The Clitorides Awards are open for voting, Finally!

It took a while, but I finally finished the code for the awards voting system. I was supposed to be finished before the first of March 2014, but as these things tend to happen, I encountered life, work and coding issues. But that’s all water under the bridge now as they say.

So head on to the Voting Page and cast your vote for your favourite 2013 authors and 2013 stories.

Please note that for voting, it’s different from nominations, you have to log in to cast your votes.

On a side note, the awards site is now also accepting nominations for the award year 2014. The awards will accept nominations for 2014 until the end of January 2015.

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The New Clitorides Awards Site is here!

As I promised a while back in one of the discussions about the new home page on SOL, IT’S FINALLY here.

The actual functioning, ClitoridesAwards site.

http://clitoridesawards.org/

It’s in beta status still. But, it’s practically done.

And now I need all the help that I can get. It’s simple really: Please use the site.

Test it out, explore every nook and cranny in it. Login (if you have a storiesonline.net account, you’re already registered). Nominate stories. Nominate authors. Check out the pages. Check spellings, things that look out of place, things that don’t work as they should, things that don’t look right at all and file bug reports for the stuff that you stumble upon. There is a bug reporting form on the site.

We need to find as many bugs as possible. We need to find them and squash them before new year’s. Which is the official launch of the site.

Few notes:

1 – The nominations submitted are most likely to be discarded by the end of the beta period. However, we definitely need as many valid nominations as possible in order to debug the code that will sort out the winners.

2a – The site uses the new Log in System. I call it ‘WLPC Login system’. That has one implication. If you change your password or your email on the clitorides site, then if everything is working properly, it will change your password or email on SOL too. The clitorides site doesn’t use user names, so those won’t be affected on SOL.

2b – Storiesonline doesn’t really support the new log in system fully. It only sends info to the ID server, but it doesn’t get updated beyond the initial addition. So if you have changed your password or email address on SOL in the last few months, then your new info may not log you in at the clitorides site.


Another thing about the new clitorides awards that needs discussion: The award categories.

The following categories I have no problem with:

Flash Erotic Story of the Year – up to 1,000 words
Short Erotic Story of the Year – 1,000 -> 7,500 words
Medium Erotic Story of the Year – 7,500 -> 20,000 words
Long Erotic Story of the Year – 20,000 -> 50,000 words
Epic Erotic Story of the Year – 50,000+ words
Classic Clitoride
Best Erotic Story by a New Author
Best Romantic Story
Best Erotic Science Fiction/Fantasy Story
Best Erotic MC Story
Best BDSM Story
Best Furry/Best/Zoo Story
Best Erotic Horror Story
Best Erotic Humor Story
Best Erotic Poetry
Best Voyeur/Exhibitionism Story

The above categories are fine.

The ones below I’m not sure about:

Best Hetero Sex Story
Best Same Sex Story

Do we really need a category for ‘Hetero’ story?

Maybe Gay/Lesbian needs its own category, but the hetero one is so broad that it is meaningless and undeserving to be a specific award category in my mind.

And of the existing ones, what the hell is a ‘Best Erotic Seasonal Story’? is that like for a holiday or occasion maybe?

Also, what about other genres that we have on SOL and other site’s but weren’t in the awards before I took over. Like Westerns? Don’t those deserve their own category?

What other categories have I missed?

Let me know what you think.

PS: I’m a busy man with a family, I’ve been spending a lot of time finishing the site. So I may not have plenty of time to respond to everything, but I will definitely read everything you guys contribute and take everything into consideration. I will reply whenever necessary.

Posted in Clitorides Awards | 30 Responses

Halloween story writing contest 2013

It’s that time of year again. We’re having our third annual halloween contest.

Have fun everybody :)

 

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Scoring and Voting System’s Upcoming Changes

As I announced back in 2012, changes are coming to the site’s voting system. Since work on the updates has progressed enough to make things clear, I guess it’s time to update you all on the coming changes.

1 – The TPA system is going away. The system never lived up to its potential. The members that could use it effectively and correctly are very few and those who used it tended to ruin the results. So it became a waste of resources that delivered very little value for everyone. The existing votes will be converted to normal votes (what used to be basic).

2 – The updated system now keeps individual votes and that means new useful stuff and less drawbacks.

3 – Due to the way the updated system works, there will be no display of the old bScore. Only the weighed score (the bScore was already hidden from new authors).

So what useful stuff will result from #2? Well, now we can calculate a story’s score while dropping the top 5% and the bottom 5% of votes; thus eliminating outliers and minimizing the effects of vindictive/manipulative/destructive votes. This top and bottom drop will kick in once the story reaches 20 votes. So, I don’t want to hear anything anymore about votes of ’1′. Those are taken care of with this change.

