This week: Meet Your Senior Mods: Part 3Edited by: Jace
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Hi, I'm Jace .
Welcome to this issue of the Noticing Newbies newsletter. Join me as I take you into some nooks and crannies of Writing.Com that you may not have found time to check out yet.
Don't forget to toss me a note about what you liked or didn't like in my column, or about a topic you'd like to see discussed. This newsletter is about and for you. And for you seasoned members, I hope you'll find something you can take from my ramblings.
Your Noticing Newbies Newsletter full-time Editors:
The StoryMaster The StoryMaster
Meet Your Senior Volunteers: Part 3
Along with the The StoryMaster and The StoryMistress , who own and operate Writing.Com, the task of helping to manage this complex site falls to a group of volunteers called the blue-case Moderators and purple-case Senior Moderators. Since I haven't time to interview every Moderator, I'm limiting this and the next several issues to the Senior Mods' and Diane 's thoughts about the site. Limiting the focus of these issues is IN NO WAY intended to lessen the tremendous impact that the Moderators have on the day to day operations of Writing.Com, who are truly the backbone of this site.
For this issue, I've asked long time member's Diane and Jeff to answer a few questions about my favorite site.
1. What were your first thoughts when you signed up for Writing.Com?
DIANE: I signed up because I loved telling stories and making up characters. I couldn't have imagined this site becoming as important as it is to me today. I was really just looking for somewhere to store my ideas. I wasn't expecting the sense of community or the feeling that I'd found people who could understand my need to create alternate realities with my words.
JEFF: When I first joined Writing.Com, I didn't have any set goals I wanted to accomplish; I was really just looking for a place to develop my writing. I remember being incredibly intimidated by the amount of activity and number of users on the site; so intimidated, in fact, that I spent the first few years with only two items in my port and just poking around exploring what was out there! There's definitely a lot to this site, and I try to keep that in mind when new users sign up. After a while you learn how things work and what aspects of the site you're interested in, but it can be tough to find your way around at first. That's why I'm always happy to help point a new user in the right direction so they can jump right in and get involved.
2. Did you ever realize your original dream? That is, why you signed up in the first place?
DIANE: Yes, I found that and so much more. I found a second home, not only for my words, but where I could be completely myself without fear of rejection.
JEFF: Oh yes, and more. I wanted to develop my writing, which I did through participating in contests and other writing activities, but I also found a sense of community which ended up being just as valuable. I'm not just an improved writer because of my time participating on WdC; I also have friends that I trust to help me with anything from problematic first drafts to finding all the typos I missed in my proofreads. At this point, I need to maintain a paid membership in order to host all the items, activities, and groups in my port that I currently manage, and I haven't once felt that the membership I pay for is overpriced or unnecessary. In fact, I'd probably pay a lot more for the privilege (but shh! Don't tell The StoryMaster that)!
3. Describe the site when you first joined in three or four sentences.
DIANE: The site was named Stories.Com when I joined. It was much more difficult to navigate than it is today because there was less documentation. But the feeling of community is the same. I was welcomed by so many and given honest feedback (although it was a bit on the generous side!) and encouraged to enter contests and share my writing.
JEFF: In a word: overwhelming. It was like your first visit to Disneyland. Or Costco. It's just such an impressive, sprawling site with so many things to do and see, it was difficult to figure out where to start first. Eventually, I did what most people do in this situation, which is find some small facet of the site that interested me (in my case, short story contests), get familiar with it, and branch out from there until you've explored the whole place top to bottom!
4. What made you stay a member of WDC for all these years?
DIANE: The creativity that encourages me to keep writing and sharing as well as the sense of community.
JEFF: The sense of community here is outstanding. For the most part, everyone is incredibly supportive and encouraging of others, especially once you've been here a while and get to know some of the other regulars ... many of whom really go out of their way to create memorable, exciting activities for the rest of the site. And I would be remiss if I didn't also mention the amazing features that The StoryMaster and The StoryMistress develop for Writing.Com. A large part of the appeal of this site is that there's always something new to see. Whether it's a tweak to the appearance of the site, the addition of entirely new features, or a new contest to try, there's always something new and exciting to explore both in terms of official updates and member-generated content.
