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If you're not just passing through to get your one single question answered, but are a regular contributor to the site, what do you get from it?

15 Answers 15

31

This is going to be an unexciting answer (I apologize in advance!), but I came here to flag the spam.

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    Me too actually. – Sam May 13 '15 at 11:25
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    Me too actually. – Shadow Wizard May 13 '15 at 11:53
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    Me too actually. – Mooseman May 13 '15 at 11:54
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    Me too actually. – ProgramFOX May 13 '15 at 11:55
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    Me too actually. – John Dvorak May 13 '15 at 11:56
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    Me too actually, but now I'm out of flags :-( – PeterJ May 13 '15 at 12:01
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    Me too actually. – bjb568 May 13 '15 at 12:02
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    And now I'm out of flags, too :-( – John Dvorak May 13 '15 at 12:12
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    Me too actually. – Doorknob May 14 '15 at 2:01
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    If I'm honest, I came here to watch Unihedron flag spam. – JamesENL May 14 '15 at 2:02
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    Me too actually. – Jason C May 14 '15 at 4:47
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    Me too actually. – nicael May 14 '15 at 12:44
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    Me too actually. – allquixotic May 19 '15 at 18:14
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    Well, welcome to you and your entourage! :D – Neil Fein May 21 '15 at 20:49
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    I like the word "entourage"... – Rory Alsop May 22 '15 at 11:01
19

Answering questions that others post helps me understand my own process and its problems, clear my head of all the outside opinions and advice, and (re)focus on what works for me.

I often have the same questions that I answer here, without being aware that I'm struggling with a certain problem, and unable to understand that I already know the solution.

Answering here is an opportunity to reflect on what I know -- both from reading how other writers have described their process and from the experience of my own writing -- and to transform that dormant knowledge into active understanding.

18

I'm an editor and proofreader, and I enjoy helping others to solve their writing problems. I also appreciate the differing perspectives of other editors and writers, particularly those outside the U.S., as it helps to keep me from getting too insulated in my opinions.

16

I'm an amateur writer, and am part way through writing my first novel. It's a massive undertaking, and it's incredibly scary. I've never committed myself to something this big before, and considering that I am not overly confident in my writing ability It's sometimes hard to keep going.

It's the first thing I've actually ever wanted to work hard for, just for me, rather than for anyone else. It was only a couple of years ago that writing as a job actually even occurred to me. It would be great to have a career in writing, but if not that's OK too. I enjoy it just for the fun of it.

As most of you probably know writing is a lonely business. I don't know anyone else who does it, or even anyone else I could talk to about it. When I stumbled across this site I realized that there was an entire community of people devoted to helping each other to improve their craft, and realized that I wasn't as alone as I first thought.

I originally came to this site to ask a question, like probably quite a lot of people do. But once I started looking at other questions that people were asking and realized that I actually had some insight, I thought that I would offer my $0.02.

After answering one or two questions and having my answers up voted, I realized that my advice was actually helping others. If other writers like my ideas, then maybe they aren't so bad.

Sometimes I come here and go to ask a question and it's already been asked, which means that others are clearly struggling with similar things to me.

Every time I answer a question and it gets up voted, it gives me a little bit of a confidence boost that maybe I actually am capable of being a good writer.

And that is why I keep coming back.

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    Mike - Your post sounds really similar to what I was like five years ago. I had absolutely no knowledge of how to write. I just knew that it was fun. Through a friend, I found a website that supported fan fiction, and I began writing. I also started to look into some books on writing. Five years later, and the critique I got on my fan fiction, coupled with my own research and trial-and-error have served to get me where I am now - ready to write the novels I was always meant to. Just to let you know - everyone starts somewhere; you are by no means alone. – Thomas Myron May 12 '15 at 20:04
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    Hey Mike - just a suggestion, you may try googling critique groups or writers groups in your area. My husband and I are both members of the local writers guild and weekly go to a member's house with ~10 others to critique each other's writing and share our experiences. Helps with the loneliness. And, for the most part, you aren't expected to have any kind of credentials. You just need to like to write. :) – Nicole May 13 '15 at 0:52
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    me too (@unihedron) – dmm May 14 '15 at 14:12
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I'm an experienced technical writer, and I've been told by many managers and coworkers over the years that I'm good at it. I'd like to share what I've learned to help other technical writers. But it's been long enough that I don't always remember what the earlier-stage problems were any more, so I'm pretty unlikely to just speculatively post blog articles or something. I want to answer the questions that people actually have, not the ones that I surmise they might have. And besides, way more people will see an SE answer than a blog post from an unknown like me.

