Let Wattpad Shine Again

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Hi you all,
this is the petition that you can find on https://www.wattpad.com/user/LetWPShineAgain There you can also find the translations in Deutsch / English / Italiano / Polskie / Español / Français / Türkçe / العربية / 日本語

Dear staff of Wattpad!

With the constant bugs and changes on our beloved writing platform Wattpad, communicating with each other doesn't feel like it once did. Well-known accounts are promoted while the others are in danger of drowning in the massive flood of all other stories, popular features are disestablished and dissatisfaction is on the rise. We want to change that!
We are well aware of the fact that maintaining and optimising Wattpad is not an easy task. In order to agree on what we all want, we - a small team of Wattpad users - got together and made suggestions that can help to improve Wattpad. These suggestions were published so that we had the opportunity to discuss them with other users, gather more suggestions and agree on the most important wishes.

Below are the most popular suggestions for enhancing some of the features on Wattpad, which we hope will result in corresponding adjustments to the website itself.

The optimisation of the cover page

In order to discover stories that suit one's own taste, we would like to see more precise filters that can be set according to the preferences of individual users. These include the selection of certain genres and languages, the blocking of more than eight tags, the differentiation between completed, ongoing and regularly updated books, as well as the possible setting of a maximum and minimum number of reads in order to limit the popularity of the suggested books and also to offer lesser-known books the chance to be discovered.
However, it should be possible to change the set filters afterwards, so that the adaptability of the cover page can also be guaranteed in the course of time.

The random principle

A completely new function is the random principle, which could be added to the search bar. Our idea of that principle is a button in the shape of a dice, that ensures that a random book can be selected and read. The button can be pressed without restriction and calls up stories, irrespective of their degree of popularity. It would be ideal if the selection of these random stories was also based on the settings of the cover page.

The random principle would not only benefit the readers, who would have a new opportunity to discover the diversity of Wattpad, but the books of authors would also have an increased probability of being read.

The search optimisations

Searching for new books often seems difficult when the best-known ones are at the top. Of course they have earned their place at the top, but new books can also be worth reading.
For this reason, we suggest some improvements. Filters that list the newest and oldest updated books of a genre in order as well as a maximum number of reads that can be individually adjusted to match the desired level of awareness of a story and can ensure that unknown works are also given a fair chance, seem to be good optimisations for the standards that the search process already has to offer.
In addition, it would be desirable to be able to search for stories in different languages without having to change the language setting of the profile.

Sorting the library

The diversity of Wattpad is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you are immersed in different worlds and multi-layered characters, but on the other hand, it is difficult to find your way among the popular books. And when everything piles up, only one place remains: the library. But relocating the chaos still doesn't eliminate it. A sorted library with individually chosen categories would provide the necessary order. At best, this could even be done in a matching design in the form of a bookshelf, which could also inspire the young users among us. Alternatively, we would also welcome a function that allows reading lists to be set to "private".

The group chats

One wish that is supported by countless Wattpad users is that of group chats. The possibility of exchanging ideas in a whole group of Wattpaders is desirable, if not indispensable, for many - especially for Wattpad users who are mainly active in RPGs. At the moment, however, they have to turn to other providers such as WhatsApp, while other writing platforms offer this option to their authors and readers on their site directly. We would like to see the same for Wattpad! Group chats would be a great enrichment and would further facilitate the exchange among each other.

Advertising

It probably goes without saying that we should not underestimate the importance of advertising, after all it continues to provide free use of Wattpad. But some improving measures could still be taken.
For one thing, it would be a fundamental concern to reduce advertising between chapters and to do away with it altogether in our own books. In order to strike the right balance, advertising could be relocated. For example, it would be very helpful to include more advertisement on the cover page instead of between the chapters. Furthermore, it would be desirable to show smaller advertising banners or images between the chapters or at the beginning and end of the chapters instead of the advertising videos. This would disrupt the reading flow less. After all, the many advertising videos nowadays take the fun out of reading for many Wattpad users.

