Crossword creation : Eligibility

Posted by: moonraker2

Crossword creation : Eligibility - Sun Jan 06 2013 04:53 PM

I have been solving crosswords, both cryptic and GK for a number of years and consider myself well versed in the basic essentials of crossword compilation.
Having now solved a number of the FT crosswords I felt I would like to submit grids of my own for consideration, but was confronted with the following message ...

"Sorry, but you have not been marked by our editors as having enough experience at this time. To reduce the number of poor quality submissions we are only allowing crossword creation by our very best, proven authors. Eventually we may reduce this restriction.
If you'd really like to create crosswords, please create some quizzes first and become known by the editors as being a good quiz author".

At present I've solved 100 FT crosswords, and am convinced I would be able to provide an acceptable grid for consideration, and wonder if it would be possible for me to do so.
I have at present two quizzes on line one of which is "highest rated", but my main interest is crossword compilation which in my view requires a considerably different skill than quiz making.
Posted by: Barbarini

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Sun Jan 06 2013 06:11 PM

I was hoping for the same, moonraker. I'm at 450 now and have done them for years before I came to FT. Also, my playing habits on here would dictate that I might possibly have the skills and interest to give it a go. Sadly, that isn't the case. I hope that rule can be changed, at least on a individual basis.
Posted by: gtho4

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Sun Jan 06 2013 06:20 PM

You need to build up a history of writing quizzes which go online with little or no editing.
See the thread at the top of this forum : Crossword FAQ.
Posted by: Plodd

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Sun Jan 06 2013 08:20 PM

Moonraker is a member of my team and I know how much he enjoys playing crosswords outside of Fun Trivia, as well as playing our own player created crosswords.

There will always be people who will never be as proficient at quiz writing, or get the same level of enjoyment out of it as our many talented authors, but their skill at crosswords is exemplory.

I know that rules are rules, but I am concerned that we may be missing out on seeing some highly creative crosswords because of this.

Thanks for listening to my two pennies worth smilee
Posted by: kaddarsgirl

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Sun Jan 06 2013 08:52 PM

The problem with exceptions is that once one person gets one, everyone else is going to want one too, and there's no way to prove whether one is capable or not without seeing their writing ability (which is what the quizzes are for, I suppose). I have no doubt that what you say is true, but on the internet anyone can say anything, and there's nothing to stop someone else from lying through their teeth to get the same treatment. Personally, I would also love the ability to write crosswords, and I have played tons, several on the site, and a lot off it, but I think the fairest way to handle it is how it set up now. Once moonraker2 writes enough quizzes to get the power to write FT crosswords, there's nothing forcing him to write any more of them, and he can then spend the rest of is time creating amazing crosswords.
Posted by: kyleisalive

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Sun Jan 06 2013 09:02 PM

The main reason the restriction is in place in the first place isn't to block potentially good crossword writers outright; it's to ensure we're working with people who are committed and willing to work on them (and they are certainly more difficult to craft than quizzes in majority opinion) and to ensure that those people are capable of working with both the editors and the correction system.

I've written some detailed correction notices for quizzes, but the ones I've written from crosswords are very comprehensive, not only because of the magnitude of possible problem spots, but because one change in the puzzle could knock the whole thing out of whack.

I completely think that some amazing crossword authors are out there and I'd love to see what they can make; at the same time I think that our system is a valid way to admit authors (if not a bit strict).
Posted by: skunkee

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Sun Jan 06 2013 11:15 PM

I second what kyle said. There are few things as frustrating as spending time on a quiz or crossword, and writing a detailed Correction Note and then having the author walk away rather than make the changes.
Crosswords are more difficult to write and more difficult to edit. Before we can even look at the clues we have to make sure that the puzzle is structurally complete (not two or more separate puzzles) and that there are no missing clues or danglers.
I can only edit so many at a time because of the eye strain. So making sure that authors have a proven record of working with editors is important.
Posted by: Barbarini

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Mon Jan 07 2013 12:17 AM

Originally Posted By: kaddarsgirl
The problem with exceptions is that once one person gets one, everyone else is going to want one too, and there's no way to prove whether one is capable or not without seeing their writing ability (which is what the quizzes are for, I suppose). I have no doubt that what you say is true, but on the internet anyone can say anything, and there's nothing to stop someone else from lying through their teeth to get the same treatment.


kaddarsgirl, with all due respect, what has this got to do with the issue raised here? The proof is in the pudding and if a crossword writer submits a crossword worthy of being accepted, what difference would any of what you refer to make? We all accept that the rules are placed there for a reason - we're not daft. But there are many people like me who would sincerely love to write one but are excluded from the pleasure of doing so because we aren't prolific quizwriters. We're simply asking for a chance - one chance - to show our abilities and our commitment to see it through to completion. Your inference that anyone who requests an exception to the rules might not be who they say they are or mean everything they say is, frankly, ridiculous in this context.

