Frequently Asked Questions


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  • General questions
  • General questions

     What if I don't want people to see my activity?
    There is a checkbox in your settings that you can check if you do not want other people to see what you've been up to.

    The option is available in your Account Settings tab and is called Hide Activity information.

    By ticking this option other members won't see any information about your activities on Critique Circle.

    The activity information displays an activity level, a list of your stories and critiques, approximately the last time you visited the site and some other information (You can hover over the username of other people to see some of this information)

    Note that you might see this information yourself for your account but rest assured, other people will not.

     Someone I know has vanished from the members list. Why?
    Only participating members are listed. If a new member does not participate within a week, he or she vanishes from the member's list.

    As you can see on the About... page the number of "Active members" is only a small percentage of registered members. You only see the active members on the members list.

     What is the Hook Queue?
    The Hook queue runs once a month during the first weekend of the month from Friday 07:00 GMT through to Monday 07:00 GMT and accepts stories for the next Hook weekend during the rest of the month.

    This queue is unique in that, here, the critter is playing the role of an unpaid slush editor - searching for that special perfect snowflake of a manuscript amongst a pile of hopefuls.

    Anyone can post into this queue, but you must have extremely thick skin. The queue is meant to give you an indication of how good your hook is and where editors might stop reading and, more importantly, why.

    Submission guidelines
    * You should submit the start of your story and it should be less than 1000 words long.
    * Only one submission per person is accepted at a time. You can submit your next piece into the next hook crit cycle once the current one completes.
    * Submitting a story costs 3 credits but those 3 credits are refunded if you crit 10 other pieces in this queue in the same period.
    * Story submission is completely anonymous. No one knows who posted what story.
    * Story submission into this queue should not affect your statistics.
    * You are welcome to fill out author's notes.

    Critique guidelines
    * There is a special "Hook" crit mode for stories. You click on the paragraph where you stopped reading and fill out the form telling the author a little bit about why you quit where you did.
    * Remember, this isn't a full crit; a paragraph or two is usually enough.
    * If you read to the end there is a special link for that for you to click on as well.
    * The time which it took you to read the story until you click that paragraph is saved with the crit, giving the author an indication of how much time people spent on the story.
    * You gain no credits for critting stories in The Hook but if you have a story up as well you can get those credits refunded.
    * Crits in this queue should not affect your CC statistics.

    Remember, story submissions and crit submissions are entirely anonymous. Your critters will not know that you submitted the story and you will not be able to see who said what (if you can, please tell the admins!). You are welcome to post story beginnings that you have already posted on CC but keep in mind that this will let certain people recognize you (which is fine if you're okay with it).

    If you submit a story into this queue you should crit as many of the other stories as you can. Expect to spend only a couple of minutes on each one. When you're done with one crit the system will give you the option to jump directly to the next one. If you finish 10 of these you'll get the credits you spent on your own submission refunded.

    You should only post into this queue if you have very thick skin!

    However, crits can't be rude and just plain mean. Keep it constructive! Critters, you are not here to vent but to provide helpful guidance to the authors.

    To find the queue click here.

     What is the thick skin club?
    The thick skin club is an unofficial club here on CC that some members came up with. You just put in your profile or in your author's notes "Member of the thick skin club" and you can count on your critters being ruthless. There's nothing more to it.

    Keep in mind however that just because someone has this tag in their profile it doesn't mean you can be unduly harsh in your crits.

     What happens if I mark a story as a favorite
    It means that other people can see on your member page which stories you particularly liked . When viewing a story, other people will also be able to see if it's someone's favorite.

     What is a Free Pass?
    Free Passes are rewards for prolific and good critiquers. A Free Pass allows you to submit a story and have it critiqued in the next crit-period of your chosen Queue, no matter how long the Queue is.

    There are two ways to get a Free Pass:

    1. After each crit-period has passed, the admins examine it and reward the critiquer that has critted the most (minimum approx 2000 words) and has received a good grade for those crits. So it's both quality and quantity. The receiver of the Free-Pass of the week is announced on a special thread and receives 'Star Critiquer' status for one month (see also What is a Star Critiquer?).

    With this type of Free Pass, you will have to pay for the submission as normal when sending in the story but you will be offered the option of using your Pass to bump the story to the top of the "upcoming" section for the Queue. If you choose to use your Pass, the credits are then returned to you. You can use the Free Pass whenever you want and it never expires. You can have multiple free passes at once.

    2. Premium Members may purchase a Free Pass at a cost of 15 credits when they submit a story to bump the story to the top of the "upcoming" section of their chosen Queue. This is an additional cost so that a story that would normally cost 3 credits to submit would cost a total of 18 credits if they wish to purchase a pass to ensure that it will be reviewed in the next crit period. If they have enough credits and they wish to purchase a Free Pass when they submit a story, they just click on the appropriate check box when they reach the 'Options' stage of the submission process.

     How do I create a dedicated reader system?
    Critique Circle has in place a unique, extremely elaborate system for managing dedicated readers.

    Premium subscribers can use the personalized queue to create a dedicated reader system. Simply go to Story Queue — My Queues and create a one-to-many queue. Then invite your dedicated readers to your queue.

    You can decide if the Queue is connected to the Critique Circle's credit system where you have to pay for each submission and the critiquer gets paid for reviewing your work, or if no credits change hands when you submit your work and it is reviewed.

    Premium subscribers are able to create any number of dedicated reader Queues and invite any registered member into them. The invitees do not have to have a Premium Subscription.

    The only restrictions that apply are that you can only have three Queues active at any one time and each Queue cannot have more than eight invitees.

     How many queues can I have as a premium member?
    You can have up to three active queues.

