Patch Notes - 30 September 2020

It has been about five months since the last post about what is happening around here, so it is time to catch everyone up a bit! This post includes both recent as well as less recent changes in case you missed them and some stuff for the near future, so read on!

Author Dashboard

If you write fiction on Royal Road, you might have noticed that we have a new Author Dashboard (Beta) button on the My Fictions page.

The new author UI has been remade from the ground up to be easier to navigate on both desktop and mobile, waste less screen space, and help us with the progressively more crowded UI.

On the week starting on the 12th of October, we will permanently retire the old fiction dashboard. You will be redirected to the new pages from then on. The new UI has all the features of the old one without exception, along with some handy new features.

New Features for Authors

With the better navigation system on the new UI, we can now add more features to it that we simply had nowhere to place on the old one. These include:

  • [Unified Author Dashboard] To make your life easier, we have created a holistic page for you to track all the information about all of your fictions in one place. This includes, but is not limited to, reviews, comments, word count, highest current ranking, number of fictions, total chapters, total words, reviews received, and number of unique followers.
  • [Submissions] This is where you can keep track of any pending submission(s) you may have. 
  • [Notes] Here, you can jot down some useful notes that can be shared across your fictions. Treat this as a notepad you can access on site as opposed to using a third party platform.
  • [Change Status] Here, you can manually change the status of your fiction. 
    • Ongoing: Actively updating the story. 
    • Hiatus: You are taking a hiatus from updating. You cannot manually reverse this if your latest chapter was released more than 35 days ago. If so, the system will automatically change the status for you.
    • Dropped: You are no longer updating this story. It is incomplete. 
    • Completed: You have completed the fiction. You may change this status back to ongoing if you wish to add to the story. You no longer have to submit a ticket to mark a fiction as completed.
  • [Polls Page] You now have a location to see each poll you have ever created, and their corresponding results, with an easy link to the chapter they are on. 
  • [Delete Fiction] You are now able to delete your fiction without having to submit a ticket. You can locate it under Settings -> Delete 
  • [Chapter Pageviews] This should feel familiar, but there is now a green line on both the old and new dashboard. This reveals the chapter pageview to chapter releases respectively. 
  • [Followers & Favorites Analytics] The long awaited follower and favorite tracker has now been implemented! Here, you can track your +/- for your fiction day-to-day. You can find this under Analytics -> Followers. This is where you have access to all other analytics as well. [Premium Feature!]
      • Note: If you have not received any new followers/favorites since the 26th of September, you may only see a single data point on these charts. This is expected.

     

  • [Import Chapters] The author can now import chapters manually into the fiction. This currently supports Microsoft Word (single .docx file with headings and multiple .docx files in zip archive), WordPress, and EPUB. [Premium Feature!] 

Other New Features & Changes

On top of the new author UI and its features, we have the following features that have been added for readers:

  • [Fiction Lists] Fiction covers on the lists are now clickable and link to the fiction page.
  • [Fonts] Open Dyslexic has been added as a font option.
  • [Reading] There is now a reader setting to remove font colors from chapters. While we generally recommend leaving this off, it should help if you find a certain chapter hard to read on a certain theme due to font color choices.
  • [Ratings] Ratings and reviews are now blocked from new accounts when using a proxy or VPN.
  • [Reviews] Reviews can be sorted by Top/Newest/Oldest/Most Upvotes. Reviews must also be at least 50 words long (up from 50 characters); advanced reviews have to be at least 200 words (up from 200 characters).
  • [Reputation] The maximum daily reputation that can be given has been increased to (20 or 2x Reputation Level) times a day, whichever is higher.
  • [Text Editor] The code for Spoiler tags has been updated to make spoiler tags less prone to breaking due to the editor. This only affects new spoilers that have not been inserted with the old version of the editor plugin, your existing spoilers will continue to function as they have.
  • [Social Registration] Registration via a Microsoft, Google or Facebook account no longer pre-fills the username field.
  • [Forum] You can now select part of another user’s post and click on the Quote button that pops up to instantly add the selected quote to the reply box.
  • [Private Messages] We have added a search box to the private messages page; you can now search for things in your inbox. We also removed the private message counter from the envelope icon in the header when there are no unread private messages.
  • [Notifications] We have replaced the notification bell and the private message envelope when there are no pending alerts with an outline-only icon to match the new author dashboard.
  • [Theme Settings] There is now a setting for Default Theme at https://www.royalroad.com/account/options. This setting is applied whenever you log into your account from a machine that does not have the theme set, and should also help address the issue where certain mobile browsers would randomly delete the theme preference cookie.
  • [Settings Navigation] The user settings sidebar has been reorganised for easier navigation. The setting for getting email notifications about Private Messages has been moved to the Notification Settings page from the Settings page.
  • [Username Changes] It is now possible to change your username without staff help - this is limited to once every 6 months. Previously used usernames remain claimed for 12 months to address concerns about impersonation after a username change.
  • [Performance] Thanks to several performance optimizations, the website is snappier than ever! This includes the loading times for reviews, the performance of fiction lists, loading chapters and more.

