To move or close, that's the question

3 years ago | Chris Poirier (Moderator)

Hi everyone,

As some of you know, WFG is a modified WordPress site. Back in June, my web host ( forced an upgrade to WordPress 5 from WordPress 4, which broke a number of things about the site. This is not the first time such forced upgrades have broken things, but this time it has broken some of the admin tools.

I am now faced with a decision: to move the site to AWS (with hopes of returning to WordPress 4), to make the site read-only, or to close it outright. Sadly, I don't have the time to continue sinking hours into debugging new incompatibilities every time WordPress changes its code, nor into rewriting it to run without WordPress.

So, does WFG still have a use? Do any of you rely on it? If so, for what?


Read responses...

Page: 124


  1. Houston Hare (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    So I may be getting ahead of myself a little bit here, but I'm a web developer writing a web serial of my own that is posted on a website that I built and maintain. I just recently was approved on here and could see some of the issues even as a new user. I was already thinking that it wouldn't be too hard to recreate the functionality of this site from scratch and also add a lot of features to make approval and such a lot simpler and quicker.

    If I did do it, I would write it in Flask (a Python framework), and I would make it open source. It would be on Github so others could contribute to it as well. I'd also add tabs to filter web fiction lists by their hosting site like mentioned in another recent thread about RoyalRoad and Wattpad being allowed on WFG. The forum might take a little longer to get set up, but I'm pretty confident I can replicate all of the things this site currently does, and I think I'd be able to improve a lot of the site's usability along the way.

    This site seems to get a decent amount of traffic, and I think web fiction needs an unbiased hub like this in order to grow the community. We have plenty of sites that host fiction, but this is the go-to site for listing fiction posted all over the web. It would be a shame to see WFG die away entirely.

    I don't want to hijack your thread or anything, I just thought I'd throw this idea out there to see if it seems like a good option. Thanks for all the work you've done on it so far!

    Sprig: A fantasy web serial
  2. theredsheep (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    I'm a grossly incompetent coder in every language so I can't offer to help, but I'd say there's plenty of "market" for this beast. It's just hard to support in its current format. If nothing else, without WFG the TWF rankings (which definitely see use) would eventually ossify into "what stories from a decade ago are currently most popular?" I'd be cool with taking it down and rejiggering things a bit if it meant a clean and improved site after a month of work by actually skilled volunteers. It'd be a crying shame to sacrifice all this.

  3. Sharkerbob (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    If the site is too busted to function properly, and fighting with upgrades is just going to lead to future breaks, than I think realistically the smartest thing to do would be to scrap it and rebuild, or kill it and let someone else build the replacement if that isn't viable.

    Personally, I don't really rely on this site, and the forums have been pretty close to dead for a while. There are alternative outlets to advertise web fiction. It would be tragic to see WFG go belly up, but it's not like this is the only lifeline.

    It would be great if an alternative site or new WFG headquarters could be made, however, I don't think it would be the death knell of any given serial if it went away. If Houston, or someone else, can make a proper alternative, that would be great.

  4. Rhodeworks (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    WFG is maybe the only place on the Internet for online fiction that isn't buried under the big web fiction trends like LitRPG, xianxia, and/or whatever flavor of isekai is hot this month. If it dies, it'll be the final nail in the coffin for anything but trend-chasing for Patreon dollars. At the same time, shuffling forward in a state of half-death isn't exactly conducive to much good either. I wouldn't want WFG to close, but I also can't say I'm fond of it just kind of... staggering along refusing to die at this point. I like Houston's suggestion of something new.

  5. theredsheep (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Something new, reached via the WFG and TWF addresses. Please do not set years of name recognition on fire, whatever you do.

  6. Sharkerbob (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Yeah, if it would be feasible to transfer the WFG name to a new hosting site, that would be a boon.

  7. ElliottThomasStaude (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Putting aside the more useful and pragmatic concerns of “how” and “what,” I for an I have found this community to be a weird, wonderful, positive place to find and connect with new people and new stories. Even if mutation should be necessary, I desperately hope there will still be a Web Fiction Guide in the future.

