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  1. #1
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    About SPEW, SPEW Rules, and How to Join

    The Society for the Promotion of Evaluations for Writers
    (by Readers)


    “Better reviews make better fanfics.”

    Head of SPEW: Jessica/ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor
    Vice President of SPEW: Soraya/babewithbrains



    SPEW is dedicated to leaving quality reviews - and having a lot of fun doing it. Membership comes with review requirements, a “newbie tiara” that might or might not be cursed, and a complimentary straightjacket. We are, in short, an insane but dedicated branch of the fandom.

    To find links to the author pages of all our members, please visit our account at the main fanfiction site by clicking here.

    For examples of the SPEW-quality reviews our current and future members should aim for, please visit our Review Archive forum by clicking here.

    Review Schedule
    Reviews are due once a month, and the "review schedule" is as follows:


    • On the 16th of each month: A new Review thread is posted. Sign-ups for any monthly SPEW activities open.
    • The last day of the reviewing month, which is ALWAYS the 15th Midnight PST, Review and Monthly Activity threads are closed. All monthly requirements must be completed by then.


    Review Requirements
    Every review period, SPEWers must post in the review thread with:

    At least three quality reviews.

    OR

    Two reviews and a note certifying participation in at least one of the following:


    • SPEW Buddies or other SPEW-based activity (whether it qualifies as a review replacement will be noted in any activity thread)
    • Class Activity at Hogwarts
    • Story or Drabble Challenges outside of SPEW
    • Membership in another beta boards group with monthly requirements (SBBC, PA, moderator duty)
    • Review Award Committee Duties


    If a SPEWer has not completed all their reviews by the time the thread has been closed, they will be contacted by the Head of SPEW and will be required to turn in their missing reviews plus one penalty review by no later than the 1st of the following month..

    Peer Reviews
    In addition to SPEW reviews, SPEW members are required to complete one peer review of another SPEWer's review thread. The rules for this activity will be explained at more length in the SPEW Review forum and stickied for your reference and convenience.

    Each month, to maintain membership, SPEWers must complete all the required activities. Peer reviews and activities may be completed anytime between the beginning of the new review period (the 16th of the month) to the last day of the current review period (the 15th of the month), at which point the threads will be closed and all further submissions will be considered late. Late submissions happen, as everyone is busy, but in order to remain in good standing with the group, all late reviews must be turned in by the 1st. Penalties and specifics will be posted in the SPEW rules.

    Current SPEW Events
    AIM Chats: Neither required nor official, SPEW chats are still nearly constant, and usually quite fun.

    SPEW Buddies: A good way to get to know fellow SPEWers. Participants are randomly assigned a buddy. They must review at least one story by their buddy, and are encouraged to talk about writing, life, and anything else that comes to mind.

    SPEW Review Award: Within SPEW there is a committee which meets at the end of every review period, reads the reviews of their fellow SPEWers, and honours one outstanding achiever per period. While this portion of SPEW is currently on hiatus, we would love to bring it back by popular demand.

    SPEW Review Most Improved Award: This award is determined by the RAC and handed out when it seems appropriate or if a member has taken great and meaningful strides to improve their reviews.
    Last edited by ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor; 02-09-2014 at 10:18 AM.
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  2. #2
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    SPEW Rules

    I. Forum Rules
    SPEW members must abide by all forum rules. They should be polite in their dealings with moderators and other authors on the forums, as well as on the MNFF main site.


    II. Requirements
    Members must post in compliance with the current review requirements, which are: three reviews + one peer review, or two reviews + one review replacement (as specified in both the Monthly Requirements and in the About SPEW section) + one peer review. Review periods start on the 16th of the month before and end on the 15th of the current month. For instance, the March Review Period begins on February 16th and ends on March 15th. No consideration for shorter or longer months will be awarded.


    III. Review Content and Quality
    Members’ reviews should include some or all of the following:


    • Grammar and/or spelling corrections.
    • Comments on writing style, canon accuracy, and character and plot development.
    • Use specific examples from the story to illustrate a point without quoting multiple sentences or too often.
    • If issuing constructive criticism, be worded in such a way as to be helpful to the author, rather than hurtful.


    Members’ reviews should NEVER include:


    • Incorrect grammar or spelling.
    • Personal insults against the author.
    • Put-downs or criticism that is unlikely to help the author.
    • Excessive use of exclamation points, fangirly phrases or slang terms, netspeak, or repetitiveness.


    Several guides to writing great reviews are available to you as members of SPEW. If you are having trouble crafting the reviews you think you are capable of, consult these guides or one of the SPEW administrators for help.

    Reviews written before the current review period are permitted, but the review cannot be time-stamped more than 90 days before the beginning of the review period in order to properly reflect your current skill level.


