Change in the default skin of the site
You may have noticed that the default skin for the site (the one you see before you log in) has changed to a much more minimalist look. Unfortunately, the bandwidth for the site went through the roof last month and I'm having to take steps to minimise it wherever possible, and the most obvious place to do that is to change the default skin to one using smaller files.

This will not change your personal skin. When you log in, you'll still see whatever skin you've personally chosen. All of the other skins are still there so please do not panic.

Unfortunately, it was this or risk the site disappearing for part of the month, as it almost did last month.
Posted by: Alyse on 01 Apr 2006 1:48 pm(26 Comments)
Stories losing paragraph breaks.
You know that bit next to the story submission box, which says that the software lets you use [br] tags in html?

It lies, man. It lies like a dawg!

If you're one of the authors who has been having problems with losing line breaks in stories, and you are coding your stories like this:

This is the first paragraph.[br][br]This is the second paragraph.

that might explain the problem. The software removes all the [br] tags and instead puts its own in wherever you've hit return instead. Because the above example doesn't have any hard returns in it, it ends up looking like one paragraph when it's added to the site.

If you're coding them like this:

This is the first paragraph.[br][br]

This is the second paragraph.[br][br]

then it will still look fine, because although it takes out the [br] tags, there are hard returns between paragraphs, where it then puts its own [br] tags. [p] tags will also work fine, but again if you are leaving space between paragraphs as well, you'll end up with extra break lines between paragraphs. Because it's just awkward like that. Apparently.

This is why we suggest that for preference you use text files (with some amends for italics and bold) all the way, baby! And Notetab, because it rocks like a rocking thing.
Posted by: Alyse on 06 Feb 2006 10:30 pm(21 Comments)
Don't make me release the Flying Monkeys, people!
As you all are aware, this archive is a moderated archive, which means that the vast majority of stories submitted to the archive are reviewed by Leah or I before they're validated and added. This is to ensure that they meet the requirements of the archive in terms of quality, content and formatting.

Now, Leah and I pride ourselves on getting to and validating stories as quickly as possible, despite the fact that we both have other commitments like jobs and families. It's very, very rare that a story is in the queue for more than twenty four hours and where they have been it's been unavoidable - either we've not been able to get online or there's something that Leah and I need to discuss before we can validate it. And even those stories are usually validated within 36 to 48 hours of submission.

Unfortunately, Leah and I still regularly receive mails from people wanting to know why their stories have not been validated, even though their stories haven't been in the queue a full day by that point. For some reason 16 hours seems to be a favourite length of time between submitting and chasing us. I have no idea why. I assume it's one of the unknowable mysteries of the universe.

Maybe there's a rip in the fabric of space and time.

I'm not actually singling anyone out - because as I said this happens a lot or I wouldn't be saying anything :) - but can I please ask people to be a little more patient about the whole submission process? While I'm thrilled that you're all so keen to have your stories added to the archive, mailing us so soon after submission is not going to get your story validated any faster. All that happens is that when we finally get a chance to get online in the evening and check our mail to see if any new stories have been submitted, your mail is sitting there right alongside the new submissions notification. And we can't validate it any earlier than that because neither of us has a time machine :) (although that would be really, really cool).

So, please, give it at least three or four days before you mail us. That way I won't have to release the flying monkeys and frankly that just gets messy for everyone :)
Posted by: Alyse on 25 Jan 2006 6:53 pm(36 Comments)
Attention AOL Users
Can you ensure that you check your spam boxes for mails from this site, and ensure that mails from us are whitelisted, please?

We've had some issues with authors not receiving mails, including rejection letters, because AOL had misidentified them as spam.

Thank you.
Posted by: Alyse on 09 Jan 2006 1:22 pm(16 Comments)
Quoting of copyrighted works in stories
As some of you may be already aware, some large fanfiction archives no longer accept songfics. Our understanding is that this is largely due to fanfiction sites having received C&D letters concerning stories that quote extensively from song lyrics, infringing upon copyright held by someone else. In some countries, solicitors do not even need to be instructed to send C&D letters to copyright infringers, and it has become a rather lucrative business for some to identify sites that infringe upon music copyright and serve C&D letters to them.

As an archive, we understand that the works we host are derivative and may infringe upon copyrights that are held by others. This is a risk that we have accepted. Most TV and Movie copyright holders are aware that fanfiction is not for profit and is written from love of the show rather than a desire to infringe on something to which they hold the rights. We are not, however, prepared to accept the risk that comes with authors quoting directly and extensively from copyrighted works, with or without disclaimers in place. Such quotage is in direct competition with the copyright holder's ability to sell song sheets, etc, and may be perceived as a threat to their income, with predictable results.

