Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Scott's blog


Me again. Just checking in with a few comments and updates. If you have any questions then feel free to ask them here and I will do my best to answer them.


Twitter Q&A

We held our first Twitter Q&A earlier in the month. It ran for an hour and you can probably still find it if you search for #authonomychat. I thought it went rather well with a whole range of Qs being chucked my way which I did my best to A. We will certainly have another one in February.

Forums

I don’t think anyone is happy with the way the forums work at the moment. We have had some issues with our moderation tools but we are implementing fixes this week which we will test in the coming days. If they work then it will make it a lot easier to clamp down on abuse and other unpleasantness but also avoid the unnecessary deletion of threads. We have sorely tested your patience on this issue but I do ask you to bear with us while we sort it out.

As mentioned in my last blog post, I do pop into the forums on occasion but that’s not the best way to engage me in conversation.

Contact

I am always happy for people to contact me via my profile in Authonomy (bigmouth) but just a reminder that a) I do not respond to requests to read work (otherwise that’s all I’d be doing) and b) sending me a message about a technical problem you have with the site is pretty much the slowest way to get it fixed, please email authonomy@harpercollins.co.uk with those sorts of issues.

The Authonomy Imprint

Our aim with the imprint is to publish an ebook a month. It is going to take us a while to get up to speed, mainly as we do want to give the titles a professional edit, but once we are you will be seeing a new Authonomy title every month and, we hope, a number of these will become print books as well.
---
Next time I will give you an update on stuff I have been reading both on and off the site.

All best,

Scott

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66 comments:

Anthony said...

Hey, Scott. You ever think about having the community vote for their favorite book on Authonomy every month(that is not their own and not in the top 30/50)? So there would be 6 books getting reviewed rather than 5. I just feel that some older books have trouble moving up the rank. Some of them should have been on the desk long ago.

Scott Pack said...

I think there are lots of ways to highlight work outside of the ED and yours is a splendid suggestion. We'll certainly look into it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

One might also consider zeroing out the TSR and Book ranking numbers every month, or, perhaps, 4 times a year. A fresh start would result in a wild scramble for support. Lots of fun.

Anthony said...

Sorry, it's me again. I just have so many ways to make the site better that I probably could write a novel about it. It's good though but even great sites can keep on improving. I'll just bring up one more though. :)

What about adding a star rating for book reviewers/commentators? So you can rate the reviews/comments that you get. Then add a box of the top 5 best rated reviewers on the book page. One of the major positives about this site is that they can get help from other authors like themselves.

By the way, you are doing a great job so far. We all know you are a busy man and company.

Anonymous said...

I thinks that's a great idea - the one about rating commentators. Flattery and ratings are certainly very nice, but really good criticism is gold. some of the people on this site have given me invaluable criticism.

Victoria Hunter

Zoe Harris said...

Hi Scott,

Lately we've heard a lot about how you're looking for books all over the site, and this is really great.

We're all hoping to get our work read and noticed, but how do we know it hasn't already been looked at and rejected?

Do you think it would be possible for us to know when you (or other HC readers) have looked at and passed on a manuscript? It doesn't need to be a review or comment, because that would make the ED pointless. But some sort of rubber stamp to let us know that in its current form, the work needs improvement.

Thanks for a great site.

Zoe

Claire said...

Hi Scott,
Just wanted to say thank you for giving us a chance to engage with you like this, and also for all your work on the site - mots of which I know is unseen.
Claire

Scott Pack said...

Anonymous: That is certainly one option but I know how people can become very protective of their TSRs. One to consider but with caution, I suspect.

Anthony: We are actually looking at possible changes to the review and rating system which is not a million miles from your suggestion. Rewarding great reviews and comments.

Zoe: Hmm, a splendid suggestion but another one that we will need to consider the implications of. Could be opening up a whole can of works but let me ponder, if I may. There's something in it, certainly.

plane eyes said...

In response to Scott's last remark about TSR's. Yes, people are protective about their TSR's...until they do well and suddenly get knocked down to 6800 because the books they backed matured off the desk. The formula is wrong and needs fixing.

But, still, the whole idea of letting people have TSR's is to get them reading and deciding which books to back. The logjam at the top that represents the next 8 months worth of desk fillers does nothing to encourage reading.

