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Writing Arena Discussion Forum Rules and Guidelines

Welcome to the Writing Arena Discussion forum! This forum is intended for discussing the new writing arena and for discussion about and critique of arena entries.

As a member, it is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the forum's rules before posting. Posting in this forum implies that you read and understand the rules and guidelines and that you accept responsibility for the appropriateness of your thread or post.

  1. Introduction
  2. General Posting Guidelines
  3. Rules & Guidelines for Posting in Writing Arena Discussion
  4. How to Use and Enter the Writing Arena
  5. How to Give and Receive Critiques
  6. How to Report
General Posting Guidelines

Please be sure to follow the Terms of Service and Rules and Guidelines here, as in all forums.

Common violations to avoid:

    Flaming & trolling. Posts directed at another member which are hateful, abusive, or intentionally inflammatory are considered flaming. Making intentionally inflammatory or provocative posts to incite responses from other members is considered trolling.

    Spam. Posts that are gibberish, off-topic, contain advertisements or begging, or have low or no content are considered spam. Please ensure that your posts are on topic and contain an appropriate amount of discussable content.

    Plagiarism. Claiming another person's work as your own, or posting another person's work without giving proper credit are all forms of plagiarism. Plagiarism should be reported with the name of the original author and a link to the original work.

Terms of Service violations may result in a warning or a ban on your account.

If you find Terms of Service violations, or threads that may need moved to a different forum, please use an appropriate report. The procedures for doing so can be found here.

You can find online moderators by following the "View Forum Moderators" link at the top of the forum.

Gaia Staff will NEVER ask for your password! If anyone asks you for your password, report it.
Rules & Guidelines for Posting in Writing Arena Discussion

Threads that Belong in This Forum

  • Discussion of the Writing Arena

  • Questions about and suggestions for the Writing Arena

  • Critique and discussion threads for Writing Arena entries

Commonly Misplaced Threads

Threads That Don't Belong

  • "Vote for/check out/comment on my entry" Threads
    These kinds of threads do not promote discussion, and are spam. If you would like to make a thread to link to your entry, you must be looking for some form of discussion about or critique of the piece. Please be aware that bribing for votes is not allowed, but paying (or tipping) for critiques is fine.

  • "Post links to your entries here!" Threads
    Again, these kinds of threads are spam. However, theme-oriented collection threads (threads which collect links to entries about the same theme or topic) are welcome as long as they are presented in a clear and developed manner. Mutual critique/comment threads are also fine.

  • Threads asking for feedback/corrections on a piece not entered in the arena
    If you'd like somebody to look over your piece and point out errors before you enter it in the Writing Arena, please post it in one of the following subforums: Original Stories/Prose for stories and non-fiction entries, Original Poetry/Lyrics for poems and lyrics, and Fanfiction for fanfics.
How to Use and Enter the Writing Arena

The brand-new Arenas 2.0 marks the addition of a long-awaited Writing Arena! However, because it's new it might be a little difficult to figure out at first, and a little scary if you're not used to it. Never fear--here's a handy guide on how to submit pieces to the Writing Arena and how to view, comment, vote on, and report entries.

  • Accessing the Writing Arena
    Before you enter anything, you have to figure out how to get there! It's really easy to find, so don't panic. Go to the drop-down menu under "Community," then hover over "Arenas" and click on "Writing." If you know which sub-arena you want to go to, you can hover over "Writing" and select "Fiction," "Non-Fiction," or "Poetry and Lyrics." If you click on "Writing," it will take you to the main page of the Writing Arena.

  • Navigating the Writing Arena
    The main page of the Writing Arena has two sections. On the left you will see a random entry. On the right is a box with two tabs: "Browse Recent" and "Browse Popular." Because you're on the main page, you'll see all the most recent and most popular of all three sections: Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry and Lyrics. If you went to the drop-down and chose one of those three sub-arenas, you'll only see the most recent and most popular for that arena.

    Above that box, up in the upper right-hand corner, are three links: "My Stuff," "Contests," and "Submit." Clicking "My Stuff" will take you to a page where you can look at the things you've entered in the arena, your overall stats, the people you watch, and the entries you've added to your favorites. The "Contests" link will take you a page with the current arena contests. And the last link, "Submit," will allow you to enter something into any one of the four arenas.