    If you've a head for holistic science fantasy, the Library may oblige:
    If you've a dislike for lengthy names, I'm so sorry.
  8. LadyAnder (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Yes, it still have a use. There are still a lot of writers who would benefit from this place. If anything, this place helps those of us who don't write the favored genres in web-fiction. If not for finding readers but connecting to other writers.

    In all honestly, trying to keep fixing this place to limp along isn't going to work forever. Really, it's probably time for an upgrade. I would rather see this place rebuild than for it to go to read only or close down.

    A cross-genre slice=of-life, some adventure fluff fantasy stories about elves-->
  9. Dary (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    A modern, integrated, Social Media-savvy WFG would not only go a long way towards broadening the audience of webfiction, it would also, I believe, broaden the scope of webfiction itself.

    Actually achieving such an evolution would require a concentrated community effort, however, and possibly even some form of crowdfunding to cover areas where volunteers are lacking. It's certainly not something one person could - or should - shoulder.

  10. Thedude3445 (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    I think that Web Fiction Guide has been in dire need of upgrading for a long time, to something more accessible for readers, not just writers, because I believe that the web fiction community's largest growth comes from giving readers easier access to the stories, but that this site has been very clunky in regards to that (just because it's old). Surely this can be crowdfunded; I don't know exactly how many writers actively utilize the website, but I'm sure that there are hundreds of active stories that benefit highly from WFG listings, and thousands more that still benefit from it, not to mention the countless people who use Top Web Fiction to find new stories and would highly enjoy having it around. Crowdfunding seems like a no-brainer to me with how successful the TVTropes one was a few years back, though there may be hidden factors I don't know about.

    However, if crowdfunding isn't an option, and upgrading the site isn't an option, then... I don't really see the point in keeping it alive but watching the community shrivel up into zero. There have only been like 8 reviews on the entire site since July and the forum has been dead for years. Archiving the data and turning it into some wiki or another seems like a throwaway way to do it, but if the site can't be upgraded, that's probably the only option worth considering.

    Sorry boss, but there's only two men I trust. One of them's me. The other's not you.
  11. theredsheep (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    An idea I floated on the extremely unofficial WF Discord: start a subreddit, redirect traffic there, and link that to TWF somehow. It's the lazy lifehack solution!

  12. A. B. Boekelheide (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    As someone who only recently began my serial and who hasn't yet been approved on the site, I would be very upset to see it close down. I've put a lot of work into my story, and so far, this site seems to be the best way to reach a reader-base that isn't primarily interested in "trendier" things. While outright shutting down the site or changing it to read-only might not hurt established serials, I think it would really hurt those of us who are just starting out.

    On the other hand, the site clearly has a lot of issues. If upgrading it isn't an option... I don't know what the easy answer would be.

    (I barely slept last night, so I apologize if this post is incoherent at all.)

  13. theredsheep (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Revised suggestion: create r/topwebfiction. New entries for the queue are posted to it by authors. Moderators index the posts as entries on topwebfiction--meaning that, when you click the info button next to The Wandering Inn on topwebfiction, it takes you to its original submission post on r/twf. Anything but index submissions as top-level posts on the reddit would be deleted by moderation. Reviews are posted as comments. Possibly a secondary subreddit would be needed for update announcements and ongoing discussion of the stories in progress.

    This is an extremely hacky solution, but uses in-place architecture that requires no maintenance and minimal pay (just to maintain topwebfiction's domain), and will avoid the annoyance, disruption, and debugging involved in a custom coding effort. The big disadvantage would be a period of anarchy as we transition from the old site to the subreddit, but once the dust settled we'd have a perfectly functional system that will last until Reddit goes bust.

  14. Snuggle Squiggle (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Regardless of what happens, do you have a backup of the WFG databases?

    There are number of obscure serials listed here and perhaps nowhere else. We have them all in one place right now (as hard as they can be to exhume), and it would be unfortunate if the database was lost with WFG.

    I write Endless Stars! It's a serial about dragons and friendship.

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