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Write is Music for the inner voice
September 2, 2010 10:00 PM   Subscribe

MeFites can post their music to MetaFilter Music and be critiqued. I would love it if the same could be done for prose and poetry.

"MetaFilter Write is a site for members to upload their own prose and poetry for others to enjoy and share. Logged-in members can enjoy and critique other members' submissions and gain inspiration for their own."

Perhaps? I'd like a decent non-scammy place to post poetry for MeFites to give me feedback on.
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out to Feature Requests at 10:00 PM (61 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

MeFites can post their music to MetaFilter Music and be critiqued.

Does this really happen all that often? It seems like the primary purpose of MetaFilter Music is for people to share their music. I don't really recall seeing much criticism, just a lot of "hey, nice song" comments. I would guess that unsolicited feedback (especially of the negative kind) given to people who simply want to share their work would not be met very favorably.

Just my two cents, but a subsite that exists as a forum to share writing that doesn't expressly invite people to critique the work would probably be a lot less off-putting to people. Of course, if you wanted feedback on the writing, you could mention that in your post.
posted by dhammond at 10:18 PM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


dhammond: good points all. I'm ok with my own work critiqued, but I understand how others might not be.
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 10:26 PM on September 2, 2010


Hmm. I never wanted a pony (okay, aside from EatMe), but now I want the pony that snwttgo wants (sorry, long name). I'm not sure as to the value of just sharing poetry/stories, so I don't know as to the value of posting a story not-for-critique. On the other hand, you'd need to have pretty straightforward rules/agreements about what constitutes constructive criticism. Special-snowflakism combined with brusque criticism don't always make the best partners, and this could be much more of a mod-headache than it'd be worth.

That said, while there could definitely be a 'host your own group' kind of response to this, I kind of like to think of this place as the group I'd most want to ask for advice about my writing. That is, of course, if I wrote anything anymore.

OOOH! The name! WriMe!

That's gotta count for something, right?
posted by Ghidorah at 10:28 PM on September 2, 2010


How about Projects?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:31 PM on September 2, 2010


Projects is ok if you have a website set up to post all of your works, but a very rare bit of writing or even a single poem by a member still would be nice to have a home with actual visitors. The visibility of a specific project fades so rapidly it's be hard to get good feedback.

Plus, do we really want Projects overwhelmed by individual poems and short stories?
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 10:35 PM on September 2, 2010


Additional thought: Is there a dramatic change to the concept for someone to post a piece of non-fiction?
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 10:39 PM on September 2, 2010


This idea comes up every now and again and while we totally understand the impetus, we do feel like creating a place for critiquing work is really venturing pretty far afied from the community weblog idea. It would be hell on earth to moderate and there seem to be other sites where this sort of thing could happen that could have MeFi subcommunities on them. As it is, we have enough problems with hurt feelings and angry exchanges when we're just dealing with links to other websites, getting into people's creative work is something I don't think anyone on Team Mod feels able to manage. That said, there are wikispaces available where this sort of thing could happen, but getting the eyeballs on them would be tougher, admittedly.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:52 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


One problem I can see is sheer volume, because of the low barrier to entry. While writing a poem might take as long as writing and recording a song, there are many more mefites able to write poems than there are capable of writing and recording songs. If you have too many writers, it's hard to keep a population of interested readers.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 10:54 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think that I shall never see
a poem lovely as Mee-fee.
posted by item at 11:04 PM on September 2, 2010


I think that I shall never buy
a whore lovely as Me-fi
posted by item at 11:05 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Write a story and then sing it Shatner-style.
posted by Memo at 11:10 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


swimming naked when the tide goes out: Additional thought: Is there a dramatic change to the concept for someone to post a piece of non-fiction

Wouldn't that be an FPP?
posted by paisley henosis at 11:42 PM on September 2, 2010


Wouldn't that be an FPP?

Ideally, but then we have single-link-you-tube instead :)
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 11:54 PM on September 2, 2010


Real critiques or handjobs?
posted by Artw at 12:24 AM on September 3, 2010


How about real critiques that are so constructive and helpful they feel like a handjob? I mean, after all, a handjob makes you realize how much further you've got to go before you have something to write home about.

In all seriousness, a critique doesn't have to be scathing to be effective. In less seriousness, the idea of a scathing handjob just popped into my head, and it doesn't sound all that pleasant.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:48 AM on September 3, 2010


MeFites can post their music to MetaFilter Music and be critiqued. I would love it if the same could be done for prose and poetry.

