Using the forum as a wiki and editorial platform

Hi everyone,

I had the idea to use the forum software to provide a convenient and easy way for authors to allow others to proofread and edit their stories.

The forum can work like a Wiki, i.e. a posting can be edited by other people and each change will be tracked. This way, each change can be reverted and the author can see every change and who has done it.

I’ve created a new “Group” and Category for this purpose. The new Category “Story Editing” can only be seen and read by members of the new Group “Authors and Editors”. Members of this group can also post there and make changes to existing postings.

To get things started, everyone can request a membership to that Group, there’s no requirement.

The idea is that you look for an editor who’s willing to help you in the public area and then post your story in “Story editing”. The editor who offered to help you can then just edit your story there, you can use this to evolve your story until you think it’s ready to be published at the main site.

To request membership use the group menu and click “Join” on the Authors_Editors row.

Alternatively you can click on the ‘hamburger’ menu on the top (the three horizontal lines) and select “Groups” there.

In this thread other users have already offered their help to proofread stories.

This is an experiment and I want to see if this will be adopted by authors and people who offer their services as proofreaders and advisers.


I think this is a potentially very interesting idea, but it will depend on user participation if it is going to be a success. We had a bunch of people offering to be proofreaders in the other thread, so maybe we have people willing to get involved. Personally, however, I’m not sure how comfortable I would be with posting a story publicly before I felt it was ready. Perhaps that’s just me.

I checked the story you put up Martin, and just made one quick correction. I really like how it clearly highlights the changes people have made. I think for the authors out there who are more prone to grammatical and spelling errors than you are, it could be very useful.

You’re right, if this is going to work, we need people willing to post their yet unpolished stories and others to help proofread them.

And I agree that people might not be comfortable posting their unfinished stories publicly. I had the same problem, actually, originally the new category was open for everyone to read, and so was my new story. And I didn’t feel too comfortable about it, that’s why I restricted the visibility of this category to members of the “Author / Editor” group.

Still, anyone can get access to that group with a single click right now, I want to get things going, after all. Later, access might get more restricted, like a user has to request it and I have to approve it.

Recently we’ve got some stories with nice ideas but quite lacking spelling and grammar. I approved them, because I don’t want to judge on form and I don’t want to discourage new authors. But in the future I might rather redirect them here for improving their story first, before putting them on the main page.

What do you think? Would that be reasonable? Do you thing this could work?

And I’m also going to write an announcement on the main page pointing to this thread as well later today.

I would say that if you think a story could do with proof reading, and grammar/spelling fixed, that the author can get the option to either have it posted as is, or moved to the group for proofreading/editing.
Or perhaps just a note somewhere noticeable on the story posting page, suggesting authors may want to post the story to the group for proofreading.

I know I re-read one of my earlier stories a couple days ago, and noticed more than a few glaring errors. I blame it on my tendency to get caught up in the excitement of getting a new story finished and posted, that I just want to get it posted, so I tend to not do a very good job of proofreading it, and I’m sure other authors are similar.
Personally, I now implement a minimum one sleep period between ‘finishing’ a story, and proofreading it, but I still miss things.

I think a basic level of quality control does not hurt, but it should be lenient. We don’t want to discourage people from posting at all. A couple of typos is no big deal. However, if there are many egregious errors, you could say to the person, “I will publish this as it is if you like, but I strongly suggest you take it to the proofreading section first”. Or something like that.

Before doing any of that, though, I would first just take the steps to advertise this new platform that you mentioned. It is possible that if we simply make the existence of this group more widely known, the situation will fix itself.

I think it’s an interesting idea. I have been back to my stories several times and found errors that I’ve gone in to edit while they’ve been live. If somebody was able to have a look that would be great. As old Swizzy says though we would have to be lenient. English isn’t the first language of some of the authors so they really deserve some gentle treatment as writing a story is hard enough.
Not so sure about putting unpublished stories on before they’re ready but as the thread is one that says what it is I’m sure a lot of folks won’t peek beforehand anyway and only people who are interested will be having a go. Does the author have the option of approving the changes ?

The author can see the changes and decide to revert each single change separately, if he doesn’t like it.

And of course, after it has been published, you can choose to delete the whole thread with your story, too.

What will be published on the main site is always up to the author, the story submission process doesn’t change.

That’s cool. I think this would be a really good tool. Especially for nervous and first time peeps.

I really love this idea and hope to utilize it both as an editor and an author. Making a story the best it can be before publishing is a great idea to involve the community more I think, and help writers get more constructive feedback.