If you've been here before August 2020 and you were an active writer or even just a reader, there's a chance you might have visited the forums, maybe on occasion, maybe regularly, or maybe never and you've only heard of it, or maybe you haven't heard of it.
Enough maybes. For those of you unaware, Wattpad used to have a forums site featuring multiple sections, everything from story help, graphic and trailer requests, finding writing partners, wattpad news and announcements, and even a cafe section where you could just chat, play forum games, etc. It was basically the hub of Wattpad, it was where everything went down, you could directly talk to Wattpad HQ members or ambassadors and everyone else.
But suddenly it closed, wattpad posted this explanation:
We launched the Community Forums with the goal of creating a space for writers and readers to connect and share questions and learnings with each other. While this has been a useful space for many, we cannot ignore that many members of our community don't always feel safe or welcomed in the Forums. We've spent a lot of time talking and listening to our community to better understand your experiences in the Forums. From what many of you have told us, the Forums are not working for you, and more importantly, not creating the type of space we want for you. We acknowledge that our team has not provided the moderation needed to properly support the Forums. As a result we will be closing the Community Forums on August 12, 2020.
Connection is a core value of Wattpad. By closing the Community Forums in its current form, we'll be able to re-evaluate the Forums' role in how connection comes to life in our product. This will also create an opportunity to update our moderation practices and policies, ensuring they are consistently enforced and more in line with our commitment to diversity and inclusion for everyone in our community and in our office. We may relaunch the Community Forums at a later date, but it's also possible we'll develop a better way for Wattpadders to connect with each other.
As you can probably tell, its very vague and a lot of people weren't satisfied with it, it doesn't exactly answer what happened in the first place, but of course it's not going to.
No company is going to say in an official statement, "yeah our mods failed to do their jobs and remove hate speech, instead they deleted the people speaking against it and protected the ones saying it."
Yes, the forums were removed because of a massive fight and lack of proper moderation. From what I've been told as I wasn't active on the forums when it happened, people were saying things that were blatantly homophobic, racist, transphobic, etc. And as you'd expect, people gave these people shit for saying that stuff yet the ambassadors policed them for bullshit instead. (They'll take me down for not blurring out a pedophile's username but not people saying slurs, splended.)
It became a big dumpster fire, and wattpad quickly handled it by not deleting the perpetrators and putting out a statement apologizing, no, they removed the entire fucking site for the thousands of others not even involved or aware. (Lack of moderation proably happened in the past too, though I never saw any fights in the years I used it at least.)
So last summer was a hell of a time for wattpad between the hacking and then this. I can kind of understand why they just removed the site, but as I said, there was still so many other people who didn't even know about this and were left in the dark and lost their access to resources which wasn't exactly a fair move (not to mention, this alone dents them pretty badly, especially for how long it's been, users just leave and go to other sites that have a community space). They could have just fired the ambassadors who didn't do their jobs, banned the people who needed to be, and went on. Though as we know, Wattpad cares very very much about their PR and how they look, so a little shit stain of a scandal on their tighty-whities wouldn't make them look very good.
Here are two questions and their answers about it on the support page:
Q: Will the Community Forums be reopened again in the future or will Wattpad introduce a new community tool?
It's possible that we reintroduce the Community Forums with additional product and moderation support in the future. We may also discover a way that better serves the needs of the Wattpad community. We're surveying members of the community to understand what aspects of the Forums they value so that we can focus on creating the best solution.
Q: What is Wattpad doing to address the issues that resulted in the decision to deactivate the Community Forums?
We're actively working on updating our moderation practices and policies to ensure this an inclusive place where all Wattpadders feel safe. Our team is collecting feedback from the community to understand where gaps exist.
If you see content that is harmful please notify our team through a support ticket.
Oh there's this part too:
Q: What other resources are available for writers looking for support?
Many writers come to the Forums to connect and share tips on navigating their writing journey. Writers are central to Wattpad and everything we do. Without writers, the Wattpad platform could not exist. We will continue to invest in and support writers' programs, such as Wattpad Stars, Paid Stories, Wattpad Books, and the Wattys. If you're looking for additional support as a writer, make sure to visit the Writer Portal for writing resources and programs. Our team is constantly working on additional support for writers and all new resources will be added there.
The writer portal is just their site for the bullshit they just mentioned such as how to become a wattpad star or how to get your book published or turned into a movie by wattpad. There are literally no resources on it other than their programs, you can't find people to edit your book, help you think up story ideas, make you covers, co-write with you, talk to, like you could on the forums. They're the biggest online free writing platform yet they don't even have their own actual helpful writing resources for people unless you count stupid lecture classes given by their "stars" on Instagram that's really just basic tips.
I've already discussed their fame programs in another rant, but leave it to Wattpad to say: "hey, our forums are down because our team couldn't give a shit, but pls check out our programs to make you famous!"
It's been almost a year since the forums shut down. I'm not going to give them too much shit for that because I have no idea how many changes they're making, but I think they could at least update people further on what they're doing or if it will return within the next year or whatever. I have a feeling it won't but maybe I'm wrong.
Okay, I'll stop blabbing, I just wanted to say exactly why the forums went missing harder than Madeleine Mccann for anyone who didn't know.
There is a mirrored version of the forums called WackyWriters.com for anyone looking for a place to go still, they have a wattpad profile as well. They also profit off it because I guess just mirroring another website and creating your "own brand" makes you deserving of donations and the right to create cringy merch... I know running a site isn't easy and costs money but still rubs me the wrong way that they want money when their main site and logo even is just a copy of Wattpad.
Edit because I forgot to originally add this: for people looking for actual resources for their writing, I have a google document of links to different sites in the bottom of my bio.
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