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a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish



Crits Week 347 Ė Le Carrť tribute week

For the most part stories this week ended where they should have begun. They were just getting to the good parts. Or the ending creates more questions than it answers which leaves the reader unsatisfied

Yoruichi Ė Episode Two: All Is Calm, All Is Fight

I could read a new episode every week. Theyíre so fun. This story does a great job getting me invested in small numbers of words because every time the POV changes I get annoyed because I want to know more about each of the characters.

But the ending fell flat. Probably because it didnít match the absurdity that the rest of the narrative promised. More kudos for trying to shoehorn this to fit into the weekís theme. It almost worked.

Brotherly Ė Bad Craft

This story took me several read-throughs to feel like I had a clear understanding of all the action. But I still donít think I understand the mechanism by which a lot of the technology works. While I donít really have to (cyberpunk doesnít explain all of its tech) I also canít picture what it looks like and thatís where the problem is for me. Like if the protag has her hands in her pockets but is looking at pie recipesÖ how is she doing that? The touchpoints are in her pockets, got that, but where are the visual parts? Does she have something implanted in her brain? A heads up display? Do her fingers just know what theyíre doing?

This is one of the stories that needed more scenes. Obviously 1200 words isnít a lot but there were plenty of details that could have been cut that didnít add much to the scene. I want to know what happens now. Does she have to lug the body back? Who is the overlord? Why would anyone want these secrets?

The actual action worked well. I had no trouble following the tracking and the chasing. But the details we need are the ones that make readers want to know what the file is. My suggestion would be to keep writing this one and see what happens next.

Nikaer Drekin Ė The Way Things Used to Be

Strong first paragraph. Good characterization though some awkward phrasing. The two bits from Onsloís POV I think are fairly strong in terms of setting an atmosphere. But I donít know that the first tells us as much about his character as itís meant to. The trip over to the motel and the final scene from Willowís POV are almost too straightforward. Everything happens too easily. But the juxtaposition of these two vibes could work in the storyís favor, contrasting how Willow sees the situation and how Onslo does. But I donít see any indication that this was intended in the story.

In my head there is more to this story than what we first get to see. And I want there to be more. I feel like thereís an epic veteran spy battle about to break out. Or for the two veterans to be playing spy tricks on the newbie. Another story that needed more words.

Iím not sure I understand the nature of Willow and Onsloís relationship. Is Willow there to take care of Onslo while also making sure he doesnít spill any secrets? What kind of training does someone get for that? Obviously not enough if he doesnít know how to deal with a suicide attempt.

Some great bits here, but needs more thought for how to connect it all up.

Flerp Ė Bullshit Puzzles

I donít know if this is supposed to be sweet. I want it to be sweet. But why is the narrator so angry about puzzles? Since the narratorís relationship to Z is never actually spelled out the reader can only guess at a lot of detail. By the end we learn that theyíre closer than friends, but since the only aspect of their relationship that we see is the part that most annoys the narrator, it doesnít feel very genuine. The reader needed to see that the narrator had other emotions toward Z. Sure they kept buying Z puzzles, but that seemed almost masochistic.

The actual flow of the story and the characterization work well. Iím never confused. I definitely get a sense of the narrator, though itís not a particularly favorable one. Both Z and the narrator feel like real characters. I just wasnít drawn in. I didnít quite care about either of them.

Sitting Here Ė Once Called Mine

A tiny story within a larger narrative. Complex without being confusing. The story is told directly, thereís not much subterfuge or subtlety in what the MC is thinking and I canít decide whether or not the atmosphere would have been better with a little less detail. I like that everything is out there. As a reader Iím able to understand exactly how things stand between the characters based on the larger narrative as well as their two-person battle. I donít feel like Iím missing any context like I was in other stories.

But on the other hand, being led along I donít get a feeling of anticipation of whatís going to happen. So thereís no driving force to read. I get that itís set up so that both characters can talk and act with no pretension but ďTheyíd retaliate openly without fear of sanctions, force your people out of the shadows they love so much.Ēis just very up front.

