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Fandom discussion series: feedback

Fandom newsletters, please don't link to this post. Thank you!

skuf had an idea for a fandom discussion series. Here's what's going to be going on:
¤ A new topic will be posted every Friday by a different host, and run for as long as someone has something to add to the discussion.

¤ Discussions are open to f-lists of all hosts, but not fandom at large. (The idea is that people will be more comfortable talking in smaller-scale discussions).

¤ Intra-thread discussion is strongly encouraged. A list of the topics for the discussion series is available here .

So I volunteered to start us off with a discussion of that perennial fandom topic, feedback.

Feedback is one of those issues that comes up in fandom often, because people seem to have very different ideas about (a) when it is appropriate to send feedback; (b) what type of feedback is ok (e.g constructive criticism? Only praise? Only substantive comments? etc.) and (c) whether or not authors have the responsibility to acknowledge feedback in some way.

What do you think about these issues? For those of you who are mainly or solely readers, do you feel it is your responsibility to send feedback on all the stories you read? What makes you decide to leave feedback or not leave feedback? Are there certain people you're more likely to leave feedback for (e.g. new writers, or your favorite authors, or people you know personally)? Do you ever leave criticism (constructive or otherwise), or only praise? Do you still leave feedback on stories that were written a long time ago, or stories that already have pages of comments? Does it matter to you if authors reply to your feedback or not?

For those of you who are writers: how do you feel about constructive criticism? Does the format of criticism affect your judgment (e.g. publically posted v. privately emailed)? What about the issue of reviews for the reader v. feedback for the author? Do you respond to the feedback you receive? Do you think authors ought to respond to feedback, or do you think that places too much of a burden on them when their fannish time might be limited and they might have to choose between responding and writing new stories?

Obviously, there are a lot of questions and issues packed in here--please feel free to respond to the ones that actually interest you. Since I've been warned against scaring people away with a tl;dr essay (not that I would ever write such a thing), I'm going to answer some of these questions myself in my own comments. And please come in and mingle, have discussions with other people in the threads. I may not get around to replying until this evening because of work responsibilities, but please feel free to come and discuss these issues.


( 93 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jan. 26th, 2007 03:32 pm (UTC)
SO to answer some of my own questions:

My own feedbacking habits have changed a lot over the years. Back when I was a lurky lurker, I did occasionally send feedback for stories that blew me away, but I almost always did it via email; posting lj comments seemed too public and performative to me. Later, as I got more active, I went through a period of sending feedback on absolutely everything. These days I only send feedback on stories I really like, or occasionally to new authors who show promise even if I didn't completely like the stories.

Only on rare occasions do I send constructive crit, and usually I email the author first and ask if they're ok with it. I would like to say that's out of politeness or something, but mostly it's because I don't want to deal with someone's bruised ego--so generally if I don't like a story I just don't comment, even if I think it could be improved.

I thought I had overcome all of my lurky tendencies, but I noticed that when I was leaving feedback on yuletide this year before the author reveal, I felt *very* self-conscious, like I used to back when I was lurking and frequently didn't comment out of feelings of inadequacy and the assumption that the author wouldn't want to hear anything from this strange person they didn't know.

That feeling of anxiety/self-consciousness is one of the reasons I like authors who have a policy of always replying to feedback--because in the past, when I didn't get a response to feedback I had left, my assumption was always "oh my god, they thought that was the stupidest comment in the WORLD, or that I sounded like a completely moronic gushing fangirl, and that's why they're not responding." So I was always very appreciative of authors who *did* respond to feedback.

These days I'm a little more self-confident, at least most of the time, and am more likely to interpret silence as lack of time on the part of the author and not get offended if they don't respond. Still, if I leave more than twp comments on stories that aren't answered by an author, I tend to stop leaving feedback, because I do start to think the author doesn't value what I have to say.
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Re: *Guilts* - swtalmnd - Jan. 26th, 2007 08:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Jan. 26th, 2007 04:53 pm (UTC)
As a reader: Whether or not I leave feedback actually has a lot to do with where the story is posted. I almost never reply to stories that are on archives or on webpages. If there's a guestbook or a review system set up in the site, I might, but if it's something where you have to email the author, I only do so if I re-read the story a billion times and decide it's one of my all-time favorite things ever. I also, um, look down on fanfiction.net enough that the few times, once in a blue moon, I read on it, I wouldn't ever leave feedback there. On LJ or forums I try to leave feedback on the majority of stuff that I like, but I don't always succeed. On mailing lists I will email people back, because I'm already in my email as I read the story. Since I'm not currently really participating in any mailing lists or forums where I read fic, LJ is where I leave 99% of my feedback.

