Writing Niche - Again

Service: Narrative

I just won the Writing Niche yesterday. It came with the description: 

"About writing. Process, challenges, effects on your life and relations, publication, stats, research, tips, experiences, all about writing. NOT for writing prompts or written pieces which are not about writing."

It turns out there is already The Writing Life Niche:

"This is a Niche for posts about writing craft, editing, querying agents and publishers, and publishing. If you have posts asking questions about these things, giving advice, or talking about resources you found useful, this is the Niche you're looking for!"

And, there appears to have been past drama about this very niche. 

https://community.narrative.or.../topic/writing-niche

It is not my intent to turn this into a rehash. @Wild Speculation and I are willing to work with each other to differentiate sufficiently for minimal overlap. We just are not certain how to go about it. He has already changed his niche this month and is hesitant to do it again so soon.

Will this matter to the Tribunal?

I am willing to change the description to my niche. I have no problem changing the scope. 

As for changing the name of the niche, that is a big ask. I bid on the niche because Writing is intrinsically somewhat of a catch-all. I recognize that this is less than ideal and am willing to pare down the scope. This adds the burden of having to remove posts that don't belong in the new, more limited scope. Moderators of the Writing niche will have to be on the ball.

The intrinsic "catch-alliness" is the reason I bid so much for the niche. I suspect that I would not be refunded for making my niche less than what I bid on. Changing the niche name would be like buying a Mercedes and driving away with a Smart Car. 

Furthermore, changing the name would not ensure that the niche would not come back again to restart the drama a third time. At least if we sit on the niche, we can control it. I'm willing to accept the extra responsibility that comes with the niche, not being so overly broad that it steps on other niches. If I can hold Writing and work with the community to keep it within bounds, we can all win. 


I am looking for help in:

  • coming up with a limited description that would serve the community
  • avoid the problems the Writing niche had with the previous owner
  • a way to coordinate with the tribunal so that they understand that WS and I are working together to differentiate
  • finding moderators who understand that we can't overstep whatever bounds we set. 
Original Post

Activity Stream

If the Tribunal will allow me to edit my niche's name and description again, I am willing to narrow the scope my niche to be a sub-niche of Writing, so long as I can still have writing and storytelling craft as part of my niche.

How about:

About and for you, the Writing community. Updates on your writing projects, challenges, effects on your lives and relations, frustrations, triumphs, new gadgets, and writing-related adventures. NOT for advice, writing prompts, written pieces, writing craft, or storytelling. 

What I'm trying to convey is that posts should be about the writing experience rather than the craft. Is that what comes across?

This could be tricky, because any change in scope of a niche is technically not permitted (especially if trying to expand the scope of a niche). My guess is that this will be a close call.  

If one is about writing craft, then you may want to use that in the niche title (as opposed to "life")... and if the other is about writing experiences, then it may make sense to include that in that niche title ("Writing Experiences").  

These may be perceived to be material changes, but I could also see them being approved... just can't tell you for sure one way or the other. (And I have not done any research to see if you are infringing on any other niches if you make those changes.)

@Ted in both cases, we are considering narrowing the scope of our niches to reduce overlap.

 

To my knowledge, ours are the only to niches on the topic of writing, which is why I proposed, then bought my niche in the first place (I wanted to have a niche where I could post about writing craft and process.)

Is there a way that we can bring this issue to the Tribunal together with a proposed joint solution to narrow the scope of our niches and reduce redundancy. 

@Ted I also discovered, after winning the auction and having paid, that the Writing niche has been a headache in the past. If I can narrow the scope, it takes Writing out of circulation so that it's not an issue again. 

My concern with changing the name is, I bid and paid a pretty penny ($339.40) for the Writing Niche because that's what I wanted. Otherwise I could have bid on an obscure and unpopular niche and then changed the name to Writing Experiences as you suggested.  I'd have saved some money. 

I'd prefer to both keep the niche name and narrow the scope to accommodate other niche owners. We just can't find the means to coordinate such a thing. 