I don't go to MeFi Music much, but from what I've seen of it (and I just had another quick cruise of the place and heard some good stuff), everyone gets a trophy and no one leaves any negative comments because we're all friends and everyone likes everything or goes by the if-you-can't-say-something-nice rule.
posted by pracowity at 2:24 AM on September 3, 2010


I posted something to Music, and got some constructive feedback about the EQ on my vocals. I would like a trophy, though.

Are you guys thinking of something like http://www.zoetrope.com/? That site can be pretty counterintuitive, but there are a lot of mechanics about how much you have to review before you can post etc. I think this sort of thing would require quite a lot of additional functionality, and Zoetrope already exists...
posted by Cantdosleepy at 2:44 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


No no no no no.

Also: please for the love of god no.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:06 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why not just require that we write every post in iambic pentameter and do the poetic critiques in-thread along with the usual snark about the content? two birds/one stone/problem solved!
posted by HuronBob at 3:32 AM on September 3, 2010


I was just having the same thought about art.
posted by theichibun at 3:44 AM on September 3, 2010


I was just having the same thought about art.

Yeah, it be centered around creative projects and not so much the critiquing of them.
posted by nomadicink at 4:28 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Projects is ok if you have a website set up to post all of your works

Which can be done with blogspot or tumblr or wordpress or similar for no money and in less than ten minutes. I understand that there are reasons people might not want to do that, but the barrier to entry, anyway, is quite low.
posted by box at 4:49 AM on September 3, 2010


I thought we critiqued peoples' prose pretty regularly here on MetaTalk...
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:16 AM on September 3, 2010


I occasionally write things, and enjoy doing so, but there are some real writers on MetaFilter, and I am not one of them. Reading comments by actual writers is enough of a preemptive critique to know that you guys have no interest in my 4th-rate beat knock-off poems, and my little 6-paragraph slice of life musings. I could use my blog for that, and people could comment on it there.

Metafilter is mostly not about self-promotion (Music aside -- and I have mixed feelings about that, despite being a semi-regular Music poster)

We should keep it that way.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:22 AM on September 3, 2010


High barriers to entry for sharing of creative output are good. That's why Projects isn't swimming in crap -- not only are the rules specific (significant effort), but Matt reviews things. Music has a different barrier: putting together a song is a non-trivial exercise.

However, any sort of "open door" creative writing zone here would quickly get filled up with stuff, because posting to it would pretty much be "write some words then click post." Which is what your own blog is for. If there was a review process feelings would inevitably get hurt and suddenly GRAR explosion.

I appreciate the community aspect of MeFi but I also appreciate the fact that MeFi doesn't waste my time with cruft. Asking the mods to manage something which would basically be a cruft zone would keep them from core competencies.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:08 AM on September 3, 2010


"Write a story and then sing it Shatner-style."

"How do you do a spoken-word version of a rap song?"

"He found a way."
posted by Eideteker at 6:15 AM on September 3, 2010


OOOH! The name! WriMe!

I prefer WriFi.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:46 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


My entire soul is screaming "Yes! Yes! Yes! PLEASE!" because I love writing, and Metafilter has so many members who are excellent writers.

But in the end, I think it's a bad idea. Metafilter is already awash with words. It's mostly made out of words. And we have three moderators working round the clock to make sure those words don't explode.

Metafilter Write could easily become a get-out-of-jail-free card for anyone who wants to vent thinly veiled spleen at another member. And it would be hard to moderate that, because "Hey! I wasn't writing anything nasty about languagehat. The character in my story was called languageCAP! YOU'RE the one making the connection to a member -- not me."

Due to projects like the group stories and the interactive-fiction contest, I suspect that, if done right, this could be a popular 3rd-party site, like Metachat. But somone (or some group of people) would have to agree to moderate it.

And I think moderating it, at least at the beginning, would mean more than just weeding out trolls. It would mean LEADERSHIP. In order to keep interest from flagging, the mod would have to take on the role of a writing-workshop leader. He'd have to suggest assignments, run contests, ask relevant questions and regularly post comments about everyone's stories. It would be a lot of work.
posted by grumblebee at 6:57 AM on September 3, 2010


> However, any sort of "open door" creative writing zone here would quickly get filled up with stuff, because posting to it would pretty much be "write some words then click post."

Yup.
posted by languagehat at 6:58 AM on September 3, 2010


I agree with grumblebee. As much as I want to share my writing with the world, I also think this is a very bad idea, and for the reasons already mentioned.
posted by patheral at 7:34 AM on September 3, 2010


New development unnecessary. I recommend Protagonize. Or for super-short fiction, Ficly.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 7:38 AM on September 3, 2010


If you're already writing and looking to get feedback or just share your stuff, you can link to it in your profile.
posted by nomadicink at 7:39 AM on September 3, 2010


The tricky thing about writing workshops is keeping them from being free-for-alls where the ethos is "write some words then click post."

