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Final Fantasy Exchange: Order Up!

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Final Fantasy Exchange: Sponsored Beta Information
ffexchange_mod wrote in ff_exchange

Final Fantasy Exchange
Sponsored Beta Information

This post explains how the sponsored beta system at ff_exchange works. If you have additional questions, contact the mods at ff.exchange@gmail.com!

Since we are trying to ensure that everyone gives and receives the best gifts possible, we strongly encourage the use of a beta for all fanworks. Since not everyone has a beta, for each round of FFEX we assemble a list of betas that participants can use at their convenience.

Good beta-ing is hard work, so as a reward to our betas, they may make a request when they sign up so that they can get a gift in return for their efforts. Betas can work with fics, art, or both. Other media are also welcome! Becoming a beta is simple:
  1. Add this community to your watchlist so that you know when beta sign-ups are open.

  2. Sign up on the designated sign up post for the round you wish to beta for.

  3. A mod will contact you with one or two short/simple pieces for you to beta as part a simple screening process.

  4. Once you pass the screening process, your name will be added to our sponsored beta list. This list will be posted publicly about two weeks into the exchange.

There are, of course, more details to this, especially to the screening process. Read those, and you'll be fully prepared to apply to be a sponsored beta!


When you sign up to be a beta, you may use the form we provide to specify requests for gifts in return for your work. The same rules apply to beta gift requests as to normal participant gift requests. Make sure you are familiar with those (and the rest of how the exchange works!) by reading the [Crash Course/Rules] post.

The signup form includes questions about your strengths and weaknesses as a beta. If you pass the screening process, these will be listed along with your contact information. They will also be used to adjust our judging criteria. For example, if you listed grammar as a strength and style, tone, and plot as weaknesses, we'll be paying close attention to your grammar but will give you some slack with the rest.

Once you sign up, you will be contacted by a mod, who will send you one or two simple pieces to edit from the medium/media you work in. The screening process consists of seeing how you edit the pieces we give you. You will be judged using the following criteria:
  • Mechanical Knowledge. For fics, this means grammar, spelling, and other punctuation mechanics. For art, this means knowledge of anatomy, perspective, and other largely objective aspects of art. You don't have to be able to get insanely technical, but it should be obvious that you know your stuff.

  • Subjective Knowledge. For fics, this includes things like style, tone, and characterization. For art, composition, colour theory, mood, etc. These are difficult areas to beta in, but you have to demonstrate a feel for these areas, especially if you listed them as a strength.

  • Helpfulness/Constructive Criticism. This is probably the most important criterion. The core of editing is being able to give constructive feedback. You have to be able to criticize without being discouraging, while being as helpful as possible.

Since constructive criticism is the goal of this entire sponsored beta business, here are some guidelines on giving good concrit.


These are some guidelines for providing constructive criticism, both during the screening process and when you are asked to beta something for the exchange.
  • Be polite and encouraging. The point is to help make a piece better, not bring its creator down. Phrase things as nicely as possible, and try to point out the good as well as the bad.

  • Explain yourself. Don't just say "this is wrong". Try to explain why you feel something is not right.

  • Give examples and suggestions. When possible, try to give specific suggestions for fixing problems.

  • Keep your prejudices to yourself. If you dislike a character or pairing, concrit is not the place to trumpet that about. If you simply cannot work with a character/pairing/canon/genre, please state this is your signup form.

Follow these simple guidelines, and you should pass the screening process easily and become a helpful beta for exchange participants.


Once the screening process is over, a list of all the betas will be posted to ff_exchange and your time on-call begins: participants can now contact you directly using your listed information.

Once you become a sponsored beta, please follow these guidelines:
  • Respond to participants quickly. If someone contacts you, respond within a couple of days to let them know you are available, willing, and able. Remember, everyone's working under a deadline!

  • Return beta'd work in a timely manner. Tell any participant that contacts you ahead of time how long it should take you to beta, then stick to your self-imposed deadline. Give participants enough time to implement the changes you suggested. BE SURE TO RETURN WORK IN TIME FOR POSTING WEEK.

  • DO NOT REVEAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE PARTICIPANTS OR THE GIFTS YOU EDIT. This exchange is supposed to be one big surprise, so please keep everything to yourself until posting week. If you must discuss something, talk to the mods.

That's it!

Questions can be submitted to the mods by commenting on this post (comments are screened) or by email at ff.exchange@gmail.com.