I will admit that I quite often don't leave a comment if someone already has 2 or 3 pages of comments. I figure at that point, my individual comment is worth a lot less - when you have 7 comments, #8 is cool, when you have 127, #128 isn't as valuable. Also, I think there's a slight factor of jealousy in there - that's more comments than I ever get. If a story is so-so and has no comments, I'm more likely to leave one than if the same so-so story already had a bunch of comments. If I know the author, I tend to comment more. Unless I feel like I've been commenting on all their posts recently and must be annoying them or looking like a stalker. If all I say is "Wow. I really liked that!" and I get no reply, I probably don't even notice, since it's such a minor comment. If I write five paragraphs about how I loved every little detail of the story, and want to discuss the characterization, and they don't reply.... I will be sad. I don't expect replies to all my feedback, but if I feel that someone never replies to my comments, I tend to stop leaving them. While I will ask questions, I don't really feel comfortable leaving criticism unless it's someone I know well.

Identity comes into it as well, my identity. I prefer to leave feedback on a site like LJ where I do have a consistent identity and where I interact with people. If I leave a comment in, say, someone's guestbook on their website, they have no way of connecting that to anything else in the world. Ditto if I email them. The feedback is entirely disembodied and not associated with anything. But on LJ, people can go from your comment to your juornal and learn who you are. They can remember your name the next time you comment. Etc. Part of why I leave feedback is to participate interactively in the fandom, so I want to be recognized and remembered by people after I've talked to them a few times, although I never can tell whether I am.

As a reader, I don't feel it's my responsibility, per se, to leave feedback. But I think it is nice. And it's one of the ways to start talking to someone, and therefore to meet people, and therefore to get people to talk to me and read my posts, and to get involved in fandom. So leaving feedback can actually be a selfish act - scratching someone else's back so they'll scratch yours.
Jan. 26th, 2007 04:53 pm (UTC)
As an author: I love every piece of feedback I get, but some I do love more than others. I like it when people leave long, detailed comments. I like it when people GET what I was trying to say, and show that. I like it when they say something a bit more than "Wow. That was fun!" I like to know which parts were especially fun, or hurty, or what. I think this is particularly true on longer pieces, like there's a words-in-comment/words-in-fic ratio.

I do reply to every comment or email I get, although sometimes I don't do so in a super timely fashion. But back in 2002, when I first started posting fic on my site, I never emailed to reply to the guestbook entries. I feel rude if someone takes the time to be nice enough to leave me a comment and I don't thank them for it. Yes, that slightly contradicts the fact that I don't expect replies to all my own feedback comments. I think fanfic authors who never reply to any feedback ever are being cold.

I've only ever seen my fic recced a small handful of times, and it's interesting to read what people say about it there. I think if someone posted an anti-rec of or rant against my stuff, I would be hurt, but if someone posted a long and mixed review, like an analysis, I'd be really pleased that they took the time to put that much effort into talking about my work. I don't think any of my stories have ever inspired the kind of meta some stories generate in fandom, and if I ever did, I'd be like, wow, I have arrived! I'm being talked about by everyone! Awesome! But then if it kept going and got negative, I'd get tired of it. On the other hand, friends of mine who are actually professionals or semi-professionals and get loads of reader-to-reader reviews made of their stuff, both positive and negative, I tend to tell them not to look at it. Once it reaches a certain volume, you really need to wash your hands and not care what people say about you and your stuff. But then, feedbacking professionals and celebrities is an entirely different kettle of fish from feedbacking other fan writers.

As for constructive criticism, I think my response depends on the kind. If someone points out a typo in a fic posted on LJ, awesome, I can edit their to there. If it's a WIP, or a rough draft I'm posting, I can take it into consideration for revision or future parts. If the story is finished and posted, though, what's the point of telling me what I could have done to make it better? It's not getting changed any more. Unless it's a general comment that I can use for writing future stories.

