[identity profile] vysila.livejournal.com
Hey y'all, good afternoon! And a big thank you to everyone who provided feedback regarding the 2012 Down the Chimney Affair, which was held on the Archive of Our Own for the first time. Your comments and suggestions provide valuable guidance for future holiday exchanges.

Two items were standout issues in comments and several others were identified by more than one person.

Positive factors regarding the exchange were:
1. The standout issue from the authors' point of view was the ability to edit their stories after officially submitting them.
2. The "drop-dead" deadline forced authors to submit stories on time, thus easing massive pressure on the exchange moderators. The ability to edit after submittal gave the authors a little more wiggle room to polish their stories.
3. Most authors liked the fact that they had control of their stories from start to finish - they were able to upload and format their stories on their own schedule and in their preferred style
4. Authors really liked the "anonymous creator" response so they could immediately respond to comments without giving away their identities. Once authors were officially revealed on January 1st, those anonymous comments were updated to reflect the author's name.
5. The "kudos" feature allowed readers to register their enjoyment of a story without having to leave a comment (although authors still do love those comments!).
6. The hit counter let authors see how many times their story was read - this statistic was a delightful surprise to more than one author.
7. Authors and readers alike appreciated the fact that AO3 allows for much longer story lengths, thus doing away with the need for "behind the cut" or multiple posts for a single story.
8. The ability to download a story from AO3 with a single click of the "download" button was noted as a nice feature.
9. Readers and authors alike enjoyed the ease of leaving comments on stories.
10. Several people commented that they felt that AO3 was a more stable archiving platform than Live Journal, especially with the difficulties LJ has been having lately.

Negative factors regarding the exchange were:
1. The standout issue here was that most readers preferred the daily posting of stories in previous years as opposed to the simultaneous posting of all stories at once.
2. With all stories posted at once, it took longer to read and comment on some stories.
3. The AO3 site doesn't feel as cozy or intimate as LJ.
4. With a mid-November signup, there was not enough time for some authors to write an adequate story. This stopped some authors from participating.
5. Many people did not understand how the "guest commenting" works on AO3. This prevented them from leaving comments.

Moderator's response to certain items:

From the moderators' point of view, the move to AO3 was successful. The process was streamlined and much less worry and work was involved, once the initial setup was done. Authors indicated definite satisfaction with the levels of ease, control and flexibility inherent in the new process. Therefore the Down the Chimney Affair will continue to be hosted on the Archive of Our Own, with administration posts here on [livejournal.com profile] muncle

Although a lot of people preferred a daily posting, this directly conflicts with the authors' ability to edit their works after the submittal deadline. In this case, we have decided to continue on with the single simultaneous publication of all stories on December 25th. There is no requirement to read all the stories that day: read and comment on the stories at your leisure.

We would add one optional caveat to this, though: participants in DtCA should, if they are going to be offline for more than a day or two, post a public statement to that effect in their LJ (or in muncle). This could prevent confusion as to why authors had not yet received acknowledgements from their recipients.

We will adopt the very sensible suggestions to a) have sticky notes on [livejournal.com profile] muncle that are appropriate to whatever stage of the exchange we are in and, b) create a permalink from the [livejournal.com profile] muncle links sidebar to the parent DtCA collection on AO3.

It is also clear that, in addition to the detailed instructions for authors, some additional instructions should be provided for readers who are unfamiliar with navigating the AO3 archive. For instance, the works list can be sorted in various ways, not just by "date updated".

We are also considering creating some default tag sets for use in future DtCA exchanges, which may help future readers to find all the DtCA stories they are looking for.

Thanks again to all - for participating in Down the Chimney, for providing feedback and just for reading our stories and sharing the Man from UNCLE love!
[identity profile] green-key.livejournal.com
I'd like to give a shout out to [livejournal.com profile] vysila, who did an above and beyond job with Down the Chimney Affair this year. I don't say that lightly. If it weren't for her tenacity, the exchange would not have happened this year. Setting up a fiction exchange on AO3 with matches, prompts, tags, coding, you name it, is no easy task. She made the exchange using a new format and a new-to-many website as painless as it could possibly be.

From myself, and I believe I can safely speak for all of [livejournal.com profile] muncle, thanks for a fantastic DtCA, [livejournal.com profile] vysila!
[identity profile] vysila.livejournal.com
Cousins and Friends, this year's DtCA was a little different from previous years. You had a new moderator who tried to step into [livejournal.com profile] green_key's shoes and you had a completely new exchange format, on a new archive site.

