dawn_felagund: (swg logo)
[personal profile] dawn_felagund
The SWG moderation team has been discussing improvements for our site and our group that we hope to undertake in the months to come. In keeping with our mission, we want to direct our efforts in the way that best benefits the Tolkien fan fiction community of which we are part. We have put together a survey to get a sense of how best to meet that goal.

We appreciate the input of anyone interested in Tolkien fan fiction and references/resources related to the legendarium. You do not need to be a member or user of the SWG or a writer of Silmfic to participate.

The survey takes between 5 and 15 minutes depending on the level of detail of your responses. We’ll leave the survey open for about a month and will collect responses during the first week of August.

Please feel free to signal boost this on other groups where this is acceptable. Thank you in advance to all who share their opinions and ideas with us.

Silmarillion Writers' Guild Site Use Survey
dawn_felagund: (swg logo)
[personal profile] dawn_felagund
As many of our authors know, we have been fighting an uphill battle against spammers on the archive recently. Our site mod and intrepid coder Russandol has made several modifications to our site software in an attempt to thwart these people. Unfortunately, the spammer has still found their way around these modifications, and we were hit with another wave of spam last week.

As a result, we have decided to slightly modify the account registration process. In the past, new members were able to sign up for an account and immediately begin posting stories and comments to the site. This left us open to our spammer, who registers and hits us with dozens if not hundreds of spam comments within minutes of registering. As a result, new accounts will have to be approved by a moderator before the new member can begin using their account.

If you already have an account with us, your use of the site will not be affected. New members will unfortunately be inconvenienced by having to wait a short while before they can begin posting and commenting, but we hope the lack of regular spam attacks on our authors will mitigate this inconvenience. Because we have moderators all over the world, we are generally able to approve new registrations within a few hours. In the unlikely event that new members do not hear from us within 24 hours, they should query us at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org.

New members can assist us in getting their accounts approved quickly by including something Tolkien-related in the bio section of the profile they fill out at registration. If a member registers without a relevant bio, we will attempt to find this person on other fandom sites. If we cannot confirm that the registration is legitimate, then we will contact the member for confirmation at the email address they used at registration. Our FAQ has more information on the procedure we will be using.

We appreciate everyone's understanding and patience as we've worked to stop these attacks on our site. As always, questions and comments are welcome on this post or at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org.
dawn_felagund: (swg logo)
[personal profile] dawn_felagund
On Friday, 11 March 2016, we will be briefly taking the SWG archive offline in order to install some much-needed protections against the spam attacks that have been afflicting our archive lately. Russandol will be doing the work between 9:30 and 10:30 AM GMT. The archive should not be down for more than an hour, and the main SWG site should not be impacted, just the archive.

As always, we can be reached at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org if you have any questions, need any assistance, or notice anything unusual once we bring the archive back up.

We very much appreciate everyone’s understanding and hope that a sharp reduction in spam attacks will make up for the hour or so we have to go offline to make that happen! :)
dawn_felagund: (swg logo)
[personal profile] dawn_felagund
Important ETA: After some light public shaming of our host on Twitter by Rhapsody (three cheers for Rhapsody!), they magically found the time to address our support ticket. The problem should be solved now BUT if you continue to notice special characters displaying incorrectly or any other unusual issues with the site, please let us know! This problem was caught by a member; y'all letting us know when something's fishy really does make a huge difference.

Also, Many Paths to Tread (MPTT) was having the same issue, which should also be resolved, so the above goes for that site as well. (Rhapsody and I both mod there as well, and our sites share the same host, so our problems tend to co-occur, and reporting a problem on one of the sites triggers a fix on both, when needed.)/ETA

For the past two weeks, we have had an ongoing issue on the archive with special characters either showing up as a question-mark placeholder or not showing up at all. Since our host had just done some upgrades, I suspected that was the cause and hoped that the issue would be quickly and quietly resolved when I submitted a support ticket. Well ... fast-forward two weeks, and I haven't even heard back from the host much less seen a fix for this problem, so I wanted to let everyone know that we are aware of it (and no, it is not just you or just your system!) and that we are actively seeking a solution to the problem. Rhapsody is about to try another, slightly more forceful way of contacting them, so I hope that will light a fire under them to get this sorted.

