Many, many moons ago (2012 I believe), I discovered a group on LinkedIn. This group was made up of a wonderful group of writers and a moderator who somehow wrangled the group on a weekly basis (RM York).
After a few years of submitting stories, Roy stepped down and turned the contest over to Alice and I.
We thought between the two of us we could handle the voting and moderating.
But then LinkedIn decided to limit its comment box to 750 characters. Not conducive to a 1200-word story.
In 2015, I created a website that piggybacked off my main hosting plan. We worked hard to move the entire contest over, create a voting plan, and spent a great deal of time tweaking settings to make it as user-friendly as possible.
We’ve changed the site to suit the writers, and unfortunately in doing so, we created extra work for the admins of the site in an attempt to make stories easier to find, stand out, edit, update, ease of voting and so much more.
For 5 years, Alice and I traded off contests, sharing the duties. But after 5 long years, she stepped away from the administrative side of the project to focus on her writing.
Now, a year later, I have found the workload (which was considerable for two people) has become too much for one person to manage.
Very much like Alice, I’ve found the 2-3 hours a week I spend on the site and contest are 2-3 hours that should be spent actually writing.
I’ve received four emails in the last two months from people expressing their dissatisfaction in the way I am running the contests and trying to keep up. One stated they haven’t participated in the contest because I don’t read through every story and sometimes one slips through that doesn’t have the requirements.
Taking in this criticism, I’ve decided that a change must be made.
Roy (the founder of this crazy party) and I have chatted a bit, and tossed around some ideas. Granting someone access to this site is not an option, there are ways someone could gain access to my other sites. And I don’t have time to create a tutorial on web design and HTML steps that would be needed.
Originally, my thought was eliminating the voting process from my end. You, as a group, would be welcome to come up with a voting system.
But after a few days of contemplation, I’ve realized that I’d still be doing a lot of the work but without any actual payoff for anyone.
To be clear, the site will stay up indefinitely, it’s the extra work voting creates I’m having a hard time keeping up with. So let’s start a discussion around a new voting process.
- Would a 48 hour period be better? Begin voting on Tuesday, ending on Thursday?
- Is there a backup voting process we can employ?
- Would anyone like to volunteer to be a backup?
- What other pain points am I missing?
I will still be posting writing prompts, but removing the additional story restriction.
I can still add the blue font color to stories and add them to the stories comment so folks can find them.
One of the emails complained that they were dissatisfied with the lag in time between emailing me an update and me getting to make the change. (a little caveat to that particular point – I got pretty spoiled over the years with a more fluid workday and consistent lunch hours, but this new job provides me little to no extra daytime hours to devote to anything other than work. And the voting period lands squarely in the middle of the day. In addition, the care of my 94 year old grandmother who has alzheimers has fallen to me. So there are times when I don’t check my email for 24 hours or more.) This particular person expressed dissatisfaction with my “inability to figure out why a comment editing plugin wasn’t working”.
As far as comment editing, I’ve reached out to the developer and have had conversations, it has to do with the cookies in your browser. If you post a story from your laptop, and then go to the website from your phone’s browser, you will not be able to edit the comment.
My suggestion is to post the FINAL draft. You’re welcome to email me if you realize a word in paragraph 4 is wrong, or you forgot to include the title. If you request a change in the comments, I will probably miss it, this site has 20,000+ comments, some stories get a lot of traction and sometimes it’s hard to keep up.
Another option would be to create user profiles for the regular authors, the only time you’d need to log in would be if the “edit” option isn’t there for that comment.
And lastly, going forward new prompts will be posted on Wednesdays, you are welcome to submit a prompt suggestion here.
I do enjoy running this site for the most part, and there have been folks who’ve donated to help cover the costs of the site – who I am forever grateful to. And I love our writers, we’ve all come to know each other’s struggles and pains, and happy experiences and so much more.
I’d like to figure out a way to employ a back-up system if nothing else so that when I’m working on a 15-hour day for 6v weeks project, I have someone who can help out!