The change was implemented to take some of the stress off the exchange moderator and the move to AO3 was a big success in this regard, but we recognize that not everyone has the same requirements and expectations.

Please let us know what you thought about this year's exchange: we want to hear the good, the bad and the ugly.

For those of you who participated, how did the posting process work for you? Was it more difficult than posting to LJ? For readers, is the reading experience better or worse, or about the same when using AO3 as opposed to LJ? What about commenting?

Did you like the fact that all stories went live at the same time, or did you miss the daily postings?

Do you have suggestions for changes or improvements?

Let it fly in the comments to this post!
[identity profile] vysila.livejournal.com
The authors are now revealed for the 2012 Down the Chimney Affair on AO3. For your convenience, the list of authors, story titles and recipients are also listed below:

[livejournal.com profile] elmey wrote Shadowland for [livejournal.com profile] saki101
[livejournal.com profile] renn wrote Christmas is Relative for [livejournal.com profile] jkkitty
[livejournal.com profile] spikesgirl58 wrote The Love Nest Affair for [livejournal.com profile] selyndaep (she's selyndae on AO3)
[livejournal.com profile] selyndaep wrote The Dangerous Waters Affair for [livejournal.com profile] svetlanacat4
[livejournal.com profile] saki101 wrote The Apres-Ski Affair for [livejournal.com profile] sparky955
[livejournal.com profile] glennagirl (she's girlintheglen on AO3) wrote I'll Be Home for Christmas for [livejournal.com profile] renn
[livejournal.com profile] elijahwildchild wrote The 'Ich bin ein Berliner' Affair for [livejournal.com profile] hilarityallen (she's hilarita on AO3)
[livejournal.com profile] avery11 wrote Silent Night for [livejournal.com profile] mayamaia
[livejournal.com profile] jkkitty wrote A Sticky Situation for [livejournal.com profile] glennagirl (girlintheglen on AO3)
[livejournal.com profile] mayamaia wrote Long As That Matters... for [livejournal.com profile] kleenexwoman
[livejournal.com profile] kleenexwoman wrote The Goose Boy and the Mirror Girl for [livejournal.com profile] elmey
[livejournal.com profile] svetlanacat4 wrote The Forest Raised a Christmas Tree for [livejournal.com profile] spikesgirl58
[livejournal.com profile] sparky955 wrote Santa Baby for [livejournal.com profile] elijahwildchild
[livejournal.com profile] georgiesmith wrote Ringing in the New Year for [livejournal.com profile] kanders07
[livejournal.com profile] vysila (pinch hit) wrote Ring in the True for [livejournal.com profile] avery11
[livejournal.com profile] hilarityallen (hilarita on AO3) wrote Fog in the Fens for [livejournal.com profile] georgiesmith

So, how did everybody do on their guesses?

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the DtCA this year, whether as author, beta or reader. We appreciate you all, because you are what makes this fandom so much fun!
[identity profile] vysila.livejournal.com
So, now that the Down the Chimney Affair stories have been revealed, does anyone have any guesses as to who wrote which story? Post your guesses as a comment to this post.
[identity profile] vysila.livejournal.com
Good morning and Merry Christmas to all.

Come join Napoleon and Illya in the UNCLE reading room, because Down the Chimney Affair 2012 is open and waiting for you to enjoy.

Please visit the Down the Chimney Affair 2012 page on Archive of Our Own.

And don't forget to leave kudos and especially comments for the authors. They will appreciate it. If you want to leave a comment as a guest, please sign your name at the end of the comment, so we all know who to thank! :)

And don't forget, the second "Big Reveal" will come on January 1st, when the authors' names are revealed. Who do YOU think wrote the stories?
[identity profile] vysila.livejournal.com
The clock has ticked over and the time to upload your DtCA story to the AO3 site has come and gone. Many thanks to everyone who elected to participate in this year's fiction gift exchange, despite the short notice and move to a new forum and format. We appreciate all of you - authors, editors and beta readers alike.

I'm sure everyone - including myself - is looking forward to The Big Reveal on December 25th!
[identity profile] vysila.livejournal.com
Just a friendly reminder that all DtCA stories are due one week from today! So far five stories have been posted to the AO3 challenge site.

The UNCLE stocking by the chimney is starting to fill up with yummy treats!
[identity profile] vysila.livejournal.com
The story deadline for Down the Chimney Affair 2012 is rapidly approaching! Due date is 8:00 pm EST on December 16, 2012. That's two weeks from today.

