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Since we now have writing challenges on Meta it occurs to me to ask if another activity of interest to writers would also be appropriate here: announcing the publication of books we have written. This is not a disinterested question, since I have a book that should appear in the next few months (a book on writing, no less). The publicity hound in me would like to proclaim it in all the places I hang out online.

Some thoughts on potential rules, if we decide to allow this:

  1. Should some reputation level be required to post book announcements, so we don't have people coming here just to announce books without contributing to the community?

  2. Should self published books count, or just professional, paid publication?

  3. Should it be confined to new books, or should people be allowed to post their back catalogue as well?

  4. Should we confine it to book length publication or should shorter works count as well.

Clearly this is not entirely in the spirit of Meta, since a publication announcement is not a question, but that is true of writing challenges as well.

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    Just an opinion on the general remark on meta: while it's not a question, "writing challenges" can be seen as a way to increase the site activity and the site may benefit from it. On the other hand, I can't see the benefit of publication announcement for the community (perhaps flesh that out on the post?). If only per-site blog was still active, then I guess it could belong to there. However, I'm not an active user here, and I believe the community has more voice on deciding what's belong to meta. – Andrew T. Sep 6 '17 at 11:57
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    Fair comment. But you could also argue that publication announcements could give experienced professional writers to hang out here, and we could certainly use more of them. – Mark Baker Sep 6 '17 at 12:13
  • Kind of similar, on Worldbuilding: share a glimpse into your world and blog-post announcements (and oops, looks like I should have pushed the next post before now...). – Monica Cellio Sep 6 '17 at 16:31
  • @MarkBaker I agree. When I posted my previous comment, I was also wondering about the format and I only thought of posting a new announcement for every publication (similar to election result announcement on graduated sites) which might clutter the meta, but after reading Monica's answer, I changed my mind and I believe it can work just as she described :) – Andrew T. Sep 7 '17 at 11:12
  • Please add the "support" tag to your question, as we certainly want the attention of some higher power on this decision. – user26338 Sep 8 '17 at 10:22
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    An option to make this more about the actual site/community and less about a platform for personal announcements (which seems to be the core of some of the detractors' reservations and what makes it a little unsuited for meta), the announcements could, less than just list new publications, shed more light on the specific site questions that helped people with their actual projects. The announcement could be part of it, but the emphasis could lay on saying how Writing "made it happen". – Christian Rau Sep 9 '17 at 17:58
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This seems useful for community-building here, and meta is appropriate for that. As you said, we already have the challenges. I know I'm interested in knowing what our users have published.

It takes a little bit of reputation (5 rep) to be able to post on meta, so while the bar is very low, people have to have done something on main to be able to use meta for promotion (or have another Stack Exchange account that grants the association bonus). That 5-rep minimum should be enough to keep out spammers while still letting almost everybody who's actually here for Writers.SE to participate.

I suggest a single meta question, something like "what have our users published?", with one answer per author. That gives you room to promote the new work and still list older works. As with resumes, over time older entries will probably get shorter to make room for newer ones (for prolific authors).

If we use this format, I personally don't care if the work is self-published or from professional publishing houses. Similarly, I think books and shorter works are both fine. It's one post per author, so people won't be flooding meta. (But if you're publishing frequently, like a "poem of the day" on your blog, try to batch those instead of bumping the post frequently.)

  • New users get 100 rep when they have enough rep on other SE sites, so it is not true that a user has to have contributed something to this site to be allowed to post on meta. – user26338 Sep 8 '17 at 10:26
  • @user8183921 true. I was focusing on the spammer case (association bonus unlikely but not unheard-of) and over-generalized. I've edited. – Monica Cellio Sep 8 '17 at 15:06
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    Done, let's see how this works. What have our users published? – Neil Fein Sep 15 '17 at 21:17
  • I saw @NeilFein's post listed above, but I also see nobody has taken the opportunity to utilize it, either. I'd be happy to be the first person to do so. I had published almost 60 automotive how-to articles a little over a year ago I could put into a single meta post as an answer. Is this something that would be frowned upon? I'm not on Writer's as much as I'd like to be, so don't want to abuse the privilege. On the other hand, I'd not want to see the resource go to waste. I think if someone kicks it off, it might actually get used? How say you? – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jan 1 '18 at 7:34
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    @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 please do kick it off! I think you're right that it needs somebody to start the ball rolling. As long as you use a single answer on that meta post, go ahead and include whatever you like! – Monica Cellio Jan 1 '18 at 16:22
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I believe that private announcements are and should remain off-topic on all SE sites. You personal profile is the place to inform interested parties of your life beyond this site.