Bug Fixes

On top of all the shiny new features above, we have patched a few of bugs over the past few months:

  • [Layout] The default font of the website now loads on initial load to eliminate the loading artifact after page load
  • [Legacy Browsers] A weakmap polyfill has been added to improve support for older browsers and browsers like Opera Mini for the text editor.
  • [Reviews] Fixed an issue where validation errors were not displayed correctly when trying to post a review.
  • [Reputation] Fixed the formatting for the experience & reputation counters on the user profile page in case the user has reached the maximum level.
  • [Forum] The post and thread counters have been fixed to show the correct number.
  • [Forum] Fixed a bug where the breadcrumbs were missing the current thread’s parent.
  • [Support] Support ticket replies from the staff now correctly send website notifications.
  • [Support] Creating a support ticket is now in a separate page rather than a popup to eliminate compatibility issues and allow displaying validation errors correctly.
  • [Author Advertising] Fixed an issue on the advertising page where the Overall CTR showed an incorrect number.
  • [Member List] The member list search is now case insensitive.
  • [Borders] Fixed an issue with the positioning of the level up animation during border material change.
  • [Author Premium] Fixed an issue which stopped users with Author Premium from completely removing their separator ornaments.
  • [Ads] Fixed an issue where the report ad button would show up on top of the user dropdown menu.
  • [User Menu] Fixed an issue where the user menu’s clickable area was smaller than intended.
  • [Notifications] Fixed the page formatting issues on the “All Notifications” page.
  • [Feedback Portal] We can not take all the credits for this, but the issues with posting on our feedback portal have been fixed. Now everyone should be able to post new ideas or vote/comment on existing ones.

New Review Rules

We have reworked our review rules to increase clarity and reduce ambiguity in how the rules apply. You will be able to find these in our FAQ, but for simplicity we will share them below.

Reviews aim to inform prospective readers if the story is something they would want to read. The community has grown since we wrote the initial review rules so we decided to clarify and improve upon these rules to match the community’s current state.

Rules: 

  1. Justify the Rating 
    1. The Review needs to justify the rating, regardless of how high or low the score is.
    2. In an advanced review, you must write a detailed review that covers the subcategories being rated (Style, Story, Grammar, and Characters) and to justify the overall score.
  2. Stay on Topic 
    1. Your review should address the story itself, and only the story
    2. Do not write about unrelated content, including comments about the author's activities, other people, other reviews, etc.
    3. Reviews and ratings may not be based solely on superficial information such as cover, synopsis, tags, title, story’s popularity, its position on the ranking lists, or similar things that have little to do with actual story content. If you wish to review this regardless, especially the genre and tags, it cannot be the main focus. You may say how certain elements of the genre were poorly done or how they take away from the story, but that cannot be the central topic of a review.  
    4. Reviews comparing the story to another according to the following rules will be removed:
      1. Accusing an author of plagiarism in reviews is forbidden. Any story violating Royal Road terms of use(such as plagiarism) should be reported directly using the report system via the report button on the violating fiction or chapter.
      2. Don’t discourage readers from reading a story by comparing it to another similar story.
  3. Be Fair and Respectful 
    1. Directly insulting the author or the readers is strictly forbidden. You may criticize the writing in constructive ways if you have a genuine desire to help, but do not direct your feedback at any author specifically, especially if it is a personal attack on their character.
    2. Discouraging an author from writing is viewed as taboo on Royal Road.
    3. Note that while the review could generalize the story as a whole, it can’t intentionally depict a story as something entirely different from what it is. Such as stating that a story includes instances of horrific actions when it does not. Examples such as pedophilia, incest, necrophilia, racism, etc.
    4. Do not instigate or incite any harmful acts in the review.  
  4. Use Appropriate Language
    1. Reviews can’t contain profanity, vulgarity, sexual content, or descriptions of gore. This includes, but is not limited to; vivid descriptions of sexual acts, torture, violence, and other acts or situations that may be considered “gore”.
    2. Slander and discrimination is completely forbidden, and violations are viable to get the user banned. This includes but is not limited to attacks on ethnic, religious, political, sexual orientation, gender or racially discriminatory reviews.
  5. Spoilers: 
    1. A review may contain spoilers under the appropriate spoiler tag(from the toolbar).  
    2. Spoiler content may not exceed a third of the overall word count. 
    3. Discussing spoilers can’t be the focus of a review.
    4. Spoilers can’t be the majority of the plotline summarised into points, nor can they mention any major revelations in the story.
      Examples: a character's death, success or failure in achieving a main goal. Among others.
    5. Quoted content can’t break any of the review rules.
  6. General
    1. Reviews must not contain meaningless characters and words used with the purpose of inflating the character count and review length.
    2. Reviews must not contain any spam. 
    3. Reviews must be written in English or in the language the fiction is written in.
    4. Offering to release chapters based on the scores of reviews and ratings is considered ranking manipulation and is prohibited.
    5. Campaigns encouraging others to upvote or downvote reviews, whether positive or negative are forbidden.
    6. Rating and reviewing from multiple accounts is prohibited. We have software to catch people who try to manipulate the ratings by doing this. 
    7. Members of the same household or friends may review the story as long as they clearly state their relation to the author. 

Review Swap Rules

  • Review swaps are allowed on Royal Road. In fact, you can request them in our Reviews forum. However, rating and review swaps promising high scores is prohibited. If you agree to a review swap, we expect you to actually read the other person's fiction and to write a thoughtful review with a rating that matches your opinion of the story
  • The review swap must be an advanced review.
  • Both users must read at least 10,000 words (approximately 36 pages) of the other person's fiction before writing the review, unless the story in question is a completed short story. 
  • The review must justify the rating. Agreeing to give high ratings beforehand is considered vote manipulation and is against the rules.
  • If an author abuses the review swap system for a rating manipulation attempt, all reviews received by the author, and written by the author will be removed, and the reviews by the other participating users will be subjected to scrutiny as well. 

Reporting Reviews

If you see any reviews that violate the rules above, please report them by clicking the [Report] button at the bottom of the review you wish to report. Clearly state the reason(s) for reporting the review on the page it takes you to and click [Confirm]. Our staff will review the report and decide what action needs to be taken.

Reporting Fictions

If you find that a fiction violates any of our rules, do not leave a review stating as such. Report the fiction in question by clicking the [Report] button on the top right side of the story’s main page. Clearly state the reason(s) for reporting on the page it takes you to and click [Confirm]. Our staff will review the report and decide what action needs to be taken.