That's the long basics, I guess, though I could be back with more.
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(no subject) - ciaan - Jan. 26th, 2007 08:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Jan. 26th, 2007 06:18 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's my responsibility to leave feedback on stories (or vids, this all applies to them as well for me) but I feel as if I should. In my mind, fanfic is on one hand a wonderful gift that I enjoy just like I do books and it doesn't require any reciprocal action. But on the other hand, fanfic is also part of a community where giving feedback can show your appreciation, encourage more work like it and get your name out as being part of the fandom/community. I love when people make me happy with their work and the thing I love about LJ is it makes it easy to express that in a personal setting. I think it's a kind thing to do to leave feedback and being on the opposite end, I know how great it is to receive it.

My personal feedbacking habits are not as great as I'd like but I do try to leave as much as I can. My main problem is I can be lazy and don't like to write that much so it's very easy for me to just read or watch something and then just move onto something else. I'm really perfectionist about my feedback, I find it really hard to just say "I loved it!" as I want to leave a long list of reasons why I love it so much but that also makes me less likely to actually give feedback as I usually lack the motivation or time. I usually decide to leave feedback depending on if I'm in the mood for it (usually happy, generous, productive and/or squeeful helps), if I have time at that moment, if I'm particurly in the fandom or community and whether I know the author or not. If I know someone personally I'm definitely more likely to lead feedback or if I'm amazed by the work and want to let that out and encourage more, I'm much more likely as well. If I'm desperate for more fic about a subject, than I'm much more likely to feedback authors and new authors.

I almost always leave all praise, mostly because I'm uncomfortable with constructive criticism and I can see different merits for different ways. I'd rather point out the things I like and keep it positive and encouraging. If I don't like the work then I usually wouldn't comment unless there was one or two good things I did like about it. I am more like to send constructive criticism via email, especially if it requires some explaining. I usually don't care much whether the fic was written a long time ago or has a lot of comments because I want to leave my own feedback for it and again, show my appreciation for it. If I don't think a fic is getting enough comments though for its quality, then I am more likely to comment. I really like when authors leave a reply for my comments but if they don't, it's not a big deal for me and I'll still feedback them again. I understand the reasons against it but I still like a comment just to know that they read my feedback. It's just a nice feeling to know.

Mostly as a vidder here, but I love constructive criticism as it helps me improve and I want to be the best I can be. I don't really mind if its public, I see it that it can at least help others as well as myself. If it was more harsh though, an email would be better and I do like some kindness in how criticism is said. I respond to every feedback I ever receive, if I don't it's a total accident. I am always very grateful for feedback and want to thank the person who took the time in telling me about it no matter how short or long it was (although my replied usually reflect that).

In conclusion, yay feedback! I really think people just need to try their best to feedback if they can and be thankful for it when they receive it.
Jan. 26th, 2007 07:22 pm (UTC)
I am horrible at feedbacking vids. I generally feel that I need to watch them multiple times before I really get them and know what I want to say. So I download them to my computer, watch them, watch them again the next day, and again... And then don't remember where I got them from. So if I'm watching vids by random people in comms, I almost never leave comments, only if it's by someone on my flist who I can find again. And then I feel guilty about the vids that I watch a billion times and have never told the vidder how much I love them.
(no subject) - anoel - Jan. 26th, 2007 07:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ciaan - Jan. 26th, 2007 08:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - norwich36 - Jan. 26th, 2007 10:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 26th, 2007 06:20 pm (UTC)
Great idea! I'm playing!!!
I remember back in Summer, 2002, when I posted my first SV fic on the Clark/Lex list (it was several months before I began my LJ), the wonderful feedback I received encouraged me to try a second fic, and then a third. I had figured when I posted that first fic that that would be my only SV story, and all I had in me. Feedback, to me, was an inspiration to continue.

And feedback rapidly became addictive. I still gobble it up and want more!

As far as leaving feedback:

I’m bad. I should leave more. I tell myself that constantly. I tend to comment when I’ve really enjoyed a fic for whatever reason, but my comment usually isn’t anything substantial. I do tend to leave it more readily for people who don’t already have pages of comments and who I know tend to ANSWER comments. IMO, there is absolutely no excuse, ever, under any conditions, for letting feedback go unanswered, and if it happens to me more than once from the same person, I’ll likely never comment again. Time better spent writing new fics? Pshaw. A lazy excuse, IMO. How long does it take to type and comment or email: “Thanks for the kind comments on my story.”?

