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Chaos

The Reading Excuses Transition Topic

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Greetings all Reading Excuses members. Welcome to 17thshard.com--also known as why I was not as active on Reading Excuses for the past considerable while! Since Reading Excuses is related to Writing Excuses, and Writing Excuses is related to Brandon, hey, it kind of works, right?

I'm sad to see TWG go. It was a fantastic community, where I met many of the people who now populate these boards. I loved that site.

Here's basically what happened: TWG got hacked. Due to the great amount of custom code that was on the site, Spriggan--the website administrator--said it would be challenging to fix it. He also said that the original purpose for TWG to exist was so the group of friends at The Leading Edge would have a place to hang and catch up with each other after BYU. That purpose could be reasonably filled with other sites, like Facebook. The primary communities still around on the forums were the Brandon community, Dan Wells's forum, and Reading Excuses. For better or for worse, 17S is taking over those responsibilities. I think this will work out well, since it'd be a boon for Reading Excuses to have a greater forum community around it.

For Spriggan's posts about the hack, see:

And for the big news post announcing the move, see:

If you're worried about this site getting hacked, too, well... In theory it is always possible to hack. However, the forum software that TWG used was quite old. 17th Shard runs on Invision Power Board 3, which is expensive and new. It's possible, but unlikely, that this site gets hacked too.

And in any case, in the TWG hack, the only things they got were your emails and passwords, but the passwords were encrypted. I would not worry too much about it. Unless your password was a simple dictionary word, you're probably okay. I would make sure that the email address you signed up with on TWG doesn't use that same password, however.

What does the move mean to Reading Excuses? Very little, really. The group will operate exactly as its been running for the past three years. Silk will still be the principal moderator. Submissions will roll every week, as usual. We'll just be on this forum on 17th Shard rather than Timewaster's Guide.

What of the old Reading Excuses data? I'm going to get the old TWG forum's database, and I'll put it in a read-only forum (probably at twg.17thshard.com) for us to all see. It would be a shame if we lost all those critiques, and fortunately that will not be the case.

So, this week we are in kind of a transition period. If you submitted this Monday, re-post your topic in this forum. I don't think anyone got a chance to critique stuff yet.

I don't have the submission guideline file handy, so we'll sit tight until I get that old forum data. Also, I'm thinking of reposting the last month of threads that we had, so if you happened to not get to a critique from three weeks ago, there will be a thread here still.

Short version: there will be a bit of fragmentation for a while, but eh, at least we will have the archive of the old topics. I think it will work out okay. Before you ask, it would be fairly unfeasible to import the old Reading Excuses forum into this forum. I'm fairly sure moving an individual forum would be difficult, and even if I could, for those old topics to make sense, I'd also have to import the 6,000 members from TWG into our database, which I do not want to do. Sorry. This looks like the main way we could do it.

So for people who critiqued this week, make a topic for your submission, and let's get back to critiquing!

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Thanks for setting this up. Will we continue to use the same email for submissions?

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Yes. The RE domain and email list aren't actually associated with TWG, so all of that should continue to work as it has. Carry on. :)

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Could you put up an intro thread explaining what RE is to those on 17S who aren't sure how it works (like myself) and might want to participate?

EDIT: There are three posts in a row where the usernames all start with Si, weird.

Edited by Silus - Shard of Flame
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Could you put up an intro thread explaining what RE is to those on 17S who aren't sure how it works (like myself) and might want to participate?

EDIT: There are three posts in a row where the usernames all start with Si, weird.

Once I get the old Welcome to Reading Excuses topic, yes.

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Could you put up an intro thread explaining what RE is to those on 17S who aren't sure how it works (like myself) and might want to participate?

In a nutshell, it's a writing group to help you with your writing projects to make them better. The intro thread chaos will post will explain it better, but that's basically what it is. The specifics will be explained in chaos' thread, though, but that's basically what it is so you have an idea if it's something you want to participate in or not.

EDIT: There are three posts in a row where the usernames all start with Si, weird.

Once I get the old Welcome to Reading Excuses topic, yes.

C-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-combo breaker!

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Heh. Yeah, only reason we haven't done so yet is because we're bringing it over from the TWG database so we don't have to rewrite it. =)

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Heh. Yeah, only reason we haven't done so yet is because we're bringing it over from the TWG database so we don't have to rewrite it. =)

This.

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I know the gist of it, but the thing I was looking for was specifics. So I'll just have to be patient.

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*twitch*

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I know the gist of it, but the thing I was looking for was specifics. So I'll just have to be patient.

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*twitch*

Yup. :P No need to rewrite stuff, especially when it's coming back in a few days. It should be going before Monday's submissions.

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Hey guys,

Thanks for putting this together. I am still really bummed to lose TWG. :( Yes it was slow, arcane, and nowhere near as cool as this site, but it was still a lot of fun. Good community. I'm glad I got to spend a year there. Definitely looking forward to meeting new people and settling in.

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I see some old familiar faces :)

So I just found out about the transition. I have been inactive on TWG for quite some time for a number of reasons, most of which I won't get into. Short version: life gets in the way of writing some times.

Anyway, I decided to go ahead and write on my own, no workshopping, and succeeded... sort of. The workshopping was a curse and a blessing. It helped me be motivated, but the critiquing threw me off and I got so bogged down in revision that my book died. My second book I tried writing on my own; I didn't get bogged down in critiquing, but when life got hectic, writing all but disappeared.

