NewsTroll in the Dungeon!
Someone with the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org has just contacted me via the site.
He is a known troll, and his MO is to ask if you write fanfiction. If you respond, he gives you a very detailed plot to write (often involving either a younger man/older woman or femslash) and, if you refuse, gets abusive.
If he contacts you DO NOT RESPOND. Ignore him and he'll go away, especially as at this point he doesn't have your e-mail address (the contact form masks it so he won't see it unless and until you actually reply to him).
Unfortunately, he's not actually a member - anyone can contact authors - so I can't ban his behind from the site, but if he persists I'll look into banning his IP address and hope no one else shares an ISP with him.
Minimum Quality Standards and New Archivist
Firstly, I've added a new piece of guidance on the minimum quality standards we use for the archive. It can be found here
and is linked from the rules page as well. Basically, this sets out our reasoning on those occasions when we reject stories that don't meet our minimum quality standards, and will hopefully help you avoid rejection.
And speaking of avoiding rejection, unfortunately Paige, who has been with us for a good long while, has decided it's time to move on to pastures greener. I'm very grateful for all of the hard work she's put in over the years.
That being said, I'm in need of a new admin person or two, especially as my health isn't the best at the moment so using a computer is difficult.
If you'd like to help out, and feel you have the right temperament (patience is a must ::g::); a good grasp of the basics of spelling, punctuation and grammar (in short, if you read the min quality standards and found yourself nodding ::g::); and would be able to explain nicely to people why their stories couldn't be accepted into the archive, giving examples as needed, please feel free to contact me at alyseci5 at gmail dot com
I know we've had volunteers in the past, but unfortunately I can't find the e-mails I'd thought I'd kept, so if you have expressed an interest previously in helping out (I'm sure I've had at least one in the last few months), please also drop me a line at the same address with a pointed comment about how I need to be a lot more organised than I normally am.
However, please don't just comment here with any offers, as unfortunately I don't get the comments mailed to me.
Thanks in advance.
Unfortunately, we're having an issue with spam reviews at the moment, which appears to be due to real people leaving them anonymously, thereby bypassing the captcha function we have in place to prevent spambots.
Authors already have the ability to delete anonymous reviews, so please use that function. There is no need to contact an admin to remove it for you. I've also turned off the ability to leave anon reviews temporarily.
If you start to get signed spam reviews - which happened on another site once we turned off anon reviews - please then report the user and we will lock the accounts and ban the ip address as well as deleting the reviews. Please report the user rather than the review, as that way we can find all reviews left, not just the ones on your story.
We've had a case of plagiarism on the site, and in accordance with our zero tolerance policy we have removed all of the author's stories, locked her account and are now publicising it.
The Dark Knight's story The Hidden World - posted in July 2009 and last updated in August 2009 - was, in fact, a plagiarised version of lovlyangl's story, Vampires Darkness, hosted on fanfiction.net (first published in February 2008 and last updated in March 2008). In addition, on reviewing The Dark Knight's remaining stories, we determined that the later chapters of Once Upon a Heartache had been plagiarised from Like Mother, Like Daughter, a Law and Order: SVU story by See Jane Write.
A line by line comparison of the first chapter of The Hidden World versus Vampire Darkness by lovlyangl can be found here
A comparison of the last chapter The Dark Knight's story Once Upon a Heartache versus Chapter 24 of Like Mother, Like Daughter, a Law and Order: SVU story by See Jane Write can be found here
. All items highlighted in yellow were lifted directly and word for word from See Jane Write's story.
Taken together, we believe that the evidence that The Dark Knight committed plagiarism is overwhelming and conclusive. The archive's rules clearly state that:
"5. All stories submitted to the archive must be your own work. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Any instance of plagiarism proved to the satisfaction of the archivist will result not only in the removal of the plagiarised story, but all other stories by that author, the author's name from the list of authors and an explanation for the removal posted on the front page of the site."
We have applied those rules here.
We'd like to thank lovlyangl for bringing the matter to our attention.
URGENT - do not click on any links in mail that looks like it comes from us
I suspect this has only come to me, as the person listed on the front page, but just in case, please note that we don't send site wide e-mails. If we ever do need to, we will certainly not send you any links to exe files. So if you do get a mail supposedly from 'admin' at csi-forensics, it's a spoofed e-mail address. Do not
click on any links or launch any exe file. It will be a virus.
New Admins Sought
As some of you may have noticed, we've lost some of our admins, and others are struggling to deal with story submissions. I'm therefore asking for volunteers to help out with the archive, particularly fans familiar with CSI and CSI: Miami. At the moment, I'm covering the CSI: Miami category but don't actually watch the show, and both Emony and I, who are the most active archivists, are struggling to find the time to keep on top of submissions.
