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Lit discussion (continued from JC Suggestions thread)

Discussion in 'Communications' started by Master_Keralys, Dec 4, 2008.

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  1. Master_Keralys

    Master_Keralys Sometime Technical Aide and Erstwhile Lit Mod star 5 Manager

    Oct 8, 2003
    Responding from conversation that started [link=]here[/link].

    Dingo - I think you're right about the Code. Frankly, I was probably one of the mods who broke the code in short order after it was posted. That was a rough spot for us: I was just transitioning into the mod role, getting a handle on it, and made a lot of mistakes early on. I still do, sometimes. That's the thing I see, though: we can either take those and let them push us to just set it all aside, or we can keep working on it. I would very much take the latter in any case.

    And I would gladly take PMs from you when you have suggestions or think I've messed up. I may or may not agree, but I would gladly hear you out in any case.

    I do agree that leading by example is the way to go, and it's something I'm working on. I believe the other mods are as well; I'd speak for them but our mind meld isn't that effective, yet. :p We need good, solid posters who will follow that lead, too, though, and we need people who aren't quite as bitter about LFL and some of its decisions - because frankly, that's part of the problem, too. Lit, I think, feels like it's gotten burned by the very people it supports a few too many times, and I think people are simply upset by that. The changing attitudes toward canon, as well as a few other areas (see below), continue to make it difficult for some of these fans to invest without some degree of bitterness. How do we fix that? This is what I wrestle with whenever I ponder how to make Lit better, and I don't have a good answer yet. If you do, I'll hear it gladly. :)

    Rob - I think while we disagree sometimes where the line is, we can agree that it does get crossed. I'll admit that I at times miss stuff, and I sometimes scratch my head and go, "Hmm, iffy on that one," and make a judgment call one way or the other, which I usually think is right a week later, but sometimes don't. If I saw those quotes you posted and left them at the time, I probably wouldn't do so now. I honestly don't really remember.

    I do think the fact that the discussion on O66 was a lot less book-focused and a lot more impact-focused than it perhaps should have been. That's something I think we can find ways to avoid in the future - by as mods taking the initiative to start a spoilers-allowed thread for that sort of discussion to keep it clear of the book thread itself.

    The flip side of that is that we don't really have those issues with most books that come out. In most cases the discussion does center on the events of the book and everything going on plotwise. That should make the point that Karen Traviss and her books are a fairly touchy point in Lit (as if we didn't know that already). The question is how we deal with that. People have the right to dislike her books, of course, but they also have a right to be bothered by what they perceive - rightly or wrongly - as her attitude toward them. How that fits into Lit exactly, I don't know. Probably not that much. How a discussion of how her attitude toward canon impacts Star Wars literature - for good or ill, we can't deny that her attitude differs a fair bit from Denning's - fits into Lit is rather different, though, and I think it's an important discussion to have. So while we need to let book threads be book threads and deal with canon implications elsewhere, because they are important to the whole basis of Lit, I think it's time to come out and admit that a huge number of our ongoing problems in Lit come down to trying to figure out how to deal with the KT situation. It's sticky. It's messy. We try to mostly just avoid it. The 3 million isn't even an allowed point of discussion, because people's feelings are so hot there. The fans have fired at her, she's fired back, and it's been smoldering ever since.

    Great. We know all that. Now what?

    A variation on the idea I mentioned in the other thread regarding author discussion is under serious consideration right now. Exactly what it might look
  2. rhonderoo

    rhonderoo Former Head Admin star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 7, 2002
    That should make the point that Karen Traviss and her books are a fairly touchy point in Lit (as if we didn't know that already). The question is how we deal with that. People have the right to dislike her books, of course, but they also have a right to be bothered by what they perceive - rightly or wrongly - as her attitude toward them. How that fits into Lit exactly, I don't know. Probably not that much. How a discussion of how her attitude toward canon impacts Star Wars literature - for good or ill, we can't deny that her attitude differs a fair bit from Denning's - fits into Lit is rather different, though, and I think it's an important discussion to have. So while we need to let book threads be book threads and deal with canon implications elsewhere, because they are important to the whole basis of Lit, I think it's time to come out and admit that a huge number of our ongoing problems in Lit come down to trying to figure out how to deal with the KT situation. It's sticky. It's messy. We try to mostly just avoid it. The 3 million isn't even an allowed point of discussion, because people's feelings are so hot there. The fans have fired at her, she's fired back, and it's been smoldering ever since.

    I still think the issue is taking something like her attitude towards canon (which is presumptive at best) personal, rather than stating your views objectively, and somewhat politely and then moving on. There is a way to do this, and the Lit forum used to be much better at it. KT is not the only author that has been a maverick or changed things, and I doubt she can do all that without prior approval from someone. And KT is not the only author/VIP this has happened to, she's just been one of the authors (right or wrong) that fought back, honestly. Like Randy Stradley, editor at Dark Horse and very important person that posted his feelings on the way some Lit posters attack VIPs before, and even left the forums after one of his artists were insulted. I know he has returned to discussions since then, very cautiously, but believe me... his feelings on Lit are somewhere near the same. And the point I've always tried to make is that it doesn't have to be that way.