The second book is still alive, just stagnating 14 chapters in. I'm going on vacation for the next two weeks, and when I come back, I plan on participating once more. I'll have a 14 chapter buffer :)

Good to see you all again.

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Cynic: The other reason you just found out about the transition is that it just happened. :) Welcome back!

Fireflyz: Yeah, I'm really bummed to lose TWG too. I'll miss the community there. And now I'm out a place to post book reviews. :P

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I see some old familiar faces :)

So I just found out about the transition. I have been inactive on TWG for quite some time for a number of reasons, most of which I won't get into. Short version: life gets in the way of writing some times.

Anyway, I decided to go ahead and write on my own, no workshopping, and succeeded... sort of. The workshopping was a curse and a blessing. It helped me be motivated, but the critiquing threw me off and I got so bogged down in revision that my book died. My second book I tried writing on my own; I didn't get bogged down in critiquing, but when life got hectic, writing all but disappeared.

The second book is still alive, just stagnating 14 chapters in. I'm going on vacation for the next two weeks, and when I come back, I plan on participating once more. I'll have a 14 chapter buffer :)

Good to see you all again.

Yeah, that's the problem with critiques before the book is done: it makes you want to revise. It sure happened to my first book...

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Actually, you can post threads in our community forum dedicated to other books, or you could also use our convenient blog feature!

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Kchan: Yeah, Eric mentioned that too actually. I think I might. =)

Hah, yes. There's a reason I don't let myself revise a book anymore until after the first draft is done. I only feel fortunate that I got the "book that never ends" syndrome out of my system in my teens ;)

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So this is a area in the forums to post your writings and have them read byothers for feedback? If so then I will be sure to use it as much as possible for my creative writing assignments this semester :)

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So this is a area in the forums to post your writings and have them read byothers for feedback? If so then I will be sure to use it as much as possible for my creative writing assignments this semester :)

We use an email list to actually send and receive submissions (so that people's work isn't posted publicly), though yes, the feedback threads are posted here. There are particular formatting guidelines and a weekly submission schedule, so you can't just post whenever you feel like it. There are no genre restrictions, but we're mostly geared towards speculative fiction writers.

We'll have the rules and everything up soon--probably this weekend--as soon as we can import that stuff over from the TWG database.

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You'll want to make sure of two things, before you do:

1) Wait until Chaos posts the RE topics. These will explain how to participate in the group.

2) Check with your teachers before submitting assignments you plan on turning in. Some teachers consider it cheating to get outside help on writing assignments, so make sure you know what's allowed and what isn't.

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2) Check with your teachers before submitting assignments you plan on turning in. Some teachers consider it cheating to get outside help on writing assignments, so make sure you know what's allowed and what isn't.

That's a great point. I work as a tutor at my university, and the creative writing profs don't particularly want their students coming to us because the students already go through a workshop/critique process in class. So definitely check into that.

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hello! I am Shiael, that is, was Shiael, before TWG was hacked. Really, who hacks a website like that? honestly? get a life! aHEM. It's disappointing to see that site go. Anyway, I'll be sitting and watching this website develop further. and occasionally post things... ;)

(I don't think teachers would very much appreciate the outside interference. Definitely, as stated before, ask first. trust me.)

Oh, and, I'm trying to recreate a kata using what Brandon wrote in WoK. Would this be inadvisable?

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Oh, and, I'm trying to recreate a kata using what Brandon wrote in WoK. Would this be inadvisable?

Sounds fun! I don't know if there would be enough detail in text to be able to do it, but I say go for it. However, I'm pretty sure you can't email a kata to Reading Excuses's mailing list ;)

By the way guys I now have the TWG dumps (this file is 121MB, compared with the previous one's 3MB) and it looks like everything is in order. I will set it up tomorrow when I am more coherent and then we should be good to go.

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Current Reading Excuses members: we will be moving submissions to Tuesday, rather than Monday, for this week only. Stay tuned.

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Really, who hacks a website like that? honestly? get a life!

In a word: spammers. Spammers are responsible for most of the hacking that happens on the Internet. Spammers hack for two reasons: one, to obtain email addresses to spam; and two, to misappropriate a resource (be it a server or user account on a service like Facebook or Twitter) to use for hosting and sending spam. Based on what Eric has said here, I'm guessing this attack was performed in order to steal email addresses.

That's not to say an actual human performed the hack on TWG, nor that TWG was specifically singled out for attack. That may be the case, but my gut tells me that the community was too small to merit individual attention. See, open source web software is a double edged sword: it has lots of advantages, but one of its disadvantages is that it enables the mass automation of petty hacking. Exploits are routinely discovered in this software, and while most communities are good about patching vulnerabilities, keeping up with updates can be a lot of work. The result of this is that hackers (primarily spammers) write scripts that seek out and exploit vulnerable installations. It doesn't matter how small the site: no fish is too small for spammers to fry. These automated scripts can (and do) exploit millions of sites, and it's this economy of scale that allows spammers to profit.

And I agree: spammers need to get a life. A real life in a productive occupation, not the criminal, exploitative business of spamming. The world would be better off if they did.

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