www.whyville.net Sep 21, 2008 Weekly Issue

It's Your Times

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The Whyville Times -- my favorite part of our virtual community. The Times is a unique part of our world; it's a place where you can voice your opinions, reveal your inner thoughts, discuss controversial topics, and grow as writers. Over the past few years I have worked to make the Times the best it can be and to find creative ways to improve it. A few of them have stuck around -- columns, the Whyvillian in the Spotlight (although not lately) and the Whyville Times Awards. I'm always looking for ideas and suggestions to make the Times even better.

So, I decided to conduct an interview with some of Whyville's well-known Times Writers, and a few up-and-comers. The purpose of this interview is to find out what you, the citizens of Whyville, want out of your newspaper. This is a rather lengthy interview; I wanted to gather as many opinions as I could so I could have a well-rounded article. Grab a snack, you might need it.

I can't do this alone, so let's work together. After all, it is your Times . . .

Times Editor: What do you like about the Times? Why?

7stars: I like reading other peoples' writing a lot. I find it inspiring, and not to mention enjoyable.
xo7joa7ox: Well, there's a lot I like about the Times. I like the whole idea of people getting together to share their stories, articles, and creative writing. I love how everyone can share their writing with Whyville.
Morgan612: I like to read it because there's usually at least some good articles and I like to see some new authors get better, and I like helping them improve in the BBS.
Morganna: The Times is wonderful because it gives aspiring, young writers the chance to get pieces published and receive feedback via the BBS.
Lollyfob: I like the BSS. Because it's a chance to freely express your opinion.
msof57: I absolutely love how the Times is a place for kids and adults to write without the straight forward minds of adults. The Times isn't just about events that are happening in Whyville, they're about feelings, stories, emotions. It's an incredible experience.
sims2girl: It's a great way to get stuff out there and see what people think about it. I want to be an author, so it's great seeing people's reactions to anything I get in.
ocean10kv: I really like how you can show everyone your work, and most times they don't know you in real life, because sometimes you get a little shy if everyone you know is reading it.
bluebag: The topics, the things that people write about, the actual people that write for it, the way people write . . . the way people write is way big for me. I like analogies and metaphors and details and all that crap that your English teacher tells you that you need to put in your essays.
Lyd1212: My favorite part about the Times is that it has stories written by peers, not professional polished pieces. This is because it shows the talent of the Whyvillians.
andreappd: I love the variety of articles and all the different topics. I love debating and discussing things on the BBS. I like how anyone can get involved and write an article.
Gasohp: I look forward to reading all the article and poems each Sunday. I love getting to read others' opinions and writing out my own feelings.
ferrari5x: I like the Times because of the history it gives to Whyville. Without it, we'd be much less connected with the past. It's a good way to reflect on many of our old memories and friends.
iamtodd: I like creative writing and funny things, I'm not a very serious person.
DAWMUgal: I love that it is reader-written, not just limited to newspaper staff. We can write what we want to write about and then see it published. I also like that you can rate the articles, because it helps you improve. Like, if you had only 2 stars in one article, and 5 in another, you could compare and say, "Hmm, what did I do in that article that I didn't in this one?"
holiday50: I like that the Times is written by Whyvillians for Whyvillians. It's interesting, informative and entertaining to read articles written by people like me. The Times is more than a virtual newspaper. It's Whyvilians expressing themselves and talking about things that matter.
Glitsygrl: I like how the Times gives you the freedom to express yourself. I've ranted about things in the Times I couldn't imagine saying in real life. It's a way to release your opinions, inform others of issues important to you, and meet people who think the same as you do.
Wicked777: I like the variety of topics that the Times covers, and the fact that it lets us share our opinions.
Kindell: I love the Times because it brings the "community" of Whyville together. Not only that but it's like a great big bowl of expressions; everyone having their own opinions and thoughts on each subject.

Times Editor: What do you dislike about the Times? Why?

7stars: Three words: spamming and bashing. It tends to be unavoidable, but I find it extremely annoying.
xo7joa7ox: I absolutely HATE when new writers don't take the advice of the older Times Writers, or their audience. Whenever an older Times Writer expresses their dislike for an article, it's suddenly, "You just hate when others succeed!" When new people express their dislikes on an article, it's, "What do you know! You don't have any articles in the Times!" When new authors bash the old ones, they aren't earning the respect of their audiences. Basically, the lack of class in the Times is one of the things I dislike most.
Morgan612: I don't like some of the articles that get in. I know that I won't love every article, but I think a lot of articles are lacking in quality.
Morganna: I often find that the pieces chosen for the Times are not challenging enough. For example, I feel as though there are few articles published in the Times which really display a sophisticated scope of global or local issues for the sake of awareness. Instead, lately, I've found there to be more "columns" concerning more superficial issues. Also, I find that people submitting series in the Creative section of the Times are somewhat flawed because often a part of the series will not get published until weeks after the first, which just leaves a large gap between the two.
Lollyfob: The increasing amount of shallow articles that get accepted.
msof57: Probably when people bash other's articles for no reason, or holds a grudge because of something that person wrote about over a month ago.
sims2girl: Some of the articles aren't as good as others. It's just annoying that there's inconsistency.
ocean10kv: I dislike how some people misuse the BBS, and spam in it.
bluebag: I don't really dislike much, I mean, there's too much to love about it. I guess though, if I had to pick something, it would be the number of articles. Maybe it's just that there isn't enough space or there aren't enough people sending them in, but I would really love to see more articles.
Lyd1212: I dislike the fact that sometimes there are fluff stories. Badly written, and not of importance. I think that the quality of the paper is higher than that.
andreappd: Some of the articles are low-quality and really need a good spell check.
Gasohp: I don't like how there aren't many diverse articles in the Times. Sometimes there are only three bold ones that stand out.
ferrari5x: It's unfortunate that there's less consistency with Times Writers and articles. Overall, there seems to be less participation and attention geared towards the Times as there once was.
iamtodd: The fact that people send in awful articles/poems.
DAWMUgal: One thing I would like to see improved is the BBS . . . so many articles and Whyvillians are being bashed, and I feel sorry to say that I used to be one of those people. Maybe there could be BBS monitors to make sure nobody is being cruel to one another.
holiday50: I dislike poor quality articles and negative Whyvillians on the BBS. Poor quality articles are not pleasant to read; especially the ones that make me wonder why they were accepted. Articles should have good grammar, punctuation and spelling, and they should be well written. Bad efforts and lack of research come across to readers. Moreover, I dislike negative Whyvillians on the BBS. These Whyvillians range from writers who fail to take criticism, to those who start arguments rather than trying to stop them.
Glitsygrl: I understand Whyville has a young population, but I've been frustrated how shallow some of the articles in the Times are. No one writes about the deeper, more important issues. The issues that are perhaps more mature, but still so necessary. I know some of them are being written, but I don't see them being published. Also, I'm sure this is an obvious one, but I dislike articles that are not well-written. There are millions of people on Whyville, thousands that submit to the Times. There should be a higher standard for articles. That can be difficult, but I'm sure it can be improved.
Wicked777: I dislike some of the harsh comments in the BBS, but that comes with the territory.
Kindell: I don't think the Times has that much diversity . . . that's really my only complaint.

