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FAQ - Your Guide to Swords and Lasers

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message 1: by Rob, Roberator (last edited Jun 20, 2018 03:28PM) (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
I want to thank Nick for his previous FAQ. I re-used a lot of his original thread and expanded on it as things have changed a bit and I felt it could use some updating.

If you have not yet done so, please say hi to the group and introduce yourself in the Introduction and Welcome Thread

Also, a lot of this information is available on the Sword and Laser Wiki. If information isn't there that you think should be then register for an account and add it.

The questions are broken down by topic, each topic is clickable to jump ahead to those questions.

Posting to the forum
• What is the Etiquette for posting?
• I’m an author/creator who wants to promote my work. What are the rules for Self Promotion?
• When should/How can I use Spoiler Tags?
• How/When Should I create a new Post?
• When creating a New Post, which Section/Folder should I use?
• How do I put my new topic under a specific folder/Sub-forum?
• How else can I format my posts?

About the club
• What is Sword & Laser?
• Who are the Leaders?
• Who are the Moderators?
• How can I support the group?
• How can I contact the group?

Book Selections
• How Many Books Does the group Read?
• How are the books selected?
• How do the book polls work?
• What are the suggestion Lists?
• What is March Madness?
• How do I know what book the club will read next?
• When should I start reading a book?
• Can anyone create a book discussion thread?

Other Group activities
• What’s the deal with the Podcast?
• What are Quick Burns?
• What are Local Meetups?
• What are the Group Book Challenges?
• What is the Sword & Laser Video Show?
• What is the S&L Anthology?
• What is the S&L Collection on Inkshares?
• What else do you discuss here?

Slang/In-jokes
• What does Lem mean?
• What does Dead Tree Edition mean?
• What’s the joke about Veronica Mispronouncing things?
• Why are you called The Roberator?

Useful Links
• Book Challenges
• Quick Burns
• Patreon
• Podcast (iTunes)
• Podcast (RSS)
• Podcast (Soundcloud)
• Picks
• Website
• Store
• What Else Are You Reading
• Wiki


message 2: by Rob, Roberator (last edited Jun 23, 2018 03:27PM) (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Posting To the Forum
This covers a variety of topics on how to be a good member of Sword & Laser.

What is the Etiquette for posting?

We are here to discuss books and all things sword-y and laser-y. We are here for diverse views to be expressed and conversation to flow from that.

We are not here to have flame wars. You may not insult other forum posters in your posts. If you disagree with something someone has posted, by all means argue thoroughly and powerfully against *what* they said, but do not personally attack *them*.

We want discussion, passionate discussion. But two people hurling insults back and forth is not a discussion. Threads that derail into flame wars will be closed.

If someone posts something that you don't just disagree with, but that is actually illegal, grossly offensive, etc., message me.

I’m an author/creator who wants to promote my work. What are the rules for Self Promotion?

Sword & Laser allows for self-promotion but in a very limited fashion. We have created a section for you to do that. Please keep all self promotion to that section.

Any violations of this will be deleted and repeated violations may result in a ban.

Definitely don’t do any of the following:

• Post self promotion in the introduction thread
• Post links to your book in the Book Sale threads
• Nominate your book in a poll/March Madness
• Mention how the topic of this thread reminds you a lot of your own work.
• Add your book to the suggestion lists
• Offer to be interviewed on the podcast
• Message members of the group asking them to review your book
• Probably a bunch of other stuff that involves annoying our members

This isn’t going to get your more fans/readers. The best way to build an audience in S&L is to be a member of the club first and an author and self promoter second. If people know you/like your contributions to the group, they are going to be more likely to be interested in checking out your work.


When should/How can I use Spoiler Tags?

When in doubt, use spoiler tags!

Even if you’re in a thread that allows for spoilers, its considerate to use them. We have members who get the forums posts as a digest email, and without spoiler tags those comments will show up.

You can add spoiler tags like this:

<spoiler>Bracket the spoilers like this when typing your post.</spoiler>

will create this:

(view spoiler)

How/When Should I create a new Post?
First go to the main goodreads group page.

Use the search discussion posts. You might still miss if there is a thread already out there but do a quick search before you create a new thread anyways.





When creating a New Post, which Section/Folder should I use?

We have several main sections of the forum:

• Want to post about a book you're reading outside of the group? Use the What Else Are You Reading? folder.

• Want to post about a TV show or Movie you're enjoying/looking forward to? Use the TV & Movies folder.

• Want to discuss something going on in the world SFF? Use the SFF News/Events folder.

