John Green referenced Figment.com in his latest vlogbrothers video, claiming it's a community for beginning writers. I'm arguably a beginning writer -- I've been doing it for a while, but I haven't published anything -- and I really need to start using online communities more, so I decided to check this one out. First thing: Why do websites make it so hard to find their 'about' pages? The links on Figment's top bar are: Home, Figment library, Features, Groups, Contests, Forums, The daily fig, Sign up!. None of those sound super-informative, and the FAQ is only linked in tiny text way at the bottom. That's great, but a lot of sites don't even have a bottom -- you scroll, and they just generate more content.[1. I know my site doesn't have an about page yet. I realize this makes me a hypocrite. I'm working on it.]
That said, the FAQ is pretty informative. It sounds like a fun, immersive community, and it was founded by a couple of New Yorker writers, which leads me to believe they're probably pretty good about copyright.
The sign up page looks pretty straightforward, asking for your name,
(We encourage you to use your full real name. Ex: Barbara Walters)
email, and password, and date of birth and gender. The only options for gender are Male, Female and Not Telling, which doesn't seem super-inclusive -- like, you have to be one or the other, but it's okay if you prefer not to say. Better than just male and female, though.
Not super-thrilled about one of the clauses in the Publications section of the terms and services, either:
Unless otherwise provided in the terms and conditions of a Special Promotion, you will retain all of your ownership rights in your Content. You do, however, hereby grant us an irrevocable, non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free, sublicensable, transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, publish, publicly perform, and publicly display your Content, your name, and your screen name on the Website and elsewhere in any media now known or hereafter devised, along with the right to excerpt, analyze, and index your Content. Figment will not use your Publications in an anthology without your prior, written permission.
I might use this community to practice a bit and have some fun, but I definitely won't be posting anything here that I'm super-attached to.
Also, in section 10, there's a clause about not granting warranties that's in ALL CAPS FOR ALMOST AN ENTIRE PARAGRAPH, WHICH IS QUITE A LONG ONE. This seems to have been for emphasis, but makes it really hard to read.
It also says (if I'm reading it correctly) that I can never, ever sue them if I sign up for the site.
I will update on further explorations as they become relevant.