Times Editor: What would you like to see more of in the Times? Why?

7stars: I'd like to see more articles written by guest writers.
xo7joa7ox: I would love to see more controversial opinion pieces. I personally love to see everyone give their opinions and I love to learn more about why people might feel the way they do about a certain topic. I'd also like to see some more well-written articles, new writers, and more creative writing. I feel creative writing is highly overlooked.
Morgan612: I would like to see more people getting involved in the Times, new writers, and more people reading.
Morganna: As expressed above, I would like to see more sophisticated pieces concerning significant global and/or local issues, for instance, the recent stock market crash and it's affect, as well as perhaps tips for saving money in times of such crisis. I feel as though Whyvillians often get caught up with our perfect, little Whyville, and it would be nice to remind ourselves of the "real world" around us.
Lollyfob: I would like to see more issue-pressed articles. Ones that make you think and aren't all about fashion or celebrities.
msof57: Probably stories filled with emotion and deep thoughts. But I'm certainly happy with what is being published in the Times currently.
sims2girl: I would like to see more continuous creative writing stories. it's always so exciting to guess what's going to happen next!
ocean10kv: I would like to see more fashion articles on like makeup and stuff, because I'm not very good at putting eye makeup on and those articles help me.
bluebag: Three words: Let's get controversial! Ask anyone in my school and they'll say that I'm one of those types of people that actually likes to start verbal fights with people due to controversial subjects. I just don't think that the Times sees enough of that.
Lyd1212: I would love to see more real-life stories, they are the most heartfelt, and in many cases, very well-written.
andreappd: I'd love to see more participation in the BBS.
Gasohp: I would like to see more article about real issues that matter, and less make-up articles. We need to recognize these things and try to solve them. Once in awhile maybe some deep articles that are personal.
ferrari5x: Avid readers, discussing articles in depth. Truly good articles.
iamtodd: I would like to see more effort in people's work, if it isn't at it's best, dont put it in.
DAWMUgal: I would really love to see more Whyville-based issues. Very few articles talk about something in Whyville, and it would be nice if I saw them a bit more. I'm working on an article right now on Whyville.
holiday50: I would like to see more mature articles regarding social issues such as abortion, gay marriage, teen pregnancy, depression, suicide, racism/prejudice/discrimination, etc. Not only do children go on Whyville, but teenagers and adults do too. The Whyville Times needs to target that demographic. I'd also like to see articles on world events, not just natural disasters in America. Whyvillians should be more aware of world events because it's better knowing than not knowing.
Glitsygrl: I would like to see more articles about current events. There are many important news issues around the world, but none of them appear in the Times. It's always great to see a young person's twist on the story. It's so different than what we read in the newspapers.
Wicked777: I'd like to see more informative articles in the Times, because I get the most out of an article when I learn from it and enjoy reading it.
Kindell: I would like to see more articles that cover a broader range of people. Something that everyone can connect with.

Times Editor: What would you like to see less of in the Times? Why?

