Where is everyone?
I've just come back after time out with house moving and find I'm one of only four members who have submitted today. Will it be three next time, then two, followed by one? What then?
I think one major problem is the lack of comments. When people get no response at all, they lose interest and motivation to post or comment on the other work on the site.
Also, didn't we used to have more helpful information on the site for new people to know about posting? I replied to someone in the shoutbox recently (due to site restrictions she couldn't pm or post for people to read in the forum) who didn't know how to submit work. There might be stuff on site, but I don't really know how to look for it.
How much, I wonder, is down to disruptive elements... I'm sure a few members have drifted away because of it over the past three or so years. That Rodel specimen was one of the worst culprits and I sincerely hope he isn't allowed back under any resurrection. Some prima donnas have stirred up the site too before disappearing.
And, the old chestnut, some subbers not liking honest crit. Voices are raised, feet are stamped, experienced critters don't bother with them any more. People leave in a huff. Nowadays, if a piece is really good, I'll leave a comment, more as a reader (for which all of us are highly qualified) than a writer.
My writing skills got a good grounding here on UKA in the early days under the likes of Aliya, David Gardner, Griff, Geezer, Karl, Rupe etc and I don't feel the need to submit anything these days. I'm not being superior in saying that; it's just the same as somebody being taught to play a musical instrument competently and then leaving to make up their own tunes.
Discuss Anything was pretty lively back then, plenty of ragging going on. That encouraged reading and commenting on each other's subs. Anyway, enough from me.
I must agree with Gee, I am sure that the lack of submissions is due to the lack of comment.Personally that does not worry me, as I write for pleasure. The fact to see that there are so many people who have looked at my work is reward enough for me.Perhaps I have given some pleasure to them, or in some cases some hope.I do however hope to see more submissions soon. I always have enjoyed the site.
Well, I don't think changing the WP setup would be a good idea at the moment. I feel it would just lead to more disruption, as well as giving poor Richard a massive headache.
Two suggestions then - send a welcome email to everyone who joins setting out the main points about the site - how to submit, what happens with the forum, who to contact, etc.
Or, if that's not feasible - put the same kind of information in an obvious place on the front page, so new members can access it.
Someone (can't remember who it was) suggested a like button, as they have on Facebook. I think that might help people who perhaps don't really know how to comment or who are new to the site take part without feeling awkward? It would also help those who want to know if people enjoy what they read, which would be some way towards addressing the lack of comments. (Apologies to Richard for the like button idea)
I have become a member of deviantart but I do not use it often to post my work and I always end up even forgetting my password to login.
I checked out of curiosity abctales just to see how active it was and the level of work that's being posted. After a couple of clicks, I left the site urgently because I was getting pukey just by looking at it.
I am not that fond of comments anymore , I do like reads and the sense of a writing community. I read most of the time without adding comments.
Where is everyone?? Facebook most of them. That's what I think.
I plead not ordinary
I rarely submitted my work before, but I did enjoy commenting on the forums, especially the IT one. I've not been involved recently as I'm wrapped up in web development, technical writing, and similar work. However, I have to concede that Facebook gets far more of my time than it should. I suspect Facebook is why many writing sites are not seeing as much activity as they did a few years ago.
As far as this site is concerned, it's not the design that's dissuading participation. It's clean and fresh (well done, Richard) and I have no difficulty navigating to what I'm looking for.
One suggestion: perhaps sending out an email highlighting or summarising UKA activity or features could pique members' interest, as the one I received today did for me.
Sorry Steve, but you do indeed sound 'superior'. Most of the writers on the site are competent, and not all of them learned their trade on UKA. It's a belief held by many of the worthies you mention - that the site is something of a teaching medium. In my opinion, it puts people off. Not me though. What puts me off is the mention of 'disruptive elements'. I wonder who you imagine would decide on the 'disruptive' nature of a member? You, perhaps? Again, my opinion, the amount of unnecessary control levied on members is one of the reasons membership is dropping. Roy Rodel is a case in point. Like you, Roy did not deign to write for us. He also stayed within the confines of the Forums. Again, like yourself, he held strong opinions and expounded them. He was a good member. A contributor on the forums who felt he provoked thought on any number of social and political topics. If indeed there are Critters and Prima Donnas, I know on which side of the margin you would place me.
