SWG Site Updates

09.06.2008. The past months we encountered many errors and bugs, therefore I restored the archive software to the previous version and I will await further developments (like bug reports) regarding the newest releases. All known bugs (site statistics (like the correct number of stories listed by author) and the wide range of problems for co-authors) should be resolved now. Before I did this, I made backups of the database files and tables.

07.06.2008. The <font> tag is no longer usable on the archive. I made this change after hand-correcting several stories and reveiws this week where the font was too small to be legible or in a font face other than that used on the archive. When users were pasting from MS Word into the TinyMCE text editor, any fonts they'd used were being hard-coded using the <font> tag. This resulted in stories that were clunky with HTML tags and sometimes couldn't be read. Unless we can find a better way to solve this problem, the <font> tag is gone for good.

31.05.2008. May has been a busy month for us. We've done a complete overhaul of the FAQs, checking them for accuracy after the archive has been in operation for a year (and much has changed, as a result). All of the FAQs were reviewed, polished, and updated where needed, and some new FAQs were added. Major changes occurred in

At about 10 p.m. EST, the Yahoo! group message archive was made public, as planned.

And, of course, June 2008 newsletter is now available.

27.05.2008. Backups of the database and stories file were made.

23.05.2008. Keen observers will note some aesthetic changes on the site, particularly where headings are concerned. The old site was ... ugly. To be nice. As well as annoying inconsistent and hard on the eyes. While I hope that the new versions are improved, then I am of course open for feedback at the usual places.

15.05.2008. Our About section was scrawled in haste when the SWG was first formed and has long been in need of revision. We've expanded our mission to reflect the group's new goals and have added a brief section on the group's history. The list of FAQ topics has been combined with this page. (The old FAQ page now links to the new page to minimize the number of places we need to update.)

The userinfo page of our LiveJournal was also updated.

01.05.2008. While performing routine end-of-the-month site upgrades, Dawn accidentally deleted the challenges category on the archive with a wayward mouse click. This removed the challenge listing as well as any challenges that authors had selected for their stories.

Rhapsody corrected this problem using the most recent database backup. Authors who list challenges for their stories are encouraged to check their challenge stories to make sure that they are correct.

We also updated the sitemap.

30.04.2008. The May 2008 newsletter is now available. Aulë's character biography, by Oshun, has been added to the Reference section.

28.04.2008. The software for the archive was upgraded. Please note the following known bugs, mostly to do with how co-authored stories and round robins are being (mis)handled on the archive:

These bugs have been brought to the attention of the software developers, and we are (impatiently) awaiting a reply so that we may fix these problems.

27.04.2008. Backups were made of the archive database and the stories file in preparation for a software upgrade.

16.04.2008. Notifications have been sent to all contributors to the SWG Yahoo! discussion list about the message archive changing to public. A file has been uploaded to the group, alerting new members of this pending change. 16 April 2008 (today) will be the cut-off date for requests for post deletions by the originating poster. The change to the archive will be made on 1 June 2008. More information on this change is available in our FAQ.

23.03.2008. Daeron's character biography, by Oshun, is posted in the Reference section and added to the April newsletter.

27.03.2008. Because of a recent rash of spam on the Yahoo! group, we have made several changes in an attempt to reduce the amount of spam that gets through:

The moderators will re-evaluate these changes in a few months.

22.03.08. Minor adjustments made to archive to 1) increase the summary length permitted on the random and recent stories featured on the index page, 2) display three most-recent stories instead of one, and 3) display the rating as (Rated RATING).

Database and story files backed up.

21.03.08. Several changes have been made to the Genre list on the archive with one notable change made to available Warnings.

Alternate Universe is no longer classified as a Warning but rather as a Genre. We felt that, as AU stories are frequently disparaged in fandom, that the negative connotations behind the term "Warning" was unfair to these stories. As such, we felt that these stories were better served with AU being listed as a Genre. This decision was discussed by the moderators and on the Yahoo! group and was thought to be a positive choice for AU stories.