7stars: As I said before, I really dislike spamming and bashing.
xo7joa7ox: Fashion articles are way overdone. Newbie help articles are great, but we don't need a new one every two weeks. I also don't like articles that have been done over a thousand times, and I feel comics are also way overdone.
Morgan612: I would like to see less articles that aren't good quality because it lowers the quality of the Times as a whole when not-so-good articles are accepted.
Morganna: Again, as expressed in the last question, I would like to see less of the "superficial" articles/columns which seem to be getting repetitive.
msof57: Articles with lots of incorrect grammar and spelling. I don't like it when I see a terrible article in the Times when another one that was probably better didn't make it in because somehow that made it in.
sims2girl: Soduku. I don't think anyone really does them anymore, and they take up a lot of room.
ocean10kv: There aren't that many articles that I would like to see less of, because I really enjoy reading everything that gets into the Times.
bluebag: I like most of the types of articles, I just don't necessarily like the fashion articles. I don't know about you, but I couldn't care less what's in style and what's hot.
Lyd1212: I would love to see less of the interviews of Whyvillians, or at least improve the quality of them. Some writers do not weed out useless interviewees and it weighs upon the overall effect of the article.
andreappd: Low-quality articles, and I'm not sure if we need two Sudoku's for every day of the week.
Gasohp: The fashion and make-up articles, there are too many. Those things matter, but they aren't the most important things happening in the world.
ferrari5x: Most articles are written with good intentions but few, these days, trigger your imagination. Non-fiction articles may be interesting to some, but it seems like most readers aren't very interested. Most writers also slack off, often plagiarizing to fill up space. I'd like to see less people writing articles as if they were reports being graded by a teacher.
iamtodd: I would like to see less of people constantly spamming the boards, if we can make that possible, I'm all for it.
DAWMUgal: Personally, I think each and every article contributes something wonderful to the Times. I don't think there should be any less of a certain subject because they are all helpful to me.
holiday50: The Times could do without negative Whyvillians on the BBS. They only want attention and are as unnecessary as their posts. But it's impossible to ignore their cruel comments. I would also like to see less of same-subject articles. There are too many unoriginal sob stories and music themed articles; they are boring and repetitive to read.
Glitsygrl: There is nothing I'd like to see less of. I'll read anything on any topic as long as it's well-written and the writer expresses themselves properly.
Wicked777: I'd like to see fewer articles that only touch on one topic. The subject of music is getting tired, as are the "how to use the BBS" articles.
Kindell: I would like to see less of "repeated articles", more or less. There's certain things that are just too over done.

Times Editor: How would you improve the Times?

7stars: I'd like to see more articles in the Times. I guess there are only so many articles that are submitted that you can use, but I'm usually done reading the Times in less than an hour.
xo7joa7ox: I'm not so sure, I mean I would love to say add more articles that are actually well written, but I understand sometimes there aren't a lot of options. However, one thing I would like to see is harsher penalties for plagiarism, even if it's a first time offense. That's ILLEGAL.
Morgan612: I would like there to be more readers, and to do that you need better articles, because lots of people have stopped reading because they believe the quality of the Times has gone way down. I would set higher standards for writers to be accepted, so better articles can be written. I know not enough articles are written each week for there to be all good quality articles so I would advertise. I would put ads around Whyville telling people to write and also telling people to read. If people read, they will want to write, and the Times will get better.
Morganna: If I were the Times Editor, I would work to improve the Times by selecting less columns and allowing room for new, aspiring writers to display their skill and opinions. I would also perhaps put in a debate section which deals with not just controversial issues in Whyville, but also national and universal political, economical, and social issues.
Lollyfob: I'd write more if the censorship wasn't so delicate.
msof57: Probably giving out more of the Whyville Times Awards. I love winning trophies.
sims2girl: The first thing that pops to mind is a facelift. Not that the current one isn't working, but it's been the face of the Times for as long as I can remember. Maybe something new (but not terribly different) would bring in more people.
ocean10kv: The only thing about the Times that I would change, is the day it comes out. Maybe it should come out a little bit sooner, like on Friday or Saturday instead of late Sunday.
bluebag: Hmm . . . I don't really know. Maybe a layout update, but that would probably be very time consuming to put that all into HTML . . . But defiantly getting more articles in would be pretty freaking sweet.
Lyd1212: I would improve the Times by being more critical of what we put in. Even if there are less articles, they will be of better quality.
andreappd: I would fix the thing you search for articles with. It would be really nice to just search a topic you're interested in and see all the articles about it.
Gasohp: I would fix the search bar, and put more articles in each week. I need to take more time and write some bold meaningful articles in my free time.
ferrari5x: I would gather more participation.
iamtodd: No more bad writers.
DAWMUgal: I would improve the Times by you accepting all of my articles! Just kidding, just kidding. Seriously, I would improve the Times by making sure every writer and every BBS poster is treated equally. I CAN also improve the Times by submitting my own articles! If there's something I don't see, then I'll try to write it!
holiday50: I would encourage Whyvillians to be friendlier on the BBS and make respect somewhat mandatory. There should be punishments for those who spam on the BBS. Moreover, if I were the Times Editor, I accept would better quality articles -- not articles that are "decent" or "okay" but articles that are ideal.
Glitsygrl: I'd take more time editing articles, and let in the best. Even if the article is on an important topic, nobody's going to care if it's not well-written. I'd also encourage more people to write for the Times along with writing more articles about current events of our world.
Wicked777: To improve the Times, I would try to keep a regular schedule of its release. Sometimes the date changes around, which makes it tricky to know when to look for new articles.
Kindell: Well, I think you as the Editor ultimately have the power to decide what gets in and what doesn't. Sometimes I think you let in poorly written articles; I realize that is encouraging them to keep trying but sometimes the person just gets bombarded in the BBS.

Times Editor: What is your recommendation to me, the Editor, to make the Times more enjoyable?

