Friday, February 17, 2012

A Few Observations About EqD's New "Three Strike" Policy

BREAKING (TWO DAY OLD) NEWS: Equestria Daily officially instituted a new policy recently whereby stories which are sent back to the author for revision twice and still fail to meet posting standards will be permanently rejected.  Although it wasn't exactly a secret that this was coming, the announcement has generated a lot of talk--and with it, plenty of drama.  My two cents on the whole affair, after the break.

[Full disclosure: I have only submitted three stories to EqD during the pre-reader era, and all three were promptly posted without comment.  As such, my contact with the pre-readers in their "professional" capacity has been practically nil.]

Although the majority of readers/writers don't seem to have any problem with the new rule, a vocal minority have been loudly declaring on every forum where I saw the policy being discussed that this change is incredibly destructive and harmful to authors and readers alike.  One of the primary arguments I've seen is that by limiting the number of fanfics posted, high-quality stories which are unfortunate enough to fail to pass muster in three submissions will be forever lost to those readers who lack the time, energy, or patience to go to a dedicated fanfic site and find them.  This, in turn, will result in lower overall quality among stories that are posted, they claim.

I can't help but think this argument specious at best and profoundly stupid at worst.  If something is submitted three times and still isn't of acceptable quality, I find it hard to imagine that a fourth go-round would suddenly see it metamorphosize into a story of such brilliance that its rejection would be a crime.  At worst, it seems to me that a few stories which, with an additional revision or three, might have been deemed barely acceptable will now be mercifully put out to pasture.  While I'm sure that's very tragic for the author and all, it seems like a blessing to readers (you know, the ones for who's benefit those stories are posted in the first place).

Other complaints seem to be based on misinformation.  A few people seem to be under the impression that the three strikes policy applies to authors, and that if a story is rejected thrice then the person who wrote it is forever banned from submitting anything to EqD henceforth and forevermore.  Others seem to think that EqD is a full-blown fanfic site, rather than a general blog which, among other things, showcases a small amount of writing.

But from what I've seen, the biggest misconception about the pre-readers is that they are editors.  Plenty of complaints have centered around tales of submitting one's fic, only to have it rejected with a few general notes.  Apparently these folks are looking for line editors, which is quite explicitly NOT what the pre-readers do.  Their job is to determine if a given story meets the quality requirements to be posted; any assistance they chose to give to a rejected author beyond explaining the reason(s) for rejection is a bonus.  I know if I were a pre-reader, I'd have no patience for rejected authors complaining that the pre-readers didn't fix up their stories for them.

Apparently the sheer number of stories the pre-readers are expected to handle is becoming overwhelming, and if this helps reduce their workload without compromising the quality of stories they post--which is exactly what it seems like it will do--then I for one think it's a great idea.

Highly Opinionated and Slightly Off-Topic Closing Thoughts:

Personally, I have very high standards for fanfics: I see no reason why they shouldn't be judged by the same standards as original fiction.  On this blog, I try to be hyper-critical of the stories I review because I think that's the best way to help readers make an informed decision about whether or not they want to read them.  Despite this, I understand that most fanfiction (I'm talking about fanfics as a whole here, not just EqD stuff) just isn't very good by any objective measure.  I have no problem with that.  Really, I don't.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with writing a blatant self-insert authorial wish fulfillment piece of dreck, if that's what you want to do.  It's fine if you want to write a crossover with an anime so obscure that only you and your hipster friends have ever heard of it.  There's no problem with writing the 8000th story about Rainbow Dash tragically losing her wings.  Run the fanfic you wrote in Romanian through babble fish and throw the result into a word doc, if that's what will make you happy.  If you think editing your story is a boring waste of time, more power to you.

But doing these things will produce a story that most other people won't want to read.  Write them, have fun with them, and if you really must then go ahead and post them to a dedicated fanfiction site (but don't be surprised if they get a negative reaction from honest readers).  But for goodness sake don't expect a site like EqD, which is meant to showcase the best (okay, more like the not-worst) stories in the fandom to put it on their front page.  Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing a few more stories get through the pre-readers, but you know what I don't want to see them let through?  Crap.  The pre-readers usually make sure that the stuff being posted isn't crap, even if it isn't necessarily to my personal taste.  As a reader, that's an incredibly valuable service that they're doing for me, and dammit, I appreciate it.

