Daye

Mistrust of Good Reviews

40 posts in this topic

Is this just a particular quirk of mine, or does anybody else feel the same way when you get reviews along the lines of; 'this is so good! more please!' I mean I can;t really object that kind of thing right? But I'm still not reassured that the work is good because everyone gets reviews like that. Even fics, I look at and know are just awfully written will have comments.

Ratings are even worse. Almost every fic gets five stars and the only really way to tell about the quality is to look at the number of 5 star votes its got. And even then; if its a long fic that's no guarantee. It takes a spectacularly bad fic for the number next the rating to go down to three or two.

This is aslo the reason I'm hesitant about rating fics myself because I know what I rank as five out of five has to be a lot more than it seems for other people and I don't want to muck up their average so that everyone who rates everything 5 will see it and skip it.

Does that make any sense to anyone else?

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Is this just a particular quirk of mine, or does anybody else feel the same way when you get reviews along the lines of; 'this is so good! more please!' I mean I can;t really object that kind of thing right? But I'm still not reassured that the work is good because everyone gets reviews like that. Even fics, I look at and know are just awfully written will have comments.

Ratings are even worse. Almost every fic gets five stars and the only really way to tell about the quality is to look at the number of 5 star votes its got. And even then; if its a long fic that's no guarantee. It takes a spectacularly bad fic for the number next the rating to go down to three or two.

This is aslo the reason I'm hesitant about rating fics myself because I know what I rank as five out of five has to be a lot more than it seems for other people and I don't want to muck up their average so that everyone who rates everything 5 will see it and skip it.

Does that make any sense to anyone else?

I know what you mean. Just a short and to the point "Oh my God I love this!" doesn't really tell you anything. It could be a really crap story and they are just gee they posted I'll say something.

I much prefer personally to say yeah I liked it. This is what I liked, this is what I didn't. There was a slight error here. I also like to encourage the authors I like. I want them to finish their stories.

I rarely rate stories myself. Only ones that are fantastically good. Even then I only rate it once or twice. It really does depend on how long the story is.

For a first chapter I can kind of understand those type of reviews, but after that more is better in my opinion.

Okay 2 cents spent

TTFN ;)

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To get reviews like that always leaves me wanting, like I want to know what parts were awesome? But then again it's always better than silence or a silent five rating.

When I'm looking for other stuff to read though, the number of those 5+ kind of helps, but I ultimately just go and read the summary and the first few chapters and decide for myself. If I like it, I review and rate, just to show my love.

IMO the problem is the ratings just show up as +, if it were in decimals it'd be a little more diverse than just the number of +'s. XD It would even help if it were to show up as a mere +/-, although the abuse of such systems would be spectacular for those who just down rate for the hell of it. :|

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What's even worse is when you see the same exact wording on a review they give other people, no matter the story. It kinda' feels like a form letter thing from some of them.

As for ratings.... I don't see where they mean a lot at all. Once you get over a certain number of them, giving it the rating it truly deserves if it's at a 5 is like adding teaspoons of sand to a beach, it doesn't mean anything.

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I hate when people continually leave the same generic reviews. It doesn't help the authors, and it feels like the reader is just saying something to be nice. I try to make sure all of my reviews are detailed so the authors know what they did well and what they can improve on. It's too bad that most people just see it as a place to leave generic encouragement- not that encouragement is bad (I'm not saying that!!!!), but just that it needs to be more constructive if it's going to amount to anything more than words on a page.

As to ratings, I don't leave 'em, and I don't really pay attention to 'em. I use summaries to make my decision on what to read; if I happen to like that author's style, I'll look up more of his/her work and check out recommendations.

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People don’t seem to be able to differ a “review” and a “comment.” This is not some halfassed site like youtube or something, but people don’t seem to get it. This is what teacher and so on, have been trying to teach kids for generations, to now what they like/hate, but most importantly, WHY? One of the things I discovered while being in practice on a average high school, is that the kids have not evolved anything since third grade in some areas.

For example, they young class of teenagers was assign to read a … book! And then was assigned to write a simple book review. 97% of all the classes, wrote something similar to this “Good book, liked it.” “Really great book! It was awesome!” “It was okay …” and so on … Like, What The?

I complained to the teacher for not fail all those kids, she then order me to try to get them on the right track! Conversation:

“I really liked it!”, “What exactly did you like?”, “I liked the part were (insert)” , “Oh okey, what did you like about it?”, “I dunno …”

DAMN! It’s like screaming, push, Push, PUUUUSH! To them, but it just wont work. These kids were between the age of, 15 - 19! They just don’t want to! You don’t have to give a 500 word review. You just need to tell them, what and why!

