Lazar Lyusternik test

So, as has been mentioned much in SSSC and elsewhere, Forum Crit (and Site Crit) are not only Sisyphean tasks, but also growing in scope as the site grows. The Forum Crit team (read: Zyn) does what they can, but it's still a lot of effort and finding competent people willing to slave away on the crit forums without compensation read and critique drafts is not an easy task.

There's a couple assumptions I'd like to make. If you feel these are incorrect, please speak up, and I can adjust my proposal accordingly.

  1. I&B threads are easier to critique than Drafts threads, as they require overall less reading.
  2. The use of I&B prior to drafting can prevent bad drafts from even making it to the forum.
  3. Most of Forum Crit's time is spent in Drafts and Critiques board.
  4. Much, if not most, of the time spent in the Drafts and Critiques board is spent on drafts that have serious systemic issues and cannot be resolved without significant overhaul the writer is unlikely to undertake.
  5. Most drafts of that type are never resolved in a state that might be considered postable.

The TL;DR of the last three points is that a sizable portion of Forum Crit's time is tied up handling bad drafts of newer writers who have little idea of the current SCP style, or much writing skill at all.

Here is the current step-by-step process for critting SCP drafts. At least the one that I use.

  1. Read the post. See if there's anything specific.
  2. Read the linked draft. Make a judgment call about how deep I should go, especially for longer articles.
  3. For workable drafts, give in-depth critique, possibly line by line, make suggestions
  4. For less workable drafts, make general points about problems with the idea, problems with tone, problems with execution, etc.

I (we) would like to propose a solution to handling these drafts that tend to clog up the forum.

The plan has these sections:
1, A list of extremely low bars that the draft must surmount. Probably stickied on the drafts thread, or in How to Write an SCP. We're talking very, very obvious hallmarks of a coldpost. For example:

  • Does it not fit the standard format, or at least isn't obviously enough a format screw that it can be discerned from simple ignorance of format?
  • Does it contain self-insert characters?
  • Does it crosslink to well-known SCPs like 682, 914, or 079?
  • Does the Foundation try to destroy it unjustifiably?
  • Does the Foundation leave it uncontained because it is friendly?
  • Does it contain exact size requirements in the containment procedures?
  • Is it an obvious conversion of a popular character or meme from other media to SCP?
  • Does it contain serious SPAG errors?

Perhaps a bit strong, but extremely helpful requirements would be:

  • Does it contain compulsion?
  • Does it contain serious tonal errors?
  • Could the object be described as "A thing does a thing" or a "magic object"?
  • Could the object be described as "A thing that kills or makes you crazy?"

Keep in mind that these are merely suggestions, and that this is a discussion rather than a full proposal. I've laid out the general structure, but the actual list of rules and the content of the autocrit itself has not been ironed out - hence the discussion thread.

If the answer to any of these questions is 'yes', they get the section 2 response and nothing further. if not, crit proceeds as normal.
2. A boilerplate post containing those above stated rules, explanations for why those rules exist, why they're getting the boilerplate post, links to guides, general advice for new writers, a link to "Top Rated This Month/Year", and a very obvious warning saying something akin to "This draft is not ready for mainsite, please use I&B and come back after overhauling your draft."
3. An appeals system. I'll be detailing this later.

The new system would be:

  1. Read the post. See if there's anything specific I should look at.
  2. Cursory look at draft to see that it doesn't breach any of the aforementioned figurative SCP-writing lines in the sand. If so, proceed to final step.
  3. Read the linked draft. Make a judgment call about how deep I should go, especially for longer articles.
  4. For workable drafts, give in-depth critique, possibly line by line, make suggestions. End
  5. For less workable drafts, use the boilerplate post and move onto another draft.

Any staff member can use the boilerplate post at their own discretion. OS, JS, etc.
It would be helpful if they cited which rules were run afoul of in their boilerplate post - still much shorter than full crit.

Users are allowed to appeal the judgment that has been rendered on their draft by the following mechanism:

  • Author replies to the boilerplate post and PMs the critter in question
  • Critter informs an Forum Crit OS and up to resolve the appeal

OS and up (provided they didn't make the original boilerplate post) can then resolve the appeal - either by giving it actual crit/sending it back to the poster of the boilerplate, or upholding that the draft did run afoul of the stated rules. Borderline cases should be considered favorably. A failed appeal removes the ability for that user to appeal on other draft posts they make for two weeks, or some other suitable length of time. Repeated posting of the same or a pedantically modified draft may result in disciplinary action. Spam is, of course, still a violation of forum policy.

This is primarily a way of summarily removing 'bad' drafts from the draft queue. it is used as a reason for not committing to further crit. It doesn't prevent anyone from doing crit on that article - in fact, there are probably some rules that a good article may run afoul of, but the article itself is likely salvageable. In this case, the article should be given crit as normal. The goal shouldn't be to find drafts that pedantically break one of these rules and therefore isn't deserving of crit - it's more of a benchmark that can be enforced to avoid wasting effort on drafts that probably aren't going anywhere.