    Just like Rob said earlier, the continual jabs and repetition of a beef someone has over something like canon "implications" or how their character was treated, etc. - until us regular posters are so sick of hearing this opinion ad nauseum in almost every thread that we just don't come back. And a lot of this is not necessarily about one author, there are many things that can contribute to fan irritation over things like canon, and there are many hands that touch what we read before we read it. To lump everything on one person is probably not what really happens.

    I know mods can't control how people feel and how personal they do take something like "canon messups", but you can control how you allow them to express it. And how many times they express it.
  3. mrsvos

    mrsvos Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Nov 18, 2005
    This is a bit of a PM I sent to a couple of MODs on my feeling on this -

    I used to lurk on TFN in '98 because I didn't know anyone else who was into EU and wanted to read book discussions.
    I finally joined, as you can see, much later.
    But lately there are no discussions, just "I've read every SW book ever written and they all suck."
    Members complain about YJCC, but I spend most of my time there because I actually have a good time.
    When I do post in a book thread, and ask a question, it is completely ignored. Perhaps there should be 2 book discussion threads - one for people who actually want to talk about the book and one for those who just want to bitch.
    I have fun at EU Community because everyone is so positive there, but there's not much book discussion.

    As a bookstore manager, I have moderated bookclubs, so hopefully my input matters, but as a book discussion group, the Lit. Forum is not functioning. The book threads just seem to be a free for all. which, in RL, is not possible.
    Thank You!

    I'd like to see the book discussion threads run at least loosely like a book club book discussion.
    I'd also like to see some common courtesy, don't quote my post with a snarky comment, ask for me for some clarification, or give me a little background as to why you feel differently.
  4. Master_Keralys

    Master_Keralys Sometime Technical Aide and Erstwhile Lit Mod star 5 Manager

    Oct 8, 2003
    Rhonda - I'm with you, there. The one thing I have a tough time as a moderator dealing with is the issue of people posting the same negative opinion over and over again. While I agree that it's harmful - and so is the same positive thing over and over, just less obviously so and perhaps to a somewhat lesser extent - it gets tricky. Do we say, "Okay, you can only post the same negative thing 5 times, after that it's a ban," or what?

    Karen Traviss is, you are quite right, not the only "maverick." The other primary examples, however, have taken about as much flack as she has for it, but have chosen not to respond in the same way. That says something about the authors as well as about the fans. And I think it's disingenuous to assume that the problem is all the fans. There have been cases where posts Karen has made on her blog, etc. that have come across as direct attacks on TFN people. She may or may not have meant them as such, but they have come across that way. (I have no issue with her.) And she's perfectly within her rights to do so. But to expect no repercussions from that, and to expect people not to be angered by that is horribly unreasonable. Moreover, while I agree that Karen (or Drew, or anyone else who's made changes to canon) is not the sole agent behind it, in that it was approved and allowed by others, it's disingenuous to say, "Well, it's not their fault because someone else approved it." People have the right to be bothered that the author wanted to do it in the first place. Whether or not they're right or wrong is up for debate. And I will defend quite thoroughly people's right to be bothered by that sort of attitude in things they're spending money on, right or wrong in their opinion - and to express it. How they express it is another issue, and whether they need to harp on it another one yet. But I think we're in agreement there.

    And on the other hand, I absolutely agree that we need to create a culture where people state their beef and move on. Frankly, it's hard, and I would like some concrete suggestions of how to fix the problem instead of constant restatement of the problem. I get that there is a problem with Lit for a lot of casual users who are being turned off by the constant pessimism. (It turns me off, too. Trust me.) I'm doing what I can to fix it. But I'm just one guy, with a limited amount of time, trying to balance Lit with a physics degree, planning a wedding, doing ministry on my college campus, and occasionally (but only occasionally :p ) actually trying to have some fun in RL. The same, with some variation of the particulars, is true of all of us. We don't have unlimited processing cycles to spend on how to fix the problems you see in Lit. So I'd really appreciate hearing suggestions for things we can implement, rather than just the same complaints. (And don't get me wrong, I want to hear the complaints. But I'd also like some help finding the solution. :) )

    A huge part of it, I maintain, is that we spend much too much time in OOU discussion instead of IU. As a mod team we're talking about that right now and discussing how to change that. And we're taking it very seriously. You can probably expect to see something coming out of that discussion within the next few weeks.

    Sorry if that didn't come out as coherent or as gently as I tried to make it; I'm tired and about to go to sleep, and it's my thoughts as I had them. I really do mean it when I say I appreciate the feedback; I'm just trying to make this work and rather tired of a lot of complaining without affirmative suggestions to help, you know? *insert weary but still smiling emoticon here*

    mrsvos - I think you've raised some very valid issues. I am sorry that you've had the experience you've had in Lit; I really am. It's that sort of thing that I am fighting really hard to see stop happening. How (in as concrete as terms as possible, please :_| ) do you think we could improve in those areas? Would it be useful to have the book discussion threads guided more actively
  5. Robimus

    Robimus Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jul 6, 2007
    Katana posted: Robimus, criticising one book that people haven't read is a lot better than what we used ot have where people criticised (to put it mildly) the entire EU without reading it at all.