Furthermore, we also demand the display of age-appropriate advertising. Especially with regard to the protection of minors this is of utmost importance.

The protection of minors

To go into more detail about the protection of minors, we have also looked at adult content. We came to the conclusion that the simple classification as adult content is easy to overlook and therefore recommend a clear warning before opening a corresponding book. This warning could be in the form of a pop-up window. It should be made clear that the book in question contains adult content and a choice between two buttons should be given, with the option to cancel the book or continue reading. In this way, it can be assumed that a continuation of the reading process is due to the free will of the user and without having overlooked the previous warning.

The trigger warning

It is easy for the content of a book to trigger a reading user, which can lead to severe psychological distress. Although it is possible that an associated trigger warning is already mentioned in the blurb, it is easy to overlook there and often it is not present at all. To counteract this, we recommend another field in the display of a book that refers to trigger warnings. Here, the author can choose predefined categories that all apply to the book. There should also be an additional text field describing how these triggers occur in the book to help readers assess the warning. This additional information could, for example, be designed as a pop-up box, as it could contain spoilers about the story. In this way, readers who are concerned about the triggers can find out more about them in advance. Providing these trigger warnings makes sure that all readers can decide for themselves how high they consider the risks associated with the triggers and either read the story with confidence or choose another book if necessary.

The spell checker

Wattpad is a platform that specialises primarily in writing books. However, among the authors there are not only spelling professionals, often those who struggle with a spelling disability or similar also dream of publishing their stories. In order to make writing easier for all of them, we would like to have the possibility to carry out a spell check via a button, which shows errors in spelling as well as upper and lower case letters, so that they can be corrected as quickly as possible. This optimisation would also benefit the readers, as an error-free text automatically ensures better reading flow.

Likewise, an extended range of fonts would be welcome, so that there is no need to resort to other websites for this.

Sorting the notifications

Another way to improve clarity is to sort the notifications. Our idea is to devide the notifications into the following areas: Votes, Comments, Announcements, New Followers and Library Book Updates.

Furthermore, a search function for keywords and user names, as well as the possibility to filter notifications of a certain time period, would be very appealing and helpful. This includes, for example, the selection of notifications from the last hour, the last day or even the last week. Equally appropriate would be the extension of the limit of saved messages. This would support especially active accounts that receive many messages and can hardly keep up with replying.

The reviews

Whether writing is a hobby or your own profession, feedback on it is far too scarce on Wattpad. It not only serves authors by increasing motivation, but can also contain important criticism that provides suggestions for improvement. That's why it should be possible to write reviews for other authors' books, which can then be displayed as a supplement to the description of the book. This could be done, for example, via a pop-up window that opens after reading, as soon as you have finished a story and that asks whether you would like to submit a review. Alternatively, there could be a button for reviews in the book description area. With many positive reviews of a book, new readers could be attracted and take a look despite the suboptimal cover. The number of reviews could, for example, appear as another icon next to the reads and votes.

The return of the newsfeed

The newsfeed was withdrawn on the grounds that user privacy needed to be protected. And yet it has provided interactivity. Interactivity that has significantly increased the sense of belonging, support and thus familiarity with each other. With the abolition of the newsfeed, we have been deprived of the increased opportunity to come across new and varied works. We demand the return of the function that once welded us together!
With our new idea of designing a button where you can decide yourself whether your activities are shown to others or not, you get full freedom of choice over visibility, which caused discomfort some time ago. So, in order to adapt our request to the concerns of some users, we have come up with an optimal solution that can satisfy everyone.

The follower limit

In contrast to unknown authors, well-known authors have the opportunity to follow more than 1000 accounts. This kind of preferential treatment leads to a widening gap between known and unknown authors. For this reason, we are in favour of abolishing this limit altogether in the spirit of equality or making it equally valid for everyone. The number of profiles one can follow should either be limited for everyone or for no one.

