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.

Published by

Lazeez

Owner and operator of storiesonline.net

109 thoughts on “Scoring and Voting System’s Upcoming Changes”

  1. Sounds good, Lazeez, thanks.

    I am assuming you will still be normalizing the scores. Have you considered normalizing them at the vote level, now that you record individual votes? For stories that have accumulated votes over multiple years, this may be significantly different than normalizing “final” scores.

  2. Thank you Laz, I’ve not joined in the debates deliberately as I didn’t feel I had anything to usefully add.
    What you’re doing looks good to me and should act to smooth out the highs and lows – especially if only the authors and not the trolls know and realise it.
    I’ve no doubt that there will be yells as the older ones see their work that’s been there a long time apparently downgraded, c’est ça! No matter.
    It will, though, probably be necessary to advise potential readers where the better, upper story boundary starts.

    Cheers

    Sven

  3. Interesting. If I had anything to add, it would be since you’ll be keeping individual votes tied to reader names, it could be fun to pick out votes from other authors and display those alongside the main score. Similar to Rotten Tomatoes giving you the critic and moviegoer scores, it could let a story be labeled as unpopular but good 🙂

    1. I agree with Invid only because experience has taught me I’m better off when I do.

      I haven’t been around long enough to get worked up into foam-at-the-mouth frenzy over any changes. Bring ’em on!

  4. Thank you for your work. I appreciate that a long serial can have a smaller percentage of votes to downloads but sometimes the low number of votes cast does not help authors. (N.B. NOT the scores, but 1,000 plus downloads with only 150 votes for a complete single chapter story.). The only item I would like added to the voting is “Abstain”. Sometimes a read a story and the subject very much not my taste. I then realise that the story is well written etc. but just because I do not like the theme, does not givbe me the right to vote a 1 or 2. I should also say thank you to you for having the voting. I must admit the score does affect whether I read the story or not, I hope this does not offend any authors who deserve our thanks just for being good enough to write and post,
    Best regards,
    Winnie.

  5. I have found over the years that no what the system, vote tallies have limited meaningfulness. There are so many variables, including voter knowledge and expertise, that one never knows what quality of vote is being cast. For sure, vote averages and total votes don’t reflect authorship quality, but rather popularity of the the author’s subject or point of view.

    I wish there were two voting pools. One would be votes by readers in general. The second would be by qualified voters, i.e. authors with a minimum number of published works. That would be a more accurate reflection of an author’s effort. So, one vote would be for popularity and the other for quality.

    I would also hope for some measure to encourage readers’ feedback and interaction with authors. That’s what really counts. I enjoy the interaction. It is so much more meaningful that getting zinged by an anonymous vote.

    I would also like to see a categorization of voting. That is to say, perhaps separate curves based on genre. For example, There might be separate indexes for poetry, short stories, novels and novellas. Some styles of writing are more popular than others, but each are valid art forms and if the separate indices were shown it might lead readers to try something that they’re not used to. (eg poetry)

    While I won’t rail against the changes, I hope that it’s understood that these changes seem to have the intent of diminishing authors who have been around for a few years. I believe that in many ways the authorship of the past had some aspects that earned more merit than those of today. I suppose that this is reflective of society as a whole, in which more senior contributors are shunted aside.

    These are my thoughts and if I have any others later that are worth anything, I’ll post them.

    AW

    1. While I won’t rail against the changes, I hope that it’s understood that these changes seem to have the intent of diminishing authors who have been around for a few years. I believe that in many ways the authorship of the past had some aspects that earned more merit than those of today. I suppose that this is reflective of society as a whole, in which more senior contributors are shunted aside.

      The changes will do nothing of the sort.

      The older stories received votes as usual since 2009. Actually I waited this long to give all stories to get enough votes for the changes to work. The only stories that don’t have votes available are the ones whose authors chose to turn the voting system off.

      What I was talking about regarding older stories scores is that those older score values where greatly influenced by the votes received before 2006. Which means that the new scores will be more along the level of recent stories. It levels the playing field and it takes away the one major flaw of the weighed scoring system.

      As it is currently, because the older stories received their scores under a severely flawed system, newer stories that should be on top of scores lists have no chance to get there because they’re receiving the majority of their votes under the new system.

      I hope that levelling the playing field doesn’t bother you, because it’s about fairness.

      1. I guess that if you were to suggest that I might have been a bit overboard with my last paragraph comments I would agree with you.

        Please understand that there was a lot of work done by many of us before the voting transition in 08/09 and sometimes it feels to me like that is being undone.

        But, I’ll acknowledge that I should have toned down my remarks to better reflect my true point of view.

        AW

    2. I would like space to explain my vote, as a number is just a number unless explained. I would think that an author would like to know why he or she got that particular score from me. Thanks, I love this site! Why is it that I find reading stories on this site easier to understand or relate to than books by famous authors?

      1. You can send feedback to any author who maintains a valid e-mail address. As an author I treasure even the smallest of notes that tell me why people like what I write. I also realize that I am apt to make errors in fact or in English usage. Therefore I crave the e-mail that tells me what I’ve done wrong. I don’t always accept style recommendations as I write in a style that is somewhat different. IE I’m apt to use a regional dialect for some of my characters.
        As an author I can say this is a lot harder to do well than it looks.

        1. I think that I would be more apt to comment to the author if I was prompted at the time I vote.

  6. Firstly – Thank you Lazeez for the extremely professional approach to the whole site. You are a critical component in enabling us readers to access the stories so easily.
    I will miss the TPA, but don’t feel competent to vote on technical aspects myself and found the scores did often appear to be more influenced by content than objective review, so agree that the potential wasn’t reached. However, I also appreciate that adjustments made to the system are considered ones and not knee jerk reactions, which would have been easy to do with the trolls and their ‘1’ votes. So I have no doubt the new system will be effective.
    It may already exist, but if not, can the system be adjusted for the authors of serials to see their scores on a monthly basis? Score changes could be a better indicator of popularity and appreciation of content for the author than trying to solicit information through the blogs.
    As a reader, the impact on me will probably be minimal. I hope that also applies to the authors.
    Thanks again.
    Jon

  7. It sounds like a useful change. As much as I hate to see the t-p-a scores go away, no one ever really understood what the T & P stood for anyway. I’m glad the old story scores will finally be adjust, so that the only high scores are the oldest ones. It was a bit of a depressing anomaly. Hopefully dropping the highest and lowest scores will reduce the ‘Troll damage’ as well. It’s also good that you allow scores to be updated, because I know many people discovered that they could vote multiple times, thus allowing them to skew the results.

  8. „The system shows you two values. One that readers cast and one that the system ‘magically’ made up, and it pisses authors off.”

    Yeah, the fragile ego of an author, I may not be one of them, but at least I share their self-image issues. I already mentioned, like Switch Blade, I also would prefer to get an additional, unadjusted score and actually don’t believe it would piss me off to see my scores lowered due to general score tuning. I think if someone would come to you and show you an evaluation of your web-site, but refuses showing you the data he used, you wouldn’t feel too pleased either.
    Anyhow, all in all the positive changes outweigh the negatives. You have my blessings good man.

    Sincerely,
    Robberhands

  9. I like the idea of being able to change your vote as a story develops. One of the main reasons I have been using the TPA is because of the ability to do this which standard voting didn’t allow.