Meta — as the term implies — is a site to discuss its related non-meta site, and what does not refer to Writers is off-topic on Meta Writers.

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    That is certainly the strict construction argument. But it is based on taking the SO model and applying it strictly to other subject areas where it may not fit. And the strict SO model does not work for writing. As we have noted here, writing does not produce small reusable answers the way programming does. Writers SE has a growth problem. Participating on SO can be a big economic benefit to a programmer. It can help them get jobs. That is not true for writers, who often depend on book sales. Writers has to bend the SE model to its material and audience if it is to prosper... – Mark Baker Sep 8 '17 at 11:24
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    ... Using meta for writing exercises is similarly not a strictly meta use of Meta. But the idea is to help grow the community. Writing is different enough from programming that a Q/A site for writers is going to have to work differently from SO in order to attract and maintain an involved community. Part of that involves giving expert uses the opportunity to demonstrate their expertise. The SO models does that perfectly for programmers, but not for writers. Should the model adapt to the subject matter and audience or should it operate as a Procrustean bed? – Mark Baker Sep 8 '17 at 11:30
  • Your question above isn't about the applicability of the SO model to writing, nor about writing exercises, but about announcing your publications. I have answered that question. Your comments do not relate to my answer. I would rather hear why you think that advertising your publications in your profile is not enough and what Writers SE gains if you advertise on meta instead. – user26338 Sep 8 '17 at 11:52
  • And I would like to hear what you think to Writers SE gains from a strict application of the SO model. SO has experienced explosive growth and attracts top professional programmers to answer questions. Writers SE is stuck in perpetual beta with only a handful of professionals and a question rate of around 4 per day. How do you think strict construction of the model is going to help move us forward? – Mark Baker Sep 8 '17 at 12:19
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    And to address your question. Writers SE would gain if more professional writers joined the site. Professional writers, like it or not (and most don't like it), have to market their wares, and this means announcing new publications. A profile is not a good place to make announcements. A community of writers celebrates each other publications. A community of programmers does not (except derisively) celebrate each other's bug fixes. To grow a community, you do the things that build community for the avocation you are targeting. – Mark Baker Sep 8 '17 at 12:27
  • The purpose of this site is not to change it into what works best for writers. This site is an experiment to find out whether or not the StackExchange Q&A format works for writing. If it doesn't then Writes.SE will be closed. – user26338 Sep 8 '17 at 13:06
  • There are countless other writing communities that already do what you propose, and professional writers aren't active there either. I would even go so far as to say that software programmers are the only profession whose members are active as a community on the internet. With a handful of exceptions per site, there are no professional photographers on Photographers.SE, no professional musicians on Music.SE, no professoinal scientists active on the natural sciences sites (which are mostly frequented by students of their disciplines), and so on. SE, apart from SO, is amateur only. – user26338 Sep 8 '17 at 13:07
  • Re experiment: Well, maybe it is an experiment to see if the model fits other communities unchanged, and maybe it is an experiment to see if the model can be modified to fit other communities. If the former, it is kind of a dumb experiment because countless experiments before have demonstrated that you can't take a model that works for one community and transplant it unchanged to other communities. And if what you say about every other SE being amateur is true, then surely the experiment has run its course and produced its answer. – Mark Baker Sep 8 '17 at 14:40
  • Personally, I would see the experiment to see if the model can be successfully adapted to other communities to be much more interesting. If, as you propose, programmers are the only profession whose members are active as a community on the internet (though I don't think it is), surely the experiment to see if the models that work for programmers can be adapted to other professions is a much more compelling one. As a professional writer myself, I would like to see such communities fostered, but clearly the model needs to be tweaked to make that happen here. – Mark Baker Sep 8 '17 at 14:47

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