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I'm going to address your points individually, sorry if this is long.
>The text editor is leagues ahead of where it was a year ago.
Yeah, but it's not on the same par as simple sites like Reddit (which is infamous for it's basic design), or the commenting systems allowed by something like Disqus. Considering forums are as old as the internet it's not too much to ask to have a simple functional text editor. For instance right now the text editor doesn't allow you to push enter twice to create a paragraph. The text box is non expandable.
> It basically amounted to scratching something on a post-it and sticking it on a board. And if Good Ol' Gary didn't like it, they took it down. Don't get me wrong, I liked GaryJC, but the simple fact of the fucking matter is I like to get to say whatever the hell I want without it being censored. And let's not forget that the geniuses in charge at that time ran the fucker into the ground and then lost it bankruptcy. So if it's a choice between that and having a fucking administrator on the forums all the time to make sure I don't say any shitty, naughty words...
This is a bit of a tirade, I feel like you're reading into what I've said differently from the true meaning of my words - however you know my feelings about authority, it's not logical to jump to the conclusion moderation = censorship in my view. GaryJC was a terrible moderator, it's true. He deleted posts for containing swears (a fucking joke), but that's not a reasonable argument for no moderation at all. My idea of good moderation is more proactive removal of posts advertising face creams and fad diets. That's all.
>2. Dude, I know you love bitcoin. I, personally, love selling books. So, once Amazon, B&N, Apple, and all the other major retailers adopt it (and the five-point-nine-nine-nine billion other mother fuckers out there who don't use it) I'd prefer WEbook takes real money. Again, I thank you for the idea, though (and I really don't want to be paid in bitcoin, either, because as it may be a fantastic investment conceptually, my local liquor store doesn't accept it yet).
Why have you reached the conclusion that I mean the site should only accept bitcoin. That's not what I meant, and if you reread, it's also not what I said. Bitcoin can be used in parallel with other payment processing methods, and within the coming weeks can even be used in conjuction with PayPal. It would merely be an (easy to implement) alternative for people who prefer to avoid using debit cards, credit cards etcetera. And, as I said, adopting bitcoin is attention grabbing, to an extent.
> WEbook - and the majority of its active members - encourage giving feedback to get it,
Firstly, don't interpret this as condescension, but I was on the site before you were AFAIK, and when the site was in it's 'peak' this was not the case. Most authors on the site did not give detailed reviews of others work. To be fair, the userbase was quite young, and this goes some way to explaining it, but that doesn't solve anything. If Webook is to become popular yet again a more proactive method of getting people to put work in to receive critiques in return.
>Pardon me for taking it personally
I'm sorry you feel that way.
>Granted, the latter is a hack zombie tale and the former a modern day classic, but let me educate you about what makes the former such a huge seller: *whispering* Jack Kerouac's name is on the cover. If you took my hack zombie book and stuck Truman Capote's name on it, it'd fucking sell.
I'm afraid this argument doesn't make sense because if you look at the sales of the novel before the release of this edition they were considerably lower than after the release. The text hasn't changed, only the dressing-up.
>What is aesthetically pleasing or interesting to each person is different.
Only to an extent. If you look at your designer's books you can see she makes use of this phenomenon:
and likely others, that I don't understand, as I am not a graphic designer. The simplistic design with a black background is a trope in modern fiction covers at the moment by the way. Have a look at the covers of the Hunger Games and before that Twilight. If you look further back, modern releases of The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales follow a similar design. People are diverse but what we like doesn't vary *that* much. Design is a central pillar in why Apple became so successful. They made expensive, beautiful versions of ugly machines. I suspect your judgement is heavily clouded by your own personal investment.
>you have a little tact when speaking of their work
No. I won't mince words to appease people. The truth is more important than people's feelings, especially when it can help them become better. It is not disrespectful to point out that many of the books on the cover of this page violate simple principles of aesthetics and design. Art may be subjective, but we're not talking about subjective appreciation, we're talking about objective truth, i.e. what people like, and I'm not telling this from my view of what is beautiful, I'm relaying what the market says. The example books you gave are clearly more attractive than many I have seen here - I don't want to directly link for obvious reasons.