Feedback is a wonderful and generous gift, and, like any gift, should be acknowledged.

I know that I absolutely adore getting comments on fics I’ve posted a long time ago, so I never hesitate to leave comments on older fics as well. Comments like these somehow seem to mean more: good as it is to hear from folks on the day you post, it’s extra special when someone makes the conscious effort to go back and read the fics of yesterday and –year. I am less fussy about authors replying to comments on these, as some don’t have the “email comments” option turned on, and may not even see the comment. But I’d leave it any way.

I do tend to be more likely to leave comments for people who at least once in a while comment on stories (or entries) of mine. Sometimes I do find myself thinking: “Ah, they’ve got so many lauds already; mine isn’t necessary”, and there’s a general, slight distaste for wanting to avoid appearing a lemming.

Alas, I rarely leave constructive feedback for others because I am simply NOT a plot person. If I read someone else’s fic, I generally don’t have ideas on how to improve it plot-wise. And I’ve never felt comfortable leaving a negative comment on a fic, even when all the fic really needs is a good beta-ing or spellcheck! However, I treasure concrit on my own fics, especially when it points out things I need to clarify or better explain. My FAVORITE kinds of comments are when readers see and point out something in a story that I was largely unaware of, and the light comes on, and I think (with delight) “Yeah!! THAT’s what I was trying to say/get across in this story!”

If someone does want to criticize, it rather depends on the nature of the criticism. If it’s constructive and about something worthy of discussion, it would be fine left in comments. If someone really wanted to rip into me (and, I can’t say anyone’s ever been really harsh to me) I’d appreciate getting it in an email.
Jan. 26th, 2007 09:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Great idea! I'm playing!!!
MO, there is absolutely no excuse, ever, under any conditions, for letting feedback go unanswered, and if it happens to me more than once from the same person, I’ll likely never comment again. Time better spent writing new fics? Pshaw. A lazy excuse, IMO. How long does it take to type and comment or email: “Thanks for the kind comments on my story.”?

Although I tend to agree with you on this, I've been on metafandom for a while, and I've seen some persuasive counterarguments to this. I think a lot of it depends on where you got your fannish start. In the last round of feedback debates, for example, a bunch of Harry Potter authors were completely baffled by the expectation that they should acknowledge feedback, since they'd come into fandom on fanfiction.net, where it was impossible to acknowledge comments, so this just wasn't the community norm.

I've also seen authors say that they have responding-to-feedback- anxiety (in the way that many women have trouble dealing with praise), and that if they have to put their mental energy into overcoming that, it takes so much psychic space that they don't get around to writing stories.

From the reader's perspective, like you, I am unlikely to leave feedback again if the author doesn't reply.
Re: Great idea! I'm playing!!! - ciaan - Jan. 27th, 2007 01:48 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Great idea! I'm playing!!! - allzugern - Jan. 26th, 2007 09:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Or... - valentinemichel - Jan. 26th, 2007 09:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Or... - allzugern - Jan. 26th, 2007 09:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Or... - norwich36 - Jan. 26th, 2007 10:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Or... - allzugern - Jan. 26th, 2007 10:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Great idea! I'm playing!!! - acampbell - Jan. 26th, 2007 10:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Great idea! I'm playing!!! - allzugern - Jan. 26th, 2007 10:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Great idea! I'm playing!!! - ciaan - Jan. 27th, 2007 02:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Great idea! I'm playing!!! - allzugern - Jan. 27th, 2007 11:50 am (UTC) - Expand
lemmings united?!? - enderwiggin24 - Jan. 28th, 2007 09:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: lemmings united?!? - allzugern - Jan. 30th, 2007 01:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
ahh, damn! - enderwiggin24 - Jan. 31st, 2007 07:12 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ahh, damn! - allzugern - Feb. 3rd, 2007 05:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
pouts! - enderwiggin24 - Feb. 3rd, 2007 06:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: pouts! - allzugern - Feb. 3rd, 2007 07:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
you are cruel!! - enderwiggin24 - Feb. 3rd, 2007 07:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 26th, 2007 07:16 pm (UTC)
I think if a story exists publicly, it exists publicly for feedback. As for the type of feedback, there're a few things to consider:

1) The reader's relationship of reader to writer (i.e., do they know each other)
2) The type of fic (e.g., epic? ficlet?)
3) The venue (e.g., archive? LJ?)
4) how the writer feels about various kinds of fb (i.e., is the writer interested in concrit?)

