How we Select the Questions we Answer

Hi! I was just wondering if you answered most of your asks or if there was a general time span for how long it takes to answer one? I totally get if you don’t want to answer something and I really don’t want to be like that person or anything, but I know sometimes tumblr doesn’t send right and the other person never gets it. I also don’t want to like resend something a bunch of times and bother you (I love your blog, it’s super helpful), so I just thought I’d ask since I didn’t see an faq (1/2)

(2/2) anywhere and figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask. I hope y’all are having a great day!! And I hope this doesn’t come off as impatient or rude or anything, I don’t mean it like that. Thanks for all you do!! 🙂

The short answer is, we try, but only about 40% of questions get answered. The slightly longer version of this is that there are currently ~4700 questions in our inbox, and we’ve published ~2250 posts over the years. (At present, I think the actual percentage of questions that get answered may be a bit lower.)

As for turnaround, it tends to be within a few weeks, but most of what happens is a choke point on available time. I would love to be able to go back to 2015, when we had the time to pump out multiple answers in a day, but unfortunately, that’s not an option right now.

There’s a little bit more to this, and it comes down to scheduling issues, and content.

So, when we get a question, there’s a few considerations that we need to weigh:

The question needs to land in a sweet spot between too vague and too specific. If a question is too vague, it may not be possible to offer a valuable answer. You’ll see the edge of this in our published posts, sometimes, when I end up offering multiple, mutually exclusive, potential answers because I’m simply missing too much information, and I’m making an educated guess at what the person wanted to know.

The alternative is, some very general questions will get a more abstract article. For example, “what would be the best weapon for my character?” is way to vague to answer definitively, though we have written articles off of questions like that about how you pick weapons for your characters.

When a question is far too specific, it’s likely to be ignored, simply because it’s not going to offer anything useful for others. For example, if you’re the one asking about a fight between a 7″1′ and a 4″6′, “not quite humans,” I don’t really see that getting answered. (Though in that case, it actually lands outside the spectrum on both sides, because it is both too vague, and specific, for us to offer much meaningful commentary.) To the person who sent that ask, I’m sorry, we can’t really do anything with that.

There’s also a subset of questions that run a high risk of getting passed over, where someone will ask how their fight scene would look. This has two problems, the first is the specificity above, and the second one is that you probably don’t want us publicly laying out a fight scene for you. Michi sometimes posts snippets of her fiction on here, as a general rule, I do not. But, as a writer, you don’t want someone else writing scenes for you. Especially writers with well developed personal styles.

Finally, it probably goes without saying, but the occasional trolls. MRAs, and the odd death threat don’t usually get responses. There are rare exceptions where we’ll slap one of them around, though usually only when we can make it both informative and entertaining.

Normally, we post three times a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Patrons get to see a draft version the day before on Discord, so Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Michi has been working a full time job for the last few years, and that’s why her posts have become far more infrequent. She simply does not have the time to get posts up, and do her own writing, and work an 8 hour day job with two additional hours on the road each day.

In late August, Michi’s previous job fired her with basically no warning. That’s part of why you saw more posts from her in September, while she was looking for a new position, and also why my posts have been more inconsistent this month, as I’m having to help with her commute, and that means I’m on the road right when I’d usually be working on these posts.

As a result, a lot of questions fall through the cracks.

If you think Tumblr ate a question, you’re not bothering us if you resend it. In fact, there have been a few questions that we know Tumblr ate over the years.

While I realize we need to update the Patreon reward tiers to better represent what you’re getting, the basic Discord access does have a private inbox, (it’s a separate text channel on the server), and we do make a point of responding to those questions on the same or next day. It’s a bit different from what you’ll see on the blog, because it tends to be more of a discussion about the topic, rather than a mini-essay. It also means some of the issues like a question being too vague or too specific isn’t a problem. It’s not being written for a larger audience, so it can be far more direct.

Normally I use a boilerplate for our Patreon plug below the signature, but, to our patrons, you guys have really helped keep us going, and I’m especially conscious, and thankful for that. Especially given how tight things have been for everyone over the last couple years. Also, most of our Patreon fulfillment is via the discord server, so if you’re a Patron, and not on that server, check out the official feed, and link up with the bot to get an invite.

If you have a question that’s time sensitive, or extremely unique, it’s probably better to get in contact on the Discord server. However, because that’s paygated, I fully understand why that may not be an option for you (or others.)

-Starke

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.