[ADMIN] Finding Stories on the MEFA website
- Hey guys,
Nominations for the 2011 awards close tonight. That means nearly all
the stories poems, etc. that will be competing in this year's awards
have been nominated. By next week, all the nominations that *aren't*
competing will be withdrawn from the MEFA website.
In short, it's time to get reviewing.
The MEFA website helps you find stories to vote for. All of these are
available off of our list of stories. To get to this page, just log in
to the MEFA website and then select the "Browse 2011 Nominations" link
from the Nominations menu. This will bring up a randomized list of the
nominations, displayed twenty-five nominations at a time. You can just
start browsing to find the ones you like - or you can use the filter
To open up the filter just click on the bar that says "Nomination
Filter." From here you just select the options you want to display and
click the "submit" option, and this will display all the nominations
that meet those requirements. One big difference from previous years
is something called the "Genres, Races, Times" menu. In the past, if
you selected (say) Hobbits for your story but it didn't end up
competing there, we still offered a way to find it. Readers selected
"Hobbits" from the GRT menu and it pulled up all the stories that had
selected Hobbits as any category choice, no matter where they ended up
With the new website, Aranel developed a nifty way to do this in
conjunction with the character listings. Basically, to pick a
character you first pick a race (e.g. Hobbits) Then you can narrow
that down to a sub-groups (e.g., Bagginses, Boffins, Bolgers, etc.),
and then to a specific individual. You can go as specific or as
general as you want. Searching for just Hobbits will bring up all the
nominations where an author chose any of the hobbit characters to
describe that work. You can do the same thing with time periods.
That's not *quite* the same as the old GRT menu, but it's close enough
that we decided not to offer that other menu option. It's a pretty
rare story that is about a certain race but doesn't pick a character
from that race.
Genres are a little different. They don't break down like Races and
Times do. So if you want to find (say) all the Horror stories, or all
the Romances, we do offer a Genres menu to do this. This *does* pull
off of the category selection, so filtering for Mystery will show all
the entries that selected Mystery as any of the category choices. This
is different from "subgenres," btw. Subgenres are descriptions like
"Vignette," "Angst" or "Family" and they can apply to nominations that
fit in any of the different genre categories. Authors choose the
subgenres in the same place they choose what characters and canonical
events describe their story.
Another filter that is different than before is the "Reviews" filter.
That still lets you find stories you have/haven't reviewed, or that
have received two or less reviews in total. But in the past you could
also access your skip and wish lists from that menu. Instead, we now
have links directly to them, directly below the filter. If you don't
know what those are, don't worry; I'll talk more about them in a
future admin post.
One thing you have to watch about the filter is that it only displays
pieces that meet all of the options listed. So selecting Mysteries as
the Genre and Second Age as time period will only display nominations
that (a) selected Mystery as a category choice AND (b) selected a
Second Age event. Throw in a length requirement and an author name and
you could get a very small list indeed - perhaps no nominations at
all. You may in fact want all of those things, but maybe not. I
personally recommend clicking "Clear Filter" before you start a new
search, to make sure you cleared out your last search.
Once you find the stories you are interested in, it's time to read
them. Simply click the "Read the Nomination" link. On the off-chance
that the link doesn't load you can also click the "Alternate Location"
link to read it. This will open up in a new tab or window, depending
on your browser. When done reading it, just close the window. Then
click the little pencil icon by the nomination to enter a vote for it.
This will take you to a page where you can type a review of it. The
review is then scored based on length (more characters = more points),
and the author gets that number of points available. The nomination
will eventually be assigned a category and subcategory, and the
stories with the most point in their respective subcategory. And your
comments will be made available to all site users (including the
author) so it's a great way to share recommendations.
Do mind the log-in window, though. You stay logged in for two hours.
If it's a particularly long story or you are taking a long time to
review it, you may run up against that window. If you time out while
reading a story, that's not such a big deal - just log in again and
find the story you were reading when you're ready to vote for it. If
you time out while writing your review, that's a bigger problem
because the website won't save your review unless you're logged in. I
personally copy the review to the clipboard (highlight all the text,
then type control-C) before submitting it. That way, if anything goes
wrong, I can paste in what I wrote. Some people prefer to type their
reviews in a Word Processor and just paste in their review to the
webpage when they're ready. Other people just keep an eagle eye on the
countdown and save often as a "draft" review. You might develop your
own system. But whatever you do, do be mindful of it.