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Author Topic: 300 Word Flash Fiction Contest!  (Read 42588 times)
SFEley
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« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2007, 05:12:14 PM »

I'm concerned that people who are just reading stories and voting and maybe not paying attention to some of the other comments might think the semi round is for all the groups up.  Just a suggestion.  Since I have a story up, I'm freaking out for votes.  Can you tell?  Can you tell?   Tongue   Grin

Yeah, I'm going to move the "closed" groups around a little bit and hopefully make things clearer.  Along with putting up the author names on the closed stories, and...  Well, there's a lot of work to be done.
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ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine
Steven Saus
Matross
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« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2007, 05:29:56 PM »

This reduces us to two options.  We can be assholes about it, and bounce back everything that isn't pure 7-bit ASCII until the writers figure out how to educate themselves (and possibly install a different mail client just for us); or we can put up with it as best we can.
Quote

Hm.  I wonder if there's a good converter that would be useful for you.  Or would that be more work for you than it's worth?

Quote
2)  I have noticed that the fewer comments a story gets, the fewer reads (views?) it gets - far more than by the number of responses.
It doesn't really correlate to the number of times human eyes were set upon the story prose and human minds thought about that prose for the first time.  If you want to get a better sense for that, look at the number of voters.  I think it's safe to assume that most voters read all the stories before voting.  And those numbers are staying pretty strong.

Thanks;  I appreciate your comments on it.
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Walking is the process of controlled stumbling.
slic
Hipparch
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Posts: 727


Stephen Lumini


« Reply #22 on: February 01, 2007, 06:29:23 PM »

Quote
Hm.  I wonder if there's a good converter that would be useful for you.  Or would that be more work for you than it's worth?
I mentioned this before, but for anyone who missed it - I often paste stuff into Notepad first then copy that and paste it into whatever.   Outlook is a pain in all parts of my body when it comes to taking text from Word or the Web or another email and trying to paste it in - it can take whole minutes and then look like crap. 
Notepad simply ignores all the "extras" and leaves all the ASCII alone.
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GoodDamon
Lochage
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« Reply #23 on: February 01, 2007, 06:36:36 PM »

Another option is the "Paste Special" or "Paste without formatting" option, which most rich-text enabled applications support.
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Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er
SFEley
Autarch
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Posts: 1408



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« Reply #24 on: February 01, 2007, 09:20:03 PM »

I mentioned this before, but for anyone who missed it - I often paste stuff into Notepad first then copy that and paste it into whatever.   Outlook is a pain in all parts of my body when it comes to taking text from Word or the Web or another email and trying to paste it in - it can take whole minutes and then look like crap. 
Notepad simply ignores all the "extras" and leaves all the ASCII alone.

This is not a perfect method.  I've gotten one message from an author in this contest who did do the paste-into-Notepad thing, and still had smart quotes in his story that messed up reading for some.  It doesn't seem to do anything about character sets.

I'm personally of the opinion that Outlook is not an e-mail client.  It's an Outlook client, and they grudgingly threw in support for standard Internet e-mail as a side feature in order to "embrace and extend" it.  You may find your problems diminish if you try another e-mail application.
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Birnam Wood
Palmer
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Posts: 42


« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2007, 05:19:48 AM »

I mentioned this before, but for anyone who missed it - I often paste stuff into Notepad first then copy that and paste it into whatever.   

This is not a perfect method.  I've gotten one message from an author in this contest who did do the paste-into-Notepad thing, and still had smart quotes in his story that messed up reading for some.  It doesn't seem to do anything about character sets.

I am thinking that submitting via a form on a secure web page might reduce the formatting problem.  Pasting into my Verizon net mail web page from word I noticed extra character returns which I was able to manually delete.  So, it was doing something like the character set conversion you are looking for.

If people had to submit their stories by posting them, and the field on the web page would convert to ASCII, they could edit it manually.  Give people the ability to save and use a few edit tools prior to formally submitting and it might work really well.  I don't know how effectively it can be done, but it should be at least as effective as notepad and it is something that can be enforced.  This might be harder for longer works, but it seems like it would be a good strategy for any future contests you might do and flash fiction in general.
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slic
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Stephen Lumini


« Reply #26 on: February 02, 2007, 09:49:27 AM »

Quote
I've gotten one message from an author in this contest who did do the paste-into-Notepad thing...
I didn't mean the author, I meant you, Steve.  Once the text leaves Notepad, whatever app/client it is pasted into will "fix" it.  For example, paste something with quotes into Notepad then copy/paste into Word - the Auto Text feature will make them smart quotes.

I meant you take the email, copy/paste it into whatever the MAC equivalent is for Notepad and copy/paste than into the Forum.
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SFEley
Autarch
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Posts: 1408



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« Reply #27 on: February 02, 2007, 01:14:00 PM »

I didn't mean the author, I meant you, Steve.  Once the text leaves Notepad, whatever app/client it is pasted into will "fix" it.  For example, paste something with quotes into Notepad then copy/paste into Word - the Auto Text feature will make them smart quotes.

<groan>

Putting up a new group every day takes long enough already without having to jump through a text-editor-shaped hoop with every single piece.  I'm already annoyed that we live in a software world ridiculous enough for this problem to manifest; your proposed solution feels like a complete surrender to absurdity.  And it's more work.

I think the current workflow has worked fine:

1.) I will post the stories as they were delivered;

2.) If you can't see quotation marks or apostrophes on any story and you think they should be there, say so and I will exercise my power to bend time and space.  (I.e., I will modify the post to fix it.)

