Copy and pasted my co-worker’s message:
WE WANT YOUR OPINION ON STORY SETTING DATA.
Hi! Wattpad HQ is looking to collect more data from writers about their story’s Setting - starting with details at the story part level on when the story takes place. We want your opinion on the best way to gather this data. The survey requires skimming the first chapter of 5 different stories on Wattpad - if you can spare some time and complete this survey to help us in designing the feature, we would be very grateful Survey here: https://goo.gl/forms/FHSyP2z7XZBAQ2hf1 (edited)
Copy and pasted my co-worker’s message:
Rating chapter and books on a scale
Will check it out when I’m either on lunch (and thus have more time) or when I get home (because it might suck to try to do it from my phone) but you know I’m always down to give my feedback when I can.
Aka I like to whine. Let me whinnnneeeeee
Yup I’ll have to check it when I’m home and can dedicate my thoughts to it. On a surface level I think dedicating a time period might be hard for some fantasy stories since many will take certain elements from certain cultures, but not necessarily be set in a certain time period. I think only historical fiction and contemporaries would really be able to fit in a nice, clean time period. But I’ll see how i feel when my mind can focus just on that because I could be reading it wrong
I filled out the survey, but also wanted to put my thoughts here now that I’m home and can reflect on them better… I might still be missing something, but this isn’t a setting we need for our books. Not every book is going to fit into a nice neat time period and I don’t really know that anyone would be searching for it that way unless they’re looking for historical fiction. That’s the only time I could see a time period being useful.
My books are fantasy and a lot of them have the cliche medieval aspects of high fantasy books but I would NOT want say it takes place in the medieval times. it doesn’t. It just has aspects of that time but otherwise it is a completely made up world in a made up time period. One of my books with the medieval aspects also has a country that has uses windmills to harness electricity. There was no electricity in the medieval times so how would I classify that as any typical time period? Then you have time travel books that will go all over time, how the heck are you supposed to classify that as a time period? I just don’t see the use in this setting.
The setting our books need is age categories. Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, Adult. That is what will be really helpful. You don’t go into a book store and ask for books set in the 1960’s, not unless you’re looking for non-fiction. You’re going to ask for the young adult section then look for the genre within that section. The last time I ever looked for a book on a specific time period was when I had to write a report on said time period. My fiction books i couldn’t careless as long as they fit my preferred genre (fantasy) and are interesting and written in a style I enjoy.
Gonna ditto this
Yeah I’m with @Prisim too. This seems wholly unnecessary for anything besides Historical Fiction or time pieces.
I absolutely agree with this. If the author needs to define a time period, then they could either state it directly in the chapter or infer to characteristics of the time period. For example: the Victorian Era is well known for the two social hemispheres. The Medieval Era is very very very well known for castles, knights, royalty, the fictional dragon, etc.
It’s really a feature that isn’t needed and will probably be underutilized.
Agree with all of you. This feature isn’t necessary.
We could have a theme based backgrounds images which the writers could choose to display in their chapters based on the moods of their chapters
But this is just me =]
I’m looking at the survey and it says to skim the first five chapters to determie the time period, but like the first three I’ve looked at so far, clearly state the year in the description.
I feel like I’m missing something. . .
I did the survey. Mostly. I accidentally skipped a part when I didn’t realise that there was a difference.
Also, can we ask WHY Wattpad HQ is wanting to collect data on story settings? What sort of decisions would be made with this information?
And, what other story setting details would they like besides the ‘when’ of each story part?
I’m finding this conversation has got my brain buzzing trying to figure out the reasoning behind this. I’m sure there’s a good one, I just can’t figure it out!
We have a HUGE effort pushing for better content recommendations and a hypothesis that details like that can help us surface stories better to readers who will love them
Thanks for bringing this up!
If we wanted to capture Fantasty Stories period of time, what type of option could be added in the drop down? @prisim?
Hey @Makaylasophia @europe.au @Prisim this is a very interesting perspective. What if I explained that this data will be combined with “mood” of a story and genre, to help us at Wattpad HQ identify niche genres and categories, helping us discover new stories. Example: A Scary Romance set in the Far Future, actually tells us a lot about the story. vs. A Scary Romance set in the Near Past. These three attributes (Genre, Mood, and Period of Time) actually help us develop niche genres. For the start it will help us at Wattpad look for something specific to add to reading lists, but in the long term it could help with readers searching for a read. You can have a Romance that is set in the far future but isn’t quite SciFi.
Wouldn’t telling the target audience also help develop a niche?
A Scary Young Adult Romance in the Far Future would have different elements than a Scary Adult Romance. While both have the same settings, the atmosphere of the protagonists are usually different, because people focus on different things at different stages of life.
So this wasn’t aimed at me, but I’m gonna reply.
I still don’t see the time periods being something people will specifically go for unless they’re into Historical Fiction or time travel/portal fiction already. I might be completely wrong, but I don’t think I’ve ever specifically set out to look for a Fantasy book set in the 1800’s, for example.
@deetee wouldn’t tags provide most of this info?
Or more specifically, genres with sub-genres?
Time is inferred in a lot of subgenres.
Take fantasy for example:
- Contemporary Fantasy
- Urban Fantasy
- Medieval Fantasy
- High Fantasy
- Low Fantasy
- Dark Fantasy (here time isn’t quite specified, but this tag is often combined with another eg Urban)
- Victorian Fantasy
- Regency Fantasy
- Gaslamp Fantasy
- Science Fantasy
I’m wondering if Wattpad had more core categories, or maybe “managed” tags (as opposed to random, user-created ones), if this would help?
Thinking along the lines of amazon.com, they do the whole “people who read this also read…” can we get that data to work in the algorithm? (If it isn’t already?)
Also, people tend to tag their books poorly, so I wonder if we could do anything to direct them?
ie, if they select “Fantasy” as a genre, it produces a list of say, twenty subgenres for people to select from? This would put books into more niches and thus help us recommend more from within those niches? Rather than leaving it up to them to figure it out for themselves?
(I low-key hate this idea for selfish reasons, because them my sub-genres may get flooded haha. But analytics-wise, it works)
At the moment, does the recommendations algorithm use tag data?
ie, when it looks at a person, can it produce a list of the most common tags amongst all the books they have read, or have in their library, or have voted on recently, or have on their reading lists, etc?
@MakaylasophiaI do like the idea of a target audience! What would be options in a drop-down you would include for target audience? (just picking your brain here)