If you have any suggestions, feel free to add them to https://feedback.royalroad.com/ or check other people's ideas, and upvote what you like!

We hope you enjoy these changes and improvements to Royal Road! We're determined to make this one of the most fun sites around, and to keep on making it a better place for readers and writers.

 

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Comments(172)

Thanks for all the work on the site!

Nice updates.

The clear review rules are helpful.

Nice.

Did not know about the default theme switch... But you learn a new thing every day.

Thanks for all your great work.

Spoilers that aren’t abominations, code‐wise? Say it ain’t so! The newer version is a huge improvement. That being said, the older system did have one advantage (that nobody used, natch) and that was that the whole “Spoiler: Spoiler” bit; where you could inform people as to what you were spoiling. The new version appears to lack that functionality. Additionally, it would be great if there was some sort of inline spoiler for minor spoilers.

    kanadaj
    Admin

    Well, since nobody used it, it was deemed unneeded. That said, it's definitely possible for me to add it via a data- attribute or some such, but it would be fiddly and nobody really uses it...

    Will definitely consider inline spoilers, though they might be somewhat problematic to use and I'm not quite sure how much use we would get out of them. Maybe we if used Discord's || syntax, though it might break certain older comments.

      If xoid is referring to the modifiable text of the tag, I played with it a bit. It's one of the first things I checked on dropping to the html view to see what changed.

      I don't have good statistics, but I definitely used that lost function. I am also pretty sure I have seen at least three other people using it. I would love to have it back.

      That said, all things considered, I am DELIGHTED to be rid of the old abberation and if I can never again label a spoiler I will consider the loss a price well worth paying. Thank you.

      I make use of the spoiler title function. It's not a huge loss or anything, but it's an annoying QoL downgrade.

      I don't think I've ever put a spoiler tag where I didn't name it something specific to the context. Please consider returning it. I loved that feature so much! It made it so much easier when listing a ton of collapsible character sheets, so people would know which one they were opening.

    I didn't even know that was a thing I just wrote what I was spoiling outside of the spoiler section. (probably just going keep doing it that way even if that feature is readded)

Some really meaningful improvements and fixes in here! Stay awesome, you two :-)

Thanks for the note-taking system, that is definitely going to be a huge help for producing chapters faster.

>[Fonts] Open Dyslexic has been added as a font option.

I didn't know this existed until today, and while i'm not suffering from that particular issue i found that it still makes reading much easier. 

Thanks for this little change :)

I'm not sure if New Review Rules (2.2) (2.3) (2.4) makes sense. I think it's too draconic and stiffling.

    *those are too draconic and stiffling

    How so? You can still rate based on stuff like covers, but you can't rate soley on that. The review needs to... review.

      "2.4.1. Do not compare the story to another story"

      I believe it's not evil to mention that story A evokes same emotions as story B. It might work as a praise. Or it might help other readers who read B to and were fascinated by a certain feeling of it to become interested in story A (of course that requires for reviewer to be truthful).

      I also believe it's not evil to say that story C did things XYZ a bit smoother than story A. It allows you to frame your opinion, to show author how you think and feel.

      "2.2. Do not write about unrelated content, including comments about the author's activities, other people, other reviews, etc."

      I do not believe it's evil to mention author's activities. If it's true, that is. This might help in understanding author's personality - which is important.

      I do not believe that it's evil to reference overall tone of reviews you see in reviews section. It is a climate, and it might be the very reason why you write review - when you find them untruthful, or skewed, or missing some the important context.

      Please do not forget that it's ridiculously difficult to start flamewars or any meaningful conversations via reviews only. Every reader is limited to single review. You can't leave comments to reviews. You can't receive notifications when a person replies to your review. To me, it seems that rule 2.2 is designed to contain and control damage that might come from heated discussions in section... which are ridiculously difficult to wage in the first place. Fighting via reviews has small cost/benefit ratio - it's not attractive.

      "2.3. Reviews and ratings may not be based solely on superficial information such as cover, synopsis, tags, title, story’s popularity, its position on the ranking lists, or similar things that have little to do with actual story content. If you wish to review this regardless, especially the genre and tags, it cannot be the main focus. You may say how certain elements of the genre were poorly done or how they take away from the story, but that cannot be the central topic of a review."

      After rereading this rule trice, I feel that I actually jumped the gun with it.

      Actually, I like the way it is. While I do want to have ability to mention all those topics - because they might be relevant; but of course those should never be the main point of review - with that I agree.

    2.2 and 2.4 were always there, and a varation of 2.3 was there, but clarified. The Review is supposed to be about the story content, not the cover/synopsis/tags. Otherwise, it's not actually about the story. The staff's already enforced 2.3, it just wasn't as fully stated in the previous version.

    I agree in regards to 2.2 and especially 2.4.

    2.2 is mostly fine, but comments about the story are a part of the story in a way. Mostly it is irrelevant, but one might want to tell people if there are interesting long form discussions in the comment section. Example: Fantasy World Epsilon 30-10 is an excellent book, and my enjoyment of that book would not have been the same without the debates I had on the applications of scientific reasoning to magic. Surely, if I were to spend a sentance advertising the presence of interesting conversation it is not a bad thing.

    2.4 is less fine. A large portion of human communication is based on shared cultural referance points. To place a 100% unyeilding blanket ban on all referance to other works denies this entirely. By these Rules As Written, if I am reviewing a spinoff, I am not permitted to speak of the origional work it is based on! By RAW it is not permitted to compair a work to another even if the author specifically stated they used the other for inspiration! 2.4.2 specifically reiterates that you cannot criticise bad work that apes at someone else's.