> Any member can post any amount of projects they want. They are under no compulsion to review anyone else's projects.
I know this, and that's what makes this system flawed. People don't play along, and you can look back into the site's distant past (it's all recorded here) to see that the ratio of work posted to in-depth critique does not match up at all.
>If you don't like people posting their work without reviewing others, don't read them.
Well, I didn't, and I'll explain that in a moment.
>That was pretty much your policy for the last four years anyway. You've recently become active in the challenge, and I'm glad for it, but perhaps you could rack up more then twenty reviews in under a year before you start complaining about others....
First of all, this is ad hominem, what I have done in the past doesn't change the truth behind what I'm saying. However, since you've misunderstood my actions, I'll explain. You'll note that whilst I didn't give many reviews (although I have in the past, and I've had other accounts which I did review from, something you can verify with other 'regulars', but that's beside the point), I also didn't post any work either in this time. The simple reason was, I didn't think the site's premise worked, made sense, and that still stands. As time went on it became clear the business model wasn't functional and so desperate measures like introducing radically different structures (AgentInbox, PageToFame) came to the fore, and the rest of the site was left neglected. When those failed, the site ended up in collapse.
You've referred to what I've said here as complaining, which, I'll admit, has greatly annoyed me. I've had a change of mind, where I don't feel like it's the right thing to do in merely sitting back and using the forums and having no input into the rest of the site - but, everything I've said before still stands, the system as it currently is, is broken. In light of this I've been completely frank, these are the problems I see, for every problem I have suggested solutions, because, as the title says, these are suggestions, not complaints.
I respect your opinion, but nothing you've said in this comment has changed a single point I've made in my mind.
Dorchie, damn man. There's a lot here and a lot of it is, in my humble opinion, flat out nonsense.
1. The text editor is leagues ahead of where it was a year ago. I shouldn't have to remind you that for nearly half a decade the forums didn't allow anything more then basic text without any styling whatsoever. It basically amounted to scratching something on a post-it and sticking it on a board. And if Good Ol' Gary didn't like it, they took it down. Don't get me wrong, I liked GaryJC, but the simple fact of the fucking matter is I like to get to say whatever the hell I want without it being censored. And let's not forget that the geniuses in charge at that time ran the fucker into the ground and then lost it bankruptcy. So if it's a choice between that and having a fucking administrator on the forums all the time to make sure I don't say any shitty, naughty words...
I'll take the site, thankya vedy much.
2. Dude, I know you love bitcoin. I, personally, love selling books. So, once Amazon, B&N, Apple, and all the other major retailers adopt it (and the five-point-nine-nine-nine billion other mother fuckers out there who don't use it) I'd prefer WEbook takes real money. Again, I thank you for the idea, though (and I really don't want to be paid in bitcoin, either, because as it may be a fantastic investment conceptually, my local liquor store doesn't accept it yet).
3. This isn't a bad idea. I'd like to see more people on the site, too.
4. WEbook - and the majority of its active members - encourage giving feedback to get it, and as a healthy, learning process. Giving feedback is as rewarding to the reader as it is to the writer. That said, we're all only human, and a writer should not be penalized if their work receives more feedback then they are capable of reciprocating. It is entirely possible that a work may become very popular because it's good and therefore generate more feedback from the community. In those cases the writer does the best they can. In cases where the writer is out begging like a wino for any feedback he/she can get in exchange for their own, they should (and generally do) return the favor.
5. This is an interesting and enticing proposition, but one that I, personally, disagree with at this time. At some point, maybe, but if they're trying to build their brand and the idea that the reader can trust WEbooks to be good, then it's counterproductive. Which leads me to...