I regret that this issue has gone on for so long. I know that it is unsightly at best and makes stories with a lot of special characters essentially unreadable. We very much appreciate everyone's patience while we get this sorted, and I hope to have good news to report very soon.
dawn_felagund: (swg logo)
[personal profile] dawn_felagund
Earlier this week, a problem was reported with the software we use on the SWG and MPTT. A fix was posted and applied to both sites. Unfortunately, this "fix" introduced a new problem: When adding or editing a story on the archive, anything that you select in a dropdown that allows more than one choice to be selected (character, warning, genre, etc.) will not "stick" when you post or update the story. We are aware of this problem and are working to fix it. If there is anything very urgent that you need to let your readers know about on your story (such as trigger warnings) please use the summary box in the meantime. As soon as the issue is corrected, I will let everyone know.

If you have any questions or experience any other difficulties using the site, please let me or one of the other mods know.
dawn_felagund: (swg logo)
[personal profile] dawn_felagund
As you've probably heard by now, HASA will be closing at the end of 2014. My quick count showed that to be just under 6,300 publicly available stories. Since the site is twelve years old, a lot of those authors aren't active anymore and might not get the notice to save their stories, even if they wanted to. Some of those stories are archived nowhere else but HASA. In some instances, it is a fair assumption that their authors may not even have a copy anymore. When HASA closes, we risk a significant loss of both stories and Tolkien fandom history.

HASA Story Rescue Project


The SWG mods along with the moderators of the Tolkienfic archives Many Paths to Tread and Faerie have been working together to identify those HASA stories at greatest risk of being lost, save them, and contact the authors for permission to "rehouse" them on another Tolkien archive.

The mods of the three sites (and a few volunteers who made the mistake of telling me privately that they'd like to help! :) have made a good start on the first phase of this project. However, 6,300 stories is a lot of stories to sift through in just three months, so we could use more help with this. Here is what the current phase of the project involves:

  • Volunteers claim a group of stories to work on. You begin by searching the story and author to see if it is archived elsewhere on the Web. If it is, you record the story information, as well as links to the sites where it can be found.

  • If the story cannot be found elsewhere, you record the story's information (summary, characters, etc.) and make a copy of the story or the story's HTML so that it will be possible to archive the story elsewhere, even if we hear back from the author after HASA closes.

  • All of this material will be shared among all of the volunteers, either on Google Docs or Dropbox. (We will be maintaining shared folders on both.)


It is not difficult work but it is time-consuming, so anyone who is available to help with even a little bit of it will be very much appreciated! :) Please comment here with your email address if you are interested in helping, and I will send you more information to get started. (Comments are screened, and I will not unscreen any comment that contains contact information.) Please also feel free to ask questions here, if you have them. You can also email us at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org to be added to the project or with questions.

We have contacted the HASA admins about what we are working on, so they are aware of it and okay with it. They have also contacted the Organization for Transformative Work's Open Doors project but haven't heard back yet and weren't yet committed to that as a solution, even once they do hear back. If they end up going with Open Doors, then we can stop our preservation work, but since three months is not a lot of time for the volume that needs saving, then it is best to start with the expectation that, if we want stories to be saved from HASA, then we will have to do it ourselves.

Other Ways to Help


Please spread the word about HASA closing. The initial announcement went out on the HASA_News Yahoo! group, which has only 47 members; as I and other HASA members can attest, no direct contact has yet been made with authors on the site. Many people have helped spread the word about HASA closing via social media and mailing lists (thank you!), but the more of us that get the word out, the more likely it will be that people who have stories and other content on HASA will have ample time to get their work saved.

Here is a list of links on HASA about the closure and steps being taken by HASA to preserve work there:

HASA News: All Good Things Come to an End: http://henneth-annun.net/about/news_view.cfm?nwid=431&list=yes
HASA Closure Discussion thread: http://henneth-annun.net/forums/messages.cfm?confID=0&forumID=915&messageID=55476
HASA News: Migrating Your Stories: http://henneth-annun.net/about/news_view.cfm?nwid=432&list=yes

The mods of SWG, Many Paths to Tread, and Faerie are all willing to help authors to archive their work on those sites. All three sites can also bring over comments on your stories. If you know an author who is having difficulty getting work saved or re-archived, or if you are having difficulty getting your work saved or re-archived, please contact the admins of these sites for help. You can also comment here, and I will be happy to help you get in touch with the appropriate person(s). All we need is the author's permission to move their work onto the site or sites of their choosing. So, yes, it is as simple as saying, "Please move my stuff from HASA to *site*," and we will do the rest.

I cannot say enough that every work on HASA is important and worth saving.

