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Author Topic: The Crucible: restatement of aims and new direction feedback.  (Read 17096 times)
Editor
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Charles Bukowski
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« on: November 18, 2008, 10:23:50 PM »

Please post any feedback on the new direction of 'The Crucible' section of this site here.

Carpe diem,

Mike,
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Unquiet Desperation.
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Will
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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2008, 10:34:42 PM »

We need more readers and more feedback and less irrelevant chit-chat. 
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Ploe
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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2008, 10:53:07 PM »

Agreed. People need to be tough. I used to be tough until I realised nobody else was. I calmed down to appear less of a nit-picking bastard.
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Will
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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2008, 10:58:45 PM »

More honesty than toughness (though a little rough housing never hurt anyone).  If something is brilliant it should be treated as such. 
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Ploe
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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2008, 11:14:19 PM »

Oh of course. But people only post about something they like, and leave the ones they dislike blank. People shouldn't be scared of hurting someone elses feelings, we're only trying to help them improve.
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ahazura
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2008, 12:29:00 AM »

Yes honesty is very important if one is to get across to the writer the reason for the comment. I am guilty of commenting on with " I like this" or commenting on lines in a poem that grabbed my attention as a readrer.
I leave blanks ones I like but have no valid criticism of or no good advice to offer so its not because I am afraid someone may be hurt by my honesty but I don't want to leave them with I don't like this but have no sense of direction to tell you how to improve on it, i just don't like it.
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Mr. Goldberg
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2008, 10:59:45 AM »

To unsheathe the cold steel brutal bayonet of Lit. Crit. is not something I wished to do before Christmas...one has to remember behind every posting there is a poster. However as Field Marshall Ed wants it that way so be it. No Armistice. No Xmas Truce. No shared pictures of loved ones and exchange of baccy and chocolate over the barbed wire. Reload the Gatlings. Don the Gas Masks. Bring it on until the Crucible melts down into a molten lava of leaden literature and we're all knock kneed and bent coughing like hags . Welcome to The Dead Poets Society...and may our children forgive us...
« Last Edit: November 19, 2008, 11:13:23 AM by Mr. Goldberg » Logged
Flying_whizzabe
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« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2008, 02:56:33 PM »

I'm going to raise my hand and say I'm guilty of that too.
Sometimes I just like what I read, I'll try to be more constructive.

I think I agree :] 
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Pater
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« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2008, 03:35:28 PM »

This would read better as "I owe it all to my muse." Infact a good deal of your pieces would. You write more often than not about the same thing, and manage to write it differently each time, which is a skill some may say, but to me it's boring. There's more to life than your relationship with your man, whether you feel trapped, nurtured or whatever you might be cooing on about. The language you use isn't interesting, your rhythm trips, your imagery is dull, you're not saying anything. Refine your entire approach to poetry because I'm really bored of reading your stuff.

See, these are the problems the Editor has with invoking what he assumes to be constructive criticism. To me the above is plain wrong. Not only does Ploe relish the self-importance he now feels he can give free rein to, he's replacing his inability to grasp the deeper contexts in Ahazura's writing with the fallback of "if I can't see them they don't exist".
Ahazura's writing might well need tinkering with in terms of construction and to a certain degree her sense of "rhythm" - but not at the expense of the unique insights I believe she gives.
Far from being boring, her work provides new interpretations of the universally shared aspects of being "in love". Far from being only about herself and her bloke it takes only a little thought to view these as how you might secretly be seen by a lover - or how you might see them. In new ways for old thinking if you like.
If you believe her work needs improving yourself, Mr. Ed, then I think you should make it plain you are not vouching for Ploe's opinions here. I know you're not but it appears as if you are. And Ahazura's poetry more than merits being in The Crucible. Cheers.
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simon nemeth
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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2008, 03:56:29 PM »

One of my main bug bearers on this site is the fact that the Editor and Modorators are not (correct me if im wrong) "into" English or poetry. By this I mean does Drabble, Null, Ploe et al have say a degree in English?
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Ploe
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« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2008, 04:24:42 PM »

You don't need a degree in English to adore literature. Anyway, we're veering off topic, back to ahazura's poem.
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nauseamfromrum
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« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2008, 05:08:34 PM »

so far i see that the older(goldberg, pater) people like ahazura's work more than the younger people (me, ploe) . perhaps that's saying something. whether for good or bad.
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Editor
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« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2008, 05:28:34 PM »

Thanks for posting, Pater and Simon, as this gives me a chance to elaborate a little more.