So thanks, pre-readers.  I thank you as a reader with too little time and too high of standards to read even a fraction of what this fandom produces.  Thank you for giving me a place I can go to search for fanfiction without scrounging through a sea of illegible, unoriginal, or otherwise subpar stories for the occasional diamond in the rough.  On those occasions when I do want to do a little fishing, I know what sites to visit.  The rest of the time, I'm glad you guys are there to do my dirty work for me.


  1. No offence Chris, but your attitude is exactly the reason EqD took up these measures in the first place.

    EqD has become clogged up with fics because getting your story posted on the blog is like a golden ticket for fic writers. Not only does it make it much easier to get interest in your fic, the fact that there's a process to get through makes it easy to think a fic stands out in terms of quality.

    Unless you're an established author or you can promote your story like crazy, it's very hard to get your story noticed. Even a literary masterpiece can just end up languishing on Fimfiction,, etc with just a few hundred views.

    What this fandom really needs is a better way of showcasing the higher quality fics out there. There's plenty of stuff to enjoy out there if you're willing to look for it, but most people just don't have the time. All we have right now is EqD (which is exclusive of perfectly valid pieces of work if a particular pre-reader didn't like it) and maybe the tvtropes fanfic rec page (which can be done by just one person).

    1. I hope you'll forgive me, but I don't see what the problem is.

      You say that there needs to be a way of showcasing higher quality fics. We have a means to do that: Equestria Daily. Not all of the stuff is amazing, of course, but if we limited our criteria to stuff that would make the New York Times Bestseller list if it weren't specifically about ponies...well, we'd have zero fics to read. The site maintains a (sometimes fluctuating) minimum level of standards, and I can't really see that as a bad thing.

      As far as actually getting your stuff on EQD, I'm not really a good source of opinion on that. My only story got bounced once for a single type of mechanical error (a pretty major one), and the response had some constructive criticism with it along with some concerns. Fixed the mechanics, kept the concerns in mind, resubmitted, and done.

    2. (1/3)

      Long rant is long, and goes to some weird places not aimed at anyone in particular. Disclaimer: I’m not a pre-reader, and all source material for this rant has been collected through many months of lurking moar. Disclaimer 2: I have one fic on EqD and it got through on my first submission.

      EqD is and has always been a fantastic place to find something good to read. Its quality standards are what got me into fanfiction in the first place, and probably 95% of the fics I've read have been posted there.

      Are you referring to the problem of fics getting denied for their content being deemed inappropriate for EqD's audience?

      I remember hearing a story about Seth prereading and posting a guy's Naruto crossover sometime back in June. I don't know if the story was any good or not, but it apparently caused such a massive firestorm that it had to be taken down. I’ve also heard that Seth gets angry emails about stories written in present tense.

      And then there've been some other stories about the rejection of My(stara's) Little Pony, a story with a lot of fans that's written in a style that you'll either love or be endlessly annoyed by (pre-readers apparently had the latter reaction).

      It's also said that pre-readers often send back or reject stories in order to protect authors from the site's readerbase. I've heard of a story that apparently got 3-Starred for a few punctuation errors (although why no-one has the same backlash against the more-numerous-than-I'd-expect fics with dialogue punctuation errors is a little baffling).

      And then there's the matter of good stories with high gore/sex content. I've heard that they can exist, and while I don't care to read any of them, I'm sure plenty do. Those kinds of stories will never get on EqD because of their content, even though they may be high-quality literature.

      So anyway, I am going to assume, Mr Megatank, that you dream of a site that would not judge fics by the subjects of their stories but by the deftness of their prose. A site that would not turn away Naruto crossovers or otherwise-good stories that have a few errors here and there and a smattering of eccentricities. A site that would be "a better way of showcasing the higher quality fics out there".

      I encourage you, or anyone with your opinion to go start one. Get your own crack-team of unbiased prereaders together and buy the rights to "" or something.

      But then the question will be this: "what is a good story?" To quote some anon on Ponychan: "Bad is objective, good is subjective". It is very difficult to get people to come to a consensus on this, as seen with that Mystara fic above, Past Sins and My Little Dashie. Some people like them, while others do not.

