Okay, guys. After giving myself some time off from Crappypasta to clear my head (I can’t even express the level of burnout I’ve been experiencing), I’ve finally created and posted the new Crappypasta guidelines over on the main site. I’ve updated the FAQ as well as posted an announcement detailing the motivations/process behind the new rules. Comments are closed on the main site’s version of the post, simply because I foresaw lots of “but did you read my pasta yet???” or other unrelated comments if they remained open, but I’ll leave them enabled here if you guys had any opinions or if you felt like any of my wording was unclear. Here’s the post, copy/pasted:

First off, submissions will re-open on March 20th and remain open until April 15th. I’ll make another announcement when I’ve completed scheduling and replying to all the sorted submissions, as per usual.

Please note that if you have chosen to hold back your parodypasta submissions until the last possible moment for whatever reason, if you want ANY chance at getting your story included in this year’s April 1st Parodypasta collection, you must submit your parodypasta BEFORE the end of March.

Now, on to the actual meat of this post:

AS OF THE MARCH 2014 SUBMISSION PERIOD, CHECKING “YES” ON CRAPPYPASTA WILL NOT BE A GUARANTEE OF A POSTING THERE.

ONLY STORIES THAT I BELIEVE HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO BE REWRITTEN SUCCESSFULLY WILL MAKE THE JUMP TO CRAPPYPASTA.

I think that’s pretty clear. However, for those of you who are curious about the reasoning for this change and don’t mind an epic TL;DR situation, read on.

Over the past few months, you may have noticed that activity over at Crappypasta has slowed tremendously. This can be sourced to two reasons:

The comment queue was becoming supremely obnoxious.

I don’t know what changed to prompt this sudden uptick in annoying comments, but both myself and the community regulars noticed a surge in unhelpful remarks on all sides. From somewhere out of the internet void, scores of misguided white knights invaded, attempting to police and attack anyone who left any sort of criticism, no matter how constructive. These people clearly hadn’t given the website even a cursory glance before they charged into their righteous crusade against such horrible remarks as “don’t use ellipses after every third word” and made it really frustrating for both the authors and the critics alike. After all, the authors – theoretically, at least, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they did in fact read the submission form before checking the Crappypasta box – had their posts uploaded to Crappypasta specifically in order to garner blunt criticism. The people who were taking time to write out long and thought-out helpful critiques of pastas were doing exactly what the authors wanted, and yet were under siege from this unwanted army of white knights, their battle cry of “if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything!” both showing that they were utterly clueless about the purpose of Crappypasta as well as inciting countless facepalms from the authors, commenters, and myself.

Unfortunately, there was another side to this comment queue chaos as well. While, for the most part, most of the regulars tended to be pretty good about keeping themselves in check and staying within the “helpful, if a bit snarky” box, I noticed more and more people were starting to become outright nasty. I’m sure that some of this stems from the eternal inability that some people have to discern wit from simple meanness – I think that some people saw the attention and laughs that some of our more clever commenters got when they managed to critique a pasta in a really funny way and decided that they wanted some of that spotlight for themselves, however they skipped on the “critique” and “funny” parts of the equation and instead just delivered sheer nastiness. People insulting the author without even pretending to help or critique the pasta, people attempting to doxx and stalk the authors, people attempting to incite comment wars and drama, etc – despite the fact that I did my best to not let such comments through, I was still having to read them myself. More and more comments were having to be either trashed or seriously edited before I could approve them, even from regulars that I’d grown to respect.

I finally made a post about the assorted obnoxious behaviors surfacing in the comments, only to discover that MANY of the regulars shared my feelings of frustration and annoyance. I wasn’t the only one who had noticed the upswing in bad behavior. You can see some of the ensuing discussion here if you’re so inclined. A number of people pointed out a possible cause for this, that being that people had lost all respect for the original purpose of Crappypasta for this, my second reason for my unofficial Crappypasta hiatus:

99% of the stories on Crappypasta were absolutely awful, to the point where commenters felt that leaving constructive criticism would not even be worth their time.

