Weekly roundup: March 31 – April 6, 2008

Here we are, a new week (and a half) and a new roundup.

My apologies for the late posting this week, but I’ve been sidetracked with other work on the site and I’m just getting around to it now. It’ll be short and sweet this time, as it’s pretty late here on the west coast, the Canucks just got eliminated from the NHL playoffs (argh!) and I’ve got a new feature that should interest you all half-complete that should be up and running this weekend.

Also, if you didn’t see the collaborative writing post on the blog from earlier this week, it’s been host to some lively conversation amongst our members. If you’d like to participate, or have any suggestions on things you believe are missing from the site, take a look here:

http://blog.protagonize.com/2008/03/31/thoughts-on-the-collaborative-writing-process/


This week’s Editor’s Pick is “The Sanctuary“, a linear story by fellow a Vancouverite and first-time Protagonize featured author, Ganga. As of this writing, the story is home to six chapters and a stellar rating of 4.70 based on 10 ratings. It’s also quite provocative, as I’m sure you’ll agree from this excerpt:

“The deafening blast hurled him several feet from the ground. Before he realized what was happening, the dome was on fire. The Temple’s oil lamps lay scattered on the floor. Agni, the God of Fire, appeared to be voraciously hungry, whooshing and swallowing everything in sight at a blinding pace. It wouldn’t be long before the entire structure collapsed. The ever smiling Krishna idol was standing still, flute in hand and engulfed in flames.

A few seconds later, high pitched screams of agony pierced the sky, dwarfing the sounds of destruction created by the fire and wind. He turned around to see bodies and parts lying everywhere. Men, women and children were running or dragging themselves away from the scenes of death and destruction.”

You can view there rest of “The Sanctuary” here:
http://www.protagonize.com/story/the-sanctuary


This week’s featured author is Bolsheviki, a young lady joining us from the U.K. Bolsheviki‘s claim to fame on Protagonize thus far is “Mage Hunting“, which has been firmly ensconced in our top five Hot Stories for the last week or so.

Bolsheviki has posted four stories and 14 branches or chapters since joining the site only slightly more than three weeks ago, in addition to posting 11 comments. In that short time, she’s racked up an amazing 4.68 average rating from our site members, based on from 25 total ratings. Well done!

You check out Bolsheviki‘s profile here:
http://www.protagonize.com/author/Bolsheviki


As an aside, I’m sure some of you have questions about how the features are selected each week. I’ll give you a brief hint this time: if you want to be a featured author, make sure you’ve filled out your author profile! For what it’s worth, almost every member picked as a featured author so far has had their profile filled out to a certain extent. :)


protagonize new stuffYou may have noticed the “What’s new for you” box that appears on the homepage (which I hinted at last week) if you’ve had any activity on your content since your last visit to the site. This is the first phase of our new notifications scheme; the second portion is almost complete and should be live in the next couple of days. What this means is that in addition to the email notifications you likely receive now, you’ll soon be presented with a full list of all of those same notifications on the site for easy perusal. The last week’s worth of notifications will be displayed, and you’ll be notified of unread notifications on the homepage.

Note: If you find email notifications bothersome, you can turn them off on the “Notifications” tab when editing your profile.On top of this, we’ve made a few other tweaks to the way the site works this week.

First off, we’ve modified the way Hot Stories are calculated (slightly.) Based on our original algorithm, we’ve made a few changes so that repeat posts in a story by the same author are worth slightly less. The problem we were running into was that some authors were posting 10 or more branches or chapters in a story on their own, with no one else participating, and that was propelling them into the Hot Stories listing based strictly on story activity.

This has now been modified, so that each distinct author participating in a story adds a bonus to the story’s “hotness.” This should help balance things out. However, please keep in mind that the “Hot Stories” algorithm is likely to be tweaked again in the future, as needed, in the sake of fairness to all authors.

The other, less noticeable change that we’ve made this week is the addition of microformats throughout the site. Protagonize is now XFN-compliant (XHTML Friends Network) on your profile pages, as well as supporting the hCard, rel-tag, and rel-directory microformats in various areas of the site. If the semantic web is your bag, we hope you enjoy these changes!


I don’t have to tell you about all the great content produced on the site this week, since you’re probably a regular reader (right?)… As I’ve mentioned many times in the past, please make sure to tell your friends about Protagonize and help develop our author community!

In the meantime, please spread the word about Protagonize (hit that “share” link on our Facebook product page and get your friends to sign up!), and be sure sign up on the site and subscribe to our blog at http://blog.protagonize.com/.

You can also follow Protagonize updates on Twitter here:
http://twitter.com/protagonize

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the rest of the week! I’ll be back in a few days with our next roundup installment.

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