HP Themes

Where fics are recced by theme...

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Mod Post: Checking In
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hpthemes_mods wrote in hpthemes
Hi, everyone!

First off, I want to let everyone know that we've put in some time recently to get Delicious up to date, so as of this minute all the recs we've got are entered into Delicious and (as soon as it populates) Pinboard. I'll add the last couple of Pinboard links into the LJ Master List of Themes next weekend (it should have received the data from Delicious by then).

Meanwhile, check out our MASTER LIST OF THEMESthere are 43 of them! And according to the Delicious count, there are over 1560 fanworks bookmarked -- that's 1560 individual fanworks recced to/by the hpthemes community, many of which have been recommended for multiple themes. Go, us! What a haul so far!

We also have themes scheduled through 2012, with even more in reserve!

I am, however, concerned about the "health" of hpthemes as a resource for the Harry Potter fandom.

When hpthemes first began, there was a LOT of interest and enthusiasm from fandom. In the first few months, there were dozens of recs for most of the themes. I, for one, got spoiled.

After jaime27 had to leave us, modding got a bit spotty. There were several volunteers, but coordination was difficult, and we took time off to regroup and were never really able to get the rhythm back to the level of energy jaime27 had led us with.

I think that since we regrouped a second time (when lost_stray_cat came on board in January of this year), we've been more consistent with getting the themes posted. But we've been less consistent about putting up the theme's totals regularly. We also stopped posting "reminder posts" because we believed that they were merely crowding folks' Friends Lists and just annoying y'all. And we committed to halving the number of themes per year because, honestly, we weren't keeping up with the recs that had come in during hpthemes's first year.

But we're only receiving a few recs a week at this point, and there are only four or five people who rec more than once every couple of months. These reccers provide almost all of the recs. lost_stray_cat has worked really hard at various points to extend invitations to a diverse group of communities in hopes of drawing new reccers. We generally get one or two new people every time she does that, who are wonderful. I just wish we were meeting more new people.

We don't have a great diversity of pairings in our archives, and they tend towards slash. And let's face it, all the mods have had much, much deeper roots in the slash communities than in het ones. But our outreach to het ships has had pretty limited success.

So, I'm posting a poll. I'd like to know how best hpthemes can adapt to what may be our community's changing needs, and how folks think our outreach could improve. I suspect it means that we will need to call upon our members to pimp far and wide, but I expect that would work.

Poll #1773774 How can we improve things at <lj user=hpthemes?

Have you ever made a rec at hpthemes?

I don't remember

How often do you rec themes?

Every theme, or almost every theme
About once a month
Every other month
Very infrequently

Do you ever use the hpthemes lists to find things to read/view?

Yes, I find recs by looking at the lists on LiveJournal
Yes, I find recs by looking at the listson Delicious
Yes, I find recs by looking at the lists on Pinboard
Yes, I find recs by browsing in one of the above services
No, I don't use hpthemes to find recs

If you participate in hpthemes by reccing fanworks, what motivates you?

Desire to make hpthemes a rich resource
Annoyance that other people don't rec the kind of stuff I like
Excitement about a particular theme
Sense of obligation to fandom
Desire to share my treasure trove of favorites with others
Other (please explain)

If you answered "other" to Question #4, please explain.

Would you be willing to help us publicize hpthemes?

It depends on the options for pimping

What sort of advertising would you welcome us using (and be willing to deploy)?

Generic banners for those who make recs
Generic banners with the theme names reccers can give to creators
A banner for each theme that interested members could post to related communities
Writing a blurb on your own LJ (or whatever account) about why hpthemes is cool
Outreach to underserved ships (any het 'ships, slash and femslash rareparis)
Banners members can personalize for creators they rec (sort of a fill-in-the-blank deal)
Banners members can personalize for themeselves (again, a sort of DIY adjustment)
Something else (please explain)

If you answered "Something Else" in question #7, what do you have in mind?