7stars: A different layout could be cool. You know . . . a little more color here and there.
xo7joa7ox: I think the more options we have, the better the chances are of having some really good articles, so promoting the Times more might help encourage people to write.
Morgan612: Ask to advertise the Times around Whyville to get it read more and I think if someone has an article on a good topic, but it's not a good article, help them improve instead of accepting something on the first try because we all want the Times to get better.
Lollyfob: Less censorship! Obviously I don't except there to be curse words and such in articles. But allow more delicate issues to be discussed.
msof57: Probably to correct spelling mistakes in Times articles but I know that's a lot of hard work considering we should be looking out for those ourselves.
sims2girl: Same idea; facelift. Also, would it be possible to bring back the Times Crossword? Those were always fun.
ocean10kv: Possibly you could be able to win clams when you win a game of Suduko in the Entertainment section.
bluebag: Hmm . . . I guess I could never say it enough . . . more articles!
Lyd1212: I recommend that you try to balance the Times, having much experienced writers do their thing, but let a few inexperienced writers with solid pieces in as well.
andreappd: I think the Times is already very enjoyable and can't think of anything that I haven't already said.
Gasohp: Add more articles and maybe add your comments on some articles. I would like seeing what you think.
ferrari5x: Display the Times on the Welcome Page always, with all major announcements in the Times. Hold events in the Greek Theater, perhaps this week's trivia topic could be announced in the Times. Maybe the trivia host could have a column to give us challenges, which we would take on and discuss at trivia. You could set up a series to help people become better writers. It would include advice from accomplished writers and maybe outside sources. I'd also love to see follow up articles. Perhaps citizens should able to submit questions, to the editor or author, and the best ones selected and addressed in a later issue. It would be sort of like the BBS, except much more formal and intuitive. A "mail-the-author" button would also be nice. I mainly read what comes from authors already know, because articles tend to be more interesting coming from a person you can relate to. It'd be great if Times Writers could have their own special autobiography pages, either in their special box in their City Records or in the Times. Whenever they write an article people could just click on their face or a "biography" button which leads them to another page, written by the author about him/herself. It would be a great way to get to know writers and a good incentive for those who want to become official Times Writers. There could also be a link to more articles by that author (lot's of search options are broken, by the way).
iamtodd: Don't let in bad poems, and bad articles, such as badly written or poorly drawn out.
DAWMUgal: Hmm . . . that's a tough one. Maybe you could accept more articles, or you could gradually add articles over time in the newspaper one week. I find myself reading the same articles over and over and over again by the time it's Tuesday.
holiday50: I would recommend accepting better quality articles and being more consistent. Terribly written articles are becoming more common. Also, the Times often comes out late on Sundays. I live in Canada, and there is a time zone difference. Sometimes when the Whyville Times is out for Whyvillians to read, I am in bed for school.
Glitsygrl: As I've mentioned before, higher quality of articles about more current issues would be fabulous. Also, a lot of the creative writing stories in the Times are dragging out much too long for me. You're not submitting a novel to the Times, yet some stories have eight or nine parts. It's hard to keep up with.
Wicked777: To you, I'd first like to say a big thank you for accepting my writing at all! Aside from that, I think that just keeping the Times in top shape is a full time job, and trying to do more than that might just complicate things.
Kindell: Well, I think that you should have a open mind to ALL kinds of articles and idea, thoughts, etc.

Times Editor: What is your recommendation to Whyvillians, to make the Times more enjoyable?

7stars: Always read the article before the BBS. I've seen people read the BBS first and complain about the article being spoiled for them.
xo7joa7ox: Get your writing out there! Even if it doesn't get accepted, keep trying. Don't send in the same article, but look over it and figure out where you went wrong. Also, if you notice something is plagiarized or something else is wrong, you should report it. And also, please accept criticism. There's nothing more annoying than a writer who's enraged because their piece got criticized. If you're putting it in the Times, you're opening an invitation for constructive criticism. If you can't handle the criticism, stay out of the Times. A lot of it is very valuable, and can improve your writing, thus, improving the Times.
Morgan612: Try to get better as a writer, I've been doing a lot of writing exercises and stuff because I'm trying to improve as a writer, and also get Whyvillians to read it, because they can help a lot in the BBS.
Morganna: In order to make the Times more enjoyable, I recommend Whyvillian writers to not be afraid to challenge themselves by submitting more controversial and distinguishable pieces, instead of more of the same.
msof57: Submit more!
sims2girl: Don't send in anything that you don't think is your best, and write about things that Whyvillians care about. None of us want to see an article about veal, so don't write one.
bluebag: Write, write, write! If you start a series, finish it. (And yes, "A to Z" will be back ASAP) If you start sending in a novel or short story or whatever, finish it. Don't leave us hanging. Also, write about different topics. Things we as readers have NEVER heard about. Just write to your heart's content.
Lyd1212: I think that Whyvillians should have a more open mind and give people a chance. Also not to start meaningless BBS fights, comment uselessly on grammar, unless excessive (which it shouldn't be if it's in the Times). Just be respectful and mature in their comments.
andreappd: Be original on your topics, use spell check, re-read your articles before you send them in and be a perfectionist!
Gasohp: Get creative and try new types of writing. Don't send in a 30-minute article, take your time and make it good.
ferrari5x: I'd recommend people stop critiquing everyone.
DAWMUgal: Whyville, this is my message to you and it's three words: Submit. Your. Articles. Anyone can write, they just need to apply theirselves!
holiday50: Please learn the difference between 'criticism' and 'opinion'. Respect one another on the BBS. Read articles through the end. Don't skim the article and ask questions regarding it - your answer may already be answered in the article. Also, if you know that an article is not your best work, do not submit it until you are confident about what you've written.
Glitsygrl: The excuse, "I wrote this in a couple of minutes," does not work. Writing an article should not take you a couple of minutes! You're submitting something for thousands and thousands and thousands of people to read. You should take your time. If something doesn't sound right, change it. Don't be satisfied with just satisfactory. When you submit something, you should know you submitted your best work.
Wicked777: I think the Whyvillians should read the Times regularly and contribute their thoughts - either through an article or the BBS.
Kindell: Dont be harsh. In the BBS I've realized that people are ruthless, almost as if they enjoy taking someone down. Try being a little nicer and use constructive criticism.