    Of course, I also understand the other side of the argument. Deleting rule 2 would open the floodgates to an endless deluge of cancer. Rules 2.1 and 2.4.1 are eminently sensible. Rule 2.3 is perfectly acceptable because it is worded with a bit of nuance.

    I propose rewriting the rest of rule 2 to match 2.3 and 5.2. Place a strict limit on how much peripheral information may be discussed like the limitation on spoilers. Perhaps 1/5 of the total word count? Perhaps 1/6? 1/10? Certainly 0% is too low a cap.

      "propose rewriting the rest of rule 2 to match 2.3 and 5.2. Place a strict limit on how much peripheral information may be discussed like the limitation on spoilers. Perhaps 1/5 of the total word count? Perhaps 1/6? 1/10? Certainly 0% is too low a cap."

      I really like this idea. It adresses the very core of what I believe is the issue.

      "Certainly 0% is too low a cap." - just nails it.

Perfectly reasonable rules. One question though, for New Review Rules "3.4. Do not compare the story to another story:" Is a "story" refer only to RR content? Could I praise a story for reminding me of The Hobbit, or something along those lines? Or is this more for saying don't do indepth comparisons?

    That's Rule 2.4, by the way. 3.4 is inciting acts. It seems some browsers are glitching the numbers.

    It's in reference to calling a story a copy, plagiarism, or stolen. It's any story, not just on RoyalRoad, and the rule clarifies this in 2.4.1 and 2.4.2.

    kanadaj
    Admin

    I feel like it's fair to point at another story to showcase how a certain thing is done well, but writing an entire review about how it's a copy or retake of something is not helpful - if it is an actual copy, it breaks the rules and should be reported, and if it's not, just being similar in some ways isn't really a valid criticism of the story.

      @kanadaj - I kind of like this interpretation of 2.4. But the way it's actually written in blog post:

      "2.4.2. Don’t discourage readers from reading a story by comparing it to another similar story."

      - it is written as if *any* comparisons are forbidden.

      kanadaj
      Admin

      @Ashcheul It isn't written as any, it is written as don't discourage. Comparisons aren't forbidden so long as they aren't used to attack the fiction - which is often the case for reviews we have to remove.

      @kanadaj

      but writing an entire review about how it's a copy or retake of something is not helpful

      if it's not, just being similar in some ways isn't really a valid criticism of the story.

      First, allow me to echo Ascheul in pointing out that the wording of 2.4 makes any comparison forbidden and secondly: what if there are greatly substantial similarities?  Just because two works are distinct enough that you can call them different stories does not mean that a reader won't notice if major themes or subjects have been blatantly copied from another work.

      This isn't necessarily even a bad thing.  If I wrote a review for a story that was basically Worm but different I would be overjoyed to say so if they were of similar quality.  A lot of people who have read some of the majorly popular web fictions are essentially looking for, "that thing I liked but different because I want more."

      kanadaj
      Admin

      @vladerag Reworded for clarity

      It is much appreciated, thank you very much!

Is all racism disallowed, or can we be straight white male hating?

Dont know if I can ask this here but I could never figure out how to increase the max amount of reputation you could give to one comment. I'm assuming its tied to the reputation level because I went from 1 to 2, but I dont know any milestones for increases. Where could i find more info about this?

Thank you for your hard work 😃👍

Keep up the good work!

With the limit on 5 review swaps, does that mean you can reply to 5 threads in the forum to do review swaps?  Or make 5 threads in the forum to request review swaps?  Or make one thread requesting review swaps and only allow for 5 replies/review swaps for it?

Sounds all pretty fair, and easy to understand.

Perhaps the only thing to add (not necessarily in the rules, but perhaps on the review page or elsewhere, is what one star means, two stars mean etc although, with enough votes, that would average out I guess :-)

I think some minor references to other works should be allowed, as in 'I've read the authors other story xyz', or 'The story feel very similar to abs's xyz' etcetera. Though I understand why you would not like it, it may simplify / clarify review comments.

 

Thanks for doing what you do! I'm a big fan of the new Author Dashboard layout.

hopefully this reduces the amount of review bombing I've seen happen to some fictions

thanks for changing this '[Social Registration] Registration via a Microsoft, Google or Facebook account no longer pre-fills the username field." when I first signed up for the first year my user name was my real name and I didn't bother changing it because I didn't want to bother anyone on the staff for something so trivial. I finally had I changed when I started reading AnimeCon Harem as if I commented on it I didn't want to be directly associated with that.

I was very nervous to ask for it to be changed as I was worried I would have to explain why I wanted to change it. so I came up with a whole entire game plan as I didn't want to have to say "i don't want my family knowing I read and love this smut". of course when it came time to change my username the staff member could care less why I wanted it changed. luckily now you guys have made it " now possible to change your username without staff help" which I really appreciate.

anyway, overall it looks like you have done an amazing job with improving the site and I just wanted to thank you and hopefully let you get a kick out of why I really appreciate these improvements (even the trivial ones) as they do make users of the site lives better.

The numbering on your review rules is totally out of whack. That or I'm missing something blatantly obvious about why the numbers go 1 - 3 - 5 - 5 - 3 - 6.

Three questions:

  1. Will old reviews before this update be grandfathered in, as some will inadvertantly break new rules?
  2. For the rules about review profanity/vulgarity, will this be a blanket rule or will it be similar to tv/game ratings (excessive cursing vs rare cursing)?
  3. For the rule about not comparing one story to another, is that only for negative connotations? Example: a review on a story about time travel/looping, something like "If you've read MoL, you'll love [insert similarity/unique take/subversive usage/aspect of story here]."

    1) Grandfathered in when I checked before they went up.

    2) They don't want cursing in Reviews.

    3) Kana mentioned above, but it's when it comes to calling a story a copy/clone/stolen/etc. or attempting to discourage readers from reading it. The Review also can't just be about how the story is similar to another story, even if it's as praise.

