I've been active on Steemit discussing what I consider to be some pros to Narrative and doing some recruiting. I'm currently ranked #70 in referral rankings. One of my recruits recently joined and had a negative reaction to the niche approval process. I totally understand why.

When new members join, they are immediately encouraged to suggest a niche. Now, human nature being what it is, this new recruit probably didn't do a lot of research to see what niches had already been suggested. So he suggested one - Micro Fiction. Here's the description he gave: "Very short stories - anything from 140 characters to 250 words."

As a fiction writer, I like the idea. I don't write much micro fiction, but the definition is accurate. Micro fiction is a subcategory of flash fiction, which tends to be stories up to 1,000 words, or 1,500 words, depending on who's defining the term. The problem encountered was several people downvoted the suggestion saying it was too close to a niche already suggested - Flash Fiction. Here's the definition give on that niche by its suggester: "A place for writers to share their work in the format of flash fiction, which is typically 100 words or less, but can be up to 1000."

Again, I've written a lot of fiction and had a lot of fiction published. I've had flash fiction published. I don't know anyone who writes 100 word stories and calls it flash fiction. Typically, flash fiction is at least 500 words. Maybe 300 words, but rarely 100. So my concern is, how does the community judge whether a niche suggested has an accurate description. Downvotes are encouraged if a niche is similar or too close to similar to another niche, but what if that other niche isn't accurately described? I could see this happening in other disciplines - health care, politics, business, etc. A person suggesting a niche can be told that niche isn't good enough because it's too similar to a niche that isn't accurately defined.

On top of this, the Flash Fiction niche, though approved, is currently up for auction. The person who suggested it clearly won the auction and failed to pay. That tells me they're not real serious about owning the niche, and they're not likely to buy it either. So a new person shows up to join the community and play by the rules, but they're shut out because someone else has irresponsibly defined a niche incorrectly, won the auction, and then failed to pay. So we have two niches now in limbo.

I think this is a problem and needs to be headed off quickly. Others have mentioned niche issues before. I don't know if this specific one has been addressed, but I apologize if it has. I just thought I'd report what I witnessed.

Original Post

I fully agree and wish I could think of an easy solution to suggest. Also, thanks for recruiting on steemit. I've stopped producing new content there and am stockpiling for the general release here. My major gripe over there is that 7 day payout window. I have faith the Narrative team will figure things out.

This would be discouraging to a new user and is valid grounds for an appeal.

The best solution would be to redefine the Flash Fiction niche and keep the current definition of the Micro-Fiction niche as they are distinct. 

Flash Fiction is for 300 words to 1500 word stories

Micro-Fiction is a story that is 300 words or less. 

They can own both niches with a proper description, or keep them separate.

 

https://alpha.narrative.org/hq...al/33968979057856965

With a strong definition, they could try to amalgamate the two, by proposing a change to the niche name and niche description, as you mentioned Micro-Fiction is a sub-niche of Flash Fiction and it would not substantially change the intent as the Flash Fiction niche has no owner at present and does not cause any conflicts with other niche owners as far as I can tell.

As the owner of the Fiction niche I see no issue with those two niches existing as separate or merged niches.

They are distinctly different sub-niches from Fiction as long as their is a strong description defining their existence.

For example, I defined Fiction as anything from six word stories to thousand page novels, the official niche for fiction writers and lovers.

However an individual who wants to write a short-story would also define their own story based on length into Micro-Fiction, Flash Fiction etc and each one of those definitions is absolutely essential for users and readers who are looking for content.

The issue is striking the right balance as a community between a valid niche and a redundant niche. 

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In terms of an Appeal to Flash Fiction, the question would be if it encompasses sudden fiction and micro-story as they can exist as separate niches.

By extension the problem with Micro-Fiction as is defined presently, would be that it encompasses twitterature, the dribble, minisaga, and a six-word story or would they all be valid sub-niches along with micro-fiction. 

Personally I don't mind a simple definition less than 300 is micro up to 1500 is Flash however it can get into a mini-debate on whether Flash-Fiction should be the end-point or if we are just defining the beginning of each of these distinct sub-niches 

Flash fiction is a fictional work of extreme brevity[1] that still offers character and plot development. Identified varieties, many of them defined by word count, include the six-word story,[2] the 280-character story (also known as "twitterature"[3]), the "dribble" (also known as the "minisaga"; 50 words),[2] the "drabble" (also known as "microfiction"; 100 words),[2] "sudden fiction" (750 words),[4] flash fiction (1,000 words), and "micro-story".[5]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_fiction

 

Drixx Madison posted:

I've stopped producing new content there and am stockpiling for the general release here. My major gripe over there is that 7 day payout window. 

Others have complained about that seven day payout, as well. I don't have an issue with that so much as ending payouts in seven days. I wish we had payouts continuously. But I'm sure if they allowed that it would cause bandwidth issues, or something of that nature.

Steemit does have its issues. The major one, I think, is its UI. This is where Narrative has it beat. But I've said all along that Narrative's success will depend on its roll out. 

freedom posted:

The best solution would be to redefine the Flash Fiction niche and keep the current definition of the Micro-Fiction niche as they are distinct. 

Flash Fiction is for 300 words to 1500 word stories

Micro-Fiction is a story that is 300 words or less. 

