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[P]
Fiction Section for K5?

By localroger in Meta
Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 01:57:33 PM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)
Kuro5hin.org

Poll: Should a fiction section be added to K5?


Several pieces of fiction have been posted to K5 recently, including one by some *ahem* guy which is currently on the Front Page. The main purpose of this story is to publish the poll -- should K5 accept fiction officially, and should there be a section for it?

Against the idea it must be mentioned that most online fiction is crap. However, the K5 voting queue seems to be doing its job, in that the pieces which have been voted up seem to be pretty good, even the ones that aren't by me :-)

One might also worry that if K5 were to solicit fiction the queue would be overwhelmed. I think that would be ameliorated a bit by stressing that this is a site for completed fiction, not for chapter 3 of your incomplete novel or the half-baked idea you're not sure how to finish. We get our share of things like that now, in the nonfiction realm, and they tend to sink faster than the Titanic once they go to vote.

On the plus side there are some talented people here and I'm sure some of us have stories the rest of us would like to hear, but which we don't want to go through the hassle of trying to publish in the few remaining available channels. A close friend who is not a fan of what she calls the "war and wiring diagrams" school of Science Fiction said, on reading my current piece, that there are damn few places remaining to find stuff like that if it is your interest. K5 could help us all with that.

Of course there is the usual question of what the purpose of K5 is, and whether publishing fiction falls within that purview; I'd say that the fact we voted up several pieces despite not having a section where they really belong says something about what the K5 reader/editors want and like.

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Poll
Fiction section for K5?
o No fiction, period. 21%
o No new section, but we should accept fiction in the existing ones. 11%
o Yes, we need a fiction section. 66%

Votes: 573
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Also by localroger


Display: Sort:
Fiction Section for K5? | 114 comments (113 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
We also need an obituary section [n/t] (4.57 / 14) (#1)
by Patrick Bateman on Wed Dec 25, 2002 at 04:32:16 PM EST


---
I have to return some videotapes.

The icon should be a picture of Stephen King. -NT (5.00 / 6) (#2)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Wed Dec 25, 2002 at 04:58:42 PM EST



--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
yes (5.00 / 4) (#5)
by Work on Wed Dec 25, 2002 at 05:19:14 PM EST

Truly an American icon.

[ Parent ]
Nah.... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
by kichigai on Wed Dec 25, 2002 at 09:51:33 PM EST

Steven King wouldn't make a good icon (Besides, K5 would probably get sued. We don't want that!). Dr. Kevorkian should be the icon!
"I said I was smart, I never said I was mature!"
-Me

[ Parent ]
And we'd be sued by Slashdot, oddly enough. (N/T) (none / 0) (#114)
by UserGoogol on Wed Jul 23, 2003 at 08:45:36 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Did you hear the sad news? (none / 0) (#99)
by BLU ICE on Mon Dec 30, 2002 at 04:36:26 PM EST

Stephen King died.

"Is the quality of this cocaine satisfactory, Mr. Delorean?"
"As good as gold."

-- I am become Troll, destroyer of threads.
It's like an encyclopedia...sorta: Everything2

[ Parent ]

Truly yadda yadda, he will be yadda yadda... -NT (none / 0) (#104)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Dec 30, 2002 at 06:25:02 PM EST



--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
When I want to talk about (3.60 / 5) (#3)
by quartz on Wed Dec 25, 2002 at 05:06:25 PM EST

current events and such I come to K5. When I want to read fiction I open a book. A fiction section on K5 would be useless to me.

--
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, and fuck 'em even if they can.
When I want to talk about [insert here] (3.71 / 7) (#7)
by tea light on Wed Dec 25, 2002 at 08:43:18 PM EST

[insert here] and such I come to K5. When I want to read [insert here] I open a book. A [insert here] section on K5 would be useless to me.

[ Parent ]
That's why we put it in a seperate section (3.00 / 2) (#12)
by Ebon Praetor on Wed Dec 25, 2002 at 10:08:44 PM EST

If it's in its own section, you can just ignore it and concentrate on your current events.

[ Parent ]
we already have one of those. (4.20 / 10) (#4)
by Work on Wed Dec 25, 2002 at 05:14:10 PM EST

its called 'Politics'

[OT] Regarding your sig (4.50 / 2) (#15)
by Talez on Wed Dec 25, 2002 at 11:16:39 PM EST

My girlfriend is incredibly easy. I often don't have to say I want sex because she jumps me.

Can your system actually be easier than that?

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
[ Parent ]

Yes (5.00 / 3) (#16)
by Work on Wed Dec 25, 2002 at 11:21:21 PM EST

Yes, it is THAT easy.

[ Parent ]
OT: COG (none / 0) (#44)
by timg on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 04:50:34 PM EST

Your site might be easy, but at least my girlfriend is pretty. -Tim

[ Parent ]
hmph (2.00 / 1) (#49)
by Work on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 07:21:06 PM EST

i dunno if you actually logged in, but up top theres a tagline that says 'it's not quite as pretty as your sister'.

Which for you, im sure your sister is your girlfriend, so yeah..you're right.

hehe :)

[ Parent ]

[OT] Regarding your sig (none / 0) (#17)
by Talez on Wed Dec 25, 2002 at 11:48:32 PM EST

My girlfriend is incredibly easy. I often don't have to say I want sex because she jumps me.

Can your system actually be easier than that?

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
[ Parent ]

I think it should remain relegated in the diaries (4.00 / 8) (#6)
by skim123 on Wed Dec 25, 2002 at 08:00:02 PM EST

Just my two cents...

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


Why I respectfully disagree (5.00 / 2) (#8)
by localroger on Wed Dec 25, 2002 at 08:59:53 PM EST

The queue serves an important function -- it is where volunteer editing occurs. While anybody can post their short story in a diary, there is no force to point at it and say "hey, this is pretty good." As a result, publishing your story that way isn't very rewarding; only a few people will probably ever read it.

If I thought a fiction section would do harm to the K5 paradigm I would not only not be suggesting one, I'd not have posted a fiction story to the queue. In fact, I waited more than a year between writing the story and posting it here, because I didn't want to just post it here without some precedent.

The question isn't whether some fraction of K5 readership would find fiction annoying, since nearly all of us find some of K5's recurrent content annoying -- I would personally be quite happy if I never saw the name "Israel" in another story in the queue for the rest of time. But the power of the queue is that we can vote down or ignore what we don't like.

The only real problem would be if the queue were overwhelmed thus compromising its usefulness. I don't think that will happen either; if it does, people will start knee-jerk voting down the deluge of crap and the would-be posters who aren't masochists will stop coming around with it. In any case it seems to me that there is a real desire here for a place to post and read properly categorized and moderated fictional stories.

I respect your opinion on the matter. The idea is to let the poll (or the fate of this story in the voting) will either indicate to our fearless leaders that there is a void in need of filling, or that things are fine as they are and the fiction venture is an aberration to be discouraged.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

war and wiring diagrams (3.66 / 3) (#9)
by turmeric on Wed Dec 25, 2002 at 09:32:19 PM EST

that is alovely phrase. ive been trying to figure out how to describe what happened to star trek tng ... cool.

Funny (3.00 / 4) (#11)
by metalfan on Wed Dec 25, 2002 at 09:52:32 PM EST

I was just thinking of suggesting this.

A fiction section would be great.

Yes, but we'll blame you... (4.66 / 3) (#13)
by gzt on Wed Dec 25, 2002 at 10:29:46 PM EST

...for those D&D-inspired Tales of Awesome Warriors in search of The Artifact and the zappadap space zealot stories falling through the queue (though I honestly think there won't be that many, and they will quickly fall through the queue).

All seriousness aside, if there ever is a good story, I'll be glad to vote it up and be glad there is a section for it.  And while we're adding a fiction section, here are some suggestions for sections to remove: Internet, News, Media, Technology, and Politics.  

It's been porposed many a time (3.66 / 3) (#18)
by autopr0n on Wed Dec 25, 2002 at 11:58:25 PM EST

And it's still a good idea. Rust added a 'science' section a while back. Now it's time for fiction!


[autopr0n] got pr0n?
autopr0n.com is a categorically searchable database of porn links, updated every day (or so). no popups!
Compromise (3.00 / 7) (#19)
by Talez on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 12:12:39 AM EST

Offer the fiction section to premium subscribers.

It'll stop all the moronic fanfiction in its tracks since you have to pay money to post moronic fanficition.

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est

Heh. (1.00 / 1) (#20)
by Pinkerton Floyd on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 12:49:56 AM EST

That wouldn't stop me.  In fact, it might make me subscribe again.

Remember when you were young? You shone like the sun.
[ Parent ]

Yay! (1.00 / 1) (#21)
by Talez on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 12:55:25 AM EST

Support for K5 AND I get to vote something crap down!

Rusty! Are you reading this?!?

