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'Save Story' - An idea to improve the quality of submissions

By RadiantMatrix in Meta
Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 06:28:19 AM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)

The moderation queue is a great idea - it has allowed K5 to control the quality of stories that reach the world by letting the community decide. It has also regularly been the home to stories that aren't bad, per se, but just hastily written. I've done it too -- previewed a story almost spasmodically, and finally posted it; only to discover upon rereading the next day that it was a poorly-written piece of crap.

Of course, we will never be able to eliminate poorly-written submissions -- if we could, we wouldn't need the queue anymore. But by allowing authors to save stories in progress, we might improve the overall quality of submissions.

Think about it -- wouldn't you like the chance to work on a story submission over a few days, reading and re-reading it to make sure your point is made clearly before sending your submission off to the queue?

I think that a 'Save Story' button between Preview and Submit would go a long way toward letting authors really write quality works. It would also allow someone to write all the parts of a multi-part story ahead of time, and send them to the queue at thier discretion.

So, am I on crack or what?


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
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o Raw Infrastructure


Saving Stories:
o Wow! That's brilliant! 5%
o Hey... good idea 28%
o Not bad - do it yourself, though 20%
o Eh... 9%
o Stupid idea 13%
o You have the IQ of a brick! 13%
o Damn, man... get a life! 4%
o Huh? I didn't read the story before voting... 4%

Votes: 94
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Also by RadiantMatrix

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'Save Story' - An idea to improve the quality of submissions | 46 comments (39 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
There is a save function (4.41 / 12) (#1)
by ZanThrax on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 04:22:42 AM EST

its in the file menu of whatever word processor / text editor you're writing your stories in. Many also have spell checkers, and some can even check your grammer.

If there's nothing you'd die for, then what do you have to live for?

Exactly! (4.00 / 4) (#4)
by mbrubeck on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 04:25:59 AM EST

I've always written my stories in vim over the course of several days, and I'm surprised to learn than anyone does otherwise. (Well, not in vim necessarily - some people like emacs better :) ...)

Seriously, if you've been writing the little boxes used by most popular web browsers, you're crippling yourself. Why would you do that?

[ Parent ]

On the other hand (3.54 / 11) (#8)
by qpt on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 04:32:40 AM EST

Some might say that using vim or emacs constituted crippling yourself. I use Microsoft Word 2000, and I give it its due for contributing to the remarkable quality of all my submissions.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

Ah! But editors have drawbacks too (3.80 / 5) (#6)
by RadiantMatrix on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 04:30:19 AM EST

Actually, I write my stories in Emacs most of the time. What about those users who post to K5 from public areas (i.e. school or library computers) -- what can they do?

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

[ Parent ]
Well, library and internet cafe (4.00 / 3) (#11)
by ZanThrax on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 05:22:15 AM EST

boxes may be limited, but surely to Christ school computers have applications on them? Besides, you shouldn't be spending that kind of time on a library box (and the librarians most likely won't let you, especially if they see you writing rather than reading), and anyone who can afford that kind of time in a 'net cafe should be able to make payments on a box of their own...

If there's nothing you'd die for, then what do you have to live for?

[ Parent ]
Using applications (3.50 / 2) (#17)
by RadiantMatrix on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 01:08:49 PM EST

Yes, the school computers often have applications on them. Increasingly, however, students are not allowed access to thier storage space while on boxen with Internet access. Don't ask me why the stupid policies exist, but they do.

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

[ Parent ]
Just email the text to yourself. (4.50 / 2) (#21)
by elenchos on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 02:41:35 PM EST

Use the 6MB of storage that Yahoo email gives you to save your work if you are composing stories on a machine that won't let you save. They have a spell checker too. StarOffice has been trying to implement free storage too, but they couldn't get it working last time I checked.

There are so many ways you could solve this problem on your own that I don't see a reason to burden Scoop coders (and K5 servers) with it, especially since there are many other more pressing issues.

"Who's making personal remarks now?" the Hatter asked triumphantly.
--Alice in Wonderland
[ Parent ]

Worst comes to worst, save it to your diary. (3.00 / 1) (#35)
by ramses0 on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 12:58:36 AM EST

title it "work in progress" ... I doubt it's so super-duper secret that you can't afford the massive publicity that the diary section gives you. Plus you might get insightful commentary on it.

[ rate all comments , for great ju
Parent ]

Interesting idea... (3.00 / 17) (#3)
by qpt on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 04:22:56 AM EST

...but I am not going to talk about it. Rather, I have a different idea to improve the quality of K5 submissions. Quite simply, I think everyone should start trying to be as much like me as possible. Time and again, it has been established that I am one of K5's premier writers, and by striving to emulate me, other writers cannot help but to improve their submissions.