  10. I’d like to see some analysis done on those who make outlying votes. Someone who votes a 1 for every story an author posts is not being helpful. Same for someone who posts a 10 for every story.

    Perhaps rather than just drop the top and bottom 5%, consider looking at the voting pattern of users and determine if their votes are biased positive or negative or neutral. If someone votes the same number for every story they’ve ever read, they aren’t using the system effectively and frankly their vote opinion is about as useful as tits on a bull. It doesn’t matter if their votes are always a 1, always a 10 or always a 5. It’s useless to count them if the goal is to allow people to help other readers to discern quality amongst the forest. I might even consider a flag in the user profile database that would disable voting for those users after determining they aren’t really helping things.

    An aside to authors, the ability to email a story to my kindle is a fabulous feature. However, it makes it particularly difficult to record a vote at the end of reading the story as I have to go back to the website, search for the author, then find the title, open it, jump to the last chapter and then enter a vote. Very cumbersome and frankly not something I am likely to do very often for stories I’ve sent to my kindle. Sorry, but unless there’s a way to quickly jump to a vote form for people who have previously downloaded a story, it’s going to skew results by showing downloads but no votes.

  11. Thanks for your continued efforts to give us a useable rating system. Agree TPA never lived up to it’s potential; one of probably several was because the very users that should use it didn’t feel qualified. Not sure the suggestion to follow peoples voting patterns would work and personally, if I abandon reading a story I don’t usually vote on it vs giving it a low rating. Just because it’s not something I want to bother continuing with doesn’t mean others with different (read ‘better’) tastes won’t like it. Have sent comments to a couple of authors, both positive and ‘constructive’, which have lead to several informative conversations (highly recommend it to those who asked for ‘comment’ boxes with voting). Thanks for your continued efforts to continue improving an already great site.

  12. It would help the authors if when a reader gives a score lower than a certain level, a comment/reason should be required.b that way any low scores without an understandable comment could be filtered out and not adversely affect story’s score.

  13. While I’ve come to enjoy the results of the stories I write as reflected by the TPA system, Kudos to the idea that could make theses dreaded ‘1’ scores go away. I’ve always wondered if people who went around giving out fours and lower, are disgruntled authors who are using the system as a sort of revenge, on those you gave them low scores.

    Kind of like the fact that most bullies were bullies, most wife beaters were beaten…

  14. I agree with the above of average a user instead of removing outliers on a story.

    If a person only votes 1 and 10, change it to 5 and 6 as what is actually summarized. Translate a poor voter into a normal score range instead.

  15. Rather than exclude the voter, which in my opinion is the worst thing that could happen. Perhaps, have an article or series of articles to educate on the subject. I admit trolls are a bad thing, but I know if my voting privaliges [sic] were revoked. It would put the site in a bad light.

  16. I find that too many times that if I go just by the scoring to decide what to read, I would miss many stories that I really enjoy, or have expectations of what a story might be that are not appropriate. While the scoring is helpful, if it gets too complicated and involved, it will not meet the goals for which it is devised. What I enjoy is the fact that so many writers are willing to share their work so freely. I lack the talent to write and am fascinated by those who can. As a result, I tend to decide for myself whether or not a story is for my tastes, with the scoring of little import beyond just a curiosity.

  17. I disagree with one commenter who opined to the effect that the only people who are qualified to vote are those who have published stories themselves. In my experience, authors are just as biased, just as vengeful, just as forgiving, just as fair and just as opinionated as everybody else. Such a rule would disqualify some of the most respected book reviewers in the U.S., because many of them have never published a book themselves. I, for one, would be happy to explain to the author my biases that went into my vote for his or her story.

  18. I still don’t get the weighted score thing. How can my bscore be so high and my weighted score so low? In one of my stories, my b score is 8.22, which suggest to me that people are giving me consistently high marks. So why is the score that counts a measly 6.58? Surely the other stories you’re comparing it to can’t be rating that much higher in absolute terms. In addition, the weighted score is lower than it is for other stories that actually have lower bscores, which doesn’t make much sense to me. And please don’t refer me to the explanation. I’ve never been able to make head of tail of it.

  19. I think I will miss TPA. The last number meant a lot, as in 6.7,8, which meant to me that despite various technical errors, there was something attractive about the story. On the other hand I skipped stories like 7.7.4, because experience showed me that the ending was not my cup of tea.
    (BTW I am not talking about genres. I do not vote on stories concerning subjects I don’t want to read or avoid, such as snuff.)

    Pls encourage authors to carefully code for pedo. I have that filtered, but it is not always properly identified.

  20. I believe that later books of a series are somewhat biased upward, with book 2 and especially book 3 showing about a 1 point higher vote than book 1.

    I suspect this is caused by selection bias where many of the people who didn’t like book 1 and voted their opinions didn’t bother reading the later parts and so didn’t vote on it.

    Will the new system allow comparisons like, for example, ratings of the various books from those people who read all the books compared to those who read only the first book or maybe two?

  21. I wonder if my votes will be filtered out by the 5% rule.

    I only vote for stories that I really like and I want to re-read in a few years. For those stories, I’ll vote a 10.

    For other stories, I could not like it: because I didn’t like the choice of subject matter, because the author used bad spelling and worse grammar, because the author couldn’t plot their way out of a paper bag, because I felt fuzzy that day and couldn’t concentrate, because I didn’t understand why the author had a character do something that didn’t fit with what I believed the setup to be, because I didn’t get hooked by the intro, because I saw logic errors or anachronisms, because I was moved by the story but it was moving in a direction in which I really didn’t want to go, or any of a number of other reasons.

    I don’t feel I should vote down a story just because I didn’t like it for reasons that may not have anything to do with how much other people might enjoy it. After all, just because I prefer candy over pickles doesn’t mean I should vote down pickles.

    So, will my votes survive in the new system?

  22. Lazeez,

    think the idea of doing away with TPA is laudable. It could never work because the average reader does not understand what he or she is voting for in the first place. I also think the idea of removing the outliers is valid and an improvement. I think the only reason to keep the raw score is that the weighted scores tend to flatten out and move closer towards the middle but you partially solve that by the rankings of all time best scores and further let the readers know about the best of the new materials by time limiting some list. I would only hope, as a reader not a writer, that you would make these lists longer as frankly, if a story is a seven or better and in a particular genre that I like I will read it before a story that is a nine and from a genre that I do not enjoy.

    JimWar

    Another thought. Is there someway that we could use the new system to revive the old Clitoride Awards?

  23. I suspect that these changes are a good thing, because they move towards a non-voting system. I almost never vote on a story, and certainly never look at the scores mine are given. because I don’t know what the scoring might mean in the mind of the voter.

    IMHO the only meaningful voting system is the thumbs up or thumbs down which is on some sites. Carefully thought out gradations are meaningless when some voters limit themselves to the range 7 to 10. Trolls who notice that some 1 votes are discarded will just go to voting 2.

  24. I will miss the TPA system, as that is the only one I have used since shortly after it was implimented. The ability to tell and author that the story was good even if the grammar sucked was nice. But I guess that takes brains that some just don’t have.

    I know I have tried to think of a better way, but nothing seems to work. You will always have losers who try to use votes to punish an author, or a story rather than rate it for what it is.

    Too bad we have so many “Children” who act like this is just another school playground.