A bigger shelf (20 books) would loosen things up and create the energy your site now lacks.

Claire said...

Scott,
I'm with Zoe, and from discussion in the forums I think iI may not be the ony one... Although yes, therevmay be downsides.
Claire

Anonymous said...

Hello Scott,
Once again, thanks for making yourself available to everyone. If you would rather not answer this question, I understand, & perhaps missed an earlier comment. So-
Are the authors of the books selected for publishing as ebooks actually signed to a contract, with or without a traditional advance, or are they simply offered the chance to post their books without compensation, in the hope that they might be picked up by a traditional publisher, or HC itself?
Again, if you prefer to say nothing to us, I still appreciate the chance to at least post on Authonomy. Thank you.

Plain Ice!!! said...

Wow, the previous post is embarrassingly obsequious. I hope Scott takes pity on the pitiful penitent and answers her question.

that post is so typical of the forum user...someone like Tom B. who finally begins to see that Authonomy isn't perfect, yet is scared to the point of shaking about the idea of actually going to Scott's blog and asking him a question....

Sandie said...

I like Zoe's idea too, though can see issues arising from a marker like that being publicly visible.

But in principle, it'd be like a little virtual standard rejection slip - and mighty useful to the writer at least in terms of telling them to sod off the forums and get on with polishing the book.

I also like the idea of rewarding good reviewers as it'd add a layer of competitiveness into the crit process and thus perhaps draw in more readers to the site (good for you, good for us).

Anonymous said...

Is there a reason why readers can't take a 'look inside' The Qualities of Wood?

I ask because, even for an ebook priced at $1.59, I'm pretty sure most readers would want to do what they do in book stores and assess from that first page whether or not they want to go ahead and purchase the full novel.

Anonymous said...

Yow. Obsequious here. is it that really bad? My observations of the Publishing Industry is that they try hard to keep everything one big secret, for all of the usual reasons. So, I felt as if I was asking a stranger to give me detailed information about his income and debt history.
Once more. Are any of the writers whose books are picked up by Authonomy getting one cent out of the initial offer, or do they hope to be picked up in the future by another publisher with a traditional contract and advance?

Plain Ice!!! said...

You can talk to Scott. He's mellowed a bit and adapted to the hurly burly of the forum. Rachel? Forget about it. Nine months on the job and so insecure from being chewed out for her mistakes that she hardly does anything except delete people who ask questions.

Plain Ice!!! said...

A user named Melchior recently asked Rachel to explain the reasoning behind awarding new authors TSR's but ignoring people who have been registered for many many months...

The answer was typical...Melchior was deleted.

Scott, when are you going to get her off the strategy of deleting anyone who asks a question she can't or doesn't want to answer???

Plain Ice !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! said...

and, of course, as soon as the above comment was posted, Plain Ice (16th generation) was deleted.

I am annoying for a reason.

Anonymous said...

Plain Ice, you are annoying for a reason. But it's neither a good nor a helpful reason.

Think about what you're doing: you've been banned from a writer's website, which is the modern-day equivalent of being thrown out of a library or writer's circle.
A bad boy, a rebel, you are not.
Try and find something more productive to do with your time.

ECCE said...

Why can't Scott just answer the questions? Why does he or Rachel react with a deletion every time one is challenged? I doubt Scott would reach his position without a lot of self assurance, so insecurity is probably not the reason. Rachel, however, is another story.

ECCE said...

I might as well comment that the fact that so many leave their comments as 'Anonymous' is a clear indication of their actual fear of getting on the wrong side of Authonomy administration. They ask innocuous questions or leave milquetoast observations and compliments, then scurry back under the rock so they won't be seen for who they are....

Don't you really understand what a sad commentary on the nature of this site those actions reveal?

I have my little bit of success with a decent book. I don't want or need Authonomy to validate my skill. I also have an unhealthy amount of contempt for people who could produce a really wonderful writer's site, but who make empty promises instead. Who won't answer simple questions about debatable actions they have taken.


yada, yada, yada.

Eat your grass, you sheep. Don't crop it too close or there won't be any next year.

Scott Pack said...

No one is deleted for just asking questions. We welcome debate, questions, challenges and ideas.

Unfortunately a lot of the people who have been deleted have a history of less than pleasant activity on the site. It's a shame, because if they were genuinely up for a discussion then I am sure their points would often be valid and enhance the ongoing changes.