Kyle and skunkee, thank you for your comments and the explanations. I completely understand and no one will die because I didn't get a chance to create a crossword, but I think it might be a wee bit of a shame that we're not able to offer our skills in that area.
Posted by: moonraker2

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Mon Jan 07 2013 02:58 AM

It appears to me that the primary reason this ruling is in place is to reduce the level of cross-checking imposed on the Editors, which I can understand. I fully appreciate the time and effort that all of the Editors freely dedicate to FT, without which there would be no structure.

However I'm not able to accept that crosswords are more difficult to construct than quizzes, it's horses for courses, and to myself and no doubt Barbarini the task would be a labour of love.

Without wishing to be over critical of existing crosswords on line, I have to say that in many cases, (probably because the authors have hit a brickwall), the whole symmetry of the puzzle disappears and/or a meaningless acronym is used to overcome the problem.

A true cruciverbalist would never submit such an entry, and I simply ask to be allowed the opportunity to submit a grid for consideration, without having to submit another batch of quizzes which requires a totally different skill.

Thanks for 'listening' ............
Posted by: agony

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Mon Jan 07 2013 10:13 AM

We can't just open it to a few of you who probably would be good at it, though. It's an automated system, and is either restricted or non restricted. If we open the restrictions so that moonraker and Barbarini can submit, then anyone with their qualifications (that is, qualifications that the system can detect) could also submit.

If there were a way to set the system to detect intelligence and maturity on the part of the submitter, it wouldn't be a problem.*

As Kyle and skunkee have said, what we are really checking, with our restrictions, is the ability to understand and follow instructions, and to work with the editors. With crosswords, the common approach of new quiz authors - barely glance at guidelines, and do about half of what the editors request in the first rejection note - just won't do.


*Thinking about it, a way for computer systems to detect intelligence and maturity on the part of submitters would be a great improvement on the internet as a whole, wouldn't it? Comment sections on blogs and newspaper articles would look very different.
Posted by: Plodd

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Mon Jan 07 2013 11:04 AM

I may be opening a can of worms here but what if there is a solution that would keep both the potential crossword creator and the crossword editors happy?

What if moonraker and Barbarini find themselves a sponsor who would be willing to become a middle man/woman. Someone who already has the facility to create crosswords and would be happy to spend time with them in creating their quiz. It could be someone in their team who is happy to contribute that little bit extra. Sending clues/answers can be done via a shared message thread on the main forum, only accessible to creator, sponsor and editor.

This would in no way undermine the role of an editor, but would cut out uneccessary time in sending out correction notices until the creator becomes proficient.

If after five successful quizzes are submitted using this method then full permissions coud be given to the crossword creator. Surely if the system is automated, a tweak can be put in place to suit our needs. If it means a complete rebuild then I can understand the reluctance for our current system to be changed because of time and money restrictions.

System changes are not impossible but through time can be built on a seed of an idea. I hope I have given you a seed of an idea.

Thanks for listening again smilee
Posted by: Mariamir

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Mon Jan 07 2013 11:14 AM

Interesting idea, although I guess it's not doable...any chance of us getting to do photo quizzes that way? laugh

Question, do you mean the first 5 (or however many crosswords) ultimately are credited to the sponsor?
Posted by: Plodd

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Mon Jan 07 2013 11:23 AM

Yes, they would be credited to the sponsor which is a little unfair, but it is a means to an end if someone is really interested in creating crosswords.

Picture quizzes sound good, as does the Lucky Duck badge and a bar of chocolate wink
Posted by: Jennings

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Mon Jan 07 2013 12:18 PM

I note that there are currently 1,965 crosswords online, with about 150 created in each of the last two years. In other words about 3 a week.

I realise that FT is primarily a quizzing site, but 3 a week doesn't seem many to me, and I wonder how many potentially good crossword compilers (but not so keen quiz creators), are prevented from doing so under the current restrictions of having to build up a good quiz creation profile.

I don't have a magic wand, but any method that could increase the number of crosswords whilst maintaining or even increasing their integrity, without putting pressure on the editors, seems worth trying.
Posted by: kyleisalive

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Mon Jan 07 2013 12:24 PM

With both quizzes and crosswords we do not allow sponsorship or ghostwriting.

If the author who placed the work online were to leave the site (which we can't really know) then we wouldn't necessarily be able to fix it should it need corrections. Besides this it would open a can of worms with points and stats on the site. Technically, some authors would have more templates to their name than they've actually written.