Worldbuilding is good. I can picture all of the tech and understand the ďwarĒ thatís going on without a lot of detail. The story delivers gobs of information in just a few sentences.

But similar to a lot of stories this week, I wanted to see another scene or two. Barnaby set a difficult word limit for the genre. Because if there was any sentence that didnít work for me it was the second to last. Because making sure he gets back to Earth feels like a lot of action that Iím missing out on.

Thranguy Ė Conflict of Interests

The setup for this story was the closest one to what I had been expecting for the prompt this week. The surveillance, the clandestine meeting, the guards that could be friend or foe, the missing predecessor. But then the remainder of the story was too coy. The reader never actually finds out who the Interests are, what they want in the world, what they donít want in the world that they would be at odds over it, why they do or donít, how their powers work, why they would consider the MC to be of use, who the MC is working for to get their secrets, etc. Thereís so much left unsaid that by the end, when the MC becomes one of them, that generates more interest, but no more answers. And as a reader I am left unsatisfied.

On a craft level, the pacing is a bit slow. All of the extra details about Mr. Desmond and destroying notes feels like stalling. The sentences all add to the story and scene setting, but they donít answer any questions. And the addition of Rumor feels rushed. I donít know enough about the MC to have this feel like itís in character to make this type of decision in this way.

I would also like this one to be fleshed out more.

Sebmojo Ė You Cannot Betray What You Do Not Love

Tight. But I got the feeling of what was going to happen basically from the beginning. Maybe itís just because I work with people who have delusions, so it just felt natural that someone who sat down and started going on with non-sequiturs wasnít going to be taken seriously. Thereís something about the setup that might be meant to convey that heís a well-trained spy, but to me it comes across like someone who thinks they are a spy trying to do things they think are spy-like.

But perhaps that is the point. Perhaps I only wanted for this to be true spy-craft because that was the point of the week and instead the reader is meant to question Malthus. Regardless, depending on what you want the reader to expect from the narrative that might be a way to rethink the presentation of Malthus at the beginning.

Otherwise, not really a wasted word here. Self-contained. Unlike most of the stories this week, I donít feel like it needed more explanation or another scene.

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crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


here is a thing

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


I think this has been brought up before, but I wanted to revisit, which is Losertars in general.

Losertars have been a mainstay of Thunderdome since its inception, but the community has also grown and changed a lot over time. Weíre not a hugbox, thereís still kayfabe, but I think weíve managed to lose some of the more vitriolic and off-putting elements from the early days, which I think (or I hope) has encouraged more beginners to stick around.

The argument had been made in the past that the Losertar serves as an advertisement to the wider forums, which is great, but is it really our only option? And while some people may view it as a free avatar or a badge of pride, thereís no denying that for most people itís got a level of stigma attached to it. And, given that the only way to get rid of it is to pay money (or hope someone else removes it for you), it feels weird to brand someone in a way that follows them around the rest of the forums.

I donít even mind the idea of having a ďloserĒ for the week, although some judges recently have abstained from assigning a loss in the weeks they ran, which is fine. However the mark of shame aspect that goes with it doesnít quite sit right with me.

One way or another, I love TD and this thread. Thanks for helping me get better at my wordvomit. :kimchi:

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

curlingiron posted:

I think this has been brought up before, but I wanted to revisit, which is Losertars in general.

Losertars have been a mainstay of Thunderdome since its inception, but the community has also grown and changed a lot over time. Weíre not a hugbox, thereís still kayfabe, but I think weíve managed to lose some of the more vitriolic and off-putting elements from the early days, which I think (or I hope) has encouraged more beginners to stick around.

The argument had been made in the past that the Losertar serves as an advertisement to the wider forums, which is great, but is it really our only option? And while some people may view it as a free avatar or a badge of pride, thereís no denying that for most people itís got a level of stigma attached to it. And, given that the only way to get rid of it is to pay money (or hope someone else removes it for you), it feels weird to brand someone in a way that follows them around the rest of the forums.

