Expanded Voting Form: Wording and Value distibution

I’m working on implementing the new optional expanded voting form referenced in my previous blog entry Final Decisions. I need some feedback about the wording of the voting form.

The form will have three separate criteria for the reader to select values for and I want it to be clear enough about the meaning of each. So for each criteria, I need a short, concise sentence that goes under each option, to explain what the reader is selecting. It has to be as clear as possible as to not leave the reader confused about what they’re selecting and short enough to be simple. So far I’ve come up with:

Spelling and Grammar

Thoroughness of the storyline

Appeal to your personal taste.

Also, I can’t display all the numbers, so I must combine the three criterias into a single value to display.

So far, the relative score is going to be in its own column and the expanded score would be in another column.

So it’s going to be:

Size | Dnlds | Votes | Score | E Score | Q Score

The E Score is the expanded one and the Q Score is going to be the Weighed score. (It’s going to be really confusing for a while.)

Authors can already see the Q Score in the stats page.

Now, to calculate the E Score value, I’m thinking:

Quality: 20%
Plot: 50%
Appeal: 30%

Quality can be easily fixed with a proofreader’s help. Appeal is a subjective value that varies by the reader’s personal taste. So the emphasis is on the Plot.

I would like to hear as many opinions as possible about the wording of the form as wells as the distribution of the values to be calculated.

Published by Lazeez

Owner and operator of storiesonline.net

102 replies on “Expanded Voting Form: Wording and Value distibution”

  1. I wish readers would care enough to send written feedback. I don’t know enough to comment further but I think readers will be voting less with this new system.

  2. I’m a little confused as to what the reader will see at the end of the page.

    Will there only be the three score boxes or is there still an overall score box for voting?

    Will the authors be able to see the individual scores of each catagorie on there stats page?

  3. Thanks for the opportunity to comment. As the politicians would say, “I reserve the right to revise and extend my remarks at a later date.” Seriously, after reading others’ input I might have other thoughts.

    With respect to the captions for the criteria boxes, I would recommend:

    spelling, grammer,structure, language

    Creative and interesting development of storyline and characters

    how the sexual content appeals to your personal taste

    In my opinion, the weights are fine as stated.

    A possible addition might be to include the value “N/A” (not applicable) to the “Plot” and “Appeal” boxes if the voter feels that way. For example, a short essay about a sexual interlude might be worthwhile reading and the author never intended to develop a plot.

    I added ‘structure’ to the “Quality” box because a work may be perfect in technical aspects, but suffer from wordiness, too long paragraphs, etc. I also believe that interesting use of language is an aspect of quality.

    I added the aspect of character development in the “Plot” box because I think that it’s important. Also, the ‘thoroughness’ of the plot is only one characteristic that determines how good a plot is. That term favors multi chapter novels and novellas over the short story genre.

    The “Appeal” box speaks for itself. It is the equivalent of the “Stroke Ratio” that the Reviewers use.

    I also suggest a stronger encouragement to readers to send comments to authors, including an assurance that lets readers know that responding will not put them on spam lists, or their security jeopardized, and to clarify that they can respond anaymously or with an e-mail response. I think that some readers worry that pressintg the button will enable someone to tag or trace them.

    [By the way, I believe that many readers do not vote/comment because they are reading while at work and are afraid of being tracked down by their employers.]

    thanks for this opportunity.


  4. Shakes Peer2B here.

    I, personally, would give a bit more weight to the quality score, if for no other reason than to encourage writers to enlist the aid of an editor. Nothing sends me packing when reading a story quite so quickly as poor grammar, spelling, etc.

    I disagree with autumn writer on the meaning of Appeal. Many of the best scoring stories currently on SOL are not very high in sexual content, so there must be something else that appeals to their readers, so I’d say stick with a more generic description.

  5. I suggest you change the title of the first category, “Quality,” to “Language.” The title “Quality” might be understood as an evaluation of the story’s general quality. You might want to include syntax and word choice in the definition.

    I suggest the definition of “Plot” also include character, so it will be titled “Plot/Character.” The definition could be “Consistency of the storyline and characterization.” The statement about “thoroughness” is unclear.

    The “Appeal” category and its definition seems reasonable. It doesn’t make sense to restrict that to sex, as some stories do not include sex scenes.

    As far as weight, I suggest the following:

    Language 30%
    Plot/Character 40%
    Appeal 30%

    Those are my suggestions. Good luck with the changes and thanks for all your hard work.

  6. This is really getting frustrating for me as an author. It seems like once a week there is a new scheme for scoring stories. Even the old download counts have now become meaningless. After Sunday of this week, the only way a story lands on the top twenty download list is if the story has 2000+ downloads during a week.

    The idea of applying a statistical “factor” to a vote renders the entire concept of someone “voting” invalid. I vote 8, but since most people vote 10, my vote is now something othere than 8. That’s like telling someone “Hi, you voted for X, but we calculated the weighted widgit score and you’ve really voted for Y.”

    As someone whose stories of late don’t contain much, if any sex, any text in the description of “appeal” that includes “stroke factor” or “sexual” in it will hit stories without sex like a hammer, limiting their possible scores relative to the other stories. I would expect you’d see a lot less such stories if you did that, as the authors would seek a venue where their stories weren’t discriminated against.

    Rating is inherently arbitrary. There is nothing you can do about it except police the cheats and keep the system as stable as possible.

    I realize this is your site, Lazeez, and I realize that you are trying to make it better. But I don’t think this sort of thing is going to do anything to expand your reader base and may cause authors to throw up their hands in disgust, because they won’t know from one day to the next how things work.

    Gina Marie

  7. I’m very new at all this. I’ve only been writing for a little more than a year. Still, it seems to me that the best way to get better feedback from the readers is to increase the scale.

    Let’s face it, most readers are giving a score of betwee 7 and 10 with too many 10s. If you make the scale 50 to 100 and relate it to school grades (50-60 = F, 61-70 = D, 71-80 = C, 81-90 = B, 91-100 = A) you’ll get more spread. Most people will give inflated grades, but no one will feel bad about giving a 95 instead of a 100 if the story wasn’t that good.

    As a writer, I want to measure my stories against my own writing and against others so scores are important to me. What really bugs me are the folks who give a story a vote out of range. If the mean vote on a story is 8.6 anything 33% above or below that score should be dropped (pick your own percentage.)

    If you can’t do that, the next best thing would be to keep individual votes for the writers. Another site does that and it helps. It make a real difference to me if my score is being brought down by a series of 7s or by a single 1.

  8. I just want to clarify why I suggested that the “Appeal” box be devoted to sexual content.

    It might appear that I was trying to heighten the aspect of sexual content in judging the works of authors. Actually, my intent was the opposite.

    I was hoping to reserve the first two boxes (Language and Plot/Character) for writing merit, irrespective of sexual content. Between the two, I think that they cover it.

    The third box is for readers who are most concerned with the “Stroke Ratio” of the story. It is an erotic story site, after all.

    I believe that many authors, including me, get ‘trolled’ by readers who are disappointed by their perceptions of too little sex in the story and too much plot. This would give them an opportunity to speak their mind without spoiling the other aspects.

    It’s my understanding that authors would see the array of category scores. An author could choose to consider which of the various aspects are important to him/her.


  9. I would suggest that you limit those who can Ext-vote to authors and other members that you trust to give honest ratings. Not just straight 10’s.

    After all not every story is a Bo Derek.

    Limit it to authors, editors and members that you trust. Maybe the members who continually give some feedback to the authors and/or you.

    I like the idea of keeping both scores displayed.


  10. I like Autumn Writer’s formulations of the first two. For “Appeal,” can I suggest something like “fidelity to story codes”? I don’t think an author who has coded their story as “slow” or “no-sex” should be penalized for writing a story with limited stroke value. At the same time, as a reader, whether or not a story appeals to someone else’s personal tastes doesn’t much matter to me. The real question seems to be how well a story represents its story codes, how appealing it is given them.

  11. Agree with the comments about making “plot” into plot/character(isation) to broaden it’s scope

    Also that the “appeal” should not specify sex. Most of my stories have sexual content but that might not be thair main appeal and to restrict the final score to “stroke factor” automatically lowers the score for all stories not aimed at getting someone’s rocks off every five minutes (or at all)!

    Because appeal is likely to end up merely being a stroke factor vote, I would suggest lowering it’s value to 20%, leave 30% for language and 50% for plot

    comment: I’m curious – every time I leave a comment I have to submit it twice

  12. Suggestions:

    Quality: Technical proficiency in writing – ie. grammar, word choice, structure, and spelling.

    Plot/Characters: The creativity and consistency shown in the storytelling.

    Appeal: The personal enjoyment derived from reading the story.

    Note, also, that the wording of the votes should be such that authors should be happy to receive a score of 9 on any aspect. That way any average score >9 will (hopefully) indicate that a story is one of the best. And whinier authors won’t bitch about people not describing their story as Excellent (if 9 – or 8 – is Excellent)

    Also, are you still intending that the voting form shown will be set by individual reader preference? Because if so, sourdough’s expectation seems obviously flawed, but if not, I’d have to agree.

    As to Gina’s comment about the download list… a story should have >2000 downloads per week to be on a ‘top downloads’ list. It seems foolish to let such things be determined by how well an author – and that author’s following – time the posting/reading of a new chapter, rather than the raw numbers.

  13. I believe that you may be over-thinking the expanded voting form. I don’t see why the form used by the Reviewers wouldn’t work for you here. Just add N/A to the numbers and there you have it.

    I have to say, as a writer on your site, I can’t wait for this to be turned on. Why? In your ‘Final Decisions’ entry, you wrote; Authors will be able to view how many of each vote their stories received.

    I can’t think of a better way to help a writer improve, short of sending them a note!

    You stick to your guns, Lazeez. You’ve already shown that you aren’t so rigid that you can’t admit to a mistake. I’m confident that if for some unknown reason, this doesn’t pan out, you’ll bust your ass to fix it, or remove it entirely.

    I really hope you can make this work, just the benefit to the author makes it worth the effort.

