A Call To Arms (by Sir Bic)

Thomas Bulfinch, when writing his Age of Fable: Vol. III: The Age of Chivalry stated the need of “some check upon the lawless power”. In his introduction of King Arthur and His Knights. he listed restraints upon the corruption of society – the last of them being – “…the generosity and sense of right which, however crushed under the weight of passion and selfishness, dwell naturally in the heart of man”. From this “sense of right” he wrote “sprang Chivalry, which framed an ideal of the heroic character, combining invincible strength and valor, justice, modesty, loyalty to superiors, courtesy to equals, compassion to weakness,..” Nice points to keep in mind when commenting; principles by which all who comment should ascribe to.

These values are what we often use to define the legendary knights of feudal times. Notice though, how Bulfinch defines the fabled Knight: “The word “knight,” which originally meant boy or servant, was particularly applied to a young man after he was admitted to the privilege of bearing arms.” It’s been said that a Knight is knighted by taking an oath to protect the distraught, maintain the order, and live an honorable life, nevertheless, without the “privilege of bearing arms”- a Knight is but a boy!

In the name of Chivalry and for the desire of Contest, I, Sir Bic of Ficly, implore thee, my fellow Ficlyteers, to “A Call to Arms”. I beseech one and all to join me in The Tournament of the Comment!

As of now, I cannot say when the tournament will begin or for how long it will continue. I only have an outline of what such a contest would entail and am interested in seeing the support it will gather. Basically, I see it working as such:

- Participants will join prior to the start of the contest.
- On the first day of the tournament, each contestant will have the current “comment count” from their “author page” noted beside their name.
- During the competition the participants will comment on as many stories, blog post and challenges as possible.
- At the end of the games, each participant’s “comment count” will be tallied to determine the winner; that one being, the contestant with the most comments made during the time of the tournament.

Currently the prize given to the victor, would be only bragging rights, but I am sure if a better reward could be given, more participants would enter.

Again I request of you, my Ficly family, my fellow Ficlyteers to discuss these matters here on this blog post:

Who would like to participate?
When should the tournament begin?
For how long should the contest continue?
And, of what reward will be given its champion?


  • Sir Bic

    I apologize for this comment, but I’m getting antsy… and I would really like someone’s, anyone’s ideas or suggestions! PLEASE (great, i’ve been reduced to begging) []o)

    Who would like to participate?
    Pick One – [Me; Myself; I; Other]
    When should the tournament begin?
    Pick One – [Next week; Next month; Soon; Never; Other]
    For how long should the contest continue?
    Pick One – [One day; One week; One month; Forever; Never; Other]
    And, of what reward will be given its champion?
    Pick One – [Bragging rights; Miranda rights; Everything; Nothing; Other]

    - If “Other” please explain. []o)

  • ElshaHawk (LoA)

    Next week! Or whenever. I start work, so you guys will have a one-up on me!
    I pick a week because ppl have internet ADD, so they lose interest quickly, and because they have busy schedules.
    Rewarded with.. bragging rights? I wish I had some free stuff… I’d totally offer it up! It’s too easy to have access to free ficly stories, even a compendium thanks to August Rode. I have a zazzle store, but no freebies there.. and no coupons to offer!

  • cthulhuburger

    I recently finished a mammoth commenting session, where I finally caught up to the suggested 1:10 story-to-comment ratio, so I’m a little burned out on commenting right now.

    That said, I’ll put my score next to my name, mount my keyboard-steed, and ride forth!

    Here are my preferences:

    Who would like to participate?
    When should the tournament begin?
    For how long should the contest continue?
    One week
    And, of what reward will be given its champion?

  • JayDee

    I will answer your challenge, ser! This is a fantastic idea! I offer my thoughts and hope they will be of some assistance:

    If there is a way to build up to the beginning of the tournament to drum up support and build the excitement, that would be awesome.

    Perhaps you could open a challenge (and have it featured so that plenty of people see it), and have all participants enter the challenge with a placeholder ficly that will only contain their current comment count as of when the tourney begins.

