Subject: Also: paging other Permission Givers.
Posted on: 2014-05-23 11:21:00 UTC

Somewhere in that post, I mentioned that writing bios is a hard and mostly useless skill. Shortly thereafter, while working on the Permission Request Statistics (which is still a thing), I ran across a 2011 thread on the subject:

This thing (may take a while to find the correct point in the doc; it's Bluesunnyday's Permission request, if the link fails)

In the course of that discussion, my wife said a few things that struck me:

Way back when dinosaurs roamed the Board, the very first Permission Givers were very informal. If someone requested Permission, the PGs would do a quick check for serious systematic grammatical problems, maybe ask for a quick description of the proposed agents to be sure they weren't horrific 'Sues, and then they'd usually give Permission. I can only think of a few occasions where they turned someone down, and it was for enormous, glaring problems. And people weren't required to clock a certain number of hours before they were permitted to perform the sacred rite of Requesting Permission.

It wasn't an audition, it wasn't an initiation, it wasn't a huge deal. If you take a look at the guidelines Jay and Acy set up, they're light, concise, and completely non-threatening.

However, the movement from the original requests -- use our gadgets, use our naming structure, run a spell check -- to a month-long personal audition is a leap. If someone can communicate clearly, their Agents pass the sniff test, and they've read a few good missions, they deserve Permission.

I certainly agree the PPC should have standards. But if it were up to me, I would probably empahsise the need for thoughtful, high-quality concrit after publication, rather than emphasising the preventative measures beforehand. The PPC could meet newbies where they are, help them improve, and it would feel more inclusive.

This led to a rather large discussion which resulted in... scrapping the hard one-month time limit, and nothing else.

(Another comment from that thread, from Neshomeh this time: Capitalizing "permission." It's a simple little thing, and I'm fond of it, but perhaps it needs to go. Only really important things get capitalized.)

I know, I know: I've just driven through a massive shift in how we grant Permission, I should sit on Laurel and relax (though she probably wouldn't appreciate it). But I had an idea. An idea I really like.

How about we scrap everything?

No, no, wait, come back! It's not what it sounds like.

Some people are happy with what we've got. They don't want to do a lot of writing and have to scrap it, they like to be able to lay out their agents in full bio form. And that's great. I'm not suggesting we get rid of Permission 3.0.3. But I am suggesting we make it one half of an either/or, one method of getting Permission. The other method being:

Write your first mission. Get it beta'd, edited, everything. Post it on the Board as your, oh, PerMission. A Permission Giver will read it, and give concrit. If they say Permission Denied, take the mission back down and rewrite it, start from scratch, switch to the other method, whatever. It won't be part of the PPC canon. If they say Permission Granted, then follow the concrit (post-publishing editing should be encouraged!), but leave it up. It's now part of the PPC canon, can go on the Wiki, and you can work on your next one.

This method solves several problems all at once. It increases the number of missions being written (even if, inevitably, some of them are bad missions). It encourages a culture of both betaing (which I suggest making a requirement, not a suggestion) and concrit - giving and accepting. It encourages improvement even of published missions. It allows you to 'show, don't tell' your agents' personalities, your knowledge of the PPC - all the things we're looking for.

It even allows things like Pippa's idea of using only free-to-use agents - because by writing a full mission, you'll show whether you can use them. It de-ritualises Permission (a 'no' would become 'please rewrite your mission', which is what we'd say to anyone who wrote a bad one) while keeping it as a hard barrier around the PPC canon. It lets people demonstrate that yes, they can comment both critically and amusingly on a badfic (which the current process doesn't). It ensures that people who get Permission are willing to spend the time to, y'know, write missions. And it ensures that every first mission serves as a high-quality introduction to the agents in it.

Like I say, I'm not suggesting full replacement. Writing an entire story when you know you might be told to scrap all the characters can be hard - it depends on how you feel about writing. But I do think it could be a viable alternate method - perhaps even a stronger one.

So: what do you think?


Reply Return to messages