     What is padding?
    Padding is when the critter adds extended unrelated commentary, nonsensical words/phrases, cut and pasted material from other sources that has no bearing on the story or pontificates excessive flattery with the sole purpose of 'adding' to word count in order to gain credits.

    A short greeting or explanation of a critting style is not padding. However, a standard, 'cut and paste' extended greeting or breakdown of critique style in the opening notes will be consider padding if it does not accompany standard helpful feedback that is of an expected critique length.

    Padding is not allowed at CC, and critiques will be rejected (and credits removed) in all cases.

     What is a Star Critiquer?
    A Star Critiquer is someone who makes an outstanding contribution to CC through their critiquing activity. You will see them marked in their member page and in the Story Queue with a star:

    There are two ways to achieve Star Critiquer status.

    1. Anyone awarded a 'Free Pass of the week' receives a star for a period of one month after the award of the pass. See What is a Free Pass? for more details.

    2. A member can achieve Star Critiquer status if the quality of their critiques maintains an average grade of Perfect for his last few dozen critiques. When a critique is graded tipping the user's grade over the "near perfect" line the user is marked as a Star Critiquer for one month. If the user doesn't critique in the next month (more to the point, if his crits aren't graded in a month), the status is removed. This is done so that people can't have the Star Critiquer designation forever without continuing to contribute. However, if the user continues to critique and to maintain the quality of those critiques, he will continue to be a Star Critiquer.
    You cannot see yourself if your average grade is high enough to warrant a Star Critter designation, but if you give good high quality crits and have an average rating of "Perfect" you could be eligible.
    Note: You have to have submitted at least 50 graded critiques in order to qualify for a Star based on grade.

    There are very few people with this status at any given time.

    You do not have to be a premium member in order to get a star critter status. Simply give the best critiques you can

    —Many thanks to Angelnorth for contributing this FAQ entry—

     What are the different statuses of stories?
    A story goes through several phases on its way through CC. We have a queue system so your story will go to the back of the queue when you submit it and it will eventually go into review.

    When you first submit your story it will be put into the upcoming section of the queue. You will be told on the submit story receipt page when it is scheduled to come up for review. Typically this will be 2 weeks or so (for the newbie queue it is different; your story always goes up for review the next Wednesday)

    During the time that the story is in the upcoming section (sometimes referred to as being "in the queue") normal members cannot revise their stories. Premium and premium gold members can, however, change their their story as much as they want.

    Finally the story moves from the upcoming section and goes up for review. You will receive an email when that happens and it will also be highlighted in the notification center at the top of the page as well as in your Reminders box on the front page.

    Your story will be up for review for a period of seven days, Wednesday to Wednesday.

    During this time regular and premium members cannot touch their stories. Premium Gold members are able to revise their stories during this period with a few restrictions (they cannot change the story layout but fix individual paragraphs).

    When the review period ends your story will be moved over to Older submissions. At this point you will be able to revise the story. Other members can now also read all crits on the story. You should not expect any more crits on your story after it has been put into older submissions.

    When your story becomes really old CC might archive it which will not make it behave any differently than other stories in the older submissions category and you can always bring it back from the archive.

    If a story has inappropriate content or there is some other problem with it the administrators can reject it. It will still show up in your story list but your credits have been refunded and no one else will be able to see the story.

    Once your story has reached Older submissions you can delete the story. This will remove all the story text but the story 'container' will still be on CC with the crits you have received attached to it. No one but the author can look up a deleted story.

     Why is the sky blue?
    The blue color of the sky is due to Rayleigh scattering. As light moves through the atmosphere, most of the longer wavelengths pass straight through. Little of the red, orange and yellow light is affected by the air.

    However, much of the shorter wavelength light is absorbed by the gas molecules. The absorbed blue light is then radiated in different directions. It gets scattered all around the sky. Whichever direction you look, some of this scattered blue light reaches you. Since you see the blue light from everywhere overhead, the sky looks blue.

    As you look closer to the horizon, the sky appears much paler in color. To reach you, the scattered blue light must pass through more air. Some of it gets scattered away again in other directions. Less blue light reaches your eyes. The color of the sky near the horizon appears paler or white.


     Does 'Hide My Activity' make it so no one can read my crit?
    No, it doesn't.
    It's not possible to hide critiques but we point out the possibillity of making your critiques anonymous except to the author of the story. He/she will always have to know who wrote each critique.

     Why did my private messages disappear?
    Private messanges in your message box will only remain there for 30 days. There is also a 30 message limit, counting inbox and outbox. When your box is full, the oldest messages will be deleted.

    We do this to keep the database fast and manageable.

    You should store your messages elsewhere, for example by sending them to your own email regularly. The best way is to go to All messages, select all messages and press "Send messages". You'll receive a single email with all the selected messages.

    When you've made sure you have received all your messages in your email, you can delete all the messages in your on-site mailbox, leaving plenty of room for new messages.

    Premium Members have a limit of 200 messages and no expiration. Premium Gold members have an unlimited message box.

     What if someone plagiarizes my story?
    The risk of plagiarism is minimal since plagarists rarely get away with such theft.

    If you are concerned, these are several steps you can take to minimize the risk of someone stealing your material:

    1) Allow only those who critique to view your story. This is an option you can tick when you send in your story and will lessen the number of people who read your story. However, you may receive fewer crits since new members won't be able to look at your material.

    2) Hide your story once the critique period is over — that way nobody else will be able to look at it. View your story under "My Page" and click "hide story". Again, this means people won't be able to critique your story after the one week period has passed, and you may therefore receive fewer crits.

    3) Delete your story.

    IP numbers are registered, as is who reads which story, and in case of actual cases of plagiarism this information may be used in an attempt to track down the culprit.




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