    The Lit board and EUC used to be a haven for us EU fans, things have gotten a lot better here in regards to the EU. The last prob I saw was regarding authors posting on here, to the extent we were scaring them away, but this has been very well dealt with by the mods on Lit.

    My understanding(and if its wrong please correct me) is that there used to be significant VIP interaction. Now we certainly have regular visits the Legacy team and Jason Fry, but posts from other VIP's seem to be few and far between.

    I'm sure that things used to be worse judging by some of the stuff I've read in D4pm's retirement thread, but that certainly doesn't mean everything has been solved. There may not even be a solid solution to the dilemma as I'm sure there is a division amongst users as to if there even is a problem.

    The problems are not huge, or un-workable in my eyes, but do exist to an extent.

    Keralys mentioned: Do we say, "Okay, you can only post the same negative thing 5 times, after that it's a ban," or what?

    So I'd really appreciate hearing suggestions for things we can implement, rather than just the same complaints.

    I think some suggestions have been made at this point. We have the suggestion of a seperate thread for book discussion and continuity.

    Some would like a bit of stronger moderation, consider that a suggestion as well. Again, I'm not suggesting that people don't voice there views, like or dislike. It's just how those views are put forward that needs to be looked at.

    I've had many discussions with DarthUr about what amounts to Karen Traviss and her works in general. DarthUr is very upset with her take on Star Wars, her OOU comments, so on. Yet the discussion never really goes over the line, its respectful enough. He gets his point across very well, I counter with mine and often try to move back to actual story discussion:p. Maybe the sheer volume of it is an issue. I've simply taken to cutting off these discussions myself of late with a 'We don't see thios the same way. You have yours, I'll have mine[face_peace] " type end. As you mention after a similar POV has been given a couple times there's not much more to say.

    I'm not going to change anyone's opinion and they are not going to change mine. A bit of discussion about why we each feel the way we do is is very acceptable, but does need to be cut off if it gets repetitive.

    Sometimes I think A simple "Stay on Target" reminder from a Mod is all it takes at times, then any continued non-sense is open to edit. I mean in the Star Wars Romance thread there is really no reason to discuss why people didn't like the end of Order 66, for one example.

    Another suggestion is the continued interviews with VIP's started with Kevin Rubio and Henry Gilroy. Of course this is contingent on the VIP's desire to participate. I think its a great way to reach out and make them a part of the boards. It's a very controlled way to have them on board, show them they are appreciated. I think a much better way than inviting them back to discussions in a book thread where a lot of critism appears.

    Lets take Michael Reaves recent sign up as an example. I'd love to hear an interview with him answering fan submitted questions. I felt bad when his one post was basically spent apologizing for the continuity errors in his most recent book, which were a matter of some discussion in the thread. He obviously wanted to reach out and talk to his readers a bit and I think that interaction would have worked way better as a Q & A than the one (in my mind needless) apology about continuity mistakes.

    There's three pretty solid idea's I think, four counting your own idea, Keralys;)

  6. Dingo

    Dingo Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Apr 23, 2001
    I'll talk about this once, and then not touch it again because I don't think it's fair that Karen is used as the proverbial football by any/everyone.

    None of it actually started here on the JC. It all started after the actions of a few posters over on and another place and the way they conducted themselves. After Karen used her blog like anyone does and vented about actions she found disagreeable, they took it across to there also. And because they also posted here and knew Karen had, started making comments in threads here. Karen saw the nature of comments here, asked for slanderous ones to be removed, and the Head Admin at the time did what he usually did and went so far overboard it wasn't funny. Karen got the blame for it, people kept taking shots at her, and it was allowed to go on under a banner of "freedom of speech". A couple more people did a few things that were nderhanded/wrong/disgusting, and then when Karen talked about that people with guilty consciences thought it meant them. There's also the whole 3 million thing, but if anyone took the time to read any more of Karen's blog than single paragraph snippets they would have realised that snarkiness was the baseline and context would have been granted. If people had taken the civilised route and gone "She has her views, I don't agree" and left it at a decent standard of discourse rather than going the way they did then things might have been rather different.

    In summation, there's only one single area in which any discussion in Lit should actually be even slightly impacted by Karen's (or any other author's) own views, and that's to do with the canon issue in a limited sense. As in whether it should be fixed or fluid. That's it. Anything else is completely extraneous to the scope of any possible Lit thread as it would (and inevitably does) rely on people's own interpretation of Karen's (*or insert another author's name here*) views, which is a sure road to disaster.


    Just to emphasise it again: THIS.

    One thread had 7 reminders by mods to steer clear of certai
  7. rhonderoo

    rhonderoo Former Head Admin star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 7, 2002
    I agree with Rob's "Stay on Target". I've seen you guys do that with some discussions, but feel it could be applied more especially around the controversial topics that "bother" people. And I agree absolutely that everyone has the right to be bothered by Karen's OOU stance on the EU or whatever they are bothered about. They do not have the right to as Dingo says, get on their soapbox, about it every chance they get, even if it means making a snarky comment in a thread that isn't even about her portion of the Universe. Like Rob, I've seen threads where someone has to throw in a comment (LSatSoM comes to mind) about her messing up continuity, when it really isn't needed or relevant there. And I agree that we make Karen sound like the only author that's had a problem, when she isn't. It all boils down to where the line between dicussing the good and bad opinions of the EU and just coming in their to bitch is drawn.

