Everything you need to know in order to use the features of PWG is in the quick guide to getting started. The FAQ's provide more in-depth answers for those who are interested. You can also send us your questions (or suggestions!) by clicking on the "Questions and Suggestions ' tab on the right side of the red bar.
Quick Guide To Getting Started
Step one is to register. Registration is free and easy with no strings attached. Give yourself a user name and a Password, and you become a Member with full rights to all PWG functions.
What are those function? Essentially there are 6 things you can do:
1) Read the Discussions that interest you on our "Newest" and "Current" Discussion Tabs. If there is a topic which is of particular interest to you, use our Search function to look for Archived Discussions on that topic.
2) Comment on a "New" or "Current" Discussion. Do you have something to say on the topic presented by the Discussion Leader? Did he or she make errors in the facts presented? Do you agree or disagree with the conclusions reached? Join the Discussion by using the box below the Introduction. You will receive an email informing you when the Discussion Leader responds.
3) Start your own Discussion. Have something to say about today's issues? Do you have an "inquiring minds" question and want to know what others think? Go to "Start a New Discussion" and write an Introduction of anywhere from one paragraph to 10,000 characters.
4) Respond to Comments on the Discussion you started. You will receive an email letting you know when a Comment has been received. Each Comment gives you an opportunity to better explain your position or even to have that position evolve. The box in which the Comment appears gives you the opportunity to respond. Comments which you deem to be inappropriate will be deleted.
5) Rate all Current Discussions. Read the Discussion and Comments and then hit the "Rate This Discussion" button. Give your opinion on the different aspects of the Discussion and then come back the following Wednesday to see which Discussion won in each category. Then check the leader board and your Profile to see how much your own Ratings have improved.
6) Update Your Profile by clicking on the Profile box. This allows you to easily access all Discussions you've started or Comments that you have made. It also allows you to see your ratings in all categories. Finally, it has fun feature which allows you to select an image to appear next to your name.
Whether you participate in one of the above or all six, we thank you for joining and for helping us in our mission to advance the level of political discourse and understanding in America.
The above is all you need to know in order to get started. The FAQs below provide additional background for those who want to have a more in-depth knowledge of the operation of Political Writing Game.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1) What makes www.PoliticalWritingGame.com different from other political web sites? In two words: constructive interaction. PWG provides a forum in which both established views and new ideas are discussed directly by those who have different viewpoints. The unique competitive aspect forces the discussion to stay civil and on topic and helps make PWG fun. Have your Discussion win one of our 5 weekly awards. Decide which category (or categories) in which you want to make the leader board and then watch as you rise to the top.
2) Does PWG claim to be non-partisan? Absolutely not. Our members are very partisan. Liberals, Conservatives, Libertarians, Radical Centrists, Socialists, and people of every political persuasion who are willing to constructively share ideas are welcome to join. If we ever feel that our membership is tilting too far in one direction, we will actively recruit new members with different viewpoints.
3) How do I get started? First you need to register. Registration is as simple as designating a user name and password. Once you are ready to start leading discussions, you may also want to expand your profile so that readers can know more about the principles and values that guide your political thinking.
4) Can I advertise my own website or blog in my Discussions or Comments? Yes! We want all of our members to succeed. We are delighted if your success at PWG draws more people to your website. Also, don't forget to enter the name of your site in your Profile.
5) Can I register more than once? No. PWG asks all members to respect this policy and reserves the right to cancel the registration of any member who is found to actively be using more than one registration.
6) How does the "Discussion Of The Week" competition work? The competition follows the following steps and takes place over a 14 day period running from Wednesday morning through the following Tuesday at midnight.
a) Any member can begin a Discussion by preparing an Introduction ranging in length from one sentence to 10,000 character and filling out the form on the "Start a New Discussion" screen. The discussion will initially appear on our "Newest Discussions" tab.
b) Once a Discussion begins, members have the opportunity to submit "Comments and Questions for the Discussion Leader." Those comments are divided into 3 categories as shown in the Comments box: Information, Reasoning, and General. The interpretation of these categories can be very broad and it’s possible that a comment could realistically fit into more than one category. Just choose the one that seems to fit the comment best.
c) The Discussion Leader has the opportunity to respond to all Comments and Questions. This is done by clicking on the “Read and Join This Discussion” button and scrolling down to the box for each Comment. To respond, the Discussion Leader first critiques the Comment as either being “relevant”, “interesting but not relevant” or “neither interesting nor relevant.” They then give their response.
d) On the Wednesday following submission of the Discussion, the Discussion will be moved to the "Current Discussion" tab . From here, all Members have the opportunity to rate the Discussions in a variety of categories. You also have the option of coming back later in the week to read the Comments and Responses, and, if you want, to change how you rate the Discussion. See Question 11 below for a further description of how the ratings are compliled.
e) One week later, on the next Wednesday morning, the winner of the best "Discussion of the Week" is announced and posted on the home page. Awards are also announced at that time for 4 other voting categories.
7) Can I start more than one Discussion during a week? No. Each Member can only start one Discussion per week. Choose the topic that is most pressing for you this week and save any other topics for the future.
8) What do I do if the "Comment or Question" I want to ask exceeds the character limit? Comments are intended to be pointed and relatively brief. If your Comment exceeds the limit, you are strongly encouraged to begin a separate Discussion. Make sure to use the same Tag Words as are shown in the Discussion to which you are responding so that the Discussions will be linked whenever a Member wants to Read either one.
9) Aside from the "Discussion of the Week" competitions, what are the other gaming aspects of PWG? Ratings, Ratings and more Ratings. Members receive Ratings in 5 Leader categories, including best overall Discussion Leader. Ratings are also calculated for the 3 Comment categories and for Voting. Even if you never start a discussion, there are still ways for you to become a PWG star! The Home Page is updated with the new ratings leader board every Wednesday morning. Important note: Your rating is only available to the public if you are one of the leaders. You can see your own ratings on the profile screed to see how close you are to joining the leader board but no one else can see them.
10) What factors are taken into account in determining the Commenter Ratings? Each time you submit a Comment or Question, the Leader of that Discussion is asked to rate its usefulness. Whether or not the Leader agrees with you, if he decides that your Comment is relevant to the Discussion, your rating goes up!
11) How is the Voting Rating determined? Voting Ratings are based on how closely the grades you gave to each Discussion match those submitted by all other Members. The closer you are to hitting the overall average, the more points you gain.
12) Are Voting Ratings used in the "Discussion of the Week" competition? YES! The higher your Voting Rating, the more your vote counts. A proven master voter can be equal in weight to 4 or 5 new voters.
13) Can my Ratings Go Down? Yes. Ratings are adjusted each week in two ways. First, a small negative adjustment is made to all ratings. Second, your performance in each category for the week is analyzed to determine how much your rating in that category will increase. Thus, if you participate, your rating will likely go up. If you don't, your rating will decline.
14) What happens to a Discussion after the weekly competition ends? All Discussion remain available on the "Archived Discussion" tab until they are removed by the Author. Comments that are deemed by the Leader to be neither "relevant nor interesting" are removed.
15) Does PWG monitor the content of Discussions? Yes. We do the best we can and at our sole discretion we will remove offensive content. Members are asked to help in this process by reporting any offensive items or any Discussion Introductions that you believe have been plagiarized from another source.