  14. Pleasure Boy 1 said

    What might help, if you’ve got the resources for it, is to post an opinion poll on the main page, asking readers which criteria are most important to them. Run it for a couple weeks, until all the regulars have at least seen it, if not voted, and voila, you’ve got your percentage weights right there, down to exact amounts.

    As for the category definitions, yes, you need to be as specific as you can. But that won’t guarantee the extra categories are not abused by trolls and cheerleaders. It’ll help though. Any improvement helps.

    Quality: [0-10] Spelling, grammar, and overall readability.

    Story: [0-10] Plot, character development, and overall intrigue.

    Appeal: [0-10] Emotional, intellectual, and sexual impact.

    I’m thinking though, that readers tend to score things high anyway, so setting the ranges from 0 to 10 is kind of redundant, if most readers pick 7 or higher. It’s probably easier to mentally digest if you went with a scale from zero to four stars (or some such iconic symbol), and just convert that value into a numeric score of 0, 2.5, 5, 7.5, and 10 when computing the averages. In theory, you could convert all the scoring to a system like that, and you’d probably wouldn’t get such top-heavy scores. But that’s digressing a bit.

    Once again, good job with the changes. It’s actually nice to see some people complaining. It means things are stirring up a bit and everyone’s gotta sink or swim if they wanna keep up. The cream will rise to the top in the end, no matter how you stir things up.


  15. Hi, I’m the anon who couldn’t spell Lazeez last time …

    Thanks for the work, this is a much better (and I know it is intended to be optional, that’s OK) voting system.

    That is, it is as long as the results are available to other readers, if you combine it all into one number, much of the effectiveness will be lost (even if it helps the authors to be able to see that the reason their story got a lousy score is because they can’t spell…)

    Can I make a suggestion – add a fourth box, “originality”, and then display (for readers) two scores, one “technical” obtained by combining the quality and plot scores, and one “appeal” from combining the appeal and originality scores, that is if all the scores can’t be displayed.

    Alternatively, perhaps display a combined score, and add indicators whenever one of the individual scores is very high or low, so a story with an average overall score may get a flag indicating high appeal, and another indicating horrible language use.

    On the labels, I’d agree that changing “Quality” to something that indicates it is technical quality, and “language” seems reasonable, and I’d certainly add something related to structure to the wording. I also agree with adding characters to the plot.
    I would not limit appeal to stroke ratio, just personal appeal (for any reason) to the reader is what is best there.

    I can’t really suggest a weighting scheme for combining votes into a single number, as I believe doing that defeats the purpose, if anything, I’d tend to make them all equal (33 33 33, or 25 25 25 25 if originality gets added), otherwise you’re just imposing your (or someone else’s) own biases as to which aspect is most important (eg: some authors, and even more at other sites, seem to regard spelling and grammar as totally irrelevant, implying a weighting of 0 for that
    one, others, especially read-only types, may prefer more like a weighting of 60 for spelling!)

    Thanks for doing this anyway, and please don’t be afraid to change things once some experience has been obtained.

  16. Anon again, forgot to say, that for authors, if you can, let them know how many of each score in each category they received (8 4’s 3 5’s and 2 7’s for language, …)

    I’d also do just about anything to discourage 1 and 10 votes, even to making the voter resubmit two or three times to confirm it really is what they mean. If I were an author, which I may be one day if I can ever find the time (I know how much work it is, and so really appreciate all those who manage to do it) I’d hate to get either of those scores. Hating to get a 1 is pretty obvious, but I think I’d hate to get a 10 even more. 10 should imply “cannot possibly be better”, as in, there is no higher score that can be given – once an author gets 10 for something, they know they can never do better, so might as well simply quit. That’s discouraging – at least with a 1 vote, one can hope to improve, with a 10, all hope is gone.

  17. Let me blunt about download counts, up until this week the one measure that mattered to me at SOL.

    I’m anal about things, I make no bones about it. I have kept track of my story’s downloads since I first posted Tom’s Diary on SOL (although I no longer check every hour 😉 )

    It is clear that so long as one of my stories is one the top twenty downloads list, readership is nine or ten times what it is when it falls off. If a story never makes it to the top download list, I have this feeling that the readership is going to decline substantially. That is, to me, unacceptable. I want my stories to be read — if a change to the site reduces that number to any significant degree, I have to ask myself, why bother?

    Authors don’t get a free ride. Every site I’ve posted on requires stories in a different format… the more sites I post on, the more time I have to spend converting a story from one format to another. Boring! The only reason I do it is to expand my readership. If a site slices and dices my readership, why bother?

    Gina Marie

  18. Hi Lazeez,
    I think maybe too much is made of the scoring system. True it is prone to error as it can be manipulated but it is what you have and people are used to it.
    I personally do not know of any viable way to make a scoring system work because so much of what makes a good story is purely subjective rather than objective and as such this leaves the scoring open to misinterpretation.
    I have found the present system usually reflects the quality of the stories currently published on the site.

  19. I like the idea of being able to score a story on more than just a “score”. However I feel that the Appeal is just another word for score. I would prefer to see the categories be:
    Language – spelling grammer, structer, use of launguage
    Plot – Is there one? :>, does it stay the same from begining to end, is it within the “suspension of belief” area, are the technical facts correct, etc
    and instead of Appeal
    Characterization – are the characters real, do they act like people (or beings)
    Otherwise I think you will see a one to one correlation between Appeal and Score.
    Just my thoughts. As always Lazeez keep up the excellant work.

    The Carnie

  20. Another thought on the Appeal rating… I am not sure how usefull it would be unless we knew who it appealed to. For instance I read mostly romance, sci-fi, some mystery. I read other stories if the story codes appeal to my mood at the time.
    However while i may take an appeal vote into concideration if I knew that it was say, Al Steiner and the story was sci-fi, but unless one lnows the source of the Appeal vote it is pretty meaningless. Just as the score is pretty meaningless to most people.

    Perhaps itwould be better to not show a score untill after the person has already voted on a story. That way there would not be any influence on the reader to be either a cheerleader or a troll.

    Gonna shut up for now, I have stired up enough trouble for one day.

    The Carnie

  21. Lazeez, building from yours & Autumn Writer’s:

    Optional expanded voting; rate how well-written this story is:

    Quality: 012345678910
    grammar, language-usage, structure, syntax, spelling
    [coherent legible readable comprehensible lucid smooth eloquent]

    Appeal: N/A012345678910
    how personally stimulating, intellectually &/or sexually
    [pleasurable captivating engrossing enthralling fascinating]

    Plot: N/A012345678910
    creative & entertaining storyline & characters
    [intriguing compelling provocative engaging worthwhile interesting]

    { alternates: Quality: clear, easily read, intelligible, understandable, lucent, flowing, fluent
    Appeal: alluring, gratifying, amusing, pleasant, arresting, attractive, delightful, gripping, refreshing, riveting, stirring, appealing, satisfying
    Plot: clever, captivating, absorbing, affecting, rewarding, enjoyable, impressive, brilliant, exceptional, spellbinding }

    Okay, so though went a wee-bit nuts with thesaurus, but how else?, eh?:
    1) Descriptive words [such as in brackets] may be better than “a short…sentence” in that they’re succinct & even more “concise”, while giving the rater a broader idea what they’re looking for (or looking for an absence of) in limited, precious space.
    2) “grammar, language-usage, structure, syntax, spelling” is a better order, most-to-least important left-to-right.
    3) “language-usage” vs just “language” because it’s ‘usage’ & NOT ‘slang’ &/or so-called ‘profanity’ that we’re concerned with (ie: HOW it’s used, not THAT it is or isn’t used).
    4) “how personally stimulating, intellectually &/or sexually” covers everything from ‘no-sex’ to ‘pure-stroke’ equally & without prejudice. (Or, if needs must, “how personally stimulating, mentally &/or sexually”.)
    5) Keep, as-is, in opposite order of weight (20%-quality-1st / 30%-appeal-2nd / 50%-plot-3rd) least-to-most, allowing even a little bit more time/room for thought & consideration. (& yes, I like the proportions)
    6) Ampersands ‘&’ save precious space, along with ‘&/or’.
    7) Agree with Autumn, ‘Plot’ at least, & probably ‘Appeal’ too, need an N/A option.
    8) Further agree with Autumn about clarity & confirmation of anonymity, safety of email-addr, non-traceability.

    I still don’t think scoring as-is, original/basic or expanded, works because of how people are, & because of where the scoring is (bottom of page). Can’t change how people are (hard enough to get ’em to bother to score/comment-on writers they’re ‘ga-ga’ over, not to mention anyone else). IF, however, there was some way to have, um, let’s call it a ‘Response-Entity’ on the SIDE of the story/page… this ‘Response-Entity’ would consist of 3 ‘items’: original/basic score & link to expanded score & link to comment. One per standard page-length, spaced along the side of the story (coded such that with either of the scorings, click-on-it-one & chance to click that ‘item’ goes away), or I know there’s some sort of page-coding which allows something to ‘float’ to the side of a site-page, no matter where on the page one is; IF the reader had the opportunity to score/vote/comment no matter where in-the-story / on-the-page one is, then the scoring & commenting should be both more & more realistic. Also, to have any chance of reality, any & all scoring should have tenths (ie: 00.0 – 01.6 – 04.3 – 07.8 – 10.0), though I also very much like what joesephus had to say with his 100-50 A-F grade-scale, which also better reflects the psychology of how ‘real people’/’real readers’ vote.

    …my 222 cents worth,

  22. Personally, I don’t write to achieve a score. I don’t really care too much about the whole scoring system. I would rather not have a scoring system at all.


  23. In response to w_newd’s comments:

    Quality should be worth more than ‘Appeal’, if for no other reason than quality is not as individually subjective. Hell, ‘Appeal’ should be used only as feedback to authors, as it’s useless to a reader of necro-scat how appealing a story is to a Romance fiend (and quite likely even more so the opposite).

    Secondly, it’s better to ‘float’ the voting form/frame along the top/bottom of a browser window. Placing it along the edge of the screen only works for people who don’t mind losing screen width.

