Author Assignment Issues (Community Series)

So Varlance and I have been collaborating on the Ass Assassin series for a while, and with the introduction of the new profile feature I’ve been noticing a minor issue it causes with the way we update the series.

Whenever he submits a part, it shows up as unpublished in the list of my current stories. As the one who originated the community series, I think I have to be the one to hit publish on new entries (not sure if that’s always how it works, but we’ve always done it that way). Then, even though Varlance is listed as the author, the stories are counted as my submission.

Clicking on the name “Varlance” next to chapters that he submitted links to my author profile instead, and my profile icon appears over every part in the series, even the ones I didn’t write. Even on the list of Varlance’s own stories, clicking on anything from the Ass Assassin series links to my profile instead.

I want my co-author to get the share of credit he deserves. Is there anything the site owner could do to change the way that these stories are indexed? Possibly to sort the links by the name of the author instead of the person who clicked “Publish”? I know it’s nothing pressing, but I’d appreciate it nonetheless.

Improving the way the site handles collaborations is, I think, the only thing GSS is still missing. I’m glad you brought this up; I’ve been thinking about it for a while. One of the reasons I haven’t bothered to reach out to other authors to do a collaboration is because, unless I’m very much mistaken, there’s no way to do it effectively right now.

Now, the problem I have is a slightly different one. Specifically, I want to talk about collaborations where both authors contribute to the same chapter/story. In a perfect world, I would like to be able to post a story and have the author be, as a hypothetical example, ‘Swizzington & Martin’. When a person clicks Swizzington, they should be taken to my list of stories. When they click Martin, it should go to Martin’s stories. Two separate hyperlinks. And similarly, the story should be archived in both of our list of stories.

Right now, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work this way. If you put the author name as ‘Swizzington & Martin’, it would make a new ‘author’ where that story is the only one listed. There is no way for readers to go directly to either of our profiles from there.

I’m not sure how complicated it would be to change this. But I think it would be an excellent improvement. It would certainly encourage me to collaborate with other authors.

Some technical background on how the data is wired:

  • Each story has exact one author. An author is basically just a name (the one you enter manually when creating/editing a story) and you can list all stories written using the same author name (using Stories->Authors.
    Before I added user profiles, if you clicked on the name in the left column of the story lists, it would always show up that list of stories written under the same author name

  • On top of that a story has owners. An owner is a *user accountÜ. Only stories submitted while logged on have an owner (I can (un)assign owners manually, too). A story can also have multiple owners.
    Owners can see the rating stats, they can see that story in their User->Your Stories list and they can edit in anytime (without needing that special “secret link”).
    The user profile is about a user account, not about an author. So the stories listed there show all stories owned by that account.
    Since I introduced user profiles, the link in the story lists always lead to the user profile, no longer to the list of stories from the same author. The only exception are stories without an owner (i.e. anonymously submitted stories).

  • Community Series are setup so that the author of the first part of the series owns the whole series. He’s also responsible to decide whether additional story submissions are ok, that’s why HE has to publish them. That was a very conscious decision. Still, other users submitting additional parts still get to be owners of their parts, together with the original series owner, who always owns all parts.

Any change made by that system has to take into account the old database of stories that usually doesn’t have an owner (just an author name).

As @Swizzington suggested, I could display all owners of collaborations in the series lists. But there’d still only be a single icon due to space considerations. I could create a special icon for collaborations to cover that, but then again I’d need someone to create that icon for me … A search on the net came up with something like this:

That the original creator of the community series is the primary owner of the whole series seems to make sense to me. I (or any of the other admins) simply cannot decide whether an additional part would be in the “spirit” of the series, only the original author can decide that. So that’s gonna stay. What I can do manually is to assign ownership to the collaborator to all the stories (not only his own), if you ask me to do that. That way, all stories would show up on the user profile. I don’t think I’m gonna create an automated process for that right now, though.

I wish it was still this way by the way. When I click on in it its always to the stories I want to go.

And how would you get to the author profile then?

The list of stories by that author is just one more click on that page away…

I think the simplest solution would be a mechanism for collaboration authors to assign authorship of a chapter to a specific user account (i.e. the chapter’s primary author) during or after publishing, and then for the series index view to show the info and profile link for the chapter author rather than the series owner?

This wouldn’t address Swizzington’s query which would need additional author info to be retrieved and displayed.

Appreciate the amount of work and time that technical changes need!

Actually, currently BOTH the original author of the series AS WELL as the author of the single story are “owners” of that particular story.

Just the icon shown is currently always using the first owner, which happens to be the series owner. I should change that at first, so at least the correct user profile is shown for your story.

And then we’d have to find a proper display for the whole series. What do you think about the collaboration icon I suggested above?

Regarding the collaboration icon, it’s okay. How about showing the series owner’s avatar, with a small + sign in the corner?

1 Like