We don't, however, want to follow other sites in banning songfics completely. In fact, we haven't to date included anything in the rules about songfics at all, trusting to the judgement of our authors on what is, or is not, 'fair use' of lyrics (i.e. permitted quoting without infringing on copyright). Unfortunately, we have had a number of submissions recently:

- that have quoted most or all of the lyrics of a particular song

- where a large percentage of the story - in some cases more than half of the content - are actually directly quoted song lyrics written by someone else and are not the fanfiction author's own work.

In these cases we have had no choice but to reject these stories as it falls well outside our understanding of fair use, and we will continue to do so.

Could I therefore please ask all of our authors to be more careful about the stories that they submit and ensure that:

- the quoting of song lyrics is kept to a minimum. Consider them the fanfiction equivalent of hot chilli powder and use sparingly :)

- the vast majority of the story should be in the author's own words (and this would include not submitting stories that consist largely or significantly of dialogue from the shows themselves rather than the fanfiction author's own words).

Thank you.
Posted by: Alyse on 08 Jan 2006 11:35 pm(33 Comments)
Story submissions turned back on
You can now upload your stories. Go wild, but bear in mind that while I'm back from shiny, shiny Lapland, Leah is still on holiday and therefore I'm the only mod currently able to validate your stories.

This may mean a delay before dealing with submissions, so please be patient. And by patient, I mean 'please do not mail me within hours of submission wanting to know why your story has not been validated yet.' I do occasionally need sleep, you know :D
Posted by: Alyse on 28 Dec 2005 5:15 pm(29 Comments)
Story submissions turned off
They'll reopen again on around 29th or so. There are some stories in the queue, but they will be cleared tomorrow.

Happy Holidays!
Posted by: Alyse on 20 Dec 2005 11:04 pm(25 Comments)
Christmas Hiatus
Neither Leah nor I are going to have internet access over the Christmas period, as we're both going to be away (yay! Lapland!). So we'll be turning story submissions off from around about the 21st to the 29th/30th when one or other of us is back.

Just some advance warning :)
Posted by: Alyse on 18 Dec 2005 9:45 am(19 Comments)
Please read. This is very important stuff, here.

If you've read our rules when you joined the archive, or whenever you've uploaded a story (and we would hope you have :)), then you will be aware of the fact that while works in progress (WIPs) may be posted to the archive, we do say that in order to stay there, they should be regularly updated (Rule 7).

Now that the archive has been open for a year, we thought it was time to review the stories archived with us and ensure that they comply with this rule.

What this means is that starting after the holidays in January, Alyse and I will be and I will start identifying languishing WIPs.

Languishing WIPs mean all stories not marked completed where a new chapter has not been added in more than four months (which is a month longer than the rule). This does not include series made up of individual, completed stories (though we urge you to mark such series as 'Complete,' since each story in that series is complete).

Once we've identified these stories, we will mail the authors. The authors will then have two weeks to mark their stories as completed (if they are, but weren't indicated as such) or add a new chapter. After that, the WIPs will be removed from the archive. With the holidays, this should give authors an extra month to work on their stories.

(Please note: If we remove your WIP, you are more than welcome to resubmit it once you have added new chapters or completed it. We will be happy to re-archive them.)

So, this is a very, very good time to make sure that all your finished stories are marked 'Complete,' so they don't look like WIPs. You can do this by logging in, going to Your Account, and clicking on Edit/Delete Stories. Once there, you'll see 'Completed: no' (or 'yes) next to the title of each story. Click on the 'no' and it will become 'yes,' indicating that your story is complete.

Alyse and I will be doing this periodically from now on, so please be sure that you update your WIP stories regularly, and mark finished stories as 'Complete.' If you need any help with this, there are some instructions on the help page.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact myself or Alyse, either via e-mail or by leaving a comment for this news item.

Thank you,

Posted by: Leah on 14 Dec 2005 10:19 pm(23 Comments)
Hack attempt
Someone has attempted to hack this site, and most of the other sites that I run using eFiction. As far as I can tell, they haven't managed to change anything, but can you let me know if you're experiencing any problems with your account etc. please? In the meantime, I've applied a fix and changed all of the admin passwords etc., and I suggest that you change your password too if you have any concerns.
Posted by: Alyse on 04 Dec 2005 7:39 pm(22 Comments)
I would think of a witty title - but I can't
We've updated the rules, mainly to link to a whole new page we've drafted that sets out more clearly the most common reasons that stories fail to meet our minimum quality standards.

It's here. My brain, however, appears to have flown south for the winter.
Posted by: Alyse on 01 Dec 2005 9:18 pm(23 Comments)
Story submissions turned back on.
Story submissions have been turned back on. Please be sensible about uploading stories and if there is a surge, you may unfortunately find delays in Leah or I approving them.
Posted by: Alyse on 01 Dec 2005 7:56 am(23 Comments)
Archive temporarily closing to new submissions
The archive celebrated its first birthday on 9 November, and in the last year has grown far more quickly than our wildest dreams. Leah and I wanted to thank everyone for participating and for making the site such a success.