The extended limits

Currently there ist a chapter limit of up to 200 chapters per book. Now you might think that this is enough for a "usual" book, but there is a broad mass that is neglected. And it is not only authors with long novels who are affected; in the meantime, art books, cover books and community projects have also formed, which are sometimes difficult to separate into different books. Raising the chapter limit to 250 chapters per book would therefore be a great relief.
The same applies to the extension of the voting limit. According to the users' opinions, this limit should be raised significantly and at least be the same number as the chapter limit, so that votes can be cast for a complete book. Otherwise, those who write books with more than 100 chapters often lose many votes because of this limit.

The emojis

Unlike in book comments, the majority of emojis in private messages and announcements are rejected. So is the deletion of private messages. The restriction of emojis makes it difficult for many users to understand or express each other's emotional state, and thus hampers mutual exchange. A generous expansion of the usable emojis would therefore be of great advantage.

The Reads

In order not to be able to change the number of reads deliberately, it would be desirable not to allow the counting of clicks by authors in their own books. This is a wish of many authors who do not want to negatively influence the ratio of reads to votes through their own reads and who want to keep an overview of how much their own stories are actually read.

The online/offline function

The range of books that can be read within Wattpad has changed a lot. Not only novels can be found there, but also other books. The popularity of RPGs is steadily increasing and therefore appeals to a large number of the users. But isn't it tedious to wait for an answer from the other person if in the end none comes? And we are not only referring to RPGs, but also to comments, feedback on announcements and private messages. When we asked ourselves this question, we came to the conclusion that the formerly abolished online/offline function, where you could see a user's presence on the app, could provide a remedy. While the main criticism at the time was the obstruction of privacy, an added field in the profile settings that allows the user to turn this feature on and off at will could satisfy even the most critical users.

The advanced statistics

Up to now, it has been possible to get a good overview of one's own book with the help of the statistics. In order to expand the functions of the statistics, we suggest to create another overview in which the author can see which user has voted for the book and also in which reading lists a book is stored. This can not only satisfy the curiosity of the authors, but also contribute to networking among the users and help the authors to maintain an overview.

Rankings

Since the introduction of Paid Stories, there has been much criticism, often unjustified. However, we are concerned to see that Paid Stories are being favoured in the rankings. In many rankings, Paid Stories occupy the first places for the sole reason that they are Paid Stories (see e.g. the rankings for Newadult, Passion, Drama, Love). Again, we would like to see equal rights for all stories on Wattpad. Preferential treatment of paid stories is not fair to the stories that actually deserve these places.

The Wattpad Rules

Books that do not comply with the Wattpad guidelines can be reported by other Wattpad users and then be deleted from Wattpad. However, many Wattpad users are not even aware that these rules exist. In order to provide the necessary clarification, we advocate that the book "Wattpad Rules" is automatically available in the account's library when registering a new account. This ensures that every author is informed about the rules.

The different devices

Even if Wattpad's features are all up to date, they are still not available on all devices. Computers and laptops have a much more complex usage surface than mobile phones and tablets. To allow all users to participate equally, it would make sense to extend this usage surface to all devices with access to Wattpad. Statistics, story notes and dedications are functions that are not offered on every device. The fact that iOS users are at a disadvantage because they cannot paste copied texts into the comments or sort their own books, such as series, as they wish on the profile - which Android users are able to do - are things that also cause displeasure.
It would be a great pity if these and future functions remained unused or would be completely hidden from some of the users. Not only because of the satisfaction of the users, but also because of the people who made all this possible in the first place, who invested time to develop these functions: Because of the team at Wattpad.

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We appeal to you to implement the above demands as soon as possible. Although we are already very grateful to the Wattpad platform, it is in our best interest to strengthen and improve the community of writing and reading enthusiasts with one another. These suggestions serve not only us, but also everyone else out there who is eagerly awaiting Wattpad's progress. Because progress is what makes us who we are. We learn from our mistakes, we change and embark on the path of improvement, so that profit will make our lives easier. This is exactly what we are hoping for. We wish that these proposals will be accepted and hope for positive changes soon.