  25. How about a a 10 bar histogram with the y axis rationalized to 10. That would give a fair representation of the number of votes and their distribution. If you have the room for an image there. You will never get rid of subjective bias and most people avoid stories that don’t appeal to their particular tastes.
    Whatever the solution both readers and authors are in for another training session. Years ago I wouldn’t bother with a score under 8, then with the next scoring system I wouldn’t bother with a score under 6, then I would look at TPA score and avoid anything with a 6 in it. I’ll adjust to the new system and still enjoy the authors that appeal to me. I add at least one author a year that I will religiously read.

  26. I am a programmer working with statistical models ( mostly in relation to psychometric testing ) any chance of getting a copy of the “raw” data, possibly anonimized, for analysis? I have developed several methods over the years to crunch this kind of data from large data sets.
    -Richard

  27. Lazeez,

    I have yet to see any change you’ve made to the site that hasn’t yielded long-term positive results. In the 12 years I’ve been posting stories on SOL I’ve watched it expand and change to meet the circumstances. This is another alteration and I hope everyone gives it a chance before stomping their feet and holding their breath.

    It’ll be different and we will adjust. Those who assess the worth of a story merely by looking at a subjective set of numbers probably deserve to miss the gems hidden by lower-than-average scores.

    Thanks for all the hard work you put forth for the site and for keeping everyone up to date.

    Regards,
    Jay C.

  28. I find it amazing that there are so many complicated and involved analysis concepts proposed to evaluate any hidden agendas or supreme truths that might come about if only the proper insightful observational tool be used. The bottom line is simple. Did the author enjoy writing the story and did the reader enjoy reading the story, based on his own opinion and not popular consensus.

  29. Thank you for all your efforts making SOL successful. I have been studying voting and rating systems for many years academically and practically. Some methods are better than others, but none of them are “perfect.”

    I have a couple of suggestions. First, look at the number of downloads compared to the number of votes. You could automatically calculate this. I have found that stories with higher percentages of readers voting tend to be stories that I like, especially as the numbers get larger. It appears that stories that are confusing and/or not satisfying do not have a very high percentage of votes versus downloads.

    Secondly, you have access to data about readers–at least I think you might be able to compile the number of downloads and the number of votes. Possibly you could calculate the readers “average” vote. (For me, my average vote will probably be high. I generally don’t finish stories I don’t like and therefore I don’t vote on them. That means that I tend to like those stories that I actually vote on.)

    You could experiment with various weighted votes. One experiment would be to give more weight to readers who have downloaded (and presumably read) a lot of stories. The theory being that those readers who have read more stories will more considered (better) judges than readers who have read fewer SOL stories.

    Another experiment would be to look at all the votes cast by a reader (if this is possible with your existing program). You can statistically determine their average vote and vote distribution. (My guess is that most of my votes range from 8 to 10.) My suggestion is to experiment with different methods of weighing votes. For instance, you might figure a reader’s average vote and then “adjust” their votes so that their average vote is actually a “5” with their “best vote” being a “10” and their “worst vote” being a “1.” Then you could give their votes “weight” by multiplying them by the number of stories the reader has downloaded (or some other measure such as the total combined size of all the stories they’ve download–or the total combined size of all the stories they’ve voted on).

    Votes do enhance the reader’s experience of SOL and I really appreciate the fact that you’re making an effort to improve the voting. I have one more idea that I’d like to share with you. How about creating a list of stories each reader has downloaded? (I don’t know if this would be easy or difficult–it is certainly a programming problem.) If you asked readers to put the stories in order of ? (importance, preference, or some other criteria), that would be a form of voting that would not be as subject to ” vindictive/manipulative/destructive votes.”

    The goal is to help new readers select stories that they will like. So far, the best predictor I’ve found is the author. Generally, if I like one story, I’m likely to find that author’s other stories worth reading. Again, thanks for all you hard work!

  30. I gather you are deep into it right now. Curiously all scores EXCEPT TPA are now gone. As it is the TPA that is supposed to be going, I guess I find that a bit odd, but assume it is a transitional issue. I do wish you good luck in this effort. I am sure that no matter what you do, not everyone will be happy.

  31. Lazeez,

    I have a suggestion for an additional feature that I think would be very useful and meaningful to authors as far as scores go. It involves adding a reader profile page. The way I see it working is adding a web page for each reader to ‘check off’ the genres or story codes they typically enjoy or don’t mind reading, as well as those types of stories they tend to avoid/dislike. It could be a Like/Dislike/Neutral indicator.

    This information could then be used to analyze and display separate additional average scores on the author’s stats page for each story that summarizes how each story is faring with various types of readers.

    Below is my quick stab at what the profile could ask about as far as if the reader’s likes, dislikes, or is neutral about. It would need a lot more consideration than what I’ve given it:

    – Stories involving characters under 18
    – Stories involving incest
    – Stories involving cheating or cuckolding
    – Stories involving gay male characters
    – Stories involving bisexual males
    – Stories involving lesbian characters
    – Stories involving bisexual female characters
    – Stories involving blackmail or coercion
    – Stories involving transgender, CD, she-male, or hermaphrodite characters
    – Stories involving mind control
    – Stories involving rape
    – Stories involving slavery
    – Stories involving bestiality

    Etc. etc.

    I believe hitting on the traditionally squick codes should be the main goal. You could even ask if the reader is very unforgiving of grammatical errors when it comes to the stories they read, and display the average score those readers gave the story versus those that don’t particularly care if every comma is in the right place.

    A personal example – my stories typically include incest. So an average score for readers who indicated they ‘like’ stories with incest codes would be very meaningful to me. Those are (or are a significant part of) my target readers. They are going to be the ones I care about as far as scores are concerned. But I’m interested in those who aren’t part of my main target group. Knowing the average score for those who don’t like incest story codes would at least be interesting. If I did well with those, that’s great too. If not, no big surprise. Knowing I was able to attract readers who don’t like incest stories is interesting in and of itself.

    Also, for the benefit of the readers, displaying a “likes these story codes” type score along with the unfiltered score in the general story listings/search results pages would be helpful. This score could help readers pick out stories to read using an average score without nearly as much of the negative effect of all the 1 bombs from the genre haters. It would also weed out those who just typically give lower scores to a particular genre because they generally dislike those kinds of stories. Those authors who write cheating wives and cuckold stories likely know all too well what I mean, especially if the cheating wife isn’t mutilated along the way.

    I’ve come across some gems in a few genres that typically have scores that likely have been bombed simply by taking a chance with it because I know what the author is generally capable of. But I may have to wade through a lot of stories that deserve their scores in order to find those gems. If I had an average score that reflected those who enjoy that genre, that problem likely would at least be minimized.

    In summary, I believe this type of “profiling” could be very helpful to authors of stories that tend to have squick codes like cheating, cuckold, gay, or other codes that tend to attract the attention of bombers. While it isn’t a perfect solution to some of the scoring complaints, I think it would have great value, and likely wouldn’t take a whole lot of resources to implement. Also, I realize it wouldn’t be very useful until a large majority of readers filled out their profile page. That could take quite a while unless you forced the profile page to be completed before a reader could vote on any story (or some other similar solution).

    With this reader information, I believe you could provide authors with some very valuable ways of analyzing their scores, and give readers more informative scores.

    Now to go click on a story to read … or finish that chapter I was writing. Decisions, decisions.