    Finally, since this is a completely new scoring mechanism, using wording restrictive/generous enough (such as describing 7 or 8 as Excellent, and making the higher scores progressively less likely to be honestly given) would seem to be possible.

    To The Carnie’s comment: the trolls and cheerleaders need no encouragement or excuses. They will always simply be. Hopefully, their lack of intelligence/motivation will cause them to stick to the old-fashioned ‘basic’ voting form. So maybe this new style can actually be meaningful.

  24. It’s obvious from the feedback that even these terms are too open to varying interpretations.

    I say K.I.S.S.:

    o Grammar
    o Story
    o Sex

    I don’t see how these divisions will be misinterpreted. (People will figure out to count spelling errors against grammar.)

    (And… thanks for not kowtowing to whiny authors, from one of the non-whiny authors. )

  25. well just to add my two cents worth , i will have to applaude what autum writer and w_newd had to say and go with what they managed to put together , i would like to see something that resembles thier suggestions put into place .

    Mind you i am just a low ly reader who only reads +/- 6 new stories a day and is reading over 40 serials on going at the moment , so who really cares what i think hey !! lol

    Thanks Laz , i do appreciate what you do for us , really i do .


  26. I’m not clear on why authors care if you use some sort of weighted score. It won’t change a story’s position within the top 20…unless that story moves up or down from the alltime list (not the yearly one) due to grade inflation/deflation. It also won’t hurt them in readers’ eyes: Readers will merely adjust their internal belief of what rating constitutes a good story.

    Personally, I really don’t care that much one way or another. As a reader/writer, it just doesn’t matter to me. I’ve found that with pretty much any web site change, I’ve found it annoying for a week or so and then gotten used to it and stopped caring. I think most people will ignore the 3 categories (if you make appeal more prominent, it should prevent people from ignoring voting altogether), but I don’t see any negative impact on readers/authors coming from it, so I see no reason for me personally to care.

    In conclusion, I am the very vocal person that just doesn’t care. On the other hand, these discussions are mildly amusing, so the I see no reason to stop posting about such changes 🙂

  27. Frankly, I think this is too much, too soon. Sorry Lazeez, I know you’re trying to make things better!

    It’s your right and indeed duty to improve things where you see fit. But why on earth you see the need to combine the individual element scores, producing such a confusing ‘final value’, is a little beyond me.

    KISS is a principle that seems to have been lost, here. For whatever the scores are worth – not much beyond ego stroke – I preferred the straight numeric value.

    I also agree with sourdough – I think there’ll be less voting than before. But we’ll see.

  28. Personally I’d drop Appeal, it’s meaningless unless you know the person casting the vote and their tastes. A story’s appeal can also be effected by all of the other categories; the quality and plot detracted from the story appealing to me. IMO appeal is related to the voter not the story.

  29. I love the idea of the three-part-score, but I absolutely don’t like the idea of combining it together into a ‘final’ score unless the combined score’s weighting can be dynamically altered by the end-user and the three seperate parts can be shown together.

    I’d love to be able to rank stories by how good their plot is or by how steamy the sex scenes are, depending on my mood at the time. I’d also love to be able to, say, cut off any story with a 50% or worse in Grammar, considering I can’t stand reading stories that are so badly written.

    As for the three proposed categories, I think Quality should be renamed to either Grammer or Technicalities or something else along those lines, Plot should be Plot/Characterization or Story, and Appeal should be Sexual Appeal specifically. If you don’t use the expanded scores for the main ‘Top Stories by Rank’ listing, then stories getting N/As or low scores for sexual appeal shouldn’t matter, and just plain ‘Appeal’ is too much like a normal ‘Score’ rank for me to support it.

    In summary: Please, allow the readers to see all three scores and list them by each. A custom weighted expanded score would be cool, but would probably put too much work on the server. Continue to use the old score for the primary Top Score listings. The three categories should be Grammar, Story, and Sex.

  30. I sort of understand what you’re trying to do but not completely. How will readers get to it and how it will effect the over all score. Or will it?

    The other thing I’m wondering and it has been mentioned is why not just use the review catagories? In fact why not make it part of the whole feedback process instead of a separate vote system? (That may be what you’re planning but I’m not sure)

    A reader can fill in the feedback box, or not, select a number for the four catagories and hit send.
    It’d be a quick easy way to send feedback and they don’t have to type anything.

    You could even have to so readers could click a button to turn their private feedback into a public review. It’d be fast easy and totaly optional.

    Another thing I’m wondering about is since some authors don’t care about votes will they be able to turn them off or make them private if they wish? It would give you less computer stuff to worry about if they could.

  31. I don’t understand why you’re going for an expanded scoring system, when it is still open to abuse as the old system? If you don’t take steps to eliminate the core problems, you can implement any number of scoring systems with basically the same kind of result: garbage in equals garbage out!
    What’s more you’ve been complaining about too many resources being needed to to implement some of the scoring systems, and yet you’re willing to commit resources to an expanded voting system that’s going to offer relatively few gains or improvements.

    I’ve been going over the posts from the past week or so in the related threads, and I’ve seen some good suggestions… I even offered a very detailed explanation of how premium members or authors could vote by using their personal lists of authors and stories they follow whcih may require less resources to implement. More important, however, it’s the authors who complain about the inadequacies and various other problems of the voting/scoring system, and such a system would give them the power and the tools to deal with it!

    If you want to, then implement the old or new scoring systems together for readers in whaever way you want, but at least provide something that is less biased and more fair to authors such as letting them vote for stories and authors they have in their “personal library” listings. It should be less work and less resource hungry to poll the results of such lists, and come up with a score for stories. You only need to populate a databse once, and add to it when an author made modifications to his voting. You don’t need to collect or track each story, but get the votes from the authors themselves based on their personal lists. And if the authors don’t join in such an effort, then they have no reason to complain, because they were at least given an useful tool which they declined to use. Yeah,s ure it does require some work from the authors bt they can do it over time.
    And when the results of author-votes are displayed side by side with the reader-votes, I think such a system will prove its usefulness and effectiveness. Call it an elitist system, but it’s much less prone to abuse. What’s more, instead of a reader checking out recommendations from several authors by going through a lengthy click-by-click visit of their recommendations in search of something he may enjoy reading, collecting votes from authors in such a manner has the added effect of delivering the readers a compiled list of recommended stories, and the authors’ votes on the stories!


  32. Thanks for trying this

    Here is how I work.

    If I like a story, I read another from the author.
    If I like the second story I add the author to my “Author List” and I read everything the author has written and every new story they write.
    If I do not like an author’s stories twice I remove the author from my “Author List”.

    I always vote.

    I sometimes email the author.

    If I would like anything changed, I would like to be able to vote per chapter and have it be averaged for the entire story.

    Cookies would work for me.

    Thanks for all of your effort.


  33. I think that quality should have more weight than you’re giving it. While you’re correct that a good editor can fix things like that (and it’s an editor, not a proofreader; a proofreader merely ensures that the typed copy matches the original), I find that a poorly-written story is irritating.
    Just my thought.

  34. I agree with previous comments that “Appeal” is too vague a term.
    I can like a well-written story that generally doesn’t appeal to me. Sometimes I’ll read a story because of a high score or an excellent review that I normally would skip. I’d just as well drop this category because I think it is too close to the non-expanded vote.

    For “Plot”, I’d drop any reference to thoroughness. I’m not a flash-story writer, but I think those who write those stories or very short stories may get punished. Only those who write novellas have a “thorough” plot (though not always). Short stories by nature are not thorough Also some readers don’t want to take the time to read the longer stories

  35. I’ve never seen so much nonsense in my life.

    You had a system that was working and which was understandable, but which had scores that were very high.
    Now you have a mishmash that makes little or no sense to anyone I’ve asked. At the present time any author’s ‘Q’ score is dependent on what score OTHERS got that week.

    Time and again you’ve told us that your readers often don’t speak English and want things simple. Then why complicate things? If you don’t want people to vote 10s, simply remove the score of 10 from the ballot. If a person votes a 10 register it as a 9. That would do the same thing that you’re doing now, and it would make just as much sense.

    On top of that, any writer with a lower download factor will have to write smaller chapters, but post them more often to appear on any of your listings during the week. And like Gina Marie, I keep track of downloads – it’s a fact, every listing a writer appears on increases his/her downloads.

    Just call me Confused

  36. It seems that, given people’s affinity for Top 20 lists, this expanded voting form could be used to generate a “Best Written Stories” list, using the Plot and Technical scores only. As has been mentioned repeatedly, ‘Appeal’ is so subjective and individual – and prone to the same cheerleader/troll problems – that it is practically useless.

    To the anonymous who suggested making Appeal more important… for those people who like meaningless scores, there will still be the ‘basic’ voting form. The idea here seems designed to produce meaningful scores, and since it’s supposedly optional, only people who care about such things are likely to use the expanded voting.

    Personally, I still believe the best way to fix the score creep is a) redefine scores such that Excellent is not enough for a 10, and b) limit the number of 10s that any reader can grant.

  37. Jack Spratt1

    This new purposed setup assumes a lot of our readers. Let’s face it the majority of the readers are not “rocket scientists” but are people who enjoy our submissions for a variety of reasons.

    The true rating is downloads, for established writers it is a given. With each new posting their download numbers hit 2000; this reader loyalty takes time and work to build such a relationship. As a rule you will find their score numbers are high, that comes with a dedicated following.

    Each author appeals to a certain segment of interests. It is something to build on.

    To improve your image to the reader take advantage of the tools offered, the first is a competent proof reader and if need be an editor, a good spell checker and a good dictionary.

    There are a number of good articles available with ideas how to develop your stories. Glean from them suggestions to improve. My feeble efforts have been proofed as many as four times and still some errors get through and are thoughtfully pointed out by a number of emails from readers.

  38. [ Anonymous said…

    It seems that, given people’s affinity for Top 20 lists, this expanded voting form could be used to generate a “Best Written Stories” list, using the Plot and Technical scores only. As has been mentioned repeatedly, ‘Appeal’ is so subjective and individual – and prone to the same cheerleader/troll problems – that it is practically useless…….]