For those DtCA participants who are either new to the Archive of Our Own, or those who post their stories using the URL import method, here are the step-by-step instructions on how to post your DtCA story using the AO3 direct upload interface.

this way to the instructions )
And that's it, you have successfully posted your Down the Chimney story. Now just sit back and wait for the Big Reveal on December 25th.

(And if you're like me and tweak a story forever, go all the way back up to Step 4 so you can access and edit the story after it has been posted.)


Finally, if you just can't quite figure out how to post your story successfully, contact me. I will be able to help you.
[identity profile] vysila.livejournal.com
It's time to put out a call for pinch-hit authors for the twelfth annual Down the Chimney Affair. While we always hope there will be no need for pinch-hit authors, this is a busy time of year.

Stories are due no later than 8:00 pm EST on December 16, so I will know by late on December 16 whether any authors have defaulted.

Pinch-hit assignments will be sent no later than December 17 and are due by 8:00 pm EST on December 23, allowing one week to produce a story of 1,000 words.

If you are willing to serve as a last minute pinch-hit author, please leave a comment to this post. All comments are screened.

Information needed in your comment:
Your AO3 account name and associated email address (stories will be posted to AO3 and you must have a user account there or request one from me)
Kind of story you are willing to write (ie, gen, slash, either)
Anything you prefer not to write (ie, explicit sex, graphic violence, etc.)
Required turn-around time (number of days)

Thanks so much to all those adrenaline junkies who embrace this challenge!
[identity profile] vysila.livejournal.com
I've heard from a couple of authors that their stories are completed, so it sounds like it is time to put out the call for beta-reading volunteers.

If you are interested in serving as a beta reader for Down the Chimney, please comment on this post, leaving your name and particular expertise as a beta-reader (if any).

Authors, please feel free to contact the beta-reader of your choice via LJ private message and make arrangements with her/him.

Mark Your Calendars - December 16 (two weeks from today!) is the due date for stories!

Thanks so much to everyone who is willing to volunteer.
[identity profile] vysila.livejournal.com
The elves at UNCLE North Pole were especially efficient this year. (It doesn't hurt that the AO3 automated matching service does a decent first pass.) All participants were assigned a random recipient based upon the category and rating specified in their sign-up forms. A second pass took prompts and comments into consideration.

All assignments have been emailed out to participants. If you signed up for DtCA and do not receive your assignment email by tomorrow evening, please email me at vysila AT comcast DOT net to let me know. Don't forget to check your spam filter before assuming you did not receive the email, though.

Instructions on how to upload your story should have been included in the assignment email. Stories are due by December 16 and can be edited after they have been posted, if need be.

Soon we'll be posting for beta reader and pinch hitter sign-ups, so stay tuned to [livejournal.com profile] muncle for updates.

Any questions, please feel free to post them as a comment here or PM or email me.
[identity profile] vysila.livejournal.com
As stated in the rules, the sign-ups for this year's fiction gift exchange closed a few moments ago. Volunteers for pinch-hit authors will be able to sign up in two weeks via a screened post here at [livejournal.com profile] muncle.

The UNCLE North Pole elves now must get to work, matching up authors and recipients.
[identity profile] vysila.livejournal.com
Just a reminder that sign-ups for DtCA 9 will close tomorrow evening. If you've been considering signing up, time will soon run out. We don't want you to miss out!
[identity profile] vysila.livejournal.com
[livejournal.com profile] mayamaia pointed out in a separate discussion that the option for a M/F pairing (category) is available on the AO3 sign-up form, which begged the question: is het fic now allowed in DtCA?

[livejournal.com profile] sithdragn and I discussed this very question earlier. Traditionally we have not allowed het fic in this exchange, for several reasons: 1) [livejournal.com profile] muncle is a slash community and we are gen friendly (i.e., no mature or explicit ratings) but het just doesn't float our boat, and 2) it is difficult to fulfill a request for het fic, as very few people write it.

We are considering the possibility of adding het fic to the options list -- but NOT this year. If enough interest is expressed in having that option (maybe in a post-DtCA poll or discussion), it may become an option for the 2013 Down the Chimney Affair. However, because the 2012 exchange is already underway, we do not like to change things in mid-stream. The DtCA has always been focused on slash and gen, so we have opted to stick with the existing status for this year.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] mayamaia for raising the question.

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