  • Submitting an Entry
    Once you've got your piece and you're ready to submit it, hover your mouse over the "Submit" link in the upper right-hand corner and then click "Writing." This will bring up the "New Entry" page. Make sure you know the rules of the arena first! There's also a reminder that it costs 100 gold to submit an entry. Next, there's a list of things to double-check before you submit. Make sure your entry adheres to the Terms of Service, that it's your original work, that you've proofread for spelling and grammar, and that you know what category to submit to.

    After you've done all this, the first thing is to select the writing category of your piece. There are three categories:
    • Fiction - For stories and fanfiction
    • Non-Fiction - For articles and essays
    • Poetry and Lyrics - For poems and song lyrics

    Next, enter the title of your piece, and below that, you can write a short description of what your entry is about, what influenced you, things like that. Below that is the content section, where you put the actual story. BBCode is supported, so you can add things like bold and italics. If your entry has paragraphs, it would be nice if you put an extra line between each of them to make it easier to read - especially if your piece is really long.

    Once you've got your entry all ready to go, you can add some tags (up to five) which will help people to find your entry if they're looking for something specific to read. Things such as the genre(s), topic(s), and theme(s) are good tags to include. If your piece was inspired by a specific picture, you can add that too so people know where you're coming from. Then you can select whether or not to allow people to comment on your piece.

    If you've read and understand the Writing Arena rules and the Terms of Service, then click "Submit." Hooray! You're done! Entries to the Writing Arena are pre-approved, so it will appear on the listings immediately. If you've noticed you've made a typo or you want to change the title or something like that, never fear - you can always go back and edit your entry.

  • Viewing, Commenting, and Voting
    Let's assume you've already selected an entry to read and you're looking at it now. In the upper left-hand corner will be the title of the piece and the author. Clicking on the author's name will take you to their profile. Below that are two arrows which will take you to a different entry. Across from them, on the right above the story space (and also on the left below the story) are the rating stars. Hover your mouse over them to choose how many stars you want to give the piece. One is the worst, five is the best. If you accidentally clicked the wrong star, you can go back and delete your rating.

    Below the story space and on the right across from the rating stars are the "Add Favorite" and "Share" links. Clicking "Add Favorite" will put the entry in your favorites, which are accessible from the "My Stuff" page. "Share" will bring up a box with a link to the entry you can copy and paste, or an option to enter the username of someone else on Gaia, which will send them a PM with the link.

    Below that is the author information and entry description. Clicking the arrow next to the picture of their avatar will bring up the options to "View Profile," "View Gallery," "Add to Watchlist," or "Send Private Message." If you select "Add to Watchlist," you will receive a PM automatically if they add a new entry to the arena. This is handy if you find someone posting a multi-chapter story you like and you want to know when they add the next chapter. If you select "View Gallery," it will take you to a page where you can view all of that user's arena submissions.

    At the bottom of the page is the comments section. To add a comment, simply click the "Add Comment" button and type your comment into the box that comes up. Fill out the CAPTCHA and then click "Add Comment" again, and presto! your comment is added.

  • Reporting Entries and Comments
    If you come across an entry which violates either the rules of the Writing Arena or the Terms of Service, please report it! To report an entry, simply click on the "Report Post" link which appears underneath the author's information. If you're reporting an entry for plagiarism, try to include a link to the original source if possible, or at least the name of the author.

    To report an inappropriate or spam comment, click the "Report As Spam" link underneath the comment you are reporting. The name of the link is a little misleading - you can report comments for reasons other than spam; just fill out the reason as usual in the reason field.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much does it cost to enter the Writing Arena?
    Each entry costs a non-refundable 100 gold.

  • Are there prizes?
    Unfortunately, no. The Writing Arena works like the old Art Arena - voting goes on forever, unless you take the piece down. But the higher your score, of course, the more visible your piece will be and the more people will read it!

  • What's the difference between fiction and non-fiction?
    Fiction is any sort of literary work (a.k.a. stories) containing made-up places, events, or characters. For the purposes of the arena, this also includes fanfiction (because somebody else had to make that stuff up first too). Non-fiction works are things like essays and articles which you'd find in a newspaper or magazine or write for school.

