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April 15th, 2012

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08:08 pm - Sporker Sign-Ups

Sporker Sign-Ups

So you want to be a sporker here? Well, there are rules.

Rules of Sporking

1) Know the canon in which you are sporking. Don’t pick out a fic in, say, the Hellsing fandom and then go, “I’ve only seen about six episodes of the original anime series, but I really like all the pictures I’ve seen, and Wikipedia’s really thorough about describing the plot!” I’m not saying you have to know it as backwards and forwards and in and out, as my obsessions tend to make me do. However, I am asking that you know it well. Most Suethors are completely ignoring, missing, or twisting canon points to suit their own stories; you need to know the canon to not only not miss out on good spots for comments, but also to make sure you don’t wind up looking like you’re doing the same thing.

2) Make sure your comments are well-written. I spork bad writing here. You’ll notice I try not to spork and recap bad writing with more bad writing. Re-read your sporks, check them over, double-check facts you aren’t sure about. Not saying you have to do what I do—I send every single thing I spork over to Hyde for her to beta them—but if you’re going to mock a crappy piece of writing, it really doesn’t prove your point for you if you do the same thing the Suethor does. Don’t just sit there and scream that it sucks. Explain why you think it sucks—sporking may be snarky and a hobby, but ultimately, it is actually a form of literary analysis. Be informative and intelligent in your spork. And being amusing would be something nice to see, too, if you wouldn’t mind, but I assume that’s kind of a given.

3) Focus primarily on the writing in question. I’m not going to have the blanket, “No personal attacks on the author,” because, well, you’ll notice I occasionally yell directly at the Suethors in my recaps, mostly just me asking, “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?!” You can yell at the Suethors TO AN EXTENT in your sporkings. I don’t want you to yell how you want to beat them with a tire iron, granted—the allowance to shake your fist at the bad writers in question only goes so far—but you can reference the Suethors in your work; it is their writing, after all. (Unless, of course, you’re sporking something by Neil. In that case, feel free to say whatever the hell you want with my blessings and encouragements.) What you can’t do is nothing but reference them. You’re sporking or recap is about the writing, so keep your focus.

4) Try to make sure you can finish your chosen story(s). Yes, I know I’ve got a couple of unfinished projects and have passed on the torch to others. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t try to finish them. If you are only going to post one sporking here at a time, I ask that you post only with the intentions of finishing it. If you become a regular poster with several projects going on at once, then you get more leeway to drop one if it becomes too much. And before you drop the project entirely, be sure to ask if someone else wants to pick it up! There may be others out there who are so interested in seeing how the godawful story you chose ends that they want to take up the mantle themselves, just to see it done.

5) Be thorough. Again, no, I’m not asking you be like me. I am notoriously long-winded and hardly let a sentence go by without making a comment on it. But I am asking that you not go pages and pages without a comment, or if you are recapping, don’t sum up a huge scene with one sentence unless you’ve got a really good reason (and an explanation) to do it. If we wanted to just read the stories straight up, we’d look them up on the internet. We’re here to read your commentary on them, so comment!

6) Know how to HTML your posts. I do ask this of most everyone. You see how my sporkings and recaps go? I ask that you format like that or something similar. I don’t care if your sporked comments are in bold while the original text is in regular font or vice versa, just so long as your words and their words are clearly distinguished in an easy-on-the-eyes, easy-to-read format. And while I am on that subject, I strongly, strongly advise you NOT to just put the document in the LJ-post box, spork it there, and then post. I advise you to SAVE YOUR SPORK as a document on your computer, because if you messed up your HTML and cannot fix it in time, I will delete it and your sporking will be lost. You can yell at me all you want if that happens, but that part is not my responsibility.

7) Know when to spork and when to recap. This is a simple rule and very important to remember. If you are sporking a fanfic? Spork away. Spork every line if you feel like it. If you are choosing to spork a published book? You may NOT spork every line. That’s illegal and will risk getting my comm shut down. You recap that. You are allowed to quote and spork the occasional passage, but do NOT spork published works line-by-line.

How to Apply

1) Comment here or send me a PM stating your interest in becoming a poster at the community. It’d be nice if you could give me an idea of the fandoms you spork in and what fics you have in mind.

2) SHOW ME YOUR WORK. Yes, that has to be done. I don’t care how you do it—you can send me a Word document with your sporking in it, you can post the first chapter or two of the spork/recap on your LJ and link me to it (this is actually the method I prefer, so I can make sure you grasp HTML and lj-cuts), but I want to see what you’re posting and the style you’re gonna be using. This is especially important if you are a newbie sporker; everyone was there at some point, and I think it’s better to find out privately if ur doin it rong than to find out when a bunch of people point it out.