    Well, reading the above and the comments from .B and Gina and several others, it seems that there’s a lot of question marks about voting system. I think consideration should be given to making a new voting system (with a two or three subcategories such as technique, plot, appeal or something like what the reviewers use in the review page) available “only” to the authors… We’re hearing from authors complaining about the quality of the voting, how it is open to abuse, and so on, and I can’t see anything that address most of these issues in any of the proposed change to a new voting system. Sure a new wording of the voting screen may help alleviate a bit the scores, but in the long run it does have the same problems, because it is the cheerleaders and trolls who mess up the old system. The wording change may help guide the more reasonable folk to vote in a better manner, but how much real improvement are we talking about? I suspect Lazeez might be better off just keeping the old system in place and keep applying a mathematical model to pull the average all the time!
    What is needed is a radical change in voting system, and that means addressing the core issues. And the core issue is trying to avoid trolls and cheerleaders. Some of you may call a proposal to give authors the voting power for a more enhanced voting system as an elitist approach, but I think over time, we’ll see whether authors are being biased, or less biased compared to the cheerleaders and trolls and some others who impact the system in a biased manner (without aiming to be).

    What I don’t understand why not one of the authors (especially among the complainers) have made a comment about the suggestion of should only the authors vote with an enhanced system and similar stuff proposed in the last few messages… Maybe they aren’t interested in solutions, and want to complain… if so, then why change the system at all?

  39. Reader here-

    When all is said and done, will I, as a reader, see better quality writing and more timely submissions or will it be just more of the same from those writers I already score lower for technical quality, loose plot or weak characters? My heroes are the authors who just keep plugging along with story after story, or chapter after chapter of quality work that drags me into the story and makes me glad I’m there.
    Regardless of how this scoring venture ends, they will continue to score high.

  40. My 2 cents:
    I think this is getting too confusing for everyone. While I believe that scoring has gotten out of hand, splitting the score won’t help one bit. The fanboys/-girls will still give their favourite author maximum scores, regardless of how you word it.
    The scewed scores also have to do with the simple fact that good stories are more likely to get scored. With a badly written piece, I’m mostly too lazy or too annoyed to read to the end and vote, and skipping to the end to give a bad score seems unfair.
    I also think that ten grades are too much, five would be fine.
    5-would pay for reading it
    4-enjoyable reading, please more
    3-readable, a solid effort
    1-hated it

    A vote of five requires a feedback email. Votes of 5 or 1 are only allowed for premium members (paying or contributing), that should keep the votes from fake accounts at a minimum.

    I would also suggest a minimum length for individual chapters of a serial, say 2,000 words, to discourage the practice of fishing for download numbers by posting one-page chapters. If it’s less than 2,000 words, lump it in with the next chapter!

    And please, enlarge the All Time Classics lists to 100! 20 out of the thousands posted exposes only the most popular, not necessarily the best.

  41. In response to the previous anonymous (reader):

    Perhaps, with the expanded voting, those authors whose stories are interesting – but poorly written – will finally realize that editors aren’t optional, and start working on improving their technique. The problem’s with the scores (to me) is that unreadable stories – because of technical flaws – are capable of scoring so well just because the author was creative enough in storyline and/or turned out something which semi-literate fans thought was really stroke-worthy.

    Some authors may use the more detailed feedback to improve their craft, some will continue whining that not everyone gives them straight 10s, and some will ignore the scores as they currently seem to do. But, if it causes even one author to take a look at the flaws of his stories and fix them, then this change has accomplished something. Hopefully, it’ll work on more than one, though…

  42. Old Fart here –

    Argon – maybe Lazeez can come up with a way to change the actual download numbers to what they should be. Then I can continue to write short chapters when only 1600 words are required to say what I want to say.


  43. Perhaps go ahead and keep Plot and Appeal after all. Two other categories will be Techinical Quality and Stroke Ratio which will line this up with the four categories in Reviews. So in some sense, every vote is a “mini-review” of these four elements.

    Readers around the site long enough are quick enough to know that every high-rated story is not necessarily something they would like and low-rated stories are not necessarily something that stinks.

    Everyone has different interests.

    (Anonymous 12:13PM is correct. Authors, such as myself, should work for the solution and not just complain. Apologies for any explicit or implicit complaints)

  44. Old Fart,
    why not post longer chapters with slightly longer intervals? You’re not on some schedule, are you?
    2,000 words is just 4-5 pages letter, at 12 point font, single space. Anything less, at least in my view, is not a chapter but a text fragment. But, of course, that’s my view and others may feel differently. Or perhaps we can haggle it down to 1,500 😉 ?

  45. I think that the Spelling and Grammar score should be raised at least by 10. Just because it is so easily fixed. If an author can’t be bothered to check them, or at least get an editor to do it for him, then it should count more against the score. Some thin plot stories are still enjoyable if the reading is smooth and flows. Nothing jars more than a misspelled or misplaced word. Dropped words and extra words are a bane also.

    I would take the 10 points from the plot score, make it:

    Quality 40%
    Plot 40%
    Appeal 30%

    The descriptions under the choices are fine with me. Clear and concise

  46. I support the rating system as you described it.

    It is very helpful to be able to rely on a rating system. Just randomly reading stories wastes a lot of time.

    Of course, once you find a author that you like and whose work you enjoy you can always try their work regardless of rating.

    Thanks for continuing the effort to find a workable rating system.


  47. A far more reasonable breakdown would be:

    Technical (Quality) – 40%

    Plot/Characterisation – 45%

    Appeal – 15%

    Let’s face it, Appeal is vague and practically meaningless, but leaving it in should help raise scores a little, so the whiners will at least get something…

  48. As I said before, you should add a 4th vote for Overall Rating with a description of ‘Overall, how do you rate this story’ and use that as the vote that is displayed. It would be the equivalent of the single vote that we use today, and the ones that the readers that opt not to do the multiple votes use (You originally said that the multiple vote would be controlled by an option on the user’s profile). It will also allow the reader to express their opinion if there is something else about the story that they did or did not like that was not related to the three categories, or they considered that the weighting system that you are proposing is not what they would like.

    I agree with Autumn Writer that Plot should be ‘Creative and interesting development of storyline and characters’ but disagree that Appeal be changed to
    ‘how the sexual content appeals to your personal taste’ since the personal appeal of the story does not necessarily have to do with sexual content. After all, there are some stories on SOM that do not have sexual content and, at least to me, are very appealing (Volentrin’s P I and Magic comes to mind).

    I also agree with the Anonymous that said that Quality should be ‘Technical proficiency in writing – ie. grammar, word choice, structure, and spelling’ and Appeal should be ‘The personal enjoyment derived from reading the story’.

    I assume that since only the overall score (either the one I proposed or your weighted score) is the only one displayed, that the individual scores would be available on the info page for the story.

    By the way, I am sending you a new feature request that the info link be added to the places that currently do not have it, like the lists displayed for New Stories, Updates, or Authors.

  49. As a reader, I use the scores, the story codes and the brief descriptions to decide if I want to try a story. I look at the higher scores first if the codes and descriptions don’t turn me off. I only rate a story if I like it; so a 9 or 10 from me means I liked it enough to give feedback. I also go to the pages of authors whose stories I like and read some more.

    I think most of the proposals made for changing the scoring system are helpful but not essential. I am going to come to SOL to read stories as long as you let me.

    What I really need is a scoring system good enough to make Frank Downey post more of “Rewind.” And, yes, I have emailed him already.

  50. Hi there, “just” a reader here.

    I’ve been following this debate, and I have to say I feel quite frustrated by all the worry over the scoring system.

    First, in the 5+ years I’ve been reading stories here, I’ve never read a story because of it’s score. In fact, if I do look at the score, it’s after I’ve finished reading.

    I choose a story based on the description (plus story codes) written by the author. If the author (or their editor) can’t ‘sell’ his/her own story, then why should I read it? And I certainly wouldn’t trust those yahoo’s out there in internetland. Those people are nuts!

    Rather than score a story, I’d rather send a quick Thank You to the author. I find the reader generated score(s) to be of no use.

    I generally don’t need to express how well an author has handled the technical aspects of writing, because nearly all of the authors I repeatedly read already have editors. Or, they do a very good job themselves. It’s just obvious who cares and who doesn’t.

    If I start a story and it’s more than apparent that an editor is needed, I send a quick note to the author stating “FIND AN EDITOR, QUICK!”. I feel no need to elaborate since they didn’t care enough to go that extra step, so I won’t either.

    I don’t need to cast a Story score because generally the editor (or the extra talented, really caring author) has already handled that part of the effort and has communicated with the author.

    And the Appeal category is such a subjective attribute that anyone else’s score would probably not match mine.

    Feedback is probably best and I do send it when it’s warranted. In many cases I would love to write to the author and express my appreciation for the story or current chapter along with my anticipation for the next, unfortunately, these days I feel a bit ‘gun shy’ since some of my favorite authors have expressed their anger at being ‘pressured’ for more product at a decreased interval.
    Alas, all I can do is sit back and wait.

    One thing I have noticed, I tend to write more often to the authors that ask for feedback at the end of each chapter/story. Not a standard blurb saying ‘How am I doing?”, but a real note, just a line or two asking for feedback. One author even went so far as to badger and cajole. When I finished laughing, I sent him a quick note. I don’t see it as begging, it’s just a nice reminder that I do owe them something for their hard work.

    What does this all have to do with the scoring debate? Simple. I don’t want, nor do I trust simple numeric scores generated by people I don’t know.

    I do find the ‘Reviews’ page immensely helpful. There, the scores are backed up by the writers reasoning. So maybe the real answer is to actively and repeatedly request that the reader submit a review for all to see, or just send a private message to the author.

    I do find the Top Lists to be quite useful. Maybe adding a ranking of most downloaded authors averaged by story (not number of two paragraph chapters) would be interesting. Yes it reduces it all to a popularity contest, but they must be popular for a reason, right?

    Well, that’s my 2 cents. Your mileage may vary.


