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Final Fantasy Exchange: Order Up!

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Final Fantasy Exchange: Crash Course and Rules
ffexchange_mod wrote in ff_exchange

Final Fantasy Exchange

Crash Course and Rules

This post should explain everything you need to know about ff_exchange, or FFEX. Not much has changed from last year, but if this post isn't clear or detailed enough and you have additional questions, check the FAQ, or contact the mods at ff.exchange@gmail.com.

FFEX is a multimedia fanwork exchange for all Final Fantasy fandoms. There are many ways to participate, so everyone can be involved!

  • Exchange participants make a specific gift (from a set of prompts secretly assigned to them) and get one in return (from someone secretly assigned their set of requests).
  • Sponsored betas receive a gift in return for the work they do providing beta services to FFEX participants.
  • Volunteers make extra gifts for our betas or provide a backup on defaulted gifts.
  • Anyone can still get involved in the fun of Chocobo Down and/or Moogle Fluff, even if you're not able to participate in the exchange!

The quick rundown of the rules of FFEX are simple:
  1. Tell us what you want and what you're willing to give.
  2. Complete your assignment (a) to the best of your ability and (b) on time.
  3. Be gracious and thankful to your gifter.
  4. HAVE TONS OF FUN producing, giving, receiving, and seeing great Final Fantasy fanworks!

If you want the in-depth version, continue on!

The Rules of Final Fantasy Exchange

For more information, please see the FAQ, which contains more information and backstory you may be familiar with from last year! Because of the complexity of the exchange format and of the Final Fantasy macrofandom there are a few rules we ask all our participants adhere to.

  1. Commit to the FFEX timeline. The timeline will be clearly posted during sign-up week. We expect everybody to be aware of the major due dates involved in FFEX.

  2. Stay in touch. Please be reachable by email during the FFEX process. We also expect participants to watch the community, as certain updates will only be posted into the comm; this means participants should have a personal LJ, and should check the comm occasionally.

  3. Your sign-up form is a contract. We will hold you to what you wrote on your sign-up form. Mistakes on the sign-up form—including typos—are your responsibility, not the mods'. Your exchange experience will only be as good as the information you give us to work with.

  4. Keep your work secret until Posting Week. Don't chat with your friends about your prompts, or brag about the great recipient you were assigned; half the fun is in the surprise! Also, don't post your work anywhere until it has been posted in the FFEX community. (Your beta is an obvious exception to this rule.)

  5. Let the mods know early if you're having trouble. While we would prefer that everyone got their gift done on time, we also know that sometimes, life intervenes. If you know you aren't going to get your gift done on time, for whatever reason, let us know as soon as possible. The earlier we know, the more time we have to arrange things so that everyone is happy.

  6. Thank your gifter. Please thank the person who worked so hard on your gift! Yes, even if you don't like it all that much. If you don't think you can do this, then FFEX is not for you.

  7. Punishments are to be paid in Chocobo Down. If your gift is late, or if you don't manage to make a gift at all, or if you have to drop out of the exchange entirely, your mods will assign a set amount of Chocobo Down. This Chocobo Down is the fee to be allowed back into the next round of FFEX.

  8. Behave yourself. This includes the following:
    • Be mature. Discuss things like grown-ups.
    • Be gracious. This is a community centered on giving—treat it as such.

    • Be polite. We're all doing this for fandom love—no one deserves rudeness.

    • Be understanding. Final Fantasy fandom is huge and complex—that's what makes it so awesome!

    • This is livejournal. This means: if you play nice here, but then go to fanficrants to mock your gift ...chances are, someone will see it. You will still receive a warning. If you absolutely must complain, do it in your own private space.

The mods have the final say. We're not dictators, but in the case of FFEX, we are in charge. These rules may be extended, changed, or modified at any time; community members will be notified in this case. If you feel you are being treated unfairly, we welcome suggestions for improvement and mature discussion about the exchange and its policies.

How to Play: A Crash Course in FFEX
For extended information, please see our FAQ.

