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concern over writing workshops

Post 1


this seemed the most likely place to voice this concern, i hope there are enough people subscribed to this page to start a discussion about this.

i have noticed over the past few months that while peer review gets lots of attention and lots of feedback, the writing workshops don't fare so well. i haven't spent a lot of time digging deep on this, but i have made a few observations.

it seems that while many authors are being referred to the writing workshop and collaborative writing workshop, not many people are actually subscribed to those pages. so, in effect, the people who have written entries that they feel are complete and are looking to have them approved for the edited guide get loads of feedback while people who acknowledge their work needs help are being virtually ignored.

it's not entirely uncommon for an entry to the collaborative workshop to sit in queue for a week or several without receiving any comments whatsoever. i can't say this is exactly the same for the writing workshop, but this morning i did notice an entry there by a researcher that had asked in several places for feedback and eventually been referred to submit there. the entry has now been there for over a week without a single comment.

i don't know if the job of monitoring these forums falls to any specific group. it seems the best result would be from the community at large, not just a (comparitively) small group of volunteers. but how do we make the community aware that these places exist and that there is a need for feedback?

and on a minor note, i'm on my way offline for now, don't think i've posted and run if i'm not around for a few days altho i'll try very hard to get back here before monday. i'd really like to know if anyone else has noticed these things, and if anyone has any good ideas to correct them.

concern over writing workshops

Post 2


The alternative writing workshop is currently getting a great deal more traffic, partially from the UnderGuide movement.

By the way, I've noticed the same things. I'm glad someone is trying to bring this to the attention of the general community smiley - ok

(Official guru answer) The best way to get anything done is to start doing it yourself. This can lead to a better traffic and a better response system.

(My actual answer) The scouts and many regular contributors wish that they could comment more. You're not alone in this. I'm a hypocrite in wanting it done, but not acting. I think the reason that some that some people don't comment is that they don't see it as necessary. I've heard this described as 'natural selection'. I call it apathy (Once again, I'm a hypocrite in this)

Another good way is to form a society or group to advance the flow and comment of Workshop entries. I'm sure many good entries are lost in it every week from an apathy of contributors.

**Extra bonus comment- newbies, who by definition have inferior entries to the regular EG contributors like Demon Drawer or Jimi X flood the workshops, and it is unregulated. People see this flood of newbies with inferior entries and would rather see better entries be commented on. A little harsh, but that's how I see it.**

My smiley - 2cents

smiley - blacksheep

concern over writing workshops

Post 3

Mikey the Humming Mouse - A3938628 Learn More About the Edited Guide!

People seem to agree that it should be done, but no one is jumping to do it -- largely because the entries in Peer Review tend to be more interesting to comment on, the authors are often more responsive, the process is often more rewarding, etc.

If we want to get more people commenting in the writing workshops, then I think we might have better luck if there was some kind of incentive built in. I've heard that there's a queue of people waiting to be scouts -- what if being a regular contributor and helper outer and friendly joe in the writing workshops got you bumped up the queue for being a scout?

Just a thought...

smiley - mouse, who admits that she tends to think to much about carrots and sticks for most people around here...

concern over writing workshops

Post 4


thank you both for your comments smiley - smiley

i first discovered this when i put an entry into collaborative workshop which sat there for a week or so with no comments. i had never even looked at the workshops before, because i didn't feel i ever had a need to. so when i finally had a cause to use the workshop i was a bit disappointed to find that it was basically useless.

i did some crowing in my own circles, advertising my project among my friends and finally got one other person to visit the workshop thread. she said she had never been there either. that week i subscribed to the collaborative workshop and the flea market. i've given some feedback here and there, but i don't know how helpful i've been.

after i posted earlier and logged off, i had a brief idea about incentive, like you mentioned, mikey. i don't know much about the scouts scheme, but i assume the number of scouts is limited because the number of picks has to be limited to keep entries from piling up on subs.

i wonder if it would be possible to set up something like a 'junior scout' program. i haven't really thought out the mechanics of this. these volunteers could be responsible for monitoring the more neglected workshops and helping contributors find the right resources. they could have access to the scouts egroup for advice and direction, or they could have their own and network amongst themselves. they wouldn't get picks for obvious reasons, but maybe when a full scout position opened up it could be offered to them first.

this is something i came up with on the spur of the moment, so if it's a crap idea, i apologize.

concern over writing workshops

Post 5

Mort - a middle aged Girl Interrupted

I think that sounds like a very constructive idea.

Those wannabe scouts will be given some involvement in the review system while they wait for a vacancy for a scout position, reducing their frustration!

