14th July 2012, 02:51 PM
The Current Grading Standard (and why it blows massive balloons)
Rather than simply editing this into the Grading thread, I wanted to temporarily give it its own announcement until we balance out our methods again. It is very important that our Graders are all on the same page. Everyone needs to read this, even your mom.
HOW TO NOT GRADE LIKE A JERK v.2.0
To begin with, the current situation is no one's fault. I think it is a combination of miscommunication and too many people handling the wage process. Grades are subjective. It's not just counting numbers and adding them into a final total. There is analyzing involved, and the requirement of reading every single grade from start to finish. Having said this, unless you are capable of writing a grade at the highest skill level, it isn't possible for you to appropriately handle giving out wages. This resulted in improper pay being given out regularly (Moderate grades being paid Basic, Complex being called Moderate, etc. and vice versa). From here, after being paid less than they should have actually earned, people assumed that each category was in fact more difficult than it actually was. This made them feel like they needed to critique way more than they had to, and ended up severely increasing the story and grading standard.
Issue 1) The Problem With Over-Grading
--The Payout: Everyone should remember that this is, actually, a game. It should be fun; that's why we play it, right? Jobs keep the game going. Out of all the URPG careers, Grading probably requires the most time, effort, and overall work. It is why the payout potential is so high, and why the wage system was created to reflect just how much effort was put in. Problem is, if people are putting in hours of Complex level work and getting paid for Moderate, they'll be seriously underpaid for that amount of effort and more than likely not have a strong desire to continue grading with so little reward.
--The Grader: Straining your grade for content takes the enjoyment out of reading the story. This makes your job even more of a chore. What used to be a decently-written, average story becomes a less appealing one; and, what should have originally been a capture, becomes a fail because of the mistakes you were actually looking to exploit in your grade. -All because you needed more advanced content. Or at least, thought you needed it.
--The Author: Everything else aside, this is the person that gets the most out of your grade. It should be custom to both their story and them. Just because you want more money, does not mean you should over-analyze a story that does not require it in attempt of a higher level grade. It is incredibly discouraging to the person who wrote the story. Anyone who has written anything and allowed someone else to read it knows that feeling of helplessness and insecurity of putting part of themselves out there. If you want to be paid more money, help the author with encouragement and constructive criticism. This will make them want to write more stories because you've both helped them become better, and made them comfortable enough to write again. More stories = more money.
Issue 2) The Grading Categories and What They Should Actually Be
-- In The Grading Group thread, inside the post about wages, there are linked examples of a grade that falls within each category, as well descriptions of what each rank actually means. These are spot on. Notice that length has little to do with what makes them categorized how they are. You don't need a 40k Grade to be Extensive. The content determines the category, not the length. Bringing up vague suggestions like "this needs more frequent descriptions and a clearer setting" will land you in Basic. Consistent remarks on more specific things such as character development, adjectives, and repetitive grammar errors falls into Moderate. You head into Complex and Extensive when you delve into the raw meat of the story - finding patterns, loopholes, inconsistencies; analyzing the mood, character motives, and flow; spotting technical uses of alliterations and allusions and etc. It requires a heavy knowledge of literature, and these types of grades should be reserved ONLY for the very experienced author.
Complex and Extensive grades were actually designed to be obtainable (shocking, I know), just meant to be reserved for the more lengthy and advanced stories. I did see several of you guys actually give some Complex level grades correctly, but they were paid as Moderate. 3:
As for Weak grades, yes, they are frowned upon. A Weak grade is one or two sentences of unhelpful summarization. A lot of Basic grades in the past were being wrongfully called Weak. This is a Weak grade. However, though it is preferable to always aim for Basic and above, it is understandable for Weak grades to occur in Easiest rank stories for those Magikarp and Caterpie captures - especially if it was written by an experienced author. 3k is not much to analyze if it is void of the typical grammar errors and repetitive plot.
Grades should be to-the-point. Ramblings do nothing but bore the author and make them begin to forget what you are actually talking about. Short length is OK. In fact, short length is GOOD for 80% of stories posted. If the author of a shorter story specifically requests a long and intense grade, then sure, have at it. Just please put that at the beginning or end of the grade, or I will probably bite you any time I do wages. Don't overwork yourselves, guys. Moderate grades should be Moderate. You will be paid appropriately.
How We Fix It
A lot of our members are young kids. Keep this in mind when you are grading. It is a game for all ages, and the standard feels more up to college level. Heck, most of my professors didn't even give such intense critiques of my writing that a lot of these grades are. It's wonderful how much the stories section helps people's writing skills, but over-analyzing every Joe's story is actually more detrimental than it is constructive. Improvement is something that happens over time and practice, with consistent doses of positive reinforcement. One whopping grade smacked onto the end of a short story won't help either of you.
As the ALMIGHTY GRANNY (and Kat too), we're going to try and monitor the grading process a bit more efficiently. If you take anything from this, please let it be that simpler is better. You should notice more money coming your way in the future, and for less work. THANK YOU FOR READING AND HAVE A JOLLY DAY. And some cake.