Times Editor: What kinds of articles do you like to read the most? Why?

7stars: I like reading creative writing and hot topic articles.
xo7joa7ox: Opinion articles, controversial topics, and creative writing. I love opinions and controversy because I love arguing my point and expressing opinions, and also learning why people feel the way they do. Creative writing is great also, because there are absolutely no limitations to your writing. You get such a variety it's great to read.
Morgan612: I usually like to read the People section most, because it's personal.
Morganna: I enjoy reading any current event articles, poetry, and personal articles based on one's own experiences.
Lollyfob: Controversial articles are the most interesting.
msof57: I adore writings that have to do with people's opinions and emotions. Sometimes it's nice to discover you're not the only one who feels this way on a certain subject.
sims2girl: Mostly the ones in the People section, lately . . . but that's only because that's the place where my favorite Times Writer's articles are getting accepted to.
ocean10kv: I mostly read anything in the People or Hot Topics sections.
bluebag: Defiantly the articles of the controversial sort. Haha. But other than that, I like articles about music and movies. And column's like "Emmy's Logo Here" and "Life Lessons", stuff like that. And also, weird news type things. The only type of news I actually pay attention to is of the strange sort.
Lyd1212: I like to read real-life stories because they give you a sense of the person and perspective. They are real and show emotion.
andreappd: I love reading articles about music because it's what I'm interested in most. I also love reading the poetry, because I think poetry is so beautiful. But I basically like reading anything that's written well.
Gasohp: I love reading the Creative Writing section, People, and Hot Topics. Those have the boldest writing I think. I mostly write poems and stories and I like seeing what other people come up with.
ferrari5x: I also like articles dealing with controversial topics. No matter what they're about, it's much more interesting if you can add something yourself (most of the population may be female, but even fashion articles only interest a few), so articles that apply to everyone are easily going to be the most popular and most appealing to me. I also appreciate anything that doesn't require a source to write, but is purely from the author him/herself. I mainly read what comes from authors already know, because articles tend to be more interesting coming from a person you can relate to -- again.
iamtodd: I read stories, and poems. I love them both, it gets your emotions out in your view or in someone else's.
DAWMUgal: I love to read every single Times article. But, I have two favorites. I love to read entertainment, because I love to laugh. I also love to read Fashion, because many Whyvillians have different tastes in fashion, and it's fun to see the diversity.
holiday50: I enjoy reading articles about social issues and the world. I'm a very opinionated person and I am against cruelty. I love reading articles regarding social issues because they're informative and they make me want to change the world. Also, there are so many unique people and cultures in the world so it's interesting for me to learn about people who are different. Moreover, I enjoy learning about people so I also like reading personal articles.
Glitsygrl: Articles about people's personal experiences, whether it be with anorexia, school, substance use, conflicts. Opinioned articles are so intriguing to me.
Wicked777: I like to read articles that teach me something new, because I like to apply what I've learned to my life.
Kindell: I like deep thought articles because they open your mind and make you think about that specific subject.

Times Editor: What kinds of articles do you not like to read? Why?

7stars: I think interviews are my least favorite. Well, that's quite the coincidence considering I'm in one right now.
xo7joa7ox: Honestly, I really don't like Whyville-based articles. They bore me. I don't read comics either, after the first few series they got boring.
Morgan612: I usually just skim the Help section because it's usually not that helpful to me.
Morganna: The pieces which I dislike most in the Times are the creative stories and some of the columns; both seem to be getting repetitive, in my opinion.
Lollyfob: Fashion, celebrity, etc.
msof57: I'm not a big fan of articles with interviews in them. But it depends on the subject if it is interesting or not.
sims2girl: Anything that's not particularly well-written. It's pretty self-explanatory.
ocean10kv: I don't like to read any articles where people brag about themselves. Example, "I am the best dancer in my entire class."
bluebag: Umm . . . I think that would be fashion articles, because, like I said, I couldn't care less what's in style.
Lyd1212: I don't like to read fluff. If it is boring or useless, I can't push myself to read it all.
andreappd: I normally skip most of the articles under Help. They never really have any topics that I care to read about.
Gasohp: I don't like reading the short unimportant articles. If someone just wrote it to "be in the Times" and write a short pointless piece I don't usually like it. I read all the articles, but sometimes I stop if it doesn't have a good point.
ferrari5x: Non-fiction: biographies, reviews, creative writing, etc.
iamtodd: Bad articles.
DAWMUgal: I find myself skimming the People section. There are quite a lot of hard-core things, and I have a hard time digesting that some people are actually going through that situation.
holiday50: I dislike reading science articles. In real life, science is not my favorite subject. Science articles are tedious and confusing because they have terms that are unfamiliar to general readers. It's like reading a textbook. Also, I don't like reading stories in the Creative Writing section because they are amateurish and unoriginal.
Glitsygrl: Honestly, I am open to anything well-written. A talented author, an author who really puts their best effort into something can make the even most common topic interesting to read.
Wicked777: I dislike reading articles that are too one-sided. If an article merely throws opinions at me, without giving reason or explanation, it doesn't have any positive lasting effect.
Kindell: I read pretty much everything. I can't say that I hate something just based on what type of article it is.

Times Editor: What day of the week would you prefer the Times to be published?