I also hope to draw more tech writers here so I can get some of my questions answered, too.

I came for the tech writing but I've seen a lot of other interesting questions and answers here too, and I've been able to help with some of those. It's pretty neat when skills transfer like that; I don't write much fiction (none professionally), but I can still help with questions there. That's neat.

14

I'm just here for the free beer.

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    And the brownies. I make really good brownies. – Lauren Ipsum May 10 '15 at 19:56
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    I want I want I want! – Amin Mohamed Ajani May 11 '15 at 18:51
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    Huh. The moderators are always the last to know. Where do we get our beer and brownies? – Monica Cellio May 13 '15 at 1:11
  • At the Overlook Hotel bar – Amin Mohamed Ajani May 13 '15 at 16:07
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    @MonicaCellio Oh, sorry, don't all the mods have a standing invitation to the Algonquin Round Table? – Lauren Ipsum May 13 '15 at 21:54
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I'm an aspiring author. I want my novels to be the best I can make them, so I'm learning all I can about writing before I actually publish anything. It also helps me see and answer the questions of other writers. In addition to giving me a feel for the literary landscape, this lets me help other authors become better at what they want to do.

P.S. I am eternally grateful to whoever made this site, as well as Worldbuilding SE.

10

I receive hedonistic satisfaction from participation:

  • asking a question: the pleasure of getting a good advice about a problem I have and contributing to the community (avoiding the pain of seeming leech-like in not contributing questions may also be a factor [Note: I ask relatively few questions, five questions versus 25 answers.])
  • answering a question: the pleasure of helping someone else, receiving affirmation, and doing work that fits my aptitudes, abilities, and inclinations (I enjoy analyzing a problem and even the fine-tuning of an answer involves some analysis)
  • commenting or editing: the pleasure of expressing my thoughts whether just a fun comment — officially discouraged by Stack Exchange but broadly tolerated and sometimes encouraged — or a suggestion or question for clarification (editing, like answering a question, expresses skill)
  • voting on posts: the pleasure of affirming someone else's efforts and expressing my feelings about the quality of a post
  • reading posts: the pleasure of thinking, even if just arguing within myself
9

I'm a freelance editor. Answering questions forces me to think things through so I can present a reasoned, understandable answer; I think doing this has made me a better editor. Answering questions here also keeps me in touch with a community of talented, dedicated writers.

7

I'm a researcher and teacher at a university, and technical writing takes a significant part of my professional life, and I actually enjoy it (this is surely a late discovery). Moreover, I'm an avid reader, both of fiction and technical books.

Writers.SE allows me to improve my writing skills and to throw a glance at the mechanisms underlying the writing of fiction books. I'm surely interested in answering questions about technical writing too.

6

I like to kid myself that i will actually start writing at some point. So i come here to bone up on some skills and share any (if any) helpful points or ideas i may have.

ironically enough, at the same time flagrantly disregarding certain capitalization and grammar rules.

6
  1. Because I'm so opinionated.
  2. Because many times I see a question that I should have asked, but it didn't occur to me that I needed to ask it -- until I saw the question.
  3. To learn Markdown. ;-)
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    Did you mean Markdown? (Or do you use HTML instead of or in addition to Markdown?) – Paul A. Clayton May 16 '15 at 0:00
  • haha, I meant markdown, I guess. #NotAGoodTechNerd – dmm May 18 '15 at 12:54
4

I've been writing since the age of eight. I've learned quite a lot about writing over that period, and gradually formulated my own writing style, as well as various tips/tricks. I'm always perfectly happy to pass on what I've learned to others. At the same time, I'm aware that my writing is still not perfect, so browsing the questions and answers here (and asking my own questions) is helping me to keep improving.

