Sunday, June 21, 2009

New Site Guidelines: Please give us feedback, thanks!

In a place where characters of all sorts roam the streets, naturally, there are a few situations that may pop up. We would like to ask that everyone here follow these guidelines. This will enable the undead to co-exist with the living, vampires with vampire-hunters, and dogs with cats. After all, at the end of the day, we all just need to get along. Right? Right? Yes, evil domineering warlord. That means you, too.

These may be amended as time goes on, and as new situations crop up. We'll alert the site to any changes. Suggestions, as always, are welcome.

Guideline #1 - Keep It Relatively Clean. In order to keep this site from being labeled "Adult", we need to ask folks to stay away from graphic sex and language.

Guideline #2 - Please Report to Management. If you are bothered by something about the site, we'd like to hear about it! However, please e-mail us rather than addressing it on the site directly.

Guideline #3 - All Characters Welcome! This site is non-denominational and non-discriminatory. This site is open to everyone of any species, race, age, ethnicity, creed, religious belief, sexual orientation, gender, moral center or lack thereof, life or lack thereof and nutritional requirements.

Guideline #4 - Author to Author; Character to Character. For the most part, we ask that you stick to your group. Friendly greetings, compliments and exchanges about the weather are exceptions to this.

Guideline #5 - All Multiple Characters Welcome! Go on, pile everyone in the car, and bring them all here. We encourage people to try out many different voices. Our only guideline is this: please stay on topic. If one of your characters strays, send another to rein them in. Please help us avoid topic drift! If you want to suggest a new topic, e-mail us.

Guideline #6 - We all Just Need to Get along. This is a tricky one. We want characters to have natural reactions to each other. Here's an example. Let's say you're an exorcist and an evil ghost just entered the site. Please remember that evil ghost is welcome here, too. Feel free to say 'Begone, foul demon!' whenever you run into each other. However, strong insults, and organizing a posse to capture and perform a ritual on said ghost, not be getting along.

In summary, we want to say that the vision of CIC is to give our characters voices, by pulling them out of their plotlines, putting them in new situations, and exploring their edges and depths. But remember, everyone around you is doing the same, so let's make it easy on each other. If you have any questions, about what does or doesn't work here, definitely e-mail us. We want everyone to feel comfortable.

And there we are. Some simple guidelines that will hopefully help us all have a great time here! Thanks in advance for your cooperation. And thanks, also for joining us. We couldn't have the site without you!


Mira said...

Hi All. Please let us know what you think.

Can you live with them? Is there something that doesn't feel right?

Be honest, we can take it!

Mira said...

Oh, and Sunday is always open discussion day, so you can feel free to chat here as well.

Nevin said...

I think these are very nice rules, Mira.

Candy said...

I think they're very good rules too! Of course I'm fond of everyone here except, maybe, the bomb happy boy who hates everyone.. These are way better friends than the ones I had in London.

I especially like keeping authors and characters separate. When Nevin is kind to me I don't want to think there is anyone else making him say those things.

Christine H said...

Some of these make me laugh out loud. Especially the one about "nutritional requirements!"

Only here, Mira. Only on the Internet, and only at CIC!

Truly a unique forum.

Could you clarify #4 a little? Does this mean Ann's characters can't tell her off? I really enjoy that.

What do you mean by "group?" Authors as a whole vs. Characters as a whole? Or not letting your own characters get into heated discussions with characters from another author?

Mira said...

You know Christine, you have a very, very good point.

We wrote this almost 2 weeks ago, before the characters and authors started interacting with each other.

Personally, I wouldn't want to stop that - it's hilarious. It's also another unique function the site could provide. Where else do you get to have an exchange with your character?

See? This is why the more people thinking about things the better!

Ann, what do you say to re-visiting that one? Let's talk.

Mira said...

Oh. But Candy has a good point, too.

Hmmm. Maybe we can make an exception to people talking to their own characters? Although that is a dead give-away.

Hmmm. Going to have to think about this...

Christine H said...

Regarding Candy's comment... what is that phrase that refers to a reader's willingness to enter a make-believe world? Suspension of disbelief?

Perhaps the characters will just have to forget that there is an author behind certain comments, just as we have to forget that... uh... we wrote our own characters' comments!

Mira said...

Christine - yes, but there was a reason we included this....having authors talk to characters inserts a level of reality into the conversation which we might want to avoid.