    I've been there and still go back and occasionally to lurk, I know it's not all whining and moaning, but generally it tends to be about voicing your displeasure the loudest more than good discourse back and forth about IU stuff -- especially to those who don't know the background.

    And regarding Dingo's history on KT, I'll just say he's absolutely right about the whole thing, but add that the Head Admin and Owner were responsible for the way things were handled, and you can't really discount Lit mods that were there at the time, or myself I guess, as I was Comms admin. Needless to say, it's done and we should be looking forward and working to get past that... again. I'll let the whole KT situation go, but want to leave you guys with one bit of advice. You can't mod every site or blog on the internet, all you can do is control your forum. I don't care who said what somewhere else, we need to worry about making our forum better. The Literature forum. If you have to do like we used to have to do in JCC and tell people to take it offsite, that's what you need to do. If you must vent at an author or about their works and you simply cannot contain yourself, do like they do and create a blog. In other words, everyone on both sides should let it go here on the JC.

    I'll second Rob's suggestion about getting people to stay on target, as well as keeping book discussion IU. I think that's a good start. I believe a LOT more IU talk and less OOU talk is better. And you guys have been doing a great job of locking threads where people grandstand or make proclamations that amount to nothing more than opinion and should be taken with the same grain of salt as anyone else's.

    Maybe even leave the author comments to the A/A forum and watch it a little more closely until you get the forum in a better place. Or have author review threads where people can voice their opinion, but
  8. TNPredsFan

    TNPredsFan Jedi Master star 4

    Nov 10, 2004
    I'd like to take Rhonda's point a step further. I've noticed that some people feel compelled to state their opinions (positive and negative, with an emphasis on the negative) ad nauseam, and it's gotten to the point that I avoid reading certain threads because I can predict who posted and the nature of their posts beforehand. For example, I personally hated most of LotF. I don't feel it's appropriate to proclaim "I hated LotF!!!!!" in every LotF thread or threads where LotF is mentioned. It's redundant at the least and is borderline spamming IMO.


  9. Master_Keralys

    Master_Keralys Sometime Technical Aide and Erstwhile Lit Mod star 5 Manager

    Oct 8, 2003
    Thanks. I don't have time for an indepth reply to those posts at the moment, but I do appreciate them, and I'm taking them very seriously - all of the points made.

    I think above all the point regarding just stopping and redirecting threads, especially of the soapbox variety, is a good one, and you're all right that we do need to just start editing out if those directions are ignored. :)

    I'll try to reply in more depth later (perhaps even as late as tomorrow), but I wanted you all to know that I've read, am pondering, and am trying to do these things. We'll chat in MS as a team, as well. :)
  10. mrsvos

    mrsvos Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Nov 18, 2005
    OK - I'll try to frame my suggestion as best I can!
    I like how you start a thread for an upcoming book early, where people can speculate and chat.
    Then maybe after the book comes out, the MOD can request users PM them some talking points about they book they'd like to discuss, for instance a certain scene, character development, weapons and tactics, whatever. Then the MOD can throw a few of those out there every few days, and the discussion could be based on the topics suggested by users. A book club is moderated to be sure the discussion is staying on point.
    The book review thread is still good, here users can 'review' the book to their hearts content.
    I can see this may require more MODs in Lit., or maybe even users taking turns hosting the book discussion.
    You've got 5 MODs watching our light hearted shennanigans at JCC, but not as many in Lit., a place where it seems's public relation problems seem to be originating from - (insulted authors and whatnot)
  11. rhonderoo

    rhonderoo Former Head Admin star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 7, 2002
    I like mrsvos' suggestion a lot.

    Maybe a good idea to incorporate into the Review discussions, too. Rate things like pacing, plot, continuity, characterization, etc. by each and make people stay on point and not meander into personal tangents and arguments that tend to derail the conversation or turn the average poster off. I recall some of the most heated discussions and some that have gone the most over the line being in the review threads.

    I'd also be very strict on the amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth people do based on "spoilers", speculation and whatnot. At this point as a Lit reader with no book in hand I am taking the limited pieces of information, based on someone else's interpretation, out of context and forming an opinion on the impact to my own enjoyment without ever having the opportunity to form MY OWN opinion that might have been totally different had I read in my own context, and without any preconceptions that might be colored by someone else's bias or opinions.

    To take this further, make the rule about actually reading the material before getting too over reactionary have more teeth. And edit (and even ban) people that don't stick to the Code of Conduct and do things to make Lit a more negative place. People spent a lot of time on it, all of you. Don't let folks ignore it. This means over ANY bit of EU even the controversial authors and artists, not just the bits that everyone generally agrees with. A suggestion could be to link it in a thread that's going over the line or having a "new user" thread where everyone is aware of things like "Read the material first" or things that they'll need to know. If you have to up and point people to it periodically, whatever it takes.

    I'd also incorporate these ideas into the comics discussions as sometimes those discussions suffer the same problems, with the argument turning into soap boxing and the same cry over and over again about a certain character or how it fits into continuity. I know the artists and authors there are a lot more involved and are good about answering questions and deflecting the criticism when it starts to go over the line, but they shouldn't feel the need to.