3) Once I’ve read them, I will send you a message stating whether or not you’ve been granted posting access. If you are given posting access, the first post you make on the comm will be your introductory post. Say who you are, how you got into sporking, the fandoms you spork and recap in, and maybe a few stories you want to post. You don’t have to give your life story, but these posts will not only be a meet-and-greet for you, but also will be for the readers who are looking for a certain type of sporker.

4) If you want to be granted posting access, you have to actually join the community. Simply watching it will not cut it. I have run into this problem repeatedly, so when you ask for posting access, MAKE SURE you are not just watching this comm, but are actually a member.

General Rules and Regulations

So, you’re now officially a member of the comm, approved for sporking, and are ready to start posting! Where do you go from there?

1) The first thing you are going to have to do is post your first entry here—and your first entry is going to be your sporker intro. This is very important—this is where you tell the comm who you are, what you plan on sporking, what your fandoms are, etc. This is so the comm knows what to expect when your sporker tag comes up.

2) If you are simply posting an aside, one-shot, stand-alone, or a story that has three or less chapters, you are officially good to go. It doesn’t matter how many parts it takes, you just submit your first post and go from there.

3) If you are sporking or recapping a work that has four or more chapters, you’ve got a little more work to do. First, you are going to have to send me a link to either the fic itself you’re sporking or a link to a book description of it’s a published work. I will also need an Alternate Title and a snaky summary of the work you’ll be sporking. If you need a reference on how to do that, just look at any one of the numerous TOCs here. After you send me that information, you’re free to start posting away. I am the one who will make your Table of Contents with the information you provided. I do this to make sure that all of the TOCs have an identical format. It will be created after you post your first chapter. The exception to the “four or more chapters” rule is if the fic has more than four chapters but the chapters are only two hundred or three hundred words long. If that is the case, you are not required to have a table of contents and can simply post multiple chapters in one post.

4) While posting here is limited to approved sporkers only, it is unmoderated posting. As a result, you have responsibilities about your post:
a) ALWAYS CHECK YOUR HTML BEFORE YOU POST. When you put all of your text into that LJ-entry post, there is a button right next to the “Post To” one. It’s called “Preview Entry”, and I expect you to use it. That is how you make sure your pictures all show and your HTML isn’t borked and you remembered to close all of your tags.

b) When you have checked your post over in the Preview Entry window and post, don’t just go running off and leave it at that. You can spare the five seconds to go to the comm and make sure that you remembered something else important—your LJ-cut. LJ-cuts are a REQUIREMENT here. You run the risk of your spork getting deleted if you forget them. If you don’t know how to make an LJ-cut, go here.

c) If your spork has pictures in it, please make sure that they are no more than 720 pixels in width. I would prefer you keep it to 600 pixels. Not everybody has the resolution that your monitor has, and excessively large pictures can cause problems for some viewers.

d) You are expected to tag your own entries. Yes, I know that if you are starting a brand new multi-chapter fic or are sporking something that is in a fandom that hasn’t been featured here before, there won’t be certain tags you need. However, once you post, I will make the tags and you can use them from there on out. If you are unsure which tags to use for your first posts on sporks that have multiple parts, you are allowed to leave it blank and I or one of the mods will tag it for you. After that, though, you now know which tags you are supposed to use and need to use them. Those tags are there for your benefit as well as the benefit of the readers, guys.

e) When I first decided to take the comm off moderated posting, the queue of entries waiting for approval was nearly forty posts long. We have quite a few active sporkers here, and the number is only growing. As such, when you are going to make a post on the comm, it would be in your best interest to check and see how many posts have gone up that day. If it’s a rather dead day with hardly anything up, go ahead and post. However, if you see three or four posts, it would actually be in your best interest to not post and hold off until the next day, or at least a day where things aren’t as busy. This isn’t just advice to make sure that the comm isn’t flooded and flists aren’t murdered—it’s also to benefit you. It makes sure that certain sporks aren’t lost or overlooked because too many were posted in one day. That was why I was originally moderating posting—to control that flow. Well, now I’m rather hoping that you guys will control the flow yourselves. Keep an eye on how many posts have gone in a day. And please don’t post three or four times per day. Try to limit yourself to once post a day, unless some of your posts must go together (like when I post the preface and first chapter of multi-chapter works).

i) If you’re requesting posting access, make sure the comment or PM contains the words, “Cram it with walnuts, ugly,” somewhere in it. This is just to make sure you read all my rules.

5) As you have seen, both myself and zelda_queen have hosted group sporkings here. If you want to host a group sporking, you will need to PM me so we can discuss it.

6) If you post a spork with screwed-up HTML or no LJ-cut, you have twenty-four hours to fix it before the post will be deleted. However, if you continue to mess up your HTML, post without LJ-cuts and don’t fix them, etc., your posting privileges will be revoked.

And now that you’ve seen all of the “Do’s”, here are all the “Don’ts”.