All stories carrying the Warning "Alternature Universe" have had the genre "Alternate Universe" added to their story information. The Warning "Alternate Universe" has been deleted and is no longer available for use. Authors who wish their stories to be listed as AU should select this as a Genre. Please note that, unlike many other archives, SWG allows its authors to select as many Genres as the author wants. Hold down CTRL (or COMMAND, for Mac users) in order to select more than one item from the list.

All of the AU stories on the SWG archive may now be found here.

Secondly, two new Genres have been added to the list from which authors choose: Mystery and Erotica. Authors with existing stories on the archive that fit either of these genres are encouraged to add them if they wish their stories to be searchable under either classification.

Authors who wish to modify their story's Genre(s) are reminded that they may do so via Account Info. Please choose Manage Stories and then Edit for the story that you wish to modify. If you have any problems with this or wish for a moderator to change your story information for you--or have any sort of questions or difficulties--please feel free to contact us at the usual place,

The review page was also modified to set the review form a bit more apart from the reviews themselves. It is often the case that authors, in their eagerness to reply to their reviewers, type the reply in the review form by mistake. (This author does it all of the time, but this author is also an admin and can delete her own blunders so no one ever need know!) Hopefully, this will lessen this error and its attendant frustration for users.

06.03.08. A back-up of the archive database was made.

03.03.08. March is Back to Middle-earth Month, a time when Tolkien fans celebrate their participation in fandom and how they came to love Tolkien's works. In our third year celebrating this special fandom holiday, we've put together--with the help of the many talented writers and artists who make SWG such a great place--a special project called The Circles of the World. This project looks at common themes of The Silmarillion and fans' creative responses to them.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the month of March, a new theme will be unlocked on our site.

The initial annoucement about the project with project requirements, ToS, and rights acquired on can be found here.

01.03.08. March's newsletter has been uploaded and challenges have been updated.

10.02.08. A character biography for Haleth has been added to February's newsletter as well as to the customary place within the Reference section.

03.02.08. Our webmasters have recently become aware of a problem on the archive where, on occasion, a member attempting to delete an incorrectly entered review reply would find a small version of the site replicated inside of the reply or other formating problems. (Strange as it sounds!) Investigating further into this revealed that the problem was not with our archive but with a bug in the Internet Explorer 6 browser, which remains popular among IE users. IE6 makes it very difficult for users to select limited portions of text on webpages that are structured using absolute positioning within their CSS stylesheets. As the SWG site is entirely structured using not only CSS but absolute positioning, then users of IE6--when attempting to highlight only a limited passage of text--were copying the whole site, including certain HTML tags used in our pages.

The result? Pasting that highlighted text resulted in pasting tags that altered the formating of the review replies.

While we encourage our users to update their browsers to the latest versions (neither IE7 nor any version of Firefox have this bug), then we also respect their right to continue using a browser that is comfotable for them. As such, we've put together an FAQ with some hints on how to circumvent this bug as much as possible while still using the site to its fullest capabilities.

01.02.08. February's newsletter has been uploaded and challenges have been updated.

A new FAQ on using RSS feeds and the RSS feeds available on SWG has been posted with thanks to Rhapsody for putting it together!

Finally, the poll deciding the fate of our Yahoo! group has closed. The vast majority of members have decided that they would like to see the message archive made publicly available, so this change will be put into place. Poll results are available here (poll for Yahoo! group members) and here (poll for non-members of the Yahoo! group). The FAQ on this subject has been updated: the polls removed and the language changed to reflect that this decision is no longer up for debate but has been decided. Nonetheless, the mods of SWG welcome questions and concerns from members at the usual places.

28.01.08. We've begun planning for Back to Middle-earth Month 2008. The announcement for the 2008 project "The Circles of the World" can be found here.

15.01.08. The essay "A Woman in Few Words: The Character of Nerdanel and Her Treatment in Canon and Fandom" by Dawn Felagund has been uploaded to the Reference section.

