Corwin and his friend Felix are putting together a new home page for me. Something I want to ask about it:
What we want to do is, for each book, link it to a discussion here on the blog. Or, rather, two discussions: spoilers and non-spoilers. The question is, how much further than that should we go? I mean, two more discussions: All Vlad Spoilers, All Vlad Non-Spoilers? Okay, that last would be silly; can’t really talk about the whole series without spoilers, I think. How about one for all Dragaera books? For the Khaavren Romances, should there be a discussion of all of them?
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I think it’s hard to have any real discussion of any book without spoilers. How can you discuss it if you haven’t read it? Although I would like to see such discussion book by book.
Maybe a Vlad-only (no spoilers for other Dragaeran books) versus an all Dragaera discussion. (Or even an all Khaavren no Vlad.)
i don’t know that additional discussion threads would be necessary if you have one for each book, and think that a Dragaeran forum would be better for broad discussion…
i look forward to the ‘To Reign in Hell’ and ‘Agyar’ discussions though…
I think ONE for EACH book with SPOILERS is really all that’s needed. If someone wants general non-spoiler info, go to wikipedia or any online book selling site for the blurb.
Though maybe a general topic for each series too, but I still think spoilers should always be allowed, just label it clearly!
The caveat would be upcoming books, say non-spoilers for when Hawk is close to release.
That makes sense, Billy.
I also considered having a special topic where people could say what they don’t like. But I have to figure out a way to turn into spam and send it to Dick Chaney.
I think the problem you’re going to run into—I mean, recall, please, that, one of the first questions asked in tech support has long been, “Is the computer plugged in and turned on?”—is that some people will blunder their way in and not know what the heck a spoiler is. Yes, I know that sounds insane, but it happens. Really.
Point being, beyond “Open [Vlad/Khaavren/stand-alone/other] Thread (spoilers)” and a somewhat awkward “Open [Vlad/Khaavren/stand-alone/other] Thread (no spoilers)”, you’re looking into the realm of establishing … gasp! … a Steven Brust discussion board.
You can only be so specific in the comments section of the blog; you’ll have to guide a number of discussions, like, The Book of Kragar: Aphorisms and Other Rhetorical Manglings, in which people are supposed to reflect on their favorite Kragar lines and moments (e.g., “But I’m not going to cut wood for your barge”, onion perspectives, the benefits of leadership, &c).
But expecting people to abide by spoiler conditions, or otherwise stick to anything but strictly enforced discussion parameters, is just silly.
Not that I’m against the general idea. Just, you know, two seconds’ thought is as good as a flip of a coin, and a nod’s as good as a wink to a blind jhegaala.
Or maybe something about dreamgrass goes here.
In order to decide how finely to divide something, you need to know how much of the whole there is, and what size you would like the pieces.
I suggest, instead of an a priori classification scheme, a policy of forking at a particular size – e.g. looking through five pages is too many, or something.
I really would like a Dragaera discussion(s). I would love to discuss theories about the Cycle, the Orb, the Paths, the Jenoine, the Serioli, the Great Weapons, ancient history, and many other topics.
I agree that there is no point in having non-spoiler forums about specific books. Having threads about the books is a good idea, though I would be sure and put spoiler warnings at the head of each discussion, perhaps even make them stickies.
I remember reading reviews of “The Paths of the Dead” before I bought it. One of the reviews revealed something very pertinent about Tazendra, which really pissed me off. As of yet, I have not found the particular part which describes what was revealed, and I’m most of the way through “The Lord of Castle Black”. What terrible torture.
I do look forward to the pre-print discussions also, though I imagine that those will provide more entertainment for skzb than be fulfilling for the rest of us.
Concerning non-spoiler discussions of particular books, one option would be this:
When a new book comes out, I explicitly create a topic for non-spoiler discussions.
The link from the book on my home page will always be for spoiler discussions.
And it sounds like a topic for a general Dragaera discussion is popular.
As a former community manager, I’d recommend starting with one or two really broad discussion areas, and let the number of different types of conversations guide you as to how to split them up further down the line. The party will tend to go where the conversation is, and slicing up the community into a lot of little rooms could make the whole place feel empty – no matter how big the house, guests tend to congregate in the kitchen where everyone is. Having too much conversation in one place is a nice problem to have, but in my experience not a common one.
As to Spoiler/Non-Spoiler, I think the best you can do is place a big “Here thar be Spoilers” notice up and suggest some good ways for folks to indicate that a spoiler is coming in their posts. Take a look at how some other communities handle similar things, and pick whats works best for you. For instance, the Playstation forums have been around for more than a decade, so they have some user guidelines they’ve put in place to help folks out:http://community.us.playstation.com/thread/4693775
Those are way more detailed than you probably need, but they were built over a long period of time for millions of visitors.
I love the idea of a discussion where folks get to theorize about the next book…..and then you drop in and say something to throw a monkey wrench in the whole thing, or just let folks know how it’s coming along. I personally like hearing about the process.
There should be one section for The World of Dragaera (Warning! Spoilers!), and another for Real World Stuff (Release dates, author appearances etc.)
Trying to structure it too much would be stifling. I imagine it would be like the party at Castle Black. People come and go as they please, wander off into a niche for more private discussion, the occasional duel. A brief set of rules and a light hand on the moderation till, and you are done.
Maybe for a feature you could have handy links to useful stuff, like the Timeline, Cracks and Shards, Amazon paper and ebook links and so on.
Just to be clear, we aren’t redesigning the blog–that is, dreamcafe.com/words will stay the same. We’re redesigning my homepage, dreamcafe.com. One thing we plan to do is put links from the books there particular topics on this blog. Sorry if that wasn’t clear (or if I misunderstood what someone said thus making it seem as if it wasn’t clear to that person) (or if…never mind).
It sounds like emphaticly displayed tags may be a good option: what about threads that wander over your boundaries?
Not related to books, but just as you have the Quotables link at the top, it would be interesting to have a permanent Cool Stuff Theory of Literature link for an ongoing discussion of deathless literature, the PJF, author bias etc.
I like that idea.
Please keep giving your descriptions of the books, like you do here: http://dreamcafe.com/books.html — but updated. Those are great.
Yeah, as part of the project, I’ll be getting caught up on those. Thanks.
Will it have an updated picture of you with your new hat?
Uh, not sure. Probably should get a new picture, shouldn’t I?
@L. Raymond- A “Cool Stuff Theory” page would be brilliant!
I think you really need a Dragaera forum, with the capability for lots of threads on each book, on themes that cross between books, and so on. If you try to use one comment thread on the blog for each theme, they’ll grow so long that new people won’t read them, and won’t stay around to discuss stuff.
I’d love to see a discussion page, especially one that would allow us to query SKZB on cracks and shards. As an example, what happens to children of Phoenixes when a bird doesn’t hover over the house when they are born? They are not half-breeds, they have all the genetic makeup of true phoenixes, where do they fit in and could they eventually produce a new phoenix heir somehow? Of course that’s likely 34,000 years in the future.
When is Hawk due?
Rather than segregating the threads by spoilers-or-not, let the visitors to the site self-segregate into spoiler-averse or not. Readers who self-identify as not wanting spoilers can be prevented from seeing them; readers who identify as being ok with spoilers can see them. towerofthehand.com has a good example of this if you want to check it out.