I donít even mind the idea of having a ďloserĒ for the week, although some judges recently have abstained from assigning a loss in the weeks they ran, which is fine. However the mark of shame aspect that goes with it doesnít quite sit right with me.

One way or another, I love TD and this thread. Thanks for helping me get better at my wordvomit. :kimchi:

I had planned on making an effort post about this as well, but luckily a better, more articulate person did so first.

I agree with this sentiment. I don't think we need the losertar. I do know that it draws attention to the dome, which is good, but I think it's at too much of a cost.

I can tell you that I participated in TD, from the jump, in spite of the losertar. I promised myself if I ever lost, which I did quickly, I'd treat it as a cost of doing business and just plunk down the 5 to fix it. Thing is, not everybody can just do that. It feels crappy that a loss should come not just with a penalty, but one that requires cash to fix.

And yes, we often implore the community to rise up and amend losertars once someone has won. But, I say that a person shouldn't have to risk that part of themselves to participate. Yes, this is a silly online community and avatars may well also be silly. But, my avatar is an important thing that I really like and don't want messed with. I have to imagine I'm not the only one.

Having said all of that... if nothing changes, that's still totally cool and Thunderdome is the loving best.

But, for now, as a Christmas present to the dome. If you currently have a losertar and want to change it, message me and you'll find a SA gift cert in your stocking

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give



If we do continue with losertars going forward, I'll reinstate my old offer now that we're in the post-Lowtax era, and broaden it a little: I'll buy an avatar gift cert for anyone with a losertar who gets a positive mention in a week, wins a brawl, or has posted three stories without negative mentions since their loss.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




I love and hate wearing the losertar. I hate it because I don't like losing, but I love it because it feels like a badge of belonging to this bonkers community. I also like seeing my losertar lined up next to the other losertar-havers, it reminds me that everyone poos bad words sometimes and writing the stinkiest poo one week is not actually that bad! I'd be sad to see it go, but I'd like it if it was a gif that didn't spin quite so fast because it makes my eyes feel funny.

If someone had the losertar and didn't want to participate in TD again or was just done with wearing it it would be nice if they could get their av back for free, if the cost was an issue.

GrandmaParty
Jan 31, 2003

My LPth are Hot Garbage

Biscuit Hider

I'd support making it a toxx consequence.

And also making it garfield.

Weltlich
Feb 13, 2006


Grimey Drawer

I don't really care either way, but I can see how the threat of getting a losertar might dissuade people from joining in. Maybe they really like their av and don't want to risk getting it booted, and maybe they're afraid of getting ID'd as a filthy TD'er.

Maybe we can have some sort of "No losertar for your first three subs, even if you lose" rule to let new folks feel a little more comfortable. Or maybe we can do a losertar as a gang-tag, so you keep your normal AV, but you get a shame ribbon below your name or something. I do think Yoruichi is on to something with saying that the losertar is as much of a badge of belonging as it is a badge of loss.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


alterative, changing your own avatar is $5 so for the few people who are horrified by it, they can view it as a bad story tax.

avocado toast, etc.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



I'd like to turn the losertar question outward--is there anyone lurking who wants to participate but feels wary of the losertar? No need to justify why you feel that way and no judgement on my part, I'm just wondering what people outside of the Thunderdome Cabal feel about it.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



Personal opinion on losertar: Having something at stake helps ensure that submissions meet a minimum standard of effort, but I think if people find the losertar onerous a loser-gang-tag (like a 'loser' version of a proper TD tag) might be a good middle ground between losertar and no losertar.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





I have no real commitment to the losertar and don't mind if it went away, but I admit when I do finally clock my inevitable big ol' L, I'll be a bit sad if the losertar isn't there to commemorate it.