If you have never made a rec here, what might entice you to do so?

How useful do you think hpthemes is?

Very useful--to other people
Very useful! I rely on it to find new fanworks!
Not terribly useful, but I'm really glad it's around when I am looking for something specific
I don't think people use this service much
I don't think people use this service at all

And if you have any further suggestions for how we can improve the hpthemes community, or how the community can better publicize itself so we can have a greater diversity of recs/pairings, please let us know in the comments!

songquake for hpthemes_mods

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I voted! ...don't know if that counts... If it helps any - I enjoy this comm and it's resources! :D And would be even happier if we had more art recs. :)

Anyway, seriously, we should remember that even though there does seem to have been more enthusiasm for reccing early on, it was also the time when the comm featured those most requested and most popular themes...

Thanks, babe. It's just...you know, we have these weeks where there's a huge theme (like death or canon!death reversed) and get two or three stories, all from the same reccer... Gets depressing :( But then I reposted the links to them and lo and behold, we get more recs! I'm just not sure whether it's a question of interest lagging in general, or that we've been running out of popular themes, or that we haven't been on-the-ball with posting the themes right on time every week, or even whether it might go better if the new theme were introduced on a Thursday or a Monday... There's a part of me that feels demoralized every time a theme doesn't get much love. I know I shouldn't take that personally at all, but... Yeah.

But I'm not the most attentive reccer, either, so I suppose I'm part of the problem, too!

You know, I friended this comm and then kind of forgot about it, but I just checked out your master list and WOW!! I think this is an amazing resource! I have no idea why I didn't check into it more, before. I think that maybe I didn't really understand what the comm was all about. I went through time where I just friended everything to do with HP fandom, and a ton of awesome comms kind of got lost in the shuffle.

Anyway, I would be more than happy to pimp like crazy and recc when I have a free moment, too. I hope this comm doesn't die just as I'm discovering it!

Welcome back!

We're not dying—I hope. I think I'm feeling like the comm has something like chronic fatigue syndrome or something. This is both an informational poll and a sort of push-poll, a device to remind people that the community only works when it's got active participation from its members and watchers.

We'd love to see your recs, and also hear any feedback you've got.

Excellent! I am anti-death! I'll definitely try to keep a little more on top of what's going on here, both for the giving and receiving of reccs!

Sure! And if you see any themes that inspire you on the Master List, the mod account is notified of all additions and we update Delicious whenever we have the free time :) Thanks!

The thing for me is: I'm pretty much exclusively a Harry/Draco reader. And this corner of fandom already seems to be very, very organized. Fests often have a theme like "distant places" or "Animagus" to gather fics like that in one place.

And since I'm a H/D reader I'm mostly interested in H/D fics/recs (- except nextgen, I love that too) and I don't necessarily need this comm to find them.

I have also made the experience in my fandom years that community members of general HP comms don't like it when they turn into "H/D 2.0" comms, so I would feel uncomfortable spamming here with that pairing only -- though of course that is a general observation and has nothing to do with hpthemes in particular, you mods are great.

Overall I have to say I like the idea of this community; it can be a great resource and starting point for people who aren't very pairing-centric. I would continue to do a H/D rec every now and then. :)

*nods* H/D is the most commonly recced pairing here, too, since our founder was an H/D fan. Hence the attempts to diversify.

We do more than welcome H/D recs, though, especially if they're stellar. lost_stray_cat and I are of the opinion that the solution to a lot of recs for a single pairing is more pairings over all (as, for example, some anti-censorship types would say that the solution for yucky speech is more speech rather than regulated speech), so there's no need to hold back if you've got something to rec.

The recs over at Delicious and Pinboard are also sortable by pairing, should you ever want to find something H/D-like within a theme we've covered.

Oh, I agree! We don't want *less* recs on harry/draco or ANY pairing! It's just that we would find it really neat if we got *more* recs on other pairings in addition to the "regulars" such as h/d and snarry, etc.