Worst case scenario, if everything else fails and everybody has a 10 ft pole for this situation, I would like to coordinate a do-over where I get refunded and then I can get a less troublesome niche. 

Do WS and I email support for help? Or, is this the proper channel?

@Shaine, I think you have a great niche, and it has a lot of potential to be profitable for you. I think the price you paid makes it undervalued. So you got a great deal. I certainly would hate for you to lose it on a technicality or give it up only to have someone else snatch it up.

I think the best way for you guys to move forward is to nail down your exact proposed names and descriptions for your respective niches, then simultaneously make those requests from your dashboard. When you do, mention to the tribunal what you are trying to do and why. You can even link back to this support thread. You have to make them understand that the changes to both niches are necessary to prevent any perception that your two niches are attempting to cover the same ground. And, like @Ted said, make sure there aren't other writing niches that you could potentially be duplicating. 

I really do want to see both of these niches survive, thrive, and succeed.

@Shaine, I'm among those who appealed the original Writing niche. Its description was not about writing, but about anything written. Still, I'm convinced that we need the "top-level" writing niche, exactly the niche you purchased. In my eyes, it's not a catch-all. It's a legit general niche.

That's why, when @Wild Speculation suggested "The Writing Room", I decided anyway to suggest Writing. I think any term added to "writing" implies a further specification of the meaning. It's already been proved that even most regulars use niches as "tags", so these "tags" have to fit the common meaning, especially for new users.

But I couldn't imagine that two overlapping niches would have both been approved. When "The Writing Room" was approved, I understood it was going to be the new writing niche. A solution to the "writing" hole was finally there. Then, two surprises. The Writing niche was not only approved but also purchased. And "The Writing Room" changed the name to "The Writing Life".

If it can be useful feedback for you, I'm not only still convinced that "Writing" is okay and needed as a general niche but also, being me the one who wrote the description, you certainly can only have support from me. I'm only happy to have the Writing niche, and that it found a willing owner. Also, with this name and fitting description, I don't see any problem with it. On the contrary, I'd be uncomfortable with the restriction of the scope, because by using "Writing", members expect writing to be the scope, not a specific aspect of writing.

As for "The Writing Life", @Wild Speculation, I'm now a bit confused about the scope. "life" seems to suggest all about writing life, not about the craft, but the description still seems to include the craft. I would be perfectly fine with a "specific" niche of writing, either about life or the craft (or else), if only the description matches with the name (only a slight edit seems needed). If it's about writing life, I think now just an edit of the description would suffice, if it's about the writing craft, maybe an edit of the name and the description are both required. I'm sure this would remain a general niche and a popular niche (certainly a niche I would be willing to contribute in any case, once the scope is decided), and that even further sub-niches are still possible.

@Ted, I think this case highlights once more that we need something to avoid those cases. The ex-Writing niche could have been an alpha thing, but now we are here again with a different issue but still with an issue. Two niches greatly overlapping approved more or less at the same time and a discussion to do (hopefully we have two willing owners but what if not?). The two niches have successfully gone through the entire process, with different names but widely overlapping descriptions.

I know we have to avoid unnecessary restraints on the niche structure. Still, we need more clarity, in my opinion, and Tribunal decisions proved that there's ample room for disagreement - even among Tribunal members - around the weight and the meaning of the name and the description. Imagine "common" members. We need simple but explicit guidelines to prevent these problems.

I think we can add clarity without adding unnecessary restrains in the merit of the niches. I'm speaking about "meta" requirements. I'll make an example, but I have others in my mind:

The description should fit the scope of the common definition of the name. If there is ambiguity about that scope, a further specification of the name (extra term or so) should be required. That because most users use niches as tags. The description (that should be used by moderators) can't fall far from the commonly perceived definition of the name. There would be still room for ambiguity, of course, but much less than at present. This simple requirement would greatly limit ambiguity across the entire life of the niche, and across niches.

cc (in case they didn't notice the thread): @Garden Gnome Publications@Christina Gleason@Malkazoid@Colleen Ryer@Blogger Krunal@Gosia Rokicka.

