Quality control on posted stories

This story evoked some user’s comment

I know this is going to sound douchey, but — just because someone posts a story doesn’t mean it should go up on the site. Editorial control should allow the editor to make a qualitative assessment and determination. I know that opens up another door for Martin to deal with, but, quality control demands it. This story sucked. It should never have been posted. It’s really that simple.

Which I’ve answered like this:

Actually, I’ve struggled with this story. I wanted to give myself some time to decide and maybe even contact the author, but then someone of the staff approved the story. My mistake, because I should have left a notice to wait with the approval.

Anyway, I’m conflicted.

Contacting the author would mean a lot of work, discussions, explaining myself, probably hurt feelings…

Not approving without any comment to the author is not only impolite, it also leaves the new aspiring author hanging in the air. Even if someone is inexperienced and struggling with his first story, it’s still his baby, and of course you want to get a reaction - preferably a helpful one.

And you never know, maybe there’s a great author hidden behind those first, awkward, clumsy attempts - you might just have to give him some time and experience.

But I’d love to know your opinion on this. How tight should we quality control the stories posted on GSS?

To me, at least for this story, it’s a simple case of not meeting story guidelines. The rules say stories need to be at least 1000 words long. This one’s less than half that, so it should remain unviewable until it at least meets that requirement.

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Quality should never be a barrier, in my opinion. What constitutes ‘good’ writing is highly subjective and would vary wildly between individuals; don’t wanna open that can of worms. Much simpler to just let people post whatever they want - as long as it meets the guidelines - and let the readers judge for themselves.

This story is an easy one because, as RobinHood70 so astutely pointed out, it doesn’t meet the guidelines anyway.

Not allowing a story because of quality is another form of censorship, and another avenue for people to complain that you’re imposing your views on things and stopping great stories from being posted. Who wants to deal with that?

Besides that, as already pointed out, it’s a lot of work. Reaching out to the author, gently suggesting, trying not to hurt their fragile ego, encouraging them, etc. It all takes time and who wants to do that?

Alternatively, you can just post the story, as uploaded, warts and all.

Then readers will comment on it and tell the author to edit/fix their story. Then moderators don’t have to. Commenters might also step up and volunteer to edit for the new author.

Or no one will say anything because they didn’t bother to read it.

Problem still solved.

I’d tried looking for where that comment was posted that sparked this thread. Was that privately by a general reader? If it was, someone should tell them that they can be “the Editor” as easily as anyone else. If they care about the quality, they should offer to edit. It’s not hard to do, and the site is set up to allow other people to edit stories with the private edit link.

People telling other people to do things because they think they should really piss me off. Get off your ass and do it yourself.

I’ve linked the story in my posting (it’s this one: https://www.gayspiralstories.com/newStory/show/614244) and it’s the comment right before my own comment for that story.

Because of my recent changes the word and character count limit that you’ve implemented originally had been disabled (I figured people should get the chance to slowly develop and extend their stories while it’s already saved as a draft on the site). But because of that, people started to ‘publish’ really short stories.

So I’ve reintroduced that check, but at the ‘publish’ step. For Community Stories and Series the limit is somewhat lower.

So, I just commented and basically shit all over the “douchey” comment poster. And I stand by what I wrote. People should be offering to help instead of just complaining.

That said, the “douchey” guy did serve a useful purpose, IMO. He pointed out that the story needed a lot of work to the author in a straight forward and blunt (and yes, harsh) way. If the author reads it, he won’t forget it and will try to do better if he does another story. If you are going to post something like that story, with that amount of effort (assuming you are not English as a second/third/whatever language, or some other mitigating circumstance)… you are basically asking to get feedback like that.

It’s pretty easy to get people to help edit. Asking here or on the Discord server will always get someone to help out. Minimal effort would have gotten suggestions for ways to help that story before it was posted.

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Frankly, the rules are quite simple (story length, tags) and that is what the editors should be screening. After that, they should only be offering constructive criticism. Read a few lines, if you don’t like it, move on. Oh, and leave a comment as to why.

Personally, I don’t see a need for ‘quality control’ beyond what we’ve got already. I mean, I dunno, that story maybe wasn’t some people’s cup of tea for ‘quality’ reasons, but personally I hate these collection sites that are hyperfocused on Good Writers/Artists, and I rarely frequent them, because some of my favorite stories have been kinky gems by people who definitely need some practice but have legit passion and talent. I love sites that welcome them and that don’t scare them away. The idea of imposing quality control is pretty difficult anyway to do objectively (Beyond word-count I guess) and what I think the result would be is chasing away writers who might very well get approved, but are scared they won’t be. Not to mention denying authors who might need improvement, but aren’t going to find a welcoming community to test out that improvement.

There’s so many wonderfully written stories here, and active, wonderful authors, I think we provide a wonderful place for authors to learn and grow. I know I wouldn’t have posted my stories here if there was a mention of stories needing to be Of Quality, to get approved, whatever that means.

Like MonsterMash62 says, we got lots of folks willing to edit and commenting can be harsh, but it can still let people know their stuff needs work.

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I don’t see what not allowing some stories to be posted would accomplish. What’s the harm really? Wasting a few seconds of your time figuring out that the story is not to your liking? There isn’t a quality problem on this site. Until we have something like one story out of three that is really bad, let’s not fall into that kind of elitist behavior.

As for people who enjoy belittling people who make an effort to write something, shame on you! Pissing on other people to feel superior to them does not make you feel douchey, it makes you a douchebag. (Unless the pissing occurs in a kinky story). I just hate that this author was deliberately hurt, sometimes the bullies are inside the house.

Kudos to people who tried to advise the author. And don’t forget that less than optimal stories can be a source of inspiration for other authors (who should ask permission if they use too much of the source material of course). I feel I should get permission to and expand that story about satanists, demonic masters and black fluids just to make a point…

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