Oct. 29th, 2012

apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Default)
Most people will not care at all about the contents of this post. Feel free to disregard! This is mostly for [livejournal.com profile] eanor, who expressed some curiosity about how I do the matching for [livejournal.com profile] sherlockmas's holiday fic exchange. It may be of interest to anyone else thinking about doing their own fic exchange. Or it might not. (As you all may have noticed, I am VERY SYSTEMATIC about certain things. This will be one of them. There are multiple spreadsheets involved. You have been warned.)



First and foremost, you should convince your friend [livejournal.com profile] evilhippo to help you with the matching process, because she is a super matching genius with a savant-like talent for pairing people up to write fic. (She also makes a rather tedious task fun.) If you don't have an [livejournal.com profile] evilhippo, I'm sorry: you're on your own!

Second, you need a deep and abiding love for Google spreadsheets. It is so much easier to organize these things with spreadsheets!

After that, the process is roughly this:

  • Spreadsheet all the info. At this point, I have three spreadsheets for this fest: a master, one for offers, and one for requests. The master is where I keep track of who has signed up, their email address, whether or not they've checked in, who they've been assigned to, who they are assigned to, etc. I like a spreadsheet, because I can sort by whatever category I like, to have the list sorted by participant, who has checked in/not checked in, who's offered to pinch hit, etc.

    The "offers" and "requests" sheets are what I use to do the matching. I put down participants' names, a link to the comment where they signed up to the fest, and the details of what they offered to write or requested to received: the category (slash, femslash, het, poly, gen), the rating(s) they're comfortable writing or receiving, characters, pairings, potential crossovers, and finally: a keyword summary of the kinks, tropes, and general details of fic they like to read or write. (Things like "casefic, domesticity, PWP, BDSM, fluff" etc.)
  • Once the spreadsheets are finished, it's time to do the matching! I don't match participants off just the spreadsheet: hippo and I use the spreadsheets to find potential matches, and then click on the link to the sign-ups to confirm that it's a good match.

    There's a general order that (I think) works for matching people up, as well as some things to keep in mind when matching:
    1. Try to match the difficult sign-ups first. In BBC Sherlock fandom, that's pretty much anyone who didn't request or offer slash.
    2. Plenty of people offer to write or receive gen, but few are actually enthusiastic about it. If someone is a gen-only writer, I don't want them to end up writing for someone who says they'll accept gen, but then only makes shippy prompts. It's just not fun if you feel like you're writing someone's last choice for fic. Same with people who request gen fic: I want to pair them with a writer who's happy to write gen.
    3. As for smut: about twice as many people will request smut as will offer to write it. It's a fact of life. So I want to make sure to match up people who want smut-and-nothing-but with people who are confident about writing porn.
    4. Beware the PG-13 cut-off. If a participant doesn't specify "any" for the ratings they're willing to read or write, they'll likely choose one side or the other: "G to PG-13" or "PG-13 to R". Since no one's actually sitting down with the MPAA guidelines and counting F-bombs to classify their fics, this is basically shorthand for "I prefer milder and fluffier" or "I prefer dirtier and/or more violent". Even though someone who offered to write "G to PG-13" is likely perfectly capable of writing a fic to please someone who requested "PG-13 to R", they might feel uncomfortable that their writing isn't "hardcore" enough to please their recipient. (The opposite can be true as well: a smut writer worried they can't produce a G-rated fic to please.)
    5. Certain tropes/kinks are super easy to match up: if someone says they like Mycroft/Lestrade and MPreg, and there's someone who's offered to write both M/L and MPreg, you're pretty much good to go. Same with crossovers: if participants have Molly/Moriarty and Good Omens in common, it's likely a match made in happen. It's good to put these matches together as you come across them.

  • [livejournal.com profile] evilhippo and I talk to each in chat while we're matching. We tend to jump back and forth between sign-ups, and may have three or four matches we're actively seeking out at once. After awhile, you start becoming familiar with people and what they've requested.
  • When we make a match, we note it on both spreadsheets: on the "offers" spreadsheet under the "writing for" heading, and on the "requests" spreadsheet under the "assigned to" category. By sorting the list by these categories, we can see who has yet to be matched up.
  • It doesn't really get hard until you're down to the last third of participants, and you realize you missed someone who really, really wants Sally/Molly ageplay crossover fic with the Sweet Valley High books, and Oops! you've assigned the person who offered to write that to someone else.
  • Sometimes you have to re-match people you've matched up before.
  • Hopefully, you've left the easiest people (the ones who've made the broadest requests/offers) for last.
  • Somehow, despite best intentions, that doesn't always happen.


Once everyone's matched up, I send out an email telling everyone who they've got and provide them a link to their recipient's sign-up. I've only ever had one complaint about a match, and the complaint was totally justified: I don't know what I was thinking when I made that match.

Fortunately, the person I assigned myself to was a much better match for this person, and so it was a mistake easily fixed!


So, that's basically how I do matching. If anyone else has matched participants for a fic exchange, I'd be curious to hear about how you do it! (Also, if anyone else has made it this far: stories about matches you've been part of in the past. Horror stories. Matches made in heaven. Lay 'em on me!)
apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Default)
I know I missed it by about a mile, but I love you, k? And I miss you.

Moonlines and apple-pathways

October 2012

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