Furthermore, merely thinking about the sheer delight of having an entire site filled with qpts is making me squirm with anticipation.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.

How...confusing. (4.30 / 10) (#7)
by Jin Wicked on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 04:30:56 AM EST

I may be missing something here, but are you implying you actually compose your entire article in the submission form? Call me crazy, but I had generally assumed the forms were for actually pasting the completed text of your work in, and the "preview" function was a final check to make sure everything is properly formatted and edited before committing to it.

As for "save story," I don't know about your computer, but mine has some wonderful things on it; mainly a text editor (UltraEdit32) and a hard drive, both which allow me not only to write articles (or anything I feel like!) but which also offer the ability to save that particular piece of writing before it is completed. And none of this with any added burden to the k5 server(s). (Which we all know haven't been particularly speedy lately.)

If you want, you can even convert your text file into HTML, save it as a .html, and load the page in Netscape!

Just a thought.

This post was probably not written by the real Jin Wicked. Please see user "butter pie" for Jin's actual posts.

Actually (3.33 / 9) (#9)
by qpt on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 04:39:46 AM EST

I do compose my stories entirely in the submission form. I do not proofread them, either, or pay any particular attention to what I might happen to be writing.

By the way, all major deities frown on the use of Netscape, but if you want to play with fire, it is nobody's business but yours.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

I know how to implement is right now (4.33 / 12) (#10)
by boxed on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 04:53:34 AM EST

Post your stories in your diary and ask people to comment on it generally. That way you can have it checked for the basic stuff by other before posting it in the submission queue.

I have another, MUCH better, way of implementing this though: have a friend proof read it.

Sounds Like A Good Idea (4.00 / 2) (#25)
by AArthur on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 05:58:56 PM EST

However, I think maybe on the submit story page, there should be a button saying "Post to Diary" besides "Post", to allow people to put the story in the diary, if the run out of time, or decide they want more public feedback.

Andrew B. Arthur | aarthur@imaclinux.net | http://hvcc.edu/~aa310264
[ Parent ]

Not just for stories... (3.40 / 5) (#12)
by willie on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 06:11:15 AM EST

I would like a feature like this for a different reason. How about saving any submissions, stories, diaries and comments for an hour or so? Netscape has died on me many time between previewing a comment and actually submitting it, so it would be nice to jump straight back in and at least have a partially saved version of what I lost.

One suggestion... (3.00 / 4) (#19)
by skim123 on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 01:26:54 PM EST

Netscape has died on me many time between previewing a comment and actually submitting it...

Use IE.


(Ok, I know I'm gonna get rated to hell, but couldn't resist... sorry!)

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

[ Parent ]
Emacs... (4.14 / 7) (#13)
by Signal 11 on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 06:32:17 AM EST

Just hack the Emacs source to have a 'publish to K5' option... *cough* (grinning, ducking, and running)

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
wouldn't be hard (none / 0) (#28)
by fluffy grue on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 11:16:37 PM EST

didn't Smirks write a story post script a while ago?
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Yes, he did (none / 0) (#41)
by RadiantMatrix on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 07:36:06 AM EST

Yep - he sure did: it was called K5diary.pl, and has now been rolled into a project called SPADE of which I am the admin (Smirks is on board as well, but quite busy with other things).

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

[ Parent ]
Great idea (2.66 / 3) (#14)
by baptiste on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 07:28:17 AM EST

I agree this is a good idea. It gives you time to craft a quality story. This type of thing probably wouldn't work on /. since the faster you post a story the more likely it is to be submitted (though beign able to edit comments on /. would be cool - as long as the delats were visible on demand). But here on K5 where stories are more slanted to opinion and in depth stuff that isn't necessarily bleeding edge news of the day, its great.

We use the same concept on a site I'm involved with - its the only way it works. List topics are added in your own profile where you can add seed items to your list over time. You can edit the list OR the items as you need to and once you feel its ready for prime time, you submit it for review (which turns off the edit feature for it). It works very well.

I agree with you posting it here too, though posting a link to this story on scoop.k5 would probably be a good idea if you haven't already.
Top Substitutions For 'Under God' In The Pledge Of Allegiance

FYI (3.00 / 1) (#15)
by A Dapper M on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 11:59:27 AM EST

Your link to keepersoflists is broken, don't forget to put http:// in front of all your offsite hrefs or else scoop will (for good reason) mangle them.