If you think you could help out and:
- have any familiarity with the way in which eFiction archives work
- have a good grasp of grammar, punctuation and spelling
- believe that you can handle rejections from the archive tactfully (we do have standard letters drawn up to help with this so won't throw you in cold); and
- can devote maybe an hour a week to dealing with story submissions
then we'd absolutely love to hear from you.
I'm afraid that the alternative may be that we're forced to close the site to new submissions for the foreseeable future, which would be very disappointing, for us as well.
Delays in validation
I am currently struggling with tennis elbow and, given that there are currently only two active admins on the site this means but there will be delays in validating submissions. If I am able to validate your story immediately I will do so. However, if I need to reformat your story or send you a letter either explaining why your story cannot be added to the archive or pointing out things so that you need to correct in future submissions, then it may take me a while to be able to do this.
You can help speed the process up by ensuring that all of your submissions meet the archive's required minimum standards as well as the other archive rules.
Thank you for your assistance.
Minor Changes to Rules
I've added one small thing to the rules, asking authors to ensure that all submissions are double spaced.
What this means is that all submissions should have a blank line between paragraphs, just as is the case for this news item. This makes blocks of text easier to read online.
Most of you are good at doing that - because it's a fairly standard way of doing things on the 'net - but it will help people who are new to online posting make their stories as readable as possible.
I've made some housekeeping changes, including:
- updated the help page to reflect the new names that pages have (just in case you couldn't figure out that 'edit personal information' and 'edit bio' meant the same thing ;) )
- fixed the issue with the skins that meant that the menu wasn't wrapping in smaller resolutions
- uploaded a new version of series.php, which had unfortunately not uploaded properly, so you should now be able to add series
- I think I've now caught most of the places where links were still wrong. The new site handles non eFiction pages like links etc that we'd added to the old site in a totally different way than it used to, meaning that any links to those pages built into the old version of the skins had to be changed. And, of course, I missed a few the first time around.
I've also added a new skin - called 'elegantcsi' - which doesn't use as many images, so is a bit better for those on dial up.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to report things like this. We do appreciate it, as we're never going to be able to catch everything ourselves. I would ask, however, that when you do contact us, you remain polite. I realise that sometimes things might be a bit frustrating, but there's really no excuse to be rude to any of the archivists, all of whom are giving up their free time (and money in some cases) to run the site for you. Being rude is never a good way to get someone to take you seriously and look into any issues that you might be having.
Story submissions now turned back on
As the title says - everything seems to be in working order, so I've turned story submissions back on.
CSI Forensics Version 2
We've completed the upgrade, and while we know there are a few issues to tweak, the functionality is all there, new and improved.
First of all, I'd like to thank Aithine, who once again proved invaluable in helping me update and who supplied a lot of technical support during the upgrade of Wraithbait
that made this upgrade even possible.
There are a number of changes -- which you are welcome to poke around and discover! Feel free to sign up, sign in, and play!
FYI: a quick look at the four biggest changes.
First, there is a new and improved search facility! Yay! There are still some issues around the way that it searches - searches on rating or word length don't work, and if there is nothing with your search terms the engine returns all stories in the archive, but these are eFiction issues rather than anything we can do anything about.
Series and challenges are now handled differently. There is a new challenges function and you can now add stories separately and connect them using the series function rather than having to submit them as additional 'chapters' as you did previously.
Please bear in mind that because of the new way the site handles series and chapters within stories, links to particular chapters
will no longer work. Links to a story as a whole should be fine.
You can now have more than one author on a story as long as each author has an account on the site -- no more creating a new 'x-and-y' account!
Lastly, you can now submit stories in more than one category -- if your story is both Gil/Sara and Catherine/Nick you formerly had to pick one of the two and submit the story as a whole under Multiple Relationships. Now you can simply submit it under each relationship category. Additionally, the category formerly known as Cross-genre, for stories containing both slash and het relationships, is now known as Bitextual.
Two very important things...
I will be upgrading the archive to a more up to date version of eFiction this weekend
. This means that:
- story submissions
are currently turned off. This means that you will not be able to add new stories or edit stories that are currently on the site. This will ensure that we can clear the queue and back up the site in plenty of time before the upgrade. Once the upgrade is complete and the dust has settled, we'll turn them back on again
- the site will be down for some of the weekend.
I've also turned off anonymous reviews, because apparently some very pathetic people have nothing better than flame authors. We encourage concrit, but there is a world of difference between giving constructive critical feedback on a story and being a complete ass on the internet.
The former helps authors improve. The latter creates a stack of work for the archivists, who have to go in and delete individual flames, and makes us cranky and inclined to bite. So, we've resorted to turning the ability to leave unsigned reviews off until the new archive is up and running. At that point we'll be able to capture their IP addresses and ban the pathetic ones from accessing the site.
