Sunday, December 14, 2008

Writers Dock

This morning I decided to leave Writers Dock.

Shortly I will post to explain why.

But I think it's important to clarify something.

Over the years Boot Camp has waxed and waned. It gets newcomers, people develop and leave to:

Have a baby
Start an MA or MFA
Write a novel


BC has always need around 24 members so that at any time 12-18 are active. We work intensely, brilliantly, successfully.

This last eighteen months I took my eye off the ball while renovating the chapel in Wales and the membership slipped. The place was still working (it still is today) but it felt lifeless.

I was a dormant member at Writers Dock, dormant, because frankly it was a very amateurish place run by amateurs, for amateurs. But there were a few souls there who wanted Writers Dock to be more and they had a new section for critiquing critiques, and that's MY kind of country.

So, as Cheesepuff, a membership I'd had since 2005, I began to post.

As is standard in these cases, certain baboons on certain rocks began to bare their teeth, but Sonny, the owner of the site confided in me that the site was struggling and atrophying and needed something like Boot Camp.

I set up an open forum "Tough Love Central" then a closed group "Tough Love Writing Group 1" and a third forum "Story Week 1", another "Story Follow-up" and a fifth for Flashes.

In just ten weeks we trebled the size of the membership

Below are the statistics. Appreciate this is from scratch in a partly-hostile environment.


10 (08) Initial membership/True Membership
29 (24) Current Membership/True Membership

00,460 Threads (46 per week)
05,553 Posts (555 per week)
44,491 Views (4,490 per week)
01,447 New Writing Prompts (145 per week)

00,087 New Flashes (9 per week)
00,085 New Stories (9 per week)
00,004 New Stories not yet posted
00,005 Other Stories

00,181 Total Stories (18 per week)
00,975 Total Critiques (incl professional stories) (98 per week)
00,616 STORY Critiques (61 per week)
00,328 Flash Responses/Crits (33 per week)
00,007 Story Full critiques per-story average (7.25)
00,004 Crit Responses per Flash average (3.77)

00,018 Craft Threads
00,004 Professional Stories Discussed
00,003 Craft Articles (NEW)
00,003 Craft Articles (OLD)
00,002 Writing Exercises

00,129 Submissions
00,024 Rejections
00,100 Stories Circulating
00,014 Hits
00,001 Major Prize Finalist
00,001 Notes
00,005 Publications

However, when an individual was castigated by a Draconian moderator for using a TLC prompt, I pointed out (not remotely flaming) why the castigation was wrong. The baboons rose up, as they always do. However, reading the various posts in WD you'd be forgiven for imagining that I had sent nasty emails or private messages. I did not. Not one. My privileges as a moderator were removed, so I told Sonny I would be leaving as soon as I had removed my stories, my articles and the Boot Camp grid.

I hear tonight that someone, "Rafiki" has noted that TLC was "a temporarily free forum" and that I was only at WD to recruit members.

Yes it was, but the onset of charges was SONNY's idea. WD brought in charges for new members three months ago and wanted me to charge for TLC at the rate of thirty pounds a month. That was delayed for one reason only; because I told Sonny to wait until TLC members began to score hits and win prizes.

So to clarify. The charging was at the behest of the owner of Writers Dock and it was me who delayed the imposition of the charge.

I've left WD (they blocked my ID immediately and have not allowed me to remove my personal files) and I have not solicited any WD member and suggested they join Boot Camp

Alex Keegan

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