    Pookie

    p.s. Many thanks to you, Lazeez, for all you do and put up with.

  32. I’m a reader, not an author. I’d like to say thanks to all the people who’ve contributed so much to providing some great fiction on this site. I especially appreciate that the site is set up to help me avoid the turkeys and dross, and make it easy to zero in on the gems.

    I admit to having used the TPA system in a way not intended, to give finer granularity to my votes than the basic ten-point scale. When I read it was going away I switched to basic-only, but found that only a narrow range of top scores were fair, and that my votes were normalized down to the point that anything except a 9 or 10 ran a real risk of *lowering* a story’s score.

    What I really want is good relative scoring, with floating point inputs allowed, say with up to two figures to the right of the decimal. How else can I indicate the relative position of top stories?
    I’m pretty good at skipping the real turkeys, so if I understand normalization correctly, authors of reasonably good stories will lose credit from my votes simply because other stories I read are even better.

    I have no interest in voting down good story concepts, but do want to vote some difference between superb stories and very good ones, on a near continuous scale. I’d like to be able to rank all the stories I’ve read, and vote in a way that indicated that ranking, rather than a bunch of 10s, a bunch of 9s, a bunch of 8s, etc. Take the all-time long story classics, for example. I have clear ideas about my relative preference of those stories, but no good way to show it; almost all deserve scores above 8, and I probably won’t even vote for the rare exceptions, since they’re just not my cup of tea.

    At this point all I can do is provide written feedback, though a number of authors do not allow anonymous feedback, and due to job reasons, and after a bad experience with unwanted images as reply material, I’ve sworn off any other kind.

    Is it feasible to allow an optional floating point vote score, running over the same range as the current basic score?

    Thanks,

    Bill

  33. Lazeez
    Any chance you can give us an approximate timetable of when these changes will occur? At the moment, the only data I have left in the “stats” area are the TPA#’s and scores. Call it ego, but those numbers keep me looking back at where I’ve been, and give some direction of where I want to go, as an author.

    Not sure how this new system will work — I’m a writer, not a mathematician — but will probably figure it out once you initiate the new score system. The real difference will probably show up in the “acceptance level” differential between what is already posted, and what is posted in the future.

    I used to post to another site that “simplified” their voting system to a “thumbs up, thumbs down” indication, and left room for reader comments. Sounded like a great idea, at the time, but the comments section started to deteriorate to a bulletin board mentality, with half the postings having nothing to do with the stories. Most read like personal ads in a sleazy porn mag. Suffice to say that I haven’t posted, or even visited the sight in over two years. This one satisfies me quite well, thank you.

    My only other comment would be that, by ignoring or discounting the top and bottom 5% of voting scores, you effectively reduce the range from a possible 10 graduations down to 8. Is that what you were aiming for? Eliminating the “1”‘s, and maybe some deserved “10”‘s, won’t do much about the trolls. I doubt there’s a workable system on the planet that can do anything about those low-life vermin.

  34. Thanks a lot — NOT!!! I liked the TPA system because there are some authors that have a great story that they spell horribly, mismatch their quotation marks, misplace their I-?? with US-?? and vise-versa, to name a few. There are also authors that have near perfect spelling, match their quotation marks correctly, do actual research on geography that don’t have a good story line. You are doing a vast disservice to the few authors that actually give a sh*t about their work.

  35. I agree that TPA was of limited usefulness because of some readers’ ignorance of what the definitions meant. But until my last posting, I thought it was basically useful to gauge what most readers were seeing in the story.
    That despite the occasional ‘1’. Why can’t those readers who do that be called to explain their actions, btw?

    However I did glom onto what really matters since I began posting, again, after two years off. Whatever the votes tallied, I saw the read counts for my old stuff, as well as home page visits’ shoot up. Thinking about that.. ‘Yeah! That’s what I do when I really like a story!’

  36. Well I assume you are done. I have one question based on the results. The total score score is lower than ANY score I have for a specific story. There is one peace, that is not fiction, where I selected to have have it scored. Did the decision to NOT score that piece, then drive down the total score? How else does the total end up below any other score?

  37. I feel that you are kind enough to offer us writers a forum to post our stories and we should appreciate it. How you handle scores, or anything else on your site, is your decision. We’re big boys and girls. We write, you post our stories. I like it. When I don’t, I’ll stop writing here. So far, I’d say you’re an asset to the web.

  38. Lazeez,
    Thanks for putting so much work into this and taking the time to make a fair change. I was thrown for a day when bscores disappeared and only TPA was present, but all I had to do was wait for the rest of the changes.

    One thing I have tracked in the past, made possible by tracking the votes in TPA was the ability to see if changes were scattered or if one person was dropping the score. It also helped to see what the breakdown was of how many 10s, 9s, 8s, 7s, etc. Will there be an opportunity to see either of those in the future or are they gone for good? Overall, I’d say the change is positive and like J.C., I’ll adapt.

    Thanks again for trying to make things mean something!
    aroslav

  39. I have to say that I will miss the TPA scores. It was really useful to be able to see the spread of the scores that my stories were getting. So I do hope that some sort of histogram is added in the future.
    Also is anyone else experiencing a loss of votes on their older stories (ones from around 2004-2006), where all the none TPA scores seem to have been lost. As some of these stories were first posted before the TPA votes were introduced, they generally had very few TPA votes, but now the total number of votes are the number of TPA votes that they had. So I now have stories that say they have only had a handful of votes, when the number used to be a lot more.

  40. Interesting results. There clearly has been a flattening of scores. This I gather is the impact of the implementation of a bell curve. It my case, the results are mixed. I get more of my bytes counted, but I didn’t need that anyway as I was way over the magical 500Kb. Maybe three of my lowest scores where raised about .5 or less, but most of my scores took about a 1.0 hit downward. In the past, readers who wanted to read stories with a score >8 would get to see some of mine, they no longer will as the highest scoring story I now have is 7.97.

    There had been a difference in those who scored via TPA and the basic scoring. In general I would see a 1.0 to 1.5 difference (taking the lowest of the T/P/ and A and comparing it to the basic average score).

    1. I found that for all but the last story I posted, my scores went up somewhere between .25 and .5. The last one went up just before the system changed, and has been sitting, consistently, between 7.97 and 8.05.

      Having said that, I’m finding that, without the TPA scores, these new ones mean nothing to me. But as has been pointed out in one of the forums I’ve been following, the number of people voting is usually a fairly consistent percentage of the total readers (downloads?). I haven’t done the math on mine, although a quick perusal is about 10%.

      I agree that it would be interesting to be able to access the raw data, just to see how many 2’s, 3’s, 8’s, and 9’s there are. And forget the 1’s and 10’s, because they’re rumored to have been removed or discounted?

      R.J.S.

      1. I didn’t have any 1’s but I have a bunch of 10’s. That is probably why my scores went down. There is a way to eliminate outliers in a way that is less arbitrary but as I really don’t know what was done… it is hard to criticize. All I can do is observe.

        1. Like you, I only had a couple of 1’s, courtesy of a troll that was kind enough to let me know that he/she had a I.Q. lower than their shoe size. And like you, I did have a fair number of 10’s. If those 10’s were taken out completely, my scores would have probably dropped through the floor (and no, I’m not bragging!). So, whatever formula is being used seems to level the peaks and valleys. It’s just that the new numbers don’t mean much to me yet.