    I also agree that Lit suffers from PR problems and the moderation should be heavy, just like that of JCC. If not more.
  12. Dingo

    Dingo Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Apr 23, 2001
    Ugh, I'm not going to start in on the whole spoilers topic as I'll rant and rave for pages (cue comment about how this is different to any other subject). Suffice to say spoilers and the release of such has not been done well for years.

    One thing I will say is this: while I do appreciate having this discussion and hoping that something might come out of it, is there any chance we can see more than just you replying to it MK? Or even if other Lit regs know about it and come join in? I know that previously a lot of discussions have been done in Lit, but maybe a more 'neutral' ground would be better since as we've already seen it's dragged at least one person out of hiding, and the slightly different mindset and tone here in Comms could be beneficial. Cause I really don't see much use in just a couple of us saying things that either will lead to changes for everyone else, or worse that it just goes on and then is left with nothing productive coming from it.
  13. Master_Keralys

    Master_Keralys Sometime Technical Aide and Erstwhile Lit Mod star 5 Manager

    Oct 8, 2003
    I'll get back to everyone in more detail this afternoon, but I did want to say this: Dingo, I will ask the other guys to drop in. Definitely all are reading and following the conversation, and it's being discussed (as well as a number of other forward-motion things we'd already been talking about) in MS, but I will ask Havac, RF, and T2Q to drop in as well.
  14. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Keralys has been his usual self and has said pretty much everything I'd say, so I didn't feel the need to repeat him. We've been discussing this in MS, and definitely taking your suggestions into account. But I'd like to see some more concrete suggestions. We've had a lot of problems identified, but not a lot of solutions proposed other than "Stop people complaining about things so much. Stop people overreacting to spoilers." These are very subjective things to identify. How should we regulate things like that without stifling legit expression of opinion? Is it just up to us to decide when "too much" is and step in? Do we really want a situation where what you can say in Lit entirely comes down to personal judgment call of the mods? That can work, but let's not have any illusions about what's being proposed.
  15. rhonderoo

    rhonderoo Former Head Admin star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 7, 2002
    I'll try to be more concrete. We have users in Lit who are unhappy with the way things are going in EU. They didn't like LOTF, or they don't like the way a certain character's legacy is going, etc. This isn't the whole Lit forum, and it's not fair to paint the whole forum with this brush, BUT you have enough of those users that aren't happy with "their" character not being used in the Legacy era or "their" character's order being mishandled, any of those type situations that it starts to make the place more negative.

    I know for a fact that some of these users say they aren't reading EU anymore, or they stopped at issue X, when so and so was killed, or when they stopped seeing their favorite character in books....yet they STILL come into discussion threads and state the same opinion OVER and OVER again, the artists and authors defend themselves, deflect criticisms, explain the realities of the business...lather, rinse and repeat.

    Can we have a rule that if you have not read the material being discussed or you aren't up to speed on the storyline, you aren't allowed to keep critiquing the subject matter? And I don't think that's asking too much.

    If I stopped reading Legacy comics at issue 14, I have no business in the thread hassling current fans over what's going on in the story. That's a clear case of warn, edit, then ban. Period. We don't need those kinds of posters.

    Also, KOTOR. I realize a lot of fans play the game and read the comics. There is a place for discussion in Games for the game. The discussion in Lit should remain mostly on the comic. I realize there are things are inter-changable in the discussion, but when we're speculating on a game character and the discussion is hard for those who don't read the comics to follow, it should be gently directed back to the comics discussion.

    Those are two off my head. I promised not to get into KT anymore, but I'll repeat what I said earlier on that.

    At no time should what she said offsite matter here unless she's on here bothering posters here. Mod here, about things said here. And the rest should be about the material.
  16. TKeira_Lea

    TKeira_Lea Jedi Knight star 5

    Oct 10, 2002
    I'll second that.

  17. Master_Keralys

    Master_Keralys Sometime Technical Aide and Erstwhile Lit Mod star 5 Manager

    Oct 8, 2003
    I've now the time to go through these and hit the major points made by each poster.

    mrsvos - I like the suggestion of having a more hosted discussion on the book review threads, at least in theory. Thank you very much for the concrete suggestion; I think that helps a lot in any case to give us a better idea of what you'd like to see.

    Off the top of my head, I know for a fact I don't have time for that. There's a lot happening in Lit, and just trying to keep on top of everything going on, much less to that intensely moderate a book discussion, is simply not feasible. We'd probably have to add at least one and probably two more mods to have mods doing it. We can discuss the notion of having a regular, but VIP'd, user engage in that sort of thing, but the flipside is that said user has to consistently have the time to be ahead of everyone else on the book and the time to devote to hosting such a thing. In an environment like Lit where the spoilers are such a huge part of the fun for a lot of people - kind of like it was for everyone before RotS came out - it's much harder to have that sort of a discussion when a lot of people just want to know what happens. And a lot of people are at a point where they'll use such discussions of what happens as something of a guide to whether they really want to buy the book/comic/etc. if it lies outside their primary area of interest. So while I like the book club idea, I think doing it as beccatoria has been, though possibly a bit more aggressively, might be a great idea, as opposed to doing it with new book releases. I think that doing that with new book releases might stifle a lot of very good things that happen with the existing style, and I think there might be more effective ways - harder moderation, as suggested by others, for one thing - to eliminate some of the problems. It might be worth looking into changing up the way we handle releases, spoilers, etc. in any case.

