Things Have to Change
For almost five years, Prose has a been a safe haven for me where I could write whatever I wanted for people who actually cared to read whatever story I had to tell. What first drew me to this site was the fact that you didn’t have to pay, as I was quite young when I first joined. Not only that, but the lack of restrictions on what you could and couldn’t write gave me--and everyone else--freedom to pursue their craft in whatever way they wanted.
The supportiveness of the community here is astounding. From day one, others on this platform welcomed me, guided me, and looked out for me. When I wasn’t on the site as often, they would check in to make sure I was okay.
And in the past year or so, things have been changing. I understand the need to add a subscription to help keep this site going. That’s totally okay and I was very glad that it wasn’t forced on everybody like it is on other writing sites. However, particular users have used their membership to treat other users here as less-than or undeserving of the rights to post here. That is not, and never should be, acceptable. Nobody should ever be shamed or bullied or made to feel like they’re doing something wrong because they can’t afford even five dollars amonth for Prose Gold. It’s not their fault if they’re working hard to get through college or too young to have a job and can’t afford it.
I have kept my mouth shut on a lot of the issues I have noticed cropping up around here, simply because I don’t like causing issues or calling people out, but things are really getting out of hand. I’m not here to just rant as that won’t get us anywhere--I’m here to present the problems and then suggest solutions.
1. MASS TAGGING
A lot of users have become upset due to the mass-tagging that has been going on around here. And I’ll agree, it’s a bit frustrating to have your notifications bogged down by users you don’t even know or follow.
The easiest solution here is to just be respectful: don’t tag random people who don’t follow you, haven’t asked to be tagged in your work, or have asked you not to tag them. But obviously, people have continued to do it anyway. So the next step is to ask them politely to not tag you in the future and if they persist, just block them.
I think if Prose really wants to improve this site and go that extra step, a nice feature they could add would be something like the notification bell on Youtube. Put a button or something on the profile pages so if someone wants to be notified when a user they like posts something new, they can hit that. And boom, they get a notification every time a new post is made.
2. MULTIPLE ACCOUNTS
This is a big problem, though not the biggest one (we’ll talk about that one later). I’m not sure how many of you have noticed the increase of fake accounts with no profile pic, no posts and no followers, usually only following Prose and the person who created these fake accounts. I myself, have found many users doing this, particularly in the challenges where the entries with the most likes win. A fellow Proser messaged Prose about this issue, but they never did anything about it. All of those fake accounts are still up, despite extremely damming evidence; the likes are still there, the challenges have been won by people who did not deserve to win. Such a big issue cannot continue to be brushed to the side.
This is not that difficult of an issue to fix, which is why I’m a bit confused and upset as to why it hasn’t been dealt with. It’s this simple: you can’t follow, like, or comment on a post unless your email address has been verified. Almost no one is going to create 70 email addresses to win a challenge. Or maybe they will but at least further steps to prevent it will be made.
3. NEW AUTHORS
This is not everyone. In fact, it’s just a very, very, very small number of people who are upset or annoyed by the recent influx of young authors from another writing site. As they are quite young, some feel that their posts are “dragging down the quality” and are not talented enough to be here. One user even went as far as to message other Prosers to berate them for liking a post by one of these younger authors because they felt that kids didn’t deserve to be there. Not only that, but this same user commented disparaging and rude remarks under their posts as well, then deleted them when called on it.
First of all, if you think new writers are an issue, you’re part of this problem. We all started somewhere. There is no such thing as a perfect writer and it takes a lot of time and practice and bad drafts to hone your skill. If you don’t like a post or a story, just keep scrolling.
4. THE BULLYING
This has, unfortunately, become an increasing problem. I have only noticed one user in particular partaking in this under the guide of “constructive criticism” and “feedback.” Nobody has a problem with actual, helpful feedback and pointing out issues and offering solutions in a polite manner. HOWEVER there is a big difference between that and commenting that you hate everything about someone’s post and listing everything you think that makes it terrible. Or commenting under someone’s post where they talk about a struggle in their daily life and saying you think it’s a made-up issue people like being the victim of. None of us are better than any of the other writers here and it’s disgusting to see someone acting like this. What makes me even angrier, however, is the fact the victims of this person feel the need to apologize as if it’s their fault that this person is upset. News flash: it’s not. And this is where we get to the part that probably will get me a lot of hate. For this very reason, I have kept my mouth shut for a long time and just let things slide but I can’t do that anymore, not when all of Prose is about to change because of one person who can’t stop complaining, causing problems, bullying, and then dipping without having to deal with any of the consequences of her actions.
I do not like naming names or calling people out, like I already said. Especially since this could result in ME getting kicked from this site or garner me hate. But after I and many other users have notified Prose of this person’s actions, with evidence, they continued to do nothing.
And I think here is where I should make it clear that this woman is the same person who messaged Prosers and berated them for supporting young writers, insulted and tore them, then complained that SHE was being bullied when she was called out on it and reported to Prose. She also called them terrible, awful kids, said they dragged down the quality of the site and had no right to be here and she hated when they entered her challenges. She has three accounts in total, all premium, and since she has stated she believes her subscription keeps Prose afloat, she feels like she has more say than the rest of us. Which should not be true, but it seems Prose is intent on keeping her happy. Even if that means allowing bullying to go in the mean time.
Many of you may know this user as Finder, who recently wrote a post complaining once again about how Prose has changed for the worse due to young writers. And then likened being called out for being extremely rude to them to “verbal gang rape” which crosses a line. Sexual assault is not a joke; it’s not funny, and it most certainly should not be thrown around like . It’s insulting to actual victims to have their experiences equated to being called on the carpet for bullying kids. Currently, she has deactived her account, claiming she won’t be back, at least right now.
However this is a pattern if behavior with her: say something rude, mean, or disparaging on a post, get backlash from it, delete said comments, deactive whichever account she used to make said comments, then come back when she thinks the dust has settled. Every time Prose is notified, they do nothing and she remains unpunished. And the cycle just repeats, with her actually reporting me and other users for bullying her by telling her her remarks were uncalled for.
As a veteran of Prose with five odd years under her belt and three different premium Prose accounts (though I must say I don’t know if all three are still activated as after the group project fiasco she was involved in, she deactivated/changed the name her joytotheworld account), she also seems to have a good relationship with the people running Prose.
I do not want to point fingers but the only solution for this issue is for Prose to actually take responsibility, stop giving preferential treatment, and stop doing things simply because Finder complains. In fact, the most recent changes that Prose is talking of implementing came after Finder made her post ripping on the newbie writers and saying their nannies needed to come pick them up.
I know some of you here are friends with Finder. I do not want hate sent her way, and I hope you will not send any unnecessary hate my way, either. At the end of the day, I want this to become a better place for everyone. But that’s not going to happen of we--and especially Prose--don’t do their part.