I am more than willing to narrow the scope of my niche to prevent confusion, and have it be a sub-niche of Writing. 

Will the Tribunal allow me to change the name of my niche to Writing Craft and narrow my description? Because if they will, then I think that solves everything, with @Shaine able to keep the general niche he thought he was buying. 

@Wild Speculation - there is no way to do a joint appeal to the Tribunal. Thus, you would each have to appeal separately.  You can of course coordinate with each other to do it around the same time, of course.

I cannot write an explanation in my request to change my Niche, so @Ted@Bob Hope@Brian Lenz@Lori@Michael Farris@MOLLY O@Rosemary, This thread, as well as the comment thread in this post: https://www.narrative.org/post...-looking-for-writers explain why I am requesting the change to my niche.

I am trying to narrow the scope of my niche so that it functions better as a sub-niche for the Writing niche, which was approved and bought soon after I bought mine.

I agree that Writing should be the general niche, so I want to, with Tribunal approval, narrow my Niche to only part of its previous scope and change the name.

Recently I asked in community about such confusions users have while tagging the Niches. One user is tagging his country Niche in his each and every post because he thinks he can tag his country. This is just one example, there are plenty of posts which are tagged under wrong Niches currently.

If the users are not getting the basic difference then how they'll get it in-between 2 identical Niches.

So here I don't think the problem will end even after narrowing the descriptions of both the Niches. Moderators will have to be on their toes just to deal with this on a daily basis. Still if we're going with both the Niches then here I would like add about one more Niche. It's description holds about Writing Life. So you guys can avoid any conflicts with that one too. 

"Creative Writing" - The place to discuss writing techniques, habits, writer’s block & the writing life!
https://www.narrative.org/n/creative-writing

There are few other Niches too about content writing. I'm worried about how these all Niches will survive together in a long run.

 

@Blogger Krunal - I think it will fall on me, as the more general niche, to be attentive to moderation and to routinely showcase other niches that would better fit writers' individual needs. I don't see why I could not use the Writing niche to promote other niches related to writing. I recognize that there is added responsibility holding the Writing niche. I've already had to remove posts that were incorrectly posted to Writing. It's only been up less than a day. 

Moderation and redirection will be a big part of the work for this niche. 

Creative Writing... @Blogger Krunal, I wonder how we could miss that alpha-skeleton... It's not just about writing life, it's about writing craft, @Wild Speculation's niche!

@Ted@Brian Lenz, maybe an expiry date on niches for sale could be an idea? Some old niches clearly overlap with currently owned niches. Still, they were approved and anybody can buy them anytime. The situation of niches evolves with time and keeping niches approved in an obsolete situation - especially the alpha period - can become a problem. Suggestion here.

@Shaine, if I'm not wrong, moderation can and should be limited to relevancy to the niche ("The purpose of the review is to determine whether the content is a fit for the subject matter of the niche."). Being Writing a general niche, anything about writing can legitimately go in it. From what I know, it's not mandatory for a post about writing being posted ONLY in a more specific niche (if it exists), even if it can be suggested. The moment more specific niches about writing will appear, I guess members may prefer a more specific niche and avoid the generic feed of writing, but I hope it will remain acceptable to publish also on Writing, for anything related with writing (which is not just a written piece...).

@Blogger Krunal, if I understood well what you said, yes, I too think there's now room for a new "Writing Life".

Thanks for weighing, @Blogger Krunal. The niche you pointed to is up for auction, so it currently is not active. I can see a little overlap, but it's focus is creative writing, whereas the Writing niche and The Writing Craft are more broadly focused on all types of writing, including nonfiction. So I don't see a conflict there, really. 

You do bring up a good point about educating new Narrators on how things work here. It's not intuitive, and it is different than any other social site. So there will be a learning curve.

@Shaine I'm not saying you can't have Writing Niche. In fact I'll be more than happy to see a simple and General Niche over the others. But this is my personal preference. I don't mind with sub niches until there are very clearly defined which anyone can understand very easily. But..