7stars: I think Sunday is fine, but I'd like to see a set time it comes out on. I like to read it as soon as possible, but I don't like logging in every couple hours to see if it's updated yet.
xo7joa7ox: Mondays. Then we have the whole weekend to write.
Morgan612: Sunday.
Morganna: Sunday.
Lollyfob: Monday.
msof57: I think publishing the Times on Sunday is just fine.
sims2girl: I liked Tuesdays, but Sunday is fine . . . Getting it out early on Sunday was quite a nice surprise.
ocean10kv: Friday or Saturday.
bluebag: Personally, I like Wednesday's, because that's the only day of the week I don't have something going on after school. So the Times would be awesome for that day. But really, whenever it's convenient is alright with me.
Lyd1212: I personally prefer a weekday such as Monday or Tuesday, so we have the entire weekend to write. Many times the only chance I get to write is on Sunday, so I can't submit.
andreappd: I think Sundays are fine, but Saturdays or Mondays would be great also.
Gasohp: I think Sunday is the best day. I write a little when I have time in the week then finish them on the weekend. It gives you time to work on them and it's the weekend so you can quickly log on and read.
ferrari5x: Sunday is good.
iamtodd: Friday.
DAWMUgal: Every Day! Actually, I'd like it if it were on Wednesdays, like before. The reason why is because I have a split family, and it's week on, week off. Then, I could submit articles and I could be in the Times weekly.
holiday50: I don't prefer a specific day. Instead, I'll go with a day chosen by the Times Editor. I don't like having the Times come out on Sundays. Living in Canada means I have a different time zone. So when the Times is out very late, I can't check because I'm in bed for school. I would recommend having the Times come out on Fridays. This is because it is the end of the week so it will be looked forward to. Also, if the Times is late, more people will be able to read it.
Glitsygrl: I don't find anything wrong with the Times coming out Sundays.
Wicked777: I would prefer for the Times to be published on Wednesday, so that I have the weekend (and some extra time) to prepare my article.
Kindell: Sunday.

Times Editor: What is your recommendation for making the BBS better?

7stars: You have a "rate this post" thing, but you never see what other people say. I'd like to see that improved. I'd also like to see what people rated the article as part of their post.
xo7joa7ox: Directed at everyone in the BBS, everyone needs to 1) Be more polite 2) Be more accepting towards criticism, and c) Stop sticking up for the authors when they get criticized. Not all criticism is harsh, you know. I remember a specific instance where someone corrected a comma problem in an article, and someone else instantly said that the commas were nothing to complain about, that the criticism was rude and non-constructive. That's false. If the article is anything short of perfect, there's room for criticism.
Morgan612: There have been a lot of spammers lately, try to get that deleted quickly, and maybe ban the spammer's account from posting in the BBS, or like not be able to post for a certain amount of days.
Morganna: To improve the BBS, I think that there should be more filters and regulations in order to encourage more constructive criticism.
Lollyfob: Keep it the same.
msof57: I would like to have the old BBS back instead of the new design with the bus on it because we already have that on actual Whyville. I don't see a reason why we have the drop-down menu in the BBS.
sims2girl: Nothing that the CW's could do . . . I would just ask that people use more constructive criticism instead of brutally beating new writers down.
ocean10kv: No more spamming, and possibly a "Back" button because if you type something that Whyville thinks may be inappropriate, all your writing is gone.
bluebag: I never really go in the BBS's, so I don't really know . . .
Lyd1212: I think that we should just reevaluate the actions of people, you can't filter that. (BTW the filter is extremely annoying when posting in the BBS.)
andreappd: Less spam, and somehow get more people to post things.
Gasohp: Somehow stop the spamming on articles. Some people might think that trashing an article is bad, but I don't think that's a huge problem, it's their opinion. Oh, and make the screen smaller again.
ferrari5x: I think it's about as good as it's gonna get. Allowing us to delete or edit our posts would be worth a try.
iamtodd: No spamming!
DAWMUgal: Well, it would be nice if we had volunteer Whyvillians checking the BBS and making sure nothing rude or cruel is happening. I want Whyville to be a safe environment, and the best way to do that is to delete anything innapropriate.
holiday50: I would give responsible and veteran Times Writers the power to delete negative posts on the BBS. I would also create a timer (certain amount of time before being able to post) to reduce spam posts.
Glitsygrl: There is nothing the Editor or City Workers can do except monitor insulting or profane language. It's Whyville who needs to work on staying on topic in the BBS, and adding substantial to say in their post. "LOL I AGREE." Gets quite old after awhile. Why do you agree? List the reasons. Why are you laughing? Uh . . .
Wicked777: If the CWs just keep a close eye on what goes on in the BBS, I don't think it can be improved much from there.
Kindell: Just for people to be couteous and understanding.

Times Editor: Is there anything else you would like to say about the Times?

Morgan612: I really enjoy writing for the Times and I hope we can make it even better.
msof57: The Times has opened so many doors for me and I would like to thank you all for helping me become a better writer and person.
sims2girl: It's definitely my favorite part of Whyville.
ocean10kv: I think it's great how you can write for the Times, and it doesn't matter if you're an Oldbie or Newbie!
bluebag: It's my favorite part of Whyville.
andreappd: It's the best part of Whyville!
Gasohp: I don't talk to people about my feelings so in my poems I write it all out. Also, it has helped me improve my writing greatly.
ferrari5x: Ever thought of a new format? Something that looks more like an old-style newspaper would be cool. I vaguely recall a time when the Editor made a list of articles that were "almost good enough" but needed more work. That was a good idea, if an article really is good, or even if the topic is something worth writing about, it'd be nice if you informed us why it was not accepted and how to improve it.
DAWMUgal: I love the Times. It's my escape, and I have fallen in love with words.
holiday50: I love the Whyville Times, I've been reading it since 2004. These days, I feel like its lacking. It would be wrong of me to say that the new generations of writers don't care for the Times, because they do. I think some of them care more about themselves than they do about readers. Before someone becomes a writer, they should define what it means to be a writer. Writing isn't about fame, clams or credit. It's about teaching and reaching others, and so much more. It's easy to blame the Times Editor for what's wrong with the Time. But we should really be blaming ourselves.
Glitsygrl: I think the Times really is promising. We all need to stick together to make it better.
Wicked777: I'd just like to say that the Times really does offer a great opportunity. People get to learn about themselves, each other, and the world when they get involved with it.
Kindell: I love it.