The exchange consists of the following steps:
1. Signing Up for the Exchange
     1.1 Extra-Gift Volunteers
     1.2 Signing Up to Beta
2. Making Your Gift
     2.1 Appealing Your Assignment
3. Submitting Your Gift
     3.1 Late Gifts, Incomplete Gifts, and Defaulting
4. Leftover Requests: Moogle Fluff and Chocobo Down
5. Receiving Your Gift

1. Signing Up for the Exchange
Anyone can participate in the Exchange! The form will be included in a Sign-Up Post, and is easily filled out and submitted in a comment. This is all you need to do!

Signing up for the exchange commits you to producing one piece of fanwork within the given time frame of this round of FFEX. It also guarantees you will receive (at least) one piece of fanwork, created especially for you, during this round! The timeline for each exchange will be clearly posted prior to the Sign-Up Period. Be sure you can commit to the FFEX timeline before you sign up.

The sign-up form will ask you for your contact information, a list of things you are willing to create, and a list of requests you would like to receive. We've created a walkthrough on how to fill out the perfect sign-up formbased on data from the last exchange to help you if your would like guidance. Be sure your form is absolutely correct before you submit it. If you are worried about anything, please contact the mods during the sign-up period.

If you sign up to participate, we highly recommend that you join the community. We'll be posting reminders and calendars and helpful tips and morale-boosting cartoons!

1.1 Extra-Gift Volunteers
If you feel like giving a little extra to the exchange, you can also volunteer your time, skills, and fandom love in additional areas:

  • Back-up gifters will be called upon if others default on their assignments. You may be asked to create a gift in a very short time frame, but your hard work will ensure that all participants receive something.
  • Beta gifters create extra gifts for our hard-working sponsored betas.

Anyone can sign up to be a back-up gifter or beta gifter, whether or not you are participating in the exchange; we encourage you to do so, but also encourage you to check your schedule. Your reward for being a gift volunteer is the satisfaction of a job well done and the gratitude of your mods.

1.2 Signing Up to Beta
FFEX provides a set of sponsored betas who volunteer their time and skills to help participants. Sponsored betas submit a set of prompts, and receive a gift as "payment" for the services they offer during FFEX. During the exchange, our betas make themselves available to participants who need anything from a quick proofread to heavy concrit.

Beta signups are separate from participant signups; you can participate in the exchange and still volunteer to beta. If you are interested in signing up to be a sponsored beta, more information can be found at the sponsored beta information post. Our sponsored betas undergo a brief screening process. Once you sign up, a mod will contact you.

2. Making Your Gift!

This is the good part! After submissions close, your friendly mods will scramble to match requests with their creators, creating a giant fandom chain of giftees and gifters! Soon afterwards, you will receive an email from the mods; this email will contain your assigned person's name, along with your assignment (media, fandom, prompt!). You only need to make one gift, although you might get lucky and receive multiple prompts to choose from.

Quality guidelines are as follows:
Stories: Fics don't have to be a million pages long, but they should be at least 1,000 words. It's okay if you're a few words shy or whatever, just make sure you've put in effort and made something with substance!

Art: Tremendous full-color masterpieces are not a requirement, but simple sketches, stick figures, etc. won't cut it. If you like to sketch, take a look at your finished product and try to clean it up a little, add some shading, and/or ink/color it.

General: In general, try to be objective. Take a good look at your gift and ask yourself how thrilled you'd be to receive it.

If you have questions about your gift or how to improve it, an FFEX sponsored beta should be able to give you some suggestions.

Participation guidelines are as follows:

  • Assignments are meant to be kept secret. Please keep this information close so your receipient isn't spoiled.
  • Start early. You will have one month to create your piece! However, the month can go by quickly. Be careful.
  • Beta-ing your work is strongly suggested. It's not required, but we strongly encourage you to make use of your regular beta or our very own FFEX betas, whichever you're more comfortable with.
  • Please keep your piece out of fandom until the exchange has ended. In other words—don't post it anywhere until it has been posted here!
  • If you have questions about the prompts, or need some more information, please do not attempt to contact your giftee, even anonymously. This can ruin the surprise! Instead, email the mods—we're happy to act as an intermediary for you.