If anyone is interested in seeing this fine site, look at http://keepersoflists.org/

"I sought only myself." - Heraclitus

[ Parent ]
Strange (none / 0) (#20)
by baptiste on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 02:24:15 PM EST

I know I put an http in there - oh well, it was early :) Try this
Top Substitutions For 'Under God' In The Pledge Of Allegiance
[ Parent ]
saving developing stories (4.33 / 3) (#16)
by driph on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 12:25:57 PM EST

Like boxed said, if you really want to keep your story up on the site while you are working on it(before actual submission), stick it in a diary and work on it from there..

Otherwise, you could always write your story in a text editor first, proof it, save it, come back a day later, go over it again, and then submit it. :]

Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave

Addressing some issues (4.40 / 5) (#18)
by RadiantMatrix on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 01:15:44 PM EST

Firstly, many of you are saying "use an editor". I do. I still want a save-story function, because I personally use several different boxen (not networked) at home, school, and work. I'd like to take a few spare minutes to add a new paragraph to a story wherever I might be. Also, some people's access to computers is limited to libraries or school -- and they may not be able to save a story in progress.

A couple of people mentioned Diaries. Diaries are great places to "try out" stories. However, I can't go into a posted diary entry and change the order of paragraphs, or any similar editing function -- I have to post a new diary to make changes.

Part of my reason for wanting this has to do with format changes. I can write my story in HTML and preview it all day, but I don't know how it looks and "feels" on K5 until I hit the Preview button. And the next day, I look again and realize that the <ul> tags were a bad layout decision. I'd like to be able to look at a story for a bit, on K5, without making it public until I'm ready.

Also, since the main thrust of this idea is to improve submissions, the people who write stories in Emacs and keep them around for a few days before posting them probably don't have a problem submitting quality stories. Those that don't might be more likely to take the time to review thier story submissions if they have the option to save them on K5.

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

Then you should.... (none / 0) (#27)
by Elkor on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 08:39:29 PM EST

E-mail the story to yourself at a web based mail account.

When I am writing a longish letter to someone, I often run out of time at work (you know, on my lunch break *innocent look*) so I e-mail to a mail.com account I have, and then either work on it the next day, or download it that night to finish it up.

The same can be done with submissions to k5 or anywhere else you post articles/submissions.


[ Parent ]
Or... (none / 0) (#32)
by Schnapp23 on Sun Jul 29, 2001 at 12:10:17 PM EST

use an ftp server to host files you want to access from anywhere. This is a real-world application of a bleeding edge protocol. The school you speak of undoubtedly hosts at least one to which you will have access.

[ Parent ]
Doesn't solve the problem (4.00 / 5) (#23)
by jneves on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 04:16:40 PM EST

While for some users the "save story" button will help, what we really need is a way to send back the story if it's bad written. The only workable idea I had so far is to add an option for vote:
  • -1, Needs editing

You're on crack! :^) (3.50 / 2) (#24)
by anansi on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 04:33:02 PM EST

Sounds like a great game show idea: guess what drug the contestent is under the influence of...

If K5 threads were longer lived in general, it might pay to put more skull sweat into the editor. But all we can really count on is a couple of days of discussion before the zeitgeist moves on, and it's cobwebs for our beloved posts. The finite resource we are all in competition for, is the attention of our fellow K5 readers.

I would like to see further refinements concentrate on the rating system. Either some version of grading on the curve, or allowing us to view different vote thresholds (Maybe I only want to see posts with 100 votes?) or giving us some 'flavor' to our negetive-positive votes (funny, vapid, redundant,self-referential, etc...)

Don't call it Fascism. Use Musollini's term: "Corporatism"

Uh (3.83 / 6) (#26)
by delmoi on Sat Jul 28, 2001 at 06:41:33 PM EST

Why not just write it in a text editor/word processor and save it there? Then post it when you're 'done'?

I'm probably not the first to suggest this, but I'm lazy to check.
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Repetition (3.00 / 1) (#29)
by CheSera on Sun Jul 29, 2001 at 01:38:55 AM EST

Not to nitpick, but don't we see this idea every couple of months? I know for a fact that we've heard a couple of people suggesting a way to edit a story in the queue so that the author could change his story in response to the suggestions of the commenters. From my minor understanding of Scoop (I've only browsed the code briefly) the addition of the in queue editing feature would be a considerable task. Personally I'd prefer to iron out the req's for a FP story (seems like the number of votes necessary for a FP changes weekly) before we go about demanding a revolution in the back end of K5. Not a bad idea by a long shot, but probably harder to implement than it would appear.


I'm not suggesting... (none / 0) (#40)
by RadiantMatrix on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 07:32:53 AM EST

... an in-queue editor. I'm suggesting an out-of-queue editor. No voting (maybe commenting, now that I've thought some more), but the ability to edit at ANY time. Once a story is in the queue, I'm in favor of it being uneditable (but deletable by the author).