  41. I’ve got an idea for an enhancement, Laz. A money-making enhancement. Money for you.

    You’ve got the raw votes but aren’t going to give a bScore to the writers because it generates complaints.

    Here’s an analogy for my idea. You know software where the ordinary version is $100, but then if you want the legal or medical version, they add 3 features and charge $400?

    You should offer a premium service to authors where they can pay $200 a year (and none of this free membership for tons of stories thing for this feature) to get the distributions of votes for the stories for one pen name for that year. Then they get $100 discount on the next year provided they haven’t once referenced such data in complaining about the scoring system, or better yet, haven’t complained at all.

    Along with a single bScore, a vector of how many 1s, 2s, 3s… 10s conveys more infiormation, though for that price you might as well offer the complete list of votes including when they were cast.

    Sometimes I think this is a wacky idea, and other times I think it’s a good one.

  42. What I’d absolutely LOVE to see, even if it’s private / author-only and anonymous, would be two text fields at the bottom with the voting bar.
    “What you liked” and “What you disliked”. Pro’s and con’s. Not mandatory fields, but there if the reader wants to fill them out.
    Responses, if given, can either go to the author via email (opt in like opting in/out for TPA, etc was) or put them into a table which the author can view (OR made public; I’d be fine with either really).
    BTW, I wrote a stats script some time back which looks at my author page and computes the votes vs downloads counts. It’s really interesting to look at those numbers, especially as they change over time.
    One of these days I’ll upload it to my Authorstats sourceforge project.

  43. Hi Laz,

    I for one am very disappointed that you’ve elected to revert to the inherently flawed single-value voting system.

    I deliberately chose to use T-P-A in voting on the stories I read specifically because it permitted me to score separately on technical construction, plot/character development and personal appeal.

    I have found many stories here which had a decent plot and appealed to me personally, but which had execrable spelling and grammar, thus I was able to vote up the P and A score, whilst voting down the T score.

    Laz, the single score voting method won’t cut it. Consequently, with apologies to all the authors, I won’t be voting for any of the stories. This is because I feel that if I vote high a technically poor story that I otherwise enjoyed, I’d be condoning poor spelling and grammar (as an example).

    May I suggest a compromise? For the people who want (and need) to be able to critique a story’s spelling, grammar, punctuation etc, have a “technical vote” grid of radio buttons marked “good”, “bad” (or “bad”, “good”, “excellent”) against attributes such as “spelling”, “grammar”, “punctuation”. That way, people can still at least give easy objective feed-back to authors about the technical portions of the story, and still vote on the subjective aspect (ie how the story appealed to them) using your single-entry pull-down selection.

    If you make the technical vote an “opt-in” setting within a reader’s profile, with the default being opted out, that should help cut down on the donkeys who don’t understand English grammar, apostrophe and punctuation rules.

    1. With regards to grammar, spelling, and punctuation, there are so many variations to that aspect that I think it’s impossible to satisfy every reader. In my case, I use Canadian English, which is different from both American and British (and probably Australian, as well). This is simply because that’s what I learned, what I understand, and what I’m used to.

      Under the old TPA system, the Technical scores were always consistent, and I attributed that to the differentials between regions. It was the Plot and Appeal numbers that told me how close to the mark I’d got. Those, I’ll miss.

      If it were possible for authors to access some kind of breakdown, maybe the scoring system would have more creative impact. As it is now, I have no idea what the numbers mean. If there’s a plethora of good stories up when someone posts, the bell curve gets statistically skewed, and a score of, say, 7.00 could, if averaged out over a longer time frame, actually be an 8.25 — or a 6.25. We have no point of reference that I can discover.

      Over time, I assume that it will all average out. Still, like any new system, this one is a little confusing for older people like me.

  44. The only thing that I would like to seeas a long time reader and subscriber to this site is to have a “keywords search capability” because somtimes I read a story that I like but I can’t remember the author or title but can remember alot of ” keywords” in the story line. I don’t even know if this is possible but if it is it would be a nice addition to the search are of the site.

  45. I love your changes. I would like a change, though. I would like to see the individual scores on my author’s stat page.

    First, it’s the only thing I can relate back to the voting scores. If I see a final score of 7 it tells me something, sort of, but if I see a bScore of 7 I know exactly what that represents.

    Second, if you provide the bScore on the stats page, I would love to be able to drill down to the actual numbers (including the top and bottom 5% that were dropped when calculating the score). I don’t want all the individual scores like TPA had, but the little chart that was on top of the TPA when you drilled down in it–the number of 1s, 2s,…9s, 10s. Why? Because two 5s basically average out to the same thing a 1 and a 10 do, but they tell me something completely different (feedback).

    1. I agree, to an extent, that access to the individual scores would be helpful. I really don’t care who posted them, although I find that having them dated showed how many people accessed an older story.

      The chart that used to be at the top of a story’s “stats” page did little for me, because it was an analysis of the TPA data entries that let me know where I’d succeeded, and where I needed to improve. Maybe, instead of the chart, a bell curve with a particular story’s score(s) relative to other stories posted in the same time period would help? But then, that would require TPA-like data, which is no longer available.

  46. I can live with the TPA being gone (although I did like the extended voting and always voted extended myself, the algorithm to workout the final score was just nonsense).

    But PLEASE can we have a tally of the sum of votes? Just so I can see how the votes roll in?

    Cheers

    WTSman

  47. I guess I have been giving this more thought than it deserves. However as a (I promise) last comment before I completely bow out, I have these thoughts for our gracious host, Lazeez.

    You kind Sir, have a need to value how to assign value to bytes. I do respect that need and suspect that the method you have chosen fulfills that need in a no mess / no fuss fashion. Let me accept that you have met your needs.

    You authors have other needs. Of all the scores you had in the past, (scores/bscores/tpa,) the score you chose to retain was the least useful to me and from what I read, to others as well. Your assessment about TPA is IMHO invalid from the point of view of an author. Yes it might have looked like a skew to the upper limit, to you with, some mean outliers, but it told the author quit a bit. The reader, above in here, who was incensed that he could not break out his score was – based on how he saw things – right on. Many who use TPA were trying to nuance their scoring… giving a higher score where warranted and the lower score where not. If a story was just not worthy, a reader might now want to bother with the TPA and opt for no score or a single basic score.

    Weighing the scores against what others were getting, helps you. It hurts us as far as getting any meaning from the score; to the extent that we really do not know how readers really felt about the piece we wrote. I suspect that is why you have the calls for a breakout to the individual scores. However if this as also weighted before displayed, such scores will provide no more useful information.

    Let us accept that your scoring need is to figure out how to assign bytes and is not a report of the readers true and actual valuing of each story. Your weighted score, as far as I am concerned, can be completely hidden from us. It is useless in the author’s world.

    It is also unfair to show that weighted score to readers. It unfairly influences readers, towards or away from, stories based on things that had nothing to do with the story in question that the reader is choosing whether or not to read.

    The only thing readers and and authors should see, if they see any scores, are the actual, true and original scores the story received without modification (granting there might be a place to not display extreme outliers here). If true scores cannot be displayed, then the public display of scoring should be abandoned. In the past, the publicly readable TPA was the counter balance to the massaged scores you also posted. Without that backstop, to only display the massaged score, IMHO, is untenable.