I’ve been keeping individual basic votes since 2009, so those, with the individual votes from the TPA, will make up the source for the scores in the updated system (millions of votes already). I’ll be dropping the old vote results completely. Theoretically, all the scores displayed for all the stories on the site will now reflect the same voting conditions. What that means is that the old stories’ scores most likely will change drastically. I haven’t completed enough work to make a comparison between the old scores and the new scores for the top performing classic stories, so I don’t really know what will happen yet.

The updated system will allow readers to change their votes. So no more “where is the voting form” except when authors turn off voting. And readers will be able to update their votes on serials as chapters get posted.

Update 2013-05-21: All the changes have been implemented.

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Popup Ads on our sites!

I’ve been receiving many questions and complaints lately about popup ads littering the text on storiesonline and finestories. Even a couple of reports about outright graphical ads on the site.

Let me make something clear: storiesonline and finestories don’t serve, host or link to ads.

These ads are typically served by a malware-style browser extensions. Firefox, Chrome and IE have such extensions.

The easiest way to verify this is to turn off all the browser extension that you have and see the ads vanish.

To identify the offending extension, turn extensions back on one at a time. When the ads come back, the last extension activated is the culprit.

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iOS 6 and the non-working random story display

Anybody who upgraded to iOS 6 on the iPhone soon found the random story display on the home page to be broken. It took two days to track the problem to excessively aggressive page caching on the part of Safari.

I finally worked around the problem by varying the URL where the random story is fetched for each request. It’s now working on iPhones with iOS6.

You may need to force reload the site’s home page and javascripts by clearing all sites’ data on your iPhone.

To clear all sites’ data, go to: Settings -> Safari -> Advanced -> Website Data and clear the data.

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Recent move followup

As you all know, the sites moved to a new location and even onto a new platform. During the move the platform changed and that led to some unexpected issues.

  1. Temporary SSL Certificate issue: Some people, namely those on IE7 and IE8 and a few on Android phones were getting an error about untrusted security certificate when they try to log into the site or use any secure pages. It turned out to be a configuration problem and it’s fixed (needed to configure and specify unique IP addresses for each secure domain).
  2. Kindle eBooks didn’t work: Due to the platform change new updated binaries for the kindlegen software from amazon were needed.
  3. Zip files issue: Some members reported inability to expand zipped archives generated on the new servers. I couldn’t duplicate the issue, but nonetheless, changed the zip archive generation algorithm to use my own hand-rolled zipping solution. Hopefully that solves it. I haven’t heard any complaints since the change.
  4. Slow site during peak time: The new set up doesn’t handle text search well. I’m not sure if it’s a hardware problem (not enough processor bandwidth) or a software configuration problem. Whatever it is, I couldn’t find a solution quickly. I’ve moved text search to a small server that I had lying around. It’s slow but for now it does the job and now text search works without affecting the main database server.
    I’m still working on this one. I will be installing a different indexing software (something more efficient than MySQL’s own built in full text index) and rewriting the text search scripts to use the new software. Hopefully that would solve it.

If there are any outstanding issues that you’ve encountered, let me know. You can leave a comment here or send me a message directly through one of the sites’ webmaster forms.

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We’ve moved!

Alright, Storiesonline is now at home on it’s new server farm.

The whole move between stopping the site on the old servers, backing up the files, dumping the database, uploading the files to the new farm, build the database, create the content index, Changing DNS entries and seeing hits come to the new servers, took roughly an hour and a half. More than 45 minutes were simply spent waiting for DNS change to propagate.

Let me know of any issues with the new site, especially performance.

Time to go to bed for me. It’s been a long day.

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Finestories has moved!

As the final test for the new digs, we have moved Finestories.com to the new server farm. It seems to be working well enough.

Our tentative schedule to move SOL is now set for tonight. Keeping fingers crossed.

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Slowdowns, Offline and slowdowns follow up

Since the Sunday right before Labor day monday, the sites have been slow. And today, Sunday the 9th or September, the whole server farm went offline from 1:00am EDT ’til 9:40am EDT. Even now that the sites are online, things are flaky with lots of slowdowns and dropped connections.

After much investigation, we found that our oldest two servers (circa 2003) have given up the ghost and the rest are not keeping up with demand. It seems that the electric power in the facilities have something to do with the issue.

Here is what we will do to remedy the situation:

This week sometime, the servers will be moved to a different facility and the dead servers will be replaced. We don’t know the exact time of the move, but it will be in the coming few days. We will make an announcement few hours before the actual move and as soon as we have a firm time.

During the few hours before the move, the site will be in limited functionality. No new postings and no payments accepted.

During the move, the site will be completely offline, and it will last for a couple of hours at least. After that, everything should be back to normal.

Meanwhile, until that happens, the server farm has decreased in capacity, so expect lower performance from all the site that we have, including SOL and Finestories.

We apologize for any inconvenience that this will have. Hopefully, we’ll restore the service to a better than ever shape.

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