      As soon as you start looking beyond mechanical competency (and sometimes even then, if we get into British vs American or two-spaces vs one-space), there's going to be some measure of personal bias coming into play regarding the quality of a fic. Some of that bias comes from (lack of) experience with literature – see the differing opinions of My Little Dashie and Past Sins – some of it comes from personal views and upbringing, and some of it probably comes from differing opinions on the point and purpose of fanfiction.

    3. (2/3)

      Going on a tangent with that last one, let's look at Grimdark and Cookie Cutter fics. A grimdark story or a Cookie Cutter one can be good stories, but are they always appropriate for an MLP fanfiction site? A grimdark story that completely derails and disregards the tone of the show (without, say, explaining how things got from FIM to grimdark, ala Fallout Equestria) and the natures of its characters but is still a very good story based on characterisation and plot and stuff: is that a good work of MLP fanfiction? Or what of a good story where two background ponies are humanised and transported to, say, 1940s Earth? Would that be a good work of MLP fanfiction?

      And coming off the tangent again: no-one is totally objective. There is no such thing as true objectivity, which is why the phrase "objective review" irks me to no end (but that's a whole other subject).

      So maybe we should encourage prereaders to have a good kind of subjectivity? Say, the kind that comes from having a lot of experience with literature? Well, that experience very often tends to write off Past Sins as melodramatic and My Little Dashie as pandering, but both of those fics are well-loved and well-praised.

      Very often, complaints are levelled at the pre-readers for having a bias against certain styles of writing and artistic choices. The thing that authors may not be taking into account is that sometimes, certain artistic choices can be bad ideas, and sometimes the author needs to rein in his/her self-indulgent pretension for the benefit of their work.

      A personal example of the above: I once had the bright idea to arbitrarily start the fourth chapter of a normal-up-until-that-part story with some wacky time hijinks. I threw the reader straight into the climax scene and then stopped halfway to explain how things got there. My reviewer was not amused. When I finally got around to asking myself "why did you make that 'artistic choice'?" the only answer I could come up with was "because I was bored".

      And then there's the matter of ignoring recommendations to "show and not tell" because of the above-mentioned "artistic choice". Well. If your "artistic choice" is making your story boring to read, then you'd better change it if you expect anyone to read it.

      On that note, second-person perspective. That’s an artistic choice that’s likely to get your work rejected from EqD (or so I’ve heard). This is likely because, expect in the case of CYOAs, second-person perspective is bizarre and needs to be backed up by very, very good artistic/literary reasons. Sad to say, fanfic authors generally aren’t up to providing those reasons.

      I think that a lot of complaints about pre-reader bias against certain styles aren’t getting the whole story – in many cases, the problem comes from lacklustre author implementation. And this applies to themes as well as writing styles: HiE, PoE, write-by-numbers shipping, Dash-breaks-a-wing, etc... You can write a good story based on anything, but wringing something worthwhile out of genres saturated with mediocrity/awfulness takes a lot of skill. Why else do you think no-one’s even entered this?

    4. (3/3)

      So what am I even saying here?
      >All we have right now is EqD (which is exclusive of perfectly valid pieces of work if a particular pre-reader didn't like it)
      >if a particular pre-reader didn't like it
      It's their job to not like certain things. Having standards means cutting certain things out. Not everyone's going to agree on what should get cut out, but no-one really agrees on anything. There are people out there who like Rainbow Factory.

      Good is subjective. Teenage girls think Twilight is good.

      >perfectly valid pieces of work
      What is a perfectly valid piece of work? I think that’s what my big question is.

      Personally, I like the prereaders, I like their system, and I don't know of any fics that have been rejected that I've particularly disagreed with the rejection of. But maybe it's just that their opinions fit with mine, I don't know.

      Maybe start your own fic spotlight site?

    5. Even if you aren't an established author, there are many ways to promote your writing in this fandom. You don't even have to create your own site from scratch, as has been suggested: fimfiction, pony fiction archive,, even FurAffinity exist for just such an occasion. If you can't think of any way to get the word out about your writing, you need to learn a thing or two about self-promotion.

      And if self-promotion isn't working? Improve your craft. In my tenure as a pre-reader, I've come to believe that there are no bad writers, only writers who need to work harder. Writing is work, after all. We all start off at a baseline of "Oh, I can do this, anyone can write!" and we all tend to suck at that point unless we are insanely talented. Presented with criticism, those who care about writing will do the work necessary to improve. Those who were just looking for something fun to do will either continue as they are or give up for a new hobby. Those who were just looking for attention will whine incessantly.