I've only seen it work (successfully) two ways: one-on-one instruction (student meets alone with writing teacher), which is not what we're talking about here, or heavily moderated with biased censorship. For instance, I took a creative-writing class in college where the teacher said, "No sci-fi or fantasy, please." When students asked why, she simply said, "Because I don't like those genres, and I don't feel competent to talk about them."

Similarly, if I was teaching a play writing class, I would demand linear-narratives only -- no experimental plays. It's not that experimental plays are bad. They're just not my cup of tea. I am not competent to help someone with them.

I think such biases are fine, as long as they are upfront. You don't wait for someone to write a 30-page sci-fi story and THEN say "No sci-fi." My teacher was honorable, because she announced her bias on the first day of class. A couple of people dropped the class after that. The rest of us stayed, knowing the deal.

ANY rules are going to be biased. If I was the moderator and someone posted this...

Eat ting, eating a grand old man said roof and never never re soluble burst, not a near ring not a bewildered neck, not really any such bay.

Is it so a noise to be is it a least remain to rest, is it a so old say to be, is it a leading are been. Is it so, is it so, is it so, is it so is it so is it so.

Eel us eel us with no no pea no pea cool, no pea cool cooler, no pea cooler with a land a land cost in, with a land cost in stretches.

Eating he heat eating he heat it eating, he heat it heat eating. He heat eating.

A little piece of pay of pay owls owls such as pie, bolsters.


... I would call it an example of "write some words then click post." Others would point out that it's by acclaimed author Gertrude Stein. So maybe I shouldn't be a moderator. However, unless a moderator is going to allow ANYTHING, how do we keep bullshit out? How do we even decided what's bullshit and what's genuine expression? I doubt many members here would be comfortable with the sort of bias I'm proposing ("No sci-fi" or whatever). Okay, but what sort of bias IS okay?
posted by grumblebee at 7:42 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am really in favor of this idea.

Before I was a MeFite, I was a K5er (I guess, technically, I still am, in the sense that the site is still there and my account probably still works) ... they had a Fiction section that was easily one of the best parts of the site. There are a number of people here on MetaFilter who published some really fantastic work through it.

I'm not suggesting that MetaFilter try and replicate K5 (dear god no), but that was one part that really seemed to work, and I think it would probably work better here, due to the stronger and frankly more intellectual community, than it did there.

Sure, you might want to have some guidelines so that the barrier to entry isn't low. You wouldn't want everybody just tossing up their latest piece of doggerel poetry / blog post / axe-grindy essay. But I think you could solve that if you just said "this is a place for finished products that you are interested in publishing to the community," or something else that suggests to potential posters 'only post things that are as good as you can make them.' I think that would keep the number of really rough drafts to a minimum.

I can understand the reluctance not to expand the scope of the site too far, but given how much of a success Music has been, and also the number of really talented writers in the community, I think something like this could really take off and be a positive thing.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:56 AM on September 3, 2010


Oh, I'm totally ok with setting up rules and having a bias:

Keep it short, at least under 5,000 words, preferably under 2,000.

You must regularly critique at least X number of stories per X to continue to be part of the group, i.e. submit entries.

The piece you present is close to a final draft, i.e. spellchecked and edited.

Delivery format is plain text.

Submissions are due one week (or some other measure) before publication date

Constructive criticism only. If you make it personal, you're banned, period.

Authors can not reply to critiques. Either take the advice or ignore it.

Any format or genre is fine (but that's just me)
posted by nomadicink at 7:57 AM on September 3, 2010


That's a great idea for a dedicated site, nomadicink — in fact there are several that operate in that manner already— but it looks like a nightmare for the mods, TBH.
posted by Mister_A at 8:04 AM on September 3, 2010


Oh, it was a suggestion for a dedicated site.
posted by nomadicink at 8:07 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Speaking of dedicated sites, is there a list somewhere of Metafilter spin-offs? Last night I was searching for that site/page where someone had compiled a list of book-recommendations (or was it threads about books?), but I couldn't find it.

I wish there was a page (is there?) on Metafilter somewhere that contained a list of 3rd-party spin-off sites. I see a few mentioned in the FAQ, but it's far from complete.
posted by grumblebee at 8:14 AM on September 3, 2010


Another thing that would be AWESOME (but I think it's been discussed and nixed) would be some kind of API that would allow people to set up a 3rd-party site for Mefi members only. I've wanted to do that a few times, but I couldn't think of a way to enforce it -- to keep non-Mefite's out.