There and then a cacophony of rejoicing noises rung out, Royal Road users in a moment of jubilation, for their favorite platform had been updated once more.

Your work is appreciated.

You guys may want to recheck your rule numbers^^

No more drive-by 0.5 stars!

Nice to see all the improvements 

 

Thank you, Kana and Wing, for all the work you're doing. I'm excited to see the site grow

Finally, updated reviews rules. There is so much, BS done around reviews.

Are the rule changes for reviews retroactive?  Also, I have a bunch of issues with a few of them, and I suspect I'm not alone in that.

  • Rule 2.4: Not being able to draw comparisons between other fictions and the one I'm reviewing is devastating.  It sounds like I can't say something like, "like Worm, (fiction name) has strong characters in (x,y,z) ways." Or be able to say, "unlike The Mother of Learning, (fiction names) time loop feels stale.  Many reviewers use other stories to help them describe what they are trying to review.
  • Rule 4.1: If the story already has a content tag, is it acceptable to write about the subject of those tags in the review?  It seems counterproductive to prevent people from knowing about what they might read.  "Traumatizing Content" or "Gore" can cover a lot of ground between a knife in a stomach and a grissly description of someone being hanged by their own intestines.
  • Rule 5: I take issue with everything about this rule except the requirement to use the "spoiler" feature when writing about them.  I know that I personally have a review that might have more than a third of it's length be spoilers (I did use the spoiler tab) in order to explain why I had stopped reading the fiction.  The entire basis of my review hinged on the details in that spoiler because I found the content so uncomfortable that it knocked several stars off the review by itself.  Reviewing the story without that added context would have been pointless because - in my opinion - it was far more important than the rest of the story.

Also, on a less important note, does rule 6.4 bar writers from offering chapters for reviews and ratings if they don't also ask that those reviews and ratings be positive?

I'm pretty concerned about these be rules...

    I would say 2.4 is more so about comparing fiction to another in a negative light, and plagiarism. "This story isn't Wandering Inn, I hate it." or, "This story is plagiarizing wandering inn."

     

    That's what I've gotten from it, at least. 

      They cleared it up, I understand the intent of 2.4 a lot better now.

      I still worry about 4.1 and basically everyting about 5 though.  I totally understand that I shouldn't be swearing in a review, describing disgusting or lewd things, or spoiling stories, but at the same time I have certainly read stories that warranted doing exactly those things.

      It would make sense to me if reviews were restricted to the same content warning tags as the fiction they were reviewing.  That would be espcially helpful in reviews for certain grimdark web novels where the trauma and gore can be really cranked up to 11.

      5 is kind of a pain all around.  I am fine with putting spoilers in a spoiler tab, but I don't see why - so long as the spoilers are in the tab - there should be a restriction on what I write about.  If you click on the button that says "spoilers" you already know that you are going to get spoilers, so it hardly makes sense for someone to turn around and complain about them after the fact.

      More importantly, sometimes important plot points are almost neccesary for a review.  I can't remember the name of the web novel off the top of my head, but it was a rather fun and interesting take on reincarnation that I was quite enjoying right up until it took a weird turn into mother/daughter harem incest.

      I think it goes without saying that enjoying a novel, and then stopping because of something like that, merits being allowed to actually acknowledge it.  It is a massive plot point and spoiler for the novel, but it is also something that a lot of people really don't want to read and there really isn't any kind of warning for it.

      I mean, a "sexual content" tag can mean anything from mentions in passing of vanilla to incredibly detailed scenes of things you wouldn't be able to even think about without ending up on some kind of watch list.

      There are similar issues with "traumatizing content" and "gore" in that the line for what people find acceptable can differ from person to person and some authors will take those content tags and run further with them than others.

      This. Very much this. I've avoided a few stories where the authors got a little too trigger-happy with r*pe scenes/allusions, and I wouldn't have found out unless the reviewer explicitly mentioned that plot shift.

      On the other hand, I've also invested in grimdark/horror stories that claim the four warning tags, yet chapter after chapter it feels like I'm reading a metaphorical pizza cutter: all edge and no point. No tension to make those scenes stand out, no calm to compare against the storm--an oversaturation of edge, angst, and "trauma" (whether actual or watered-down, your mileage may vary) that bombards me into apathy. If I read more of the reviews (instead of just the first page) I might have found that out from reviewers critiquing and dissecting warning-tag content.

      - - - - -

      Tl;dr:  I agree with vladerag from personal experiences on this site.

      I agree as well, some of these rules will probably make more people less likely to review and more likely to rate because sometimes its integral plot points that I need to address and you may need to give the reader context as 'tags' don't really explain what's in the story.

      Reviews on this site were already hard to trust but as much as I see the good some of these rules can do, I can also see them being used to make sure every review is a five star ' give this one a read, best book on this site' and when reviews seem like more of a hassle than just leaving a rating, you'll probably see a lot less reviews.

Awesome work guys! It's great to have the rules for reviews clarified, especially since I'm sure some of my reviews aren't in that format... Oh well...

[Ratings] Ratings and reviews are now blocked from new accounts when using a proxy or VPN.

Will this be applied retroactively? Will ratings be re-calculated to ignore the instant wave of .5s that crop up every time a story starts to move up in the top 100? (assuming they're from new accounts with a proxy/vpn)

    kanadaj
    Admin

    This cannot be applied retroactively since it's impossible to know if a review made a long time ago was made via a proxy.

      >[Ratings] Ratings and reviews are now blocked from new accounts when using a proxy or VPN.

      Does the same limitation extend to Upvoting or Downvoting a review? Because I believe Upvoting and Downvoting review should have the same protection.