  • What crosses the line for "inappropriate content"?
    Entries which are too explicit or graphic in regards to sex and violence are not allowed on Gaia. Please exercise your best judgment when deciding whether to submit something to the arena. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and don't submit. If you want a second opinion, feel free to PM one of this forum's moderators or a moderator from the Writers forum.
How to Give and Receive Critiques

Many people who enter their pieces in the arena are looking for not just a rating, but a critique of the piece itself. Here's a short guide to providing critiques and how to interpret them as an author.

How to Give Constructive Criticism
Constructive criticism, often shortened to concrit, is a form of criticism that, in addition to pointing out the flaws of a work, offers advice for improvement. Here is a simple three-part formula for giving concrit:

  • One part praise
    Find something they did well and comment on it first.

  • One part pain
    Identify a few of the major flaws and briefly describe them--there is no need to extensively hammer on minor issues, especially if others have already made note of them.

  • One part prescription
    Give a suggestion or two for how to fix the flaws you pointed out, and/or ideas for future development.

How to Tell the Difference Between Harsh Criticism and Flaming

  • Criticism, however harsh, should never attack the author themselves. It is not the author being critiqued, but the writing.

  • Authors must be able to set aside their pride when looking for critique. While harsh, something like the example below is a critique and not an attack on you, the author. While it's not constructive criticism, it's still criticism of the flaws of the piece itself.
    The premise of this story is tired and overdone, the main character is a blatant Mary-Sue, and the grammar errors make my eyes bleed.

  • It's understood that as an author your work is a part of you and you want to protect it, but if you do nothing but defend your errors then your writing will not improve. You will need to separate yourself from your writing.

  • Critiquers, please exercise your best judgment when selecting what language to use for your criticism. Try to be as polite as you can and leave out things which might be construed as sarcasm. Over the internet this is hard, but it is possible to give a critique without hurting the author's feelings.

  • Non-constructive criticism can also be flaming. The following are a few examples of what is not tolerated in this forum:
    Your story sucks. Go back to elementary school and learn some grammar, idiot.

    This is the worst pile of crap I've ever read. My eyeballs, they burn. burning_eyes

    You fail. GTFO.

For an in-depth guide to critiquing poetry, please see the sticky PL's Peak: Guide to Poetry and Critique in the Original Poetry/Lyrics forum.
How to Report

Abuse of the report system will result in a warning or ban of your account.

Report a Post

Use the User Image button when an individual post in a topic contains inappropriate content.

    Reasons to Report a Post:

    • The content of the post violates the Terms of Service or forum rules.

    • The content of the post is off-topic.

    • The member who made the post has a signature which violates the rules.

Report a Topic

Use the Report this Topic button at the bottom of the page when a topic is not appropriate for the forum.

    Reasons to Report a Topic:

    • The topic violates the Terms of Service or forum rules.

    • The topic is in the wrong forum and should be moved to a more appropriate forum.

If you need to contact a moderator via Private Message, please use the "View Forum Moderator" link at the top of this forum to find a moderator.

Report Hacking, Scamming or Abuse & Harassment?

The Hacking, Scamming and Abuse or Harassment report forms can be found at the bottom of the forum index. When submitting a report, ensure that you fill out all fields and include as much relevant information as possible.

    Report A Hacking
    Use this form to report a Hacking. Hacking, on Gaia Online, refers to the unauthorized access of an account by someone other than the account owner. In most typical hacking cases, an unauthorized person enters an account which does not belong to him or her and takes items or gold from the account, often changing the account information so that the original owner can no longer access his or her account.

    Report A Scamming
    Use this form to report a Scamming. Scamming is when another member of Gaia takes your gold or items, or tries to take your gold or items, by making false promises of giving you rare items, get-rich-quick schemes, or by any other deceptive means. Scamming generally involves a situation in which two members of Gaia make an arrangement to trade gold, items, or a Gaia approved service (e.g. avatar art commission) with each other and then one of the parties involved in the arrangement fails to live up to his or her promise of an exchange.

    Report Abuse or Harassment
    Use this form to report ongoing Abuse or Harassment. If you are reporting harassment or abuse that is occurring directly in a thread, please use the "Report This Post" button instead.

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