Gee, you are right about the lack of comments being a negative drag on contributors. The answer needs some consideration, though. I've always thought that dedicated subbing days are too restrictive. I also believe we should open up the 'on writing' forum to contributions from anyone who wishes to share. That way we will be more a 'writing' site than a social networking one, which is how the forums come across at present. I know, I know.... It's fori not ums...
If we continue to disparage those with opposing and uncomfortable views like Trevor (Gothicman) and Luigi, then we fail to offer members freedom to speak and write. What is needed, patently, is for our members to shape their site, not the site shaping them.
I'm only on the forum because of an invite to take part in discussion. I would use the forum if we were to discuss writing-related matters, which would also encourage more participation by me in the subs.
Enough from me, I think. Back to comforting obscurity...
Unfortunately I am part of the problem in as much as I have not participated for some time. You don't want to know why but it is not because I have fallen out with you all and I look forward to being reunited one day. So it came as a shock to learn the current situation. I have read all the responses so far and I agree with many of the comments.
One thing that I don't think has been mentioned was the negative effect of the WABD experiment. I know it was an attempt to halt the slide, and that it was done in good faith, but it wasn't popular. Add to that the new 'submissions' link at the same time (can't just remember what it was about) but I do rember that it didn't work. I'm sure that many of the less committed 'members' drifted away at that time.
One of the contributors mentioned a welcome letter which is something I agree with, but it brought to mind a little niggle of mine. I first joined UKA 2003 (or thereabouts) and although I signed up for the newsletter from the start, I don't think I ever received one. Perhaps a regular newsletter type column might be introduced say once a month, somewhere 'up front' in the layout. You might even attract guest contributors.
I really hope a solution is found so that when I can return you will be waiting.
You know one thing I've noticed? You send out an email and look at the response. People care about this site and that's pretty rare.
"What is needed, patently, is for our members to shape their site, not the site shaping them." - yes, I think that's true. The thing is that you can't ask people who use their imagination to create, to fit into a box. We're all very different and respond in different ways, and that's good. What we need to do is to respect that response, even if it's not the one we would like.
I feel as if I'm always learning here. I write something and think it works one way only for someone else to see something else in it. It's so valuable to have another point of view. That's why I keep coming back.
There was always a kindness about this place, a humour, and that seems to be missing. I wish I knew why and how to get it back.
well, I like people commenting on my work, but it has to be constructive and/or indifferently polite at least and concise! I think it would be a great idea to allow each writer to choose how many words can be used in a comment. I don't think that this can be found anywhere. We have the forums to write more words or there are links relevant we don't have to write an essay, links of existing articles we can use etc.
some people don't tolerate any kind of constructive feedback, not even about typos. and don't forget this is an international site, there are many writers that use your language as a foreign language, not even a second language, from day one that I joined abctales in 2002 I think I was really looking forward to anyone pointing out my grammar errors syntax etc either by messaging me or by offering constructive feedback on their forums but this never happened. Back then there were no comments on abctales. Then I joined ukauthors and thoughtcafe and indeed on and off somebody would appear with gentle manners or not that would spot any odd english I had not seen.
When I had the Greek writers site there were people who clearly were not Greek and were trying to write directly in Greek, well I don't know why but the same thing happened to my site: most people most of the time ignored their efforts or didn't bother to help them with the language, and also failed to see there was a story or poem worthy of attention. Instead they were adding comments on those who had mastered my language. How disappointing..... as a site owner I avoided commenting too much. It was sad to watch...
anyway, judging from what happened to my site, yes when I had to keep commenting and only one or two members bothered to add comments on a daily basis everybody started to disappear, there weren't many people online, I had the vitriolic attacks of one against the other and people contacting me for their own problems, I was clear, only personal details and insults that were public would be removed, then I understood the many problems that private messages had created and I deactivated them, told them to use their emails and the forums had a special one called "Duels" which was not for visitors.
of course they disappeared because of facebook, yeah it sucked 90 percent of the members just like that.
I plead not ordinary