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
[ Parent ]

We need a section for grandfather clocks <nt> (1.33 / 6) (#22)
by Meatbomb on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 02:31:51 AM EST



_______________

Good News for Liberal Democracy!

We need a section for WW I aviation. (en tea) (none / 0) (#101)
by BLU ICE on Mon Dec 30, 2002 at 04:43:19 PM EST


"Is the quality of this cocaine satisfactory, Mr. Delorean?"
"As good as gold."

-- I am become Troll, destroyer of threads.
It's like an encyclopedia...sorta: Everything2

[ Parent ]

We need a section for turmeric (2.71 / 7) (#23)
by vile on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 04:51:16 AM EST

turmeric is the man.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
Yes, we do (4.50 / 2) (#36)
by hardburn on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 01:04:08 PM EST

But for precisely the opposite reason.


----
while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }


[ Parent ]
Rearranging deck chairs on the titanic (3.40 / 5) (#24)
by President Saddam on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 05:34:22 AM EST

Even rusty admits that the moderation system is completely screwed. The s/n ratio seems as lows as ever. Trolls outnumber serious K5ers. And you want to add a new section.

Your poll is wrong (intentionally, I guess). It is not just a question of if we want a section or not, but also whether we want to waste rusty's time when he needs to be fixing much more important problems.

---
Allah Akbar

Several unrelated points (4.83 / 6) (#26)
by localroger on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 08:21:55 AM EST

Even rusty admits that the moderation system is completely screwed.

I guess that depends on how you define "screwed." It seems to me that if it was working that badly, the servers would not be getting bogged down with more traffic than they can stand from people trying to read all this inferior content that the completely screwed rating system is letting through.

Trolls outnumber serious K5ers.

There are a lot of trolls, but I don't think it's quite that bad. The problem is that a small number of trolls create a nuisance all out of proportion to their number.

And you want to add a new section.

Yes. This sentence from the previous does not two follow.

Your poll is wrong (intentionally, I guess).

I cannot really imagine how to make it more straightforward.

It is not just a question of if we want a section or not, but also whether we want to waste rusty's time when he needs to be fixing much more important problems.

Again, I don't see how this follows. If Rusty has a problem with the moderation method that needs fixing, it needs fixing whether there is a fiction section or not. Adding a section is a relatively trivial thing for Rusty to do compared to, say, rearranging the moderation functions. The reason I made the proposal in the first place is that the moderation system we have seems to be doing a pretty good job w/r/t the fiction offerings that have been put up so far.

Nothing in life is perfect. K5 has problems; so what? The whole phenomenon of blogs, web discussion boards, and so on is less than ten years old. You look at K5 and see all the problems waiting to be solved; I look at K5 and see what a vast improvement it is over slashdot, which has had much bigger problems for a lot longer and steadfastly refuses to fix any of them.

The main objection here seems to be that we might make a bad situation worse. But it seems to me that if the situation were all that bad, K5 would not be groaning under the weight of its own popularity. The whole point to how K5 is organized is to let natural forces establish an equilibrium, rather than imposing control from on high. It's working well enough so far that we're all still hanging around.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

is fiction worth it? (none / 0) (#29)
by President Saddam on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 09:25:02 AM EST

I guess that depends on how you define "screwed." It seems to me that if it was working that badly, the servers would not be getting bogged down with more traffic than they can stand from people trying to read all this inferior content that the completely screwed rating system is letting through.

Not necessarily, there's a limit to what crapflooders can write. People continually complain of edit-queue abuse of the story moderation. And personally I think there are often too many stories  getting sent through so discussion fragments. Too many FP stories as well. I'm also talking about the comment moderation system, which is screwed by any definition of the word.

Yes. This sentence from the previous does not two follow.

Read carefully; it does. It uses rhetorical juxtaposition. I can hardly understand YOUR sentence.

I cannot really imagine how to make it more straightforward.

I'll put it simply; you could have included a poll option "There are more important things to be fixed or added before a new story section (such as fiction) is added".

It is a legitimate point of view that eventually K5 should have a fiction section, but that it is a low-priority goal.

Adding a section is a relatively trivial thing for Rusty to do compared to, say, rearranging the moderation functions.  

You obviously know more about this than I do. Personally, I thought that adding a new section would require a lot of work. After all, you need to rearrange the front page.

The reason I made the proposal in the first place is that the moderation system we have seems to be doing a pretty good job w/r/t the fiction offerings that have been put up so far.

Why add a section then?

Nothing in life is perfect. K5 has problems; so what? The whole phenomenon of blogs, web discussion boards, and so on is less than ten years old. You look at K5 and see all the problems waiting to be solved; I look at K5 and see what a vast improvement it is over slashdot, which has had much bigger problems for a lot longer and steadfastly refuses to fix any of them.

There's no point resting on your laurels. K5 is popular in terms of non-paying users, but is it that popular in terms of paying subscribers?

I, and many people like me I'd wager, would subscribe if K5 fixed some of it's more glaring problems. Increased subscriptions would lead to faster servers and more administration, which K5 needs.

The main objection here seems to be that we might make a bad situation worse. But it seems to me that if the situation were all that bad, K5 would not be groaning under the weight of its own popularity. The whole point to how K5 is organized is to let natural forces establish an equilibrium, rather than imposing control from on high. It's working well enough so far that we're all still hanging around.

Good point. But constantly messing around with sections seems to be a case of imposing from on high. To follow natural forces in deciding what sections should exist, each section should have about the same number of stories.

This is important, because front page real estate isn't infinite or worthless. Just ask yourself, do you think a fiction section will get enough high-quality stories to justify it's existence, as compared to politics or science or any existing section?

---
Allah Akbar
[ Parent ]

Yes (5.00 / 1) (#35)
by rusty on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 12:30:16 PM EST

This is sort of a "me too," but since much of this conversation has been about what I might or might not think, I'd just like to say that you're a lot closer to right. :-)

Story moderation is most emphatically not "completely screwed." It needs the edit queue spam patch, yes. It could be more statistically sophisticated, but I'm not convinced that would actually make it work better. Most likely that would just make it reach the same general results a little faster. "Completely screwed" is way off the mark.

You're also right that adding a section is fairly trivial. I have been pretty firmly opposed to fiction for quite a while, but I can think of a few good arguments for such a thing, which I'm going to put in a different comment. My reasons for not wanting it never had anything to do with the difficulty of adding a section or the idea that voting wouldn't work for any reason.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

wrong account? (none / 0) (#27)
by dalinian on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 08:25:07 AM EST

Trolls outnumber serious K5ers.
Did you intend to post that one as "President Saddam"? Just wondering.

[ Parent ]
Yes (5.00 / 1) (#30)
by President Saddam on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 09:37:31 AM EST

1st rule of trolling: Have a plausible name. I consider my name more of a joke, not a  troll.

---
Allah Akbar
[ Parent ]

really? (none / 0) (#109)
by /dev/trash on Wed Jan 01, 2003 at 12:58:19 AM EST

This site still has a lot of signal, at least I think so.

Ever visit Slashdot?  I can't go below 3 if I want any kind of sane discussion.

---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
[ Parent ]

Making a fiction section work (4.00 / 6) (#25)
by nomoreh1b on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 05:35:19 AM EST

IMHO a fiction section needs a fundamentally different type of rating system than K5 has now. The current story judging/rating system is adequate for a news site. With fiction, we are dealing with stuff that hangs around longer and is more subjective. What I would want is a system that would tell me what folks that have tastes like mine think is good. A working example is the film rating system at Netflix. This would be a major jump for K5. I think that such a rating system would work well for news also-each user could be presented with the new stories that they are likely to like. The effect would be for K5 to naturally divide into some sub communities. I also suspect we'd see much less in the way of flame fests too and it would clear the way for a significant expansion of K5.

Used to be lit.hatori42... (4.00 / 4) (#28)
by jeroenb on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 09:21:21 AM EST

There was a Scoop site once which was focussed completely on fiction, I got to it through K5 actually. The URL was lit.hatori42.com but unfortunately it seems to be down now :(

So I say let's have it here!

... and the K5 wheel has come around again ... (3.80 / 5) (#31)
by Kellnerin on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 09:52:41 AM EST

Seems like we revisit this issue every few months, yet nothing ever comes of it. I will concede that this story at least has a more useful poll than the last one, but I don't think there ever will (or should) be a fiction section on Kuro5hin.

As you mentioned in the article, most online fiction is crap. And I count the fact that a few good fictional pieces have been posted in different sections as an argument against adding a new section specifically for fiction -- the good stuff will get through, anyway, and it hopefully sets the bar a little higher so people will think twice before submitting their latest masterpiece. (Note how the Humour section suffers from a preponderance of posts that are not in any way funny.)

In my opinion, both Kuro5hin and fiction in general would be better served by a separate scoop site for fiction. RDF feeds make it easy to follow the stories on each. The demise of lit.hatori42.com is usually alluded to at these times, but there's Radio Free Tomorrow for Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and other sites could easily be started by someone with the motivation (hopefully with an easier-to-remember URL).

--I'm pregnant. I'm stealing your pickle. -iGrrrl --

RFT (none / 0) (#37)
by carbon on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 01:11:09 PM EST

If you've read much by Dick (you know, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep) than 'Radio Free Tomorrow' is a pretty easy phrase to remember...


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
oops, took a detour in that sentence ... (none / 0) (#40)
by Kellnerin on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 03:28:50 PM EST

Radio Free Tomorrow is actually a great name for a site. My "hard to remember name" allusion was to lit.hatori42.com, which is a subdomain tacked onto an amalgamation of the name of a character from an unpublished story, and a number chosen at random (not because of H2G2). People tend to have a tough time remembering that one.

--I'm pregnant. I'm stealing your pickle. -iGrrrl --
[ Parent ]
I would agree with this (4.54 / 11) (#32)
by bc on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 10:59:07 AM EST

As long as it is impossible for stories in this section to reach the front page.

I can imagine the bloody awful deluge of crap that would constantly hit the queue from people like ana, etc, as soon as a fiction section were created. It would be awful.

OTOH, as it is every few weeks there seems to be a story like this in the queue, campaigning for a pedestal for all the boring (and awful) writers that infest this place.

Up till now, these people have had the diary section - which seems an excellent place for works of fiction to me, but then, I don't have the sort of ego that demands sustenance by being constantly told how great I am, so what'd I know?

So a compromise sounds good to me, anything for a quiet life: create a fiction section, but only allow stories from it to go to section, guarranteeing maximum invisibility and maximum sheltering from the self consciously writerly set. Hopefully, as well, this will stop them from submitting overmuch.

Salut!

♥, bc.

That would be better as a scoop feature (5.00 / 1) (#63)
by Gromit on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 08:04:03 AM EST

E.g., the ability to choose the sections from which "front page" stories appear on one's personalized front page. You could then choose never to see "front page" stories from the Fiction section, and localroger could choose to see them. Your lack of interest in Fiction is someone else's lack of interest in, say, Media.

--
"The noble art of losing face will one day save the human race." - Hans Blix

[ Parent ]
Use this site instead (3.75 / 4) (#33)
by devon on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 11:13:44 AM EST

4 Literature

--
Call yourself a computer professional? Congratulations. You are responsible for the imminent collapse of civilization.
Oh, yeah, I want MY queue filled with Potter porn. (4.21 / 14) (#34)
by McMasters on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 11:48:13 AM EST

"Oh, Hermione!"

Whatever. If I want fiction, I'll go to a fiction site.

If I want huge fat supergeeks with Linux 'personal massagers', I'll go to SlashDot.

If I want to hear about Russians and prostitutes - oh, wait! Here I am! ^_^

Heh (4.28 / 7) (#38)
by psychologist on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 02:48:27 PM EST

Rusty will be thinking - you give em a finger, they want an arm and torso. Because he caved in on the science section, the section requests come pouring in?

Now, fiction is nice and dandy, and while I am reasonable good at it *cough*, there are a lot of godawful writers, who write things like

"John Jumped. jump, jump, jump! Sarah lay thinking about john. John jumped. Jump, jump, jump. Robert shot Johns father. John jumped. Jump, jump, jump. Then john pulled his sons hand, and went home, opened, the door, saw his father, and jumped, jumped jumped."

I hate modern fiction and poetry, and we will be infested with such Linux inspired fiction. We don't need that.

THe most likely result will be that sort of fuíction like we got a while ago. You know, where the writer thinks that there is a huge meaning in his story, and bugs everyone about whether they 'got it'.

I concur that we need a fiction section, since I do enjoy spinning the occasional yarn, but I believe it it should be strictly section. Not visible from the front page, and does not scroll down the left of thr front page like the other section stuff. It is sort of like a hidden part of K5 that you discover after a while.

That way, the crappy fiction does not bother us. When stories are slow, one can go read the fiction. And because of the low profile of the stories, people would be more likely to vote bad stories up. So, the writers will learn, and will not jump, jump, jump when they have to write another story.

Fiction (5.00 / 1) (#53)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 08:19:07 PM EST

fiction is nice and dandy, and while I am reasonable good at it

Oh, you're not just good at it.. you take it to a whole other level.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

Why not (2.66 / 6) (#39)
by sawilson on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 03:07:56 PM EST

We are grown adults (mostly). I enjoy well written
fiction. localrogers's recent story rocked. Why
not allow K5 to grow a little. If the fiction
section gets too big or popular, it could always
get spinned off into it's own site. I personally
can't think of a single rational argument any
naysayer could have for shooting a fiction section
down other than petty selfish pointless bias. It
might attract new readers to K5. Warning: a stream
of new voices might make K5 resemble an online
forum more than the jaded pompous efnet chat channel
it resembles now.


Sig:(This is your diatribe full of your titles
and lame beliefs and causes so men are impressed
with you and women want to bear your childr
What About Slash?! (2.14 / 7) (#42)
by egg troll on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 04:27:54 PM EST

I hope that slash stories will be accepted to this new fiction section. Why I've been working on a bawdy little tale about the Olsen Twins that  I think most K5 readers would enjoy! Not to mention more Data / Riker "close encounters" that don't really fit anywhere else.

He's a bondage fan, a gastronome, a sensualist
Unparalleled for sinister lasciviousness.

Slash stories? (none / 0) (#43)
by Cro Magnon on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 04:38:05 PM EST

I thought this place was anti-slash! Or is it just anti-slashdot?
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Very bad idea. (4.27 / 11) (#45)
by moho on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 04:58:53 PM EST

If K5 gets a fiction section, K5 is going to become some bad fiction site. Bad fiction authors will vote up everything other bad fiction authors write simply because they want more of it, and pretty soon we'll have a fiction community voting up just about everything posted under that section. Right now we may have 'drug war' enthusiasts who vote up every drug war story, but drug war stories can't be churned out nearly as fast as fiction potentially could be. How long does it take to write some crappy short story? An hour? What about poems? 15 minutes?

People who write fiction will write fiction no matter what, and now they have an excuse to queue up every piece of trash they write. People who write K5 stories usually only write them for K5 (and sometimes another news site). The point being that the current queue is filled with articles people wrote for K5, while a queue with fiction will be a dumping ground for everything people write. Obviously there exists a lot more of the latter than the former. It wouldn't surprise me if the amount of fiction submissions surpassed real story submissions within a month of its inception.

Others have suggested it not go to the front page, and I guess that would help... But it still doesn't seem right. If we're sectioning off the fiction part so much because it doesn't really fit in, then why is it here in the first place? Anyone can set up another scoop site for this purpose, and if this article got voted up then there's probably enough demand for it to work.

Let's look at this problem more closely (5.00 / 4) (#48)
by localroger on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 07:12:29 PM EST

If K5 gets a fiction section, K5 is going to become some bad fiction site.

OK, this seems to be the prevailing view as to why we shouldn't embark on the fiction experiment. But you know what? I don't believe it will work out that way.

Bad fiction authors will vote up everything other bad fiction authors write simply because they want more of it, and pretty soon we'll have a fiction community voting up just about everything posted under that section.

Yeah, but what about the large community of people here who are against any fiction, who will probably continue to downvote it even if there is a section?

K5 is not just a fiction site any more than it is "just" an Israel/Palestine discussion site. The invasion you are postulating would have to overwhelm the existing user base before it could start supporting a flood of crap. Long before it reaches that critical mass, the vanguard is going to get discouraged and go away.

Look, the queue can be a vicious place, especially when something that is really mediocre gets put in there. Why would this change? It's true we might see a lot of stories posted to the queue all of a sudden, and I'm sure we'll also see a lot of authors slink off after being bitchslapped for putting up something that is redundant, boring, unoriginal, or otherwise lame.

How long does it take to write some crappy short story? An hour? What about poems? 15 minutes?

Um, have you ever actually, like, tried to write a story? There's a word for stories you write in an hour -- crap. There's a thing that happens to crap here -- it gets voted down, fast. Where's the problem?

The few stories that have been voted up here have obviously been the product of a lot of thought and effort on their authors. In fact, the nonfiction stories that get voted up here tend to be the same way. There's a reason for that -- it's what the voting queue is for.

For all the problems that pop up, I have to say that the K5 moderation queue is one of the most elegant things I've ever encountered through a modem. The first iteration of anything is going to have problems, and Scoop suffers from first-of-its-kind syndrome too. But the only way to work these things out is to try it and see what happens.

People who write fiction will write fiction no matter what, and now they have an excuse to queue up every piece of trash they write.

And the rest of us will have an excuse to vote it down if it's lame. Really, people get the point quick. You also have people who want to put up a MLP every time they read the news; we manage to deal with those people, and I don't see the fiction people being any different.

The reason fiction sites are the way they are with so much crap is that they aren't moderated in terms of quality; they are openly operated as showcases, and well-meant but mediocre submissions are encouraged to keep the volume up and solicit support.

That's not what K5 has ever been about, and I just don't see the moderation system suddenly getting broken because of an influx of SF fans. It would have to be hundreds or even thousands of new people, who would all have to register and start voting before any of them could start seeing results. What is much more likely is that a few people will try, they will get voted into oblivion, and that will be that.

And in any case, there is a simple solution if the experiment doesn't work out. If Rusty can add a section, he can also remove it; and if fiction submissions start dominating the queue, the situation can always be put back. Meanwhile, we have no way of knowing what the result would be if we don't do the experiment at all.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Not really (4.37 / 8) (#46)
by Anarki on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 05:07:42 PM EST

Yeah a fiction section is a good idea, but thats what Fan Fiction is for. There's too many sites on the net that try to do everything. Kuro5hin is a news/blog site, Fan Fiction is a Fiction site, why dont you just leave it at that?

oh god no.... (none / 0) (#56)
by postindustrialist on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 08:46:16 PM EST

fanfic.net is a trash heap of fiction. i would probably end up spending weeks of immersing my computer in bleach for visiting that site. :P
oooh.. looks likes somebody has anger problems.
question everything.
this sig is only one hundred and fifty characters long and it's still not eno
[ Parent ]
Why? (2.50 / 2) (#47)
by godix on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 06:00:58 PM EST

What good would a fiction section do? K5 has a culture that allows good fiction stories to be voted up but it doesn't encourage being spamed by 'wouldn't it rock if ST:TNG got transported into the DragonballZ world?' stories. What more do you want?


Getting an education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on.

In opposition to the "there is a site" a (4.80 / 5) (#50)
by perdida on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 08:02:55 PM EST

The marketplace of ideas is a good one. This site is not THAT much bigger or more powerful than all of the other fiction sites, and what's more, there's no natural law of web ecosystems that says fiction at k5 is a BAD thing.

Thus, let a thousand flowers bloom (TM), especially because k5 writers are, in my opinion, more likely to be highly motivated and informed when they write fiction.

Fiction for k5's sake is different than fiction for its own sake. The fiction submitted will serve to spark general debate. The niceties of a "writers community" do not apply here, and that is a good thing.


The most adequate archive on the Internet.
I can't shit a hydrogen fuel cell car. -eeee

writing groups (none / 0) (#55)
by postindustrialist on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 08:43:31 PM EST

oh god yes. writing communities are the WORST thing writers can do to themselves. my girlfriend had been in one for at least three years and it wasn't until she got to college this year (yeah, i'm only twenty one.. a really young one) and got true criticism in her creative writing course. people will NEVER ive you honest criticism in such a group because they don't want you to say anything bad about their "masterpieces" because you said something about theirs. on the other hand, people have lost the art of "tact" where you can be brutally honest and still be nice about it in such a way that you show them what's wrong and they can still SOMEWHAT feel good about their work.
oooh.. looks likes somebody has anger problems.
question everything.
this sig is only one hundred and fifty characters long and it's still not eno
[ Parent ]
It's not lack of tact, necessarily (none / 0) (#65)
by Karmakaze on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 08:56:33 AM EST

I do occasionally reside in the world of fan fiction.  I no longer critique anything unless specifically asked.

Because unless you know the writer very well, you stand a chance of getting the crying child who takes anything less than "This is great!  Better than Stephen King!" as the most horrible thing that has ever been said to them -- and then they go crying to the community about how mean you were and try to drum up a lynch mob.  

After the second time this sort of drama happens, most people who will genuinely critique quit.  So the only people with the stomach to post are the yes men.

Your editors-in-training aren't refusing to post because they don't want to be critiqued themselves.  They're refusing to post because the deluge of whining is just too annoying.
--
Karmakaze
[ Parent ]

true... (none / 0) (#79)
by postindustrialist on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 10:07:33 PM EST

that too... i usually get asked alot to critique.. it's horrible... even if ya don't get tjhe whiny baby routine, they rarely take your honest criticism anyhow. i just menat that tact helps alot and has helped me avoid "crybaby" syndrome, but it doesn't always work, it just raises your chances of getting through to them from near nonexistent to maybe 10 - 20%
my comment was more of one on writing groups in particular where every one is both th critic and the criticized.
i, personally, HATE yesmen.. my genuine distrust of positive feedback can be harmful though...even if someone is sincere about it and says my work is great, i won't accept their critique unless they point out some minor flaw. btw, see your sig, jersey boy here... great state...:)
oooh.. looks likes somebody has anger problems.
question everything.
this sig is only one hundred and fifty characters long and it's still not eno
[ Parent ]
Let a thousand flowers bloom (none / 0) (#61)
by Scrymarch on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 06:06:35 AM EST

Wasn't that what Mao said just before launching the Cultural Revolution?  

Uh oh.  This all a plot by the perdidite faction to purge k5 of localrogerite reactionaries!  Hide your glasses!  Stock up on the Little Rusty Book!  No-one is safe!  

[ Parent ]

Time to get writing! (2.50 / 2) (#51)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 08:13:26 PM EST

I wasn't planning on this, but I see the article made front page and the poll is overwhelmingly in favor of a fiction section. So, I'm going to start posting my vast body of erotic Buffy fanfics.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
FUCK!! (none / 0) (#69)
by HypoLuxa on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 02:12:43 PM EST

I guess I'll have to rewrite all of mine as erotic Dawson's Creek fanfics then.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]
Limited appeal (3.33 / 3) (#52)
by Enocasiones on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 08:15:30 PM EST

Kuro5hin is relatively (to other similar sites) small, which is good for readers: they need not spend hours a day if they want to follow some of the discussions, but there's enough meat if you want to; the absolute number of trolls is smaller, and other advantages. But normally one wants to reach an audience as wide as possible.

Kuro5hin is also good for writers, since they get an opportunity to write lengthy essays, not just a couple of lines, for a relatively (to the posters' status in the publishing world) wide audience. People submitting stories should think whom they want to address and how many they want to reach.

As far as contributors write about something with a broad appeal, newcomers will be generally lured into K5. But the appeal of Kuro5hin literature is probably nil if you don't know a thing about this place. But I don't read fiction on K5, and I could be missing gems :)

So it's up to you: do you want to keep Kuro5hin small or do you want to share the experience? (I could be wrong, just saw a comment while previewing stating that fiction attracts new readers, but I think it was trollish.)

As things stand now in the poll, it's roughly a 55%-45% split between those for more fiction and those against (if we consider the option of limited fiction as being against free for all fiction). However, I would like to see the same poll expressed as: maintain the statu quo, bring more fiction, hide it even more.

And I'd would like to know if K5 is growing, and if it's growing due to more clicks of existing users or from newcomers. Are there any numbers out there?

--

Enoc

i'm kinda a newcomer (none / 0) (#54)
by postindustrialist on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 08:37:45 PM EST

i joined officially yesterday (or was it today.. depends on what you consider the hour) and i've been reading for a few months now. (i'm not usually a lurkerbut i'll get to why in in my next few sentences) i love kuro5hin. it's different from all the other sites like it. i had joined plastic a while back and was berated because my ideas ifferened from the norm (i think the main killer for me was my rather serious" attack" on science as not holding all the answers in life and being flawed, but i digress...) i couldn't stand the trolling and the overwhelming number of people. i've noticed that kuro5hon is rahter small and i see alot of personalities throughout the different threads. i'vew ctually come to like some of you without even really talking to ya. i would love to see what elsegoes on inside of your heads and as an aspiring writer myself, i think that stories would be an awesome addition, provided they were done well i think literature is just as much an essential for the thinking mind as the discussions and debates on here are. the problem is that most writing these days sucks. i don't mean just online fiction (trust me, if you can't use spellcheck and grammar check in word BEFORE you post it, don't fucking bother...) but also in your local bookstore too. (stephen king? WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING!?!?!?!?! all his stories are so formulaic...) i think that this is more of a concern than whether or not kuro5hin will grow to overwhelming heights. (trust me, i want that as little as you do. it's what attracted me to the place) i think that stories submitted should go before a board of editors (for grammar and spelling at the least, although a SMALL amount of unbiased quality check would be nice too) before it goes into a section for fiction.
oooh.. looks likes somebody has anger problems.
question everything.
this sig is only one hundred and fifty characters long and it's still not eno
[ Parent ]
Two things (none / 0) (#57)
by Enocasiones on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 09:17:58 PM EST

kuro5hin will grow to overwhelming heights. (trust me, i want that as little as you do. it's what attracted me to the place)
Just for the record, I don't think growth is bad. It can be very good, and I think K5 should reach as many as possible.
i think that stories submitted should go before a board of editors (for grammar and spelling at the least, although a SMALL amount of unbiased quality check would be nice too)
That is just the way Kuro5hin works. Anyone can make editorial suggestions.

--

Enoc

[ Parent ]

there's a difference between growth and Growth (none / 0) (#59)
by postindustrialist on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 10:07:43 PM EST

i don't want it to become overwhemingly populated with so many damed people that you can't help but piss SOMEONE off, or even worse, ALOT of members, but with such a naarrow range of beliefs that anything that goes against it is ostrasized. gaining slowly new members and new perspectives is a good thing though. as for the board idea, i know that silly..:P it's just that a bit "firmer" reviewing should be done. basic story struction, comprehensibility, a general feeling that the author knows what the fuck s/he is trying to say.. it's a bit harder to convey these things in fiction. unfortunately, the opposite result can happen too and you have people so damneed harsh and narrow in their vision of a "good" story that alot of magnificent fiction can be overlooked.nonfiction is basically a regurgitation of facts in such a way that they lead to a specific point or argument.
oooh.. looks likes somebody has anger problems.
question everything.
this sig is only one hundred and fifty characters long and it's still not eno
[ Parent ]
Agree to disagree? (none / 0) (#62)
by Enocasiones on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 07:59:07 AM EST

I think that's the best we can do, since you seem to believe fiction (quality fiction, which is something I think cannot be consistently attained in K5) will attract readers because it's more interesting than Kuro5hin's regular "stories". As you say, these are helped by actual facts, which should improve their overall appeal.

Also, you're right in that a wider audience means more susceptibilities to offend, but that is a good thing which brings debate. We are also protected against indiscriminate posters: Spamming is not tolerated here. And all spammers will be deleted.

---

Enoc

[ Parent ]

no, i agree with you... (none / 0) (#64)
by postindustrialist on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 08:26:41 AM EST

actually, i agree with you.. i think that consistency in quality IS impossible to maintain, i do think it will attract readers too, but what i debate is whether or not it's the audience you want to reach. do you want people who are willing to debate on issues such as politics and science as well? or do you just want fanfiction.net traffic? (not that i'm saying all your readers of fiction would be from there, nor am i sating anything's really wrong with fanfic other than my personal preference) i also think you're right, it isn't going to make that big of a splash in the water to have a fiction section, but whether or not it does (and i took it from a more positive standpoint that it would generate traffic) i don't really know if it is worth it.

when i said i wanted a section, that was a more personal desire to read fiction, and not a summation of my overall feelings towards what i think would be best on this issue.


i also agree that debate is good,but people bashing is not good, nor is it to really that great to have so many people talking, your voice just gets lost in the mix. i love debate and i hope to show the members of k5 this son enough, but i'm not disagreeing with ya, quite the opposite. i totally agree with what you are saying, just for slightly different reasons.
oooh.. looks likes somebody has anger problems.
question everything.
this sig is only one hundred and fifty characters long and it's still not eno
[ Parent ]
Uh ... (none / 0) (#81)
by Enocasiones on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 10:49:35 PM EST

Well then, yeah, ok, nice to meet you :) Hope to have another conversation. Till then,

--

Enoc

[ Parent ]

Why not have a Sex section instead? (3.80 / 5) (#58)
by la princesa on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 09:40:06 PM EST

It is practically the same as fiction to the bulk of K5, n'est ce?

___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
go for it (5.00 / 2) (#60)
by xah on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 11:22:42 PM EST

I say add it. This site needs something new, or at least some new energy. If the fiction section turns out to be complete junk, then it can be deleted. Give it a shot. Let's see if it works.

Why we should have a fiction section (4.80 / 5) (#66)
by rusty on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 10:04:23 AM EST

I've been opposed to having an official place for fiction here for a long time. I believe it was suggested in the first year the site exsted, and has come up again at regular intervals since, and I've always been against it. I'm still not convinced there should be one.

But, I thought, why not try to come up with some reasons we should have a fiction section? Maybe that would be more fruitful than simply considering the negatives, which have been pretty much covered elsewhere here already. So, in no particular order, here are some arguments I've come up with in favor of the idea.

Good stories. We've had a few pieces of fiction posted, despite not really having a home for them or encouraging their submission, and they've been good. I think the ones that have been posted have added to the site. There is every possibility that there are good writers of fiction out there, who aren't being published for whatever reason (more on that below) who would post their stuff here if it were encouraged. K5 was never solely intended to be for "news," though it has developed mainly in that direction. It's for good stories, and interesting discussion. I don't see any reason good fictional stories wouldn't help fulfill that goal.

What ever happened to the fiction market? There used to be countless "general interest" magazines, where news stories, current events analysis, human interest features, and, yes, fiction coexisted in one package. This format has almost completely died in the last couple decades, replaced by greater and greater specialization. I went into a bookstore the other day looking for Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel and the clerk asked me if that was a magazine. Which was funny, but in a way points out an underlying reality of the magazine market. It's all narrowly divided one-topic stuff. I think the variety K5 has is one of our big advantages, and people who just found the site are contstantly telling me that the variety is what they like about it. The best model I have for the site is that of a general interest magazine, though admittedly one with some particular topical obsessions. Adding fiction would be another step along a path we're already on, and I also think it could add to the overall blend of "interestng stuff" that we're trying for here.

Crap won't be posted. In the early days of such a section, there will be crap submitted. There will probably be some crappy stories submitted all the time, just like there are in all the other sections. But the arguments that K5 will suddenly be overwhelmed with bad fiction don't make sense to me. Why would it be true for that section and not for any other? Also, the vote stands now at roughly 60% for and 40% against. I'd be much more worried if it were overwhelmingly in favor. As it stands now, submitted fiction will have to win over a good number of people who are opposed to its even being here in order to get posted. I suspect the bar for fiction would end up being even higher than that for other sections, which is a good thing.

All that said, I still think there shouldn't be any more sections. The number we have now is good. They fit the navigation well, and there are enough to suggest the variety of stuff but not too many to keep a good grasp of. So if you want to add one, I think another should be dropped. IMO, "Internet" and "Columns" are the best candidates, with Columns leading. It never really served its purpose, and also doesn't fit with the topical scheme of the rest of them (not that fiction really would either, but hey). So for people who want a new section, which one ought to go on the chopping block for it?

PS: This is the first time I've started writing a comment one day and finished it the next. :-)

____
Not the real rusty

Columns, definitely! (none / 0) (#68)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 11:44:03 AM EST

Nobody has published a column on K5 since I arrived here and the only use of the Column section I've seen has been for multi-part articles, which aren't really columns.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
hmm? (none / 0) (#71)
by adiffer on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 03:19:32 PM EST

What is a column, then, if not a periodic article with some kind of theme for its topic?

I ask this in all honesty since I don't have a journalism background.  I know the FAQ says they are supposed to be from the K5 staff, but they don't do it that way since Meta is more appropriate to their typical subjects.

When the Science subject was proposed, I am one of the people who thought Column was probably more appropriate for what some of us where trying to do.  The style I've been using for my periodic contribution isn't far off from my understanding of what a Column is supposed to be, so I would appreciate a chance to learn more here.

-Dream Big.
--Grow Up.
[ Parent ]

I'm not sure... (none / 0) (#74)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 04:10:07 PM EST

...that there are any hard and fast rules that determine absolutely whether or not something is a column. I tend to think of a column as a regularly recurring editorial from a single author, but this definition fails to account for, among other things, the existence of the visting columnist.

I would guess that the etymology of the word is related to the columnar structure of the traditional newspaper layout, where a columnist's articles would consistently occupy the same space within the overall layout.

I'd say that your submission history would qualify as a column -- at least by my haphazardly vague definition -- if it were a little more regular (e.g., weekly, bi-weekly, monthly).

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
The fiction market (4.80 / 5) (#76)
by localroger on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 08:00:41 PM EST

I'd like to elaborate on an important point you make: What happened to the fiction market is that it has largely gone away.

In the mid-1980's a friend of mine made a go at being a professional SF writer and even got as far as joining SFWA. Of the market that existed then, only two prozines remain -- F&SF and Asimov's. (If Analog is still around my newsstand sure doesn't carry it.) Her best customer was Aboriginal SF.

Now if I were to try to publish the story I recently published here someplace better (e.g. that pays money) I could rule out F&SF right off the bat. And it would be iffy at Asimov's. It's really an Analog story, but what if the editor of Analog just happens not to like it? There's nowhere else to send it. Sure there are semi-prozines and so on, but I have a life and a job. Getting my words in front of other people isn't that important to me. Why should I waste my time poring over Writer's Market, printing and sending out copies, and collecting rejection slips to make a few hundred bucks I really don't need?

If K5 did not exist Passages in the Void would have simply sat on my hard drive forever, as my 60,000 word unpublished novel (written in a similarly misdirected fugue) is probably going to do. Because of K5, people have read and enjoyed it, and if a fiction section comes along to legitimize such things I might even go to the trouble to write a couple of sequels.

With the consolidation of the publishing industry it is no longer really possible to become a professional fiction writer unless you have some kind of inside track. Even established writers like Norman Spinrad are finding it difficult to place their works. There are a lot of people like me who can write, but who simply aren't interested in banging our heads against the brick wall that the slush pile has become at most houses.

The thing that makes K5 an interesting place for us is the moderation queue. This isn't a circle-wank where just anything gets posted. There are people who care about whether the stuff that is posted is any good. They aren't professional people, and the process is chaotic, but the result is that stuff that goes through the queue has been winnowed for quality. If your story -- fiction, nonfiction, or even MLP -- has been approved, it means quite a few people thought it was worthwhile. This means that when you tell someone "I published this story on K5, you want to see it?" you aren't just asking them to be the fourth person who ever bothered to read your blog.

It isn't money, but for some of us it's enough. I have another friend who writes fan fiction and I've noticed that the editing demands even at a lot of non-paying fanzines are simply ridiculous. At any publication your work passes through the hands of several people who have absolute veto power before it ever has the smallest chance of consideration. This is true even at nonpaying magazines. Get your story in front of the reader on the day when he has a migraine, and you're toast.

But here it's fairer. It takes at least twenty people to sink your story, so one guy in a raw mood isn't going to lose you your chance at the only house where it's appropriate. Or worse; I had one story on the verge of acceptance by a major men's magazine, for a very respectable several thousand bucks, when the entire editorial staff was replaced because of a change in top management.

You get tired of shit like that. Fast. And I gave it quite a few shots.

So if K5 opens up a fiction section, this slightly jaded middle-aged man might just decide to sit down and pound out a few more ideas that I've been sitting on. Because I've found I like seeing my stuff here, I am proud to have offered something that runs the editorial gauntlet, and I am glad to see feedback from people who have found pleasure in what I did. I have never gotten that from my tentative attempts at professional publication. So that's why I was hoping K5 might become a bit more open to fiction.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

w00t! (none / 1) (#77)
by Zapata on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 08:12:28 PM EST

... as my 60,000 word unpublished novel (written in a similarly misdirected fugue) is probably going to do...

Any chance we'll ever see that somewhere? I'd like to read it.

"If you ain't got a camel, you ain't Shiite."


[ Parent ]
Um... Um... (5.00 / 1) (#78)
by localroger on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 09:22:33 PM EST

Any chance we'll ever see that somewhere? I'd like to read it.

I've been thinking about it.

I'm kind of torn. The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect is a really, really weird book. The closest I can come to describing it is as a collaboration between Philip K. Dick and the Marquis de Sade. It is sexually explicit, violent, and unpleasantly philosophical.

On the other hand there are eight people alive right now, besides myself, who have read it. All eight loved it. One of them has never been known to actually finish reading any other book-length work of fiction. All indications are that it could be wildly popular.

The people who thought the technology in Passages too tame might like it in one way. It begins with the event called the "Singularity" nowadays in futurist circles, though that description wasn't around when I wrote it. In Metamorphosis the Singularity takes all of one night, and the novel spans the next six hundred years.

A part of me is reluctant to simply give the book away by publishing it on the Web. I fear I may never again write anything quite so good at such a length. I also fear the reaction it will create in some people. It is a very, very, very dark and offensive book. In our current climate of advancing oppression I don't relish the idea of making myself a lightning rod for the wrath of the ascendant puritans when I am not especially rich or well-connected.

But then, I keep getting older and it keeps gathering dust.

I just don't know. It's been something like eight years and I still haven't come to terms with it; I wrote it in a kind of mad fugue, hardly aware of what I was doing, and when I first finished I thought it was the most incredibly sick thing I'd ever seen. Brilliant, yes, but brilliantly sick. The older I get the less sick it seems, although the impression remains that the entire book is a vicious, clever psychic assault on the reader. I have lost the ability to tell how people other than myself might see it, and can only note that the few who have read it have claimed to like it.

But I really don't know what to do about it.

What I think I'll do about it now is finish getting drunk.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Mad fugue... (5.00 / 1) (#80)
by Zapata on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 10:49:32 PM EST

Well, hell...  I'd like to see anything that was written in a 'mad fugue.'

Based on the quality of the writing I've seen from you so far, I'd be disappointed to think you'd let something you worked hard on sit and rot.

I've been lurking here for a long time. The Casino Odyssey series was excellent, and when I saw you wrote Passages in the Void, I thought, "Damn, this guy needs to write more." Now I hear you've got an entire novel written. I can't address your societal concerns about the content of your story (people suck; deal), but I'll make you an offer that's easy to refuse.

I'll buy 100,000 ad impressions on Kuro5hin pimping your novel if you'll release it.

P.S. Rusty, I voted 'Yes' in the poll :)

"If you ain't got a camel, you ain't Shiite."


[ Parent ]
Ad impressions? (none / 0) (#86)
by Greyjack on Sat Dec 28, 2002 at 01:41:22 AM EST

localroger's stuff has been good enough thus far that I'll buy him a pizza in exchange for a copy.

(hell, I've enjoyed his previous postings enough that I'll buy him a pizza anyway, if he wants -- if you're game, lr, shoot me an email, we'll work out the details)

--
Here is my philosophy: Everything changes (the word "everything" has just changed as the word "change" has: it now means "no change") --Ron Padgett


[ Parent ]
Tell you what... (5.00 / 1) (#90)
by localroger on Sat Dec 28, 2002 at 12:49:50 PM EST

I'll buy 100,000 ad impressions on Kuro5hin pimping your novel if you'll release it.

OK, I've slept on it, and what the hell.

If someone will volunteer the webhosting, I will HTMLize it and put it online, and I will take you up on your kind offer to help publicize it.

I know, I could put it on Geocities or Angelfire or whatever but I'd rather see it on a server that doesn't pour ads all over it and turn it off after n hits where n is a four-digit number. Also, it's very, very un-child-safe.

And for Extra Bonus Points, if enough people promise to buy copies to cover the setup costs, I'll even arrange with XLibris to publish it in dead tree form. It appears that I would need about 100 people willing to shuck out $20 for a trade paperback to make that worthwhile. I would need what they call "basic service" in order to get it typeset properly. Or someone might have another bright idea.

How's that for an offer? Any volunteers for the webhosting?

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Alrighty, then. (none / 1) (#92)
by Zapata on Sat Dec 28, 2002 at 04:21:14 PM EST

It's a deal.

We'll need to come up with a suitable ad. I can  give it a shot, or anyone who's interested can try their hand at it.

I can't promise it today, but I'm fairly certain that I could host it at my site. I need to run it by my business partner. I'll get back to you on that by Monday evening.

Count me in for one book via XLibris. I think I might be able to dig up another customer or two as well, but that's sort of a crapshoot.

"If you ain't got a camel, you ain't Shiite."


[ Parent ]
OK, cool (none / 0) (#93)
by localroger on Sat Dec 28, 2002 at 04:56:29 PM EST

I need to run it by my business partner. I'll get back to you on that by Monday evening.

No problemo. It's been waiting since 1994, a few more days won't matter.

Count me in for one book via XLibris.

You might want to, um, read it first :-)

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Bah... (5.00 / 1) (#94)
by Zapata on Sat Dec 28, 2002 at 05:37:48 PM EST

You might want to, um, read it first :-)

Nope. It's funny that you question the purchase of the novel, but not the advertising. Are you that unsure of yourself? :)

I'm in this because of patronage. I support small bands that I like. I'll buy their albums, even if I haven't heard a single track, just because I trust in the quality of their work. I tell other people about them.

You're no different. I've seen two completely different styles of writing from you and liked them both. If I support you, with attention or money or both, maybe you'll keep writing, which means that I get to keep reading.

Last, I've been told that I have the potential to be a good author. I doubt that somewhat, but it could be true. If you can do it, maybe I can, too.

And if not, then at least I can live vicariously through you for the duration of this exercise.

"If you ain't got a camel, you ain't Shiite."


[ Parent ]
OK, you're down for the first copy (none / 0) (#95)
by localroger on Sat Dec 28, 2002 at 05:58:08 PM EST

Nope. It's funny that you question the purchase of the novel, but not the advertising. Are you that unsure of yourself? :)

My feelings about this book are very complicated. You'll probably understand why when you do get to read it.

In any case, this point is well taken:

I'm in this because of patronage. I support small bands that I like. I'll buy their albums, even if I haven't heard a single track, just because I trust in the quality of their work. I tell other people about them.

You may consider me properly grateful for your confidence -- I just hope the work in question doesn't prove to be a let-down.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Hosting? (5.00 / 1) (#100)
by rusty on Mon Dec 30, 2002 at 04:37:09 PM EST

If you've got a set of html pages and you're not too picky about the URL, I'll host them here. It would be the least I could do for all the stuff you've written. The location would be something like http://www.kuro5hin.org/title_of_book, so it should include its own navigation. If you want to do that, just email me a tarball when you have it formatted.

And put me down for a dead-tree copy too. I finally got around to reading my printout of Passages (I get a lot more out of reading fiction on paper, don't know why) and I am slack-jawed with amazement. It did more than any of the arguments here to melt most of my resistance to fiction. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Deal! (none / 0) (#102)
by localroger on Mon Dec 30, 2002 at 05:32:01 PM EST

If you've got a set of html pages and you're not too picky about the URL, I'll host them here.

That would be super. I have already begun preparing the wrapper materials and I hope to have the HTMLization of the novel itself done by Jan 06 (since I'm going out of town that week). There is one modest b&w graphic and the rest will be a small self-sufficient hand coded webpage.

Having it hosted at K5 would be very appropriate since the home page will include some links to the other stuff I've written here, for obvious reasons.

I have also re-read it, and re-thought some of my trepidation about releasing it. Maybe it's just time -- and if so, I have K5 to thank for a lot of encouragement helping to bring it about.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Ad text... (none / 1) (#105)
by Zapata on Mon Dec 30, 2002 at 06:30:34 PM EST

Let me know what you'd like the ad to say, assuming you'd still like to do it. If not, I'll make a donation in your name to the charity of your choice (including K5).

"If you ain't got a camel, you ain't Shiite."


[ Parent ]
Been thinking about that (none / 0) (#106)
by localroger on Mon Dec 30, 2002 at 09:24:49 PM EST

You know, I might need some help with that from folks who have, like, read the novel. I have come up with a few condensed teasers, but nothing quite concise enough for a textad.

To whet your appetite here is the "jacket copy" which I wrote for the intro page of the web wrapper:

Lawrence had ordained that Prime Intellect could not, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. But he had not realized how much harm his super-intelligent creation could perceive, or what kind of action might be necessary to prevent it.

Caroline has been yanked out of her deathbed into a brave new immortal Paradise where she can have anything she wants, except the sense that her life has meaning.

Now these two souls are headed for a confrontation which will force them to weigh matters of life and death before a machine that can remake -- or destroy -- the entire Universe.

I seem to have an obsession with this deep-time and long-view perspective...

I suppose READ LOCALROGER'S NOVEL might work as well as anything else, but it would be nice to be a bit more in the, um, commercial spirit. There is also the textad's comment space to consider, which could be quite interesting in this case.

It's also worth wondering exactly how much ground is covered simply by putting a link to the page in my own signature, which I'd be insane not to do.

Anyway. I just found out how to do "properly" indented text in HTML (what a kludge) so I know what I'll be doing over the New Year's holiday :-)

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Sweet! (none / 1) (#103)
by Zapata on Mon Dec 30, 2002 at 06:13:55 PM EST

I was actually gonna email you and suggest fiction.kuro5hin.org. We we're gonna host localrogers' novel, but a K5 address has a much higher neatness factor than some random web site.

"If you ain't got a camel, you ain't Shiite."


[ Parent ]
BTW, thanks (none / 0) (#107)
by localroger on Mon Dec 30, 2002 at 09:47:09 PM EST

We we're gonna host localrogers' novel

I thought you'd come through, and began doing the web preps. But Rusty's offer is just too good to turn down. After all, most everything else I've got up on the web is on K5, so it's most appropriate. I do appreciate your generous offer and strong encouragement -- both the ads and the web hosting.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Exactly. (none / 0) (#96)
by Greyjack on Sat Dec 28, 2002 at 05:59:57 PM EST

I'm in this because of patronage. I support small bands that I like. I'll buy their albums, even if I haven't heard a single track, just because I trust in the quality of their work. I tell other people about them.

You're no different. I've seen two completely different styles of writing from you and liked them both. If I support you, with attention or money or both, maybe you'll keep writing, which means that I get to keep reading.

Abso-frickin'-lutely.  I'm definitely in for a copy; as for hosting, it wouldn't really need anything fancy -- if nobody was able to provide it free, I would think one of the sub-$10/month hosting plans out there (cf, f'rinstance, poehosting.com) would be more than adequate, as we're talking what, 500k of html?  Keep it image-light, and you're under a meg for the entire site, easy.

--
Here is my philosophy: Everything changes (the word "everything" has just changed as the word "change" has: it now means "no change") --Ron Padgett


[ Parent ]
Feeling bland, could use a little assault (none / 0) (#89)
by zerth on Sat Dec 28, 2002 at 10:44:28 AM EST

  Going by your previous writings, I'd be interested in seeing this too.  After reading your short piece, I got the urge to dig out some 60's anthologies.

  I think your short piece would've been publishable before the Slow Die-off(laughing at the cover of _A_is_for_Andromeda_, "This new form of literature has captivated the largest group of new readers in the US!").

 It'd probably be publishable now if publishers didn't think "anthology" meant "the round container you put a famous author's bad ideas in until after he's dead"

Now if only you had a taste for puns:)

Rusty isn't God here, he's the pope; our God is pedantry. -- Subtillus
[ Parent ]

Probably the best (none / 0) (#82)
by Enocasiones on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 11:19:19 PM EST

This is probably the best argument I've seen supporting fiction on K5. I really want to read that 8-person-aproved-60000-words story :) (need a link!) But still, I tend to think what I look for in Kuroshin, and it's not fiction.

Leave fiction in sections, in diaries, where-ever, but, if you want to attract people, don't let it overwhelm the site (if there's a majority of people supporting fiction, at least 50% will be fiction): people come to these place searching for news and scoops; different spins on what they know; interesting things they haven't heard about. I don't think anyone will arrive here looking for the new greatest novella.

Or maybe not, maybe they come to K5 looking for that novel they were trying to find, that elusive short story ... before I become sarcastic, let me say that no, I don't think people look for evasive literature here. They may come to like it, but no one is going to start reading a paragraph and then get hanged on it. Fiction is no dope, unless it's awfully good.

And we have the perennial absence of a proper editor. That means K5, regarding quality, follows a Gauss bell: it is an average of readers' (or active posters') opinions. Which can let lots of garbage in (If you manage to bore everyone but the interested ones, no one will vote against. The queue is imperfect, as you say).

But then I read a post going like "Why don't try?" and I think "Go ahead!", you can always hit DELETE!

But K5 can get hijacked by fiction readers who read fiction because they somehow know the author as they already read K5. And outsiders never get in. So it's risky. But I tend to paranoia :)

And now that I re-read your words, I think you give more importance to K5 than it has, and if you want it to "trascend" (and please interpret that word as you wish), more fiction is not the way.

--

Enoc

[ Parent ]

I'd agree it should not overwhelm (4.00 / 1) (#85)
by localroger on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 11:48:22 PM EST

If you look at any general-interest magazine, be it Playboy or Cosmopolitan, there is a mix of content. K5 has most of that mix. If you look at those magazines, that mix always has at least one fiction short story in the current issue. It's part of the formula. Playboy and Cosmopolitan both do it; it's not a gender thing. People who like reading about technology, about relationships, about the other general interest shit that might make any publication popular, also like the occasional flight of fancy.

Playboy and Cosmopolitan are major fiction markets because they pay very, very well. But they are also stingy fiction markets. If you market your fiction in that thin-air realm, as some people do, you must cultivate a market of a dozen or so magazines of that caliber and bombard them with material without pissing them off.

Meanwhile, K5 has a market demographic similar to, well, some men's magazines I can *cough* think of. A lot of K5's content is similar to what one would find in the *ahem* text portions of those magazines. Even the Israel/Palestine stuff. Really. I, you know, read them for the articles. That's how I know :-)

Those magazines are successful for good reasons. Their formulae are tested. They publish a mix of techno-wonkism (done here, better), politics (done here), naked women or half-naked fashion models (ok, this is a text site), reviews (done here), and op-ed (done here). And fiction. (not done here, mostly.)

Seems to me (he said, rustically drumming his fingers) that somethin' might be missin'.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Already a couple of pages (none / 0) (#110)
by Enocasiones on Wed Jan 01, 2003 at 02:36:31 PM EST

I mainly agree with you, with a couple of caveats.

Regarding the mix of genres, Kuro5hin already has fiction. Not much, I agree, but general-interest magazines don't devote a lot of space to it either. And fiction stories don't occupy the first page unless a respected writer is doing the piece.

As for K5's audience, I have no data, but we can expect Kuro5hin's audience to be broad, since it covers a wide range of topics (technology and culture from the trenches is sometimes stretched quite a bit). But there's something interesting in your comment:

They publish a mix of techno-wonkism (done here, better), politics (done here), naked women or half-naked fashion models (ok, this is a text site), reviews (done here), and op-ed (done here). And fiction. (not done here, mostly.)
The resalted text is key here. Even though you read them for the articles, the ladies sure help. The average K5 reader is probably not like the average Playboy or Cosmopolitan (completely opposed audiences, btw) reader. But it looks as if there is a high (for an Internet enterprise) female participation here. Or maybe they are all trolls :)

And a Happy New Year to everyone!

[ Parent ]

Internet vs. Technology (5.00 / 2) (#83)
by localroger on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 11:20:02 PM EST

On re-reading this I decided to look at the sections -- something I rarely do, since I tend to catch most articles on the left-hand frame unless I'm called out of town for awhile on business.

I dare anybody to tell me the last couple of months' articles in Internet wouldn't fit equally well under Technology.

Columns hasn't been used well, partly because it's not really obvious what it's supposed to be for until you make a faux pas regarding it. In a sense the whole idea of having a columns section at the far end of the edit queue is kind of silly; the whole point of a column is that you can rely on it being there every Wednesday, even if the author is drunk and has written a piece of crap. We've been using it kind of generically for "hopeful continuing series" but the nature of the edit queue makes it an iffy proposition to post anything that requires a sequel.

I posted A Casino Odyssey in four parts because of the length appropriateness issue, but I'd never do such a thing again. What a fucking nightmare wondering if all the other sections would go to FP too. For all its elegance the K5 edit queue has its limitations, and one of those is that it can't really handle columns. Columnists must have a consistent soapbox even when they have a bad hair day. Maybe some other mechanism could be arranged, like a moving-average thing that lets a would-be columnist establish his bona fides, then post everything to section or FP as appropriate until a sufficient swell of downvoting (requiring at least 3 or 4 stories to carry through) revokes the privilege.

I think that sort of thing might be workable, but it's a very advanced variation on what Scoop might eventually become. Meanwhile, "columns" doesn't seem to be doing anything special that the other categories aren't already doing, and "Internet" isn't doing much that "Technology" isn't also doing.

Just my US$0.02.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Nice study (none / 0) (#84)
by Enocasiones on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 11:46:49 PM EST

It's funny how others make you see how little you know (this you applies to me, in case you doubted). Thanks for an interesting insight into sections.

Why not let the columns be fictional ones? The current ones to Technology, as you say, or Internet, and let fiction pervade the Columns!

--

Enoc

[ Parent ]

sections... (none / 0) (#87)
by johwsun on Sat Dec 28, 2002 at 09:20:14 AM EST

..what forces you to have only 12 sections?
Is this damned 640x480 screen size? I think having a fixed number of sections is bad.
Not only you have to increase sections, but you should also create subsections. Slashdot is better because it allows many sections.

[ Parent ]
Columns, Dump (-1) [n/t] (none / 0) (#88)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Sat Dec 28, 2002 at 10:24:07 AM EST


The opinions expressed in the comments above are not those of the author; they have been rented for the occasion of this writing from a neutral third party.<
[ Parent ]
I like your approach (none / 0) (#91)
by imrdkl on Sat Dec 28, 2002 at 03:23:42 PM EST

I voted it down in the poll, but there may indeed be hidden talent out there, and k5 has always welcomed true talent with open arms, ahem. I'm also inclined to agree with this comment, made by another potential talent who frequents this site of late. Albeit without dreadful slight made towards this hidden flower, who also happens to know some pretty spiffy math tricks.

Therefore, if I may be so bold, I'd propose a new FP poll with something more than a binary option for this section. To wit:

  • Yup, with standard rules
  • Yup, but no FP articles
  • Yup, with no autopost articles
  • Nope

    Or something along those lines. You'll do fine. Oh yes, and kill Internet, please.

    [ Parent ]

  • Of course (none / 0) (#98)
    by imrdkl on Sun Dec 29, 2002 at 05:54:31 AM EST

    removing the map poll will be a bit sad. I'd like to hotlist it, if I could. But the show must go on, so to speak.

    [ Parent ]
    replace Columns with Fiction [n/t] (none / 0) (#97)
    by tbc on Sat Dec 28, 2002 at 11:22:29 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Good idea...but (3.00 / 1) (#67)
    by dh003i on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 11:01:43 AM EST

    I say add a fiction section.  But doesn't the diary already cover that?  People can put anything they want in their diary -- from irrelevant personal stuff to fiction.  

    I think a fiction section is worth adding, though.  I've already used my diary for a fiction poem and short story.

    Social Security is a pyramid scam.

    diary work (none / 0) (#73)
    by adiffer on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 03:37:22 PM EST

    Diaries get hard to find unless they are your own or you mark them for periodic scanning.  If you were to write something others thought was quite good, I would hope you could put it in a place that made it harder to people ot accidentally miss it.

    -Dream Big.
    --Grow Up.
    [ Parent ]
    That's why my sig is the way it is (none / 0) (#75)
    by dh003i on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 06:06:44 PM EST

    That's the reason why I link to my diary and my journal in my sig.  :-)  Hint:  subliminiminimal message follows.

    Social Security is a pyramid scam.
    [ Parent ]

    Either that ... or (4.66 / 3) (#70)
    by HypoLuxa on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 02:27:06 PM EST

    Abolish sections entirely. I've been here about three years now, and I'm constantly amazed at K5's ability to reinvent itself. I think that it changes in tone and content frequently enough that having sections doesn't really serve any purpose. I suggest we have two, Articles and Diaries. That should be enough.

    By the way, this probably only reflects my experience of reading K5, since I tend to read the FP stories and my diary list. I'm sure that there are many dedicated section readers who think this idea is bunk, which it may well be.

    --
    I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
    - Leonard Cohen

    Section usage (4.00 / 1) (#72)
    by adiffer on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 03:32:30 PM EST

    As I understand it, sections are supposed to delineate writing styles.  We don't expect Op-Eds, MLP's and News articles to be written the same way.  I've seen plenty of voting comments where people point to the style they expect for the section as their reason for voting the way they did.

    It is the topical sections that have always bugged me a little.  What style is appropriate for a Science article?  Should I use the peer-reviewed Journal style, the Journal without peer review style, or the Science popularization style?  I've been using an educational style with a dash of popularization and I've been getting away with it.  What style is appropriate for an Internet article?  I haven't a clue on that one.

    On my own Scoop site, I ditched the topical sections and expanded the list of topics.  Since one of my goals is to encourage our readers to learn to write effective Op-Eds, I really do want to go for a style method of teaching/training.  Rants do not make effective Op-Eds, so I hope to get our community to narrow its voting practices a bit compared to some sections here on K5.  I don't know if I'll succeed, but I have my fingers crossed.  8)

    -Dream Big.
    --Grow Up.
    [ Parent ]

    Oh (3.50 / 2) (#108)
    by valar on Tue Dec 31, 2002 at 04:36:29 PM EST

    With all the rampant political activism and little or no well supported fact, I thought this site already had fiction!

    I thought K5 was fiction ? (nt). (none / 0) (#111)
    by Tom Brett on Sun Jan 05, 2003 at 08:40:49 PM EST




    Outwar thugbuilder! get 500+ thugs a day! click here
    [ Parent ]
    Fiction (none / 0) (#112)
    by nalex on Mon Jan 06, 2003 at 07:55:40 AM EST

    Telling a story is much harder than writing a comment. If we have fiction here, it should be in a context. I must agree that it has no place on the front page, and that ratings and comments have no importance.

    It is a bit like the age old question of Poetry. The trap is, is it for the reader or the writer?

    Have a fiction section by all means, but run it more like a competition. Like $1 to enter a story, and the winner gets a prize. Feature only the winners. Or think of it like cartoons in a newspaper.

    If the aim is to improve the writing skills of K5'ers it may be good for other sections also.



    Tremendous untapped talent that craves exposure.. (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by sudog on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 02:30:42 AM EST

    Kuro5hin is an amazing place: with x thousands of readers coming here regularly in an anarchic forum where any and all can participate, an author's success means sneaking under the aesthetic and technical radars of hundreds of varied inviduals all at the same time.

    I think fiction would draw a tremendous readership--a news site is fine, but a place where culture can be exchanged, new ideas explored and presented, and people can experiment with literary forms from behind the pseuononymous mask of Kuro5hin, would truly be a fantastic and worthy destination.

    I would suggest that not just a single section be opened, but a series of genres, subsections, and categories as well--perhaps fiction.kuro5hin.org?

    I know that fiction probably won't do so well sitting beside the normal news site: the borderline cases would be way too contentious.

    Anyway, here's my vote: I will contribute copiously to any fiction sections rusty opens up.


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