Charters & FAQs for the Workshop Forums

Hi, all, I'm working on the new workshops, complete with discussion forums. Try out the new forums and let me know what you think:

Click here for the list of forums

It will automatically create a forum login for you using your same workshop username/password. So your initial username will be something like "crit12345" with your same workshop password. You can change either username or password in the profile settings in the forums to any other username or password you want (BUT please note it won't change your workshop login/password, just your discussion forum login/password; they're two separate systems).

For the existing Critters forums on, I have created some minions to carry the posts back and forth between the two, so members can read or post on either site.

There's a forum for each workshop (e.g. one for SF/F/H writing, one for Lit writing, etc.), and a general forum. These are on the same site as the other forums I've posted about here before, like the "Wishes for the Future" and new project announcement forums, so you can pop into those as well and post without having to register separately. All one happy family, relating to creating new things and improving the world.

Anyway, check out the forums and let me know what you think!

This document is in the middle of revision, so some anachonristic stuff is still in here.

[The following is intended to be both a web page and also posted frequently to the forums in a prominent way, e.g., under a subject of "Welcome -- README for Guests and Members -- Forum Charter/FAQ."] The SF/F/H writing workshop also continues to have the use of its two original newsgroups on the site (see below).

What are the two most important things you should know about posting to the workshop forums?

*** The workshop forums are a No Flame Zone! ***

*** The Volcano Bar and Grill forum is an Anything Goes Zone! ***

Please follow the following guidelines when posting messages to the forums, whether you're an active member of a workshop, former member, inactive member, or simply a guest.

The non-volcano forums are intended for serious, writing/creating/critiquing/workshop related topics. The Volcano forum is for everything else.

Guests, etc. are most welcome to post in any forum. However, anyone who posts to the workshop forums are perceived as an Ambassador Of The Workshop (by virtue of them being official workshop forums and lacking the "bar-and-grill" designation). Never assume that other forum readers know whether you're a member or not -- they may be a guest and may be reading your message as the first message in the forum they've ever read. Thus everyone is asked to act with decorum at all times in non-volcano forums.

This policy is strictly enforced (see Rule #2 below).

However, in the Volcano forum, expect anything. Most Critters are very nice, friendly people. Most of the time. But this is the Volcano Bar & Grill. The Volcano might blow at any moment, spewing walls of hot ash at you from flamewars in nearby threads. Ol' Boon in the poker game at the corner table has been known to start cussin' & hollerin' and even shootin' at people who don't keep their cards on the table. Of course, you can just slip in for a cold one (beer is a common topic) and sit quietly in the corner. But, in Internet parlance, flame wars may well happen. Participate in the flaming or not, but You've Been Warned. It's a bar & grill. With a volcano in it.

(Name inspired, by the way, by Jimmy Buffet's, "I don't know where I'm a gonna go when the volcano blows.")

Bearing the above generalities in mind, here are the specifics:

Rule #1: The non-Volcano forums are a No Flame Zone!

Why? Because people judge -- have, in fact, in the past, on multiple occasions, judged! -- the Critters/ workshops based on the behavior of people in the forum (which is separate from the workshop), to the verifiable detriment of the workshop.

Yes, flames are sometimes hard to avoid even when discussing the most rarefied of topics, and exist in most forums. Yes, flames in the critters forums were even less frequent than in most groups on the net (Critters are really very nice people). Bad behavior in most forums, however, does not harm other entities, e.g., the workshop which is Critters primary purpose. (The forums are quite secondary. In fact, for those wondering where the workshopping is going on, that's all done elsewhere. See the home page for details.)

Besides, there's no reason why we can't all Just Get Along, right? The forums merely takes this a step further (see Rule #2).

This is not to say that you can't discuss tough craft-related issues. Simply do so without rancor, name-calling (or implied namecalling, as often results from sarcasm), deliberately attempting to get someone else to start a flame war ("baiting"), etc. You know when you're doing it. Don't. Take it to the Volcano. If you don't, it'll be moved there for you.

Be polite and courteous to your fellow humans at all times in non-Volcano forums. These are a writers workshops, and writers should be able to make their points clearly, without being nasty, right? Make it so. If you can't, take it to the Volcano.

If you have a bone to pick with someone, take it to email or to the Volcano (and DO NOT post back to the other forums).

If someone does make a mistake and nobody has yet invoked Rule #2, assume the worst: That they're having a really bad day, or that there are extenuating circumstances you're not aware of (happens frequently). If you're a critter member and come across such an inappropriate posting in non-Volcano forums, invoke Rule #2 yourself.

Again, the forums are a No Flame Zone. Keep it civil, and strictly related to craft/critiquing/workshopping issues. Otherwise, take it to the Volcano.

To enforce, this we have Rule #2:

Rule #2: Every member is expected to enforce Rule #1.

As an enforcement mechanism, all members of Critters workshop (each and every one of you) are empowered -- and EXPECTED -- to enforce the No Flame Zone rule in non-Volcano forums. This is accomplished by reporting the post as inappropriate. For most forums use the "Report this Post" button, a "!" inside a triangle pointing down near the upper right of the post. Most such reported posts will simply get relocated to the Volcano rather than deleted. (Spam posts by bots would get deleted, of course.) For newsgroups, visit the Relocation web page,

To deter abuse, note that two relocation requests (a "motion" and a "second") are generally required before an actual relocation is performed.

Note that while this mechanism is meant to (and surely will) be used, part of its design is as a deterrent. I should also comment that it was a carefully chosen alternative amongst many unwelcome choices. For those who decry the need for this hard line, a description of the alternatives considered is available here.

So, What are the forums for?

Although we exchange manuscripts and critiques outside the forums (only!), we have no means of chatting about... whatever. (Members have made it clear they want no idle chatter by email -- 100 "me too" emails is a trying and tiring experience.) So the forums carry that chatter:

The (non-Volcano) workshop forums are strictly to be used for Flame Free material like:

This need not be strictly followed, just remember to move the discussions if they get heated.

The Volcano forum is pretty much anything goes:

Manuscripts should not be posted in any forum. Critiques are handled via the web site / email only.

The SF/F/H writing workshop also continues to have the use of its two original newsgroups on the site: sff.workshop.critters and sff.workshop.critters-volcano-bar-and-grill. (Information on how to reach them is here.) Note that on there are also other newsgroups where pro authors may hang out, so they're worth checking out.

While we're at it, here's Rule #3...

Within the workshop forums, which can at times get high-volume, please keep the Subject lines of your posts accurate and start new topics if you veer away from the main topic of the current thread. (In the Volcano, do whatever suits your fancy.)

Adult Material

The Romance and Adult workshop forums require an age consent and are for workshop members only. If you are a workshop member, href="/private/adultpassword.cgi">get the forum password here. Any questions? Please ask the Critter Captain.