However, in that year Leah and I have not had a break - even during holidays we have checked frequently to make sure that stories are validated - and we've got to the point where we need to recharge our batteries, write our own stories and catch up on sleep :)

Consequently, we're taking a little time off. The archive will therefore be closed to new submissions until 1 December 2005. You will still be able to sign up for an account, receive and respond to reviews and edit current stories. The only thing you will not be able to do is add new stories or new chapters to existing stories.

There are some stories in the queue awaiting formatting edits by the authors who submitted them, and we will add these to the archive when the changes have been made. But we would appreciate it if any problems with the archive could wait until the 1 December, unless they are significant enough to harm your enjoyment of the archive.

Thank you.

We'll see you on 1 December.
Posted by: Alyse on 21 Nov 2005 7:38 am(30 Comments)
Gentle reminder (brickbats only need apply)
I'd like to remind all authors that if they have any doubt whatsoever about their grasp of grammar, spelling or punctuation, they should seek a beta reader. We even provide a handy-dandy link on the right hand side of the page to a group we set up specifically to help you find one.

While we realise that everyone who submits to the archive is a fan - and we're all in favour of encouraging new writers to stretch themselves and to jump on in to the fanfiction water - at the moment we seem to be rejecting far more stories than we are accepting due to simple grammatical errors or typos that could, and should, be picked up by running a spellcheck never mind by a beta reader.

We want to remain as encouraging as possible, and we really don't enjoy telling people that their work can't be added to the archive, so please, if you're new to writing, or even if you know that there are any areas that you can improve in, seek a beta reader before you submit your stories rather than waiting until it is rejected.

Thank you.

Also, I would remind even those authors who have had stories already added to the archive that while we do try to be more lenient towards newer authors, by the time you've submitted a few stories we do expect you to have improved to the point where you have no difficulty in meeting our minimum standards. We have had quite a few instances recently where this improvement hasn't been made and we've been left in the unenviable position of having to reject stories by established authors.

I would also like to point out that since this post is about grammar and spelling it is inevitable - in fact it is an immutable law of the Universe - that it will contain at least one (and probably several) typos or other errors. Please feel free to point and mock when you find them.
Posted by: Alyse on 15 Nov 2005 12:09 pm(19 Comments)
Stargate Fan Awards
As you may have noticed from the banner in the footer, Wraithbait won the award for Best SG:A Website in the Stargate Fan Awards, which were announced today.

Thanks to everyone who voted for us.
Posted by: Alyse on 15 Oct 2005 9:44 pm(24 Comments)
Attention beta readers
Authors keep asking me how they go about finding a beta reader, and since my advice is usually along the lines of 'ask the lists', I thought I might as well set up a mailing list for beta readers, so I can point authors there instead.

So if you'd like to offer your services as a beta reader, please consider joining wraithbeta (like I was going to be able to resist making that pun).
Posted by: Alyse on 11 Oct 2005 9:01 pm(16 Comments)

Please note that if you have posted a completed story to the archive, it is important to mark the story as 'complete.' You can do this by following these simple directions:

Log in to your account:

- choose 'Edit/Delete stories'

- go to the story in the list. Next to the name of each story is 'Completed: no'

- click on 'no' and it will change to 'yes'.

Stories marked as incomplete may not get reviewed, as many readers don't like reading WIPs. Also, incomplete stories won't show up as search results.

Thank you!

Posted by: Leah on 11 Oct 2005 4:45 am(20 Comments)
View Unanswered Reviews
If you have an account here, next time you log in you should notice a new link under 'Your Account' - 'View Unanswered Reviews'. Clicking on that link lets you see any reviews left on your stories to which you haven't replied. And to make it even more helpful, at the end of each unanswered review is a text link saying 'Respond'. Clicking on that will take you to the normal response box so that you can reply to the review if you wish.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Posted by: Alyse on 25 Sep 2005 8:18 am(24 Comments)
Search Function
I've made an amendment to the advanced search function, so that now you can choose to have your search results include only completed stories, excluding works-in-progress.

This functionality will make it even more important for authors to remember to change the status of their stories to 'complete' when they are finished, as Leah said in her last post.
Posted by: Alyse on 10 Aug 2005 1:56 pm(28 Comments)
With Season Two starting in the US tonight, please remember to include spoiler warnings in either the summary or the author's notes for any stories posted relating to the new season. And if the story relates to a specific episode, you should also select 'Episode Related' as one of the applicable genres.
Posted by: Alyse on 15 Jul 2005 11:35 pm(24 Comments)