Protagonize feature preview, part one

It’s late Friday evening (actually, early Saturday morning) and I’m completely exhausted, but here I am blogging again. I could be out having a good time somewhere (hah, that’s likely), but I felt obligated to post about these sweet new features I have planned… before I forget to do it tomorrow. :)

So, you’re asking yourself. What do the swell folks at Protagonize have in store for their readers in the coming weeks? Well, here’s a taste of some features we have planned. Some are coming sooner rather than later, but we’d love to hear your feedback on each one.

Branch Ratings

We’ve had several users email us and suggest that rating a specific branch of a story may be more useful on the whole than rating an entire story. We’re going to be getting to this one pretty soon — the way it will work is that all existing ratings will be migrated to the first branch of the story, and all branches afterwards will be once more unrated. That way, authors will get their proper due: an author’s rating will become the average of all branches they’ve posted (including the head branch of a story.) Stories will be rated based on the average vote on all branches for that specific story.

This may cause the highest rated authors and stories to fluctuate a little at first from what’s up there right now, but in the end we feel this will add value to ratings as a whole and make both story and author aggregated ratings be much more precise and inclusive values.


The main feature we’re going to be adding in the next month or two is user-created and controlled group functionality. Groups will be either be open or closed membership; closed groups will require an invitation and (optionally) will not be displayed on the front end of the site (i.e. closed groups can be public or private), and open groups will allow people to join in at will. Following this model, we can cater to the usage of a variety of types of users, allowing for both private & closed groups. This will permit others to use the groups feature in a different ways: for instance, a close circles of friends who don’t want other people participating in their stories.

Dead ends

The last feature we’re going to discuss tonight is the ability to create dead-end branches to a story. This is an important feature that we’ve determined is necessary to add as going back and looking at previous forms of addventures throughout the years, most have had some form of “ending” possible in every branch. After some consideration, we’re going to leave one restriction in so that stories can’t be completely shut down by dead-ends: a story must have at least one incomplete branch available to users, in addition to the dead-end you’re creating. That way, the story can always keep going, but at a slightly lower flow. To stick with our usual tree analogy, consider this a way users can prune an out-of-control story. :)

Check back tomorrow for the rest of our feature preview. Have an excellent weekend, and keep on writing!

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