For me, when I started doing TD, it just felt like the cost of entry, but that it was tied in with all the other sacredly-held aspects of TD-- that anybody can crit anybody, that entering in a week would (should!) guarantee you at least one crit of your entry, that you never respond to crits, and that if you were earnestly interested in improving as a writer there'd be a host of people looking to help you do that, even if it meant forging you in the flames of losses and DMs. If anybody felt dissuaded to join in because of the Losertar I would have no issues with it going away, but I guess to me it's more like ante in poker. Even if the bid is only 10 cents, it still puts some symbolic skin in the game, and I think that pushes a lot of us to bring our best.

I wouldn't have any issue with it being a tag instead of an avatar, though.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




p

r

o

m

p

t

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


Losertars should stay.





Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


i think this is the most in line with previous losertars

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

Djeser posted:

Personal opinion on losertar: Having something at stake helps ensure that submissions meet a minimum standard of effort, but I think if people find the losertar onerous a loser-gang-tag (like a 'loser' version of a proper TD tag) might be a good middle ground between losertar and no losertar.

To me losing itself is the stakes. I don't want to lose. At the point of a loss, the losertar feels gratuitous. I think a gang tag may be worse as there's no easy way to be rid of it.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Thunderdome Week 438: Deck the halls with wtf



Let's keep this simple - it's Christmas but it's gone really fuckin' weird.

1250 words, 2359 PST Fri/Sun

Hellrules on request with :toxx:

Judges to determine naughty/niceness

Me, Weltlich, ...

Elves:

yoru
flerp
brotherly
djeser
flesnolk
friendly penguin
sparksbloom
thrnagles
aphid licker
third emporer

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 05:35 on Dec 26, 2020

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

I DON'T ALWAYS
HERDY DUR MUR FLERP FLERPITY
FLOOPIN
BUT WHEN I DO
I YER DER FLERPITY
THURN DER DERMIN
BORK! BORK! BORK!




in :toxx: no heckrule

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




As you know I can't write weird stories because I have no imagination, so please give me a hellrule to assist me with this.

:toxx:

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Yoruichi posted:

As you know I can't write weird stories because I have no imagination, so please give me a hellrule to assist me with this.

:toxx:

Your presents are all alive and screaming and the tree is made of hairspray

Simply Simon
Nov 6, 2010

scanning for good game design


Losertar: dying in Dark Souls

Winning and allowing yourself/nice domers to buy it back: retrieving the Bloodstain

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


In

And about the losertar, as an outsider and someone pretty new to TD, I came back because of all the weird quirks. I want fear of failure and ridicule to motivate me to write dumb little stories every week, and the losertar is a part of that. I like it and look forward to getting it for the first time, even though I never will, because I'm not a loser (except for that one time five years ago but that doesn't count okay).

Maybe make it easier to get the losertar removed? Only one person at a time has the losertar each week, and it moves from person to person? I actually sort of assumed that was how it worked but I can see how that might be a pain.

brotherly fucked around with this message at 11:21 on Dec 23, 2020

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


I am in to get freaky with Santa.

Here is another losertar option, one that perhaps better celebrates the courage and grit that it takes to enter the Dome:

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



brotherly posted:

Maybe make it easier to get the losertar removed?

It's already customary that if you win, your losertar gets replaced, and I think extending that to entering three times without a loss (kind of like Antivehicular's offer) would also be a good custom to adopt, because that means when you get a losertar the way out is to simply write more. (My idea with a loser-tag was that it'd get replaced with the regular TD gang tag upon 'redemption', whatever form that might take.)

(also in :toxx: for one of them spicy rules)

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish



In :toxx: because I must overcome my fear of Sebmojo hell rules.


My opinion, unimportant as it is, is that we should keep as many things that make Thunderdome special as we can. It's what distinguishes it from what you'll find in other writing communities. I'm saying this as someone who still dreads getting the loser avatar. The kayfabe (which is hardly required, see me for an example of someone who is utterly incapable of it), the brutal crits (which aren't as brutal as they once were), the void stories and other forms of experimentation and collaboration all help to make this one of the best proving grounds for those who want to improve their writing while also having fun and getting to know some other awesome writers.

