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Jan
2nd
2020

How To Make an Effective Contest, Collab, or Site Event on FimFiction (V1 - 01/02/2020) · 7:52pm January 2nd

Hello and Welcome Dear Reader,

If you've encountered or stumbled on this blog/guide, it's likely because you want to run your own collab, contest, or site event on Fimfiction. As a member of the Jinglemas team, The Barcast, and fandom enthusiast for over 8 years, I'd like to share with you all the knowledge I have of Fimfiction and how to run an event to the best of your ability.

This article is going to be divided into three main parts. Collaborations, Contests, and Site Events. The three events may seem similar on the surface, but each sort of event has very different things you can/could do in order to help promote and grow not only the event, but your platform. Your 'platform' is something I'm going to discuss often here, and I'm choosing to use this phrase since some folk's platforms may be their site blog, some may be their twitter, discord, or other outside program, and some may be their group on Fimfic.


Contests!

First, If you're regularly going to run some sort of Contest, your main concern for success is going to be 3 things:

1. Ensure you've allocated the time and resources to adequately judge the event.
2. Ensure you have enticing prizes that makes folks want to participate.
3. Ensure you have a way of sharing/spreading the word about the event.

Let me break those down a little further for those who need a little additional information:

With my first suggestion: "Ensure you've allocated the time and resources to adequately judge the event.", I share this entirely out of the stress and frustration I've seen event runners faced with when they need to provide extentions to judging, flaws in planning or voting systems, or miscommunicated timelines. If you plan on having MANY judges, ensure that they all have the time and resources to properly review and critique each story entered in the contest. Rank choice voting works very well, but keep in mind that it can become very difficult to manage with a large number of stories.

As for the second suggestion: Keep in mind that NOT ALL PRIZES need to be money! Sending pony merch by postage is a really cool way to send something that people wouldn't normally buy for themselves, and can act as a sort of trophy! Everybody likes trophys!

Last but not least, keep in mind that the site moderation will help provide some publicity for your event with a site post if you meet their criteria for community contest posts. There are definitely rules and restrictions around getting a site post, but you can also join communities such as The Writeoff, My Little Story, The Barcast, and other groups that are experienced with making contests for advice and examples on how they've been run in the past. Don't try to reinvent the wheel :)


Collaborations!

Recently there's been quite a stir on Fimfic about what the 'state of collaborations' are! While I can understand the degree of fear around creating a story with your friends, only to be told to not post it at last minute due to site rules, the good news is that the ability to collab on Fimfiction is safe and sound.

Let's keep in mind the following site rules:

  • Stories that plagiarize other stories. This means intentionally copying another author’s words and presenting them as your own.
  • Stories you did not write. If you are not the original author or a co-author, you cannot post it, even with permission. This includes “novelizing” a comic, movie, game, etc. that you did not create. For example: a Halo crossover with the same plot, scenes, dialogue, etc. but with the characters replaced by ponies.
  • Meta stories, defined broadly as any story about the site or its users. What constitutes meta is largely up to staff discretion.
  • Stories written as an in-joke between a small group of people, with little relevance to anyone outside that group. Colloquially known as “circle-jerking.”
  • If your story is not complete, then new chapters should be published when they are completely written, edited, and proofread.
  • The same story twice. This does not include variants of the same story where the two versions differ on a rating tag, such as a Teen version and a Mature version.

So, what does all of this mean? What does this mean as far as collaborations? Well, I'll do my best to break it down into simple, easy to understand terms.

Well, first of all, Collaborations are not eligable to a site post to my knowledge. I will update this line once I know 100% for sure.

A singlar chapter story, written and edited by many individuals, must be posted to an account of one of the individuals that wrote the story. If all of the writers who participated would like to make a blog of the story's creation, they are welcome to. However, You cannot host the story, the same exact text, on multiple accounts. If there are VARIANTS, such as Mature and Teen versions of a collaboration, then you would be eligable to not only host two versions, but on different accounts as well, as far as I know. (This is useful for those who prefer to use clop alts.)

The process gets a bit more hairy for those who do different styles on collaborations, but I'm going to do my best to fill the gaps.