 

 

 

 

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Flash fiction is a fictional work of extreme brevity[1] that still offers character and plot development. Identified varieties, many of them defined by word count, include the six-word story,[2] the 280-character story (also known as "twitterature"[3]), the "dribble" (also known as the "minisaga"; 50 words),[2] the "drabble" (also known as "microfiction"; 100 words),[2] "sudden fiction" (750 words),[4] flash fiction (1,000 words), and "micro-story".[5]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_fiction

 

Okay, wow! I learned some new categories. I've been writing fiction for over 30 years and haven't heard of some of these. But I tend to write longer stories - short stories and longer. Novellas. Sometimes flash fiction, but rarely micro. 

I do agree that some overlap is okay. All these definitions are arbitrary anyways. One publisher can define flash fiction as anything up to 1,000 words while another defines it as anything up to 1,500 words. Same with novellas, novelettes, and novels. Guidelines are different depending on the publisher. For that reason, I think these categories can coexist. As you said, if you define them distinctly, then it can work. I like your suggestion to redefine Flash Fiction and keep micro at anything less than 300 words. It seems to me an easy and reasonable solution.

My biggest problem with the Micro Fiction niche is that it provided a MINIMUM of 140 characters in its definition, thereby excluding six word stories and other less-than-a-tweet fiction. 

I'm hereby asking other members, because that niche suggester has already quit the site because he didn't like the feedback he was given, to reject Micro Fiction for its inaccurate definition.

While I had suggested that he instead submit a replacement niche with an accurate description, he's no longer on Narrative, so I went ahead and suggested it myself: Microfiction. In the description, I use the simplest and most common definition: any story of 300 words or less. Er, fewer. 

I ask for everyone's assistance in this matter to get the more accurate description approved and the other one rejected. Voting Micro Fiction down will not negatively affect the suggester's reputation, as he has, as we say, "left the building."

Hi @Garden Gnome Publications Frustratingly, I am dealing with the exact same issue within the genre of Street Photography. It is very frustrating, but it is the nature of democracy. The Narrative team @MOLLY O and @Ted are aware of this dilemma of a poorly described, un-purchased, niche's ability to prohibit people from buying a more accurately described niches, due to an ability of someone else rejecting it. They are considering a work around solution, if it serves the system better.

I would start by appealing the rejection of Micro Fiction to the tribunal. Explain how they are different, and or inaccurately described. That may provide all the resolve your friend needs to fix it. If not the next step might be to appeal Flash fiction.

I think I was one of the people to vote this niche down. Unfortunately the issue is that many people are voting without the experience in a particular topic to understand the finer nuances. Democracy has a tendency to round off the edges, unfortunately. 

What would have been a good strategy, was for the person to check in, often to the suggestion vote each day. And build a case in support of why  it should be approved, as soon as he/she noticed a down vote. That is good to do both on the community board, and in the voting comments. Many people go through the 5 pages each day and pay attention to sudden vote swings and increased comments, and investigate. 

For sure, there are frustrating things about this system, but what people have to remember is that they are not voiceless on the platform, and you do have options, when things don't work out like you'd hope.  There is quite a bit of strategic thinking that can be applied to this platform. Which is fantastic!

And if all your applied options fail you, well you really have to know how to accept the fate of democracy with grace, and hopefully continue being a part of the community. We are individuals on here, but we are also a voting collective. As tough as that is sometimes.

@Garden Gnome Publications Actually, I just looked. I haven't voted yet. I was familiar with it but I guess I was still reserving my vote to see how it developed. 

Reading the comments, It looks like your friend may have left the platform, and is really upset, before the voting is even completed. Given that the niche is still on the approval side of things, I am not even sure why your friend is calling out the Narrative team for making the most unwelcoming, toxic platform out there, just because 4 people disagree with him. That seems like a rather extreme thing to say.

 

Drixx Madison posted:

I fully agree and wish I could think of an easy solution to suggest. Also, thanks for recruiting on steemit. I've stopped producing new content there and am stockpiling for the general release here. My major gripe over there is that 7 day payout window. I have faith the Narrative team will figure things out.

I agree, Thanks @Garden Gnome Publications thank you for recruiting so many people! 

Interesting discussion here.

My takeaways are: definitions of word limit categories should define an upper limit, but not a lower one.  As the appeal against Flash Fiction suggests, if that is defined as 1000 words or less, without setting any other expectations of length, then it leaves room for niches to define themselves as more restrictive, housing fiction of shorter lengths.  Defining the upper limit, and not defining a lower limit or average expected length, removes half of the controversy of what these limits should actually be.

As for the arbitrary nature of these limits, once a niche has been approved - I think we should consider the upper limit it defines as Narrative's approach to that fiction category definition, and not worry about arguing that it is not universally accepted.  Unless of course the wisdom of the crowd utterly failed, and, for instance, approved a Flash Fiction niche with an upper limit of 10,000 words.  That would clearly be completely beyond reason.

I also think the moderators on these niches should have a bit of flexibility.  If a story is submitted to Flash Fiction and it is 1100 words - probably best to accept it, and probably best for the owners and mods of the various bite-size fiction niches to not argue about these things.  If the person who wrote the 1100 words considers it to be Flash fiction, and it is that close to the niche's definition of Flash fiction, don't stir up controversy over it!  It would be a storm in a tea cup - as the British like to say - and would just generate energy-wasting controversy.

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