ee, these are the problems the Editor has with invoking what he assumes to be constructive criticism. To me the above is plain wrong. Not only does Ploe relish the self-importance he now feels he can give free rein to, he's replacing his inability to grasp the deeper contexts in Ahazura's writing with the fallback of "if I can't see them they don't exist".
Ahazura's writing might well need tinkering with in terms of construction and to a certain degree her sense of "rhythm" - but not at the expense of the unique insights I believe she gives.
Far from being boring, her work provides new interpretations of the universally shared aspects of being "in love". Far from being only about herself and her bloke it takes only a little thought to view these as how you might secretly be seen by a lover - or how you might see them. In new ways for old thinking if you like.
If you believe her work needs improving yourself, Mr. Ed, then I think you should make it plain you are not vouching for Ploe's opinions here. I know you're not but it appears as if you are. And Ahazura's poetry more than merits being in The Crucible. Cheers.

Pater:
We want constructive criticism from peers here, the plural being the key: the criticism offered by any given site member is no more or less valid than that offered by any other, so what you've done in replying to Ploe is exactly what we want. He offers criticism, you think it's invalid and say so, then Ahazura looks at all the different comments and follows the bits she thinks are good points and ignores the rest. The fact is that this hasn't been the case in  'The Crucible' so far: it's been a place for pats on the head, rather than a place where people can improve their work through serious feedback. It is of course the choice of the author of the work whether to accept the feedback, as in any such case. I may be putting words into her mouth, but I'd wager that Ahazura would say that the debate here is better for her writing than the limp praise offered previously.

One of my main bug bearers on this site is the fact that the Editor and Modorators are not (correct me if im wrong) "into" English or poetry. By this I mean does Drabble, Null, Ploe et al have say a degree in English?

Simon:
I have to say that I echo Ploe in saying that qualifications are irrelevant in enjoying the arts. Many people without degrees etc can offer valid criticism, many with them can't. Of course many with degrees can, and many without can't. The point is that there are many things that make people qualified to offer advice. Our qualification, for what it's worth, is that we run a poetry/prose magazine, a website devoted to the arts and other arts/music events.

Both:
We've tried to keep mod involvement to a minimum on 'The Carnival' and 'The Crucible' becuase the last thing we want is for this to be one of those sites where the only thing that counts is a thumbs-up from a staff member. We want these boards to be peer reviewed. However, it's our judgement that this hasn't been working, hence the new direction... or rather restatement of principles. As part of this we're restating our right to send to 'The Carnival' work we don't think cuts the mustard, as a way to protect members themselves from criticism they might find uncomfortable as well as the new 'Crucible'. I can understand if members affected may be displeased, and if other members may think that presumptuous, but we hope they'd respond by trying to write something they're even more proud of just to show us how wrong we are. Remember, someone has to make such judgements for things to improve as we want them to, and we're the ones holding the reins so it's down to us.

We urge anyone that doesn't like this new direction to do either or both of two things. First, get more involved in this site. We want it to be a vibrant community and if you're more involved, in whatever capacity, then you have more chance of effecting change. Send us ideas, volunteer to mod, whatever: just get involved. Second, start a site of your own. That doesn't mean 'If you don't like it, get lost', rather if you think we're wrong start your own site to show us how it's done. The web needs more independent poetry/arts sites: we'd welcome any newcomers and would even give advice on dealing with unruly members... Wink

But as Ploe said, back to Ahazura's poem...

Carpe diem,

Mike,
Editor,
Unquiet Desperation.

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Pater
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« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2008, 06:05:56 PM »

From: Mike Ed.

Pater:
We want constructive criticism from peers here, the plural being the key: the criticism offered by any given site member is no more or less valid than that offered by any other, so what you've done in replying to Ploe is exactly what we want. He offers criticism, you think it's invalid and say so, then Ahazura looks at all the different comments and follows the bits she thinks are good points and ignores the rest. The fact is that this hasn't been the case in  'The Crucible' so far: it's been a place for pats on the head, rather than a place where people can improve their work through serious feedback. It is of course the choice of the author of the work whether to accept the feedback, as in any such case. I may be putting words into her mouth, but I'd wager that Ahazura would say that the debate here is better for her writing than the limp praise offered previously.