Quote:
I don't have a magic wand, but any method that could increase the number of crosswords whilst maintaining or even increasing their integrity, without putting pressure on the editors, seems worth trying.


It's ultimately the calls of both the crossword editors and admins, and most importantly, Terry. As has been said, the restriction is built into the code of the site. Even if we wanted to say yes right now, none of the editors or admins could allow said authors to build a template unless Terry changed the site's coding.
Posted by: salami_swami

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Mon Jan 07 2013 12:25 PM

As stated, crosswords are very difficult to create. It is difficult for even the top crossword authors to create multiple a week. A lot of us will only write one every several months. 3 a week is actually a good number, I think. I agree, more is always better...

But a few of the top crossword authors are no longer members, those able to write crosswords are unable to make very many too quickly, and they are difficult to edit and get online. So a low number is expected, methinks.
Posted by: Plodd

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Mon Jan 07 2013 12:40 PM

Thanks to everyone for listening and to the editors for their input. We would all love to wave a magic wand but in real life we do not always get what we ask for smile
Posted by: kyleisalive

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Mon Jan 07 2013 12:46 PM

And thanks to everyone here for contributing. Sometimes, the best way to shape the site is with feedback like this that we can take into consideration. Knowing that people are very interested in writing crosswords is the first step to making changes. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but inevitably. Until Moonraker sent me a message and then posted here, I didn't know other authors wanted to try it either.

It'll probably please the other CW editors (and players) to see the interest. smile
Posted by: moonraker2

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Mon Jan 07 2013 03:23 PM

I'm grateful to have been allowed the opportunity to air my views on the situation.

Whilst I would like to see a more immediate solution to my request I do now appreciate, to a certain extent, the reasons why it's not being granted.

I'll therefore take the recommended route in due course, and submit more quizzes in an aim to achieve my objective.
Posted by: guitargoddess

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Mon Jan 07 2013 03:27 PM

Just wanted to note too that it's not just required that you write a lot of quizzes, the "become known by the editors as being a good quiz author" is really the crux of it. There's no magic number of quizzes that is "enough". There are quiz creators who've authored over 100 quizzes who don't have the crossword ability.
Posted by: moonraker2

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Mon Jan 07 2013 04:23 PM

I note what you say guitargoddess, which is precisely why I was careful to say in my previous post "in an aim to achieve my objective".

However, I cannot accept that a good quiz author is necessarily adept at crossword compilation nor vice-versa!
Posted by: skunkee

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Tue Jan 08 2013 12:25 PM

moon-raker as we have said before, what we're largely interested in is the proven ability to follow guidelines and work co-operatively with editors. So the quizzes written don't have to knock anybody's socks off.
Posted by: zippolover

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Mon Jan 14 2013 04:22 AM

How about "Team Crosswords", the same as "Team Quizzes"?

That way those who are active members of a team, but non quiz writers could join in, but the results are published under an experienced member's name.
Posted by: abechstein

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Mon Jan 14 2013 02:22 PM

That seems like an excellent idea...
Posted by: guitargoddess

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Mon Jan 14 2013 03:04 PM

I think that would be way more complicated than team quizzes and more complicated than individual crosswords. You really have to focus when making a crossword, watch carefully that you're not creating a word you didn't intend to and forget to give it a clue, watch closely that if you created a clue that referred to "The opposite of 2 Down" (for example), that when you continue creating clues, suddenly what was 2 Down is now 4 Down and your other clue makes no sense. A bunch of people all working on one crossword template, the left hand not necessarily realizing what the right is doing, or the left hand boxing the grid off and making things difficult for the right, seems to me that there would be a lot of starting over or re-doing going on, at best.

I've edited team quizzes where two different contributors asked the same question and nobody, not even the quiz 'manager' noticed, so as an editor I wouldn't hold a lot of hope that multiple people working on a crossword would all pay close attention to what's happening in the grid and the clues.
Posted by: kyleisalive

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Mon Jan 14 2013 03:09 PM

Yeah, the first word that comes to mind with the idea of a 'team crossword' is more along the lines of 'chaotic'.

My attempts at crossword creation usually result in either a terrifying hodgepodge or a meticulous, laborious symmetry. I can't imagine what more than one person, without constant communication and obvious synergy, would create.
Not to say it wouldn't be possible to make a good one.


At the same time, I don't think that the crossword template is as readily-convertible as a quiz template. There would probably have to be a fair bit of coding done to make something like that begin to work, and the crossword side of things is far from perfect as-is.

It's an interesting idea, no doubt.
Posted by: SilverMoonsong

Re: Crossword creation : Eligibility - Tue Jan 15 2013 03:44 AM

Please let me just nip this in the bud. There will not be Team Crosswords anytime in the foreseeable future.