It will show them the sort of commitment that it involves, and show Anna that they are able to commit themselves to the necessary time and effort, demonstrating it with practical input.

It will give them experience in liasing with researchers on entries, and use the tips they have learnt from lurking about peer review to help bring the 'raw entries' up to EG standard - or closer to it.

It will mean constant input on the entries put into AWW, with the necessary tidy up etc the list needs sometimes.

Researchers will not feel that it is a black hole and that they are wasting there time, although i do acknowledge that some people do put an effort into giving feedback on entries (before i get lynched smiley - winkeye)

Whether or not this can be run as an unofficial or official thing, i dont know, you would need Italic feedback I guess.

If there are an excess of wannabe scout volunteers then it does seem a sensible idea to use their enthusiasm in a part of the guide in need of a bit of support, that is relevant to scouting.

But this is not my area of expertise so i could be missing some vital points!


concern over writing workshops

Post 6


it also wouldn't *have* to be a stepping stone for full-scouthood, altho it could be used that way. i've considered becoming a scout in the past but two things have held me back: having to make a dedicated contribution on a schedule, because my internet access is sometimes intermittent even if i appear to be around pretty much of the time. i wouldn't want to be the one getting constantly told off for not turning in picks on time. the other reason is that i know there are a limited number of scout positions available so i figured the wait for a response would be interminable, and sometimes i get impatient. that, and i didn't want to take up space that someone more useful than myself could fill smiley - winkeye

in other words i'm saying that what i'm proposing would be ideal for me, especially since it's something i've already started doing. i think making it an official scheme would generate more interest for it tho, and i think the more people involved in this the better. these workshops could be great tools for the guide if they ever realized their potential.

properly promoted it would be an easy way to get more people writing as well. for people who wanted to make some kind of contribution but didn't want the hassle of researching and writing their own entry they could share their expertise and ideas by making a simple comment on a conversation, which is something they're doing anyway in conversations all over the site. conversely people who didn't mind writing the articles but didn't have the time to do full research could simply compile a conversation thread into something relevant with a minimum of fact checking. all this generates more quality stuff for peer review with the added benefit that it's already been through a preliminary review thread.

the weekly talking point is a wildly successful means of compiling a collaborative entry. the writing workshop and collaborative writing workshop are potentially pages of *talking points* that are too far removed from the limelight. they just need more poeple to tend to them and nurture them (and advertise them!).

concern over writing workshops

Post 7

World Service Memoryshare team

Hi Everyone - thanks for you comments.

All very good points! I'll make sure I direct wannabe Scouts towards the review forums. It probably won't be any more formal than that, but it's something!

smiley - smiley


concern over writing workshops

Post 8

Whoami - iD dislikes punctuation


1 point so far: Jodan - we were *all* newbies once. I always try to pick 1 in 3 of my Entries from someone who either I can't remember recommending for before, or who hasn't had their own standalone Edited Entry before. That doesn't mean I'm willing to compromise on standards.

Whoami? smiley - cake

concern over writing workshops

Post 9

Ace Rimmer [pretending]

Just to add my opinion as well.
I have also experienced this long waiting for an entry in CWW, and I will from this point on try and post to it as much as I can.

concern over writing workshops

Post 10


Well that's very noble Whoami?, not giving *all* of the entries to people like DD and Jimi.

Do many other scouts do this?

smiley - blacksheep

concern over writing workshops

Post 11

Whoami - iD dislikes punctuation

Yes, they do. It's not unknown for an entry with good content but some writing difficulties to be picked and handed on to an experienced Sub, either.

Certainly I don't discriminate against experienced Authors - I look for the 3 sound picks. Where they came from is of little consequence provided they're worthy of Editing.

Whoami? smiley - cake

concern over writing workshops

Post 12


Though I feel we're drifting from the topic...

So, you're saying an entry with good content is more important than well written? That explains why a number of my entries have been recommended... smiley - biggrin

smiley - blacksheep

concern over writing workshops

Post 13

Mikey the Humming Mouse - A3938628 Learn More About the Edited Guide!

I think every scout has their own strategy. For example, when making my picks, I make my first of the three picks by starting out with the entries that have been in PR for the longest, and work my way backwards. I make my next of the 3 picks by doing a reverse sort on user number, so I'm starting with the newest users, and working my way backwards again. For my last pick, there's usually one I've had in mind out of things I've been watching in PR over the course of the month.

If all the scouts were using the exact same criteria, it wouldn't be fair to the people submitting to PR, and people would start to try and "game" the system. The fact that we all use different criteria and look for different things is what leads us to pick different entries, which is a good thing.

smiley - smiley
smiley - mouse

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