• Want to promote your own work? Use the Author Promo (Share Your Stuff!) folder.

• Want to post something that doesn't fit into one of the above categories? Use the General Discussion folder.


How do I put my new topic under a specific folder/Sub-forum?
When you create your post you can choose the topic from a dropdown list of folders/sub-forums.



If you want to post in the "General" folder simply select the top option of the dropdown list with the text "select ...".


How else can I format my posts?
You can always refresh yourself on the formatting tips when you click the "(some html is ok)" link above the box where you are typing your post are as follows.

Formatting Tips
Goodreads allows some html formatting.
•well formed web urls automatically get turned into links
link: <a href="http://gsbyvalentinoschoolwear.co.uk" >my link text</a>

link to book: use the "add book/author" link or [book:Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone|6149138]

link to author: use the "add book/author" link or [author:J.K. Rowling|1077326]

• image: <img src="http://gsbyvalentinoschoolwear.co.uk/image..." width="40" height="100" alt="description"/> (Width must be 0-400, Height must be 0-1000, alt is a description of the image. All three are optional, but recommended.)

bold text: <b>...</b>
italic text: <i>...</i>
underline text: <u>...</u>
strike text: <s>...</s>
•exact spacing: <pre>...</pre>
•blockquote: <blockquote>...</blockquote>
•paragraph: <p>...</p>
•spoiler: <spoiler>...</spoiler>
Note: tags must be properly nested, example:
OK <i><b>test</b></i>
Not OK <i><b>test</i></b>


message 3: by Rob, Roberator (last edited Apr 15, 2018 09:26PM) (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
About the Club

What is Sword & Laser?
The Sword and Laser is a science fiction and fantasy podcast, video show on YouTube, and book club founded by Tom Merritt and Veronica Belmont in October, 2007.

Veronica and Tom met while they were both working at CNET Networks, where they co-hosted the technology podcast Buzz Out Loud with Molly Wood. With their shared love of all things science fiction and fantasy, they decided to create a new online book club dedicated to genre fiction. Sword & Laser was born!

Who are the Leaders?
• Veronica Belmont is a tech podcaster and online media personality currently working as Product Manager with an interest in bots.

• Tom Merritt is an award-winning independent tech podcaster and host of regular tech news and information shows.

Who are the Moderators?
• Tassie Dave has been a member of the club since 2008 and is the S&L Historian. He has been a moderator since 2017. He helped create and maintains the S&L Wiki.

• Josh joined the S&L club in its first incarnation on Ning (ah, nostalgia), is an occasional Podcast Contributor, and has been a moderator since 2013. He also created the Sword & Laser theme music (you can listen to the full verison and a variation here), and collaborated, as part of The New Old Men, with Clive Royal on the 'The Sword & The Laser' song.

• Rob has been a member of the club since 2012. In 2014 Veronica made him a moderator after getting tired of him emailing her about forum upkeep.

How can I support the group?
The best way to support the group is to join the Patreon. Every little bit helps!

Additionally Sword & Laser has a store with some shirts, posters, copies of the Anthology and even a pint glass!

You can also support the show by buying books through their picks page

For additional details, visit the support page

How can I contact the group?
For all official stuff, you should contact Tom and Veronica:

Email: feedback [at] swordandlaser.com.
Voicemail: 415-7SWORD6

Twitter:
@swordandlaser
@veronica
@acedtect

For issues with forums stuff, you can always message me on GoodReads:


message 4: by Rob, Roberator (last edited Apr 15, 2018 09:38PM) (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Book Selections

How Many Books Does the group Read?
The club reads 1 book per month and are typically split evenly between 6 Sword (fantasy) and 6 Laser (science-fiction) picks each year.

Every now and again there is an official “Alt pick”. Sometimes there is an unofficial or “Rebel” pick, but typically there is just the one.

Most of the time we alternate between sword and laser, but not always.

How are the books selected?
The books are primarily selected by Tom & Veronica. These are commonly referred to as dictatorial picks.

Tom typically makes all the Laser picks, while Veronica makes the Sword picks. Sometimes the pick will be decided by a poll. Every March we hold a big tournament for our April pick as part of “March Madness”.

How do the book polls work?
The book polls have come in a variety of forms. Most of them are conducted here on good reads, but occasionally there have been Patreon only polls.

In the case of Good reads polls, all members can participate. Patreon polls require you to back the group on their website.

The options for the polls may be chosen by Tom or Veronica. They may be the result of user nominations. They may also come from the suggestion lists.

