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 Category:  Essay Non-Fiction
  Posted: December 16, 2018      Views: 187

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Also, l am a true poet, who believes there is a proper poetic form for each and every thing, and I love - more...

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Essay: Comments, Issues & Suggestions/Solutions
"A Better FanStory, in 2019" by Richard J

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"Comments, Issues & Suggestions/Solutions"
To Try and Help Better the Members' Experience On FanStory, In 2019
   I joined FanStory in 2006, and it is amazing the changes things here have gone through over the years … some good, some not so good, but for the most part, the progression seems to have been a positive experience for most.
   I do not have any particular gripes, per se. My aim is to offer that which I believe will better the site, our experiences, and enjoyablility for all members in general.
   FanStory has become one of the most expensive online writing sites; perhaps the most expensive, and for me, it definitely is. I've served on over two dozen writing sites since 1996, most of which were/are free, or cost a pittance in membership dues to belong, in comparison to the costs here.
   Then, the way our materialistic "pay to read and review, pay to enter contests, pay for most everything" system is set-up, definitely makes FanStory an unfriendly site for destitute or penniless writers, and for those whose lives allow little time to spend reviewing to earn enough Member Dollars to pay for having their writing read, critiqued, and enjoyed by others.
   In FanStory's support, we do have some great features over other writing sites, though, such as: Many more contests with cash and Member Dollar prizes, incentives of all sorts to improve on writing skills, various clubs, and some very good interest features, such as: Site news, a forum, writing classes, teachers and master writers who are willing to offer help in their reviews, or to answer questions and offer solutions when called upon, and many more.
   Mostly, I'd say the members here are above average in contentment over other sites, and I think this shows by virtue of the higher caliber in all genre of writing on Fanstory, as-well.

   I'll start with the common issues I hear about from my lady and fellow members, and from my own, in hopes that solving them might help make being a FanStory member a far better experience.
Things (I believe) we definitely need here:

I. A fully functional keyboard experience, where such things as apostrophies, dashes, ellipsis, emojis, etc; don't  turn into question marks (even free sites host a fully functional typing/font/communication system … in fact, I can think of none who don't, except here, and for the money we pay, we definitely should fully enjoy these features). Here is exactly how one experienced FanStory writer expressed it: "
Fixing the weird glitches that inserts question marks and other silly characters not typed by the writer which make their comments gibberish."
II. A spelling/definition dictionary, thesaurus, and rhyming dictionary (many free and/or less expensive sites furnish one or all of these for their members).
III. It is very difficult, if not seemingly impossible, with site-sponsored contests to know how one has done (unless, they win or place, of course), and whose writings to read and/or review from those who've entered).

IV. Spell checking throughout the site; especially, in the composing frame.
V. Contests that pit master and accomplished writers against inexperienced/beginner/novice writers are unfair, and this discourages those whom aspire to compete with a real chance to win, yet are made to vie against others on a par level far above their own. 
VI. It is said that favoritism dominates in the writing contests … that the same few seem to place and win – contest after contest. I have no way of knowing if there is any validity to this, other than the most skilled entrants are bound to dominate any writing contest.

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   I feel certain there are many more issues other members will mention, too.
   Below (by number corresponding to those above), are some suggested solutions.

I. A fully functional typing/font/communication experience, where such things as apostrophies, dashes, ellipsis, emojis, etc; don't  turn into question marks:
   Visit other sites to see how their systems work, and to possibly contact their administration to ascertain what they use; they might share their sources, if FanStory's does not know.
II. Dictionary, thesaurus, and rhyming dictionary:
   One would think our administration would have far better resouces for these items than I.
   Or, perhaps, others on here might.

III. The same notifiction of winners and entrants in site-sponsored contests should be made available to members as in member-sponsored contests:
   Follow the same system member-sponsored contests do, as it seems one system would be far more functional and useful for the site, than multiple versions; the site's system is onerous and unfriendly to use. One highly regarded member put it this way, and I quote: "
Consistency in posting results of contests so we do not have to fish around to find out who won and where entrants fell in the judging of those contests."
IV. Spell checking:
   Activate this feature consistently throughout the site.
V. Contests that pit master and accomplished writers against inexperienced/beginner/novice writers:
Have a beginner, intermediate, and advanced category, etc; contests that allow one to place, win, and gain encouragement and status, as they learn and improve in skill level.
   A valid concern is that too many, whom would otherwise be fine writers, are discouraged and/or disgruntled by this unfairness from entering unevenly matched contests, and quit trying or quit the site, altogether, because of this.

   Conducting skill lever catagory contests, such as one the following, might be a viable solution:

By Experience:
0 to 2 years
2 years to 5 years
5 years to 10 years
Over 10 years

By Wins:
O Wins
4 Wins/Places
8 Wins/Places
12 Wins/Places

By Skill Level:
Rookie Division .............. 0 Wins
Apprentice Division ....... 4 Wins
Journeyman Division ..... 8 Wins
Master Division ............ 12 Wins
Grandmaster Division .. 16 Wins

   Something "like" this (with penalties for dishonest fudging) should effectively ease controversy about favoritism and unfairness, and make competition more even. I think something should be undertaken to address this ongoing issue. Even if these ideas and comments aren't favored, perhaps, they'll spark some better ones … we can hope.
   If this thinking were to be adopted as a solution, one good suggestion may be be to involve the membership in this process by way of asking for ideas and a vote on approval, in as much that it will effect all contest writers. : )

(In the site's favor, I believe Michael Cahill's "First Win" contests popping-up for none winners only deserves our attentive note and highest accolades … how great is that, folks!)
VI. Favoritism dominates in the writing contests:
I imagine this issue could open a huge can of worms, but it's an ongoing topic among a somewhat broad faction of the membership, nonetheless … so, I felt obliged to mention it out of deference to everyone who's shared over the years that they believe it.
A long-tenured, highly regarded member stated verbatim: "
Elimination of favoritism in judging. Who ARE the committee members? Names should be posted so members know them. Are they independent (outside the site) or are they site members?"
(A note here: Though, I've won and placed in many contests and have been bested by well-deserving writers … there have been those who've won and placed over me I felt should not have; but, in the end it evens out, because I've placed or won over those I felt deserved to beat me, and I feel rather certain many others can say the same … LOL!)

   This concludes my input in an effort to try and help FanStory be a better place to call home, in 2019, and beyond, than it has ever been.
   Winning or placing in this (or, any) writing contest would be wonderful, but my hope is that, in some small way, something I've offered will have contributed to that effort in helping better the FanStory site, and in turn we'll all be happier campers – who want to keep this very interesting, never dull or complacent place viable and recommended to others, for many years to come.
: )

Fanstory-Suggestions For 2019 contest entry


Author Notes
Please, feel free to offer any well-meant, constructive critique you feel will help better my writing skills, bearing in mind that I am but a simple, common bard, who hopes he has offended no one.

Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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