    IIRC, the admins have said there are multiple graphs that debunk gatekeepers. I've yet to experience a gatekeeper so far, but I have experienced a few trolls with bot accounts. More than a few. 

    Not saying they don't exist, but it's a very small number of users trolling the ranks like that imo.

Thanks for the updates to the site.

I'm a little concerned about the new review rules. In theory, I think they are a good thing. I have many concerns about their implementation, however.

Is this retroactive? I think at least 70%, probably much higher, of the reviews I've seen on this site do not follow the above rules. Are these rules actually going to be enforced? I've reported a review for breaking the previous rules, and that review was not removed. These rules are essentially useless if they are not actually enforced, and if they are only enforced sometimes, I feel that's even worse. And if they are enforced, I worry this will impact authors by creating less reviews. It takes a great deal of effort to write a review under the new guidelines. I know some people already follow them, but I fear people will be discouraged, especially if they write a well-meaning review and have it deleted for not following all the rules. If that happened to me, I know I would think twice about taking the effort to review again. 

    To give a clear example, suppose I get a review for a fiction I've writte that is mostly negative. The reviewer follows almost all the rules, but it's an advanced review, and they don't talk about one of the advanced review categories. Technically, as the author I could report the review and since it didn't follow the guidelines it should be removed. But other than not following that one rule, it did everything else right and is a well-written review that would be beneficial to readers. What do the mods do there? The review is actually useful, but it technically doesn't follow the rules. Deleting it would be correct, but it would also feel a little skeezy to me from the author side for reporting a negative review. I feel like there are a lot of grey area scenarios like that under the current review rules, and while the new review rules might be beneficial to people just trying to read reviews, I feel it could very easily create a ton of toxicity for authors and people reporting reviews.

      Wing
      Admin

      Most of the rules aren't new so we will enforce this retroactive. 

      One of the main constraints on readers in the newer reviews is the minimum word count as it went up from a minimum of 50 characters to 50 words. This is the only thing we won't pursue, as it is a technical limitation and not a rule. 

      But, a lot of constraints in the older reviews were removed. This is a list of the things that changed in a way. Everything else was enforceable one way or another. Even if not the same exact words were used. 

      New rule 2.3 [Used to be: 3.5 Genre Hate. Don't give a story a low rating or insult a story simply for following a certain genre that you personally dislike. It's fine to say how certain elements of the genre were poorly done or take away from the story.]

      2.4.2 is fully new, based on the number of reports we saw for reviews discussing another fiction.

      3.3 [Used to be: Do not intentionally depict a story as something entirely different from what it is].

      3.4 is fully new. But if it was seen in the reviews, it would've been removed by the general site rules. 

      4. [Used to be: >Use appropriate language. Avoid profanity. Reviews shouldn't contain excessive vulgarity, sexual content, or descriptions of gore.
      >Be fair and respectful. Do not insult the author or other users. This includes discouraging authors from writing or telling them to drop stories
      >This includes ideas that fall under the category of slander, hate speech, discrimination, instigation, etc.]

      5. [Used to be: No spoilers. Instead of using spoilers, you can allude to certain plotlines so that only people that read the story would understand without the story being spoiled for newer readers. Writing down the entire plotline in a summary format is to be absolutely avoided. Don't ruin the story for unsuspecting readers.]

      6. Is mostly new. 

      As you can see, some of the rules became more open, to match the reviews on the site. But, there aren't that many changes. 

      How we moderate will depend on a case by case basis. 
      As an example, we will not treat a review that breaks rule 5.1 "A review may contain spoilers under the appropriate spoiler tag(from the toolbar)." the same way we would a review that breaks 3.1 "Be Fair and Respectful: Directly insulting the author or the readers is strictly forbidden" 

      The weight of insulting a community member isn't the same as forgetting to add a spoiler tag. We will limit your ability from reviewing again in one; on the other, we would encourage the reviewer to edit their review and submit it again. 
      Whether at that point, they decide to review the story again is up to them. But we will enforce the rules.

      So if someone forgot to write a few words about what they thought about the grammar and yet gave a grammar score? Then we will send them a copy of what was deleted and encourage them to add it. Once that happens once, we know that the reviewer will try their best to avoid doing that in the future for every other review.  

      In the beginning, this might be a slow process. But over time It will hopefully raise the quality of reviews on the site. 

       

      What about for reviews containing spoilers? I have reported a review in the past that I felt contained a spoiler and was told by an admin that nothing was going to be done about it. Will that change under the new rules? When that happened, it really left a sour taste in my mouth and made it seem like some of the RR staff didn't care about enforcing the rules. Personally, I feel that if something could be a spoiler, it's better to be safe with a spoiler tag, but evidently the RR admin did not feel that way.

      Wing
      Admin

      Free free to report it again, I'll check it out. 

      2.4.2 seems really problematic. Under that rule as written the first of these is legal to include in a review and the second is not.

      "This reminds me of [insert story]. It is different because of [X], [Y], and [Z]. I really liked [X]"

      "This reminds me of [insert story]. It is different because of [X], [Y], and [Z]. I really didn't like [X]"

       

      The rule as written is essentially similar to making a rule that says: "no negative reviews". I understand that this rule is a reaction to an actual problem that needs to be addressed, but you need some wording that is impartial to positive vs. negative reviews.

Thank you! You're all doing a great job! Wing, you in particular. I highly appreciate the support you voluntarily offered me in regards to my book ad! ❤

Great stuff! Thanks for all the hard work!

Do these review rules apply only to the reviews from now on or can we report older reviews if they break the rules???

What happened to Comic Sans? 

Nice! I was wondering if RR would be updated again. Looks like a lot of features are here to help authors. Not that I would know - I don't write.

Though maybe I should give it a go ... 

I think those rules should increase the quality of reviews.

Though comparing with other works is a fairly used reviewing style, it can be used pretty poorly. I just hope the subpoints are what would make it report worthy.