But on the other hand, there really is something attractive and fun about authors and characters roaming around talking to each other.

On the other hand, some people choose not to post here as an author. They prefer to keep to their character, and we want to respect that, too.

I honestly don't know about this one.

I think both you and Candy have a very good point.

If other people have an opinion, please let us know.

bunnygirl said...

I guess my real concern is avoiding critique of characters. If someone wants another author here to critique their characters, that should go into private discussion somewhere, by mutual agreement.

This is a great place for character exploration and sometimes a character isn't ready for critique. Authors should feel comfortable letting their characters out to play here.

I hope that makes sense.

Bo said...

I just want to say I'm glad you clarified that 'no graphic sex' thing. I thought I was losing my touch. Now I see the ladies just wanted to play by the rules of the site. I feel much better now.

Mira said...

Okay, what if we changed #4 to Critique your own?

Authors critique authors and characters critique characters?

Would that work?

I totally agree with you, Ann. I think bringing a character out here can be a brave thing to do. I want people to feel like it's very safe here to experiment, and all critique is done very carefully, and hopefully privately.

Not that critique is all bad - it can be very helpful. But how it's done is very important.

Candy said...

Perhaps , if authors want to chat, they can have a Don't come in Character day and the rest of us can stay away. I love having this world just for us, the way it started out, so please leave some of it that way. Up here, on my lonely trek through my Great Aunt's youth i'll really need this corner to escape to when things get rough!

Nevin said...

We'll look out for you Candy! Are you chronicling your adventures? I think a book or blog would be very interesting.

bunnygirl said...

Mira, how about something to the effect that this is not a critique site, and not all characters are ready for prime time. Any critique of a character should be with the agreement of the author. Ideally, these conversations would take place off-site so as not to intimidate other characters and authors. We want this to be a place where people feel okay making mistakes now and then.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little confused. Can say a character and their author go for a walk, argue, banter back and forth here?

Can an author come on as a "narrator" in a group story?

That's still allowed, right?

(I found it hilarious)

My understanding: just no critiquing.

Correct me if I'm off,here.


GREAT site!!!

Mira said...


Anon. I agree - I thought it was hilarious.

How about this. Separate it into two:

Please take Critique off Site


Authors, Please stay on the Paths. Or something like that.

The idea here would be that we would designate threads either Authors and Characters Together vs. Characters Only.

That way we can have some threads where only characters interact and some threads where everyone does.

I know this is alittle complicated, but is this a good compromise?

Also, since we're talking business here, just a reminder that since I'm starting grad school in a few months, Ann and I are still open to people who might want to help out with the site.

Also, down the road we'd be looking to expand the site and draw in new members. This is just the first step. So ideas and preferences about that will be very welcome as well as time goes on.

I love the idea that this is a site where everyone is a contributor, and we negotiate by consensus.

Mira said...

Um well not consensus exactly. If the site can't reach a decision, then Ann and I will call it - temporarily at least.

I got way off track there. So, anyway, what do folks think of the compromise?

Mira said...

Oh, and I have to leave for several hours - writing group.

Back later.

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

I'm happy to abide by the house rules.
The ability to diassociate the human with the key board from the character with the life is definitely essential...but being able to refer to them as equally real is a hoot.
I have to weigh up all the time if my character would have an opinion on any thread that is happening.
I couldn't resist taking her to the concert though - way out of character for her - I had to pitch it right at the end of the book otherwise she'd have had to stay home.

Gabby said...

Everything changes and everyone deserts you in the end. You dudes are the only ones ever who haven't critisized me or said I was no good. You're the only ones who know my secret about the mystical wood. I'd be real disappointed to find you got women tellin' you what to say or how to behave.

I hate females. The only ones I've known were street whores and bitches like my mother.

The ones I've met here seem different though. Maybe I could learn to trust them in time,if I don't find they're not entirely who they say they are.

Christine H said...

I'm with Anon... I thought this wasn't a critique site anyway. Just having fun.

Christine H said...

I just want to point out that the home page does say that you can essentially come as yourself OR as a character. So that's why I have posted as myself.

But I'm getting the feeling that people would rather just have characters here. Which is fine with me. I will stick to that from now on, unless specified.

Anonymous said...

Another note:

sometimes the narrator/author IS a character too...

I thought that the only real divide was that author chat (publishing, etc.) ought to stay separate from character/author chat.

Has that changed?

bunnygirl said...