The downside to a moderated archive
One of the upsides to a moderated archive is that hopefully the stories that reach the site comply with our rules, which means that things are in the right place, there are no character bashing stories and that all stories archived at least meet some very minimum quality standards.
Of course, one of the downsides is that almost every story that is submitted has to be read by one of the archivists before it can be validated. And as the archive is dependent upon volunteers, that means that the archivists have to do this in their often limited free time.
We've asked in previous news posts that authors wait at least a week before they contact us, chasing up a story that's in the queue. There's a good reason for that - if we're pressed for time, particularly with holidays and real life commitments, then the weekend may be the only free time we have that can be spent on the site, which means that if you submit a story just after we've cleared the queue, it may be a few days before we get a chance to get to it again.
Most of you have been very, very good at recognising that we're all volunteers, and we're very grateful for it. However, there have been a number of occasions in the last couple of weeks where people have contacted us within a matter of hours or a couple of days of stories being submitted, so I thought it would be a good idea to remind you of the 'wait a week' guidelines. Running the site is a hobby for the archivists too - often a thankless one - and as most of us work, raise children or are studying in addition to the time spent on the archive, those things obviously need to take priority.
I'd also like to remind people that the site does record when stories are added. If it didn't, then you wouldn't have anything in the 'most recent additions' part of the site, because without an 'added' or 'updated' date, the software wouldn't be able to tell what is new and what isn't.
Which also means, of course, that there isn't a great deal of point in mailing us and saying, 'My story's been in the queue for more than a week now' when the site shows that it was submitted yesterday :)
If anyone would like to volunteer to help out to speed things up, please see this news post
. We're always looking for people who have a strong grasp of the basics of writing and a lot of tact to join the archiving team.
Thank you :)
Use of smart quotes in stories (aka, don't do it)
We've noticed a recent upsurge in people uploading stories by copying and pasting from formats that aren't supported by the archive, particularly from Word.
Word uses some proprietary characters that, while they are recognised by Internet Explorer, aren't recognised by other browsers. This means that those characters are replaced by ? for people using non-IE browsers.
These things are called 'smart quotes' and are a tool of the devil.
To put this issue in context, only 78% of people who visit the site use IE. This leaves a whopping 22% of people who may have problems reading your story, which then means that a whopping 22% of people clicking on your story are likely to hit the back button rather than try to read
your story. And I'm sure that none of you want that.
This is one of the reasons that you can only upload stories in html or in text file to this and many other archives and mailing lists rather than being able to upload Word documents. Unfortunately, copying and pasting directly from Word gets around that failsafe but it still leaves the problem of Word using non-standard characters. However, if you do use word, there are ways around this.
You can either turn smart quotes off in Word, which will enable you to copy and paste from future documents easily, or copy from a plain text file or from a file that doesn't include smart quotes. Turning off smart quotes in Word will work going forwards, but this won't fix the problem with the current files.
To save your word document as a plain text plain text file is fairly easy. From the File menu, choose 'save as', select 'plain text' and in the panel that comes up, make sure that you've ticked the box that says 'allow substitution'. This will mean that Word will replace all of its non-standard smart quotes with the standard, ASCII equivalents, when it saves as a text file. Then you can open the text file, and copy and paste from there, which should fix the problem.
We'd like to welcome Paige
to our team. She'll be working with me on the following categories:
- CSI: Las Vegas - all categories
- Crossovers - all categories.
Leah will continue to deal with all CSI: Miami stories and Emony will continue to deal with all CSI: NY stories.
Archive Seeking Archivists
We're currently looking for additional archivists to join our team to try and spread the workload a little more evenly. The role of an archivist on this site is to ensure that stories added to the site meet all of the site rules, including the rules on meeting our minimum required quality standards. This involves reviewing stories as they are added to the validation queue and then validating stories that meet our submission rules or explaining to the author why their story cannot be archived, giving examples.
If you'd like to help us out and:
- have a good grasp of grammar, spelling and punctuation
- have a good grasp of the canon of at least one of the shows
- are patient and tactful; and
- don't mind giving up a little free time to help your fellow fans
then we'd love to have you on board.
Please contact me at alyse at csi-forensics.com.
Plagiarism - again
Another account gone - LuvCsi - for submitting a story that consisted mostly of unattributed lyrics from Disney's Beauty and the Beast
Do not make the mistake of thinking that archivists do not have small children. For breakfast.
Account locked, story deleted, archivist exasperated.
New Category - Challenges
In response to a request, I've added a new category for challenges to the archive. This is for the posting of challenges to authors, not the responses to challenges. Responses should continue to be posted to the appropriate story category, and if you wish you can select 'challenge' from the genre list to show that it was written in response to a challenge.