      My point is, anyone, with enough work, can have a fanfiction worthy of being posted on Equestria Daily. For some, it will be a harder struggle and take longer. For others of us, we'll get posted with every submission. The point of this rule is to stem the tide of continual resubmissions from people unwilling to do the work. It takes time away from actually reviewing the works done by those who are willing. If you ask me, it's the right decision.

    6. Okay, since you've all gone out of your way to discredit and ridicule me, I guess this deserves my attention.

      Yes, there are some things out that are objectively, or generally agreed to be bad. Some things are far more contested. That's the way it always will be.

      My problem is the general feeling that the only way to get anywhere in this medium is to bend over backwards to appease the pre-readers and pass. Sure, there's no real excuse for things like bad grammar, but writers will often draw up concepts for stories specifically because they're afraid the pre-readers are less likely to like what they really wanted to write. Isn't there something inherently wrong with that? I'm not asking the pre-readers to be perfect, I just get the feeling that they're starting to stifle the creativity of writers and enjoyment of writing, even if they didn't mean to.

      Alright, now that's out of the way, two other specific "arguments" that annoyed the hell out of me.

      Okay first of all, starting my own spotlight site. Do you have any idea, any idea at all how difficult something like that would be? In the current state of play, it would be like trying to compete with World of Warcraft.

      Say I create my own website dedicated towards finding the best pony fiction and highlighting it (which wouldn't be that difficult).

      Now for that hard part, getting some people to work for that site the same way the pre-readers do. Do you honestly think people with genuine credentials are going to step forward and work for a website that only gets a few hits per day and for free (I don't have a great deal of money)? No, they're going to say "the hell with this, I'll go somewhere where I'll get some recognition for my work. Say, EqD?"

      The reason EqD got to where it was is because it was already an insanely popular pony blog that happened to delve into the area of higher quality fan fiction. This isn't something I can just copy, as most people will say "what's this got that EqD hasn't?" and they'll never come back. If I try to make the site popular on some other basis then start screening fiction, most people will say "why the hell is this site suddenly about ponyfics?" and never come back.

      So unless you have some brilliant plan you haven't mentioned yet, getting that of the ground on my own would be nigh impossible.

      And to the other point, which was basically, "self promotion is easy lol."

      Really? That's it? Would it kill you to provide some sort of methodology, or at least an example to that kind of rebuttal? Because right now all I see is people staking everything on getting accepted on EqD, and thinking its no longer worth writing if they don't.

    7. Considering people like quoting the many thousands of views they get on Fimfiction when submitting to Equestria Daily, simply posting the right kind of story there can be enough.

      Beyond that, there's social media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ (don't laugh), and we've even got our own place, Rainbow Dash Network. There are tons of chatrooms out there dedicated to helping authors and giving them a place to display their work. It's just a matter of finding a large enough audience and dropping your links.

      Of course, if you have written something that's isn't ultimately pleasing to the audience, it won't matter how much promotion you do. But you can still get your name out there, at least. That's one thing I love about EQD, is the more esoteric and literary fics that wouldn't appeal to a broader audience still have a place, while all the people who never tire of self-insert alicorn OC wish-fulfillment fics have other places to read that sort of thing.

      Ultimately, any rule enacted by Equestria Daily does not and cannot stifle creativity, because to do so would require Big Brother-style watching of writers. "You're about to start a story with a human falling in love with Twilight Sparkle? To the pens with you, miscreant!" People can write what they want. They can post it all over the internet. If they don't live up to EQD's standards, though, they simply won't get posted on the site. That's the only thing we can control.

    8. Well, I didn't actually want to ridicule or discredit you, and I apologise if my comments came off that way. I merely wanted to know about perfectly valid pieces of work that EqD won't accept. People say this sort of thing all the time, but where are the examples? I can't make a decision on this "prereader bias" business if I don't know what fics I'm supposed to be angry about the rejection of.

      As for people having their creativity stifled by EqD (so to speak), well, that's how things are in the wider creative world as well. If you want to really do something crazy and different, that's risky. By writing something esoteric and not playing it safe, you run the risk of having people not like/get it. I've been there. It's how things work. You don't see weird indie art movies in mainstream cinemas for the same reason (although I would argue that EqD is far more accepting of the esoteric and literary than the box office).

