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!
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.
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.
- Justify the Rating
- The Review needs to justify the rating, regardless of how high or low the score is.
- 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.
- Stay on Topic
- Your review should address the story itself, and only the story.
- Do not write about unrelated content, including comments about the author's activities, other people, other reviews, etc.
- 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.
- Reviews comparing the story to another according to the following rules will be removed:
- Don’t discourage readers from reading a story by comparing it to another similar story.
- Be Fair and Respectful
- 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.
- Discouraging an author from writing is viewed as taboo on Royal Road.
- 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.
- Do not instigate or incite any harmful acts in the review.
- Use Appropriate Language
- 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”.
- 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.
- A review may contain spoilers under the appropriate spoiler tag(from the toolbar).
- Spoiler content may not exceed a third of the overall word count.
- Discussing spoilers can’t be the focus of a review.
- 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.
- Quoted content can’t break any of the review rules.
- Reviews must not contain meaningless characters and words used with the purpose of inflating the character count and review length.
- Reviews must not contain any spam.
- Reviews must be written in English or in the language the fiction is written in.
- Offering to release chapters based on the scores of reviews and ratings is considered ranking manipulation and is prohibited.
- Campaigns encouraging others to upvote or downvote reviews, whether positive or negative are forbidden.
- Rating and reviewing from multiple accounts is prohibited. We have software to catch people who try to manipulate the ratings by doing this.
- 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.
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.
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.