Important Site Notice

Hi everyone, in response to some of the recent posts and comments that have been published I thought I’d clear up a few things and explain how this site works.

For starters, there isn’t an ‘administrator team’ or ‘developer team’, it’s just me. I’ve enjoyed creating and maintaining the website but with the amount of correspondence I now receive and with a job and family taking up my time, I apologise that sometimes it takes me a while to answer specific queries and longer to implement changes. I respond to all emails sent in…eventually!

I originally created the site in the wake of the closure of 1hss in response to a discussion on the LTAH forum. Myself and another member had agreed to team up and run the site together. He then went AWOL and I completed the project on my own. I didn’t really have any plans for growing the site but I continued posting on forums and visitor numbers have gradually increased over the years.

Website Facts

  • Created in 2015
  • There are 100,000 visits to the site each month
  • There are circa 1,000 stories
  • We have around 1,750 members signed up
  • Pays for itself via Google Adsense

Criticism

As you can see from the amount of people using the website there’s going to be a wide variety of people and as in life there’s going to be a percentage of bad apples. When I first created the site I got complaints that there weren’t enough stories being posted, as it’s grown there’s issues of plagiarism and the odd squabble between members.

It certainly gets me down when people criticise the site, its content or the authors. If I see negative comments I try to deal with them and want this to be a place people enjoy visiting. I’ve posted my own stories and can understand the disappointment of deliberately damaging ratings. Overall I do think the ratings system does even itself out but if there’s a campaign against particular author’s or less popular types of story then it’s not fair.

It takes time to implement something new on the site which is why I’ll only generally update functionality every 6 months or so and it’s really only as a result of how I see things. This is the first time in 5 years that I’ve had any mass correspondence about the site and as such I thought everything was more or less fine.

The Way Forward

I agree that using a rating system isn’t ideal. I’ll endeavour to swap this out for a Facebook style ‘Like’ system which would seem a fairer judge of the merits of each story and a thanks to the author. I’ll see if I can somehow migrate previous ratings into this.

I want this to be a place that’s inclusive and friendly so I think a reporting feature should be included which can highlight a story or comment as being inappropriate.

I’ll also change the formatting of the homepage to include more stories for longer. Ratings, views etc were my idea of a bit of fun but if people are unhappy with this then it’s time to move forward.

I’d love for someone to step forward and help out with the moderation and with the running of the site. You can email me here if you’d like to be part of this.

You can help with the costs of running the site by clicking on the adverts you see at the top of each page which will mean I can invest more time in improving the site. I’ve already upgraded the hosting earlier in the year which had been a big success with the site being much faster and more reliable.

Feel free to comment on this post with your thoughts and ideas for moving forward as it’s always nice to hear from people.

…and finally, a massive thank you to every single person who’s contributed to the site. Without your stories and comments this site would be nothing. As you can see by the view counts your work is appreciated by thousands of people.

Andy

15 responses to “Important Site Notice

  1. Hi Andy,

    First, let me thank you for the great work you are doing with the site. There’s always people that will always find something to criticize. As for the replacement of the voting system, I really don’t care which one you decide to put in place. If it’s a story that interests me, I’ll read it and if’s something I like, I’ll vote and a comment to the author.

    Hope the site stays alive for a long, long time.
    Thanks.

  2. Your work is much appreciated, trust me. The ratings system worked well for the 1hss site and for many others, larger stories sites, so it’s not really your fault if things got tense over that. I also remember that in the old, ooold haircut story archive, which was the precursor of 1hss, there wasn’t any rating system and it did fine anyway so in the end it’s shouldn’t be so bad to get rid of it, even if keeping an indication of quality of some kind is still important to me and I think a facebook-like system such as you propose could be a very good compromise.

  3. Andy,

    First, thanks on behalf of all the writers that submit stories to HSN for your kind and thoughtful response to Rayzur’s departure and our concerns.

    That being said, it does seem like quite a few of us would like to see the 5-star rating system disappear. There is simply no need for it. As I made mention of in my response to Rayzur … if authors are looking for affirmation that readers like their stories, they should find solace in reader’s comments and, over a period of time, how many people read their stories.

    Unfortunately, like life in general, no system is perfect. Like a few members of HSN said in recent comments to fellow writers … “Try to ignore/forget the outlier comments/ratings, and know that the rest of us truly appreciate your hard work, imagination and well written stories.”

    Thanks again Andy, and best wishes no matter what you decide to do, or change, with HSN. It is a truly beautiful, and much appreciated website!

    Insatiable

  4. I picked up my ball and stormed off home earlier this week, not realising what I’d trigger.

    Although I haven’t responded individually, may I say thank you for the positive comments to my post. Thank you for the well-considered, mature comments in response to an angry outburst. Thank you for the comments pointing out the error of my ways. I’m grateful for each of them.