Also what Unihedron said about spam. Can't stand the stuff.

4

I started writing short stories based (mostly) on my answers and questions (as well as the answers I received on those) on WorldBuilding.SE. You can read more about what I have "published" in the Universe Factory in my answer to the Meta Post What have our users published?.

My goal with participating on this site was to get some information on what to do and what not to do, as I have always been quite good at writing a lot when it came to assignments in school/university, but creativity and analyzing literary works have never been my fortes. Basically I am a self-taught amateur that wants to improve as part of his relatively new hobby - and I want to share what I have known before, learned so far and am going to learn in the future.

I am reading a lot of fantasy books, but I am also reading a wide range of other kinds of books from time to time. Furthermore I like to discuss how techniques from one genre or medium can be adapted to other areas. For example I like to answer questions with the tag and am interested in Visual Novels and Gamebooks.

I believe that being open to and learning about different kinds of techniques from different fields helps in giving one a broader range of things to choose from and guidelines to know when something probably works and when it probably does not work.

As a programmer I have a bit of knowledge about technical writing, though my experience stems more from smaller documentation projects and is therefore not always applicable to the tech-writing questions here. I hope that I can learn from them in case I need that information at some point in my career and am glad that I know I can ask such questions here if I ever happen to have one.

3

"What do you get from it?"

I'm actually writing something, hopefully most people who are participating are too.

I enjoy the ideas behind what motivates people to write. I enjoy solving a good social/communication puzzle, and discussing options about how stories can be presented. Up until recently I have gotten only constructive feedback and the general tone has been encouraging and positive.

However, I'm noticing an uptick in trolling and pedantic/useless comments from people with almost zero participation. I got THREE pointless comments on my question today from users with 101, 103, and 111 points – one troll deliberately misgendered a character as an insult, one needed to correct spelling, one needed to tell everyone we are using a common term incorrectly (according to him). Obviously NONE contributed in the least to the question.... (the question appears to be "boosted" because it's getting more views than usual, which might explain the troll attention, but it's still tedious to get notices about nonsense.)

Since SE has no block options for trolls, I doubt I will continue to participate if/when Writing becomes saturated with it like some of the other SE sites.

  • Your question is currently in the "Hot Network Questions" (congratulations on that), hence the increased attention from other users from other sites of the network who have the association bonus and likely not more participation (yet). The first comment is indeed unnecessary and should be flagged as "No longer necessary" - it doesn't really provide anything. The second one can't simply edit your post (minimum edits of six characters), hence the comment - after editing (or dismissing the need to edit) you should flag it as "No longer needed". – Secespitus Mar 20 '18 at 16:27
  • The third was trying to clarify something - he may be wrong, but that in itself is valuable for the site and questions. As you have explained your usage of the term to him I don't see any problems leaving that there for future readers who might have a similar confusion at first - asking for clarification is what comments are for. I can see why getting a lot of comments may seem unnecessary, but I don't think all of them were trolls. If you feel there is an uptick in trolls it could prove useful to raise a meta discussion about this topic. – Secespitus Mar 20 '18 at 16:27
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    I'm sorry you're getting this kind of responses. We can't completely prevent this sort of thing, but moderators do respond to flags, so please let us know (via flags) when bad things are happening! Unfortunately, part of the cost of doing business on the Internet is that sometimes people use the textboxes we offer poorly. I hope you'll continue to participate here. – Monica Cellio Mar 20 '18 at 16:30
  • Agree on all your observations @Secespitus , and why I responded to the 3rd comment (it seemed sincere, even if a little anti-social). – wetcircuit Mar 20 '18 at 16:35

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