Archives mean you have to email; therefore, archives also mean unless you take the time to compose an email, you don't send feedback. LJ means you can pop on and bang out a comment. I've done both.

I generally don't leave fb if people have a bazillion comments or if I leave comments and the writer doesn't respond to them.

The notion of "responsibility" makes fb'ing sound like a job – which it isn't. It's a nicety.

I'd have no problem sending feedback to an old story, and I hope a story's age wouldn't stop others from sending feedback to me. I'm not sure why story age is a factor. Is it the assumption that it's all been said? Age doesn't stop publishers from republishing, studios from purchasing book rights, or audiences from watching movies made from older texts. Are we admitting that fandom is different not only in terms of its focus, but also its ability to engage with producers (aka writers) within its confines?

The burden question amuses me. I can't believe anyone makes a choice between responding and writing new stories. How long does it take to say "thank you"?

As a writer, I've pretty much given up on receiving concrit (which I think should be emailed). Concrit's why I started writing fanfic, but maybe the two just don't go together.
Jan. 26th, 2007 09:21 pm (UTC)
4) how the writer feels about various kinds of fb (i.e., is the writer interested in concrit?)

And that would seem to be the big problem with con-crit, especially on LJ. If you read as much fanfic as I do, it's impossible to know all the authors and how they will respond. I also don't have the time to check with each author to see if con-crit will offend them. Small con-crit I leave in the comments (ie. spelling mistake, homophone, etc.) More specific con-crit I will usually e-mail, especially if it's to tell someone that if the three betas they have didn't point out any of the things I have, it is certainly time to search for a new beta.

I'm with you on this one. True constructive crit. is gold. It's the only way to grow as a writer and I have learned to worship the betas I have that aren't afraid to point out exactly where I am going wrong or what could be done better. *hugs the betas*
(no subject) - norwich36 - Jan. 26th, 2007 10:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - valentinemichel - Jan. 27th, 2007 01:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - norwich36 - Jan. 27th, 2007 01:35 am (UTC) - Expand
err, no! - enderwiggin24 - Jan. 28th, 2007 09:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Not necessarily... - valentinemichel - Jan. 28th, 2007 10:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
yep, ! - enderwiggin24 - Feb. 1st, 2007 10:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - enderwiggin24 - Jan. 28th, 2007 09:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 26th, 2007 08:30 pm (UTC)
I am always grateful for writers, artists and vidders who share their work for my entertainment. I try to feedback everything I view or read -- unless I find it so un-redeemable that I can't find anything positive to say. I have from time to time forgotten to go back and leave a comment (especially if I am reading while off-line) and I always feel horribly guilty.

I will con-crit stories, but only if I can balance the negative against the mostly positive aspects of a story. I know there are many authors who don't want con-crit, and if they are vocal about that, or if they are known for deleting good con-critical comments, I won't fb them at all. You can't grow as a writer without it and I have yet to find an author in fandom who couldn't benefit now and again from the objective eye of the readers. By good con-crit, I am talking about plot holes, lapses in logic, characterizations that fluctuate over the course of a fic, as well as grammar and spelling problems.

I find that I send less con-crit on art and vids, as I understand nothing about the media so that I would hardly be able to make positive suggestions for improvement -- which is a big key in con-crit. It is totally *useless* to just complain without being able to pin down exactly what was imo off.

I don't think there is ever a time constraint on fb. As long as the story is up, and there is a way to leave fb, then it should be given.

Hmm. that's all I have to say at the moment, I need to go and see what other people are saying :-)
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(no subject) - allzugern - Jan. 26th, 2007 09:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - norwich36 - Jan. 26th, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - allzugern - Jan. 26th, 2007 10:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
that is true! - enderwiggin24 - Jan. 31st, 2007 07:09 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 26th, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC)
I'm weird about feedback. I never solicit it explicitly in my vid posts. That's because as a vidder, I don't feel like anyone owes me feedback. I make stuff because I love to do it, and I post it because I want to share it. Period. That said, I looooove positive feedback if people are moved to offer it. But concrit? Nope, I don't want it. I can barely stand to hear it from my betas (who are the sweetest betas ever). I don't feel like I should feel obliged to read someone's criticism of my vids when I'm making them purely for fun and giggles. I don't like to be critiqued/criticized. Is that a shocking thing for me to say?

