Revisions to Reviews - the Facts
Release Date: 27 Dec 06
UPDATED: link to forum discussion at foot of article. On or shortly after January 1, 2007, HASA will roll out a slightly revised review system. This post is to provide background on why it is being done and what the revisions will be.
For most of HASA's life, reviews have been the defining aspect of the site. They set an expectation of quality for writers and reviewers. They also were the source of almost every crisis that has rocked this site as people sought to disparage HASA, reviewers and the review system after being declined. The most recent example of this was PV's reckless accusations of plagiarism against people she claimed turned down her stories.
The old organization of the site created a level of conflict that was unsustainable.
For the last year, I have been transitioning the site away from being review-centric and towards providing tools and features that support creativity and sharing. The biggest change took place in mid-December when authors were given the ability to publish stories to the public without going through review. The purpose of reviews now is to act as a challenge to excellence. To appear on the home page, garner a blue star and attract the greatest number of readers, you need to go through review. If that does not appeal, simply set your story to General status and share.
There has been one functional change to reviews. While text comments remain optional, they can no longer remain unsigned. Requiring comments to be signed is in keeping with the general HASA rule of no anonymous statements about a story on the site. If a reviewer does not leave a comment, her review remains anonymous. If a reviewer leaves a comment, her name will appear next to it on the author's reviews page. Authors may still send email requests for comments to a story's reviewers.
This change was made because a minority of reviewers cannot resist speaking scornfully and dismissively to authors. Their criticisms may be objectively correct, but their tone was intended to wound. Review Admins were put in the position of reviewing reviews to try to keep this childishness under control.
It was decided to make authors and reviewers equally responsible for their actions. Authors know they need to demonstrate that they can take reasonable criticism with maturity or lose meaningful comments. Reviewers will need to comment with restraint or be called for incivility.
HASA has been charting a new course for the last year, and the first leg of the journey is now complete. These changes are best for the HASA community. They are designed to reduce conflict, limit demands on the volunteers who keep the site running, and increase rewards for our members, while maintaining a commitment to excellence in fanfiction writing.
Writers Workshop members can join a Reviews Forum discussion on the changes here. Please log in first and the link will take you directly to the thread.