2.1 Appealing Your Assignment

If something is wrong with your prompts, you have the option of appealing your assignment. The appeals period only lasts a few days after assignments are sent out. This option is to be used only for two reasons:
  1. The moderators have made a mistake, and none of the prompts match what you listed on your sign-up form.
  2. If you feel very strongly that you are unable to create for your prompt—you find it surprisingly offensive, disturbing, unusual, in a way you did not mark on your sign-up form.

For more information on appeals, please check the FAQ.

3. Submitting Your Gift
The month is over and it's time for everyone to enjoy everyone else's hard work! Community posting will be opened for one week so that everyone can post their gift into the FFEX community to share! Posting may be moderated during certain times, so if your post doesn't show up right away, don't worry!

  • Use the header form provided in the submission week mod post. We require a certain set of headers for this community.
  • Use an lj-cut. Please don't use fake-cuts—this is a gift community and we want to make sure people can always find their gifts right here.
  • One gift per entry. If you've made multiple gifts, please make multiple posts.
  • Crossposting is okay, as long as you post to ff_exchange first!

3.1 Late Gifts, Incomplete Gifts, and Defaulting
We really don't like dealing with late gifts or having to call in back-up gifters. Please try your hardest to get your gift in on time! However, sometimes these things happen. There are consequences if your gift is late, or if you default on your assignment. The FAQ includes details on each case.

For any of the above offenses, you can win back access by creating Chocobo Down! Read more about Chocobo Down in the FAQ.

To contact the mods, please use email. Writing about it in your LJ doesn't count.

Backup volunteers will be brought in as needed to ensure that everyone gets something at a reasonable time. Everyone involved in the exchange will receive a gift created especially for one of their prompts—that's the way the exchange works!

4. Leftover Requests: Moogle Fluff and Chocobo Down

Moogle Fluff
By the end of Submission Week, most people will have received their gift, and we'll have a list of those who haven't. During the waiting period, while the mods collect late submissions and our backup gifters come to the rescue, we'll post a master list of prompts from people who are currently giftless: this is the Moogle Fluff list. Any of the prompts on the list can be filled, as many times as needed, to tide our giftless members over until their real gift arrives! For more information on Moogle Fluff, check the FAQ.

Chocobo Down
After the exchange is over, the mods will post a master list of requests that have gone unfulfilled—you did come up with three prompts on your sign-up form, remember? This master prompt list, shared at the end of each round, is the Chocobo Down list. These gifts should meet the usual FFEX quality standards, but are open to everybody, whether or not they signed up for the previous round. You can keep making Chocobo Downs for the previous exchange until signups open for the next one. More information on Chocobo Down can be found in the FAQ.

For the curious, here is the Chocobo Down list for Round #1.

5. Receiving Your Gift
You are expected to comment on your gift. This is just politeness. You are welcome to comment on other gifts as well. Don't feel like you can't comment on something because it wasn't made for you! Share fandom love!

If, for some reason, you do not like your gift:

  • DO NOT COMMENT SAYING AS SUCH. Your comment should say simply, "Thanks for making this for me!" or similar.
  • Do not complain about your gift in public. This is just bad manners, and is also a warnable offense in this community.

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

[Last edit: 6/6/09, 6am]

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Er, so I want to sign up for beta and writer. So what if the person who's writing for me picks me to beta for them?

(Screened comment)
Well, the idea is to specify the fandoms you're willing to make gifts in (which are usually assumed to be games you've played and liked), and then we will only match you with requests you feel comfortable/capable doing. In the form you use to sign up, which you can see in the forms post or the current sign up post (round 1), you'll see that there's space provided for you to specify the fandoms you're willing to make stuff in as well as any squicks or personal preferences you'd prefer NOT to work with.

Did that answer your question? If not, please let us know and we will try to be clearer =)

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