      You do have to please the prereaders, but only to get posted on EqD. If your enjoyment of writing and creative muscle-flexing precludes your story from being EqD-postable, then post it somewhere else. You won't get all that exposure, but hey, you can't have your cake and eat it.

      >writers will often draw up concepts for stories specifically because they're afraid the pre-readers are less likely to like what they really wanted to write. Isn't there something inherently wrong with that?
      I would say no. It's their site and they can post what they want. You should write what you want to write, because that's what's fun for you and you're writing MLP fanfiction in your spare time. If they don't want it, then that's just how it is. You can post your work on FIMfiction (add it to a group!), or find a forum that would be more interested in it.

      Personally, I think that anyone who really enjoys writing should be happy to write something that no-one else will ever read, but maybe that's just me.

      At the end of the day, EqD's duty is to their readers, and the prereaders probably have a reasonable notion of what the readers want. It's not their job to post everything, or to give every author a spotlight.

      Well, if you say that the community needs a place that can give high quality fics a spotlight, and then declare it impossible, then I guess there's not going to be a place like that. Which is probably not a terrible thing, because as soon as you get a site with open submission but screened posting, you're going to get this kind of drama and these kinds of complaints of bias.

      I wasn't really being entirely serious with that start-your-own thing.

    9. I took it personally because you practically wrote a whole dissertation about how wrong I am. I just couldn't sit by and let that fly.

      It's a nice thought that we can just be happy with what we've written because we're writing for ourselves, but if that really was the case we wouldn't even be having this discussion. As human beings, we seek recognition, particularly for our efforts. To me, that's one of the things submitting to EqD is about.

      I said that I alone couldn't start a community spotlight, not that it was completely impossible. If enough people really wanted it enough, it would probably happen.

      I guess at the end of the day, EqD's fiction section has brought out the best in quite a few writers. There is a marginal chance this new rule could throw off a few developing writers because their ideas weren't as good as they thought.

      When I complained about the pre-readers being unfair, I guess I was just going by people's stories about their experiences, which can be just as biased if not even more so than the pre-readers ever were. As long as each story gets a chance to stand up on its own merits, I think the system ultimately works. I just wish people didn't stake so much on getting their work accepted, as that can really suck the enjoyment of writing right out.

  2. Even though I don't have the best opinion of the pre-reading process, I do wholeheartedly agree that the three strikes rule is for the best. And personally, it doesn't really affect me anyway. I have a solid grasp on the english language and a firm belief that if I'm going to do something, I need to do it right. And, of course, I have my own personal pre-readers/editors. I'm pretty confident that I can make it through the pre-readers the first submission each time, as the story of mine that was published on Wednesday was.

  3. I'm of two minds on this matter. On the one hand, I really have no problem with the new rules at EqD. The sheer volume of written content this fanbase puts out necessitates some more stringent policies regarding what gets a feature on what is one of (if not the most) preeminent fansites around. To be sure it kind of works against newer or less-established fic authors, but I would argue that newer authors need some extra motivation to make sure their first offerings are up to snuff.

    On the other hand, I'm also of the opinion that not getting featured on Equestria Daily doesn't necessarily condemn a fic to obscurity. To date, I've written and posted five MLP:FiM fics to my FIMFiction account. I've submitted four of them to EqD. Two of them have actually been linked from the site and of those two one of them got its link because it was part of a fic writing event last year. The other one that got its own feature happens to be my 6-star rated story (yes I do visit here regularly to see if said story has been reviewed yet, and while I look forward to seeing Chris' thoughts on it I certainly don't wish to rush him on it.)

    The last story I posted and submitted was a one-shot based on a small fan comic. It got rejected for "not offering anything more than what the source material provided." Said story has actually turned out to be my most popular MLP:FiM fic to-date with 5,533 total views, 92 favorites, 62 people tracking it, and a total of 192 "likes" to just 2 "dislikes". This compared to my 6-star story which is a multi-chapter story with 7,357 total views, 25 favorites, 49 people tracking it, and a total of 70 "likes" to just 1 "dislike". Now yes, the 6-star story has more views due to the EqD link, but the rest of the stats speak for themselves. The one-shot is far and away the more popular and well-liked story.

    Getting a story featured on EqD, at least to me, is not the point. I don't write stories to get attention and accolades; I do it because it's fun and I enjoy sharing my creations with the fandom. If the EqD pre-readers decide to feature a story of mine, hey that's cool. I welcome the added exposure. But not getting a story featured is not necessarily a death sentence for said story.