5. What is your favorite feature on WDC?
DIANE: The Community Newsfeed! I find great contests and love seeing other members share their creativity and their lives with others on their newsfeed.
JEFF: There are so many! I think my current favorite would be the custom merit badges that you can have designed. Over the years there have been some really amazing updates, but now that members have the ability to commission custom merit badges for their various activities (or for the site as a whole) is really something special. Having been on the site for a number of years, I'll admit that there are times when a prize package or an offering for an activity got a little repetitive with the same awardicons and merit badges being offered by everybody. But now that special merit badges can be commissioned for any occasion, it allows activity organizers to create something unique and special to attract participants, which I think is an amazing feature that's already being put to incredibly good use.
6. Which one group, forum or item would you recommend to a Newbie? Why?
DIANE: "The Writer's Cramp" . It was the first contest I entered and still inspires me to write. It's hard to be critical of yourself when you only have 24 hours to write for a prompt. It encourages you to just let the ideas flow and worry about the technical stuff later.
JEFF: Honestly, it's not an item or a group or a forum at all ... I'd recommend the Community Newsfeed. It's just like a Facebook timeline and it's a wonderful way to see who's active and what's going on around the community. Obviously there are great static resources out there like the "Technical Support Forum" and "Non-Technical Support Forum" , but the community newsfeed is an amazing place to interact with other users, see who's working on what, and get to know the activities that people are talking about currently.
7. What advice would you give to a person who has just joined WDC?
DIANE: Review others! The best way to bring attention to your own portfolio is to get out there and review others. You can link an item that you'd like reviewed at the end of the review you give and ask for a return review.
JEFF: Introduce yourself to someone who seems like they know their way around. It can be an intimidating site, and even in general advice forums it can be a little fast-paced and intimidating. If you're just starting out here, find someone who seems to know their stuff and politely introduce yourself and mention that you're a newbie on the site. There are a million great resources on the site, but none even come close to the level of familiarity you can get from one-on-one guidance by another member who's been where you are.
8. Do you have any final comments?
DIANE: A reminder to all members that involvement is great, but don't get overwhelmed by joining too many groups or making too many commitments. Remember the reason you joined and stay true to that purpose. If you are here to write, be sure you make time to do that each day. If you joined to read, then don't get sidetracked by all of the activity and forget to read and review. Enjoy your time at Writing.Com.
JEFF: The one thing I would say is not to get discouraged. While this can be a wonderful community, there are also the same elements here you'll find on any website; namely, trolls and people looking to stir up trouble. They never last very long, though, so if you're first testing the waters of Writing.Com and you get a nasty review or someone is particularly abrasive in a message forum post or on your newsfeed, don't get discouraged, and don't give up on the site as a whole. Once you get past and ignore the troublemakers, I think you'll find this site is a wonderfully warm and welcoming community of writers and readers who - for the most part - support and encourage one another whenever they can.
I hope my readers will take a moment to thank them all for their insights and continued support WDC and its members.
Check out these Newbies (I've selected folks who have filled out their Biography or something in their Bio-Block). Take a moment to review something in their Port ... or just say hi.
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And from the mailbox about my last Noticing Newbies newsletter, "Meet Your Senior Mods: Part 2" .
From Quick-Quill : I joined Writing.com August of 2007. I was confused and intimidated by all I read and saw. I was a horrible reviewer. It was all I knew, and that wasn't much. It was the people here that encouraged me to take a reviewing class. I did and it made all the difference. I still fumbled around the first few years not doing too much but checking in now and then. When I got serious about my writing, Writing.com had the tools to help me. The site has improved vastly from what it was at the beginning and so has the participation and opportunities. I've had five stories published since I joined and now have my novel out to a publisher for consideration. I owe that to Writing.com.
Thanks for the positive note. Congrats on your publications and good luck with that novel.
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