    By way of explanation, in a previous incarnation, I was a regular contributor to 1hss. My stories generally received positive feedback, until I was
    targetted by an individual who appeared to have an issue with my “success”. I took the only way out as I saw it. That identity was abandoned and Rayzur was born. The frustration fell away and I enjoyed writing again for a generally receptive audience.

    I object to the rating system being used as a blunt instrument to trash my efforts (or the efforts of anyone else, for that matter) without thought . I
    welcome comments, positive and negative and would far rather have those than ratings. If you don’t like what I write, tell me, otherwise I don’t know.
    Maybe it’s something that I was unaware of and by changing it, I could become a better writer. Comments are few, positive or negative. I would like to
    thank Dragonfly Holly in particular for taking the time to comment on stories, mine and others. One of my recent characters even got a dragonfly tattoo by
    way of acknowledgement!

    I’m a guest on this site and very grateful for the time that someone has taken to give me an outlet for my jottings. My comments weren’t intended as
    criticism of the site, although I think that the suggestion of finding a way to keep recent stories visible for longer is a positive one and would be more
    important to me than losing the rating system. It only takes one prolific author to release several stories at once and someone’s hard work falls off the
    end, into oblivion. People have suggested on here and in emails that I should create a site for the Rayzur stories and my previous stories. I haven’t got
    the time or the ability to do that unfortunately. The little spare time that I do have, I write.

    What happens now? I don’t know. I hope that the site flourishes and continues to be appreciated. I like to think that I’ve contributed to the community and
    that I’ve given people a break from reality and a little pleasure along the way. For now, I’ve got my ball, I’ve got some unpublished stories and I’ve got
    some reflecting to do.

  5. Hi Andy,

    thank you for the updade, I actually like the rating system a lot and would very much appreciate if the site would retain something similar going forward. It might have some minor disadvantages, but bing able to easily distinguish what stories might be worth reading has been a major benefit. To keep a certain level of granularity, I would therefore suggest a Reddit-Style up-/downvote system.

    If you want to keep the stars you could alternatively set a minimum number of votes that need no come in before the rating is displayed. This would even out low ratings to a certain extent.

    In any case, thank you for keeping the lights on for ally his time!
    Best
    Dreifuss

    1. Thanks Dreifuss. I agree, the ratings do add something and it’s a shame that there’s a few people who enjoy disrupting things. I worry that by giving people the ability to downvote it will be demotivating to authors.

      Maybe using the Mode of these scores would be better. We’ll see.

  6. Hi Andy

    Thank you for the update. I’ll echo the people before me and say I really appreciate all the work you do for the site and for creating it in the first place. It means a lot to so many of us.

    It’s great to hear that more newly posted stories will be featured on the homepage in the future. That way more stories will get the love they deserve.

    Just a suggestion about the ratings system: Perhaps keep the ratings as they are but include an option that shows the breakdown of how many people voted for each star? Then, for example, if a story has x10 five star ratings and x1 one star rating it would show readers that this is in fact good story and someone either didn’t like it or was trying to be spiteful and effect the author’s score.

    Whatever you decide please know that there is a lot of support for both you and the site.

  7. Hi Andy,

    I’d also like to echo the huge thanks for keeping this site running 🙂

    I’m presonally not that bothered about the rating system; if someone gives one of my stories a low rating, well, that’s up to them. I know how much work went into it 🙂

    That said, there is scope for abuse, and perhaps that should be addressed. The idea of a ‘like’ button seems good, as very few people take the time to write comments (me included !) I don’t think a ‘dislike’ button would be a good idea, partly as that is then another avenue for potential abuse. Perhaps there could be 2 distinct ‘like’ buttons, one for ‘this story is well written’ and one for ‘this story pushed my buttons’.

    Regarding the hompeage, perhaps it could list all stories posted in the last (say) 2 weeks. Obviously the length of this list would vary over time, but every story would be up there for the saem time. That may have been what you were going to do anyway… 🙂

    Thanks again,

    f35h

    1. Thanks f35h. Writing a story takes so much effort and I know comments are really appreciated by authors. I like the 2 weeks on the front page idea but maybe if there’s a slow period it could actually look a little empty. I will continue to assess the best options.

  8. I appreciate your hard work and think you’re doing a good job. I read that post you are referring to titled, Goodbye. Not familiar with the author’s work but could understand the disappointment of being knocked down so easily. Sorry, but can’t help you any great Solutions. Keep up the good work. My one criticism of the site lately is, there are a few authors offering very low quality work, dumping great numbers of their work on the site. These stories have low ratings and deserve those ratings. Quality, not quantity.

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