What are the suggestion Lists?
These are Goodread’s lists where members can add suggestions that Tom and Veronica use if they are looking for ideas.

Feel free to add suggestions, but pay attention to our previous book picks and the rules on self promotion.

Suggest Fantasy books

Suggest Science Fiction books

What is March Madness?
Every February we put a call out for Book Suggestions (example).

The first two years it was fantasy only, in 2018 we added in sci-fi picks as well.

At the conclusion of the the nomination period (typically the last week in February) Tom and Veronica will use the nominations as suggestions to create a seeded bracket of 16 books. If we’re doing both fantasy and Sci-Fi, it will be 8 books of each. They may include additional books that weren’t nominated.

Throughout March a series of polls will be created matching up pairs of books. We’ll go from 16 books to 8, then 4, then 2 until finally 1 book emerges victorious. This book will be the April pick of that year.

You can see the bracket for our most recent tournament here

How do I know what book the club will read next?
The book picks are typically announced 1-2 weeks in advance of the month. They may be announced to the Patrons first, followed by the group at large. They may also be announced on the podcast or via Twitter (@swordandlaser).

Once announced the book will be added to the group bookshelf and an accounement thread will be created (example).

When should I start reading a book?
Everyone reads at their own pace and has their own schedule. You can begin reading whenever you want but keep in mind that you will have a full month from the official start time to complete the book so don't feel rushed to finish when a new selection is announced.

Can anyone create a book discussion thread?
Yes! We just typically ask that you don’t start creating discussion threads before the month even starts. Also please refrain from discussing details of the book in the announcement thread.

Please try to follow the thread format of <Book Abbreviation>: <subject> (<indication of spoilers>)

Example:

For An Unkindness of Ghosts the abbreviation was AUoG.

If I wanted to start a spoiler thread about the ending I might create a thread called:

AUoG: The Ending (Spoilers)

Also please try to set the subject of the thread to the book being discussed.

And if you mess it up, I’ll probably end up fixing it for you.


message 5: by Rob, Roberator (last edited Apr 15, 2018 09:56PM) (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Other Group Activities
Sword & Laser is a lot more than just a monthly book club.

What’s the deal with the Podcast?
Every other week or so (sometimes more, occasionally less) Tom & Veronica release a new podcast.

On the podcast they typically cover recent SFF news (Quick Burns), User Feedback (forum posts, emails, phone calls) and discuss the month’s book pick.

On occasion they’ll also do author interviews. Often they will create a thread asking for questions they can use when doing the interview, so keep an eye out for those in the Author Questions / AMAs section.

You can subscribe to the audio podcast via iTunes or RSS

What are Quick Burns?
Quick Burns is a thread that is pinned at the top of the Scifi / Fantasy News section.

A new thread is created every year (hence the lack of a direct link). It is meant as a way to share the SFF news you’re interested with the group.

Tom and Veronica will peruse this thread before each podcast and often will pick some items to include in the Quick Burns section. The person who contributed the news will get a shout out as well.

When posting to the Quick Burns thread keep the following in mind:

• Please provide a link/source for the news you share
• It is meant for sharing News only, not for discussing it. It’s fine to give your thoughts on the news in your post, but if there are more than 2 or 3 posts on a news item, I’ll ask you create a seperate thread in the News section to discuss it.
• Please try to pay attention if someone else has already shared your news item. Despite being a book dedicated to reading, we often get duplicate submissions.

What are Local Meetups?
Meetups have been a thing for almost as long as the club has been around, but the monthly local meetups date back to 2014. The local meet-ups are a place for people to get together with other S&L members offline each month to discuss the book selection and anything else of interest. Dates, times and locations vary by group.

You can sign up/find upcoming events here

Below is a list of the current meetups. Not a meetup in your area? Create a thread (or post in an existing thread if one exists for your area but doesn’t have an active meetup) in the Local Group Meetups section and see if you can get one going.


Austin - They typically meet on the last Sunday of the month.

Maryland, DC & Northern Virginia - This meetup is organized by myself. We typically meet on the last Saturday of the month @12pm at McGinty's in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Orange County - They meet on Sundays in Irvine, California.

Philadelphia - They meet on Thursdays.

San Francisco - This is the original meetup as the group started in San Francisco. It is being run by Moderator Josh, and Veronica shows up to these when she can. They typically meet on the last Monday of the month at Borderlands.


What are the Group Book Challenges?
The group challenges were started in 2018 as a way to see just how much Sci-Fi and Fantasy our members read. Pledge as many (or as few) books as you want to one or both challenges.