6. Pardon me for taking it personally when someone says that this:
is somehow preferable to this:
Granted, the latter is a hack zombie tale and the former a modern day classic, but let me educate you about what makes the former such a huge seller: *whispering* Jack Kerouac's name is on the cover. If you took my hack zombie book and stuck Truman Capote's name on it, it'd fucking sell. As it is, the same designer that made the Camp 417 cover made these:
What is aesthetically pleasing or interesting to each person is different. The examples you gave of books that make you want to buy them were all beat up old classics. That probably is very appealing to you. But that doesn't mean that's what everyone wants. So while I totally respect your opinion, I disagree profoundly with your characterization and would ask - as the authors of every book on that landing page are all active members of this community - you have a little tact when speaking of their work. I fully appreciate that this is the internet, you have a right to your opinion, and I won't for a second take that away from you, but there are people on the other side of those covers, people who deserve respect just as much as your opinion does.
7. Any member can post any amount of projects they want. They are under no compulsion to review anyone else's projects. If you don't like people posting their work without reviewing others, don't read them. That was pretty much your policy for the last four years anyway. You've recently become active in the challenge, and I'm glad for it, but perhaps you could rack up more then twenty reviews in under a year before you start complaining about others....
Actually the forum just needs some moderation, since it clearly has none. It's full of spam.
Some people can't provide a good or real critique, but they can give a feedback as readers. If they liked the book or not. I'm not sure if everyone here is a writer or not, or if there are members who are readers only.
Not convinced about the points system.
I have received different kinds of feedback. Some are very short, others short and they had been very helpful and enlightening. Also, I admit most of the longest feedbacks have been an in-depth critique by people who obviously have that well critiquing skill.
If you have a cursory look across the site most feedback is a few sentences at most and doesn't really *critique* well.
Perhaps a points system where you get one point for a short review and two for a longer one... although perhaps that system would be too complex.
I think most of your suggestions are great except for the minimum amount of words given in a review and the appearance of all the covers.
Setting up a minimum amount of words to give feedback will allow people to give verbose and non-sense reviews or sentences to fulfill the minimum or make some readers refrain from giving feedback.
Sometimes less is more.
I'd recommend simply wiping all previous forum data as it's filled with spam and of little real value.
2) Bitcoin implementation for payment in purchasing 'WeBooks'. I can provide further information on how to do this if you would like. Bitcoin has several advantages for vendor and buyer over alternatives like paypal - decentralisation, decreased fees, speed and pseudonymity. In addition implementation of bitcoin may bring increased attention to the site, something which it clearly needs given the decline in population since ~2010
3) On that note, management should formulate a plan to increase publicity to the site - a clear explanation of what the site's future is, what the function of the site is, and how it is better than competitors should be drawn up and distributed to places where people can *see* it. I've already mentioned reddit - there are numerous subreddits based around literature, /r/books, /r/writing... Reaching out via a proper social media presence (facebook, twitter) could help garner interest
4) The site should endorse the idea that feedback is something which should be reciprocated. There is entirely too much entitled begging for feedback going on and I'd wager the amount of submissions to the site is well in excess of the amount of feedback posted.
5) If the site ever were to take off you could offer it up as an advertising service for self-published authors who have not necessarily gone through WeBook but still want a cheap way to disperse their work.
6) Bring on board some graphical designers who can provide (for a fee) proper covers for novels. Currently some of the WeBooks, no, ALL of the WeBooks on the frontpage look like they were drawn up by a toddler loosed on photoshop - they look amateurish and that doesn't just reflect on the author, but on the site itself. It is in WeBook's best interest to produce covers which look professional and not like a pile of wank to be blunt. If you want to run a serious and successful business you should understand that the authors you publish and their work now represent you, and accordingly you must take action to ensure the products produced look like high quality work. Take note of your competition, publishers like Penguin produce simple yet extremely effective, aesthetically pleasing covers which lead people to want to buy their products:
7) Prevent people from submitting work without posting at least one review. Set a minimum word limit for reviews. Allow reviews to be rated and reported by the authors. Set up a ranking system whereby every author on the site is ranked by their overall star rating - have authors compete to be the top author every week. Have sub level competitions within different genres. This should set up a competitive environment where authors attempt to produce the best work whilst having to review each other's work to submit said work. Increase the star rating to 10 stars instead of 5.