    And here’s a side note to the authors who get upset about ‘demands’ for increased output. Have your incoming feedback sent to a “feedback editor” before you read it. Have the editor take out those lines or the entire email that may send you on a screeching rampage. Your very own ‘rose colored glasses’ for reader feedback.

    And as always, Lazeez, thanks for all of your hard work. You are a brave person.

  51. You said
    Spelling and Grammar
    Thoroughness of the storyline
    Appeal to your personal taste.
    I think
    Appeal = did you like it the storyline 550%
    Quality = How does it read?
    Plot = did you like way the idea in the storyline was written 30%

    this is because readers, like me, are here to enjoy the writing first, be a critic second
    If we can help writers no what we like without messaging them that is a bonus
    – me I send authors comments if only a thank you.

  52. Just checked my stats.
    As far as I can see (and I am probably not typical) my stories seem to attract a voting rate of 10% (one vote per ten downloads). I suspect this is low because I am a slow writer with most of my stories unfinished or open ended. I myself rarely give a score to an unfinished story and have no problem with my readers treating me in the same way. Because of this I tend to look at the download figure more than the score, and with multi chapter works only the download figure for the latest chapter as this tells me how many folk have read to the end.
    So to take my story “Amanda” as a case in point:
    1. it is unfinished/open ended.
    2. total downloads so far 8623
    3. downloads for latest chapter (chap 29) 592
    4. votes 60
    5. score 9.51

    I consider that a gratifyingly high score but given the relative absence of feedback I don’t know why it is that high so some sort of breakdown would be useful even just something aong the lines of “you have received 56 x10 3×3 1×2”.

    I do think that in general the scores on SOL are too high – I have 8 stories posted all scoring between 8.56 and 9.51. In theory this places all my work in the top 15% which seems ridiculously high to me (if anyone cares to argue on that point please do! 🙂 )

    On that basis I feel that some more rigorous form of scoring would be worthwhile for the writers as it would direct their attention towards their weaker areas. If I was consistently getting high scores for style and stroke factor and low for plot for example I would know what I needed to concentrate on to improve.

    Personally I think the four criteria used by the reviewers are probably adequate and a realistic way of scoring the stories on the site and would welcome some variation of that for all readers. I think that as this is primarily an erotic story site the inclusion of stroke factor is justified although obviously if a story is “no sex” its theoretical maximum score becomes 7.5 so perhaps the fairest way is to drop the lowest of the four scores – whichever it is and produce a weighted average of the other 3 with the full breakdown shown on the title page.

    This way a well written and plotted story with no sex can score well and equally a badly written story plagued with typos but with a good basic plot and red hot sex scenes can also do well. Once a reader sees the 4 separate scores they can decide whether to continue.


  53. You have some great authors on your site, their only reward and encouragement is the votes that are received (which are few and far between). To embark on this new voting system is causing many of your better writers to leave your site and posibly stop writing.

    Revert to the old system and encourage your loyal writers to continue!

    I would suspect that less than 10% of readers vote and I doubt whether you wil retain that level if you make the system more complicated.

    Lets just stick to whats working!!!!

  54. Okie Dokie. I wanna vote on stories as a way of telling the author that I appreciate their efforts. Exceptional stories get a feedback note from me. It may be a few words or a few paragraphs. But it is feedback.

    I also feed back to promising stories that have some “glitches” – logical consistency – homonym usage – poor spelling etc. Often I get a note back from the author with a thanks for pointing the issue out.

    I would find it helpful if I had a shorthand way of providing feedback via a rating system something like you have proposed Lazeez – but with some modifications.

    Many posters have suggested some additional description verbiage and I agree that your initial proposal is a bit sparse. Choose what language suits – but make it descriptive enough to have meaning.

    Appeal has been suggested to be a personal thing and I agree. And I believe that quality and plot should be weighted much heavier than appeal. 20% AT MOST for appeal IMO.

    Now, a new thought. In this new QPA section why have a score of 9.6 of 7.5? Why not stick with whole numbers and combine the 3 scores, rounding off the the next higher number.

    IMO it would be more useful for a reader to see a score of 8.8.4 or 10.9.9 or 4.8.7 or even 10.10.10 for a truly outstanding story.

    At least in this way I’d see a composite score that reflected an overall view of the story as a whole.

    As for the idea of who can vote on this optional voting system. Paid Premium members should get this “privilege” and it should be marketed as a paid membership benefit. My reasoning is that paid members 1) want to support the site, 2) read lots of stories and 3) may be a bit more likely to take the time to vote and provide feedback.

    Perhaps you could also include authors and other “trusted” members – but not the freebie folks. Let those folks be limited to the standard voting system.

  55. To ChrisP:

    First, don’t assume everyone is as illiterate as you obviously are. To many, a poorly written story is just unreadable.

    Secondly… of what use is “How much the story appeals to you” to me? I most likely don’t share your tastes. Such a blatantly subjective matter is practically meaningless.

    Thirdly… “Did you like the storyline” is more a matter of plot… the storyline is the plot. There’s more to plot (for scoring), obviously, but appeal is just how much you liked the subject matter. (Or kink, if you prefer).

    To NicolasG: A badly written story – even with great stroke value – shouldn’t outscore, or even approach the score, of a finely crafted tale with little or no stroke value.

    To Dave: Since the new scoring is supposed to be something people opt-in for, I can’t see how it could possibly reduce the amount of people voting, unless a significant percentage of current voters are people – authors or author boosters – using multiple accounts, who feel that the new scoring system won’t be as easily played with.

    To little blue: Thank you. I thought I was quite reasonable too. (I really should sign my posts at some point…)

  56. re anons comment

    I was not suggesting that a poorly written story should score nearly as high as a better written one but dont forget we have a few authors for whom english is not their first language.

  57. A poorly written story is a poor story. I don’t care how hot the sex is, or how engaging the characters are, if the story is poorly written, it intrudes on the overall enjoyment.

    Try reading a story where the football player takes note of what his “couches” are saying. Yep, I’ve actually seen that in a story. Hey, Sofa, can you say that again? I didn’t hear you? I’m sorry, but when I almost fall out of a chair laughing, and the scene isn’t supposed to be funny, the story isn’t hitting on all fronts.

    I don’t want to read a poorly written story. If I can see that people voted their “Appeal” score a 10, but gave it’s quality a 5, I’m not reading it. And I’d like to know that other readers thought it was poorly written. Of course, most readers will probably hand out 10’s anyways.

    But aside from writing my reviews or sending a message to the author, having a single score to vote means that I can’t say the plot was good, but the writing quality was horrid.

    If I was an author, I’d want to know that my quality wasn’t that good, but my plot and characterizations were found to be excellent. You can correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation to make a story more readable. That’s really not that hard, since a good editor can help you fix those things.

    But a good editor can’t help you make characters jump off your monitor. They can’t create dynamic dialogue. And they cannot create a brilliant plot. They aren’t supposed to do those things. They are supposed to make it more pleasing by being easier to read, not by making the plot or characters better.

    Don’t encourage poor writing with inflated scores, and don’t take away the quality score. I’d like to see the three separate values, or even the 4 we reviewers have. Let the overall appeal be a stand-alone value. Stroke is something that can score low or be N/A and it doesn’t have to hurt the overall score. Plot is self explanatory. And Technical Quality should stand give other readers some of the best information they could get.

    I like the concept of the new system, but I really want to see the breakdown myself. Some people can read a poorly written story and still feel they really enjoyed it and it was worth a 10. Kudos to them. But even they should hopefully be able to give a real Quality score, so more discerning readers have a chance at something valuable.

  58. I appreciate your sensitivity to the needs of both readers & authors. Thank you.

    How about a 1 or 2 word title for each option that links to a fuller explanation? I know that creates a bit more context switching on the server, but it won’t be oft repeated by any one user.

    I’m with autumn writer about the N/A option. Either remove the sexual appeal completely, because I think that is the source of some of the crazy numbers now. [i.e., some of the sexual relationships are outside the mainstream and many are uncomfortable with the it, which will drag down the story’s scores]

    I would break the scores into 2 sections: technical & story telling. [KISS]

    You already have a cadre of reviewers who have a multi-facet scoring venue. I think the more in-depth scoring should be reserved for the more analytical among us.


  59. Woah… that was an interesting comment from darksideofthemoon!

    I suspect some authors would use it, and I worry that some autors would use it as a way to protest the current farce the scores have become, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing in itself.

    I also don’t agree with anon who said, “A badly written story – even with great stroke value – shouldn’t outscore, or even approach the score, of a finely crafted tale with little or no stroke value.”
    The current situation shows ample evidence to the contrary, and as long as the core issues aren’t solved, no new system is worth effort. You open a new and more elaborate scoring system to all users, and you’re inviting the trolls and cheerleaders.
    Limiting the new scoring system to paid members and authors is a good measure. Unless the troll is a dedicated one and is willing to shell out some bucks, well… I guess Lazeez may at least benefit from it to support the site, and yet it will limit the number of trolls, whereas opening that kind of scoring to the whole public will just turn it into another ineffective scoring system. It’s also an easy to test condition. Keep track of votes from everybody, but store the votes from paid member and author separately, and after a few months compare the results. Heh! For that kind of test you don’t even need to change the scoring system. Just store author and paid member votes separately for a few weeks!

  60. Just because some of the semi-literate knuckle-draggers have over-inflated scores of unreadable badly written trash (that’s good stroke material if you don’t know how to read English) does not mean that that’s the way it should be.

    And personally, I doubt that the trolls will be intelligent enough to figure out the new voting system. Or motivated enough to try.

  61. ElSol:

    Quick show of hands; who would use the expanded vote thing?

    I’m a writer and it ain’t going to happen.

    IF I were to ever use it, it would be for an author who had the tools but was making a mishmash of things.

    That way to say

    By the way… “GET AN EDITOR!”

    Quality —> 1
    Plot –> 10
    Appeal –> 10

    But rather than do that… I would send an anonymous feedback email in which I rewrote a chapter or section to show the person what they were doing wrong.

