Hi everyone!

The slow pace of the Stories and Art sections has been a major pain point for URPG for at least the duration of my ten-year membership. Even during relatively active periods, the best our members can hope for is often a turnaround time of weeks instead of months. There’s a lot to talk about, but the bottom line is this: The Stories and Art section are instituting a new feedback format that will speed up the time it takes to get a pass/fail on your creative work.

As a writer or artist, you will now have the option to choose between a Concise or In-Depth grade/curation. If you do not specify which type you would prefer, your grader or curator will provide a Concise grade by default. Graders and Curators may ask your permission to provide an In-Depth grade instead if they are up for the challenge. So what’s the difference?

An In-Depth grade is the same kind of critique you’ll have received if you submitted a piece of art or a story before now. Generally, an In-Depth grade tries to provide feedback about many different aspects of your story or artwork, analyze excerpts, and provide advice for improving your work. A Concise grade, on the other hand, will try to hone in on only the most important positives and negatives, just enough to explain why you’re receiving the given grade.

Let me give an example of a potential difference. Let’s say a player writes a story in which they use apostrophes incorrectly. An In-Depth grade might include a paragraph about how to fix that issue, as well as a few quoted examples from the story. A Concise grade, on the other hand, might simply list, “Incorrect use of apostrophes for showing the possessive”, and only if it’s absolutely relevant to the final result.

This type of grade will drastically cut down on the total amount of time it takes graders and curators to decide whether or not you’ve met your goal. Because they won’t take as much time to explain themselves, however, the onus will be on you to ask for clarification if you’d like to talk about your grade some more! Our graders and curators will still be happy to chat, but making the environment less formal takes a lot of weight off their shoulders.

So let’s get down to brass tacks with the rules and regulations:

  1. A Concise grade should aim for five to ten points (similar to a bulleted list, although format is flexible) comprising the most salient successes and opportunities for improvement in the story or artwork. Each point should be made in no more than two or three sentences.
  2. If an author/artist specifies that they would like a Concise grade, or does not specify a type, the grader or curator must provide a Concise grade unless they first receive the author/artist’s permission to provide an In-Depth one.
  3. If an author/artist requests an In-Depth grade, the grader or curator should first provide a Concise grade with a verdict, so that the author/artist knows the result, then follow up later with the In-Depth grade.
  4. A grader or curator may have up to one Concise grade and one In-Depth grade claimed at a time.
  5. Graders/curators who produce In-Depth grades will not be paid for their initial Concise grade until the In-Depth grade is posted.
  6. Pay for In-Depth grades/curations is unchanged. Pay for Concise grades/curations will follow this scale:

    • Curations: $3,000 - $5,000, depending on the quality of the points brought up
    • Grades: $2,000 + $200 * (each 5k CC after the initial 5k)
    • Concise grades may earn bonus wages if the grader/curator continues their discussion of the critique based on writer/artist questions. These will be somewhat arbitrary to start, but will be capped at $10,000 for graders who truly go above and beyond to provide helpful feedback, when requested, after the fact.

  7. A Concise grade/curation should include an invitation to continue engaging with the grader/curator on the critique.

Please note that, at least for the time being, we are in a test-and-learn stage with our Concise grades and curations. This means we may tweak the rules if we find things aren’t working out as well as we’d like. Graders and curators should be aware that their Concise grades/curations will be scrutinized at a somewhat higher standard at wage time to ensure the critique is truly tailored to the specific work. Writers and artists should feel encouraged to bring their feedback about the new grading format to K’sariya, VeloJello, evanfardreamer, and Elrond.

Please also note that the impact of this new grading format on the Legend goals for Stories and Art is currently under evaluation. Stay tuned for more details, as well as any changes that may be made to the grader and curator tests as a result.

We have taken action on this issue quickly, as it has been an albatross around the neck of URPG for quite some time. The smaller amount of up-front feedback will no doubt take some getting used to. Still, we are confident that URPG will remain, and perhaps become an even better version of, a community that fosters creative growth at a remarkably high standard compared to other forms of art-based social media.

Starting now all writers and artists are encouraged to specify whether they’d like a Concise or In-Depth grade/curation on their work, and all graders/curators are permitted to provide the requested feedback. If you have work posted that has not yet been graded, please feel free to specify a preference. If it has been claimed already, I suggest reaching out to your grader/curator directly.

Graders/Curators: If you claim a piece of work that was posted before today, please reach out to the creator and ask which type of grade/curation they would prefer.

One final note to all writers and artists: I’d like to call out item number three above: “If an author/artist requests an In-Depth grade, the grader or curator should first provide a Concise grade with a verdict, so that the author/artist knows the result, then follow up later with the In-Depth grade.” This means that requesting an In-Depth grade will not increase the time it takes to receive your Pokemon or cash. Please consider the descriptions of each type of grade above and, if you have a preference, make the choice that you’ve determined is right for you.