Mentioning/qouting the points of other reviews and either stating another view point or stating how the situations changed still seems ok to me.

Spoiler space only being a third of the review is definitely going to be an issue for some people. I know that I made a rant on one review that maybe should have been a chapter comment to the author.

Does the review box have a word counter? Can that be seen in the edit box of already published reviews so you know if it meets the new standard.

    Also hope that reviews will be hidden and not deleted if they don't meet the standard with the writer being notified so that they can use their previous effort to try again.

    Wow, I didn't realize I basically had a review that thinly outlined the subpar plot. A really lazy review. The stuff in spoilers is hardly any better, just me moaning in detail over the author squashing any ideas that would have grown the story in an interesting way.

    Thinking about completing deleting that review because of lack of contents but I wrote it with such disappointed vitriol that it really makes me want to rewrite it. Something to consider tomorrow.

The dragon is merciful and kind

Glad to see that the rules for reviewing novels are more stringent than the rules for the actual novels themselves. You can't pad the word count of a review, but novels do it and are a-ok. You can't have depictions of graphic violence sexual acts or torture, but its still a-ok for some novels to have disgusting content like the sexualization of minors. Great start, maybe look toward curating the novels next. 

[Shadow-san Is intrigued by the new rules]

[Shadow-san has read and agreed to the rules]

[Shadow-san thanks you for your hard work and effort]

Thanks for all of your hard work. I will continue to give very honest reviews. I do have a question, I always PM my reviews to the authors before posting as a kindness to them in case they may not like what I wrote in the review doing a review swap.

 

Should I discontinue this courtesy or may I keep doing it? I don’t want to harm an author’s ego if I feel the story is bad by publicly announcing it. Or harm their progress but if RR staff feels that is padding the numbers then I’ll directly post my reviews instead of PMing them first.

    Sounds fair to me. I'd be surprised if this went against any rules.

      Thanks, I just wanted to make sure that by being nice, I wasn’t unintentionally breaking the rules. I respect this site, the people in the community, and all the admins for their hard work and pushing towards their goals. I would hate to be banned from a great group of people because I was blissfully blind to something I may have overlooked.

New review rules seem fair, nicely done.

    Only thing remaining to be seen is how aggressively mods interpret and enforce these rules, but based on what I've seen so far on this site it shouldn't become a problem.

It's nice to see the review rules updated. Hopefully it'll stop or slow down review bombing new fictions that gain to much attention because they're good. Still waiting on that "author follow" option :/. 

What is a review swap?

Very hapoy with the new rules and i hope the laws are enforced. I know 4 authirs which quit under pressure because of lots of bad ratings done jnder users with multiple accounts to do over ten 1 star scores to fictions

Any chance we can get grammar added to basic reviews because that's the biggest deal breaker for me and what I'm gonna be reviewing when I do.

You should probably add visible "review rules" button to that shows these rules on the review-new div.

A lot of good changes in this update. I just want to voice my appreciation to the staff for being so involved. It is a rare thing to feel like your admins care about improvements and these people certainly do!

Thanks for all the hard work interent overlords.

I do hope it will be possible to report 5/5 reviews. People manipulate the ratings too much to be in the Trending / Popular.

I see a lot of complain about 0.5 but the other way around is real too.

Well  there sure are some nice improvements. Even though I don't fully agree with the advanced review changes, I can understand why they were made and where it came from. It should be fine as long as the old reviews qre being left as they are.

About 5.4 : Isn't that the point of spoilers? To hide parts of the story from people who have not read it yet but give feedback that can be discussed be those who read it?

Those reviewing rules seem pretty harsh. I can't bother to memorize them every time before wanting to write a review...

It would be very helpful if in addition to adding an image on a chapter with a link address, we can also add our own image from our file like google photos too.

Thanks.

Woah, these were a lot of changes!

Took me a while to read through all of them, but I find them quite nice. Though I'm a bit on the fence about removing the old interface on the Dashboard. Couldn't you just make the new Dashboard the default and whoever wants can choose to go back to the old one?

Can you have an advanced review that only rates some aspects?
Like if i have opinions on story or style. But I tend to read over typos a lot, so anything between 2.5 (seems to be review speak for "trash" ) and 4.5 (rare typos) basically feels the same..

If I have nothing meaningful to say about 1 overly-abstracted number out of 5, does that mean I should be writing a basic review in stead or just write some meaningless filler so that i match the rule?

  • [Text Editor] The code for Spoiler tags has been updated to make spoiler tags less prone to breaking due to the editor. This only affects new spoilers that have not been inserted with the old version of the editor plugin, your existing spoilers will continue to function as they have.

This kind of forgets to mention the most important change regarding the javascript-locks (this isn't a quote on purpose - I wrote it myself just now):

  • [Any Text] The javascript locks are no longer javascript locks. The spoiler tags now default to open when javascript is turned off, so you don't need to perform a double-digit number of operations just to read whatever is inside one. Beware tho, cause spoilers default to open when js is turned off.

I posted a feedback thread about this on forum->general, but to summarize, I am happy about the change, even though I hope/wish the spoiler tags will eventually be fixed and work properly as CSS spoilers, at least when js is off (a noscript alternative) if there is a reason to not make that the norm.

inb4 someone asks why I posted feedback on forum and not the feedback portal - the feedback portal doesn't work on mobile (can't post), even when js is turned on. And on that note.

  • [Feedback Portal] We can not take all the credits for this, but the issues with posting on our feedback portal have been fixed. Now everyone should be able to post new ideas or vote/comment on existing ones.

Does this mean you fixed posting on mobile? Was just days ago that I posted it, so unsure if you refer to another issue, or if you fixed this within said last few days.

Thanks for your hard work RR davs~!