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

[ Parent ]
Re-editing (none / 0) (#44)
by DJBongHit on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 03:49:25 AM EST

From my minor understanding of Scoop (I've only browsed the code briefly) the addition of the in queue editing feature would be a considerable task.

No it wouldn't, it would just be another simple form which updates a row in the database. Hell, it could just be implemented by giving the user the "preview story" page and filling in the data from the database instead of from submitted info.

The problem is that this opens up a lot of abuses - what's to stop somebody from, say, waiting until a story is almost posted and then throwing a goatse.cx link in there, or even changing the entire story around?

But regardless, that's not what this story's about. From what I understand, he just wants the ability to submit a story, but not have it go into the queue quite yet, and have the ability to continue editing/updating it at different times BEFORE finally submitting it. Dope, the weblog I was writing for Smokedot before I just said the hell with it and went with Scoop, has this feature - the stories table has a field (been awhile, but IIRC it's called 'status' or 'storystatus') which controls how a story is displayed (front page, section only, in queue, pending). If a story is pending, it doesn't appear anywhere, but admins can edit/update it and move it to the queue or actual site.


GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
Good Idea (4.00 / 1) (#30)
by sventhatcher on Sun Jul 29, 2001 at 01:42:51 AM EST

The obvious answer is to just save it locally and work on it some more later, but I can think of a few reasons why local storage of stories could be good. I know I would be more inclined to finish working on something if it was waiting for me on K5.

Also I imagine some people might like to work on a story from work/home both, although I suppose you could just email the story to yourself or something.

I suppose the downside is that some stories would sit around in these "save areas" forever and bloat the size of the database, probably making things slower.

It's a good idea, but it's probably not worth doing.

--Sven (Now with bonus vanity weblog! (MLP Sold Seperately))

Give us editing ability ... (4.00 / 2) (#33)
by joegee on Sun Jul 29, 2001 at 12:45:25 PM EST

You look at something you've posted, and as the editorial comments start coming in you look at the way the article is picked apart due to misspellings or grammatical errors.

There is really not a lot of point with the current editorial comment as it stands because the only way to correct the errors pointed out to you is to wait for the current submission to die and resubmit it with changes, then hope that it gets read as carefully as the first submission and not voted -1 simply because people are tired of looking at it.

The ability to revise a story before it reaches -20 or 80 might be constructive.

The other side of this, of course, would be that someone who -1's a story due to errors in grammar or spelling would be unable to change their vote after the corrections they suggest had been made ...

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
In that case, resubmit? (4.00 / 1) (#43)
by egerlach on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 07:05:36 PM EST

You could consider an edited story as a resubmit... or perhaps allow people to change their votes on a resubmitted story. The latter causes other problems though.

"Free beer tends to lead to free speech"
[ Parent ]
Use the Diary (4.00 / 2) (#34)
by Sheepdot on Sun Jul 29, 2001 at 01:46:55 PM EST

Sure, its not a "save" feature, but it is much better in that you can get feedback on your story before you post it, and that IMHO is more worthwhile than fixing any grammatical or spelling errors, which would also be checked by people looking at your diary.

A good idea, if... (none / 0) (#37)
by codemonkey_uk on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 05:05:58 AM EST

This could be useful. But I think it would be most useful if the "saved stories" where (optionally) publicly viewable and could be commented on. I know this has problems (primarily the any-public-forum problem), but it would provide a single location for those that currently post half finished stories to the diary section and main queue for pre-submission editorial advice.
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
both 'save' and 'update' (none / 0) (#45)
by adamtheo on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 03:49:10 AM EST

Both 'save' and a 'update/edit' features would be very useful! K5 should allow for both saving your file (but not having it go public yet, useful for long or detailed stories or wanting to wait to finish it after you have verified sources or such...) and updating it (very useful for revising a story to incorporate feedback and updates...). I would personally love to see these features implimented as soon as possible, since both are sure to improve the quality of discussions and stories here.

[ Parent ]
Re-submit (none / 0) (#39)
by loaf on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 06:05:44 AM EST

I'd love the addition of a "re-submit/re-edit" a work in progress, being able to take on board the editorial comments within that version, without having to wait for the story being booted off (which it sometimes might not be).

Collaborate on stories on K4 (none / 0) (#46)
by sebpaquet on Fri May 31, 2002 at 10:45:42 AM EST

If you wish, you can use Ko4ting Wiki to collaborate on stories in a very open way: anyone can edit. Previous revisions are available in case someone messes up. Theophile_Escargot came up with the idea and has already posted a story that he's been working on over there.

'Save Story' - An idea to improve the quality of submissions | 46 comments (39 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
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