As a reader, I only give positive feedback. If I don't have anything nice to say, I don't say anything at all. That's just the way I roll.
Jan. 26th, 2007 09:14 pm (UTC)
You just made me realized how biased my questions are to feedbacking fic rather than vids. Oops! Sorry about that!

I totally understand not wanting concrit. I think it has a lot to do with whether you conceptualize what you're doing as something you're doing primarily for fun or something you're doing primarily as art. There's a significant overlap between the two categories, obviously, but some people are more on one or the other end of the spectrum.

I'd never leave concrit on a vid just because I wouldn't even know what to say, since I don't know the technical issues involved and my vocabulary for talking about vids is more on the "ooh, shiny!" end of the spectrum. I do occasionally leave concrit on stories, though as I said above, I always ask the author first, precisely because so many people are just in this for fun and don't want criticism. I do, however, stop reading stories of people who are consistently bad, and have been known to be extremely snarky in private about authors who've been around for awhile and have shown no improvement.
(no subject) - talitha78 - Jan. 26th, 2007 09:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - norwich36 - Jan. 26th, 2007 10:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - talitha78 - Jan. 26th, 2007 09:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 26th, 2007 09:18 pm (UTC)
As a reader, I do tend to be likelier to leave FB for stories I like that don't have a ton. I'll leave it for popular stuff too, if I feel like I have a comment worth saying, but I'm lazy, and my pc is slow, so... The age of the story doesn't make much difference.

As a writer, I love love love FB of any stripe, except perhaps really rude. I'm lucky enough that I haven't really had any 'your writing sucks' type responses. I have had the typical "Slash is so gross, ewwww" flames, but that just puts me in a shared, special little club, of sorts.

I don't seem to be the sort of person who gets oodles of feedback. I've never made it onto page 2, I don't think. In fact, the one time I have gotten a really amazing amount of it, (for my Yuletide story, Transmogrification) it was, of course, anonymous. And I wondered if that was a sign that perhaps people didn't like me. (Yeah, I have self-esteem issues)

Anyway, I love getting feedback for really old stories. I love it when my responder tells me my story made them think. Concrit is fine, too. Pointing out typos or other similar issues is fine on LJ, that way I can fix them right up. If it's something deeper, I'd probably prefer it in email, but if it's a choice between LJ or nothing, LJ wins.

Really, beggars can't be choosers.
Jan. 26th, 2007 10:14 pm (UTC)
In fact, the one time I have gotten a really amazing amount of it, (for my Yuletide story, Transmogrification) it was, of course, anonymous. And I wondered if that was a sign that perhaps people didn't like me. (Yeah, I have self-esteem issues)

The anonymity issue is interesting. I do think people often get "branded" in the public mind with a certain kind of story, and if you're associated with a certain type of story people like (or don't like) that may affect your readership in certain ways. That's one thing I like about anonymous challenges: you get to judge the writing itself, free of the author's reputation.
Jan. 26th, 2007 09:38 pm (UTC)
I fb pretty much every story that I read all the way through and enjoy more than not. I tend to give in-depth critique only to people that I know well and therefore know will understand my intent; other than that, I might say, "I didn't quite get Z, but I loved X, Y and A," but no more than that. I very rarely leave long, detailed feedback -- the kind I most like to get --simply because it seems like I never have the time, and I'd rather say SOMETHING than nothing. As a writer, I really, really value all feedback, whether brief, lengthy or anything in between. And I think that commenting on stories is, if not something readers "have" to do, simple politeness, as well as the single best way of ensuring that more stories like the ones you enjoy come into being!
Jan. 26th, 2007 10:18 pm (UTC)
And I think that commenting on stories is, if not something readers "have" to do, simple politeness, as well as the single best way of ensuring that more stories like the ones you enjoy come into being!