Are there any real, untenable problems with that?  I doubt any author would be thrilled to know that for a few hours, some subset of people were reading their piece wrong, but if you're prompt about reporting the problem, it'll get fixed quickly.
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GoodDamon
Lochage
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« Reply #28 on: February 02, 2007, 01:39:19 PM »

Like I mentioned elsewhere, I live to copy-edit, so I don't have a problem with flagging missing apostrophes for you.  Grin
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Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er
slic
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Stephen Lumini


« Reply #29 on: February 02, 2007, 02:13:39 PM »

I certainly didn't mean to imply you should do it - just trying to clarify what I meant.  

I agree, the cost-benefit ratio is too small - not enough of them turn up wonky to merit the extra work.

Quote
...your proposed solution feels like a complete surrender to absurdity
Oh, it is, but I have it down to a semi-automatic process that is fairly quick for me.  
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SFEley
Autarch
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Posts: 1408



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« Reply #30 on: February 02, 2007, 04:37:17 PM »

Yeah, and I'm sorry if I came off snappish.

It's been a somewhat shitty couple of days, for mundane and bureaucratic reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with Escape Pod or these forums.  I've been in a bad mood for a while now, but I try not to carry that over to places like this. 

(And I can't vent at the targets that deserve it, like the Georgia state government, because there's no surface there to find traction.  So I internalize my frustration instead.  Modern life.  Argh.)
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ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine
slic
Hipparch
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Posts: 727


Stephen Lumini


« Reply #31 on: February 02, 2007, 04:52:11 PM »

No worries. 
To get out my frustrations, I roll up the windows in my car and curse out (or maybe explete at ;-) every driver on the commute home - not road rage, just an innocuous near-continuous torrent of foul language.  I always feel better when I pull into the driveway.
If you don't have a commute (I seem to recall something in an intro/outro about you working from home) then maybe bash a pillow alone in the basement.  Internalizing can lead to combustion - just ask your car.

Is now a good time to wish you an early happy b-day? (I'm not stalking - saw it on the forum calendar ;-)
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Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
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Part-Time Psychopomp.


« Reply #32 on: February 02, 2007, 05:14:54 PM »

Yeah, while a lot of us are dying to see our work posted (then ruthlessly eviscerated), we all understand that you're human, and that this shouldn't be priority one for you.

Thanks. We appreciate it.
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I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.
Skip N2EI
Extern
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Posts: 1


« Reply #33 on: February 04, 2007, 10:15:10 AM »

I am noticing something on most of the contest groups lists. As you view the group page, it is fairly clear, in many cases, that the stories posted at the top are being read more frequently than stories lower on each of the group lists. Maybe it is just simple fatigue and I have no way of knowing from this is it is having any bearing on the voting. I just thought I would point it out as a curiosity worth looking into.
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SFEley
Autarch
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Posts: 1408



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« Reply #34 on: February 04, 2007, 11:21:20 AM »

I am noticing something on most of the contest groups lists. As you view the group page, it is fairly clear, in many cases, that the stories posted at the top are being read more frequently than stories lower on each of the group lists. Maybe it is just simple fatigue and I have no way of knowing from this is it is having any bearing on the voting. I just thought I would point it out as a curiosity worth looking into.

It's because the forum software sorts by most recent response by default.  And if someone just left a comment, everyone else is going to read that thread again to see what the comment was. 

I.e., the major correlation is between views and number of comments.  The position on the index page is just a side effect.
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corradus
Extern
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« Reply #35 on: February 05, 2007, 10:20:28 AM »

I don't know wether or not stories at the top of the list are being read more than those at the bottom and I don't really care.  I wrote my story (Kidpower! - which I think is safe to identify because it didn't make the cut) and it was beat out for third place by one vote but I really had a good time with it.

I think that had my story perhaps been better or had a better title I might have gotten more votes and attracted more interest, but I am not gonna beat myself or the judges up over it.  Public opinion is what it is and the job of a successful writer is to write what the most people enjoy.  I didn't - ergo I lost.  No biggie.

*I* think the contest was done as fairly as could be envisioned in a timely manner and I have no complaints about the administration or judging of the contest whatsoever.  I am grateful for the opportunity to have entered.

Thanks again!
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Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
Hipparch
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Posts: 2938


Part-Time Psychopomp.


« Reply #36 on: February 05, 2007, 03:40:37 PM »

...
I think that had my story perhaps been better or had a better title I might have gotten more votes and attracted more interest, but I am not gonna beat myself or the judges up over it.  Public opinion is what it is and the job of a successful writer is to write what the most people enjoy.  I didn't - ergo I lost.  No biggie.
...

I take it you don't watch Extras.

I don't think you could get any large group of writers to agree what it is to be successful, but I don't think most of them would use popularity as a major barometer. Not  that it doesn't matter, it does, but I'd argue that if you dilute the material in order to appeal to a larger audience, you've diluted the material.
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I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.
slic
Hipparch
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Posts: 727


Stephen Lumini


« Reply #37 on: February 05, 2007, 08:12:45 PM »

Quote
...but I don't think most of them would use popularity as a major barometer...
I certainly disagree with that.  Many writers would use commercial success as a very clear barometer of having done a great job. 

Appealing to the lowest common denominator is usually a bad idea, but being popular doesn't mean you've done that.
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Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
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Part-Time Psychopomp.


« Reply #38 on: February 05, 2007, 09:21:06 PM »

And I'm not saying commercial success shouldn't be used, but are we going to argue that Tom Clancy is the same as Franz Kafka? Clancy has probably outsold Kafka, but I wouldn't argue that means he's more successful.
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Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #39 on: February 05, 2007, 09:26:31 PM »

I think this is a case where it depends on the writer you're talking about.

For instance, Michael Swanwick advised our Clarion West class to "let Joe Hack write the story for you."

And in my MFA program, people tend to be pretty suspicious of books that have sold well.
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