One of my biggest issues with the current system is that people can have their accounts deleted only to create a whole new account pretty much straight away. We are putting a fix in place which will hopefully correct this. I say hopefully as I don't trust any fix until I see it working!

The thing I will never cease to find baffling is why people hang around here when all they do is moan? If I were them I'd bugger off and find something better to do.

Anyway, rule of thumb is that if you have been an arse on Authonomy before now you will probably find your account deleted if you try to set up a new one. Soon you won't be able to set up a new one at all. If you want to question, challenge and debate how the site works then you are very welcome and no one will have they account deleted for that.

So there.

Anonymous said...

Well, you see, Scotty, I was deleted because some very nasty trolls all took the notion that I wasn't going to sneak away when they called me cunt, prostate milker, insane old fart, asshole, pedophile, wife beater, home wrecker, and all the rest of the litany. So they all complained about me and got my account deleted.

After that, I complained that my account had been deleted, and those admins around then must have hated that I was pointing out their errors, so the deleted me again.

and Again, over 300 times so far. You can understand why I have no love for your site, particularly because you have promised so many improvements without ever delivering any.

I have never been unpleasant except when someone has been unpleasant to me, like when Rachel said that Floxy was the problem for all of "Puta" deletions, and refused to name all the users who had pushed the button before I used it, after Rachel said Puta was inviolable, she had made sure it could not be deleted again by the outside mods...then when I sent them a scathing message for their stupidity, they deleted Puta again, just to show us all, I guess.

Still, Rachel refuses to apologize for her screwup, nor to name others who actually caused the deletion of Puta while I was protesting it being deleted.

I don't imagine you will have any pity on me, but you really need to correct the making promises without following through.

That someone can have hundreds of accounts is an indictment of your loose system, one that can be, and has been, systematically misused to advance lousy books to the ED.

Change it. No more promises...change it, boss. Make it impossible to cheat.

Scott Pack said...

So your account has been deleted 300 times and yet you still keep coming back?

I'd have got the message by now.

Anonymous said...

test

Anonymous said...

Holy Cow. Obsequious here. Never meant to provoke such a firestorm. Seemed to me that the arrangements Authonomy makes with its chosen authors are actually no one else's business, but if there is a blanket policy, I would be happy to hear it, especially if I missed an earlier statement about it.
It does seem as if the energy & time spent poking at others in the blog, might be better used to work on one's writing, but to each his own. I'm guessing most people are here to learn, rather than engage in minor league flaming.

Scott Pack said...

Ha! I do tend to agree that if some people put as much energy into their manuscripts as they did with their constant trolling on the forums and blog then they might stand a better chance of actually being published.

I also fail to understand why people who profess to dislike the site bother to hang around. Methinks they doth protest too much.

Shame, as I'd much rather people who don't like the site bugger off elsewhere. If you want to see it improved and have constructive feedback then that is very welcome, no matter how uncomfortable that may be for us to read. Just moaning all the time is pointless.

Jobo Pooks said...

I have a question for you. I'm no longer a member, but I still watch with interest and find the discussion boards a great source of entertainment; especially the reluctance of admin to get their fingers out and do the right thing for its members.

Why don't you create a proper discussion board with all the bells and whistles that will give users a better experience than they're having now? There are actually some free discussion boards out there that are free, albeit slightly limited so with the kind of money that Rupert Murdoch has, I can't see that a couple of bob for a decent forum and website should be a major problem. Of course, you'd have to obviously pay for decent people to set up and run things, but you're talking about spare change for the likes of the Murdoch empire.

It's like watching people struggle with a cranking handle trying to get a 50 year old Ford Prefect started when a nice Ford Focus could be available.

Why not make it mandatory for all users to join with a bona fide names and addresses and not through proxy servers? These details could be kept private from the public boards with users picking a screen name.

Genuine writers and readers or readers only would have nothing to hide or fear in giving these details and the boards would be almost self-policing.

Any chance of the truth please? lol

Jobo Pooks said...

PS: Scott. In all honesty and being serious for once, which I am capable of when the need arises. I don't think you are quite mature enough to be running this show, which is obvious for all to see.

Jobo Pooks said...