1) I would generally prefer that you NOT try to spork squickfic, Babelfish fics, and I actually do NOT want trollfics sporked here. Yes, I know there are a couple of those kinds of fics featured here, but they were posted before I’d decided upon this rule. All I ask is that the fic you choose be coherent. An incoherent mess sporks itself. All it is is a mess of bad grammar and/or disgusting themes, and you lose yourself ranting about all of the spelling errors, and if it’s a squickfic and you rant about how it’s squicking you, well, THAT WAS THE POINT. Just avoid them; they are hard to make funny.

2) DON’T FOCUS PRIMARILY ON THE SUETHOR. Yes, you can reference them, mildly insult them, and demand to know what the hell they were thinking. It’s their work, they wrote it, and sometimes the Suethors in question are whiny and foot-stomping about what they write. However, there is a line, and you may not cross it. DON’T openly threaten them beyond the occasional OBVIOUS joke. The only time that line may be crossed is if they pull a Neil.

3) Don’t spork fics simply because they didn’t interpret canon the way you did. And by that, I mean don’t spork a Harry/Ginny fic simply because you ship Harry/Hermione. Don’t throw your shipping preferences everywhere and bash a story simply because it’s not shipping what you like. You can mention your shipping preferences for comedic purposes (i.e., my occasional comedic tantrum about Dean/Castiel), but if you do nothing but rant on about how this is an insult to your favorite ship or favorite character or favorite turtle, the audience is going to become annoyed with you and your soapbox.

4) DON’T SPORK STORIES ON LJ THAT ARE LOCKED. No. Don’t. I mean it. You try that, I may be tempted to temp-ban you.

5) Don’t put excessively offensive pictures in your recaps. That means no porn, no Hostel-esque depictions of gore and torture, etc. If you do have a potentially NSFW picture in your recap, please put a warning before the post.

6) Don’t bow up and get pissy if people criticize your spork or disagree with comments you said. They have a right to their opinion.

7) If you violate one of the “Don’ts”, your spork will be deleted immediately without question and you run the risk of being temp-banned or permanently banned.

How To Use the Tags

We have hundreds of tags here, and that number is only going to get bigger as the comm grows. As such, I can understand how it might be a little confusing as to how you should use them. Well, don’t worry—the system is extraordinarily easy to navigate.

First off—any of those first tags that have periods in front of them? You don’t use those. Those are for the mods to use ONLY. So, easy rule—just don’t touch those.

Now, what about the others?

Fandom: If you’re sporking a fic, you just pick a tag for which fandom it is in. They are all arranged alphabetically, and if the fandom has a “the” or “a” at the beginning—like The Hobbit, for instance—I don’t use the article for easier navigation. If you don’t see a tag for the fandom you’re using, just PM one of the mods and they will create it for you. The only time you aren’t required to have a fandom tag on your sporking posts is if you are sporking original fiction; in that case, your table of contents will have a “fandom: original” tag and that will be the end of it.

Fic type: Not all fics and books are alike! These tags are used so people will know what you are going to be sporking. They are as follows:
  • Aside: Asides are fics or stories that relate to another series. Examples of works that used this tag are all of the Twilight series extras that I posted alongside my recaps, such as “Narcotics”.

  • Canon rewrite: This tag is used for any fic that has the Suethor in question rewriting canon to suit their “vision”. This isn’t like a POV-switch, like “Dark Side of the Moon”. This is where people actively change canon or, more often than not, do what they view is “fixing” it, like “Frigid Winds and Burning Hearts”.

  • Canon rewrite (sue insert): Then again, sometimes the Suethors are rewriting canon simply to include themselves, like “Salvation”. This tag is not to be used on Sues that don’t specifically rewrite canon, like Ariana Black. Those fics were written before Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released, and so she doesn’t get this tag. However, if she’d written it after all seven books had been published, it would be necessary.

  • Crossover: This tag is to be used when two or more fandoms are featured in a fic.

  • Multi-chapter (3 or fewer): If your fic has three or fewer chapters, use this tag.

  • Multi-chapter (4 or more): If it has four or more, however, you’re going to need to use this one. If you have a table of contents for your spork, you are not required to put this tag on every single post. However, if your fic is more than four chapters but extremely short to the point that you didn’t have to have a table of contents, please put this tag on all of your posts.

  • One shot: If you are sporking a story that is self-contained without multiple chapters, this is the tag you use.

  • Single-chapter: Some Suethors have a limited attention span—as such, sometimes they write the first chapter of their story, post it, and promptly lose interest. That is what this tag is for.

  • Wanky Quotes: Some Suethors want to whine and complain about how people on the internet are mean. Well, if they do, you’ll want to include this tag on your list.