(Well, I did think of a way, but it was really clunky. It involved people posting weird codes on their MeFi profile pages.)
posted by grumblebee at 8:17 AM on September 3, 2010


I am not a fan of putting my poetry up on the internet at ALL unless it is getting published (and not on my blog). There are too many opportunities for it to be stolen. I'm not saying I'm a genius or that you're all rotten scoundrels or anything, but I prefer an in-person workshop in which I get my work back with comments on it at the end. I guess I am saying that I'm paranoid, but that's that. It would have been a lovely idea otherwise!
posted by two lights above the sea at 8:19 AM on September 3, 2010


Mefi related sites at the Wiki.
posted by nomadicink at 8:19 AM on September 3, 2010


Ah, the WIKI. I always forget that exists.
posted by grumblebee at 8:31 AM on September 3, 2010


Yeah, I'd love to see someone set up a dedicated little site for this. I don't see it happening on mefi, in large part for a lot of the reasons folks have gone into already, much as I can understand why a lot of folks like the idea. A lot of the constraint and required-mutuality stuff that seems like it'd be a good part of a little writing klatch would be a mix of weird and hard to make work on mefi itself and I can tell you that I personally have zero interest in trying to moderate something like that.

It's interesting, I've been doing Song Fight for the last month or so and am really enjoying it, but part of what I like about it is the ways in which it's different from and not contingent on Mefi Music—it has explicit constraints, a schedule, and a different more explicitly critical if-you-submit-you-review expectation, all of which makes for a distinct culture even if the general "let's share stuff on the internet" motivation is the same between there and here.

And I really like Music being the way it is, and I like that Song Fight is its own way as well, and I think some of the things I like about SF would really not be great on Music. It seems like the same sort of dynamic (between, granted, currently hypothetical entities) is in play here: a free-for-all writing site on mefi would be a mess, but a constrained and structured one with a significant ruleset would be just really not-mefi from the get go.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:34 AM on September 3, 2010


Such a site would be no good without honest criticism, and you wouldn't get much of that without anonymity.
posted by pracowity at 8:56 AM on September 3, 2010


I thought Matt created a place for poets on metafilter yesterday?
posted by cjorgensen at 8:57 AM on September 3, 2010


"Such a site would be no good without honest criticism, and you wouldn't get much of that without anonymity."

I disagree with that. A site would need moderation, to keep flamers away, but there's a huge difference between honest criticism and personal attacks, and there are many people (on both the receiving end and the giving end) who understand that. Moderators would just have to deal with the people who don't get it.

If it was my site, I wouldn't bar authors from commenting in threads about their work, because it's sometimes useful for an author ask something like this: "In the second paragraph, I was trying to build suspense. Did that work for you guys?" But I would probably ban authors from posting for 24 hours or something. So that would stop a certain number of flame wars.

And I would make it clear that personal attacks aren't allowed (e.g. "You are a terrible writer!") and neither are vague comments (e.g. "Your story just didn't work for me"). As moderator, I would weed out that crap. I would leave in stuff like "I think your fifth sentence would be stronger if you replaced the 'talked' with 'whispered.'" and "I had a hard time sympathizing with your hero, because he was so mean to his mother. Did you want me to sympathize with him?"

If someone is scared to give or take criticism like that, he doesn't belong on a writing-workshop site.
posted by grumblebee at 9:10 AM on September 3, 2010


Anonymity would be anathema to honest, respectful, constructive criticism. You need to post your thought under a persistent ID‚ you must own them and their consequences.

Still, think about the wisdom of publicly posting the critiques — it may be better to have them sent to the author only, or at least give the author the option to make them public or not. Otherwise a nuanced response to a valid criticism might turn into a dogpile because of the insensitivity to tone of the internet medium. I wonder whether it's a good idea for any member (other than the author) to be able to see all the reviews on a particular work. Maybe, once the reviews are in, the author can start a discussion thread linked to the submission; this allows some back-and-forth but without the criticism of critiques, etc. that might happen with an all-comers approach.

Also, there should be a required number of reviews offered before users can submit a work for review. Obviously this is tricky in the early going, but not an insurmountable thing. Finally, I propose that the opposite is just as important — you can't just criticize; you have to offer some work for review as well. Running this site looks like a job for someone who is not me.
posted by Mister_A at 10:10 AM on September 3, 2010


That was supposed to say "thoughtses" in the first line above...
posted by Mister_A at 10:26 AM on September 3, 2010


The Winsome Parker Lewis: "New development unnecessary. I recommend Protagonize."