    (By the way, I’ve never done the last before… not even if you received an email about dropping 9 out 10 uses of the word that… that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

  62. Boy this is getting complicated!

    I would like to emphasize the point first made by Gina — Sex Appeal just can not be used as part of the score. There are just far too many well-written stories on this site that have minimal or no sexual content in them. To me, this also seems the most personal qualification, and thus the least predictable as some indicator of good content.

    I’m not in favor of adding together Quality / Plot / Appeal, regardless of any selection of weights, to generate a total score (steveh11 first brought up this point, I belive). I think much of the “discussion” about the which weights should be used indicates just how uniquely each individual feels about what makes a good story.

    The best indication of this is in the “Quality” score (grammar / spelling). Many previous comments have indicated that some feel this should be very heavily weighted (40% or more) — people who would rather not read stories with significant numbers of grammatical or spelling errors. Generally I place myself in this category — except for the stories I like (sometimes very much like) in spite of their poor “quality.” Why? Because they have engaging plots, characters, or (dare I say it?) because they’re erotic. I guess we’re calling this “Plot.”

    To me, the relative weights of “Quality” and “Plot” is inherently personal. It is too personal to be fixed at a server level and used for a story’s final score. I use that weak muscle between my ears to determine how much to weigh each category in mentally computing a final score. I don’t like giving up that right, even to Lazeez.

    I see myself having to fudge the “category scores” to adjust them such that a score ends up with the score I want, which defeats the entire purpose of the “category scores.”

    So I’m saying that if we must add these expanded categories, I still
    want to have the ability to vote for the relevant “final score” independently of the category scores. If forced to give up this ability, then I would just stop voting (and yes, I’m one of the yahoos who claimed to vote “almost always.’).

    Thanks to Lazeez for soliciting comments.

  63. Minimal redo (plus, I’m an idiot, hadn’t fixed tenses & finished as I’d intended):

    Optional expanded voting; rate how well-written this story is:

    Quality: 012345678910
    grammar, language-usage, structure, syntax, spelling
    [coherence legibility clarity comprehensibility lucidity]

    Plot/Characters: N/A012345678910
    creative & entertaining storyline & character creation
    [intriguing compelling provocative engaging worthwhile interesting]

    Appeal: N/A012345678910
    how personally stimulating, intellectually &/or sexually
    [pleasurable captivating engrossing enthralling fascinating]

    1) 1st want to reiterate: using “how personally stimulating, intellectually &/or sexually” covers everything from ‘no-sex’ to ‘pure-stroke’ equally & without prejudice–keeping, if not everyone, then most happy.

    2) Agree wholeheartedly & enthusiastically with numerous posters; if these new categories are going to be meaningful in any way, for both writers & readers, then they’re gonna HAVE to be shown separately–EVERYONE has different priorities.

    3) If you’re gonna have a ‘combined-single-value’, though, also agree that ‘Quality’ could count for more, but disagree that ‘Appeal’ should count for far less. I say count ’em all equal!, 33.33% each!–a compromise hopefully helping most to not be entirely unhappy.

    4) Use the ‘combined-single-value’ (or ‘average’ of the 3 ‘E-Scores’) as a ‘vote’ in the basic/original ‘Score’–see!, how neat & tidy & logical 😉 (suggesting easy-to-calculate, easy-on-the-resources ‘averages’ all-around; but however you end out ‘figuring’ it, use it as a ‘vote’ in ‘Score’)

    5) It wouldn’t have to take much screen real-estate, ie:

    Size | Dnlds | Votes | Score | Qua P/C App | Q-Score
    #### ##### ##### 9.33 6.7 5.5 7.2 6.22

    …note that one can tell at-a-glance that the ‘Qua-P/C-App’ (‘E-Score’) average is ~6, which, along with the mean-weighted ‘Q-Score’, compared with the ‘Score’, shows that this story has a high-scoring readership. OR, if the reader doesn’t care anything about #s of other readers, then her/his own most-important-to-them individual ‘Qua’ &/or ‘P/C’ &/or ‘App’ score can be, again, noted at a glance. With the ‘E-Score’ average (or ‘combined-single-value’) fed back into the ‘Score’, then ‘Score’ becomes more closely a true ‘Overall-Score’.

    thanx, as always, to Lazeez & writers,
    (ps: I’m an editor for hire)

  64. hopefully more legible:

    Size | Dnlds | Votes | Score | Qua P/C App | Q-Score
    #### | ##### | ##### | 09.33 | 6.7 5.5 7.2 | 06.22

  65. I agree with Sourdough. The downside is that less than 10% bother to vote to begin with, never mind taking the time to write. Add to that, the current process is a popularity contest rather than a literary critique.

    I don’t believe you new system will totally eliminate flaws. We all have our favorites and will continue to favor those regardless of literary content.

    When a story moves me or ‘peeks’ my interest, I will take the time to use your excellent feedback mailer. I rarely fail to vote and will continue to do so if you expand from one to three boxes.

    I think that the grammar should be more heavily weighted though. I do not claim to be an english major but I, probably all of us, have seen stories that are just plain unreadable because of poor grammar.

    Having no better system to offer, let me advise only to remember the KISS principle. If a system’s complexity discourages it’s use, it is self-defeating.

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

  66. Here’s my two cents worth.

    My understanding as to the purpose of this three level scoring is that it gives both the author and reader a clearer idea of what the reader is thinking. Or at least I see that as the intent. I have been in favor of this for some time. Maybe others only read stories that are over 9, but I have found some very well written stories in the 8’s. Somewhere along the line someone didn’t like the story for some reason and it got bad marks. When I read that story, it was obvious it wasn’t from a plot or grammar point. Should an author be regulated to write only the type of garbage that the mass reader wants, or suffer a low single score?

    As an author I think it would be a lot easier for the site people to pick up on abusive scoring. If others are scoring 8-9 in quality, and 7-8 in plot, but 5-6 in appeal, and someone voted 3’s across the board there is a problem with that vote.

    Again, this is change. People don’t like change. If when we came to this site, the voting system was in place as being talked about, would we have posted? Probably. Change is inevitable in our life, and in the life of a site. The best thing we can do is not complain about it, but work with the change to make it as expectable to us as possible, knowing change will happen.

    So my suggestion?

    Quality needs to be changed to something else. It is misleading in its initial reader understanding and any explanation after has to penetrate the first impression. There have been a few good suggestions as to different names to call it. I don’t have anything better than what has already been suggested.

    Author of Robin

  67. Hi, Lazeez,

    I think you should leave it as it is.

    The problems (score inflation, writer whining, negative response because reader doesn’t like the plot line, etc.) have been discussed ad nauseum.

    Human nature being what it is, no voting system of any kind is going to make everyone (or is that anyone) happy. And some unhappy people will still do what they can to mess it up.

    I appreciate all you have done for us (the writers) with this excellent website. And, as a reader, your site is easy to work with.

    It seems the scores are becoming obessive for more than person. I hate to see you waste your time with something that will ultimately just cause more whining.

    Best regards,

    E. Z. Riter

  68. I don’t think that any of this is going to fix the root problem of score inflation.

    There are several reasons why votes are “so high” and I don’t really see a way to avoid them.

    First, as a reader with limited time, I use the scores to help decide which stories to “take a chance on”. This (hopefully) means that most of the stories I read are the “better” ones. Hence, the stories I read are better-than-average.

    Secondly, if I start to read a story which is obviously poorly written, I usually just give up on it quickly and don’t bother to vote on it.

    Since it is very unlikely that I will actually start, finish, and vote on a bad story, the votes that I do make tend to be high ones. I certainly give way more 9s and 10s than I do 1s or 2s.

    I doubt that I am alone in this behavior. In a perfect world, we would all have time to read and review every story, in which case you might get a more realistic average vote.

    I suspect that if Ebert only reviewed movies that other reviewers already liked, he’d be giving a lot more “thumbs up” votes. This is what we have.

    Changing the voting form to have more categories (whatever the wording or percentages) is not going to change this behavior.

  69. I like the new system, the old scoring system doesnt make much sense as you have scores called average and others called good, well something can be good or even very good but still only be of average quality for that author or for this site due to the high quality of writing. As a reader and not a writer i like the idea of being able to judge the critirea with more depth so that the author knows exactly what i like or dont like about any one story. Also to address the comments made by some writers that they would like more feedback from the readers this grading system allows the readers to do that without feeling like they could be offending one of their favorite writers if their is something about this story that they did wrong, after all if we are reading a person’s stories on a regular basis we dont want to disuade him in any way from writing.

  70. From Imagination75: (deliberately NOT looking at others’ comments.)

    I can see the appeal for statisticians as to a better way of scoring a story. In fact, it would be good to see the average score for each author in the index. From XNXX, I see the somewhat futile way in which some authors are persuaded to improve their writing, as they usually become contrary.

    It strikes me that an appeal rating to personal taste would be a bit irrelevant, as why would you read enough of the story to be able to rate it with any complexibility, when it wasn’t?

    Accuracy of grammar is marked in essays for exams, but do we need to start marking each other down (which is an easier option then providing constructive feedback)? With numerous English certificates and bits of poetry of my own, I am none too keen on dodgy spelling or phrasing, but this has not stopped me from having a good time on instant messenging with a young lady where timing can be the essence. She has not complained so far!

    However, if it is a stroke/rub story where you are on your own, it is better if you have a decent proof-reader, if only to just use the spelling or grammar tools in “Word”.

    With plot, you often have difficulty rating with stories in progress. If I think a story has become repetitive I just stop and successfully find another – I have 22 Active Serials at the moment. I might come back later to see whether the author has resolved the problem in subsequent chapters, or just rewritten the earlier part rather than “burn the book”. Hopefully not literally burning the computer!

    There are reasons which encourage me to read more of the story; and some of these also encourage me to read more of the author’s work, which is why I suggest a mark for the author too.

    It is the authors that we need to encourage.

    While we readers are mostly the reason why authors write, without the authors there would be nothing for us to read.

    Special thanks to them from me.

    All the best


  71. I’ve mentioned this before, I don’t write for a score, I write to entertain the reader. I personally don’t care about what my scores are.