And a few questions to get to know our interviewees.

Times Editor: What inspires you to write? Why?

7stars: Sometimes, I'm inspired by songs. Other times, I'm inspired by dreams I had.
xo7joa7ox: Well, if you've read a few of my articles you can probably tell that I pull my inspiration from everywhere. My first article was on global warming, then "Life Lessons", you can see that definitely came out of the blue. I get ideas from anything and everything. I got the idea for "Life Lessons" when I was having an online conversation about how much I like iced tea, and it just escalated from there. Just recently I was inspired by a reflection in a bus window. Anything.
Morgan612: Everything inspires me. Half of my life I'm thinking about writing. I see something or someone and I get ideas and I can't stop thinking about it until I write.
Morganna: Emotions and personal experiences generally inspire me to write. Writing is my way of expressing myself when I feel happy, sad, angry, etc.
Lollyfob: My life experiences.
msof57: Music. Or just everyday things I see. I am often driven by past experiences because I have been bullied excessively because of what I believe in. There are so many issues in this world, I don't think I'll ever be able to stop writing.
sims2girl: I'm a vampire girl: to me, the idea of blood-suckers is just so . . . fascinating. It's creepy, yet romantic at the same time.
ocean10kv: All the good criticism, and constructive criticism. It helps me become a better writer so I like to write more!
bluebag: If by inspiration you mean by what I write, it's just things that are going on in my life, or what I'm thinking or feeling at that time. If by inspiration you mean muse, then defiantly music. I could channel 8,000 emotions into one article depending on what song is playing.
Lyd1212: My experiences and observations inspire me. My life is different from anyone else's and I want to share my worldview and perspective and experiences with others.
andreappd: Definitely music. Music inspires me in every aspect of life, and a lot of times just one little line in a song will spark an idea for an entire series. Also, a few times I'll see something that I have a strong opinion on that I'd love to share with people. Things people say or do will just tick me off and I'll need to let someone know my opinion on it, so I'll write an article.
Gasohp: My favorite books inspire me to write. I just want to be able to write something as good as that so I keep trying.
ferrari5x: I'm inspired by citizens, entirely. Whatever people are talking about, I probably have an opinion about.
iamtodd: Personal experiences, emotional experiences, driven by something.
DAWMUgal: Well, if I feel really passionate about something, then I will just start writing. When I started "Doodling Around With Make-up", I was really obsessed with make-up and wanted to show my knowledge. On my previous account, I wrote an article on trees because I was mad at my town for cutting down too many trees.
holiday50: The real world and the virtual world inspire me to write. I connect these inspirations to my life and draw from past experiences, to make articles more personal.
Glitsygrl: My friends. I get most of my ideas from them. We don't sit around in a circle and discuss ideas for articles, I get my ideas from issues in their lives, what they say and how they feel. They inspire me every day. My own life inspires, me, too. I hate writing in diaries and journals. I like people to read what I have to say. So anything I have to say usually gets typed up and sent away.
Wicked777: Reading a good book inspires me to write. It makes me think, "Hey, this person was just like me at one point. They just got a good idea, ran with it, and they've really achieved something. I can do that too."
Kindell: My friends because they are the craziest bunch of people EVER.

Times Editor: Who is your favorite Times Writer? Why?

7stars: My favorite Times Writer is bluebag. The first article I ever read was "We Can Live Without It". I've admired her ever since.
xo7joa7ox: Definitely Glitsygrl (Emmy). She has such a unique style and energy and is so so talented.
Morgan612: I have a few. Glitsygrl and Babypowdr definitely, because they inspire me a lot, and their articles make me think. I also really enjoy the recent work of msof57 because she's been working really hard to improve, and she's getting a lot better, her recent articles are really good.
Morganna: I really admire HAPHBAKED for his creative style and range in poetry.
Lollyfob: Emmy (Glitsygirl). She puts thing in a great perspective and I just down right love her writing style.
msof57: Holiday50. She's such an incredible person. She's often misjudged and screamed at but I love her self confidence in the BBS. Her writing often touches my heart. I'm also going to say HAPHBAKED, because he's such an incredible poet. His words are like music, soothing and calm. I'd love to see him outside the Creative Writing section, just to see what he has to say.
sims2girl: Myself (just kidding!). Glitsygrl or xo7joa7ox. Emmy's amazing . . . I fully expect to pay good money for one of her books someday soon. And, Joa . . . what words can sum up how crazy, funny and Twilight-obsessive she is.
ocean10kv: I really like msof57's articles. They are usually very creative and well written!
bluebag: Wow. That's a toughie. I think I'd have to say Emmy, because I like the way she writes and what she writes about. She picks interesting things. And I also REALLY like Joa's "Life Lessons". Believe it or not, I've actually learned not to become addicted to iced tea from that.
Lyd1212: My favorite Times writer. Hmm, I admire Kaila's writing and appreciate Morgan's as well as John's. Ellie's is exceptional. She can't be rivaled, so I would say her. But most Times writers I respect their works. I more admire individual pieces, not the writer themselves.
andreappd: Glitsygirl. Her "Emmy's Logo Here" was always my favorite thing to read. I also really enjoy everything Bluebag writes.
Gasohp: I really love Glitsygrl's articles, if they were in the Times it was a special treat to read. She wrote about everything and she turned anything into a great article.
ferrari5x: Cobd was my favorite writer, because she put so much effort into everything she wrote and always made it interesting. It was clear that she connected with her audience while still offering up good advice to everyone.
iamtodd: Babypwdr, because Ellie is amazing!
DAWMUgal: Besides me, my favorite Times Writer would have to be Holiday50. Not only can she take constructive critisism, but she gives it as well. She's wise beyond her years, and I'm glad she is a member of Whyville.
holiday50: Glitsygrl is my favourite Times She appeals to me because she writes articles that are relatable and honest. She also has a great variety of topics, from poverty organizations to music. Glitsygrl is unpredictable, but one thing is certain: she will always put forth dedication and her best effort to produce an article she's confident with. By reading her article, you can tell she doesn't write for fame or recognition. She writes because she has something to say and with that attitude, she always has an audience who'll listen.
Glitsygrl: My favorite Times Writer is Kindell. She is one of my great friends, but that is not the reason I have picked her. I always feel breathless after reading one of her articles. She's extremely honest and unique. Every piece of her writing is different, and every one amazes me. There are so many fantastic Times Writers, although, it was so hard to choose.
Wicked777: My favorite Times Writer is Holiday50, because she writes about a variety of topics, explains things very clearly, and really knows what she is talking about when she writes an article.
Kindell: Well, I love Ellie's writing because she's so creative and straight forward about her opinions. I also love Emmy's writing because it's really good and flows really well. It flows almost like a poem in some ways.