    IV. Beta Forums and Archive Decorum
    SPEW members are encouraged to be active and helpful members of the forums, posting well thought out and on topic responses to posts. Any member of SPEW found to be breaking rules or poorly representing SPEW on the forums or anywhere in the fandom is subject to disciplinary actions, including removal from SPEW. I've done this once; I'd really rather not do it again.


    V. Hiatuses
    If a SPEW member realises that they will be unable to hand in reviews and participate in other SPEW activities for a considerable length of time, he or she may contact the Head of SPEW and request to go on hiatus. Members on hiatus will remain in the usergroup, but will not be allowed post in the SPEW forum or participate in SPEW activities during their hiatus unless otherwise specified. They are, however, allowed in SPEW chats. They may return without reapplying.

    When requesting to go on hiatus, a member must include their reasons, and also an estimation of how long they plan on being away. A hiatus will typically last for at least 2 months, and a maximum of 6. The member will contact the Head of SPEW before the planned return, which will be announced in the Babble by the Head of SPEW. Any hiatus lasting longer than six calendar months will result in automatic removal from the group.

    Hiatuses will be awarded on a case-by-case basis. Acceptable reasons for hiatus include: lack of internet connection; limited free time due to school, work, moving, etc.; family reasons; and unforeseen circumstances out of the member's control. Reasons that will NOT result in granted hiatus are: having Strikes (Strikes will be explained in Article IX) on file; not feeling like reviewing; disinterest in SPEW; desire to participate in other forum activities over SPEW; and hiatus requests submitted after the 5th of the month. Your SPEW Monarch reserves the right to deal with any hiatus-related matters not outlined here as she sees fit.

    SPEW members are allowed up to six months total per year (the running total starting with the first day of the first hiatus). If a member is granted a hiatus every other month, that is acceptable though not desirable; if a member takes seven months at a time, that is not acceptable. The latter shows lack of interest in the group or lack of time to participate — both of which signify that leaving the group is the best course of action.


    VI. SPEW Writing Activities
    Occasionally, we here at SPEW host story-writing activities and exchanges for our members. While we like to have fun and get creative, all writing activities must fall under the jurisdiction of the MNFF archive rules of submission. These rules can be found on the archives under Rules. They are set in stone, so assume they are unless an activity thread specifically states otherwise. Failure to follow these guidelines can result in disciplinary action.

    Likewise, punctuality in these cases is key. Unless otherwise specified in the activity, all writing activities will operate under the same late/incomplete guidelines as monthly requirements, as outlined in Article IX, including the penalties listed there.


    VII. Points
    Membership in SPEW comes with at least 5 points for completed monthly requirements. Points are awarded to members who complete their three story reviews and one peer review OR who complete two story reviews, one review replacement, and one peer review. Rankings (which will be detailed in the next article) will affect the number of points awarded to each member, but any member who completes their requirements on time will receive no fewer than 5 points.

    In addition to this, members will receive a 'bonus' at the end of the points term for their work during that time. All members who complete requirements for every review month during that time are eligible, even if the reviews were completed late. While late requirements (please see notation in Article IX for what this term means) receive no monthly points, but you are still eligible for the end-of-term bonus as long as you are current by that time. End of term bonuses are determined by ranking. That being said, if a member accrues a Strike (which are detailed in Article IX) during that time, that member forfeits their end of term bonus


    VIII. Rankings
    New to SPEW is a ranking system. There will be four rankings: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze.

    Platinum is the highest ranking. In order to attain Platinum status, a member must: be a member of the group for at least three months, hold an average review score (which are marked by the RAC) of 16-18 points for that period of time, and not have received any penalties or disciplinary action in that period of time. Platinum status members are rewarded 15 points per month for completed requirements due to the hard work they put in to produce quality reviews and stay in good standing. In order to retain Platinum status, a current Platinum-status member must have averaged 16-18 points for all reviews turned in for the previous points term. If you are granted Platinum status near the end of term, unless your review quality plummets in that short period of time or you suddenly rack up a penalty, you will remain at Platinum status. To ascend to Platinum status from a lower ranking, you must average 16-18 points by the end of the current points term and have no penalties levied against you in that time period. If your review quality diminishes over the course of the points term, your ranking can and probably will descend from Platinum status. The end of term bonus for Platinum Status is 25 points.