It’s just another fun way to discuss all the other great books everyone is reading.

You can see/join the current Group Challenges here and you’ll find a discussion thread for the challenges pinned to the top of the What Else Are You Reading? Section.

What is the Sword & Laser Video Show?
In 2012 Sword & Laser was invited by Felicia Day to make a video version of the podcast for her new channel Geek & Sundry. Unfortunately it was not renewed.

A second season of the show was made thanks to a successful Kickstarter Campaign in 2014

All of the S&L videos can be found on their YouTube Channel.

What is the S&L Anthology?
In 2012 the group put out a call for submissions from members and fans of the show to submit their short stories to be gathered up as part of the official Sword & Laser Anthology. The book was released 2014

If you’re interested in buying a copy, it’s available in both paperback and ebook through the S&L Store and a few other retailers

What is the S&L Collection on Inkshares?
Sword & Laser has partnered with Inkshares to sponsor SFF books by members/fans of the show. You can find out more details here

What else do you discuss here?
In addition to the monthly book pick, we always have a thread to share what other books you’re reading/enjoying in the What Else Are You Reading section. Many members will share links to their reviews as well.

We also have a section for discussing TV, Movies and Games.

There is also a section to post/discuss SFF News.

Finally there is the General section at the top of the forum to post a variety of topics.


message 6: by Rob, Roberator (last edited Apr 15, 2018 09:59PM) (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Slang/In-jokes
Confused by a term or in/joke? Here are some of the common ones. If it’s not listed here and you’re wondering what it means, ask! I’ll try to update this as necessary. In general there aren’t too many.

What does Lem mean?
The term "Lem" means to not finish a book and abandon it. This term comes from when Sword and Laser were reading Stanisław Lem's Memoirs Found in a Bathtub. Veronica couldn't make it through the book so just gave up reading it.

What does Dead Tree Edition mean?
"dead-tree edition" is sometimes used when referring to physical books (you know, like made with paper) instead of ebooks(kindle, nook, iBooks). usage: I prefer ebooks to the dead-tree editions.

What’s the joke about Veronica Mispronouncing things?
There have been times when Veronica has mispronounced the name of an author or forum member on the podcast. It’s happened often enough to become a bit of an in-joke.

Why are you called The Roberator?
On podcast 228 (at the 30:10 mark or so) Veronica was mentioning me and managed to combine the words Moderator and Rob together and thus the “Roberator” was born.


message 8: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
RESERVED FOR FUTURE USE


message 9: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
RESERVED FOR FUTURE USE


message 10: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
RESERVED FOR FUTURE USE


message 11: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
So as you may have noticed, I decided to give our FAQ an overhaul. Any suggestions on other topics/questions to add?


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2298 comments Thank you Rob, you truly excel at creating order from chaos.


message 13: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (SeanOHara) | 2342 comments Rob wrote: "When should I start reading a book?"

For the sake of full disclosure, shouldn't you explain the punishments for not finishing a book on time?


message 14: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Sean wrote: "For the sake of full disclosure, shouldn't you explain the punishments for not finishing a book on time?"

We don't want to scare people off on the first day. They'll learn at the end of their first month..


message 15: by Kat (new)

Kat | 31 comments But people who finish on time get a free virtual cookie.


message 16: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Kat wrote: "But people who finish on time get a free virtual cookie."

That's only in my other book club.


message 17: by Kat (new)

Kat | 31 comments Oh well, cookies are only for the initiated, then.


message 18: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Richter (StephenofLongBeach) | 923 comments I just wish that all local groups would list on the events tab. How can new people find the group if it is not done? Or say someone travels would like to see how it is done and maybe try in their city? It is tough starting one, but once established it can lead to all sorts of fun.


message 19: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (last edited Apr 17, 2018 09:35AM) (new)

Tassie Dave | 2338 comments Mod
Great job Rob :-)

Rob wrote: "Tassie Dave ....... helped create and maintains the S&L Wiki. "

I don't do all the Wiki maintenance. Sean Sandulak and Mark Mmtz do a fair bit on the Wiki too and Veronica set it all up to start with

It's a team effort :-)


message 20: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Stephen wrote: "I just wish that all local groups would list on the events tab. How can new people find the group if it is not done? Or say someone travels would like to see how it is done and maybe try in their c..."

I encourage whoever is organizing local meetups to post at least once a month and create events, but I'm not the boss of people. I'd love to see more local groups get going.


message 21: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Tassie Dave wrote: "Great job Rob :-)

Rob wrote: "Tassie Dave ....... helped create and maintains the S&L Wiki. "

I don't do all the Wiki maintenance. Sean Sandulak and Mark Mmtz do a fair bit on the Wiki too and Ve..."