ITA about that. In fact, I stopped lurking around the time story production in SV started going down; I figured if someone didn't start encouraging writers in the fandom to keep writing, soon there weren't going to be any new ones to read!
Jan. 26th, 2007 10:02 pm (UTC)
When I was reading fic, which I now rarely do, I'd still really only comment on the people I knew and outside of the fandom, not ever ever ever. I suspect this is mostly to do with my comfort level with 'strangers' and it's the same reason I don't ever leave concrit either, I don't know them and wouldn't just feel like I could judge them.

Despite my great love of hating people, I just, I don't like public concrit. It's like, I see it as almost a type of public humiliation . Even though I know intellectually that concritters are trying to be helpful it always comes off to me as like mocking. IDK how to put it. It makes me uncomfortable.

I don't think 'I am looking for concrit' should be considered the default for when you submit something to fandom and I don't think 'feedback' should be taken as 'good or bad' either. Pretty much unless someone explicitly states that they are looking for concrit then it shouldn't be given.
Jan. 26th, 2007 10:10 pm (UTC)
I am very interested to read your take on concrit! Possibly because of your "great love of hating people" I wouldn't have expected that.

I myself always send concrit in private, if I send it--and generally I (a)ask first and (b)only bother when I think the author is very promising but needs to work on some specific thing to be excellent. Otherwise I'm too lazy. (However, I don't think of pointing out a few obvious typos as concrit--to me that's more like saying "do you know you have toilet paper stuck to your shoe" or something--easily fixable and an act of kindness so someone isn't publically embarassed.)

It's interesting, though--I don't really approve of public concrit, but I often love snarky reviews. What's the difference, there? I mean, reviews are for the reader, not the writer, but that doesn't mean the writer won't stumble upon them. I wonder why I make this distinction in my own head.
(no subject) - sadface - Jan. 26th, 2007 10:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - norwich36 - Jan. 26th, 2007 11:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ciaan - Jan. 27th, 2007 02:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sadface - Jan. 27th, 2007 11:26 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 26th, 2007 11:57 pm (UTC)
solely readers,
// do you feel it is your responsibility to send feedback on all the stories you read? //

nope *g*, its a pleasure :)

and yes, i do leave fb on all clex stories that i read.
and the more i rec, the easier its for me to leave fb for those fics, which i have read years ago, but never had the chance to leave fb (in earlier fannish life, i just had to dl fics on my harddrive, and read them offline, coz grr. dial up was horribly expensive).

now, broadband is for me heaven. instant gratification, instant response, if i manage. if not, I just store the entire fic or post or whatever with a java script, it gets mailed into my gmail inbox, and i can go back to it later.

though really few of my flist ever know, i even do concrit *g*
but only if i have been directly asked via email to do so. otherwise, i am all in for the happy squeeing, and positive confirmation.

and its 1 am in germany, so i will be back hopefully tomorrow, with more coherent sentences :D
Jan. 27th, 2007 01:44 am (UTC)
Re: solely readers,
Yes, I see you commenting all over the place, and you always seem to find something positive to say about everything.
I hope this is a good thing *g* - enderwiggin24 - Jan. 28th, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 27th, 2007 12:34 am (UTC)
I should start out by saying I'm a reader, and not a writer, unfortunately. Leaving feedback to me is one small way I can contribute to fandom, so I'm always very interested in reading what people have to say about it.

Many interesting comments here. I don't have much to add. I think if you read what cian's said in her comment as a reader, and what a few other people have said as well, that would probably cover what I think.

As one of the contributors to the snarry_reader (a journal that includes links to stories we've really liked) I occasionally have a look at stories I've included to see if people have left feedback. Did anyone else like this story as much as I did? Does the author get any positive response from being included on the Reader? I'm usually disappointed to see no new feedback at all. I really wonder about that. Perhaps people don't like the story, and my taste sucks!! (Awful thought.) Perhaps people are shy? Goodness knows.

I see that skuf mentions a "Hit and Review Day". That's a good idea. I don't expect people to leave reviews for stories they don't like, but if they make it to the end and liked most of what they read, it would be lovely to mention that fact to the author. That's what I try to do, anyway.