For a MULTI-chapter collab story, the issue gets more complicated. Keep in mind the following things: You cannot post a story you, yourself, did not write. This means, if you post a chapter that you, yourself, did not write, (i.e. Friend writes Chapter 1, You write chapter 2, Friend Writes Chapter 3.etc) you cannot post the chapter under your account.

However, what IS allowed, and is encouraged for this scenario, is two stories that link back and forward to each other. For instance, Reading chapter one of your story, can provide a link in the author's note to the next chapter [which is actually the first chapter of a different story on fimfiction].

This also means that stories where "You suggest users to send you additional chapters, and you'll publish them" is against the rules. It's unsure if this older style of collab is grandfathered into as exceptions of the rules, or if they are cease and desisted. I will update this as I know more information.


Site Events

Site Events are a much more nebulous concept when it comes to our little community. This implies that you've ran your event so well, and so often, and at such a large scale, that the entire website is now a part of your event. And these will always be the most difficult to handle and run effectively. With my experience with Jinglemas and the Barcast, let me give you the very best tips I can give you.

1. You will not build Rome on your first event.

Your first contest or competition will probably not go great. But what defines it in the long run is how you respond to feedback and improving what went poorly last time. You can't expect perfection the first time. In fact, any time. Something can and will go wrong each and every time you run an event, and the power and reputation will come from how you make things right in the event of a problem.

2. Don't Try to Do it Alone.

The best events come from groups that have long been established, and have worked together for a very long time. Look at Seattle's Angels or the Royal Canterlot Library. Their interviews, contests, and events get so much attention and respect because they work together as a team, over a long period of time, to bring out the strengths of a whole group, rather than one person trying to be a champion. Discord groups are much the same way. There's countless methods of building a team, but you can only know how effective you can be by diving in and tackling it.

3. If you feel like you are trying to "break" Fimfiction, consult site staff first.

The last thing anyone wants is to feel like they can't do something because of site rules, so in every worst case scenario, or to allay your fears, run whatever you want to do by Site Staff first.

~ * ~ * ~

Now then, you've decided to run a site event. What sort of event am I talking about?

This is a sort of event, much like Jinglemas, where 20 or more users on Fimfiction are all posting a story related to your event. This -could- be a competition. This -could- be contest. But most notably, you're pushing for a lot of users to do something on Fimfic at the same time.

1. Get Organized.

The last thing you want is to get in the heat of the moment (posting stories, blogs.etc) and have folks begin to follow a path you didn't expect. Google Docs spreadsheets are a great idea to help organize things like "posting times" so you don't overwhelm staff with a huge posting/review Queue. In addition, having 'designated posting times' stops you from overwhelming the front page with a large number of popular writers drowning out folks who are trying to get views on their very first Fanfic. You wouldn't want to crush the hopes of a new writer, would you?

2. Communicate Clear Timelines and Rules

There will always be questions. There will always be "Rule skippers." The best thing that you can do for yourself is to keep rules clear, consise, and easy to digest. There's a large variety of Formatting tools on Fimfiction. Use them effectively to make easy to understand rules with dates AND times, that go down to the second, including a time zone.

3. Ensure that you help promote your event in everything that you do.

For instance, if your participants are posting stories, be sure to have them include a link to your group or discord. Or, if multiple users are contributing to a story that's being created, be sure to links to the other user pages or related stories/sequels is being included as well. Spread the love!


In Conclusion

These sort of events are the lifeblood of our fanfiction community. It's these sorts of events that ultimately make us not only stronger than fanfiction.net, but archiveofourown, wattpad, reddit, and even more writing websites. We have something special, and it's on us, the community to help make our foundation that Genfic can be built on effectively. We can ensure our own success by working together to prove that we have the best damn writing community on the internet. Because we do.

If you have any feedback or tips that you think should be included in this, please share them in the comments below! We all need to work together and learn from each other's mistakes in order to ensure growth.

I hope this blog/guide has been some help to you as we trudge forward in our uncertain world, filled with pony snuggles and hoofbumps. This is a live document that will be updated as we learn more about how our community is going to handle the different sorts of events that it's users want to do.

Now let's go write some pony words!

Comments ( 2 )

I can see how this would be useful to a lot of folks. Good thinking! :D

Sounds like an off-site platform that handles collaborative writing (e. g. something like writeoff.me but for collaborations instead of contests) is an unmet need for the community.

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