Oh, and before you start in on maybe my behaviour on the boards. After joining not longer after it started in 2008 and realising very soon after that it was nothing but a joke, I had no intention of treating it seriously until the site and the owners got serious about it first. That never happened and nothing has changed.

Anonymous said...

One might argue that Authonomy wants to have the reputation for a good board, but don't know how to do it.

Not listening to users, deleting them when they ask very appropriate questions, lying about their activities to justify your mistakes, that will ruin your board every time.

Jobo Pooks said...

http://www.authonomy.com/forums/threads/92567/notice-about-dishonest-identities/

I noticed this has been added to the blog but there is no comment box available.

The blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the site owners, designers, admin and mods.

This kind of thing could have been avoided, but Authonomy continue to design and run the site in a fashion that lends itself to anyone who wants to play in the sandpit.

I see that although I am no longer a member I am still being accused of being there in disguise in the form of other members. Authonomy geeks know the truth about that one and it's hilarious watching the likes of Steve Games making a tosser out of himself.

Get your fingers out, Authonomy, but before that, have your forked tongues sewn up. xxx

Jobo Pooks said...

When you really think about it, Authonomy, in allowing the likes of Mr Games and other liars to say what they do are actually condoning these libelous statements and if people were to suffer financial or other personal loss due to this would be held accountable in knowing the libel to be true and doing nothing about it. Funny stuff... I wonder if my posts here will be deleted or brushed under the carpet.

Jobo Pooks said...

Maybe it's time Authonomy got some real promotion in the form of newspaper coverage in outing the naughty boys and girls who are in disguise on there and making all these terrible lies up about people.

Now what was the address of The News of The World again? Oh whoops...sorry, forgot! lol xxx

Jobo Pooks said...

I wonder if you could get a "no win no fee" deal along these lines.

Must ask Cutley or Splinker....

Jobo Pooks said...

Steve Games said: "The racist using the name Jobo Pooks needs to be removed from this site in all his forms: Justin Time, Nimlet, Mary Air, Ma. Ste."

Ok Authonomy....let's have it for the records. Who are all these people...really? Could it be you know, but are keeping it close to your chest for some reason? xx

Jobo Pooks said...

Hey! I notice Steve Games didn't put The Vitruvian man who openly and publicly called him a nigger and who is still a member in that list....Go figure that one......lol

Jobo Pooks said...

I've just realised something else. if a person is no longer a member and libelous statements are made by an existing member after the non-member left the site or was burnt at the stake, then the non-member isn't subject to the Authonomy terms and conditions and these wouldn't be taken into account in a legal arena..... lol

Anonymous said...

Scott, seriously, Mr. Publisher...answer some of the questions and you'll not be harassed. Stop saying that you won't delete people who ask questions, then deleting them the next minute.

Rachel said that Floxy was responsible for Puta's problems. That was absolutely untrue and libelous. Why not admit that, apologize and go on from there? Why have to create a whole new programming set of problems to try to keep Floxy from asking for answers?

You have set up a system, currently, where new authors qualify for TSR if they immediately back other books and have a nice avatar. Why is that? What happened to wanting everyone to read and rate books here? If the mission has changed, FFS, change the mission statement openly and with a clear sense of what you intend to accomplish.

Why do you and your staff need to eliminate ideas for improvement from any and all sources? What do you think you are going to accomplish by trying to keep people out?

Jobo Pooks said...

Looking at things lately, someone should go tell Mr Games he's talking to himself.

Now if that's not the pot calling the kettle black I don't know what is.....lol
(ps: No racist pun intended btw)

Anonymous said...

Lord in Heaven. I had no idea this kind of dark,sad side was part of the Authonomy community.
I still think most people are here to learn whatever they can about writing and publishing, and try to improve their own work.
NOBODY owes any of us the opportunity to post or read our work, especially a major publisher who is already buried under a mountain of unsolicited submissions.
Why would any unpaid publishing employee WANT to deal with all of this mean-spirited behavior from some users of the site? How does any of this improve one's OWN work one bit?
What a waste of time. Please leave off. Some of us are happy as heck that anyone is willing to read unpublished manuscripts from writers.
Can you not leave us alone to learn what we can from the site? Please.
\

Floxy said...

replying to the last previous anonymous...