    On that note - Dingo even if you just want to PM me your thoughts on that, we as mods would be happy to hear what you have to say regarding spoilers.

    Also - I just want to say that, slight disagreements about impact aside, I think you're dead on as regards the authors (Karen Traviss, Drew Karphyshyn, or whoever else) and Lit. You, too, Rhonderoo. I think we've been trying too hard to let it be a place where opinions can be expressed and in letting it go so far as we have, it's hurt Lit.

    Now, the difficulty is that I think people have a right to be seriously up in arms about things of this nature - about the canon issues, even about the way that authors have responded when criticisms were raised (and I'm really not thinking anyone in particular here) - but Lit, frankly, is being hurt by this being the place to do that. I really do like the idea of saying, "Guys, while I can understand your needing to vent frustrations, please take it offsite."

    I do agree that we need to do a better job of just editing people and banning them. Thanks for pointing that out. :)

    We're actively discussing the soapboxing issue, and we'll be updating the Code to reflect the consensus we're developing in short order.

    On that note, we're also going to be giving the Code more teeth, per the discussion here. We are going to be actively editing and as necessary banning people. Otherwise, the Code is - as you all pointed out - completely useless.

    I think upping our use of hosted discussions is a really good idea, and it's something a few of us have been moving towards in any case, so I think that's something we can look into. Thanks for mentioning it.

    Re: IU Discussion - we're looking very hard at ways of accomplishing this, both from the standpoint of moderation and from the standpoint of generating these kinds of discussions ourselves. I actually PM'd 17 of our regulars, ranging across the entire spectrum of Lit posters, to get feedback on the initial idea I posted in the other thread, and are taking their responses into consideration as we look how to go forward. In short, we will probably be
  18. Jedi Trace

    Jedi Trace SouthEast RSA star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Dec 15, 1999
    I typed this before I saw your last post, Keralys, and it?s probably repetitive, so feel free not to respond.

    Several people have already said what I was thinking and I?ll back them up here, but I think the most concrete suggestion that has been made so far is to Stay On Topic. EU readers want to talk about the EU and the ability to do so is what will draw people in and keep them active in the forum.

    Taking it a step further: One thread for discussion, one for griping and one for speculation. :p

    Seriously, though, there is a time and place for rampant speculation before and after a book is released. However, once a book is on the shelves, the speculation needs to die down for a bit so people who?ve read the book can discuss the actual contents of the book.

    It?s very trendy to come up with the latest ?ewok-worthy? fan speculation/theory/crack idea, but I totally get what mrsvos is saying in that people who ask legitimate questions or try to discuss the book are often ignored or trampled over by posts still in speculation mode about topics that may or may not have anything to do with the actual book itself.

    I like the way the DHC board handles this. There is a discussion/speculation thread for each book before the release. But, on the day of the release, there is a new sticky discussion thread started for people who have read the book. It may or may not be feasible here, but it works very well over there.

    Perfect example of how users and mods alike can be more proactive to Stay On Topic.

    This is a personal peeve of mine, sorry, but it is nigh impossible to discuss a KotOR comic book because every thread turns into discussion about the game, the events surrounding the game and which character in the comic might turn into Darth Whoever from the game.

    I?ll third it. And fourth it. Posts that start with ?I haven?t read this, but? (especially when followed by ?and I won?t read it?) should be discouraged as legitimate critique.

  19. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Let's say we make this a concrete rule. Joe Poster, who trade-waits KOTOR, sees someone post spoilers for the latest issue and says, "You say Zayne did X? I don't think I care for that; it seems out of character for him." Would he get edited? Joe Poster doesn't follow Rebellion because he doesn't have the money to spend on it, but he checks in on the issue threads to see what's happening. There he posts, "Man, I really wish they had more stories about other characters. I'm sick of the big three. If they had more stories about new characters I could care about, I think I'd start picking this up." Does he get edited? Joe Poster doesn't follow LOTF (really, what does this guy read?) but he reads the Revelation thread and says, "Aww, man, it sucks they killed Pellaeon. He was one of my favorite characters." Does he get edited? Joe Poster hasn't read Dark Empire, but he chimes in on a discussion to say, "Fundamentally, I think the whole premise of bringing Palpatine back is a bad idea, as it undercuts the triumph of ROTJ." Does he get edited? Joe Poster sees spoilers in a future thread, and reads them, and reacts, and posts, "Luke gets killed by a hamster? That's dumb." Does he get edited?"

    They're all criticisms by someone who hasn't read it. But really, they're not harmful, vitriol-laden criticisms. Do we really want to say, "If you haven't read something, you're not allowed to have even the slightest negative opinion of it, no matter how much material you've actually seen about it?" What about people who express positive opinions about things before reading them? What about people who just don't say they haven't read it? What about people who express their opinions as the tentative, based-on-the-information-they-have impressions that they are?