The solution here seems to be "gather together at Protagonize and make a group." Anybody more writer-ly than me want to volunteer to start and moderate?
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 12:44 PM on September 3, 2010


Yeah, the solution is definitely for someone to coordinate a group of mefites for things off-site, as is done with (for example) the book club or the cd swaps.

What's the stance on submitting interactive fiction? (evil grin)
posted by kaibutsu at 12:56 PM on September 3, 2010


What's the stance on submitting interactive fiction?

We don't like your kind here.
posted by nomadicink at 1:42 PM on September 3, 2010


Thanks all for your feedback on this topic. I totally understand where you're coming from and accept that it does not work within the current confines of the site. Ah well, live and dream.

One interesting thought occurred to me reading the last few post though, it would be awfully good if there was some sort of mentor-student relationship available on topics. Not specific to writing or music or whatever...but on any topic (ie. "small engine repair"?). Perhaps, at the very least, the "add as contact" form include "mentor"?
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 4:04 PM on September 3, 2010


Yeah, sadly, sadly, sadly, I get that the low barrier to entry would lead to cruft zone and a nightmarish hell for overworked mods.

But I still want to thank snwttgo for putting this idea forward. I so would love to live in a world where this could be realized.
posted by marsha56 at 4:47 PM on September 3, 2010


This probably makes me an asshole, but as someone with a long and unfortunate history of writing, the last thing I'd want to do is submit it for critique to the jerks here on Metafilter.

And I mean that in the nicest way possible.
posted by Ouisch at 8:14 PM on September 3, 2010


As a jerk, the last thing I'd want to do is critique you fuckers...
posted by Artw at 8:23 PM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


As someone who's had their writing be the subject of an FPP: be careful what you wish for.
posted by dobbs at 10:37 PM on September 3, 2010


Projects is ok if you have a website set up to post all of your works

Which can be done with blogspot or tumblr or wordpress or similar for no money and in less than ten minutes. I understand that there are reasons people might not want to do that, but the barrier to entry, anyway, is quite low.


I am confused by this part of the discussion. Perhaps I should send an e-mail to Matt, but others might benefit from a little clarity out in the open. My understanding on the Projects guidelines was my blog posts were not qualified. But I seem to be morphing into the borderline of being qualified.

I have a blogger blog. Right now there are 41 posts on there. In the beginning they were diary-like with random subjects and I am sure the Projects audience would not be interested. But now I have lately evolved to strictly topical. I have a collection of 9 topical posts, every 5 days for the last 45 days, with more in the queue and I am getting a "Project-like" energy and momentum about the thing. I will be curious to see when I decide to take the plunge and post the thing to Projects if it gets past the moderator.

As I understand the guidelines, I am right now sitting right on the transition boundary between "it qualifies" and "it does not qualify".
posted by bukvich at 12:49 PM on September 4, 2010


If it's a blog full of writing, it's fine for a one-time Project post. If you wrote one big long thing and you make a blog out of it so that you can share it with the MeFi audience, that's also fine. We usually draw the line at "I am starting a blog, help me come up with ideas..." or other sorts of things that are more either just getting started or calls for participation. Once you have a lot of content up if you want to share it with the MeFi audience, go ahead. That said, mathowie is the one who okays this stuff so a direct email to him would probably also be sueful.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:56 PM on September 4, 2010


You know, occasionally requests like this come up for for various subsites of Metafilter and the mods, quite rightly IMO, suggest doing it offsite. But these ides always seem to appeal just a certain niche or segment. If only these sites actually blossomed, there would be a zoo of various subsites geared towards various niches. That seem counterproductive.

I think we need to rent a basement somewhere.

One site, call it 'basementfilter' and from there various subsites could be tried out there as sort of an unofficial subsite of Metafilter. The mods wouldn't wouldn't to do anything with it and the users could experiment to their hearts desire with various subsite ideas for other mefites while not putting more stress/work/whatever on the mods and the main site.

Or maybe studio filter, with various subsites for writing/art/crafts etc.

Anyway, the benefit of a single site for all these sub sites is that there would be a single sign on to access all the subsites, while allowing the users to participate in as many as they wanted. Pretty

What do you think?
posted by nomadicink at 3:31 PM on September 4, 2010


I find this idea intriguing, my head is abuzz.
posted by nomadicink at 3:35 PM on September 4, 2010


Thank you for the encouragement Jessamyn. I posted it to projects and Matt passed it. Now everybody can throw banana creme pies at me.
posted by bukvich at 12:38 PM on September 6, 2010


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