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?

WE ARE THE LIFEBLOOD OF THE SITE. WE COAX THE ASHES INTO SPLENDOR THAT RADIATES NEW LIGHT.

It depends! There are lots of things you can choose to do when you visit the site during the day. All of these things include helping people. Hooray!

Pretty much like your usual site experience (being on the team shouldn't really change your general activity), but 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, junior staff will title the comment "Forum Criticism Team - Junior Staff Post".

  • Counter-crit: 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 given is problematic, and what the correct response is
    • if possible, indicate either a guide or an example of the correct response for further reading for the previous reviewer (unless it's something simple 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; the point is to get the correct information out there in a non-confrontational way so everyone can benefit.
  • Reporting behavior: Inform ZynZyn or another moderator if you encounter:
    • a user being unnecessarily vehement in the forums (If someone is making personal attacks against you or anyone else, notify a staff member. Do not engage the user further.)
    • a user repeatedly posting unhelpful feedback (Cease-and-desist orders are issued by operational staff only)
    • any rule-breaking, including spamming, trolling, etc. (If dogpiles occur, contact a staff member to post a topic stop)
    • Also, if you see a full draft posted to the forums 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.
  • 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:
    • 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 on the forums.
    • How to use the “edit” function instead of double-posting and replying to one’s own comment.

Things to remember:

  • Prioritize old drafts with less feedback. Draft threads with no replies, that have fallen past page 3 on the forum, are considered top priority.
  • You are not obligated to read the entirety of a 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.
  • You are free to 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.
  • Try to comment on both concept and execution. Quality crit acknowledges both! If someone did either one pretty well, let them know so they keep up the good work.
  • 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.
  • Encourage authors to seek their own feedback! Sometimes someone writes up a piece that is totally in the style/expertise range of another site author. Recommend that the author (politely!) contact that person and get a conversation started! This can be the beginning of a beautiful collaboration (article).
  • If you frequent the IRC chat, please idle in #thecritters. Sometimes people may go there to have real-time feedback, or Zyn might hand out some assignments.
  • Change up your work if it gets repetitive. If you don't feel like reviewing drafts today, maybe poke around Ideas and Brainstorming. Lurk in the chat for a little while. Do a sweep through General Advice. If you're just not feeling it, take a nap or eat something. This is effectively work, but it should feel like a hobby. Like having a cat or a particularly finicky plant.
  • 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, tell someone and take a breather to recharge.

For Junior Staff:

  • There are no mandatory minimum review quotas to meet per week; I plan to keep things that way.
    • It should feel more like an "as-needed" basis than a quota system. Sort of like sleeping shifts when there are zombies outside. Whoever's ready and willing to face the current number of zombies can take the watch, but if people are tired then that's fine, so long as the forums don't go completely ignored for a full day.
    • Also don't treat authors like zombies, that's mean.
  • 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. If you do get requests in private messages, request that the user use the forums if they haven't yet. If they prefer private message, let me (Zyn) know of the case and I'll make a note of it.
  • 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 (writing O5 records, reverting low-quality entries to collaborative pages, 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!