    I don't think this would work as a concrete rule. I think, again, we're coming back to the idea not of what's acceptable, period, but of what's too much. What's excessive. And that's subjective, judgment-call area. I'm OK with that. I've said in MS, discussing this, that I think we should step up and be proactive about saying, "OK, that's enough. Let's redirect conversation." But I don't think we can pretend this is a matter of clear-cut right-and-wrong posting, or that we're going to be able to really stop people being negative without creating an equally unhealthy oppressive atmosphere in Lit. We can curb it, and encourage people to move on and post constructively, but we can't enforce positivity without becoming the thought police.

  20. rhonderoo

    rhonderoo Former Head Admin star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 7, 2002
    None of this is hard and fast rule-making. TFN has never been all black and white in its rule-making (all you have to do is go back a page or two in Comms to see that).

    I don't think anyone here has said make these black and white rules, but it will mean more moderation. You'll have to take that poster that is repeating themselves ad nauseum aside via PM and say, "That's enough. If you can't contribute to the discussion in a positive way, no matter what opinion you have, you need to stay away from this discussion." You'll have to tell people that they've made their point, now move on. And they might get pissed and "stay away forevar!1 Just like I've done to the EU!1", then maybe the place will be better for it.

    From what I can tell you guys don't like those type of posts, and your hearing now that a lot of others don't like that. And you guys can control a lot of this, I think by moderating these discussion (in the true sense of moderation, not the TFN position), and putting more guidelines in the book discussions. I can appreciate that it's tough when you're trying to make things more specific, but I don't think a re-write of the Lit rules are the answer, anyway. People are generally good in there and you guys catch as much of the real TOS violations as you can.

    I think putting teeth in the CoC is a good first step, just like any forum, you'll have to make judgment calls on the direction a thread or discussion is taking, but you guys are knowledgeable on the subject matter and have shown yourselves to be capable of shutting down negativity or over-reaction in a lot of situations. I think limiting the review discussions and breaking out speculation is another good idea.

    And when we say that people who haven't read material shouldn't be discussing it, we're not talking about those who can make a comment or ask a question and go about their business or can be a positive contributor to the discussion. I'm pretty sure you guys know the specific type users we are referencing, if not the specific users, and it's within your power to turn those discussions away from that. Even in talking about a game character in a Lit forum, I don't think anyone is asking for a rule that states you can't do it, just make the discussion one that everyone can enjoy for the most part... you know what they say, anything in moderation is fine. I think it's all going to boil down to more judgment calls, and I know you guys work hard in there, so please don't take this all as an attack on the moderation. I'd say Lit is probably the most important forum on these boards. It's where you'll get most of your new users, it's where the action is still going on when it comes to new releases and things for SW fans to be excited about and when we look at growing the JC or keeping it steady, it should be forum #1 to "invest" in.
  21. mrsvos

    mrsvos Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Nov 18, 2005
    I did mention users taking turns hosting the book discussions.
    User hosting has worked well in The Amphitheater.
  22. Master_Keralys

    Master_Keralys Sometime Technical Aide and Erstwhile Lit Mod star 5 Manager

    Oct 8, 2003
    I've only time for one more brief comment, and that's on KotOR.

    Trace, I think, hits closer to the real issue than Rhonderoo - sorry! - for the simple matter that we do need to make sure the comics discussion is more about the comics than the games, and it can sometimes go awry. The problem is, as Havac rather accurately put it, that it's not really terribly different from the speculation in the LSatSoM thread about whethe these three characters are the same. I understand the frustration, trust me... I get sick of hearing "Zayne = Revan!!!11!!one!!" and all the other assorted stuff. On the other hand, when you have a number of direct game references done by the author, why is that not up for legitimate discussion? It's almost like saying, "Hey, guys, we know that you're all excited about who might be who in Episode I that shows up in the OT, but you're not allowed to talk about it anymore."

    I think we can try to curb it a bit, but really, why the hating on the games? They're as much a part of the EU as the comics are, and frankly a lot more people have played KotOR than are reading it. (Not saying that's a good or a bad thing, but it is true.)

    Yes, there's discussion of KotOR in the games section - but they're not discussing it as part of the EU, there; they're discussing it as a game. And that's all well and good, but it's part of the EU, and there's no reason it shouldn't be part of the discussion of the EU. There's a reason that Kyle Katarn has gotten larger and larger parts in books, and it's not that he's so overwhelmingly popular in the games section (though he is fairly well liked there). It's because EU fans love Kyle Katarn (even if we're occasionally sick of hearing about how "awesome" he is :p ).

    I think we can and should try to make sure that threads aren't overrun by speculation about who is whom. On the other hand, we need to get that, both for the fans and the author (and it's important to note that this is true for JJM, not just fans!), as much as KotOR the comic is Zayne and company's story, it's also very much a prequel to the games. It's set in the same era, plays with a lot of the same characters, and has given us some really important information about the history of the game characters.

    It's the game's sandbox, too. :)

    I'll be back tomorrow to address other/more stuff. :) Tonight I have homework and work and talking to my family to do. (Wait, a JC mod has a life? :eek: :p )

    ETA: mrsvos - yeah, and I think that would be more doable, but I still don't think it's the way to go for initial release discussion. It'd be like requiring people to only participate in a guided discussion in the RotS forum when RotS came it. It just doesn't make sense to me. I do think having a lot more of that sort of thing for other books is great, but I think it would work very badly for initial release threads.