11.01.08. A new page has been uploaded in the FAQ section dealing with the decision to switch the Yahoo! group message archive to public. This page was created in an effort to define the proposed change, address some common issues brought up by members of the Yahoo! group, and also to sample opinions with a poll (link no longer viable; see post on 01.02.08).

09.01.08. We experienced a problem that took most of the site out for about a day. The only part of the site not affected was the archive. The problem stemmed from a PHP upgrade conducted by our webhost and involved the PHP includes that controls "static content" (the header, sidebar, et cetera) on all of the pages except for the archive. This required a change on every page of the site and took about a day to accomplish once the problem was discovered. We are awaiting word from our host as to whether there is something we can do to prevent this happening again in the future.

Because I was initially uncertain where the problem lay, I made a backup of the database just in case.

30.12.07. A new FAQ on the acceptable use of images by users of our sites was added in order that users can continue including images while ensuring a positive use of the site for all visitors. Authors who use images in their stories are encouraged to check it out. The Add Story form was modified to include a link to the image FAQ.

01.12.07. The December 2007 newsletter is now available.

01.11.07. The November 2007 newsletter is now available.

Our Terms of Service are now available in Polish and Russian. Many thanks to Binka for the translations!

30.10.07. Backup made of stories and archive database.

16.10.07. Anniversary contest winners and awards posted.

15.10.07. Anniversary contest closed. Total counts: 16 stories entered and 76 reviews. (Awesome!) Results will be tallied, finishing touches put on awards, and the winners will be announced in the next couple of days.

13.10.07. Banners and codes for displaying them were added to the promotions page. The "Banners" section was edited to remove information about the "contest" (that wasn't really a contest) and put the request for new banners in language that better fits the context in which it is being presented.

02.10.07. Anniversary contest marked as CLOSED for new story submissions. Reviews are still being accepted.

01.10.07. October's newsletter and a new challenge posted. Gil-galad's biography added to the Character of the Month biographies in the Reference section.

29.09.2007. A second backup copy was made of the database and story files in preparation for a software upgrade. Software was updated to a newer version in which all of the known bugs affecting site performance were addressed. Advanced searches can now be used to select stories based on rating. Series can now be set to "Open" to allow other members to add their own work to the series. Though she hasn't tried it yet, the webmaster is being told that she will again be able to make database backups directly from the site, which thrills her immensely.

The moderators would greatly appreciate it if any problems with the site or suspected bugs were reported. Fixes are usually available or can be requested ... but only if we know about the bugs in need of fixing! The usual address is the place to report problems with the site.

27.09.07. A backup copy was made of the database and story files in preparation for a software upgrade.

26.09.2007. A new History of Middle-earth summary for The Chaining of Melko was added to Dawn Felagund's HoMe Summaries in the Reference section.

15.09.07. In honor of the 30th anniversary of the publication of The Silmarillion, SWG is hosting a story contest. Contest details can be found here. All contest entries can be found here.

14.09.07. The essay Name Calling: Group Identity and the Other among First Age Elves by Angelica was posted to the Reference section.

12.09.07. A new classification has been added to the archive that allows authors to classify their stories under particular challenges and also allows readers to search for stories that fulfill a challenge. The following announcement was posted to the index page of the archive.

Many of the stories posted on our archive were written for or satisfy one of our challenges. Authors now have the option to choose to list their stories under one of these challenges, much in the same way that they currently choose characters, warnings, and genres for their stories.

When adding a new story, choose My Account from the menu, then choose Add New Story. The Challenge Entry menu will appear alongside Characters, Genres, and Warnings. As with these other selections, if you hold down the CTRL key, you can add multiple challenges. The challenges you list will appear in your story summary block as links to a list of all stories listed under that challenge.