Fool's quest for info -
Hello! A simple reader here. I usually use firefox's reader mode for novels.
Can a fellow reader inform me if there is any good alternative to this mode?

Thank You

 

Nice updates!

 

Thanks for all the work!

I like how smooth and fast  the website is now. Great job.

Thanks for the update!

Thanks for the hard work, this website is the best and my favorite, learning about all the continuous improvements is just great.

However, rating and review swaps promising high scores is prohibited

😂

I don't know, a lot of those are really nitpicky rules for reviews.  2-4(2)"no comparing it to similar fictions"  Really?  I can sorta see where you're coming from, but at some point you gotta realize that the rule is more harm then good.  You don't wanna be too strict about this stuff.  

    Personally, I doubt I'll ever be writing a review again. I love being able to parse it out into detailed star ratings for the sub-categories, but if I need to write an essay to accompany it? Not gonna happen.

Thanks for all your work.

Nice, saw a bunch of half star or five star reviews that were just 5 words long. Mostly the half star reviews really affected some ratings

This is a really nice update! Thank you for your work!

Doesn't the change in the procedure for them mean that it will be impossible for new novels to access as many stars as older novels (pre-patch)?
It's a very different experience for a user to just be able to vote on whether or not to write something (it's a good thing it's finally in place, but it's still going to produce a big disparity).
Since the change won't be retroactive, it's just terrible.

The preferred Theme is a god send!

Good quality of life chnages in general. 👍

    I still think that giving reputation shouldn't redirect me to a loading page and back to chapter. Same issue with the comments.

    I understand that it might require overhaul of current system (maybe require Ajax, and html templates ?), but having those in the future roadmap would be great 🍻

Can I join the petition for the return of custom named spoiler tags? As someone who uses them extensively for hideable inventory/stats/character sheet details, I would be bereft without them.

Thank you for your hard

Awesome new changes! Thanks for your hard work :)

I am not sure how to feel about the new Advanced Review rules.

Is there room for some middle ground where I want to mark a story as (for example) having excellent plot and character description while having terrible grammar without needing to write a long and time-consuming review about everything I list? I mean, I could, but I'm not inclined to then categorically list all of the they're/their/there errors or off/of issues. There's not really any good way to say "But please hire an editor or buy something with a real keyboard!" without breaking rule 3-2.

Sure, I post corrections in the chapter comments a lot in an attempt to quietly assist in editing, but actually mentioning it in a review aside from a general rating of how bad it is (or was, if it's otherwise good enough to try to help and they make an effort) seems crass to me. Sure, I'll mention it as a selling point if it's good, but if it's mediocre I don't want to be rude.

Or perhaps I really like the characters but the rest is merely okay. I don't want to have to justify all six subreviews when I just want to point out how the characters were great (in that example, the other ratings would probably be meh, and no one wants to hear me actually talk about that...)! I thought that was the point of the advanced review: to quickly and simply categorize how good the story is at meeting a certain goal.

    Wing
    Admin

    We don't expect people to write a 50-word description of the grammar when there is nothing notable about it. You don't even need to quote the story, just mention your thoughts on the issue. 

    Check the advanced reviews here https://www.royalroad.com/profile/74895/reviews?page=3 for an example of some that tend to write good reviews with short notes about grammar. Write 1/5 of that, and it'll be fine. 
    Please notify me if you need more direct examples. 

    Alternatively, if you don't want to add a description of the things that you are rating, make it a basic review instead. 

Just a question on 1.1 about what exactly "justify the rating" means. Does it just mean they just have to leave any feedback at all, and then a rating, or does the feedback need to actually match their rating?

For example, I have a review that basically says (paraphrasing) "The story was good, but it got boring reading some of dialog. The grammar is good, and characters were ok if not for the boring bit."
That reviewer left me 1.5 stars, which seems pretty harsh considering their review. I get that it's subjective, but the reading of 1.1 makes it seem like this rating could breach the rule. Did that review 'justify the rating'?

I guess the essence of the question is, Is 1.1 supposed to be used to flag reviews where the content of the review doesn't really match the rating, or is it more a catch-all for reviews that just have some person saying "I hate it" and dropping a .5?
If so, maybe it could be reworded as "must talk about the story" or something, as "justify" makes it seem like the content of the review needs to match up with the rating (at least to me).


Regardless of the wording, clarification would be nice.

Fortunately the comment section rules are still in the clear, so I'd like to take a moment to tell everyone that I love bacon. I love bacon. Thank you for reading and have a nice day.

I suggest that you implement a function where you can see all the comments, that you got rep on. What, no I don't intend to stroke my vanity with it every day. Ummm I want it so, umm I can see what interesting comments I made in the past. No other reason.

    I believe they already have this feature, or at least something similar. If you go to your profile and poke around, you should be able to see a list of the people that have given you rep. Sometimes that's linked to a comment. It should be a link of some sort, and if you click on it, it will take you to the comment that you made that they gave you rep for. 

i gues its wait and see how this will to

Wonderful now we all have to take the time to leave a well made and thoughtful review. 

You know, negative reviews aren't all bad, and just like a positive one can help guide readers into deciding if they are a good fit for a story just as much as a positive review. 

I use too come to  this site for LEGEND OF THE MOONLIGHT SCULTURE chapters. Crazy how much its grown.

 

 Would be nice gesture for you guys to pay homage to that novel. Kinda did take the name of THIS site from that novel.

Not sure if the mods are still following this post since it's a bit old now, but I figured here is as good a place to post as any. I just saw the new author follow button, and I have to say great job! It's a really good feature, both for authors and for readers. Keep up the good work!

Sorry for the late responce. Can you guys make it to where you can put story drafts on here like you can on Wattpad. I use Google Docs, but it would be easier to have the story draft on here.