    Gold is the next ranking in the system. To attain Gold status, a member must: be a member of the group for at least three months, hold an average review score of 13-15 for that period of time, and not have received any penalties or disciplinary action in that period. Gold status members are rewarded 12 points per month for completed requirements. While Gold status is less difficult to achieve than Platinum, it still requires dedication and hard work and is rewarded in kind. In order to retain Gold status, a current Gold status member must have averaged 13-15 points for all reviews turned in for the previous points term. If you are granted Gold status near the end of term, unless your review quality sinks drastically or you rack up a penalty in that period of time, your Gold status should carry through to the next term. To ascend to Gold status from a lower ranking, you must average 13-15 points by the end of the current points term and have no penalties levied against you in that time period. If your review quality diminishes over the course of the points term, your ranking can and probably will descend from Gold status. The end of term bonus for Gold Status is 20 points.

    Silver is the third ranking awarded. In order to attain Silver status, a member must: be a member of the group for at least three months, hold an average review score of 10-12 for that period of time, and not have received any penalties or disciplinary action in that period. Silver status members are rewarded 8 points per month for completed requirements. While Silver status is less difficult to achieve than Platinum or Gold, it still requires focus on the important aspects of reviewing and upon improvement. In order to retain Silver status, a current Silver status member must have averaged 10-12 points for all reviews turned in for the previous points term. If you are granted Silver status near the end of term, unless your review quality sinks or improves drastically or you rack up a penalty in that period of time, your Silver status should carry through to the next term. To ascend to Silver status from a lower ranking, you must average 10-12 points by the end of the current points term and have no penalties levied against you in that time period. If your review quality diminishes over the course of the points term, your ranking can and probably will descend from Silver status. The end of term bonus for Silver Status is 15 points.

    The final ranking is Bronze. This is reserved for any members who have either been with the group for less than three months or do not achieve an average score of 10 or higher. All Bronze members receive 5 points for requirements turned in on time. This is also a chance for SPEW to attract more casual members. Not everyone is able to put in the work required to achieve a higher ranking, and that is okay! As the leader of SPEW for nearly three years, I have always held and still do that reviewing is for everyone, as is SPEW. If you'd like to give SPEW a try but don't feel compelled to write 1500 word masterpiece reviews, then this is the chance for you to earn points for something you probably do anyway while giving yourself a chance to rub elbows with some of the more prolific reviewers on the site and pick up a trick or two. If at any time you decide you'd like to climb the rankings, all you have to do is continue to aim higher and put in the effort, and results speak for themselves. The end of term bonus for Bronze Status is 10 points.

    Lastly, hiatus does affect your ranking. When a member requests a hiatus and it is granted, the member will retain their current ranking. However, that member will forfeit any monthly points or end of term bonuses. In short, if you go on hiatus, the only points you can receive are for non-hiatus months' activities.


    IX. Disciplinary Action
    Stuff happens. We all know it does. However, when you commit to something, failure to complete a task usually comes with some sort of penalty. SPEW is no different, but with past experiences in mind, we're going to deal with the varying ways one might stray from the path in accordance with the degree of severity.

    With this in mind, we will institute a Strike system. Strikes are assigned for offences of varying severity, and Strikes drop off after one calendar year after being accrued (If you get a strike on March 1st 2014, as of March 1st 2015, you no longer have that particular strike.) They are also cumulative. If a member reaches five Strikes, that member is suspended. Any strikes assigned after a suspension will result in expulsion until such time as the member's previous strikes fall off after a year and put the member below five strikes.

    Strikes will stay on a member's record for the assigned period of time, even if they leave the group and return at a later date.

    A member who has strikes on their record is still eligible to earn monthly points, but ONLY if they do not accrue any strikes within that particular review period. If you, say, are given a strike on March 1st, you are not eligible for any points for the March Review Period. HOWEVER, if that strike was due to incomplete or late requirements from the previous month, then the member is still eligible to receive points in March.

    Late requirements are termed as monthly requirements that were not finished by the assigned deadline (the 15th of each month) but ARE completed by the extended deadline (the 1st of the following month). As mentioned earlier, late requirements will NOT be awarded points, but they also will not count as a Strikes. In short, if you're late every month, your ranking won't be affected as long as you finish them by the 1st and keep in contact with your SPEW Monarch.

    Incomplete requirements are termed as monthly requirements that are partially fulfilled but not completed by the Late Requirement deadline. For instance, if you do your three reviews but do NOT complete your peer review or finish it late, your requirements for that month are considered Incomplete. Incomplete counts as one Strike against your record in SPEW.

    Failed compliance is termed as monthly requirements that are not completed at all, either by the monthly deadline or by the Late Requirement deadline. As this shows a severe lack of effort on the reviewer's part, Failed Compliance counts as two Strikes against your record.

    For most things, there is an Other category. This encompasses your behavior both on MNFF and in the fandom at large. If you are caught acting inappropriately outside of SPEW or representing the group in a bad way, your Monarch can and will dole out punishment. These punishments will vary between a sternly-worded PM or email to expulsion from the group or even banning from MNFF entirely. While the latter is by far extreme, if your behavior is so crass and offensive that you are kicked out of MNFF, trust me...you've got bigger problems.