In reply:

Hm, as far as avoiding offering up "limp praise" and given sharper opinions on material, I think I've told you before that I often give what I see as constructive advice via private message. Though that isn't as the site prescribes I've done this to negate any accusations of trying to sound "clever", and/or being guilty of hubris.
The irony here is that there will always be some who would willingly (if not wilfully) point the finger in this way (at anyone), while awarding themselves the right to say whatever they like, and in whatever way.
I just question how you can decide when a genuine critique is given, if someone "obeys" the rules but evidently means to be destructive in their open and onsite comments.
I'll post my constructive remarks on here where possible from now on, instead of by PM.

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Editor
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Charles Bukowski
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« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2008, 06:20:07 PM »

I just question how you can decide when a genuine critique is given, if someone "obeys" the rules but evidently means to be destructive in their open and onsite comments.

I sympathise with this, and that's what mods in 'The Crucible' will be there for. There's a fine line between constructive criticism and abuse, and we don't want to see it crossed. I'd imagine members will learn as much about how to criticise (in the true sense of the word), which is more difficult than many imagine. Really, though, even mod action has its limitations here, so it's also down to site members... which is kind of the point.

Oh, and 'limp praise' wasn't directed at yourself or anyone in particular: rather it's a general malaise.

Carpe diem,
Mike.
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Will
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« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2008, 09:41:36 PM »

the last thing we want is for this to be one of those sites where the only thing that counts is a thumbs-up from a staff member.

Exactly.  Being a staff member says nothing about our own creative writing ventures and whether they're superior or inferior to other members.  In fact I put myself fairly low on the totem pole in that regard.  The only reason I'm a staff member is because I have too much time on my hands (usually), and I enjoy reading all this.
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Pater
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« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2008, 02:44:34 AM »

so far i see that the older(goldberg, pater) people like ahazura's work more than the younger people (me, ploe) . perhaps that's saying something. whether for good or bad.


As an individual I certainly don't see age-difference as playing a part in how this particular poem has been read, interpreted and then commented on.
If you mean in a general sense subject-matter seems to provide a dividing line of sorts, then that's plausible.
But I have to restate this possibility makes no difference to me either, in contributing remarks on anyone's poetry.
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Mr. Goldberg
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« Reply #17 on: November 20, 2008, 02:54:02 PM »

Pater has a point...whith a website such as this where are you are dealing with the expression of people's innermost thoughts and feelings not to mention their "art" surely it is a non sequitir to apply "rules" let alone attempt to abide by them. Yes I think all should be encouraged with whatever angle they're coming from ...how you do it without hurting somebody's feelings somewhere down the line is tantamount to impossible without resorting to bland pleasantries ...that was "nice"....I liked that etc. etc.

That said - provoking various aspects of shit stirring on people via in fighting amongst alternative qualias is the surefire way to scare people off the site for good. The only other way is to apply a robotic approach within the confines, constraints anmd terminology of literary criticism which does require a fair deal of cold hearted objectivity which would take the fun out of it altogether.
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Mr. Goldberg
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« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2008, 11:33:56 AM »

...Mr Nemeth also has a point ( deftly sidestepped by Mr Ploe I notice) ...by what degree or qualification does anyone else have on here in exploring the annals of Eng Lit..and beore I go off on one having it it is not a prerequisite for delivery of poetry but being merely "into it" oft does not suffice. I'm "into" Roman History at the moment - doesn't make me an expert.

You can't go round designing box girder bridges if you've never so much as set foot in the Chartered Institute of Suerveyors. The same for literary expression surely ? (Discuss..I am playing Devil's advocate here).
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Ploe
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« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2008, 03:10:56 AM »

We don't claim to be experts. I have a love for English Language but no formal academic grounding beyond two C grades in my GCSEs. Still doesn't alter my love or passion for the old wordcraft, though.
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Flying_whizzabe
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« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2008, 09:35:48 AM »

The kind of people doing an English degree that I have come across have no passion.
One day they can slam letters in front of their name, but it means jack shit if they are not interested. 
« Last Edit: November 23, 2008, 09:38:54 AM by Flying_whizzabe » Logged
Mr. Goldberg
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« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2008, 12:48:38 PM »

Bluntly put Wizz. Console yourelf in the fact that I have both the passion (which got me through the degree) and the letters after my name. I don't know this Jack Shit whom you mention but 'tis true one doesn't require a degree in it to write well. Indeed au contraire - academia can often stifle the creative demon. Attended and given many seminars on this one with Access students...usually starting with  Shakespeare who never went to a Uni. having little Latin and less Greek at school etc.

That said you do find the majority of professional writers are more well read than they openly admit whether it's Terry Pratchett or Sue Townsend...having had the humility to study the craft in order to perfect their own.
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