I do have some thoughts and ideas I'd like to share on that... but feeling lazy right now to type so much...maybe tomorrow... :D

Just wanted to say one more thing: when I started frequenting this comm, as a reccer, I ONLY read snarry and was only interested in snarry recs. However seeing recs for other pairings...over time I got more interested...not so much to read them all, but just...I guess you can say I became not so rigid in my OTP, but now welcome a bit of variety. So I guess moral of this story is that if one hangs around here long enough, the *exposure* alone to different pairings kind of breeds new and different tastes... and in fact I got interested in Harry/Draco thanks to this comm!

I think it's a wonderful resource, and it's a shame it doesn't get more recs. There are so many rec comms, and this one is unique.

I think the recycling of themes occasionally to increase the number of recs has been helpful, and I've found myself going back through the themes to see if I have stories on my own list that would fit.

May I assume that it's okay to post new recs to old themes?

I do mostly het (and Mostly Minerva McGonagall, so that's a niche in itself) and a little femslash, so I'd be happy to pimp the comm where I can in those areas.

One thing that would be helpful is if recs could also be tagged by pairing. Yeah, I know... I like that the comm isn't especially geared toward pairings, but I think there are lots of people who search for stories that way, even within a theme, and it would help those of us who want to make a rec ensure it hasn't been recced before.

It is TOTALLY WONDERFUL to post new recs on old themes. They may not get entered into the bookmarking sites immediately (since that's something that mods need to set aside time to do, one of us tends to get to it around once, maybe twice a month), but since some folks look directly at the LJ lists the recs are there immediately for them.

In Delicious and Pinboard, you can sort by theme as well as by pairing - we tag for pairings there. It's why we ask about pairings when we put up the templates now. Though the early theme posts didn't ask for anything but title, author, and link, once we realized that folks were going directly to the LJ pages rather than to Delicious, we started asking for more information so that the LJ entries could function autonomously. Also, it meant the mods didn't have to read through every single rec in order to determine things like rating, pairing, etc.

Thanks for the offer to pimp! I'm going to get out the old banners and make a pimping post in the next few days.

I'll be glad to pimp for you in dm/hg, ss/hg, and pp/hp.

As long as you provide the template/banner (my plate's pretty full otherwise).

Oh, and you could also affiliate with hpstoryfinders, and any comms that do story searches - Your database would be extremely valuable there, I think.

Thank you!

I think we have some old art/banners that Val created back when she was co-modding; I'm going to try to locate some of that and make some new banners next week (after my hp_tarot fest fic is in).

We mods have talked amongst ourselves about affiliation in the past—perhaps it's time to revisit that conversation.

There was this post way back when we asked people to pimp us http://hpthemes.livejournal.com/15042.html but we do need a new post on that topic...

I didn't like the idea of affiliating with comms for specific pairings so as not to give an impression that we support some pairings more than others... but I think affiliating with hpstoryfinders is a GREAT idea...

Right! I'd forgotten we did that.

If I take on the task of making banners and whatnot, can you do the outreach for affiliation?

I'm saddened and baffled to hear that a themes rec comm is floundering even a little; it seems to me that there's really no more vital resource to access the vast, sprawling chaos of extant fic than a well-organized themes system. That is, in fact, why I'm here today myself - newish to the fandom and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of far-flung fics and looking for efficient ways to start wading into the fray.

I don't have any suggestions as yet, but I'll certainly ponder the problem, and I will also join, promote the comm, and make a concerted effort to rec on a regular basis. In the interim, a mighty hat-tip to you for enriching the fandom in this way!

Well, welcome both to the HP fandom and hpthemes

It's sort of damned if we do and damned if we don't, because a flood of recs is sort of overwhelming, too! But this summer, especially, has seemed pretty dry, so I felt a need to poll and see how we're doing according to people other than myself!

