Forum Criticism Team Guidelines


This pertains to staff members of the Forum Criticism Team.

When in doubt, contact the Team Captain, ZynZyn.

What does a usual day for a Forum Crit Team member look like?

There are several things you can choose to do when you visit the site during the day. Pick whatever you feel like appeals the most to you in the moment:

For those new to the team, being on Forum Crit should be pretty much like your usual site activity, just with some added authority, and specialization of your particular strengths.

And of course, IRL commitments and obligations always come first!

Details on other Forum Crit team duties:

When making forum posts relating to these duties, Forum Crit staff will title the comment "Forum Criticism Team - Junior Staff/Operational Staff Post/Moderator Post".

Friendly reminders:

Sometimes site members slip up here and there and commit a forum faux pas… or several. Feel free to post to remind people of guidelines like:

  • Keep one thread per draft. Unless someone went weeks between edits and made substantial changes, there’s no need to clog up the forums with multiple drafts and spread out critique.
  • Don’t bump draft threads. Announcing substantial edits is fine, something like “I fixed a typo” doesn’t merit a new post.
  • No full drafts in forum posts, sandbox links should be used instead.
  • Use the “edit” function instead of double-posting and replying to one’s own comments.

Note that there are guidelines threads for the forums:

…and staff templates for addressing guidelines being broken:

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Occasionally, other forum-goers may provide vague, misleading, incorrect, or irrelevant information, to the detriment of the author. Forum Criticism members should politely intervene and:

  • indicate which part of the review is problematic
  • prompt the reviewer to address the issue/improve their feedback.
  • if possible, link to a reference the reviewer can use for further reading (unless it's something simple and objective like "don't use non-SI units" or "the apostrophe is not needed there")
  • be courteous! The point of counter-crit is not to make the person potentially in error feel bad, but rather, help the reviewer improve their skills and help the author receive feedback that will improve their draft.

Note that there are guidelines threads for reviewing in the forums:

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Reporting behavior:

Inform ZynZyn or a Disciplinary Team member if you encounter:

  • a user being unnecessarily vehement in the forums (If someone is making personal attacks against you or anyone else, notify a Disc Team staffer to handle the matter. Do not engage the user further.)
  • a user repeatedly posting unhelpful feedback (Cease-and-desist orders can be issued by any Forum Crit Team member. Junior Staff need permission from the captain or vice captain first.)
  • any general rule-breaking, including spamming, trolling, etc. (If dogpiles occur, notify a non-JS staff member to post a topic stop)
  • if you see a full draft posted in a forum comment that hasn't been addressed yet, just leave a comment telling the OP to use the sandbox, and wait for a mod or admin to collapse the draft text.
  • if you notice a user repeatedly engaging in guideline-breaking and/or rule-breaking behavior in the forums, especially after being repeatedly addressed by staff, an O5 record should be made.
    • O5 threads should include the name of the user, their account creation/site membership duration information, and a description of the behavior of note with links/excerpts to the forum activity as needed.
    • JS should obtain permission from other staff to make new O5 records before creating threads.

Things to remember:

Authors are responsible for contacting reviewers as needed! There's no need preemptively attempt to cover every thread in the forums—prioritize the review requests you have received. We want to reward authors for politely reaching out to and interacting with reviewers, rather than just waiting for anyone to come help them.

You are not obligated to read the entirety of an idea or draft if there are numerous recurrent errors. If reviewing something excessively long and/or error-filled is becoming a strain, it’s fine to pick a point to stop at in your review and let the author know that the piece was becoming difficult to process or needs improvement to keep a reader interested. It’s better to work with an author section by section and see how much they can gradually start to fix things by themselves, rather than overwhelm yourself and them with a single-shot massive review.

Post reviews-in-progress! Unless you type up crit in a separate window, you run the risk of the browser crashing and losing your feedback if it's long. To prevent this, you can save your posts as you write. Just repost and edit the comment, using "pending" or something else to indicate it's not yet done, until it is done.

Check the threads you've posted on for author responses! If they ask for another look-over, help them out with that. Again, you don't have to write them a novel, but give them enough feedback to figure out what the next step is.

Change up your work if it gets repetitive. Reviewing material is effectively staff work, but it should feel like a hobby that happens to include some maintenance efforts. Like having a cat or a particularly finicky plant. If you're just not feeling up to reviewing, take a break!

Let someone know if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Being a reviewer can be pretty thankless sometimes, and nobody gets paid for it. If it’s starting to negatively affect your mood and other aspects of life, tag someone in (or let authors requesting feedback from you know that you'll be absent for some time and to ask other reviewers). It is always alright to decline to review material. If an author does not respect that decision, notify Zyn.

For Junior Staff:

  • There are no mandatory minimum review quotas to meet per week.
  • For the purposes of the "trial run" period of junior staff, I'd prefer if you do the majority of your feedback-giving in the forums so I can monitor your work and we can keep the forums running smoothly.
    • If you do get requests in private messages, request that the user use the forums if they haven't yet.
    • If someone repeatedly asks for privately given feedback, let me (Zyn) know. Sometimes we do have cases of authors badgering the same staff members for feedback over and over, and we don't want that to become a habit!
  • At the present moment, keep counter-crit to fixing things that are obviously wrong (e.g. "your mega dangerous book should be double keter!!").
  • For anything else not discussed above (voting on policy discussion, creating staff purview material) please contact Zyn or another mod/admin prior to taking action yourself. Some actions fall under the umbrella of a different staff team, so it's good to confirm before acting in staff authority for an ambiguous case!
  • If any author or site member ever gives you a hard time after you have reviewed for them, do not engage further and notify Zyn of the situation. Butterfly Squad looks after their own.

For the Vice Captain:

Some Tips to Avoid Burnout: