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#21 AQCrew

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 11:29 AM

Thanks for sharing this Mallory.

 

It's absolutely true that no one site can offer everyone everything, and we definitely encourage writers to move through the actively changing publishing scene -- both online and in-person through writing conferences and writing residencies -- and explore ALL the various writing and publishing resources that can help them achieve their goals -- whatever step along the infinitely endless journey of publication that might be.

 

For some, AQC may provide a base for these pursuits; for others, it may simply be a quick stop along the way.



#22 Guest_AWExley_*

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 02:35 PM

One of the problems with AQC is that it is set up for writers looking for agents and publishers, not established authors. So once people get publishing deals or agent contracts, or self publish, there's not much to keep them around.

 

 

I disagree with that and the thing I love about AQC is that there is so much on offer for published authors, unlike other writing forums. Maybe it's different if you have a large publisher and a marketing team behind you and therefore have the luxury of just writing without worrying about sales.

 

This forum has authors from all walks and at all levels who come here and offer their knowledge. No one is criticised for the path they chose, be it totally indie or agent and big trad deal.

 

For self published projects, I have picked up valuable information about cover art, editors and formatting. On the marketing side there are several fantastic discussions about key words, categories, Amazon algorithms and using FB as a marketing tool. There is a great community here to learn from and bounce ideas off for all that comes after you are published (in whatever form).



#23 J. Lea Lopez

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 08:01 PM

Maybe it's just me being an old geezer who's been here just about since the beginning, but chat has never been the main or even a major focus for AQC. We never used to have an open chat room at all. I liked popping into chat, too, but it was mostly a procrastination thing for me. And while there was often some good writing discussion, it just as often veered off course into things we could all chat about on facebook or twitter or any other chat service. I don't think I ever saw a newbie wander into chat and get some info they couldn't have already found available in the forums. So when I say that if people were here mostly for chat then maybe this wasn't really the place for them, I mean it, and that's why. AQC was never mainly about chat. There's a wealth of info in the groups that's there for good, for all to see and contribute to at any time of day or night.

 

I think there's still a lot of good things that keep published members from coming back, too. What tends to keep people away once they reach a certain point in their publishing journey is their schedule more than anything. At least that's how it's been for most of the published authors I know who call AQC home.



#24 J.S. Hughes

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Posted 27 September 2014 - 10:49 AM

I don't think I ever saw a newbie wander into chat and get some info they couldn't have already found available in the forums. ... There's a wealth of info in the groups that's there for good, for all to see and contribute to at any time of day or night.

 

Two flawed assumptions with this.

1) You stated you didn't come to chat very often, so what you have seen or not seen isn't really a good measure of how often an event occurs. I was in chat a lot, and it happened a lot. Lack of observation isn't a measure of lack of occurrence.

2) Having a stockpile of information in a permanent form is great, but without some kind of index, finding anything in that repository becomes untractable. Time to find an answer is long here--especially when the search parameters are ill-defined (e.g. Is my book too long?)

 

Members form the only index of the site, so if you can't find something, you have to ask someone else. (or go to another site) If you can ask in chat and get a response in 2 seconds, you're more likely to stick around than if you post a question in the forums. AQC members are really helpful, but even then, a forum post response can take minutes to days. People might not stick around long enough to see the answer, or have moved on by the time they get it.

 

And you're right, this is a pain that someone who has been around for a long time wouldn't even notice. I develop software for a living, so it pains me to see such a useful feature get cut because those in charge don't see it for the powerful tool it is. I have to be aware of how my tools are viewed by the nascent user. I might be able to use it like a whiz, but I know where everything is already--they have to be able to discover those things, and I am 100% the wrong person to measure how discoverable features are. The mods are 100% the wrong people to understand this site from the perspective of a new member. Where I work we have user experience experts (UX) whose sole purpose is to look at problems from that angle--they are professional noobs.

 

Everyone gets caught up in the social aspect of chat claiming that is all it was good for. Even if that were the case, that's not a bad thing. Building a community and making connections is very important in this industry--and no matter how much twitter/facebook I use, I don't feel connected to any of those people. It's like trying to make friends with a stranger at a rock concert. For many people and for various reasons, conferences are not an option.

 

In a way, you might right about people leaving after chat was removed not really belonging here in the first place, but let's not assume that has something to do with the character of the chatters. Regulars leaving because chat is gone might mean--for those users--the utility of this site was highly hinged on the benefits of having that chatroom, and the underlying foundation of the site wasn't one that could support their needs. Once the facilitating tool was removed, it became clear that the site wasn't really that useful for them to begin with, and thus move on to find places that will suit their needs.

 

I got the impression that chat was removed from a fear of liability. All I wanted the benefits of a chat room to be considered, and so far, all the responses from admins/mods have shown me that they were not.