    That doesn't mean we're not willing to overhaul those threads, and I will be overruled if the other mods think it's a good idea. I just don't think it would have a positive effect on the atmosphere in Lit, or help stimulate good discussion on new releases. Perhaps it might make sense to do so starting two weeks after release, or some such... but I want people to be able to just enjoy the craziness of finding out stuff and posting back and forth crazily without having to be "on-topic" in more than a general sense. I recognize that it has some weaknesses, but that's one of the most fun things happening in Lit right now, and I don't want to kill that while trying to fix some of the attendant problems.
  23. Bly

    Bly Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 28, 2005
    Just a warning, my posts aren't nearly as long as the ones the rest of you guys have done, so my suggestions are going to seem rather vague.

    In any event, IMO, it all comes down to how much power we give the moderators. The code of conduct is nice and all, but the simple fact of the matter is that the majority of the users in the Lit forum don't have enough self-control to keep themselves under control. For every guy who says "hmmm, Mandalorian culture has changed quite a bit...I'm not sure if it's for the better," you get five who say "OMG Traviss Mandos are teh suck!1!" The internet permits people to be anonymous, and that anonymity is...well, warping, for lack of a better term. Whereas in real life, people are expected to present their arguments politely and provide support, on the Internet, that's not a given, and Lit has suffered because of that.

    I guess what I'm saying is that we need some way to enforce the CoC. Whether that means increasing the Mods' powers or what, I don't know. All I know is that we need to keep the denizens of Lit in line, somehow.
  24. Rogue_Follower

    Rogue_Follower Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 12, 2003
    Here's my stance on some stuff that's been mentioned:

    First, I am not in favor of eliminating video game discussion from Lit. The name is Literature, but the reality is that we're a place for discussing the entire Expanded Universe. Arguably, KotOR is a lot more significant to the EU than half the novels released this year. So, game-related discussion is appropriate, so long as it sticks to story elements and not gameplay elements. And, honestly, I don't think the discussion that we do can be just translated into Games---in my experience it's an entirely different atmosphere and community.

    Second, we can't ignore/restrict authors' off-site content. Some authors, such as John Jackson Miller, have commentary on their website that's very interesting and pertinent to our discussions. If, say, Traviss' posts on her FAQ made Litizens angry, that's not our fault. It's her choice to post that type of thing in the public domain, for better or worse. Now, ideally, Traviss' FAQ really shouldn't be brought up much, because it's just not relevant to the stuff that should be the focus in Lit. And if it is, we should keep it under control, just like any other controversial nugget of information.

    Third, as Havac says, criticism that comes without having read the book (or comic, or whatever) can still be legitimate criticism. I'm in favor of cracking down, but I do not agree with banning it outright. The example of a hamster killing Luke may sound silly, but we deal with stuff like that just about every book nowadays (e.g. "Daala is now the CoS of the Galactic Alliance", "Darth Vader founded the Rebellion", etc.) We need to make sure that pre-release whining doesn't take over the threads, but we also recognize that sometimes you can judge a book by it's summary. Our job is not to eliminate criticism. Our job is to prevent it from getting out of hand. IMHO.

    That said, I agree that the "serial-haters" need to be reigned in. If a user doesn't do anything but whinge about a certain topic, then they need to be told to reduce their bitching or stay away from the topic.

    Some other stuff:

    Re: Author interviews: we've discussed this a bit in Mod Squad and we agree that doing some author interviews would be great. We haven't yet worked out the how and when, though.

    Also, I'm open to the idea of having separate continuity discussion threads. It seems to be working well for our Clone Wars TV series coverage, and I think we could easily make it work for novels. For example, rather than just having "The Official [Novel] Discussion Thread", we could have "The Official [Novel] Discussion Thread" and "The Official [Novel] Continuity Discussion Thread." If that seems like too many stickies, then we could have the main thread stickied, and the continuity thread "loose." I think this would help barricade off a large portion of the, er, overly enthusiastic discussion we get. [face_thinking]

    More later...
  25. rhonderoo

    rhonderoo Former Head Admin star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 7, 2002
    Again, I don't think anyone is talking about changing Lit rules, here. So why would you make it a concrete rule that someone can't discuss the game? If the discussion is one where it only gets sidetracked for a limited amount of time, or others can join in, no big deal. It appears you guys are thinking we're saying you can only have it one way or the other, when we're not. You're using words like "eliminating game discussion" or "banning" people who have not read material outright from the discussion. Maybe I'm having trouble clarifying what I mean by the softer element of modding, I dunno. What we are saying (or I am, anyway), that this means more moderation and judgment calls on the mods part in a discussion. Actually, Lit users should expect that. If you don't like the way a conversation is going or think it's bad, it is absolutely your prerogative (one might even say duty) to re-direct it. That doesn't mean make a rule for every bothersome thing, but it does mean crack down on the folks doing it repetitively and set a standard of posting for everyone.

    Edit: Clarified my bold part as it confused even me.
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