    The tourney could be scheduled to commence on the 22nd, so there is one week for everyone to hear about it, enter the challenge and ready themselves. Then on the 22nd, everyone has one week to rack up as many comments as possible!

    The challenge could end at midnight on the 29th, and the winner could have a story of their choice featured and some form of honourary title (“Gold Medallist Winner of the Sir Bic Annual Comment Tournament 2011,” perhaps?).

  • THX 0477

    That is an awesome idea, and I wish I could participate. Whether or not I can formally participate I shall use your post as inspiration to make a renewed effort to increase my commenting…which won’t be too hard considering it’s been just about nil for a while due to connectivity issues.

  • cthulhuburger

    I like JayDee’s suggestion of a challenge to drum up support. Perhaps, instead of a bland placeholder entry to announce our joining the tournament, we could instead write a ficly describing how we arrive at the Comments Tournament (ie, on a white charger to the tune of silver trumpets, or riding inside an elephant made of brass and clockwork, or stumbling in and signing up because we got lost on our way to the amusement park…)

  • astronouth7303

    I just looked at this, and the little webmaster in my head went, “Watch people make a thousand pointless comments. Spamming is totally what we need.”

    More commenting is good, yes. But pointless comments are bad.

  • ElshaHawk (LoA)

    Love cthulhuburger’s idea!
    Astro, good point. I for one will not be commenting pointlessly. :) I hope all entrants also make a point to comment purposefully.

  • Sir Bic

    Great idea for a challenge guys! I like! We could do a Heralding Challenge of sorts, a la “A Knights Tale”:
    My lords, my ladies, and everybody else here not sitting on a cushion! Today… today, you find yourselves equals. For you are all equally blessed. For I have the pride, the privilege, nay, the pleasure of introducing to you to a knight, sired by knights; a knight who can trace his lineage back beyond Charlemagne. … – Chaucer

    Good thinking, astronouth. I just figure if someone did “pointless comments”, they’d have to live with the shame of doing such, regardless of whether or not they win the Tournament. Plus, a comment is a comment and sometimes comments are most appreciated when they’re pointless. (case and point: this one)

  • ElshaHawk (LoA)

    Can I give that comment 5 pencils?? :D

  • Krulltar

    Dear Sir Bic,

    Krulltar wishes to take this opportunity to recuse himself from “The Tournament of Comments”. Although he regrets any inconvenience this may cause, he feels it would be improper and unethical to enroll himself due to his already outstanding 20:1 ratio of comments to stories.

    However, Krulltar is offering his mentoring services to any of the schmuchs who wish to enter this tourney. For a low, low fee of only $49.95 he is willing to prostitute out his skills. The mentoring fee covers 3 personal text messages with Krulltar himself that will include, but is not limited to: outrageous insults, holistic authoring, general buffoonery, metaphysical commenting, ‘your momma’ jokes, existential sequeling, and a wonderful homemade recipe for baked ziti.

    Many Thanks,

    PS “Read, Reply, Ficly, or Die!” – quoted by Krulltar

    PPS Yes, Krulltar is aware he quoted himself and is referring to himself in the 3rd person.

  • Sir Bic

    Dearest Kommodore,

    I do hope you reconsider. The Tournament needs a Champion of your caliber to provide an excellent example to others. I would say, it would be “improper", perhaps even “unethical”, if you did not join in the Games.

    I entreat you my friend, to grace us all with your mentoring skills whilst engaged in Contest.

    Sir Bic

    ps “In the heat of the battle, ah yes, that is where the truest of the skilled are challenged!” – quoted by Sir Bic

    pps That 3rd person thing is catchy []o)

  • Garsecg

    I’m afraid I’m on semi-hiatus right now, because I’m gearing up for work and concentrating on working on longer pieces, so I don’t know if I could participate. But as long as people are determined to give meaningful comments, this is a good idea.