Fic: Every story has a name! This keeps all parts or chapters of your spork under the same tag. If your spork is part of a series, I will need to know to label it accordingly. For example, my recap of Twilight isn’t labeled “fic: twilight”; it’s labeled “fic: sm1 twilight” to keep them numbered properly. And speaking of series…

Series: If the fic or story you’re sporking is part of a series, you’re gonna get one of these tags to keep them all together. It mostly goes on your Table of Contents, but you are free to put it on your actual sporks.

Spork type: These guys are pretty self-explanatory. If you are posting a spork that is a little out of the ordinary, such as a review of a movie or a graphic novel or are even just posting a profile of a fic that is too big to spork, but too bad to not be featured, just use this tag to distinguish it from the usual.

Sporker: This is the number one tag you want to use. This is you—your name, your identifier. This is so people can seek you out personally if they want to read all of your other work.

Status: This is for mod use only—it goes on Tables of Content.

Suethor: If it’s a multi-chapter work that gets a Table of Contents, it gets a Suethor name. If you’re just sporking an aside or a smaller work, just be sure to mention the Suethor’s name in the work.

Warning: It’s not all sweetness and light here at Das Sporking! Sometimes, you need to warn the audience what is coming in your spork.
  • Abuse: Spousal, parental, emotional physical—doesn’t matter. If there is somebody abusing somebody else in the fic, put up this warning.

  • Controversial issues: Controversial issues are generally frowned upon here, but if they just happen to be in the story and you couldn’t get around them or want to analyze the bad way the Suethor tried to talk about them (like Jack Chick, for instance), use this tag in case people want to avoid them.

  • Do not want: Is it gross and revolting? Yeah, do not want.

  • Excessive violence: Blood and guts and fighting! Sometimes, Suethors go a little overboard. Use this tag if they do.

  • Mpreg: Mpreg is when dudes get pregnant. Some people don’t like it or care to read about it. Do warn if it happens, hmm?

  • Pedophilia: For God’s sake, WARN PEOPLE if this one is gonna happen.

  • Potential triggers: In the fics sporked here that feature abuse, rape, pedophilia, etc., the Suethors sometimes hit very close to home for readers. If there is a chance that something in the fic might give people bad memories or remind them of past experiences, warn for them.

  • Rape: Do I really need to explain why you need to warn for this?

  • Sexual situations: From blatant sex to sex discussions, you need to use this tag if sex is the Word of the Day in your spork.

  • Slash: No, I’m not saying you have to warn for The Gay because it’s on par with the other tags. You simply need to warn if there is slash because some people just don’t enjoy it—I used to not be into slash, either, because I found it OOC until I realized how fucking hot it could be. Some people don’t read slash, sporked or not. That’s all that is for. It’s kind of like warning for mpreg: some people really just are not into it.

And that’s pretty much it, folks. There’s not a whole lot you need to keep in mind. The tagging system is easy to use, we’re very laid-back and friendly here, and there are three mods you can go to if you have questions or problems—das_mervin (me), gehayi, or zelda_queen. And, of course, if you have any trouble finding a fic to spork, just head on over to the Spork Suggestion Box. It’s always growing and has a lot of great suggestions that anyone can tackle.

Happy sporking!

(5 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:December 13th, 2012 08:30 pm (UTC)
I have one question: What exactly is an LJ cut? I can't tell if I know how it works because I'm not certain what it is. Forgive me for my lack of internet skills.
[User Picture]
Date:December 13th, 2012 08:32 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:April 18th, 2013 09:07 pm (UTC)
I believe you have set your entries to Friends Only, or maybe higher security. You might have noticed a little lock beside the title of each entry. You'll need to set the security to public, and you can do that in the posting options down below the LJ-entry screen when you are getting ready to post an entry.

[User Picture]
Date:June 11th, 2013 07:23 am (UTC)
Just a kinda stupid general question: do you have to be an awesome fanfic author like you to be a sporker? I've written the odd fanfic, but except for a fluffy oneshot about Norrington as a child and two thirds of a Jurassic Park story in German I don't really have anything good under my belt. (But I realize when a story I've been writing is running away to Badfic Land with me - most of those are written under the influence of sleep deprivation... and then I don't post it, but lock it up and fuss with it approximately until either it or I die of old age, by which time it might start to look good.) But I read a lot, and my English isn't too bad for someone who isn't exactly a native speaker (admittedly, I grew up bilingual, but my dad hadn't been to America since he was a kid and admits he's a bit rusty)... and when I see some of the stories in the suggestion box, I feel the burning desire to spork them.
[User Picture]
Date:June 11th, 2013 03:12 pm (UTC)
Firstly, thank you for the compliment. :)

Secondly, no, you don't have to have written any fanfic at all to be a sporker. Just as you don't have to be a master cook to recognize when food has been prepared poorly, you don't have to be a writer to know and criticize bad writing.

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