Normal user thinking would be just to post and earn, why bother about Niche in detail? Even we can't see Niche Description while selecting them for the post. Now how many will prefer to go and check Niche Description first and think it's relevant or not before posting? @Ted Here as a suggestion, if we can show Niche Description too while selecting them for the post will be very helpful for all.

@Vico Biscotti @Garden Gnome Publications I agree about the other Niche is in auction amd it hold only some part of the other Niche. But prevention is better then cure. Either we can appeal to reject it so it doesn't clash in future. I wonder if no one opposed and if it gets activated then technically it will be a valid Niche as it was suggested way earlier which makes the other ones invalid until the new ones distinguish itself very clearly or differently. Or these two guys @Shaine @Wild Speculation can work over it and define their Niches more clearly so they don't need to fight with 3th one in future.

Since our first payout, many newbies have joined and what I see in their post is, lack of proper Niche tagging or no Niche tagging at all, no clear image attributions, duplicate posts from different users about Earn Money and on Vacation Tips. Based on this, for Writing Niches I see a great amount of responsibilities for Moderators or I should say a headache. Here I would suggest these 2 Owners to step in as moderators for their own Niches for an initial period until they get matured enough moderators with some clearly defined rules.

Great news @Wild Speculation. That was a fast process. You did the platform a service.

@Blogger Krunal, I don't see a problem. Creative writing is fiction, poetry, and such. The Writing Craft niche is about all writing, nonfiction included. I think they are fine to exist side by side. 

When you are selecting your niches for a post, if you hover over one of the blue boxes after selecting the niche, you can read a description. Granted, it's not efficient, but it does give you a chance to backtrack and choose another niche if the one you've selected doesn't match your post. I've done that on a number of occasions.

@Garden Gnome Publications, Creative Writing may be a valid niche but its description is not ("The place to discuss writing techniques, habits, writer’s block & the writing life!"). This is not ONLY about creative writing, at all. Again, we're in the situation where the name is okay and the description is not...

I think we should go with an appeal to it, especially now that it's still inactive (I don't think expiry dates will come soon). It can always be re-suggested with a better description.

cc @Blogger Krunal

@Vico Biscotti You have added everything I could say in your appeal. 

However Brian stated the same what I've said before about the rules.FYI @Shaine @Wild Speculation

"The rules for duplicate niches are that the first niche created "wins". If the Creative Writing Niche is duplicated by The Writing Life or Writing, then those other Niches need to be rejected, not Creative Writing, which was created 10 months prior." 

Having said that, I actually don't agree with the appeal that Creative Writing duplicates the other mentioned Niches. Writing Craft is distinct from Creative Writing, and Creative Writing is a clear sub-Niche of the more general Writing Niche.

"Imperfect descriptions (soon to be called definitions) are not grounds in my eyes for rejecting a Niche. The Niche's name has the most importance, and these three Niches are clearly unique to me."

Here I don't agree on his last words. As if description/definition is not a valid ground for the appeal of rejection then why we all had applied for "Writing" Niche to reject it in first place? Still if this Niche is not going to be rejected then the issue might come again once it's purchased. 

@Blogger Krunal, I'm certainly wrong, still I don't find where rules about "first niche created "wins"" are. Anyway, this could become a time bomb for any purchased niche.

Good point about "Writing". If "Creative Writing" is legit, what happened with "Writing" makes no sense. @Brian Lenz is coherent among his voting (and also the other Tribunal members seem to be) but, to my eyes, the lack of agreement in these decisions - and the lack of understanding of us members, in case - just means that guidelines lack clarity about the role of the description. Hope this will be covered in future, since changes have been announced.

Also, if only the name matters, moderation will become a hell. If a description does not match the common sense of the name, or enlarges or restrict the scope, endless discussions will come out of what's in and what's out.

I'm leaving a separate comment here from the one I'm leaving on the platform. 