  • JayDee

    One week is not too much to ask. If it generates a weeks worth of slightly less than perfect comments, so be it. It gets people in the frame of mind to read other peoples stories, and shows them that it is not as hard or time-consuming as they keep telling themselves.

    @Krulltar the Kommodore of Komments
    Your previous record will not give you unfair advantage here, ser! It is only what you do within the tournament that counts. Your ethics are preserved!

  • 32 ^2

    I see that we can follow “recent” stories. So, maybe that’s a great parameter, to comment on recent stories, and agree upon a time period a recent story should be commented on, say, 48 hours.

    Finally, the original idea creates an assumption that every writer/author has critical reading skills. Some of us enjoy a story and have no reason why. Therefor, I like the idea of this also turning into a challenge…..maybe create one based on complimenting not commenting.

    In the end, isn’t a comment truly a compliment, due to the time someone took to write the comment? Maybe it’s really not about the comment at all but the time and consideration it took for someone to read and criticize the authors piece. And some people are good at it and others aren’t. therefor cause for a Challenge.

  • ElshaHawk (LoA)

    Check the Get Satisfaction page, to see if these issue have been brought up. :) If not, post them! Also, As many of you are new and not aware, I’d like to say that ficly was created and still run in spare time out of the ‘muchness’ of the hearts of Kev, Joe, and Jason. This means that these issues will not be addressed overnight, most likely, but will be taken in to consideration.

  • Tad Winslow

    Not knowing why you liked a piece of writing is a widely relatable experience. Skilled authors manipulate the reader and it takes a keen eye to figure out how from word to word and sentence to sentence.


    “… mount my keyboard-steed…” You crack me up.

    Who would like to participate?
    Tad W.

    When should the tournament begin?

    For how long should the contest continue?
    One week

    And, of what reward will be given its champion?
    A challenge should be created in which all participants of the tournament, and all of ficly, are invited to write some kind of story/ poem that revolves entirely around the champion— using them as a character, protagonist, antagonist, narrator doesn’t matter, just as long as they are the king/ queen / god of their world. Since they will have given so much, by the end, it should be all about them, right?

  • Sir Bic

    Thank you all for the great ideas and suggestions!

    Who will participate:
    Lady Elsha of Hawk Manor
    Sir Robert the Quick
    Lord Cthulhuburger
    Monsieur JayDee the Minstrel
    Sir Tad of Winslow
    Lady Jessica Duchess of Cahill
    Squire Shu Sam Chen
    and lastly…
    Sir Bic of Ficly
    (You can join up until the Tournament begins)

    When the tournament will begin:
    I will create a Challenge titled “Tournament of the Comment – Introductions”
    All participants should write a story introducing themselves, heralding their arrival to the Contest.
    Once all contestants have arrived, a start date will be determined.

    The contest will continue:
    For one week from the starting date.

    The reward to be given its champion:
    A second Challenge will be created titled “Tournament of the Comment – Champion”
    Participants will write a tale of praise and homage to the Comment Champion, honoring that one for their commenting prowess.
    The Champion might also wear this badge of honor within their name:
    [TotC Champ]

  • Krulltar

    Krulltar will get to write an “introduction” about himself, and then the participants will have to pay homage to him when he wins? Krulltar is in.

  • Wednesday [PJ] ((LoA))

    Me; and I’d prefer next month for optimum brain power on my half. But I’ll sign up and try my hardest to have a good commenting sesh for an hour a night.

  • HSAR

    I’m in it for the win. For a given value of win. :D

  • Sanglorian

    I love the idea of encouraging positive community behaviour by using a challenge backed by bragging rights, and making it fun with idea of a tournament and everyone changing their names.

    Another way to encourage comments would be to improve the email alert system Ficly uses so that we could choose to get emails any time someone comments on a ficly we commented on and any time someone edits a ficly we commented on. This would make commenting more desirable because you’d keep track of stories you commented on and be told if people incorporated your suggestions.

    Perhaps if the tournament goes well we could lobby Viget Labs for this feature?