And as for authors not leaving comments to feedback, there's one particularly popular author I haven't friended and I avoid communicating with for that reason. I'm not sure it's not being a bit childish and petty on my part, though.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - gaycrow - Jan. 27th, 2007 06:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 27th, 2007 06:28 am (UTC)
If I read a SV story on LJ and I like it, I always comment. Other fandoms--I feel less connected, but I will leave a comment if it's a newer fic and the author responds to feedback, which to me, says that they appreciate it. If they have three pages of comments and it's two years old and they haven't replied to anyone, I don't bother.

On the other hand, I don't understand why some people won't leave feedback if there's more than one page of comments. If the author responds to their feedback, they obviously appreciate it, and would love to hear from you.

At the same time, I understand how responding can be overwhelming if you get tons of comments for each story. It takes a *long time* to respond to those comments if you try to say something personal to each person, especially if you have to reply to them all at once.

There's an HP author I love that gets at least four to five pages for each story, and I understand why she doesn't reply and I don't mind it, but I would be more likely to leave feedback for every story if she responded, as opposed to leaving a comment every once and a while. Hmm, there's also a bit of an intimidation factor. Usually I'm just so blown away by her writing that all I can say is, I LOVED THIS. But I suck at leaving thoughtful feedback anyway.

And there seems to be different standards for replying to feedback in other fandoms. I've been reading some SPN lately and I've been a little stunned when I see how many authors don't bother to reply. There are exceptions, of course, still, compared to SV, it's a little... different.

Very cool post! ♥
Jan. 28th, 2007 01:14 am (UTC)
If I'm on the fence about whether or not to leave feedback--maybe I liked a few elements of the story but had issues with other ones, and would have to spend some time thinking about diplomatic feedback, then the fact that a story had more than two pages of comments might dissuade me--but if I really like a story I'll comment even if there's already several pages of comments.

Hmm, I wouldn't have expected SPN to be a fandom where people don't respond to comments, since it is a post-lj fandom. That's very strange!!
Jan. 27th, 2007 11:44 am (UTC)
I thought of something else if it's something by someone I don't know, I am much more likely to leave feedback if someone I consider a good friend already did. I don't know why that it.
Jan. 28th, 2007 01:15 am (UTC)
Maybe it's the equivalent of an internet introduction?
(no subject) - sadface - Jan. 28th, 2007 01:22 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 28th, 2007 10:23 pm (UTC)
ok, now its my turn :) part I
I am not sure, how long this will be , but here i go, since i rarely put time on discussions like this:
most have already been covered, but i think, this might be useful for me later as well.

Since i had broadband, its never been an issue with me on whether to feedback/comment or not, but just instead, when do I leave it.
and for further clarification, I have been and will be doing this in the future, because I always have an aim: I love fics, and if its in any way helping, I want others to feel comfortable and secure enough to bring themselves in with even more then they have already done. clearly, i think, every fic, that is posted, and has either an email, a guestbook, or the comments enabled, is opened by the author for feedback.

of course, what kind of feedback they accept , is a complete other thing, but thats first and foremost my assumption.
(of course, there are also author that i have seen , that start their fics in the intro with: "please no feedback, i know my story sucks" or have comments on LJ disabled, because they want to free themselves from the constant craving of feedback and try to write just for themselves. Which are motives, that i totally support, and therefor, will not give them any comments.

So, like most of the fans, readers and authors alike, have already stated, i also only leave positive comments if its a public space like LJ.
whether i expect an author to acknowledge my comments is really depending on the kind of feedback that i have been leaving: if its just a one liner, or squeeing, honestly, up til today, i would not mind, if there is no reation by the artist.
as skuf said, rather then having them replying to all those squeeing, maybe they could have spend time writing?!?!
if i made more efforts in my comments, like telling what specifically i liked about that certain fic, then it would be nice, if the author acknowledge that bit, by e.g. saying what inspire them to write or add that part.

and for the amount of comments, that have been left on a fic, does not ever influence me on my commenting, as well as does the time that has past since it has been posted.
since i rec or help others finding fics a lot, i do even found it easier to leave feedback , because each time, and older fic has been searched, and i know it, and already found the link for that fan, why not instantly going to the author , and make them happy by telling them, their fic has been looked for!
its a fantastic opportunity to tell them , that i liked that fic as well, and if i have more time, what particularly i liked about it.
in german, we say "zwei fliegen mit einer klappe", i think, the english equivalent is "killing two birds with one stone"?!??!

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