    As always, all infractions will be considered on a case-by-case basis, but few exceptions will be made for these guidelines and will require the member in question to make a compelling case in their favour in order for me to overturn a penalty.


    X. Suspension
    Suspension is termed as the cessation of a member's rights and privileges as a SPEW member for a finite amount of time. Suspensions from strikes will be three months in length, but Suspension garnered from other forms of behavior correction can be for longer or shorter periods, depending on the severity of the offense and the SPEW Monarch's ruling on the matter. Under a Suspension, a member forfeits: any points earned for that entire term, the right to participate in SPEW activities and exchanges (including writing activities and chats), their current ranking, and being allowed to post in any SPEW forum during their Suspension. There are no monthly requirements for suspended members, but adherence to the requirements guidelines after a suspension is key.

    Any member who is suspended will have their number of strikes allowed reduced to three, which puts a premium on improved behavior. Once a year has passed after a Suspension, the number of strikes will increase to five once again, and that Suspension will 'drop off'. That being said, records of all strikes and suspensions will be retained, and these are still mitigating factors in any future judgments that might be made either for or against that member. For instance, if a member is suspended for three months of Failed Compliance, I may be less inclined to approve a hiatus at a later date for "I don't have time", even after the year has passed.


    XI. The "Freebie"
    Another addition to SPEW will be the SPEW 'freebie'. We here at SPEW realise that things do happen at unexpected times, and we don't wish to penalise you for that if it can be avoided. So, there will be one 'freebie' issued to each member per year (if one is used for, say, March, then you will not get another one until March of the following year). This free pass allows a member to turn in their late monthly activity and/or late review(s) by the 20th (five days late), no questions asked, without any penalty or repercussion. If a member chooses to exercise this option, they must notify the Head of SPEW as soon as possible but no later than the day after the review period ends (the 16th). Any reviews turned in under this rule are still eligible to receive points, the SPEW Review Award, and/or the SPEW Review Most Improved Award in the period for which the reviews/requirements were late.

    If a SPEWer requests their freebie and still turns in their review within the original review period, then their free pass will still be available for them to use at a later date. If a SPEWer requests their freebie and fails to meet its deadline, then they lose the use of that freebie for four months, and the member will then fall under the jurisdiction of the late/incomplete/failed compliance policies.

    This freebie is not eligible for use on deadlines for story exchanges or other SPEW activities outside of monthly requirements.

    XII. Wrap-Up
    All questions regarding the SPEW rules should be directed to your SPEW Monarch's PM box and NOT publicly. If an amendment or an addendum needs to be made, I will announce it, but it's inappropriate for public debates to take place over policy when I am perfectly reasonable and willing to listen to what you have to say in a one-on-one conversation.
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  3. #3
    'Til the end of the line Ravenclaw
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    How to Join SPEW


    To apply for SPEW membership, please complete the following form and PM it to ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor. By PMing, you agree to abide by all SPEW rules and, should you be accepted, have time to devote to SPEW. In the past, we have had a minimum post requirement of 75, but as there isn't a great deal of activity on the forums, this requirement has been reduced to 10 posts. If you do not meet the 10 post requirement, I suggest you start participating in the forums; no exceptions will be made for the minimum post rule. Not only will this help us take notice of you, it will help spring some life into the boards.

    The form:

    PHP Code:
    Links to five reviews posted on MNFF: (We would like to see a bit of a range some positive reviews and some more critical ones. Try not to show reviews that all point out the same problem. Try also to link to reviews written for a fairly wide variety of fics it makes it easier for us to get a good idea of your reviewing skillsWe specifically ask that none of your presented reviews are written for the same piece of fanfictionto get a better idea of how you approach different kinds of storiesAlsoplease note that if we feel that we do not get a good idea of your reviewing skills from these reviewswe may ask to look at some more.)

    How did you learn about us?
      
    Why do you want to join SPEWWhat do you feel you can gain from being a member of SPEW?
      
    How do you think you will benefit SPEW as a member? (This is your chance to brag a bit about yourselfWhat do you want us to notice about youWhy should we accept you?) 

    Please sign your PM with the name you would like your fellow SPEWers to refer to you by, should you be accepted. You must also submit a request to join the SPEW usergroup. This will be either approved or denied depending on the outcome of your application. I have never denied a SPEW application because I have never had reason to, so your chances are good. Thank you for considering SPEW!
    Jess WritesJess DrabblesJess DuelsJess PoetsJess Draws



    Gorgeous banner by Dinny / Evora.


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