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Thread: Formalized procedure for becoming a "trusted author"?

  1. #11
    apollo13
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    The problem is, MNFF gets so many stories, there aren't enough betas to go around. The sites you are refferring to are not as large, and have maybe 5000 stories at the most.

    ~Evie

  2. #12
    Third Year Slytherin
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    Yes, and if a beta was required then the moderators would know the story was ready for posting when it went in queue. The moderators wouldn't have to spend all that time reading the stories, because the only stories to arrive in queue would be those that have already been vetted by a beta.
    But not all betas are good betas. Granted, many are. But there are some who have difficulty with editing and correcting stories. I'm not saying we have evil betas, just some who aren't the best and miss important things, myself included. (I've had two stories I beta'd rejected the first time through the queue for things like incorrect words and canon inconsistencies.)

    Smiles,
    Luna

  3. #13
    Nundu
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    Methinks this discussion is probably out of place on this thread, so moderators, feel free to redirect us!

    But not all betas are good betas.
    Very true. The boards I mention require either a PI certified beta or one they have tested and approved. There must be a level of quality to which the betas adhere.

    The problem is, MNFF gets so many stories, there aren't enough betas to go around. The sites you are refferring to are not as large, and have maybe 5000 stories at the most.
    But isn't the goal quality over quantity? What good is having a massive archive of fictions if poor quality ones are included?

    I just keep reading posts about the length of the queue and the fact that the moderators are overworked. My suggestion would relieve and distribute that burden so the moderators can better enjoy this volunteer job.

  4. #14
    babekitty_92
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    I think that both Beth and Roxy have made their points very clear - if you're good enough, they will contact you.

    My understanding also of 'perfecting your work' does not only consist of being wonderful with words, but also not needing someone to edit any grammatical errors, etc.

    I don't believe that saying 'YOU MUST HAVE YOUR STORY READ BY THE BETAS!' or having a group that checks it before the Mods sees it is actually worth the trouble, to be honest. I think it would make queue waits longer if you have to send it into one queue (I'm guessing here with how it would be set out) to be pre-validated and then have to wait longer for a Mod, only to find you may be rejected anyway? Doesn't make sense to me.

    I think maybe just let the Mods do their job. They are the best at it, they were the ones chosen for it and if they want help, they'll ask for it.

    I don't mean to be horrible, but yeah. I think I'll stay away from the suggestions area...

    Abbi

  5. #15
    Amaterasu
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    While I think the question is more out of a little pique rather that sheer curiosity, it's still a valid question, one I think hasn't been asked of the Moderators often enough before and one that they should have addressed completely in the past so that those that haven't been validated would know that it is not a matter of pick and choose or favoritism. Quite literally, Moderators remember those authors that they don't have to reject. They remember the ones that come through consistently well-written and without glaring errors. Many validated authors are former moderators, but there are quite a few that are nothing but simply the best authors on the site.

    My understanding also of 'perfecting your work' does not only consist of being wonderful with words, but also not needing someone to edit any grammatical errors, etc.
    I find this to be wholly inaccurate and egotistical. No matter how good the author, even professionals need some help with editing. To think that if you just try harder you'll get to the point where you don't need that person to edit your errors is simply setting yourself up for failure. Take a look through the stories of the moderators, former mods and validated authors. Each of their chapters has a line thanking their betas (or it should - all of them have one). Even the 'best of the best' on this site need a little help clearing up their errors and 'way with words'.

    There are a very few fanfiction authors that can get away with not using a beta, however the mandatory beta system does not work. I was one for one of those sites a few years ago, and there simply aren't enough betas of such quality on any given site to keep up with the sheer number of stories submitted. With all the whining that goes on about long queue times, I would think that this idea would be immediately rejected because it would only delay what is already a 'problem' for most authors. But even if every author agreed to the system, there just aren't enough betas. Not to mention that you're asking the betas to read whatever comes across.

    The current beta system that is in place allows authors the choice - get a beta and stand a better chance of going through the queue without a problem - or don't - and face up to the fact that you're likely to get rejected. It also gives the betas a choice. They advertise their services on the site, or respond to requests, but they only have to beta the stories that they are interested in and have time for. In many ways, beta-ing is just as draining and time-consuming a project as modding, depending on the number of authors one takes on. In some ways it is harder. A mod has only to read the story and, if it is riddled with errors and plot problems, reject it. A beta has to look at that same story and try to help the author fix those problems.

    MNFF has always, in the past, been about quality. But it is not the moderators' job to make sure you get a beta - and quite frankly, some of the stories are beyond help, even with a beta. Put simply, you'd be forcing betas to try to correct things that are impossible to correct. Talk about cruel and unusual punishment. No, the mandatory beta system does not work and for a site that gets close to five hundred submissions per week, ninety percent of which will have to be rejected for poor quality, the logistics are impossible. While the point is quality over quantity, to implement the system you have in mind, at least half the hopefuls would have to be denied the ability to even submit stories just to make it possible to get a story posted in less than a month.

    And let's be honest here - while most authors consider it something of an honor to be accepted for the first time on MNFF after several rejections, how many authors would care about that honor if it took them a month to get a story posted?