Punctuation of dialogue
One of the most common errors we see in story submissions - and one of the most common reasons for rejecting stories - involves incorrect punctuation, particularly the punctuation of dialogue. At the moment we are spending an excessive amount of time explaining to authors whose stories have either been rejected outright (no letters) or accepted in spite of the errors (yes but letters) how to punctuate dialogue.
Unfortunately, the number of submissions, and the number of submissions containing these basic errors, have increased to the point where it is no longer feasible to expect us to contiue to explain to individuals how to punctuate dialogue. Hence this post, which I'm hoping will reduce the number of submissions containing errors and therefore reduce both the number of rejection letters we need to send and the level of detail in those letters. In future, rather than using specific examples from your stories to explain to you individually why it's a problem, we're far more likely to simply point to this post.
At the risk of being mean, at the end of the day it is your responsibility, as the author, to ensure that you get the technical basics of writing right, not ours to fix it for you.
There are a number of things you can do to help with this:
i) read professionally published fiction. If you read professionally published novels, you will be able to see how dialogue should be punctuated and hopefully become aware of the issues around punctuation and your own mistakes.
ii) find and use a beta reader. This isn't a foolproof method as we frequently get replies that state that the story has been beta read - often by more than one beta reader - and that the author therefore thinks that there are no problems. A quick application of the first suggestion - reading professionally published novels - will show you that there are. However, some beta readers are worth their weight in gold, and a good one will not only keep you straight but explain exactly why it is an error and how to make sure you don't repeat this error in future. This is what we, as archivists, have been doing to date but what we cannot do in future.
iii) please do not volunteer to beta read other people's stories if your own stories have been rejected from the archive. It isn't fair to the author, it isn't fair to us as archivists and it isn't fair to readers.
iv) invest in a good quality grammar and punctuation guide. There are also some resources online, but be wary of them. However, for information, here are some of the clearest I've found:
Back to Basics: Punctuating Dialogue
Dialogue Formatting Tutorial: Star Wars Version
Punctuation in Dialogue
by Karen Lee Field
A google search of 'dialogue tag punctuation' will pull up many more examples.
v) finally, feel free to ask us if you have any questions or need some pointers. While it's true that we don't have time to give the level of information in rejection letters that we have given previously, all of us are willing to answer questions or provide any help needed, provided this does not involve beta reading your stories for you (unless you bribe us with a lot of chocolate ::g::)
It's time for another 'read the rules' rant!
Yes, once again I must remind people to please read the rules before
they submit stories to the site. There are only ten of them and they're not actually that long or complicated, and a summary of them is posted on the page you access before you can post stories, so really, there's no excuse for posting stories that are in blatant contravention of the rules.
In particular, there have been a number of stories submitted recently that have been in contravention of two rules in particular, so I'd like to remind you all of them.
Rule 4: Character bashing stories
I'm one of those 'write whatever the heck you want' people, but I'm also one of the 'I am not willing to pay to host these types of story' people.
Sucks, huh? Especially if you want to vent your loathing of a particular character in fic form.
Here's the thing. I don't care if you loathe Sara, think Catherine is a slut, Lady Heather is an evil ho only out to ruin the pure love between Grissom and/or Sara/Catherine, Horatio is Satan, Nick is boring/a moron/homophobic and Aiden is, in fact, in the running for bunny boiler of the year. If you want to write stories like that, knock yourself out.
Just don't post them here.
This archive is not affiliated with any ship or show and while the archivists may have individual preferences, we cover a wide range in what we like and none of us have any particular dislikes except for 'rubbing your fellow fans' faces in the fact that you hate X'.
And poor grammar, punctuation and spelling but that's a rant for another day.
As with all things, we tend to take a 'only the extremes are not permitted' approach to this, which means that if there's doubt or it's borderline, it's in, but we've still had to reject a number of stories for this recently.
So, kiddies, please no character bashing stories. I've had to reject three alone today and I'm cranky.
Rule 3: Songfics or other works containing quotes by others
We did do a news post about this recently, which can be found here
, but it's still happening.
It's time for the bold tag.
Do not submit stories that contain a substantial amount of stuff that isn't written in your own words but which belongs to someone else.
It's bad and it could get us and you sued. And if you think I'm cranky about the character bashing thing, you seriously do not want to see how cranky I can get about this.
This means don't quote any more than a few lines of a song, which is permitted under fair use; don't quote lots of dialogue from the show and add nothing or little of your own to it; make sure that anything that you submit here is substantially your own work (i.e. any quoted material is a minimum); and don't quote anything without attributing the source. Plagiarism bad, mmmkay?
And you can find more information on these areas by, ta da, reading the rules.