  48. After puzzling at TPAs that went from 10-10-10 to 1-1-1, I was always confused about what that scoring systems was all about. I am happy to see the voting system now the way you have devised it. I do, however, like to see the votes being tallied. One thing Laz, you do a lot of work here, that’s apparent. And I appreciate what you do for all of us.

    Peter

  49. The current lists of All Time Classics contain some of the best stories here. While I would be be interested to see what new classic stories would show up with the new scoring system I would be VERY sad to loose the current list. Is there a way to save and perhaps even extend the current list to include 30, 40, or even 50 stories based on the current scoring in some way. Some stories that have dropped off are some of the best stories on the site but there seems no way to get a longer list.

  50. Just a quick question, Lazeez? How soon before the “histogram of votes” is ready. I’m not sure about the other authors here, but I liked the breakdown of the TPA votes. Knowing the individuals vote tells me more about how the story is progressing than anything else. Even the total score.

    Other than that it seems to be working fine from my end of the universe.

    AFW

  51. I thought checking the notify me of follow up comments by email meant follow up comments to my response. Please cut this off for the email above.

  52. Read a bit of a story and decide if it interests you. Stop if no, continue if yes. If you feel that your opinion is of enough importance to influence other readers, vote a yes or a no.
    If you feel that your opinion is of enough importance to interest the writer, drop them a note.
    Simple. Easy. Uncomplicated.
    Who is really going to go through all the weird evaluations just to read a story or to simply tell the author what you like to read? These “formulas for success” are getting ridiculous. No one in their right mind, except a very few strange people, need the high magic and reading of souls to tell them if they enjoy reading. Keep it simple and keep it in the real world.

  53. I was wondering where the TPA went till I read the main screen.

    To see the impact of the new scoring scheme on the old stories, I went & had a look at the all time great long stories as many on the liist were my favourites. There has been quite a few changes with scores apparently elevated and the 20th having a score around 9.3 whereas previously it was below 9. Also a few new stories appeared.

    Disappointed that the high score of 10 will now be worthless. If I really liked a story I would give a score from 9 to 10. I never bother scoring a story beloiw 4 if I dont like it – often never finish it either.

    Don’t know how much trouble it would be to provide a table of score Vs number of hits as welll as the adjusted score.

    Anyhow love the site and the effort that people put in writing the stories.

    greenbottle

  54. Your job, Lazeez, has to be rough. Your objectives, as I see them, are noble. How do you encourage quality on your site? The answer is an environment of support that alows a writer’s gowth in his/her craft. I can’t think of another site that offers the quality of feedback you generate for your authors.

    Thank you for a difficult job done well.

  55. Changing the TPA voting system is the right thing to do since online story sites are being barraged by trolls who get a kick out of voting down every story they come across. It’s become an epidemic all across the internet.

    Since authors work very hard to get their stories out – for free – on sites like these, they would like to get an honest assessment of their work, but that isn’t happening now. The ability to vote on stories is good for both author and the honest reader, but trolls (be they members or fellow authors) are creating an inhospitable atmosphere where they discourage rather than encourage authors to continue to publish their hard work.

    I seriously hope the moderators are vigilant in watching out for these antagonists because I believe that’s where the low-score problem lies. It wasn’t that way at StoriesOnline before, but I’ve noticed it’s become more prevalent in the last two years. Also, I’ve noticed less feedback during that same time period. I opened a StoriesOnline account to publish my stories because I was told by a fellow author that SOL has a higher caliber of readers – and it does. But I’m afraid the drive-byer trolls are making it less so.

    After the TPA voting system was removed, all of the scores of my older stories had jumped. I hadn’t posted a story in a while so I guess I was off their radar. Then, encouraged by these scores, I published the 4th installment of a romance series and voila! Those scores are now steadily falling. I mean, really? Aren’t scores supposed to tick upward when a new installment or story appears *before* they drop and settle? That’s been the case for years, but it isn’t now. And not only that, but trolls are voting down other stories, as well.

    It’s discouraging to watch all of one’s hard work trashed that way after working so hard at writing, proofing, and editing it to present something FOR FREE for the entertainment of readers.

    Anyway, as I see it, the author then has only two options open to him/her:

    1) to turn off scoring for their stories, which will not encourage the author to submit more stories in the future if they don’t know how the public is reacting to it (since written feedback has become almost non-existent);

    2) to ignore the dropping scores and keep inspired and keep publishing their hard work anyway (in a perfect world, this would be doable, but we don’t live in a perfect world).

    However, I can safely say, neither of the options above will result in more enthusiasm by any author to continue to publish their work.

    I guess this has been the reason, albeit subconsciously, that I’ve been less enthusiastic to submit my work in the past two years. I’m nearly done with the last installment of one of my highest scoring stories (nearly 8.5), but now I’m very hesitant to submit it.

    1. I think in your case you haven’t posted since my children had children Your stories are fantastic. F*ck the trolls.

      My personal opinion is the caliber of authors on SOL and their awesome talents are second to none. Change is always going to be an issue… The slimy greasy trolls that litter the landscape are an unavoidable infestation. Lazeez is trying, he’s really in a no win situation.

      Regards

      1. @Quis,

        Has it been that long since I’ve posted a anything? 🙂 Thank you for the compliment (if it was meant for me – I can’t tell).

        I believe StoriesOnline has a higher caliber of authors, too. I enjoy reading some very creative stories here – when I’m not writing – that help inspire me in my own writing, so I completely agree with you.

        I know Lazeez and his team are working hard to ensure that authors on his site are treated fairly, and I know it’s a thankless job to try to separate the wheat from the chaff, so that’s the reason why I continue to publish on SOL. I love this place because of the many options open to readers, and above all else, as an author, I love Lazeez’ quick turnaround, the options open to authors, and his efficiency.

    2. I, too, have stopped posting on many of the sites that I once enjoyed, because of too many trolls. One of those sites only allowed voting from registered members as an option, or it could be further restricted to just fellow authors who had posted in the previous 30 days. That didn’t stop the trolls, though, and there was a lot of garbage works posted just so they could torpedo other writers.

      As for written messages, my last story received emails from over 15% of the people that voted. Even the percentage of people that voted versus the number of downloads seems to have gone up. If this becomes a trend, then could the change in the voting system be partially responsible? For all Lazeez’s work, it would be a nice result.

      I still feel that StoriesOnline is one of the better sites on the internet for writers. Hopefully, it’ll stay that way, and the myriad of good authors will continue to inspire the rest of us.

      R.J.S.

      1. @R.J.S.,

        I can see what you’re saying. I only post at one other site, but I feel SOL stands head and shoulders above it although the other site is supposed to be bigger. In this case, bigger isn’t better.

        The readership at SOL is also of a higher caliber; people actually come to enjoy a story with a plot! And that’s refreshing, believe you me.

        And just as an aside, I agree with every point you make. I really love SOL and I know a few authors who have quit other sites and post exclusively here. I also opened a FineStories account where I can publish my stories that don’t have any sexual content. I guess that alone tells you how much I enjoy Lazeez’ work. 🙂

  56. I dont remember reading that we would be losing any most columns from the stats page. I liked keeping track of people who were putting us in their library!