@Brian Lenz I think the whole "Which niche was suggested first?" guideline for appeals should ONLY apply to unpurchased niches still up for auction. Once someone has purchased a niche that was unwittingly a duplicate of one suggested earlier, I think that the niche that was PURCHASED first should take precedence. From a user standpoint, the suggestion date is a ridiculously arbitrary way to prioritize things, especially when there is an established niche that is WORKING and SUPPORTED by members already. Some niches have an actual community sentiment around them already, where active contributors have good working relationships between themselves and the owners. UX should be the priority, and members are going to be angry as hell if some ideal from the spec takes precedence over actual utility.

Garden Gnome Publications posted:

That went over about like I thought it would.

Unfortunately, I knew too... but I try to keep the attention on the niche problem. I'm in beta myself, here, until the problem of the niche structure won't be solved. And I guess it will be a long beta, for me.

@Christina Gleason well said. And there has been a suggestion put in that unpurchased niches expire after a time, to allow for needed edits without potential conflicts later on. First niche created taking precedence would interfere with this, I think. And @Blogger Krunal points out that the niche could fit as a subniche, too, so if that's the case, then might be easier to go in this direction on the niche in question? NOt all of them, just this one.

 @Colleen Ryer, yes, I suggested exactly that, and exactly in relation to the Creative Writing niche:

https://community.narrative.or...e-on-niches-for-sale

Certainly, Creative Writing could be a good subniche, and that's why I suggested in my appeal that the community could have suggested it again with a better description (damaging nobody). But it seems that keeping the "imperfect" description prevailed.

Vico Biscotti posted:

 @Colleen Ryer, yes, I suggested exactly that, and exactly in relation to the Creative Writing niche:

https://community.narrative.or...e-on-niches-for-sale

Certainly, Creative Writing could be a good subniche, and that's why I suggested in my appeal that the community could have suggested it again with a better description (damaging nobody). But it seems that keeping the "imperfect" description prevailed.

Sorry @Vico Biscotti I got behind on it, so just trying to catch up now. 

@Vico Biscotti, I was a part of the discussion process when @Shaine and @Wild Speculation were both in the process of approving and buying their writing niches. I helped broker the agreement that led to the creation of two distinct writing niches that would serve the writing community without having too much of an overlap  (and I'd like to congratulate both of these niche owners for the spirit of cooperation they both exhibited throughout the process). As a result, we've got Writing Craft and Writing. The former is all about craft, so it's about story structure, character development, plot, world building, etc. The latter is about the writing life,  research tips, seeking publication, etc.

As a matter of course, I think you can read the titles as being about all forms of writing--fiction and nonfiction, prose and poetry. Upon careful inspection, however, the description of Writing Craft seems to hone in on fiction writing. The question is, what is the primary focus of this newly purchased niche, Creative Writing?

If we went by the title alone, I'd say it appears to be distinct from the other two niches by focusing on creative writing as opposed to nonfiction or technical writing. But the definition doesn't help. It's a poorly written definition that makes it a bit broad. On the one hand, if it is about creative writing only, as the title suggests, that would make it distinct from the Writing niche. But the niche definition seems to give it a bit too much overlap with the Writing Craft niche, in my view. A survey of the content posted to Writing Craft shows content focused on writing fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. That shows me that my initial impression of the niche--that it would be appropriate for posting about any type of writing--is correct, especially since none of the posts associated with poetry and nonfiction have been removed from the niche.

In light of this overview, I'd say the niche is fine as long as its new owner can keep the content focused on creative writing genres--fiction and poetry with perhaps some creative nonfiction allowed. I do think it needs a better description, and I'd like to see it focused entirely on the actual writing as opposed to the vaguely defined "writing life." I've been living the writing life most of my life and I'm still not sure what that means.

Long story short, I'm okay with the niche if it can be better defined to hone in on discussions about creative writing, which is a subniche of writing in general.

 

@Garden Gnome Publications, if an active member like me has still difficulties in remembering that Writing Craft is there, I can't imagine a new member. You're right in reminding the distinction between Writing and Writing Craft. Still, the distinction can only be noticed by paying attention to the description. If only the niche name is taken into consideration, Writing would be a general writing niche, not just about "writing life".

But, if description matters in distinguishing the two niches, then the description of Creative Writing matters too, and it's obviously a general writing niche, not in sync with its name.