To add a story you've already posted to a challenge, choose My Account from the menu, then choose Manage Stories. This will generate a list of all of your stories on SWG. Choose Edit and the Add Story screen will be re-opened for you to make changes. The Challenge Entry menu will appear alongside Characters, Genres, and Warnings. As with these other selections, if you hold down the CTRL key, you can add multiple challenges. The challenges you list will appear in your story summary block as links to a list of all stories listed under that challenge.

To find all stories satisfying a particular challenge, select Search from the top archive menu, then choose Advanced Search. There are menus that allow you to include or exclude challenges from your search. For example, choosing A Gift of a Story brings up a list of all stories that were written as gifts for other people and listed under this challenge. Additionally, you may click on the challenge name in the story summary block to show all stories listed under that challenge or use the Browse feature.

Want a complete listing of more than two years' worth of challenges? Find what you want by date or by name.

01.09.07. Lots of new stuff to kick off the beginning of the month!

The Terms of Service are now available en español with thanks to Angelica for translating for us! We are constantly seeking new translations into additional languages.

The Character of the Month biographies are now indexed into a single location in the Reference section.

And the September newsletter with new challenges and all that good stuff has been posted.

22.07.07. Software update completed for archive. Database backed up.

Known Bugs: The Advanced Search feature has been fixed to search by character. However, it still does not search by rating. Please use Browse in order to find stories of a specific rating.

Series can usually be set by the original author to allow other authors to add their stories. However, the current software is not allowing the "Open" setting to be chosen. Until a fix can be implemented with the next upgrade, please include in the series summary whether you wish other authors to add to the series and how they can contact you if they have a story to add. The original author should be able to add stories to a series. If you need help adding stories to a series, please contact a moderator; moderators can override the series settings to add stories.

If you have any problems with the new upgrade, please contact us as soon as possible. In most cases, a fix is available or can be requested, but we often don't know that there's a problem unless you tell us. Please don't assume that we've already been made aware. If we know of a problem and are working on a solution, we will post on the main page about it. Either way, we'd sooner get ten dozen requests for a fix rather than not know that there is a problem at all! :)

We can always be reached at Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions or problems.

01.07.07. Seven in '07 project publicly available.

July 2007 newsletter and new challenges posted.

06.06.07. Fiction archive released to the public. Conduct Guidelines and Terms of Service released to the public. Known bugs: The Search feature does not work for characters or ratings. Please use Browse instead. Series cannot be set to "Open" status that allows SWG members to add their own stories to a series owned by another author. Series should be set to "Moderated" or a moderator should be informed if a story needs to be added to a series that the original author wishes to designate as "Open."

05.07. Beta-testing of archive conducted.

03.06.07. FAQs updated in expectation of public release of story archive.

01.06.07. June 2007 newsletter and new challenges posted.

23.05.07 through 06.06.07. Beta tests conducted on the story archive.

30.04.07.May 2007 newsletter and new challenges posted.

28.04.07. LiveJournal userinfo page updated to reflect changes in group policies as well as to be more user-friendly.

History of Middle-earth summaries by Dawn Felagund added to the Reference section.

26.04.07.The Tolkienian War on Science by Dr. Joan Bushwell added to the Reference section.

Silmarillion chapter summaries by Dawn Felagund added to the Reference section.

23.04.07.The Perfect Girl by Nikara added to the Reference section.

Volunteer listing added and updated.

Silmarillion Yellow Pages temporarily removed from Reference homepage pending form updates and appointment of volunteer Yellow Pages Coordinator.

16.04.07. New ratings system for stories made publicly available. The system will officially go into effect in May.

07.04.07. Created the Newsletter Archive and uploaded all newsletters dated earlier than April 2007.

01.04.07. Site goes public.

April 2007 newsletter and new challenges posted.

31.03.07. FAQs (general) expanded and updated and Yahoo! Groups FAQs added.

Conduct guidelines and review diplomacy guidelines added.

Essay How to Review, by Juno Magic, added to the Reference section.

Reference Reader description added to the Reference section.

Moderator email account created.