Times Editor: What kinds of articles do you like to write the most? Why?

7stars: I like creative writing the best. It has always been a way I express myself, and it's what I'm best at.
xo7joa7ox: Uh, humor of course! Haha. Creative writing, experiences, or just writing down my thoughts. Very rarely I do non-fiction. It's not my strong point.
Morgan612: Personal stories, because I know I can help and inspire people through them.
Morganna: I enjoy writing poetry the most, because it never gets boring and it seems to come easiest for me. However, I also enjoy writing political articles or pieces based on world issues.
Lollyfob: Personal ones.
msof57: Oh, Creative Writing definitely! But I also enjoy writing about my emotions. My feelings are a big part of my writing and I find it easier to show my creativity in those two sections because you're not limited to a certain extent of what to write.
sims2girl: Creative Writing. I like to breathe life into characters, watch as my own little personal world unfolds around them. Plus, I hate having to stick to facts.
ocean10kv: I really enjoy writing Help articles, because I usually get y-mails from people telling me how they really liked it and it's helped them a lot.
bluebag: Hmm. Most defiantly Media or People articles. Media . . . music, movies, football . . . all of which are things I love. People . . . yeah I love people, too. The other sections are wonderful, but I typically only write Media and People stuff.
Lyd1212: Hmm, I shall admit my forte is abuse, it is a large part of my life and flawed and altered my personality permanently. It is such a big topic, I feel overcome by emotion and I cope by writing. Only some I submit to the Times, people are like you've written this before, but they can't see what I go through.
andreappd: I really enjoy the series I have going right now about music. But I basically love writing about anything that I really love or feel strong about.
Gasohp: Poems and stories I usually write the most, but I am currently working on some deep articles.
ferrari5x: I write articles about controversial or popular topics, always relating to the people I know on whyville.
iamtodd: I like to write about personal experiences the most.
DAWMUgal: I love writing poetry. I love it because you don't have to commit yourself to a series or anything, and you can keep it short and sweet. But those words can be so deep, and I really like to articulate my thoughts into poetry.
holiday50: I like writing stories that have morals behind them. I enjoy making readers think about their lives and question themselves. I also like writing Help articles. As a person of experience, I feel I can teach valuable things to people who are unaware.
Glitsygrl: I like to write Deep Thoughts articles. I'd feel ridiculous if I talked about some of that stuff out loud, but submitting those types of articles to the Times makes me feel relieved. Weightless. Being able to get those feelings off of my chest and into other's minds is amazing.
Wicked777: I like to write articles about things I am passionate about, because I've found that my writing comes out much better when I believe in what I say.
Kindell: Pretty much anything if I get the itch to write something, I do it.

I hope you have enjoyed reading these opinions. Unfortunately, I could not interview every citizen (now that would be an undertaking). So, please voice your opinions in the BBS. Or, you can email me at times@whyville.net. If I did not interview you, please do not be hurt or think I do not want to hear what you have to say. I just simply could not interview everyone (the article is pretty long as it is). I love hearing your opinions, even if they are negative (those help as well). This newspaper is yours, so let's make it the best it can be.

Also, as you can see, there are a lot of differing opinions here in Whyville! That's great because it shows everyone's individuality and spirit. You all have a voice, and it is refreshing to see you think for yourselves. My job is a lot of fun, but very challenging, because it is really hard to meet everyone's desires and expectations. I do my best to make everyone happy, but it is helpful when the readers can compromise with each other. You may not like one thing, but another person may love it, so let's work together to find something you all can enjoy.

Thank you to everyone who helped with this article. I appreciate your honesty and as always your dedication to the Times. We do have an advertising strategy in the works, and it will hopefully be up and running by the end of the year. Also, it has been a goal of mine to have the Times redesigned since I started this position, and it is definitely in the mix. We are always working to improve Whyville and appreciate your patience as we make it happen.

With that said, all of these answers will be extremely helpful to continue working to bring you a fun, entertaining, and intriguing Whyville Times.

Times Editor


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