Please elaborate how my willingness to point out what I think are mistakes in how Authonomy operates has any effect whatsoever on your ability to use the site in whatever way you want?

Authonomy is now able to delete permanently all the users who were willing to point out their problems.

Scott will now be surrounded by his group of toady henchmen who will kiss his toukis every time they tell him how wonderful his site now is that they don't have to listen to criticism.

Anonymous said...

This site is a free service on the part of the publisher. They can run it in any way they see fit. Even if your suggestion is a good one, it is still not your decision to make t
Why not start your own site for aspiring authors and run it as you see fit, or put the time spent sniping into improving your own writing?
Why be so emotionally dependent on, and involved in something you don't even like?
Jeez...try to move on with your life and your writing, man. You seem to be lost & unhappy here. It feels as if you just want someone with whom you can engage by squabbling. What's the point?

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think those who sit back and simply accept what HC is willing to give them for a site without pointing out problems and possible solutions are all wusses.

There isn't anything inherently wrong with wusses. If we didn't have a good supply of them, society would likely be too brutal. Still, I think if you see something you think is wrong or that can be improved, you should speak up.

Anonymous said...

I would also point out, delinquently, that Authonomy sends an email to each new registrant that generalizes about things you might do on the site. At the end, this is what they say,

"We hope you enjoy the site and please do send us any feedback (good or bad) you may have,

Thanks,
The authonomy team"

Anonymous said...

I also note that in that email they say that if you are having technical problems, 'ask the community'.

Not R, or S, but 'the community'.

S has described R's job as 'answering her email and helping users with technical problems they have with their accounts.'

Anonymous said...

Scott: "So your account has been deleted 300 times and yet you still keep coming back?

I'd have got the message by now."

Yes, you have proved, 300 times in my case, how foolish you are. You throw out devoted users who bother to tell you what they think you are failing to do well, and keep the blasphemous ones who specialize in using racial epithets and profanity.

I'll keep trying, though, for one day you may see the wisdom of listening to your critics and ignoring your sycophants.

Jobo Pooks said...

Given the type of person Scott seems to be, it's highly unlikely that a lot of questions will be answered or if they are, perhaps they will be answered in a fashion similar to the big daddy, Murdoch and his sprog.

Jobo Pooks said...

This section of the Authonomy organisation interests me:

http://www.authonomy.com/privacy.aspx

in particular:
"How HarperCollins uses your personal information"

Jobo Pooks said...

I would ask, without inference:
Do all members of staff on Authononomy actually adhere to the rules as set out in the privacy section or has any information, at any time since the conception in 2008, been used by any individual staff member to another member, staff member or outside body for reasons other than those set out in the privacy policy?

Jobo Pooks said...

Silence certainly speaks volumes here. lol

Jobo Pooks said...

"Scott Pack said...
Ha! I do tend to agree that if some people put as much energy into their manuscripts as they did with their constant trolling on the forums and blog then they might stand a better chance of actually being published.

I also fail to understand why people who profess to dislike the site bother to hang around. Methinks they doth protest too much.

Shame, as I'd much rather people who don't like the site bugger off elsewhere. If you want to see it improved and have constructive feedback then that is very welcome, no matter how uncomfortable that may be for us to read. Just moaning all the time is pointless."
............................

When you get the time there are some questions that ned addressing. I'm sure everyone would appreciate some answers.

Jobo Pooks said...

I thought by now, Scott, that you'd have quashed all the conspiracies about me still being on the site, whilst also dealing with the crap that's still going on, but then I got to wondering whether all these socks and multiples along with all the shit that goes on there doesn't just suit the Authonomy team right down to the ground for some reason....as long as they can be selective about what shit to keep and what to dump eh? lol

Floxy said...

@Jobo...realize that what we encounter from Authonomy, or any other publisher, is the attitude that if they answer even one question fully and accurately, we will ask two more....

Hydrangeas
Hydranswers

Frequent repetition of sore points does seem to inspire glacial actions.

To a significant degree, the reason they don't explain why they do what they do is because they don't know why they do what they do. They apply patches to patches.

Anonymous said...

@Jobo

Your forum friends have been posting threads about missing you. Why not grab a proxyserve and say hello?

Jobo Pooks said...

I post with this IP address or none, simple. They know who I am in full. They have my name, address and phone number.

