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Post 1

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Back in 2009, the Post (under the direction of Skankyrich, Editor) and some other people, notably Pinniped and Galaxy Babe, hosted a h2g2 writing 'competition' called 'The Stretcher'. Here's the final summary by Pinniped: A57045602

What they did was rope 14 unsuspecting victims, including me, into participating in the closest thing they could design to a 'reality' show. For months, we wrote poems, short stories, and Guide Entries to order. The orders were weird...the 'defend the indefensible' challenge ended up with one entry on cannibals the Guide used (mine at A49887832 ) and one the BBC balked at (Tibley Bobley's at A49373210 , with PR discussion attached). I had an unfair advantage: I deal with 'sensitivity issues' as part of my job. smiley - winkeye Otherwise, how would you know how to skirt the 'eating people is wrong' taboo? (By making spam jokes. Brits find spam amusing, while we North Americans merely find it indigestible.)

Anyway, The Stretcher is well documented, week for week, argument by argument, slanging match by slanging match, on h2g2, you just follow the breadcrumbs. It resulted in a lot of hilarity, some yelling, and the resignation of a very fine Post Editor. I thought you might be interested in it as an example of community and writing dynamics.

Also, some of the writing pieces were way cool. My favourite was Trout Montague's 'An Elastic Night in the Tropics' A53073597 , in spite of the fact that it accused me (unfairly!) of being 'someone with a library of pornography.' I wouldn't call it a 'library'...smiley - whistle The 'critiques' were often hilarious: a cross between h2g2 and trying to write like that Simon Cowell guy talks.

If this is useful for your research at all, I know where a lot of the bodies were buried, and Galaxy Babe certainly knows the rest, as she was a judge. I'm sure she'd be able to help you with an investigation along the lines of Truth and Reconciliation...

I only entered 'The Stretcher' at the last minute to make up the numbers. I expected to get tossed out early, and go back to my regular work schedule. Instead, I ended up writing crazy assignments and being accused of all sorts of sins, mostly a fair cop...and then I 'won', which was ridiculous. I might point out that after that, nobody ever tried it again - the wear and tear was too awful. As Post Editor, I have steadfastly resisted any and all attempts to revive this horror. There are things for which the cyberworld is not ready...

If this is offtopic for your study, please ignore. I just thought I'd mention it.


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Post 2

Beeblefish

Thanks Dmitri! That is fascinating! Definitely something I'd like to nose around more. If I may ask some follow-ups before exploring those links:

1) This seems like it would be fun, but your intro makes it sound like parts got contentious, what happened?

2) Why did a Post editor end up resigning? Were you the post editor after?

3) Where did the idea come from?

thanks!

Beeblefish smiley - fish


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Post 3

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Hi, Beeblefish:

1. Contention: Some participants became discouraged or hurt by comments made by judges - you know how that is, it's meant to be funny, but sometimes it, well, isn't? Also, to put it bluntly, two of the judges got into a fight. At one time, there were substitute judges while they worked it out. Read the summary, you'll see did what, they were open about it. Look for the comment on 'throwing cot toys'.

2. The Post Editor ended up resigning because he was one of the judges in the aforementioned, er, discussion. Bel took over after that. At the time, my only involvement with the Post was supplying a cartoon series and the odd article. (This changed, as Bel needed editorial assistance, and I took over after her, when we went independent.)

3. The idea for the Stretcher was the Post Editor's, Skankyrich's. Rich did a lot to enliven the h2g2 Post, increase its readership and improve its range of copy, for which h2g2 should be ever-grateful. smiley - smiley The Stretcher was a good idea at the time (it drummed up business), but not one I'd like to see repeated for two reasons:

a. Staging a competition like that on a site like this one is unwieldy, to say the least. And requires too much work from volunteers, who have plenty of more interesting things to do.

b. Writers on this site are NOT in competition with each other. Instead, we are on an ever-evolving voyage of mutual discovery. We play off each other's ideas. We inspire parody, emulation, and snark. This creativity should never be forced into the narrow channel of trying to score points. We're too cool for that. smiley - winkeye


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Post 4

Beeblefish

Yeah that makes a lot of sense. Those things can get snarky and that kind of competition vibe is very note The Guide I agree!


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