 

In the end, it's only the empirical evidence that matters. Open writing discussions in chat are gone. Networking and connectivity are seriously hampered. Fast knowledge sharing is gone. Some members are gone. And the mods can sleep easier at night knowing they won't get sued over something that happened in chat.

 

P.S. Yes, I'm still bitter.

P.S.S. A fine critique of this analysis would be "Mr. Hughes, you don't have all the information." I asked for that information and didn't get it. A transparent explanation might have been easier for affected members to swallow.

P.S.S.S. I still think the site is a great resource for new writers, just not as great as when I showed up. I fear it will be more of a waystation, and less of a home. My irritation is founded in my appreciation for the site and not in any personal feeling towards the moderators. I know you do what you feel is best. 


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#25 J. Lea Lopez

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Posted 27 September 2014 - 06:23 PM

Two flawed assumptions with this.

1) You stated you didn't come to chat very often, so what you have seen or not seen isn't really a good measure of how often an event occurs. I was in chat a lot, and it happened a lot. Lack of observation isn't a measure of lack of occurrence.

I merely stated my personal observations, as you have. I didn't say that no one ever got valuable information in the chat room, or even that it was rare. I've also seen plenty of new members pop into chat once or twice to ask questions, get their answer, contribute little, and then leave. And they still contribute little to nothing to the community at large. It's not all or nothing, here. There's a broad spectrum of people who enjoyed chat and are frequent posters and contributors on the forum, those who rarely if ever used chat but who post frequently, those who used chat a lot and posted infrequently, and also those who lurk and who rarely used chat and rarely post on the boards.

 

 


And you're right, this is a pain that someone who has been around for a long time wouldn't even notice. I develop software for a living, so it pains me to see such a useful feature get cut because those in charge don't see it for the powerful tool it is. I have to be aware of how my tools are viewed by the nascent user. I might be able to use it like a whiz, but I know where everything is already--they have to be able to discover those things, and I am 100% the wrong person to measure how discoverable features are. The mods are 100% the wrong people to understand this site from the perspective of a new member. Where I work we have user experience experts (UX) whose sole purpose is to look at problems from that angle--they are professional noobs.

You also make a huge assumption here that "those in charge don't see [chat] for the powerful tool it is." Just because they got rid of it doesn't mean they didn't know how valuable it was to some people. AQC doesn't have user experience experts. AQC is a labor of love for AQCrew. I remember when they first approached the community about having banner ads on the site. They didn't want it to be a nuisance to members, but they needed to offset the costs of running the site somehow. AQC is a completely free resource. There are no premium memberships or anything like that to help pay for the site, and all features are available to everyone. So while you seem to assume that this decision was made because AQCrew doesn't understand what it's like for a new member on the site, or because they just don't "get" the value of having a chatroom, I trust that it was a decision made after careful thought and consideration, because that's how they've always run the site.

 

 


In a way, you might right about people leaving after chat was removed not really belonging here in the first place, but let's not assume that has something to do with the character of the chatters. Regulars leaving because chat is gone might mean--for those users--the utility of this site was highly hinged on the benefits of having that chatroom, and the underlying foundation of the site wasn't one that could support their needs. Once the facilitating tool was removed, it became clear that the site wasn't really that useful for them to begin with, and thus move on to find places that will suit their needs.

This is basically my entire point, regardless of the character of the chatters. AQC survived and thrived prior to chat, and I have no doubt it will continue to do so without it. If chat was someone's sole reason for using the site and they leave as a result of chat leaving, then this is, by default, not the site for them. There's no value judgment in that. It just is. The same way that Query Tracker or Absolute Write or various social media sites or blogging platforms may have a feature or two that I might find valuable, but that doesn't make them all a good fit for me personally. AQC is home to me, with or without chat. I get that people are upset that a feature they liked is gone. You have every right to be bummed about it. But...

 

 


I got the impression that chat was removed from a fear of liability. All I wanted the benefits of a chat room to be considered, and so far, all the responses from admins/mods have shown me that they were not.

 

[...]

 

A fine critique of this analysis would be "Mr. Hughes, you don't have all the information." I asked for that information and didn't get it. A transparent explanation might have been easier for affected members to swallow.

 

Crew isn't obligated to explain their actions when it comes to running their site, no matter how upset it makes us or how much we're dying to know specific reasons why. When Twitter and Facebook make interface or system changes that we feel are arbitrary or that affect something we particularly liked about those sites, we all complain, for sure, but we don't ask for transparent explanations from Mark Zuckerberg or anyone else. AQC is a smaller community, and Crew is accessible and approachable (for the most part... I was both terrified and in awe of them as a newbie way back when haha) so maybe that's why it's harder to swallow when they can't or won't give us the detailed explanations we want about something.