We’d all been joking for some time about how many Jeff the Killer rip-offs and self-inserts there were, often remarking that you could play Bingo (The Operator even made a sadly accurate Bingo card) with the cookie-cutter stories. Truly, it seemed as though many submitters were simply playing Creepypasta madlibs with the same basic template, over and over. We created a category specifically for such stories and I even made a note on the submission page about how rare it was for Jeff/Slender/Haunted Games/etc pastas to actually be accepted, but this did nothing to stem the tide of clone ‘pastas’ – instead, it was actually starting to look like a tsunami was imminent.

What actually brought all of this to a head, though, was the trend that really kicked into high gear during the last submission period: people were spamming the queue with things that were simply not Creepypasta material in any form. We were getting My Little Pony fanfictions where the only possible creepy element was a shoe-horned Jeff cameo or some obnoxious gore. People were submitting 3-sentence descriptions of completely banal Minecraft glitches. In short, people were sending in things that belonged on other sites – Fanfiction websites, Minecraft forums, etc – and by doing so, they were making it increasingly challenging for both myself and the regular Crappypasta commenters to find and critique the actual submissions with potential. Good stories were being buried by the sheer hundreds of “Jeff meets Pinkie Pie” or “this guy had a weird username in TF2” or “my Minecraft server crashed” submissions that people were, for some nonsensical reason, insisting on submitting to a website that doesn’t suit such things at all.

So in order to solve both issues – the inane fanfics drowning the promising pastas and the hostility that allowing such content seemed to create – I spent a few weeks listening to the suggestions of the people over at Crappypasta. I noticed a common thread in many ideas, one that I came to agree with: we needed to cut the fat and remove all the stories that had no place whatsoever on the site that we wanted. Crappypasta was created to be a way for stories with potential to receive constructive criticism, but that purpose had been all but killed off by the waves of copycat pastas and random fanfic.

So, with that explanation in place:

AS OF THE MARCH 2014 SUBMISSION PERIOD, CHECKING “YES” ON CRAPPYPASTA WILL NOT BE A GUARANTEE OF A POSTING THERE.

ONLY STORIES THAT I BELIEVE HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO BE REWRITTEN SUCCESSFULLY WILL MAKE THE JUMP TO CRAPPYPASTA.

All other stories – the copy-and-paste Jeff self-inserts, the MLP fanfics, the Minecraft glitches – will simply be outright rejected. Quite frankly, if you are not going to put in enough effort to send in something that is both appropriate for the website and relatively unique, we are no longer going to make the effort to tag, post, and critique your story. The Crappypasta community – and myself – are finished rewarding zero-effort submissions with our attention and feedback.

The prior Crappypasta submissions will remain accessible, both as an archive of what NOT to do and to continue receiving any constructive feedback that passersby may want to give.

All submissions from the Dec/Jan period that were slated to be posted on Crappypasta will still be uploaded there; consider this a grandfather clause of sorts. However, once that group is done, the Crappypasta landscape will be changing.

I have updated the FAQ to reflect this change, but in short: if you are rejected and I see no potential in your story, your submission will be added to the rejection pile and you will not receive any response. Coffee’s for closers only Replies will only be sent to authors whose stories are either accepted for the main site or are being posted on Crappypasta to receive criticism so that the author can rewrite and unlock their potential.

Additionally, the comment moderation will be stricter: useless comments that don’t serve any purpose but to be mean or to try and police other users’ opinions will simply not be allowed through. If I see the same user consistently attempting to leave pointlessly nasty comments or trying to attack anyone who leaves valid criticism, I will start marking their comments as spam – this means that, given enough spammed comments, eventually the user in question will have their comment attempts automatically shunted into the spam queue. So please behave yourselves and remember that Crappypasta exists to HELP authors, not as a way for bored or insecure people to drag others down just because they can.

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