Mutli-Author Series Functionality

I’d like to officially request functionality for series that have multiple authors, but are not open to the community.

The ideal scenario in my mind is that Authors A and B (or more) decide to do a series together where they are the only authors to contribute. Perhaps it takes the form of sexy letters being written back and forth between two characters. Or perhaps each of the authors takes a particular POV character. Or perhaps they the authors just pass off telling the story between each other, each taking a chapter.

Whatever form it takes, I imagine the functionality would need to be this: one author sets up the series and indicates which authors can contribute. The series then is associated with all the authors the first author has chosen. Each author’s individual contribution is marked with their name, and connected to their list of stories, with the “series” being either separate from all of their accounts or present on all of them.

That’s really all that’s needed, I think. I imagine that eventually there may be an author situation that breaks down, and admins may have to remove authors from series, but I can’t imagine it would be very often or more egregious than things that happen as a matter of course on the site anyway. Authorial decisions like series endings and so forth can be worked out among the authors and will have to be democratic since everyone has access to the story.

I have a number of stories that would have benefited from this–“Kinks in Spaaaace,” “Supergushers,” “Viral Loads,” “Someone Always Gets Fucked in Politics” are a few that had to be written out on a shared Google Drive before we could post, with the resultant extra work of splitting up everyone’s work and writing out summaries for individual entries and making sure everyone got credit for their work and were informed when there were comments, etc. If there was functionality to set the series from the beginning as a multiple (but limited) author work with each author receiving credit for their contribution, the stories could roll out in real time, and responsibility and praise would be equitably shared. And, frankly, I’d probably contribute my parts of the story more quickly, since there’d be an audience watching.

Just a preference–I don’t have a lot of people wanting to write joint stories these days, but if it comes up again I would like to see this feature added to GKS. Thanks!


Technically, everything required for that is already in place. The only thing missing is the UI for users to add additional managers to a series.

One question though:

Who should be allowed to edit the list of series managers? Only the original creator? Or any manager of the series?

Be aware if you allow ANY manager of a series to alter the list of managers, it would - in theory - be possible to cut off the original creator from their own series. Unless I explicitly hard code that the original creator cannot be removed, which might make sense, too.

This needs to be approached with a certain amount of restraint; otherwise you’ll end up replicating the site management hierarchy at the series level!

I think there are potentially 3 “roles”; the series owner, “moderators” and “contributors”. There shouldn’t be any real argument that ownership is permanent and confers all privileges to manage the series.

Where there can be debate is whether a) there is sufficient justification for having both moderators and contributors, and b) if only one of the two roles is implemented, how much “management power” it has.

Frankly, given that this is not going to one of the site’s most heavily used features, there’s no need to make things complicated. Having just the “owner” and “contributor” roles would be enough to make things work.


The data model currently supports one owner and multiple additional managers for series (and, independently to that, for single stories as well).

I don’t want to change that data model.

Managers can add, edit and publish all stories in the series - note that in Community Series anyone can add stories, but it still requires a manager/owner to PUBLISH them. Giving them the final word over their series.

Owner currently can already add other contributors of the same series as additional managers. This functionality is already in place, in case you didn’t know (Series view, Administration button).

What’s not possible right now is to add arbitrary people as managers and also transferring the ownership. And only the manager can add other managers.

The problem with adding arbitrary people to be series managers is that the only unique handle for an account is the email address. The username is NOT unique (unfortunately, it hasn’t been implemented like that even before my time, and it’s hard to almost impossible to change that now). I can’t reveal email addresses to anyone, so that makes it a bit difficult to identify and select people on their non-unique username alone.

That’s basically the reason that currently you can only add persons who have already contributed to your series.

Hmm, if I understand it, maybe what I am asking for is already there? The only ripple, I suppose, is to have the ability to publish independently as a “partner” for the series–but it sounds like that functionality isn’t possible in our system.

I don’t think we need more than a series “owner” who kicks things off and pre-identified contributors for this request. As kb says, there’s no sense in making a lawless space where anyone can claim ownership. I imagine in the case of extraordinary meltdown between authors an admin can come in and move things around manually, or that the authors in question can simply republish under their own name and request the failed story to be deleted, if they want to preserve the project under new management. I can’t imagine that would happen more than once every five years or so, but maybe that’s me being optimistic.

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It looks as if the big wrinkle, from Martin’s point of view, is that there’s a technical problem around “pre-identified”. It looks as if people need to contribute a chapter before a series owner can pick them up to make them “managers”.

Perhaps the identities of the prospective managers could be picked up from comments to the initial posted chapter?

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