I always promised from a little while after joining in 2008 that if Authonomy got their act together and stopped fucking about then I would do the same - I am capable of serious behaviour unless I'm wandering around an open lunatic asylum. I'm sure a lot of other long term members who have checked out feel the same.

This could be a brilliant website for writers and readers if only they would employ a little professionalism and common sense; despite being owned by a member of The Common Purpose and a greed merchant to boot. lol...Anon...ho ho ho

Jobo Pooks said...

As far as answering questions go; I'm sure only some questions would really be answered in a legal arena....Perhaps that's for later...lol

Jobo Pooks said...

"I would ask, without inference:
Do all members of staff on Authononomy actually adhere to the rules as set out in the privacy section or has any information, at any time since the conception in 2008, been used by any individual staff member to another member, staff member or outside body for reasons other than those set out in the privacy policy?"
........................

No comment?

Jobo Pooks said...

Why does that not surprise me? lol

Jobo Pooks said...

Ok then...try asking Rik.....lol

Jobo Pooks said...

Hey, guys.....A great idea for you lot....How about you launch "Authonomy on Sunday"?

A bit like your fuhrer is doing with The Sun...you know - the tit paper!

The only difference will be that you will have "Authonomy on Sunday" up and running before Authonomy does a NOTW.....LOL
XXXX

Jobo Pooks said...

http://jobopooks.blogspot.com/

Morning, Scott. Go and settle Steve Games down a bit by telling him who is who on there. He seems to think I'm still there and imo, doesn't realise he's being used as troll fodder. You know this kind of thing is going on.....why don't you and your team do something about it - or are you watching your fuhrer and acting like ostriches? ...lol

Scott Pack said...

So Jobo Pooks seems a bit put out that some questions from this blog post have remained unanswered. Apologies for that, the comments went on for some time after the original post and I have clearly missed them. Having said that, as I have said on many occasions, I will happily answer any questions sent directly to me at my profile.

OK, so I have waded through the comments and as far as I can tell these are the only questions that have not directly been answered here or elsewhere before now.

Why don't you create a proper discussion board with all the bells and whistles that will give users a better experience than they're having now?

I believe I have tackled this in my recent blogs and on the forums but for clarity, the coding of this site is not very robust. We need to revamp the whole thing before we can make any significant changes.

Do all members of staff on Authononomy actually adhere to the rules as set out in the privacy section or has any information, at any time since the conception in 2008, been used by any individual staff member to another member, staff member or outside body for reasons other than those set out in the privacy policy?

I have only been involved with authonomy since 2010 and I don't know of any instance when a user's private information has been used by an authonomy staff member for anything other than appropriate authonomy matters. I can't actually think what else they could be used for, to be honest. If there is a specific issue then let me know.

I think that is it, pretty sure everything else has been answered here or elsewhere. Shout if not.

S

Jobo Pooks said...

You assume I'm put out.

You covered that like a politician; perhaps you're wasted here.

The site revamp has been an ongoing empty promise since 2008 and the empty promises continue.

How about the issue of banning proxy servers? Members having one user name only. Full address,Post code and phone number with other family members needing to have permission to join and linked to one account.

Don't say it's difficult; other sites do it quite easily and please, Scott, try and stop sounding like one of the countless socks and baby trolls that have freedom to roam in the Authonomy sandpit.


PS: You gagged and burned me via a kangaroo court system, whuch is nothing new or surprising and blocked my IP address so why deal with me here - shouldn't you be brushing me under the carpet or burning me at the stake here as well? .....lol

Scott Pack said...

Jobo, as I have explained in my more recent blog posts any change we make to the site tends to cause problems elsewhere. Hence the revamp which we now have funding for.

The new version of authonomy will make it much easier for us to block and ban the tossers so I am sure that will make you happy.

Jobo Pooks said...

Scott Pack said...
Jobo, as I have explained in my more recent blog posts any change we make to the site tends to cause problems elsewhere. Hence the revamp which we now have funding for.

The new version of authonomy will make it much easier for us to block and ban the tossers so I am sure that will make you happy.
*******************

If you're referring to blocking proxies then I'm sure the decent folk who are still there will benefit and I'm glad about that, but you didn't say you would be. Again, answered like a ploitician.

That's it then; I'll bugger off now. Be careful.....