Writers’ Corner: How Do You Feel About Contests and Facebook Groups?

Thanks for all the great feedback about the user blogs. It’s a relief to know I can sidestep that technical challenge. Your comments helped me stop worrying and move on, so thanks. On that note, here are a couple of other questions up for discussion:

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FACEBOOK GROUP

Popular writers’ blog Writer Unboxed recently opened a Facebook Group to complement their website, so now their readers can start discussions, not just comment on blog posts.

I have some opinions on whether or not StADa should start a Facebook Group, but I would like to hear yours. Should we have a Facebook Group?

COMPETITIONS

I also wondered if people would be interested in a StoryADay May competition, with judges and prizes and all that. You could opt to submit your best one or two stories at the end of May and we’d have judges and prizes and all that good stuff. Would that seem like fun or would it introduce an element of “Oh crap, this needs to be good’ into what is supposed to be a free-floating writing extravaganza?

Thanks again for your feedback!

Can I Kill The StoryADay User Blogs?

This post is a house-keeping one for people involved in the StoryADay challenge. I would love to hear comments from past and potential participants as I work to get the site ship-shape for the 2011 Challenge.

The Way It Was

Last year each user could sign up for both a member name and a blog at storyaday.org/membername. Some people used them, some people didn’t. Spammers snapped them up like nobody’s business, which put a huge strain on the sites’ resources and my time.

The good thing about user blogs were:

  • Having a dedicated place to post your Story A Day writing
  • Any posts you made at your StoryADay blog were automatically noted in the Activity Stream, so all members could see that you had posted.

The bad thing about user blogs were:

  • Spammers moved in by the metric ton and registered all kinds of blogs. This put a strain on resources and on my time.
  • A lot of people didn’t use them because they were posting at their own sites instead.
  • If a lot more people sign up this year, the back end of the site is going to need a lot more technical TLC than I am qualified to give it, and my host might shut me down if too many blogs get created.

So the questions are:

  1. Do I stop new members from creating new blogs?
  2. If you already have a StoryADay blog would you care if it went away altogether? (Assuming I give you fair warning and let you export all the content to somewhere else — I would provide instructions and help if this becomes likely)

Please do chime in, in the comments, if you have any thoughts one way or another.

I’ll have more questions about the design and functionality of the site in the weeks to come, but lets start with this one:

To blog, or not to blog?