    However, the original question was answered and I will leave it to the mods to determine how to address the other suggestions put forth in this thread. I just couldn't resist putting in my two Knuts on this matter.

  6. #16
    Potions Mistress Hufflepuff
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    Additionally, on the topic of requiring a certain beta or group of betas: This only works if the author actually UTILIZES the beta's suggestions. I've been a beta for about three years now, and I can count stories that have been rejected from MNFF's archive. Not because there was something that I missed, or hadn't suggested, but that the author chose not to incorporate my suggestions. And then when it got rejected, they say, "But I had a beta!"

    Ultimately, even if MNFF required a PI certified beta for all chapters, the mods would still have to carefully read each chapter, for the reason that some authors just don't take the constructive criticism of a beta very well.


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  7. #17
    Fifth Year Gryffindor
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    Another thing to add on the topic of betas--

    Both as an author and a moderator, I have noticed that betas are much more successful when they've established a relationship with the writer. If you work with the same beta (and take that beta's suggestions) over the course of the story, they get to know your characters, your plots, etc, and have a very specialized way of commenting. I know that my beta and I have a particular style in which we work together. In the mandatory-beta-system, an author wouldn't necessarily get the same beta and, while they would still improve, it might not be as consistent throughout the story.

    Thanks to opaleye for the lovely banner!

  8. #18
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    A mod has only to read the story and, if it is riddled with errors and plot problems, reject it. A beta has to look at that same story and try to help the author fix those problems.
    *removes invisibility cloak* Hi, I'm Nicole and I don't post here often enough.

    In addition to simply hitting the "reject" button, (which is shiny, red and a lot of fun . . . NOT. It's gray and sticky, actually, covered with critters that bite.) we also have to give the author a push in the right direction. As someone who deals with a LOT of rejections modding Dramione and R/Hr, it gets difficult finding new and polite ways to say the same things over and over again with an author who refuses to (a) listen to their beta or (b) find one to utilize in the first place. It's like what Amaterasu said about even the best writers not being perfect. That's what my first "hate mail" as a newbie moderator was about, hehe. A published author was rejected by a measly mod . . . *gasps!* The world is over!

    You may be: published, fighting off fangirls/boys, on your one hundreth chaptered fic, etc, but you are not perfect. Validated authors take what advise has been offered to them and try to learn from it each time they write. They use it as a stepping stone and, once they have the whole fanfiction quirk list mastered, then MAYBE we'll validate them. (kidding. kind of.)
    In my opinion, one should not *expect* that sort of honor, they should covet it when approached with the opportunity.

    I'm shutting up now, guys -
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  9. #19
    Nundu
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    I guess I'm not making my point very well.

    First of all, the sites I with which I am most familiar concerning submissions are recognized for the high quality of fanfiction they accept. They do not tolerate poor spelling, poor grammar, poor plotting and pacing or poor characterization. They are far less lenient in the 'shipping' allowed (there are some truly bazaar ones around!) than MNFF.

    These are all things important to me when I read a story. I cannot count the number of times I've hit the 'back' button within two or three paragraphs simply because I find a story unreadable. Not because of the 'shipping', necessarily. A number of times I have found myself drawn into a story about a relationship I would never consider (I am a stickler for canon, all the way through the epilogue), not because of morbid curiosity, but rather the story was so well written it was a joy to read.

    I say these things to assure you that quality writing is the first thing I look for in selecting a story as a reader.

    The sites I've worked with in the past assign each author a tried and proven beta (either utilizing PI betas or the site has a board of betas who have gone through a test similar to that of PI). The author works with that beta exclusively. The beta works on every piece the author wants to submit. I know with my betas a piece will go back and forth several times, tweaking and polishing. With one of the sites I use the individual author doesn't even do the final submission. When the piece is ready and both author and beta are satisfied, the beta submits the piece under the author's name.

    With the other site if there is something the beta has suggested and the author disagrees, the author can disregard the beta's suggestions and submit the piece. The beta can also contact the moderator who posts the stories and inform them of the beta's concern. What happens at that point (if the beta feels strongly enough to lodge the concern) is the story is read and discussed on the moderator/beta private forum and a consensus is reached about the story in question.

    The advantage of both systems is generally it only takes one moderator to post stories, since the moderator(s) do not have to read each and every story. That is the job of the beta. The moderators can trust the betas to do the job properly because they know the betas are reputable and proven. The authors develop a rapport with their beta, who knows where the story is going, knows the development of the character and knows that particular author's weaknesses (commas, self-insertions, out-of-character, etc.). A good beta will, like a real life editor, help the writer grow and learn.

    This post has stretched ridiculously long, but I hope I have better explained the system I've seen working very well for several reputable sites.

  10. #20
    apollo13
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    That may work very well for other sites, but MNFF is so huge, it just couldn't physically happen. I think the quality of fics on MNFF is already very good, and it should be the authors choice on whether they get a beta or not. Granted, having a beta is probably best, but I don't think people should be forced into getting beta's - that may cause resentment towards the beta's, and then it would be less likely that people would listen to them.

    ~Evie

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