 

You get one impression of why things were done they way they were, based on your experiences here. I have another impression, based on my experiences here. That doesn't mean either one of us is correct. We're all mostly making assumptions.

 

I really, sincerely hope that people who were mostly interested in chat before will stick around and ask questions in the forums and see what else AQC has to offer. It's great that chatters have found another way to keep connected and chatting in real time, too. And most of all, I hope everyone gets out there and kicks some publishing butt. :-)



#26 RC Lewis

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Posted 27 September 2014 - 07:19 PM

*raises hand as agented/published and still here*

 

I spent a fair chunk of time in the chat room over the full time we had it. Yes, newbies would sometimes wander in and get real-time answers to questions. Occasionally those newbies became regulars. And yes, some writing/publishing related conversations happened.

 

But I also noticed things. The percentage of "writing talk time" decreased sharply. This might have something to do with the fact that scheduled weekly chats trailed off. (I'd apologize for that since I was one of the ringleaders for official chat, but the fact is it took a ton of energy to keep it going and asking for topic ideas was often met by silence and shrugs ... yet the "are we having official chat this week?" questions remained.) Maybe it was the natural evolution of things without an active effort to keep it on track.

 

While shop-talk decreased, various levels of drama and crap (yes, crap) were on the rise. It sucks, but I can see that the balance of pros vs. cons finally shifted to the point where the cons won out.


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#27 Mallory

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Posted 27 September 2014 - 08:40 PM

I liked chat. I'm upset that it's gone. Jen, I basically chat with you in another group. Having AQC chat taken away is like if that group was taken away from me. I was on it every day and it was a support group for me.

 

So I am bitter that it's gone. HOWEVER I'm not mad at Crew. We have the new chat room now to fulfill that need ( http://us21.chatzy.com/67807414897600 Not affiliated with AQC!). Even better yet, I get to curse on the new chat! (since I censored myself on this one:-P )

 

What bothers me is the notion that there was nothing writing related happening, or making it sound like it was some dirty section of AQC that needed to be lasered off like a wart.  Let's be honest. People were helped on chat. Friendships were made. I met a great CP who I still use through chat.

 

I understand that due to liabilities (and certain questionable folks) chat had to be killed, but why am I supposed to act like it's a good thing? Everyone coming on this thread to defend taking it down makes me feel like I need to defend why it was there in the first place. I spent so much time there and learned so much. It's really hard to hear (read?) it disregarded so casually by people who either never popped in, or only once a week or so.

 

I suppose this came out kind of jumbled, so my point is 1)I'm not mad at crew 2) I want people to understand why chat is missed 3) I want people to stop acting like chat was the black hole of AQC that housed people who talked about nothing of value to writing. It did have benefits even if those didn't outweigh the risks


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#28 J. Lea Lopez

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Posted 27 September 2014 - 10:51 PM

Let's all take a deep breath and continue through the stages of chat grief together... :-)

-- Chat is gone. That sucks, because we all enjoyed it.

-- Many people got a lot of great info and formed friendships through chat.

-- Some people misused chat. Some abused it.

-- Some people may not see much value in AQC without chat, and some will continue to use the site regardless of chat status.

-- We don't have to like that chat is gone, and we don't have to celebrate it, but eventually we have to accept it and move on.

-- AQCrew are the only ones who can see all of the goings-on and inner workings, which they use to make decisions they feel are best for them and the site.

I think we can all agree that the above statements are all true. We're left now to sort out for ourselves how we utilize the site and where it fits in our writing lives. And so there's little use in beating the very dead horse in this particular thread, I think.

#29 Brighton

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 07:12 PM

I loved official chat nights, I was sad that it kind of died even before the chat room went away. I wonder if it'd be possible for there to be a chat room that was only open during official chat nights and we could bring that back, that'd be fun. I always learned a lot during those.

 

Plus there were a lot of cool writers I met on chat that I have definitely lost touch with. I miss you guys! 


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#30 Utsav M

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 09:48 PM

darn it!! Loved the chat..made so many friends there!



#31 maybo

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 11:05 AM

Chat was fun.  Whenever I joined in, people were talking about writing.   So sad to see it gone.



#32 Ajax

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 12:49 PM

Is there a standard schedule for chat sessions on the link mentioned by Mallory?

#33 RaulersonWrites

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 02:57 PM

Is there a standard schedule for chat sessions on the link mentioned by Mallory?

No, there's not a schedule. It's just a leisure chat for people to come in and talk about writing and what's going on. Sometimes you come in and people are there, and sometimes they aren't. But the actual chat has been moved to: http://us20.chatzy.com/24435470841009






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