Thanks for the hat-tip (I'm giving thanks on behalf of all the hpthemes mods that ever were); we've worked pretty hard, and would like to see this community be helpful to fandom at large :)

Stay tuned for posts on how to pimp us out :)

That is, in fact, why I'm here today myself - newish to the fandom and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of far-flung fics and looking for efficient ways to start wading into the fray.

And you managed to find us! Yay! Welcome and I hope you enjoy wading (although at 1,500+ recs, you might still end up somewhat overwhelmed...) :-)

welcome to the HP_fandom!
have you figured out your genre preferences yet because i'm sure i can point you towards some good fics/com to search out!

I would probably use the resource more often if it contained more of the sort of pairings I like best, but I tend to like really rarepairs and less-popular pairings, so they don't get recced here very often. I try to rememdy that by reccing when I have something that fits a theme, but I've been kind of lax lately (bad reccer! no biscuit!).

*nods* I know that I need to do more reccing of my favorite rarepairs (because even though I read a lot of Snarry and Drarry, socially I live in the rarepair ghetto because that's where I mostly write).

However, I think I also should make a couple of direct appeals to my flists. I know that aigooism has recced a fair bit, and squibstress has also just recommitted to reccing... If I could get the rest of the gang on board, we could have a really healthy dose of rarer-pairs in.

Anyway, yeah -- the thing about the rec community is that the better the collection of recs we have, the more people will view the comm as something worth contributing to, and the spiral will continue upward. Or so I hope. So...rec, rec, rec!

squibstress would be an excellent reccer; she keeps a great list on Delicious herself.

How is it I've been in fandom here for five years and have never heard of this comm? I primarily read h/d, but I'm open to a few other pairings and I also read some genfic, as well. I'll friend the comm and take a look. So glad to discover this.

Edited at 2011-09-02 04:36 pm (UTC)

Glad to have you aboard!

We've only been around for about 20 months, and took somewhat of a hiatus last fall, so it's understandable that you might not have seen us about yet.

As you wander around, if you think of stories that fit the themes, please do go to the entry for the theme and leave a rec! The collection is only as good as the members of the comm make it :) A good rule of thumb is that if it fits the theme and you enjoyed it, someone else will probably enjoy it, too!

I voted in the poll.

For me, HP Themes is not visible enough. I do understand not wanting to clog the f-list and I support that in general, but I think it would be good to find a happy medium. You want to keep your comm in peoples' minds!

One thing that isn't clear (at least, I couldn't find this in any posts or on the user info page) is whether or not we'd be allowed to rec our own work, especially if it falls into het and rarepairs and meets the specific criteria for your theme. I can understand you not wanting this to become another fic pimp comm, but, say, if we've had a story rec'ed by someone else on, say, crack_broom, and can verify the rec, would you be willing to let us share that fic with you? Because there is such a heavy slant to slash, it might behoove the comm to allow some self-recs for het or rarepairs or femmeslash. Just a few thoughts! painless_j used to keep a thematic list of HP fics, but I believe she's not updating her list anymore and a lot of those links are broken, so there is a definite need for your comm.

Thanks for your suggestion.

We've been working on a FAQ for months (it keeps getting back-burnered for one reason or another), but your question is actually the #1 most-asked question in our comments. Our position is that it is totally permissible to rec one's own work as long as it fits the theme for which one is reccing it, we encourage it. Some of our reccers note in their contributor's comments that it's a self-rec, but that's not necessary.

But you make a really excellent point. I'll try to get that FAQ up in the next couple of weeks; you're right that since it's not explicit, some folks probably don't feel right about reccing their own work. I'll put it in the user info as well (since I can do this right away and we've been using the guideline consistently).

When the comm started, jaime27 would give a reminder a few days after the theme was posted; do you think that would help?

That's good about self-recc'ing, because if someone is looking for a certain theme, then they're probably willing to read any fic with that theme in it. I know that's true for me anyway.

Yes, I think it would help to post reminders every 3 days or so. It keeps it fresh in the memory of the comm members.

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