Christine, we're not trying to keep people from posting as their selves. It's just that there are apparently a lot more lurkers than posters and we want to make sure people know that if they bring a character here, the character is safe from authorial critiques.

It isn't that this is a current problem, but it's the sort of concern that might hold people back. Feel free to help us re-word the concept.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I'm cool with the rules, but I usually just send my characters to play. Lord knows I have enough to do and they're just sitting around waiting on something to come up...

Mira said...

Actually, Christine, when I first started the site, that was how I imagined it - characters and authors roaming around together.

Which we still can do.

But now I'm hearing some voices from the site that say characters want some alone time. That's a pretty legitimate thing to want.

So, I'm looking for a compromise.

Again, I think labeling each post Characters Only or Characters and Authors Together will hopefully be a compromise that will meet everyone's needs.

anon - I would say that who is an author and who is a character is determined by the person posting. So if you feel your author is actually a character (I know what you mean. I definitely feel that way about Mira at times) then feel free to post on the charater only posts.

I really don't want this to create bad feelings. I also don't want to monitor the site with a heavy hand, and I'm sure Ann agrees.

Let's try things for awhile and re-visit them.

Sound okay?

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

Now you have to balance not just 'all of the people all of the time' but all of their authors too - bless!

Christine H said...

I just want to make it clear... I have no hard feelings at all. I'm sorry if it sounded that way!!! I was just pointing out that the way the home page is worded, it kind of contradicts the idea that people should post only in character.

But when I went back and looked at it again, it does imply that people will still be posting anonymously (though presumably with some fictitious identity so we can tell the Anon's apart).

I've posted a lot as myself recently because I was going through a writing fast for about two months and was trying to get *out* of character and back into my real life. But I'm absolutely comfortable with sticking to characters only... or not... whatever you all decide.

I've pulled Marenya and Faldur off the site anyway, so I can get them back into the setting of the book. Though it was awfully fun to have them here, and I still can't get over this crush he has on Kalila.

Mira said...

Okay, all.

Well Ann and I talked it over. We're going to try the compromise.

Take a look at each post, it will make the suggestion of Characters Only or not.

Let's try it, and see if it's too cumbersome.

Thank you so much for participating in this discussion! It was really helpful to get everyone's feedback.

We'll be revising the guidelines to match the feedback here, and posting them officially later this week.

In the meantime if you have more thoughts, feel free to post them here or e-mail us.

Mira said...

Christine - I know. It's confusing.

We're actually thinking of re-writing the home page, too. So many projects!

This site is a work in progress. You're an important member here. Keep us posted on how the changes feel for you.

Christine H said...

Thanks, Mira! I feel so... special.

It's really just because I keep obsessively checking back and bumping up your hit counter, I know.

Mira said...

Oh yeah. The hit counter. I'm thinking of making that public....I just can't figure out how to do it!

If anyone is curious, we average about 50-60 separate people daily.....I think? If I'm reading it right.

I try to ignore it, because it sort of freaks me out. :-)

Christine H said...

I use Statcounter and you can configure it to display a little box on your website with the number of hits. And you can specify a starting number as well.

Christine H said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mira said...

Yes, I have statcounter too. I configured it to be invisible, though. I've tried to change it to visible, but it doesn't seem to work. I wonder if I have to re-post it??

Christine H said...

Mira, I think you do have to re-copy the HTML code into your blog when you change the widget.

David Jace said...

Mira/Bunny: I think the compromise works great.

Christine: I was confused about #4 as well! Thanks for the clarifications, guys. :)

Christine: I thought you /were/ a character! Had no idea you were the author! Nice to meet you.

General: I haven't ceased to exist, life just gets busy for me over the summer, with less personal time for fun things like this! So I'm still around...barely.


Mira said...

Christine - thanks. I might play around with it over the next day or two. I guess people would like to see the stats......maybe they can help me figure out what they mean. :-)

Jace! It's good to see you! I was wondering. Yes, it's so frustrating that life intrudes on fun. It's a terrible system. :-)

Thanks for your input - definitely.

Guidelines are in final revision, and we'll be posting them over the next day or so.

Christine said...

Hey David! Yes, I am a person but, also a "character." LOL!!!

A bit too much personality to keep wrapped up in a fictional persona, I'm afraid.

Nice to meet you too!!!

Christine said...

Mira - love the fruit. I think you should keep that one. It's so summery! And refreshing. And making me hungry...