How to appeal against a topic closure?

I’ve seen ambassadors move topics that fit another category better, and I’m fine with that. I’m still not sure where to place what, so help is appreciated.

Now, however, an ambassador has closed a topic of mine, arguing it was in the wrong category. Another category was suggested that is clearly not what I wanted.

I’m pretty sure my topic was in the right category: I was asking for stories, and the only place where this is allowed is Story Requests. There’s even a reply by someone suggesting a match, and I would like to reply, but now I can’t.

I was able to edit the topic so that it has reappeared, but it is still closed; I still can’t add a reply.

I have changed the title a bit, in case that was where the confusion came from, and added a message, tagging the ambassador.

Was that the right thing to do, or what else should I do?

Apart from wanting to get my topic active again, I realized I have no idea what to do in such situation in general, and where to find any information about what to do.

Update:
My topic has meanwhile long since been resurrected. The specific problem was that I had written part of my request in a way that it could be interpreted as offering deals and asking people to read my story; both things are not allowed in Story Requests. The specific parts of my post have been removed, the topic goes on.

If anyone is interested in the general answer, see posts 3 and 5 below.

If anyone wants to discuss something in any way related —

“Don’t let me detain you.”
Havelock Vetinari

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When you have questions you can always ask there.
Usually a Mod answers in less than 12 hours.

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If your thread gets closed, it’s because there was either too much to edit - or because it was simply just not allowed.

We try as much as we can to not just go directly to thread closure, but with some threads it’s not possible.

You can’t appeal this. You also really shouldn’t edit your topic so it appears again. This is against the guidelines and is a general bother for us as we’ve closed threads for a reason. Moving or editing them won’t change this.

I hope this clears it up. But if you think an ambassador has acted out of line you’re welcome to contact @KatherineArlene.

I do think the decision of the ambassador was wrong — and if not, leaves me clueless on what to do better.

How am I supposed to contact @KatherineArlene? Just tagging her? A message via Wattpad proper? Via the topic @matzeztam gave above?

Yes, you can PM her.

Thanks for the pointer!

Thanks, will do!

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No bother!

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I was just in the middle of an exchange on a thread when it got closed. So, I feel your frustration. What’s more, I don’t quite follow the reasoning.

@WorldsInsideMyHead, it seems inconsistent that both the threads “ask a girl anything” and “ask a guy anything” are allowed to remain open, but “ask a trans man anything” was closed. And this was after another ambassador had moved it to the “special services” category.

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This was my fault. I had misunderstood how things worked in the #story-services:special-services club, so that one is on me.

There’s also no “ask a girl” or “ask a boy” threads in #story-services:special-services atm. But they’d be closed too.

The format is in the Guidelines.

If you want to talk to him, make a thread in the area and tag him to it, then you can discuss to your heart’s content. I can even move your posts from the closed thread into your new thread.

No worries. Some of the guidelines are definitely confusing! The ask a guy and ask a girl threads that I referred to are in the Improve Your Writing Category.

@WorldsInsideMyHead, I appreciate the offer, but I might just DM him. Thank you anyway.

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Whatever you prefer.

Are the Guidelines to the Special Services area unclear?

Thanks! I had also trouble to understand the reasoning, and the ambassador who finally sorted it out too; at least it took a few attempts until it was sorted out, my topic post “cleaned” and the topic resurrected.

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The guidelines in the Community categories / clubs / areas are generally not very clear; I’m often not certain where to put what. (And the whole confusion starts with everyone using a different term for the parts of the Community, and the main site calling the Community “Forums” in the menu.) That’s why I wrote I don’t mind ambassadors moving a topic.

Apparently the guidelines are unclear enough for Fray to move the topic into an area where you thought it to be so inappropriate you closed it.

Given the ambiguities guidelines will always have, maybe ambassadors shouldn’t be as quick closing topics. Why not only move them and/or add an ultimatum for the one who has started them, asking for specific edits?

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I’m asking specifically about Special Services. Have you read them?

I’ve just read them. I needed multiple times until I was somewhat confident I’ve got them.

Apparently the concept is a bit complicated: people who want to know something can create topics to ask, people who want to offer their knowledge are instead supposed to post a reply to specific topics, sometimes called “lists” in the guidelines (but not in the topic titles)? (Can you pin the “lists”, and give them a clearer title?)

So people who want to start an “Ask an X anything” topic have to go somewhere else? Like “Improve Your Writing” or, as Nick did, “The Cafe”?

I don’t know where “Ask a trans man - AMA” started, but I think it would have been nice if you had just moved it back to either where Fray got it from, or to one of the places where such topics already happily live and thrive. An additional reply telling the originator that there’s also another way how to spread knowledge, which he may or may not like/prefer, would have been nice, in my opinion.

So yes, I think the guidelines for the “Special Services” are a bit unclear. How about a tl;dr version? “If you have a question, start your own topic. If you want to offer answers, add a reply to one of the topics marked by… If you want to start an ‘Ask an X everything’ topic, go instead to…”

However, instead of clearer guidelines per category, I would prefer one global guideline telling me where to put what.

Don’t get me wrong: I do appreciate the efforts of the community ambassadors to keep things a bit organized!