  4. That "pre-reader" means two very different things simultaneously may be part of the problem. What EqD has are "filters," deciding what to include. When individual authors talk about having their own pre-readers, they mean "editors," in the sense of "providing recommendations for improving the work, possibly small changes (punctuation and typos) and possibly bigger ones (characterization and plot flow).

    (I can't find a better word than "editor" for the second type of pre-reader, which is unfortunate because "editor" also has ambiguity problems. The editor who assembles an anthology, or the lead editor at a newspaper or a magazine is far more of a filter than someone who recommends changes to a work.)

    I think EqD's new rules are entirely reasonable. I believe some people are using them as editors, which wasn't really their job, and they have too much to do already. Other people are just resubmitting with minimal changes in hopes of getting on; sorry the system is imperfect and some good works will fail to be posted, but a perfect system is impossible. Three strikes seems entirely reasonable.

    1. In other fandoms the second type of pre-reader is known as a beta-reader. I actually thought it was a widely used internet slang until I encounter the FiM fandom.

    2. Yeah, I'm surprised 'beta reader' never really got picked up in this fandom.

  5. Hey, lets all list our fics, how many have been posted, and how many stars they got! What fun!

    The only problem I have with this is that any choice of an arbitrary number of "strikes" will exclude some stories that could have made it, and you can't assume that all such stories would be marginal at beat. Given that the same pre-reader tends to read each re-submission of the same story, I'd hope that pre-reader would have some leeway to waive the rule on a case-by-case basis for fics that he thought really were making progress. By publicly stating the rule, though, it will make writers use their chances more wisely, and aside from the occasional fic that might deserve a couple of extra chances, it's not a bad thing. I am a little apprehensive over the increased traffic it will cause us in the ponychan review threads.

  6. My only worry is that this will hurt people whose only problem is that they happened to catch a pre-reader who doesn't like their story's premise. That is all.

    1. Not sure I see how it makes much difference to that. If the premise is the problem then no amount of tweaking is going to change that, be it three strikes or 10.

      Not that I'm saying it wouldn't be a problem, just not one that seems relevant in this case.

    2. I know someone who wrote a war fic (not a grimdark war fic, just a war fic). His story was rejected without even being fully read; the prereader even said so.

      It seems a little unfair for something like that to count as a strike.

    3. I believe this won't be a problem. If a pre-reader doesn't care for the description summary of a fanfict, he or she are going to chose to not look at and thus will not be deciding its fate. It's the one that thinks it has potential that will be doing that.

      I really don't have anything else to add beyond the fact that I agree with the new procedure. I know why people want to get on EQD because amongst reasons others have said, it’s (seemingly) the highest one can get when professionally published fanfiction (yes they exist, see “Wicked” and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead”) is not an option for FIM, but if some (or maybe most) of them are having trouble with something like the mechanics of dialogue, then they should not be complaining.

    4. That's my point though. It's not relevant because no amount of strikes would get you past that pre-reader. The problem is that you don't have the option of trying a different pre-reader (and I'm not saying you should be able to).

      In the situation you mention, the three strike rule appears to have no effect whatsoever. If you did manage to get a different pre-reader, I don't imagine for a second it WOULD count as a strike, and the announcement implied that individual pre-readers would retain some discretion anyway.

      It's not a hard and fast rule, it's just an arbitrary line that pre-readers can use to avoid being pestered by authors who just aren't putting the work in. It's hardly a new concept, it's just new to EqD.

    5. Pre-readers know what they don't like, and they don't read what they don't like. We've got plenty of folks to pick up the slack on grimdark, shipping, etc. Faulty premises, though, really can doom a fic, regardless of who reads it. There are also premises that are simply overdone; you generally have to knock it out of the park and then some to get one of those past the pre-readers.

      And for the record, there are certain types of fics that Seth just won't send to us, mostly overdone crossovers and generic warfics. So that won't count as a strike, it'll just never get posted.

  7. As a form er pre-reader, this was the right decision to make.

  8. a minor grammatical point, but you meant for "whose benefit these stories are posted", rather than using the contraction form, I'm sure

  9. and it ought to be "babel fish", not babble fish.

    sorry, I'm a bit of a proofreader at times o.o