  57. Never mind, my screen reloaded and I found the Data that I thought had been purged — All is good again!

  58. Good grief! Really “Less Details”? You are creating a page for writers for the love of Pete!

    Try one of these two:
    Less Detail
    Fewer Details

      1. Sounds like “splitting hairs” to me — and it’s been so long since I had any, I’m not sure I remember how it’s done (and I’ll leave it to everyone’s perverted imagination to decide which hairs I’m missing!).

        1. Know what you mean… I could use a few less nose hairs and ear hairs… (well figured it was an open hair discussion)

          This discussion seems to have acquired a hint of levity. The world needs more levity. Back to the topic, even if momentarily.

          I am also a reader, that is not meant to be a pejorative, it is my understanding of my limitations. My son is an artist, he captures scenes in his mind a comes back and puts them to brush or charcoal ore another appropriate medium with amazing clarity. Writers do the same only they create this world in their mind and put it to paper (digital or otherwise) for us to enjoy. The good ones can take you to their world, full of wonder and impression. The problem or issue seems to be, how to tell the good ones? How to score them.

          Well you can’t because what turns my crank doesn’t necessarily turns yours. Some people gag on poor grammar and positively melt down over irresponsible spelling. Some people like to see burning cities, some like whips and chains, I like to see (^&(^^$%$^%*#^% so I will be more favourable disposed toward that, you may not be at all impressed.

          It all comes down to the missing Bill. Most civilised countries have a Bill Of Rights, (to protect those with money….) none that I know of have a Bill Of Responsibilities.

          With that I step of this wobbly crate…

  59. One problem (as a reader) with the removal of the old scores. Older stories (2004 and earlier) have very few (if any) counting votes (from 2009 on). This means that a search specifying say score 7.5 or higher will not find the good old stories. Rather than leaving the score blank, I think that it would be better to have the old score until enough new votes had accumulated to get a valid score under the new system. Without something like this, new readers on SOL may never encounter many of its good stories.

  60. I believe this change is a mistake. There are stories I give 9s or 10s for plot and appeal. However , There are quite a few that I can only give a 3, 4, or 5 (sometimes less) for grammar and spelling. How would you suggest voting one score for these stories? Do you drop the entire score to a 6 or 7 because the author does not check the grammar , missing/extra words, or spelling?

    1. Your comment has surfaced many times since these changes went into effect, and they have an element of validity.

      I guess the current system leaves a reader deciding on their personal priorities. Which is more important to you, the plot, or the presentation? I’ve read stories that had an excellent plot — but with spelling and grammar that would embarrass a first-grader! My solution now, is to vote on the strongest element, but send an email to the author mentioning that their errors degraded a possible higher score. if the author is interested, they’ll go back and correct their mistakes and repost. If they aren’t, they won’t. For the “lazy” ones, the low score will persist, and they miss out on some of the satisfaction available from dong their best, or of improving their talents.

      1. As a writer, once I finish a project, I move on to the next one. I generally do not correct the old one after my editors and I post it. That doesn’t mean that I ignore comments. I just use them to improve the next project. The proof of this is if you list all my stories by date, each one has a higher score than the one before it.

        To me, that’s what this site is all about.

        Ronbry

  61. I am not a writer, and have edited for SOL authors. As a reader, the new voting system encourages me to vote at the end of each chapter. If I don’t like a story, I never vote. If I finish a chapter, I score it highly. I’m concerned my high votes will be eliminated.

    1. If you’re the only one that is posting high scores for a given story, then by Lazeez’s formula of the top and bottom 5%, then yes, you’re vote might be eliminated from the cumulative. However, if there’s a large segment of the voting population that agrees with you, then your high score only serves to re-enforce their view. In other words, if someone holds back from voting because they think that their vote doesn’t count, the score calculated and posted is going to end up being skewed downwards, which is not fair to either the author or the readers, simply because a good story is under-rated.

      Solution? “Vote early — vote often!”

      1. You know, I hate to give low scores. I feel like I’m stabbing a fellow writer in the back. However, sometimes I’m just compelled to do so, but when I low vote somone’s project, I owe them a note explaining why I voted the way I did, and try to offerf suggestions on how he / she can improve. If you vote too high, you may be missing an opportunity to offer help to that writer.

        Often a simple thing lik SOL offers some very good editors will turn a writer around.

        Bottom line
        Vote what you believe, but have the guts to face the writer and defend your vote.

        Ronbry

  62. Interesting little quirk that I just found. By going into the Author Stats and selecting “More detail”, clicking on any of your stories reveals a bar chart that shows how many of which vote rating that story has received. While maybe not as informative as the old TPA system, it does give an indication of where a presentation is weak or strong in reader’s opinions.

    I wonder what other little goodies our “Fearless Leader” has hidden in that utility . . . ? Guess which playground I’m going to be in for a few days?! LOL!!

    1. Thanks to R. J. Stone’s comment I clicked on a story title and just as he said, instead of taking me to the story I got the bar chart.

      However what I saw does not explain the score the story received. I would post the chart for the rest of you to see but such is not possible here. What the graph makes clear, is that a simple arithmetic tabulating of the results would have the story between 8.5 and 9, not 7.3.

      If nothing else, I think we should see a raw score along with the score as it is put on the curve. I am not comfortable with curves as a general rule. Scores tell me if what I writing is pleasing to MY readers… the ones who want to read my work. Might my readers be more enthusiastic than some other writer’s audience? Sure, OK… But how can the score keeper tell the difference between enthusiasm and general appreciation? And how can I tell if I am on target with my readers when the score is so modified? (Yes now at least I can see the chart.)

      If you could see the chart at which I am looking, you would see that of 139 votes a full 47 of them are 10’s. the 8’s and 9’s are almost even and come close to 65 votes between them. There are about 25 votes in the 7’s. What is left over is one 3, one 4, three 5’s and 2 sixes.

      Lazeez can and should assign bytes the way he sees fit, but when a number is placed on a curve and called a score, those numbers are meaningless to anyone other than Lazeez. The numbers everyone else ought to see are the true numbers.

  63. Ugh! I just posted a new twincest romance story that already has thirteen votes and nine people saving it to their libraries, but get this, the score is DROPPING. Lazeez, is there any way for the system to remove one-bombers? It’s becoming an epidemic around here. [/rant]

    1. It would be interesting to read something written by those “1-score” trolls . . .

      . . . except that there are no “minus” scores available, are there?

  64. Are votes of 1 or 2 ever valid ? If a story is really bad then I would stop reading it after a few paragraphs and as I did not read the story to the end, i would not vote on it.

    A statistic that would be interesting would be the ratio of votes (above 2) to downloads – this gives an indication of what proportion of readers think that a story is worth voting on.

    1. Only Trolls vote 1 or 2 — unless it’s a REALLY, REALLY bad story line, lousy grammar, poor punctuation, and any other error you could name!

      . . . but I get them showing up on almost every story I post!