    One of the problems with voting is that it is one sided. The Writer is forced to identify him for obvious reasons. But, readers can slam, or inflate a story from behind their cloak of annonimity.

    Maybe the reader’s vote’s should not be anonymous, maybe they should have to be logged in before they vote, maybe readers should be rated as well…and if a reader exhibits questionable voting practices, they would have their voting privileges taken away.

    And again, as I have stated before, I would like to see an option for the reader to opt out any voting. I would certainly use it.

  72. I meant to say, I would like to see a way for the writer to opt out of the voting…not reader…

  73. As a writer, I’m more interested in readers’ comments than in scores. However, the expanded scoring system might be useful in some cases.

    As a reader, I doubt I will want to spend a lot of time grading the works I have read. Once is enough.

  74. Grading posted stories, like grading college student’s papers, (for me) is an inherently subjective process.

    I don’t think the additional voting categories will change that one little bit. My guess is that if a person likes a story, and there are three voting categories, that person will award a top score in all categories. If a person dislikes a story, he/she will uniformly award a lower score in all categories. I expect that very few people will give the matter so much thought that they will vote greatly different scores in each separate category.

    So my preference is to keep the current, simple, single category system.

    However, if you do decide to use multiple categories Lazeez, please watch how individual people vote. If I am right about how the multicategory system will be used, then please drop it becasue that adds no value to the scoring system.

    Personally, I find it difficult to vote on a story before it is completed, especially if I intend to give it a high score. If I don’t like a story, and I don’t intend to finish it, then I vote when I quit reading, or I don’t vote at all.

    Yes, there has been “score escalation” over time, and a 9.7 score is more common now than it was a couple of years ago. But so what? It is easy enough to realize that, and thus give the proper interpretation of the score. I don’t see that problem as warranting a total overhaul of the scoring system.

    ~~~ The Old Professor

  75. It’s possible that authors could use the results of a mildly expanded voting form as somewhat valuable feedback. This assumes, of course, that readers would use it and would try to be realistic in their grading.

    I, personally, find it amazing that readers would only score the stories that they like. This automatically gives better scores to poorly written stories. Add to that the results of giving inflated scores so as not to “hurt the authors’ feelings” and we end up with stories that are virtually unreadable receiving scores in the mid-nines and the authors having no clue that their work is less than excellent.

    Many of us probably think that any author can judge his own work fairly well. Anyone who has seen even one episode of “American Idol” must be aware that even those with no talent can delude themselves completely.

    Hopefully, a three-tier voting system will lead to more realistic voting.

  76. 1) I can judge between a really good story and a very good one and a pretty good one–but how do I judge between a really awful story and an pretty awful one or a story that is merely awful? Most of the “poor” scores of a ten-point range become meaningless.

    I’d suggest lumping all the “poor” ratings into one “unsatisfactory level” rating of 1, and letting the reader feedback choose among scores of 7-10 for satisfactory ratings. (appears suspiciously like a 5-point scale, doesn’t it?)

    2) Facility with language is critically important in telling a story. Both the negatives, such as misspellings, and also the positives, such as lyrical phrases or apt word choices.

    3) Negatively evaluating with a numeral (or with a comment selected by checking a box) instead of writing a subjective comment is often more easily given by a reader and frequently better received by a writer. It doesn’t feel as much like “piling on” when predefined categories are selected. (Certainly, if a reader has the time and skill to write good, evaluative comments, they can be very useful.)

    4) “Appeal” should be more a subjective overall evaluation than a component part. If Appeal is assumed to be Stroke Appeal, then Story Codes need to be considered.

    5) I would enjoy rating stories objectively on Language Use 30%; Plot/Characters/Originality 50%; Fidelity to Story Codes 20%. An additional subjective evaluation might be Appeal to Reader as an overall, How-Did-I-Like-It? score.

    Erik Thread

  77. For those who wonder about if someone who doesn’t like a story votes on it, all you have to do is look at the scores some people get. How would someone get a 7 or less if the reader who didn’t like it didn’t vote?

    The most vocal, and at time rather nasty comments I have received have been on the lack of grammatical proficiency in my early chapters of Robin. I have copies if you don’t believe me. I have a thick skin, but I know other authors who would have most likely stopped writing because of the venom this one self-indulgent person wrote to me.

    I frankly sucked when I started writing, and when I go back and look, I cringe. I did get emails telling me to get an editor, because my story was good enough.

    With the proposed scoring, along with some well-meaning emails, writers can get information they need. If I wrote a story and got bad marks for it, and that was all because the reader had a hard time reading it, but actually loved the story, how would I know? Most authors would stop writing.

    I know most of us authors would love to have more emails. I begged and used everything I could to get a load of them once. As I personally write an individual reply to each one, I found responding to the well over a hundred that came in, a daunting process. We don’t get the written feedback often enough, and frankly if we don’t reply why would a reader send anything to us? So having more info of what the readers think would be a good thing. I can use that sort of information.

    John Smith
    Author of Robin

  78. The ratio of votes/downloads tells a lot about each story. I generally convert that ratio to a percent and have noticed that 5% or better indicates a story that is interesting.

  79. I can’t see how that metric can work with longer stories now. I’m assuming, based on comments others have made, that since each new chapter posted will generate more downloads, but cannot be voted on by anyone who has already voted, that any story with >20 chapters having a vote/download ratio >5% would be an indication that a lot of people read the first chapter, voted, and stopped reading. Unless your ratio you’re talking about is vote:downloads/chapter

    That could be meaningful.

  80. Hi Lazeez…..I would like to be associated with E Z Riter’s comments, which are entirely correct……I do think there is a risk of less voting with a more complex system. That would be a case of losing the baby with the bathwater. I used to post on a site which had no system except stars for better stories. These were awarded by the editors. Eventually, the number of stories on the site became unmanageable, and the site tanked into a pay network. That would be a sad result for a fine site like SOL, though some of the voting, I will admit, is baffling…….Whiff

  81. Enough with the voting system. I like the way it was before all the futzing around. People either like the story or not. It is their opinion. Why try to manipulate them into vote to satisfy your idea of neater more uniform system? Everyone except you thought is was ok. Leave well enough alone.

  82. I still can’t figure out why anyone would think that an optional system would decrease people using the original system – other than diverting some from using the meaningless one currently in place.

    And as for Jeff’s comment:
    Not everyone thought the old system was any good. Many of us just ignored it because of its uselessness. And would like to see scores that would be of benefit in choosing stories. Certainly, knowing which ones are at least readable would be nice, but currently, people seldom give any indication of that in their votes. That’s why this new system has the potential to be superior.

  83. I was about to work on Chapter 8 of my story, but decided to post this, instead.

    A lot has been stated abut how the expanded voting form will encourage and/or discourage voting.

    I would point out that it is tricky generalization. We’re dealing with a large population of readers. With as many individuals that there are, that’s how many mindsets.

    For myself, trained as an accountant, I can’t wait to start breaking down my votes into their component parts, and seeing the same on votes on my work. I’ll probably think of new ways to break them down after it’s implemented. [I know, it’s a sickness and I stopped taking my meds.]

    On the other extreme are readers with a completely intuitive way of looking at things and would be repulsed by any attempt to quantify their feelings. And, of course, there is everything in- between.

    What kind of readers do we, as authors, want reading our work? The answer is all kinds, of course. I think that we need feedback channels that appeal to as many mindsets as possible.

    The expanded voting may result in similar vote numbers, and we will think that we haven’t changed anything. The truth could well be that we are changing who is voting, a potential outcome that we will never be able to identify.

    When I read another author’s work I almost always vote. I start out with the attitude that I want to give it a ‘ten’. I take away for certain things, such as blatant lack of editing, and unneeded vulgarity. I add back for things that I liked, such as creativity, originality or skillful description or dialogue. I am not convinced that all readers vote that way. I wish that there could be a way to encourage that, either in the voting routine, or as a guide somewhere on the site.

    A final comment: it’s possible that all of this prolonged debate over the fine points of vote tabulation may be a factor that discourages future voters (just a thought-and I plead ‘Guilty’).

    Now, I have run out of things to say, so I have no choice except to go back to work.

    Best regards,

    Autumn Writer

  84. I applaud the new voting framework. I always vote but have often been torn between a high and low score because of spelling, grammer, bad format, etc. on stories that otherwise were interesting and sometimes even outstanding.

    I look foward to the opportunity to use the new system.

  85. I think that having 10 values for each category is too much. Do you really expect most readers to use values 2- 6?
    Three values might be sufficient: Below average, Average, Well above Average.
    Or perhaps four values: Below average, Average, Above Average, Absolutely Outstanding.
    I cannot see people accurately using any more than about 4 values.

  86. OK, what do you authors think of this idea:

    The readers vote for your story based on 2 criteria:

    Story and Technical

    Next we borrow from Siskle and Ebert and Roeper and give a simple Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down in each category.

    After all, it’s all subjective, so why try to slice and dice it into a scale of 1 to 10, 1 to 100, or whatever.

    Just a simple “I dig it” or “Dude, what were you thinking”.

    If enough negative votes in the technical category doesn’t send the author off on an editor hunt, then (s)he’s a lost cause anyway.

    Same for the Story category. A simple Up or Down vote should be enough to tell the author whether the story is hitting with the readers or not.

    And if the reader just HAS to explain in finer detail why it was a gem or junk, they can always send an email to the author.

    This would make voting simple enough that the task can be accomplished quickly and with a minimum of analysis

    To be honest, the only score that interests me is a story’s Technical rating. I’ve read, or started to read enough boring, worthless, and uninteresting stories in High School and College literature classes that starting one more isn’t going to kill me. But another nugget from the grammatically challenged will certainly put me over the edge. Prior warning would be wonderful.

    As I’ve said in a previous post, I look to the authors description and the story codes to convince me to read something from an untried author. The author should be able to “sell” their own story.

    Well, that’s another 2 cents from me.


  87. The category that you have called plot, might be also called story elements. Some folks have already talked about the importance of character development but there are other aspects of the story that are important. And I know that I appreciate them in many of the stories on SOL. Other elements that go into making a good story include setting, tone, and theme.