So, back to the old major problem. Does the description matter or does the description NOT matter? And... Why are the description and the name allowed to NOT be in sync?

If the description matters, Creative Writing should be Writing. But the current Writing should be Writing Life.

If the description does not matter, Creative Writing is a sub-niche of Writing, but Writing should be about... writing, so allowed to host all things about writing.

Unless the role of the name and the description is clearly stated, along with their need to be in sync, we will ALWAYS have this kind of problems.

@Vico Biscotti, I think the platform will always have this problem. Not enough people care about quality to want to fix it. There has to be a collective will, and right now there isn't. Just read the comments on the more controversial niche suggestions. As soon as one is challenged there is always at least one person, and usually several, who push back with "Oh, let it slide," or "Why do we have to be so nitpicky?" They don't understand that letting something slide once opens the door for a mass rush to mediocrity.

As long as mediocrity rewarded, mediocrity will rule. It's a built-in feature of life. And give people democratic processes to bolster their prejudices, not only will mediocrity rule, but it will bully quality into submission. 

But it's not up to people to fix this type of problems, @Garden Gnome Publications. It's up to the Team. It's not a problem of topics, it's a problem of general rules about niches.

I totally agree that the community as a whole will never want to fix this type of problems. And, in fact, they shouldn't.

We need a clear statement that the definition MATTERS and that the definition MUST correspond with the name. Exactly as there is a rule that prevents duplication. Currently, not even the Tribunal can agree on the role of the description, because no rules are there. The framework in which niches live it's not up to people. We need a minimum set of rules to avoid most of these inconsistencies.

When members will be much more, the serial upvoters will just outnumber those who care about a proper niche structure. They upvote to be seen, and maybe have something back. I sometimes wonder if they even read the description before clicking. So, we need a minimum framework that can enforce some consistency in the structure.

Yeah @Vico Biscotti, I hear you. That might solve some of the issues, the systemic ones anyway. At least, where niche suggestions are concerned. I would love to see a fix that actually cleans up the niche ecosystem. A simple statement, however, might not be enough. I think they'd actually have to tweak the spec and the functionality of the voting system to change user priorities. And that's still relying on people's good judgment. 

I'm not in favor of having the unique definition/description of Niches. As every individual has his own thoughts on all subjects based on his personal ideology and not based on general terms.

If I want to buy "Creative Writing" I will set my definition to it and users will post accordingly so weather Team says yes or no, I'm  already ruling that subject according to my ideology. So indirectly you can say that I'm playing with such loopholes in Niche concept. Now after a year I don't want to continue with this Niche and someone else buys it, he might edit its definition based on his ideology and rule it accordingly. Now at that time such posts which have been tagged during the previous ownership might not fit according to the new definition set by the new owner. So what Moderators or users should do here? Remove the posts and find new ones according to the new definition? So am I saying that, every year we need to go through all the Niches with its new definition set by its new owner? Oh yes I'm asking the right thing. How am I supposed to sync with these updates? We don't have time to read Niche description in first place and we're expecting to sync with new description? Not possible in a longer run and Niche spamming/over lapping will continue doesn't matter how much you try to groom users. This is an endless battle. 

That's why I choose general terms in Niche description so its widely known and new owners of it might not need to edit such description again and again. So users or Moderators won't be confused either. But in my last Niche suggestion with general term I was proved wrong. We need uniqueness even in description weather it matters or not. Like @Vico Biscotti said. Does it really matters?

I don't have any issues with anyone. But I'm not happy with this approach. Instead I would prefer, if a general Niche name is added in suggestion it should automatically load such general terms of it and  applied on it as its definition/description irrespective of its new owner it should stay the same by the system. It can also identify such overlaps in Niche name suggestions so we can avoid such duplicate Niches as well.  This can help to prevent having personal ideology issues with Niches which we're currently facing with Mobile photos, Smartphone Photography, Color Challenge, Stock Photos Or this Creative Writing - irrespective of the owners intentions. Like I said, if the description has to be unique as always then we'll be having the same Niche issues for ages. 

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