothing. Resubmitting your story after editing it has the same intended effect and has a much higher success rate. But tbh, that's subjective.

      I agree with DoctorBleed about this. I feel like telling people to ask for their story back and then put it in Writer's Workshop might work in a similar way.

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    • A FANDOM user
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