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There is a place where you can learn the important Guidelines in one place. It’s called New to Wattpad or the Forums. There’s several pinned threads there. Besides that most sections have a description of the sections purpose and those that have a section wide set of Guidelines have them marked Read this First. In a section like Story Services, each area has it’s own set of Guidelines specific to that area. They’re named for their functions.

There’s a pinned thread in The Cafe where you can ask questions. It’s called Ask The Ambassadors Anything!. At the present time we have 38 volunteer Moderators for a forum with nearly a thousand daily users, 3.2 K topics and 398K in posts. We have maybe 30 flags a day and maybe 50 posts / topics edited, moved or closed (estimates are high). That tells me that the majority of users are within the Guidelines, either by actual knowledge or by common sense.

Special Services was actually created to eliminate “Ask X anything” threads in the IYW, which often ended up having little to do with writing. The Guidelines are under About the Special Services category - Guidelines - Read First. which is, as the title states about the Special Services category and you’re supposed to read it first. When it mentions another relevant page, there’s a hyperlink. If you noticed, there’s also a direct link to my main site Wattpad profile to message me with any questions. The reading level of the Guidelines is US 6th grade which covers Wattpad users of 13 and up.

The lists aren’t pinned - the thread that explains what the Lists are and what they’re for is pinned - right under the Section Guidelines. It’s called Do you have special knowledge to share? Do you need special knowledge? Lists here! and it is linked directly from those Guidelines as well. The Lists thread has links to each and every individual list. It was done this way because there are enough lists that if every one is pinned at the top, no one will see any other thread when they open the section - just pinned threads. Users wanted to be able to see the request threads without having to scroll past a full page view of pins.

Also, if you actually saw the AMA thread, then you would know that when I closed it, I explained it to the OP and they put an ad in the proper list.

As far as Nick goes, Nick is Wattpad staff, and made his own section by user request, but Global Community Guidelines still apply there.

The majority of Community users know what the Guidelines are and will often correct new people who make mistakes. Users that don’t know the Guidelines will learn either by reading them, asking the moderators or by doing something against the Guidelines and being corrected. The information is available, there’s a thread to ask questions and clearly badged Moderators as well.

Personally, the first thing I do when I join a web site is read the Terms of Service and any additional documents that pertain to my activity on the site. It is a fact, however, that many people simply don’t do that.

Sections and categories have descriptions and Guidelines specifically about their purpose. We make the Guidelines in a readable format, post them prominently, encourages users to read them first, and are available to clarify them. I honestly don’t see how we can do anything more to make them clear. The information is there - it’s up to the user to seek it out or not. It’s in every user’s own interest to do so, because they will be held accountable regardless.

TL;DR We made the section descriptions and the Guidelines as easy as we can for the average user (13 years and up). It’s up to the user to learn them and / or ask questions to clarify them.

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Thank you for your detailed answer.

I know there has been made a lot of effort to provide descriptions and guidelines, and there are multiple places where they are linked. I read them too.

However, despite the numbers you have given, they seem to work not that well. A point showing this is the AMA thread.

I saw the thread. I don’t know where it originated, but not in Special Services. A community ambassador moved it there — and then happily contributed.

I assume community ambassadors have read the guidelines, asked all the questions, and should, among many other things, know where goes what. So, while I read the guidelines too, when a community ambassador comes along and moves my topic somewhere else, I’m a little disappointed I still had it wrong, but I think that now it’s settled and everything is in best order. In this instance (where it was not my topic), it wasn’t.

I do not blame the community ambassador.

I have written guidelines and introductions. It’s hard. It’s treacherous. People will tell you your guidelines are good and clear, that they have read all of them and understood everything — and then act completely against them, not even seeing the problem.

In I know the other end too. I get written requirements to assess and implement. Requirements are more or less guidelines for a single case. It should be easier to write them than general guidelines. Apparently, it still isn’t easy at all. People, who do this daily, write too little, wrongly assuming I know all what they know, or write too much, burying the relevant details in some subclause, use the wrong or misleading words, etc. In comparison, the Wattpad Community guidelines are pretty well done.

I don’t blame the people who have written the guidelines for not trying hard. Absolutely not.

It is nice to learn the guidelines have been tested for readability. Unfortunately, readability is not the same as understandability or “usability”.

As you give the readability in US grades, I assume a tool has been used that employs the Flesch-Kincaid test, which is basically checking your sentences and words are not too long. That’s a good indicator where you might inadvertently have gone wrong. It doesn’t say you’ve got it right. I think no algorithm could do this.

A thing that makes a big difference in understandability and usability is e.g. consistently using exactly the same word for the same thing. Computers are even worse than humans in knowing whether you do this or not.

But, to get back to the original cause for this topic: even if topic closures are relatively rare — please consider a different approach each time it isn’t an “emergency”, like the topic’s point being calling for illegal action. Closing an active topic can feel pretty disruptive, for originators and participants.

Otherwise — please continue your good job.

PS:
I see the problem with pinning the list topics. The category New to Wattpad or the Forums you’ve linked demonstrates that: It has enough pinned topics that I at first wasn’t sure whether there is anything else. That’s a pity. But how about marking the titles more clearly, e.g. with emojis? And/or tags? Someone has put a “question” tag on their question; maybe “list” + “offering” for the lists would be good.