  65. Sometime has gone by with the new voting system in place. Although I greatly would appreciate it if every bar column would reveal its number, I still regard that feature as a valuable asset. It would be valuable for readers as well. I suggest making it available to them, maybe linked to the score, but of course I don’t know how much of an effort that would mean to you.
    The second thing is more a plea than a suggestion. Watching the bar column statistics it’s easy to see that the final score is lower than the average of the votes. Without knowing the concrete numbers I can only estimate, but would guess that the score is downgraded by almost a full point. That means if readers vote on a story with a displayed score of 7, 50 that every vote of an 8 does in fact lower its actual score. Assuming that is a surprising and unwanted effect for a voting reader as well as the author, I ask you to disclose the formula you use adjusting the entirety of the scores displayed on SOL.
    I don’t mind the adjustment in general and respect the need for secrecy regarding the data you use, but the formula itself shouldn’t be a secret. To me it’s a matter of fairness to disclose the rules used to publicly evaluate an author’s work, as well as it is for a voter to know how his vote will affect a score.

    1. As Robberhands says.

      In fact the downgrading can be and is closer to 1.2 points in some cases. Stories that by my calculation would generate a raw score of 8.9x are displayed as 7’s. This is a disincentive to readers. Scores modified for ‘fair’ assignment of byte eligibility are not equally ‘fair’ is displaying reader value.

      1. I only can see the effect that the secret formula in use to tune the scores displayed on SOL has on my stories. If every story on SOL would be equally affected, then stories with a score higher than 9 wouldn’t be possible at all. That is a part of my problem with is it. I don’t know the formula and also don’t know how or why other stories are affected differently.

  66. I have never been able to figure out the voting system as such and the parts I have figured out, I am just not qualified to judge those parts. So I usually just send a note of thanks to the writer for sharing with the editors or who ever helps them in the writing process. I do admit that I don’t send the thank you notes with each chapter in a multi chapter story like I probably should. But even those stories I never read or look at, the story tellers and editors have my thanks for the sharing of their talents.

    Of course I am just a dumb reader who never finished high school, due to being in a hospital for over 4 years in my teens. But that was my problem no one or nothing else to blame.

    Doc

  67. Is there any way to track the trolls? I don’t really care if some one goes batshit crazy and votes 10 till they bleed… at least you know they liked the story which is positive in terms of feedback. But the ones that give 1’s or 2’s are really pathetic pencil d*cks that serve no useful purpose. Maybe requiring at least 50 word description of the reason for the low vote would cull the misogynists.

    I mean really after the story description, the codes, and the first few sentences they should know whether it will interest them. They can just drop it, move on, pretend they have something else to do, no point in trashing someones efforts. If they continue to read they are just being masochistic and probably need help. Which is not the purview of this site.

    1. Trolls are a species unto themselves — sort of like Bigfoot, but without the I.Q.. They’re impossible to track, especially over the Internet, and have a propensity to change ID’s faster than Superman get get in and out of a phone booth.

      I get my fair share of them, too, and the only thing that keeps me from ranting about Trolls has something to do with my skin getting a little thicker. If it ever gets as thick as my head, I’ll be completely impervious to ANYTHING!

      In short, Trolls go with the territory, and while they make it discouraging to keep on trying to write a decent story, there are enough honest and appreciative readers out there that we all keep on scribbling our efforts. For me, now that I know how many Trolls are in the audience, I ignore them, and keep on writing.

      One day, I’ll post a story that doesn’t get attacked by Trolls — although I doubt I’ll still be on solid food when that happens. Until then, though, I’ll keep on writing, and to Hell with the Trolls!

      R.J.S.

  68. I like the idea of trying to track the trolls as put forward by Quis. Hopefully a computer wizard could then block their votes and we could get back to enjoying the stories and using the scores to decide whether or not to read a story. I now realise some scores are scewed. If it is a “cheating wife” story and does not end as a “burn the bitch” ending, it will be marked down, no matter how good it may be. Would it help if instead of “An average score”, it showed the actual votes. i.e. total votes 20, 11 gave it 8, 5 gave it 6, 3 gave it 5 and 1 gave it 2. As you get when you look at a product and it says “45 people wrote a review. Click here to read all” Not the review part here, but that method os showing all the scores. Sorry for the preamble, but thanks to all of you who write and post here for the reader’s enjoyment,
    Best regards, Winnie.

    1. Great idea – hope it is not too difficult to implement

      Not a writer but avid reader; feel sorry for the writers whose stories are trashed by a (hopefully) small minority of readers

      greenbottle

      1. Agreed. I’m a small fish larvae in a very big pond. My scores are excellent, but they aren’t based on a large number of votes. Because of that smaller sample size, a single troll attack can have a huge affect on my scores under this new system. Luckily, my relative obscurity means I probably haven’t pissed off enough people to have any enemies.

        1. Luckily, my relative obscurity means I probably haven’t pissed off enough people to have any enemies.

          You don’t have to be “popular” or “prolific” to piss off a Troll. I’m going to guess that 90% of them are jealous because WE can string words together in an attempt to convey an idea, and THEY can’t!
          (Your results may vary — don’t try this at home!)

          Like I mentioned once before, I’d really like to see what a Troll can put together for a story, if for no other reason than to determine their qualifications to judge writers.

          R.J.S.

          1. RJ, it’s not a matter of judging writers. Writing is an art form, it is subjective. The problem with trolls is their inability to understand it is art and it is subjective. And it takes a certain (massive as far as I am concerned) ability to paint word pictures in a readers mind.

            I am on the other side of the balance, I read. Some authors resonate in my mind, some don’t. If a story doesn’t appeal it is not my place to judge. Trolls, by their very nature, cannot make that intellectual step. That is why I believe any score below a certain value should include an explanation of the thought process that went into the sub par score.

            I believe that would challenge the troll’s ability to string words together in a coherent enough structure to convey any rational idea.

          2. Quis

            Your idea of an explanation has merit, but one fatal flaw. An explanation would take the use of words, preferably coherently strung together and in a language that most people understand. My first gut reaction is that such a task is beyond the abilities of the average Troll.

            IMHO, that particular species is creating more trouble than they’re worth. Yes, I’m none too thrilled with what they do to my scores, but maybe the cure is worse than the disease in this case? No matter which way Lazeez goes, Trolls will find a way to defeat any safeguards put into place.

            For now, I’ll just “pay my money and take my chances“, and let the scores decide whether, as a writer, I’m improving or not. The histograms help, but I find them less useful than the old TPA numbers — which is where I came into this thread.

            I agree that writing is an art form, and consider it a privilege to be able to try my hand at the craft. Sometimes those scores are an incentive to keep trying, but more often, it’s being able to go back over my creation and find that what I’ve written is close to what I wanted to say.

            I wonder if Michelangelo had this problem??

            R.J.S.

  69. I wonder if the voters could be linked somehow to the email addresses we all have to use when we register for SOL. If it could maybe that would allow the trolls/destroyers to be tracked.

    1. What about no anonymous voting? People are a lot less apt to be trollish when scoring if their “name” is attached to their vote. In a sense, it’s hard to grasp why people would be ashamed to attach their name to any given vote unless they had ulterior motives (i.e. engaging in trolling). If I read a story I disliked so much that I’d give it 1 or 2, I wouldn’t be ashamed to let everyone else know I thought it sucked that bad.

      It may not be technically feasible, or even very good, but it’s an idea worth considering.

  70. I do agree however that anyone who votes or gives any form of feedback to a writer should have the decency to give a valid email to the writer. Heck I have given feedback on sites where I am not registered and anonymous feedback is allowed. In those cases if the feedback is to go to the writer instead of a message base for the story with open viewing, I always give my email address since its only fair to them.

    1. I agree. If you have something to say, it’s only fair that whoever you comment on has the right to know who you are.

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