  88. Lazeez, hows this?

    Technical Quality: [0-10] Spelling, grammar, style and overall readability.

    Story: [0-10] Plot, character-development, originality, and overall interest.

    Appeal: [0-10] Emotional, intellectual, and sexual impact: in short, how much you liked the story overall.

    Maybe a _Separate_ catagory for “Stoke Value”, NOT rolled in to the Quality/Story/Appeal combined score (and should have a “N/A” option). ???

    I’d say your suggested weightings are just fine. Those who find less-than-perfect grammar and spelling to be so _very_ deleterious will also rate appeal as poor.

    More importantly, an “Appeal” rating will allow readers to say in effect: “Despite this story’s short-comings, I still liked it very much.” or “The problems with this story notwithstanding, it was an interesting concept.” Or even “This was written quite well, but it still didn’t hold my interest.

    In other words, readers will (I believe) feel freer to be critical or laudatory, knowing that they can do so without exessively damaging their perception of where the story’s score belongs.

  89. I have said before that in my opinion such a wide range of scores (1-10) is not necessary. I have more than 13 years experience teaching and know how difficult it is to distinguish between a B+ and A-.

    I believe that if you limit the range to three scores: Poor, Good, Excellent the problem of score inflation will be largely solved.

  90. Same for the Story category. A simple Up or Down vote should be enough to tell the author whether the story is hitting with the readers or not.

    Hmmm…this might be an interesting concept.

    You could have stats like:

    Story A –
    54% up
    46% down

    Story B –
    87% up
    13% down

    Story C –
    28% up
    72% down

    Though if this measure took off, it would completely alter the scoring and I am not sure people would like that.

  91. I don’t like the appeal rating. What appeals to one person may not appeal to someone else and the raw number gives no way to determine this. That seems to be the area of complaint by a lot of the authors I read in the current system. I think ‘As Advertised’ might be better. A rating of how well the author did of describing the story in their synopsis and codes. In other words, a high rating would indicate that the author did a good job of telling the reader what the story would be about.

    From my point of view the three categories breakdown as

    Quality: whether or not the author used/needed a good editor–these are issues that can detract from the story. A rating of 1 means it was so bad that I couldn’t read it and a rating of 10 means that I didn’t notice anything.

    Plot: How well the story was written–both characters and storyline. Again this is a rating of the author’s skill at storycraft, not whether the subject appealed to me.

    As-Advertised: How well the author told me what the story would be about–both synposis and codes. Again not did I like it, but did I get what I was told to expect. I would expect this category to have the votes heavily shifted to the ten range.

    A high score in the latter two categories would tell someone that they will like the sotry if they like the codes and synopsis. A high plot with a low advertised score would mean well written story, but you will have no idea what it is about until you read it. For example, the inital advertising of Miracle on 34th Street made no mention of Christmas or Santa Claus because it was released in the summer.

    I may start reading a story, and find that I don’t like it, but if I have a chance to rate it on whether or not the author did their job as opposed to how well I like it, I can do a much better job of leaving feedback for both the author and for other readers.

    I also think that you need to give authors the chance to respond to ratings and remove a certain number of them when they make a revision. For example, if someone posts a story and it gets a low ‘as advertised’ score because there is no sex in it. After adding the correct code, the previous ‘as advertised’ rating is no longer valid.

    My final comment about the scores is to show each area instead of trying to combine them. This allows the readers to decide how to weight them. For sorting purposes, you could use the advertised score a percent to multiply times the plot.

    I think showing each category is important since a Plot of 10 may outway a technical of 5 (if I am engrossed in a the story, I may not notice that ‘the too of them wlked two the store’–which I would rate a lot lower than a 5).

    If I am reading the comments from several of the autors I follow correctly, their biggest complaint with a scoring system seems to be with being compared with other authors and having their stories rated low because someone doesn’t like it which may have nothing to do with the quality of the story.

    I would also suggest that you do away with anonymous voting. Give readers a check box to hide their identity, but make them log in and keep their identity with the vote. That way everytime a person votes on a story, they are changing their vote not posting an additional vote.

    Also, the one useful statistical tool you could apply would be to have how I vote compared to others. You could present a raw average for each category and a weighted average. The weighted average would look at the fact that I generally rate stories in the 7 range because I am trying to give meaningful feedback and want to reserve higher scores for what should be award winners, but if most readers vote in the 9-10 range, my votes would be scaled in the weighted average.

    The final suggestion I would make would be to say you can vote 4-7 for plot without comment, but a very low score or very high score would require a comment. Similarly, I a score below 8 for as-advertised should require a comment. If the comments are gibberish or obviously pasted boilerplate, the author could appeal to have the vote removed. I would also suggest scoring guidelines. If we were starting over with a fair system, I would expect plot scores of 10 to be works worthy of Hugo and Nebula awards, and an 8 or better would mean that the story is good enough to be published. If the average rating of plot for stories is above 7, then you know that people are inflating the votes.

    One additonal point about the ratings to continue using the previous example. I have read some stories that have one Hugo and Nebula awards that I have hated, but they have all been well written. To me, that is the value of the plot rating for the authors, the reader is saying how well they did their job.

    I would also suggest having a page that anyone can go to that shows the current averages across all categories for all the stories. This would let everyone see if the scores are starting to inflate.

  92. Well I am happy to see this. I have tried to send comments to authors, and tried to be fair in scoring. But the current single score is really only about a subjective feel for the story; do I like it? I like your suggested expanded scoring, and the weighting makes sense.

    Thanks for all the work you put into the site, and to all the authors (yourself included) for sharing.

  93. G’Day, Firstly, what are “macinations”?
    Your suggestions are nicely on track. I’m Australian and, unlike some(MANY!)of my compatriots, I speak, write and, hopefully, read English. Lousy spelling puts me off and is, in a sense, an insult to the reader – why do the authors write? I’d like two columns as suggested, spelling, grammar and the personal “hook” and the usual column but with an “interesting” bit added.More later

  94. I agree with Autumn Writer with her comments concerning the “label” put on each voting category.

    My main “gripe” in seeing the scores that my fellow readers attach to each story. I have read many stories where the author and editor doesn’t know the difference between there, their or they’re. This ignorance extends to you and you’re. The watering down of values goes along with the dumbing down of standards in our schools and colleges.

  95. hmmm, okay, not bad…

    Cast your detailed vote for: “storyname”

    Technical Merit: Select Score 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    Spelling, grammar and overall readability
    Plot: Select Score 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    Creativity, storyline and character development
    Personal Appeal: Select Score 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    Story’s emotional and/or intellectual impact on you

    Switch to Basic voting form
    Expanded voting form is now your default

    Now to see if there’s more realistic, honest voting;
    & thus if it can actually become an useful & usable tool…

    thanx Lazeez; again, you’ve gone above & beyond, nicely done!
    w_newd (editor for hire)

  96. Maybe you should add story codes for bad grammar, poor spelling, bigoted author, etc. That would mean more to me than a numeric score.

    There are some authors on SOL that I do not read anymore. All of them are among the top scorers. I did not like the stories I did read – usually because either the author or a character got up on some inappropriate soapbox and started ranting.

    Other authors I have enjoyed so much that I look for their stories, and ignore the scores.

    That’s how I operate when I like/hate the author. If a story is in-between, I probably won’t remember the author’s name until I have read several stories by that author.

    Likewise, there are some story codes that I will not read, and other story codes that I search for.

    I only vote when I want to give a thumbs up or thumbs down. When I want the author to know I like them, I send feedback. When I want the author to know I hate them, I don’t.

    What does that all mean? It means that if I hate an author, I don’t read or vote on their story, and the story’s score is unaffected. If I like a story, the author gets feedback, and I give the story a high score to promote it.

    Conversely, a story’s score only matters to me if I don’t recognize the author’s name, and I am indifferent to the story codes.

  97. I have just tried the new voting format and think it will make a difference.

    However, I think to address the issue of score inflation, you might want to consider using the kind of descriptors (like you now use with the old scoring system) instead of the 1-10 numerical scores.

  98. A reader here (not good enuf to be a writer). I agree with an Anon above that said K.I.S.S. with some expansion on what each mean:

    o Grammar (or Readability)
    o Story (or Plot, Character development, Creativity, Originality)
    o Sex (or Erotic enuf/Pornographic enuf)

    This is a Sex/Erotic/Pornographic story site and voting shd be biased towards this. You shd be treated accordingly if you wear ultra-minis to church or a nun’s habit to a strip-joint. Writers who include ‘no-sex’ code shd not expect a high vote in a sex story site; however, shd be encouraged enuf by the high download counts (if his/her piece is really that good).

    I DO give 10 and 1 scores but they will always be a comment sent out to the writers, explaining why they deserve them. I hate to have to put any writer down, and therefore gave more 10s than 1s, opting not to vote for those that I shd have given a 1. If you write trash, I shdnt even give you the time of day?

    I disagree with those that said a 10 has to mean ‘the best ever’. I think this as more of a ‘bestseller’ list; this week’s bestseller may have a lower quality than last year’s, but it may be ‘the best in awhile’, therefore deserves my 10. The ‘best of the best’ will then be seen from the download and vote counts.

    Lazeez, whatever voting method you move to, pls find a good way to keep them moral Nazis from coloring the votes. For eg, if I’m homophobic (or anti necro-scat) and I only see ‘mm’, ‘ff’ and/or ‘scat’ codes there, I shd have known to stay away. Some Nazis will take the trouble to go in and simply vote these stories down without any merit. Perhaps your system could keep a user’s ‘voting average’ (ala betting average) to be exposed just to the writers?

    At the same time, I wld like to see a voting system that discourages writers fr churning out unerotic, unsexy and demoralizingly emotional stories and getting high scores just because they have popular/fitting endings – cheaters & homosexuals finally ended with AIDS, cheated (aka losers/lamers) lived a happy-ever-after life, etc. Protagonist can lose and antogonist can win – that’s life, deal with it! Get down fr yr soapbox and take yr bleeding heart somewhere else! This is a sex site where sex & eroticsm wins in the end!

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