If we're looking to get more dabblers who would write a story on a lark, then I think what Sitting Here did for week 420 was perfect. Every once in a while having gimmick weeks where we go out of our way to invite posters from elsewhere on the forums to participate. During those weeks we might think about eliminating the loser avatar or the kayfabe if we think that will stop people from just enjoying the fun. But for regular weeks, keep this train going.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Iím in

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



a friendly penguin posted:

If we're looking to get more dabblers who would write a story on a lark, then I think what Sitting Here did for week 420 was perfect. Every once in a while having gimmick weeks where we go out of our way to invite posters from elsewhere on the forums to participate. During those weeks we might think about eliminating the loser avatar or the kayfabe if we think that will stop people from just enjoying the fun. But for regular weeks, keep this train going.

Cross-forums promotion is p cool and I'm down for it whenever it happens, though it can be tricky to set up. Though honestly, having a full kayfabe week where we invite a bunch of people in might be fun too, kind of like letting people come to the theme park version of TD, where everything's played up but no one gets hurt.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Djeser posted:

It's already customary that if you win, your losertar gets replaced, and I think extending that to entering three times without a loss (kind of like Antivehicular's offer) would also be a good custom to adopt, because that means when you get a losertar the way out is to simply write more. (My idea with a loser-tag was that it'd get replaced with the regular TD gang tag upon 'redemption', whatever form that might take.)

(also in :toxx: for one of them spicy rules)

your christmas ham is expanding at an unprecedented rate and all the children are missing

a friendly penguin posted:

In :toxx: because I must overcome my fear of Sebmojo hell rules.


My opinion, unimportant as it is, is that we should keep as many things that make Thunderdome special as we can. It's what distinguishes it from what you'll find in other writing communities. I'm saying this as someone who still dreads getting the loser avatar. The kayfabe (which is hardly required, see me for an example of someone who is utterly incapable of it), the brutal crits (which aren't as brutal as they once were), the void stories and other forms of experimentation and collaboration all help to make this one of the best proving grounds for those who want to improve their writing while also having fun and getting to know some other awesome writers.

If we're looking to get more dabblers who would write a story on a lark, then I think what Sitting Here did for week 420 was perfect. Every once in a while having gimmick weeks where we go out of our way to invite posters from elsewhere on the forums to participate. During those weeks we might think about eliminating the loser avatar or the kayfabe if we think that will stop people from just enjoying the fun. But for regular weeks, keep this train going.

the ornaments are rustling and the tinsel is coiling, snakelike. perhaps they fear the Fat Man, or perhaps, this year, they are taking the fight to him?

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?


Speaking for myself but I got the losertar and it's like whatever, I think getting a funny gif under my name actually blunts the impact. The worst result is getting no mention anyway, this is known.
<-- this one however stung a little - and I will wear it as a mark of shame until I deem myself fit to remove it!!

remember kids: it's okay to lose - but failing is for losers

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







oh and my critrate has been dire lately so here's a :toxx: to catch up on all my 2020 crits by 31 Jan 2359 pst

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




In

Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012

h

In toxx hellrule

I vote no more losertars, they make me anxious and feel like adding insult to injury.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Flesnolk posted:

In toxx hellrule

I vote no more losertars, they make me anxious and feel like adding insult to injury.

Your Christmas is melting

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Not many people can say they signed up for thunderdome on Christmas... Are you Mad enough to join that small Elite band...?

aphid_licker
Jan 7, 2009




About 51%98% chance that I'm just gonna whiff but gently caress it I'm IN

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







aphid_licker posted:

About 51%98% chance that I'm just gonna whiff but gently caress it I'm IN

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


i'm in also what's the prompt

Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012

h

The prompt is racism

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







ThirdEmperor posted:

i'm in also what's the prompt

christmas but weird

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crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


in

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