I didn't mean to imply you did it alone.


message 22: by Sean Lookielook (new)

Sean Lookielook Sandulak (SeanSandulak) | 408 comments Tassie Dave wrote: "I don't do all the Wiki maintenance. Sean Sandulak and Mark Mmtz do a fair bit on the Wiki too..."

When I remember, lol. I think I was six months behind on the episode guide last time. I should probably put a reminder in my calendar. Anyway, it's a wiki, so anyone can contribute if they have something to share.


message 23: by Dave (new)

Dave Packard | 93 comments Rob wrote: "I encourage whoever is organizing local meetups to post at least once a month and create events, but I'm not the boss of people. I'd love to see more local groups get going."

I have to say, I love having our local group in Orange County, CA. Stephen Richter does a commendable job posting each month and keeping us on track during the meetings. I look forward to them every month!


message 24: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Dave wrote: "Rob wrote: "I encourage whoever is organizing local meetups to post at least once a month and create events, but I'm not the boss of people. I'd love to see more local groups get going."

I have to..."


Yeah. I love ours as well. I also was able to go to the San Francisco one a few years ago when I was visiting my sister. I got to meet Veronica, Josh and all the other cool folks who participate in that group.

One of these days I'm hoping to make it to the Austin, Philly and OC meetups as well.

Philly is pretty close to me, but Thursday meetings make it hard.

It'd be cool seeing more groups get going as well. To simplify things for our meetup we just made it so it was always the last Saturday of the month (except in Nov/Dec due to holidays) and always the same place and time.

This makes managing it pretty easy. I just create an event once/month, update our discussion thread and call to make a reservation based on the responses. Very minimal effort to keep things running.


message 25: by Richard (new)

Richard | 84 comments There used to be a Sword and Laser meetup at a bookstore in Fort Collins, CO, that ran for at least a couple of years. It looks like it was discontinued last fall, and maybe it's because I never once saw them post It here!


message 26: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Richard wrote: "There used to be a Sword and Laser meetup at a bookstore in Fort Collins, CO, that ran for at least a couple of years. It looks like it was discontinued last fall, and maybe it's because I never on..."

I had no idea there was ever one in Colorado...


message 27: by Richard (new)

Richard | 84 comments This appears to have been the last meeting:

http://www.oldfirehousebooks.com/even...

Always hoped to go one day but they were pretty far from me.


message 28: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Hmm. The book they mention isn't one I've heard of. I wonder if they were members of the club, or if it was another club with the same name.

How did you find it?


message 29: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 2338 comments Mod
It seems to be a different club, but with the same name

http://www.oldfirehousebooks.com/swor....


message 30: by Richard (new)

Richard | 84 comments Rob wrote: "Hmm. The book they mention isn't one I've heard of. I wonder if they were members of the club, or if it was another club with the same name.

How did you find it?"


They appeared in meetup. I assumed they were linked with this group somehow and didn’t just come up with the same name.


message 31: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Richter (StephenofLongBeach) | 923 comments Well, someone in Fort Collins Colorado should go in and just hijack the thing.


message 32: by Veronica, Supreme Sword (new)

Veronica Belmont (veronicabelmont) | 1528 comments Mod
Stephen wrote: "Well, someone in Fort Collins Colorado should go in and just hijack the thing."

I remember I used to see this on Google sometimes. I actually emailed the book store about it once, but never heard back! No idea if they were fans or an offshoot that wanted to read their own thing or what!


Julie (RadiantPages) (radiantpages) | 54 comments I went to one of their meetings. Wasn’t terribly impressed because half the group showed up without finishing the book (Borderline).

I can stop by this week and ask about it—or if there are any other questions. We’re moving at the end of June, so I unfortunately can’t foment a revolution.


message 34: by Nick (new)

Nick (Whyzen) | 1292 comments Excellent job as always Rob!! I was wondering when someone would redo the FAQ as I've not been able to spend as much time participating in the group reads and forums as I used to. It is even better that that person is a moderator and was smarter than I was and reserved several spaces after the original post. I always enjoy browsing the forums here as the people and insightful posts make me feel at home. I hope to be able to read more with the group over the next year. Keep up the good work Rob. Love this group!


message 35: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Thanks Nick. And thanks again for your original thread. I stole most of what you did, and then just added to it. Nice to see you stop in.


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