Sunday, November 1, 2009

HASA news - November 2009

The November news focuses on Birthdays, Reviews, Playlists and Challenges.
But first, to misquote Bilbo: I have to make an ANNOUNCEMENT: in December there will be a site update. Read immediately below for more details.

Site update

In late December, HASA will undergo a code refresh. Most of this work is behind the scenes and deals with database optimization, security and JavaScript support. Some changes will affect end users. There will be some changes to page layout to work better with newer browsers and handheld devices, IE6 support is being phased out, and there will be more choices in the top navigation bar.

There will be one HUGE change that will directly affect site readers. The cookie based bookmark system is going away. The code behind it is breaking under various browsers, the cookie interaction with the server is causing performance issues, and there are new tools out there that do a better job. The bookmarks will be replaced with AddThis ( ) buttons on each story. AddThis supports dozens of social networking sites, allows you to bookmark directly to your browser, has browser toolbars, and many other features that HASA support can't possibly provide.

This means you need to prepare your bookmarks ahead of the code change so that you don't lose them. Over the next few weeks, instructions will be posted to help you figure out what to do with those bookmarks.

Birthday Cards

If it’s your birthday in November, and you would like a drabble about your favourite character or topic? You can request it here.

Not sure what the birthday cards are about? Have a look at the stories written for previous requests.


You’ll find a list of stories in review at the top of the members home page. If you are an active reviewer, log in to see the list of 6 new stories that are waiting for reviewers.

Or, if you are not yet a reviewer, why not sign up to become one? Reviewing is not nearly as daunting as it may seem, and you're eligible if you've been a member of HASA for thirty days or more.

Member participation is crucial for reviews. The more people are involved in the review process, the more opinions will be represented. Just as importantly, having more people involved means that stories pass through review more quickly - which is good for everyone.

By submitting a story for review, you are asking nine other members to read and evaluate it. So why not do unto other authors in reviews as you'd like other reviewers to do unto you: check out one of the stories already in review and give it a read. Put more simply: put one in, take one out


Playlists are lists of HASA stories put together by authors and readers, just as music lovers put together lists of their favorite songs.

For example:
- An author uses playlists to put the stories in a series in reading order.
- A reader puts her ‘favourites’ in a playlist and explains why they are listed
- A reader makes a list of similarly themed stories, for instance Hobbit romance or critical essays on Men.
- ...

Anyone can create a playlist!

As a reader, you can collect your favorite stories by different authors together in one place. As an author, you can put one together of your own stories. Using the Workshop, a group of authors can put together joint playlists of their work.

If you are logged in, go to My Playlists for more information on creating your own lists.

Playlists are meant to be shared!

Once you publish your playlist, other HASA members can add your list to a playlist favorites collection. You can collect playlists by authors and other readers even if you don't have any of your own. On every playlist overview page is an "Add to My Collection" button. Click, and that list is added to your collection. If you don't see the button, check to see if you are logged in.

Challenges and Nuzgul

Click here for the Challenges homepage.

If you have an idea that you'd like at least five people take on, grab that nuzgul by the scruff of the neck (mind the teeth!) and see if you can get four others to make it a Challenge. Prospective Challenges can be found here

There are currently no open Challenges (except Birthdays), so if you have any spare Nuzgul lying around, don’t hesitate to see how many others it can bite!

October Stories

All of us writers love feedback. It is the lembas and miruvor that sustains us as we write our story, and leaving a few words about a story you read is always a nice thing to do, whether the story is new or old.

Every fifteen minutes HASA highlights a story chosen at random from the Reviewed and General stories in the archive. Read the currently featured story on our front page.

Many talented writers are publishing every day. In October:

--- 11 Reviewed Stories were published or updated.
--- 47 General Stories were published or updated.
--- 1 Beta Story was published or updated.
(Please note, you need to be logged in to view beta stories.)

Thank you for reading at HASA. Enjoy!

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