What do YOU want from the forum

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PaulE
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Re: What do YOU want from the forum

Postby PaulE » Mon, 25 Jul 2016 2:34 pm

I've come here to develop my writing, so feedback on stories is the main thing I'm interested in. I also find it useful reading other peoples work from a critical perspective, to see what works and what doesn't.

I do like the idea of writing challenges. I think we all have a tendency to fall into a comfort zone and not try and stretch ourselves (something I also see with some well known writers). The one stumbling block is that someone needs to come up with the challenges, unless the responsibility is passed around.

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AJ Konlucko
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Re: What do YOU want from the forum

Postby AJ Konlucko » Mon, 25 Jul 2016 3:09 pm

Thanks for the feedback.

PaulE wrote:I do like the idea of writing challenges. I think we all have a tendency to fall into a comfort zone and not try and stretch ourselves (something I also see with some well known writers). The one stumbling block is that someone needs to come up with the challenges, unless the responsibility is passed around.


^ This was the reason they were started in the first place, to challenge us and make us write outside our comfort zones.

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Peter McLennan
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Re: What do YOU want from the forum

Postby Peter McLennan » Wed, 27 Jul 2016 3:08 pm

I'd like the forum to be a place where writers (and others) can help writers to achieve their writing goals.

Ideally, I'd also like it to be a place where agents and publishers come to look for talent. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen because agents and publishers are already overwhelmed with submissions.

Following on from the first goal, I think that a strong focus—and probably the main focus—should be on providing feedback on one another's drafts. This is about the only activity that actively encourages our WIPs; everything else is arguably distracting. Ultimately, a more formal system could be put in place for reviews, but it would be overkill at the moment.

Information-sharing is another useful service. I was hoping to make this more structured and enduring via the resources pages, but this hasn't worked. In general, I'm not sure how to integrate non-forum pages into our forum-focused activity. Maybe that's not desirable at all, but it seems to me that there are some things for which the forum structure is not ideal.

Along similar lines, I've been contemplating a complete remake of the non-forum pages. If I used a Content Management System, authorised users could make changes, such as uploading writing challenge entries (old example), editing members' page entries, and so on. This could also provide more structure for reviews.

PGB gets credit for introducing the concept of 'writing challenges'. These have been way more successful than I expected, and I think they're an excellent way of helping us to hone our skills, encouraging us to write outside of our comfort zones, support one another—and just write. From time to time, we've tried to set up a schedule for such activities but the ebb and flow of membership has always undermined those efforts. I think we need to keep trying!

Unfortumately or otherwise, I've got a few non-writing enterprises on the go at the moment, so I'm a bit limited in how much time I can allocate to significant changes here. OTOH, I'm happy to allow and encourage others to run with things.
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AJ Konlucko
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Re: What do YOU want from the forum

Postby AJ Konlucko » Wed, 27 Jul 2016 6:39 pm

Thanks for the post Peter. I think what we do we do well :)

Maybe a separate forum board for the writing challenges?

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Re: What do YOU want from the forum

Postby Peter McLennan » Thu, 28 Jul 2016 10:19 am

PGB wrote:Maybe a separate forum board for the writing challenges?

I never thought of that! I can investigate whether it's possible to have more than one forum installation on the one site.

I'm not sure it would solve the problem, though. As it is, AWF is kinda fragmented between this forum, the non-forum site pages, and FB. I think I read that the next version of the forum software will make it easier to host arbitrary pages within the forum. Depending on how flexible that is, it could help with integration.

If you're concerned that the 'challenge' forum sections are too hard to find, we can restructure things.
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AJ Konlucko
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Re: What do YOU want from the forum

Postby AJ Konlucko » Thu, 28 Jul 2016 10:37 am

Peter McLennan wrote:
PGB wrote:Maybe a separate forum board for the writing challenges?

I never thought of that! I can investigate whether it's possible to have more than one forum installation on the one site.

I'm not sure it would solve the problem, though. As it is, AWF is kinda fragmented between this forum, the non-forum site pages, and FB. I think I read that the next version of the forum software will make it easier to host arbitrary pages within the forum. Depending on how flexible that is, it could help with integration.

If you're concerned that the 'challenge' forum sections are too hard to find, we can restructure things.


Sorry Peter, I meant a separate forum board like we have below, just add one for "writing challenges"

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Re: What do YOU want from the forum

Postby AJ Konlucko » Thu, 28 Jul 2016 10:46 am

If can create this I am happy to move the required posts across.

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Re: What do YOU want from the forum

Postby Peter McLennan » Thu, 28 Jul 2016 11:05 am

Oh, gotcha. You're right, Paul: phpBB refers to each section as a 'forum', which I find confusing. This site should then be 'Australian Writers' Forums' (plural). Yuck.

I think your proposal highlights a structural problem with the way the AWF forums are currently organised and, I'd argue, a problem with simple hierarchical (tree) structures. The current structure is a combination of subject-based forums (eg, 'writing') and visibility-based forums (eg, 'members only'). Currently, there is a forum for 'events' within 'members only', and some previous writing-challenge posts are thereabouts.

Theoretically, the ideal structure would be a hierarchical matrix, allowing subjects in one dimension and visibility in the other. But only uber-geeks (ahem) would like it.

The other factor is that I always cop flak whenever I introduce a new top-level forum, because it makes the site more unwieldy (and I agree).

I think a fairly thorough reorg of the forums using a strictly subject-based approach at the top level is required. Hopefully visibility-based variations (where needed) could be accommodated at lower levels within that structure.

Does this make any sense??
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Re: What do YOU want from the forum

Postby AJ Konlucko » Thu, 28 Jul 2016 11:43 am

Sounds good to me :)

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Rath Darkblade
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Re: What do YOU want from the forum

Postby Rath Darkblade » Thu, 28 Jul 2016 8:55 pm

Peter McLennan wrote:Oh, gotcha. You're right, Paul: phpBB refers to each section as a 'forum', which I find confusing. This site should then be 'Australian Writers' Forums' (plural). Yuck.


Peter, I didn't realise that phpBB refers to each section as a 'forum' by itself. Having said that, I don't think there's any need for us to change the name of the site or even the AWF banner picture up there. Although phpBB thinks each section is a 'forum', we can simply call each one a 'sub-forum' - i.e. a forum within the big one. That's probably the simplest way to think of them, even though phpBB seems to disagree. :)

Peter McLennan wrote:I think your proposal highlights a structural problem with the way the AWF forums are currently organised and, I'd argue, a problem with simple hierarchical (tree) structures. The current structure is a combination of subject-based forums (eg, 'writing') and visibility-based forums (eg, 'members only'). Currently, there is a forum for 'events' within 'members only', and some previous writing-challenge posts are thereabouts.

Theoretically, the ideal structure would be a hierarchical matrix, allowing subjects in one dimension and visibility in the other. But only uber-geeks (ahem) would like it.


Hmm...? I can't see any structural problems with the way the forum is constructed. But then, I didn't build it... *smile*

Seriously, the forum as it is runs quite well on a day-to-day basis. How would hierarchical matrix look like or operate? I'm confused.

Peter McLennan wrote:The other factor is that I always cop flak whenever I introduce a new top-level forum, because it makes the site more unwieldy (and I agree).

I think a fairly thorough reorg of the forums using a strictly subject-based approach at the top level is required. Hopefully visibility-based variations (where needed) could be accommodated at lower levels within that structure.

Does this make any sense??


Is it required? I'm confused again. Maybe I'm exhausted from a long week at work, or maybe I'm just thick. :? I'd like to understand this, if I may...
There is nothing wrong with nepotism, so long as you keep it all in the family. (Winston Churchill)


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