Finally, the SWG has its Library of Tirion project. (MPTT is working on a similar project, and I will update this post with a link as soon as it is ready.) Through the Library of Tirion, you can request authors that you would like to see archived on the SWG. We will work on contacting that person for permission and archiving their stories on the SWG. Normally, we only accept recommendations from prior to 2007, but in light of HASA's closure, we are accepting any recommendations for Silmarillion authors from HASA. (Thank you to those who have sent their requests already!)

Please signal-boost this post. Again, awareness is key at this point, and the more help we have the more we can save.
dawn_felagund: (swg logo)
[personal profile] dawn_felagund
Our web host will be performing maintenance on our web server tomorrow night that will cause an approximately 15-minute outage. The outage will occur sometime between the hours of 10 PM EST on April 29 and 6 AM EST on April 30. (That's 3 AM GMT until 11 AM GMT on April 30, which may affect morning surfing for some of you.) As always, if you notice a longer outage or have any problems with the site after the maintenance, please do contact us at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org.
dawn_felagund: (swg logo)
[personal profile] dawn_felagund
Our webhost will be performing maintenance tomorrow (Sunday, Feb. 8) that will cause our site to be down for approximately a half-hour. The maintenance will be performed between 8 PM and 4 AM MST (which is 3 AM and 11 AM GMT on Monday). If you notice any lengthier or repeated outages or experience any problems using the site after this timeframe, please do contact us at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org.
dawn_felagund: (swg logo)
[personal profile] dawn_felagund
The SWG moderators have recently been discussing the possibility of setting up a "satellite group" on Tumblr. Like our current satellite groups on LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, and Yahoo! Groups, this group would be run under the SWG guidelines as a space for the Silmarillion fandom.

The problem is that none of the SWG moderators have much experience with Tumblr! While we all have accounts there, none of us are heavy users of the site and so feel woefully unprepared to make the best decisions in getting the group set up.

We are seeking volunteers to discuss setting up a Tumblr satellite group for the SWG. No particular experience is necessary--just a willingness to help us iron our the particulars and probably answer the occasional silly question! :) We will also eventually be seeking moderators for the Tumblr group and will give strong preference to those who have helped to get the group set up.

If you're interested in helping out with this, please comment on this post with your email address, as well as your preference for how we hold the discussion (email, LiveJournal, Yahoo! mailing list, etc.). If there is a particular venue where you will not participate in discussion, please let us know that as well. All comments are screened and we will not unscreen any comment with personal information in it. You may also email us at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org, if you prefer.
dawn_felagund: (swg logo)
[personal profile] dawn_felagund
Hi, all,

Due to a glitch in the RSS feed that we use to compile the story list each month, stories posted to the archive between March 13 and March 24 were inadvertently left off of the list. Clearly, this amounts to quite a few stories! :) Rhapsody has kindly fixed the list for us, and the correct version is now available on our website:

http://www.silmarillionwritersguild.org/news/april2012.php

All the best,

Dawn
dawn_felagund: Skeleton embracing young girl (Default)
[personal profile] dawn_felagund
Believe it or not, we are in the final third of the Season of Writing Dangerously. Time flies! I hope it has been a productive time for participants (or that the realization that the season is almost past will spur those of you who, like me, work best under time pressure. ;)

We need help creating banners and icons for participants, winners, and cheerleaders for the Season of Writing Dangerously. Anyone who wants to do so is welcome to help out. Click for More Details! )
dawn_felagund: Skeleton embracing young girl (Default)
[personal profile] dawn_felagund
I recently posted about the SWG's big plans for this summer, one of which is setting up an art gallery in addition to the archive. Although we've tried to include Silm artists as much as possible in our events, they've never had a home on the site the way that the writers have with the archive, and we'd like to remedy that.

However, the art side of the fandom is untrod territory for my comods and me! :) So that we set up a gallery that meets the needs both of artists and visitors, we are asking for help from the artists in our group as we start planning to set up the gallery. We'll need advice on everything from the best gallery software to revisions to the Site Etiquette/Terms of Service to the features we should include on the gallery.

If you're an artist and would like to help out, please leave your email address in a comment on this post or contact me at DawnFelagund@gmail.com. (I am screening all comments on this post and will not unscreen any comment with contact information in it.) You don't need to have any particular experience beyond posting artwork (especially fanart) online. You're not committing to any minimum level of input either; if we pose a question or idea, and you have an opinion on it, you're welcome to share.

Artists who aren't SWG members are also welcome, so if you belong to any other groups where you think folks may be interested in this project, please do pass the word along.
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