But one of the things that gets to me, this is a site ONLY for adults, right? Then why are many of the reviews of the same crappy standards? Do we really have so many “adults” not being able to give good criticism? Or are the a more *ehum* alarming reasons?

And one thing that bothers me the most, is that people just cant write in a polite and intellectual manner! We don’t need someone saying, “You suck!” on a review board, unless the comment was directed to yourself, then it was just an outstanding observation!

(*phew* got that off my back … I be off to sprinkle water on my neighbours cat now, see ya!)

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I have noted that my SFW stories are rated lower than my NSFW ones. Which is odd, as many of my fans like the SFW ones more.

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I rarely rate stories myself. Only ones that are fantastically good. Even then I only rate it once or twice. It really does depend on how long the story is.

I really don't think you should be able to rate a story more than once. I know it's easier to rate a story for a lot of readers than to leave a detailed or even a one liner review. I'd like to know that after 5 days if my story has 10 more votes but only 5 more reviews that it's actually some new readers voting that didn't bother to review, not the same reviewers voting twice.

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I really don't think you should be able to rate a story more than once. I know it's easier to rate a story for a lot of readers than to leave a detailed or even a one liner review. I'd like to know that after 5 days if my story has 10 more votes but only 5 more reviews that it's actually some new readers voting that didn't bother to review, not the same reviewers voting twice.

I agree with this. This happens alot on my Original Story I have up which makes me happy to know that there are new readers out there. My last update got two reviews but went up five ratings which were over a few days span so I know different ppl are reading. I'd take a good, detailed review over 5 rates any day but all in all if a lot of ppl are reading and seem to be enjoying it then I'm happy. I write as a hobby and because I get enjoyment from it but also beacuse I want to share my creative mind with others and they can shoose to like it or not.

If I review a story I will start off with the generic (love it, interesting story, write more...ect.) but then I'll go into detail of what I like about it whether its the characters, plot or character pairing. If the story is still new with only one or two chapters I'll just be generic but interested then go into detail as they update with more chapters to develope the story.

I also think that ppl need to actually Review in their Review, dont just be generic all the time where all the reviews by the person look the same, who wants to see "like it, update soon!" 10 times in a row? Give some feedback, thats why the button is there! I'll appreciate any rewview really but I like the rest of us would like a bit more input to help us improve as writers. After all, we are updating for you, the reader, so show us some love, please? :)

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I like it when people take the time to review but the one liners ("this is so good" "please write more") don't help me at all. Writing is just a hobby for me, but I would still like to get better at it and comments like these don't offer anything. At the least it would be nice for readers to tell me what they like or did not like. Just a little something I can use to improve my work.

I appreciate every review I get but it's frustrating sometimes when all you get are the "OMG this is great! please update!" kind of reviews. At lease AFF isn't as bad as some other fanfic sites (fanfiction.net being the worst, but I always blamed that on the ton of younger readers there). Still, whenever I review a story I always try to give the author some critique, be it pointing out typos or simply telling them what I liked about their work, because I understand that a single one of these reviews is worth more to the author than 10 "this is great!" one liner reviews.

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Being utterly paranoid, I get all nervous when I hear something nice about my work. Balancing that out, however, is the little monster than needs stroking with some verbal gushing. What helps is hearing why someone likes what I've written. I'd like to know what worked and, even more, what didn't. "I love your story!" is great for the ego, but hearing why they like it, with a few examples helps me feel better about actually working on my craft.
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Seeing as how I don't write, I'll still answer as a reviewer. As busy as I am on any given day, if I take the time to read your work, I'll ALSO take the time to review it. Being the sort of person who tends to answer things short and to the point to begin with, I don't think I've ever left a super long review.

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As a reader, somtimes i don't got any specific points to make, but i still feel like thanking the writer or letting them know i enjoyed it enough to wanna read any additional chapters they write, and other stuff along those lines. If these types of reactions aren't appropriate for the most obvious and easy to reach place when you finish reading a story, then how do you suggest i proceed?

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@ Tigro Spottystripes:

It certainly doesn't hurt to say something like that in a review. It just would be even better if you at least give a bit of an idea what exactly it is you like so much, or of what could have been done better. Perhaps you don't have specific criticism, nothing that stood out like a sore thumb. Maybe it's difficult to exactly pin-point what made the story so enjoyable.

However, even just saying something like "this and this line/scene/conversation made me laugh", or "I cried a little when this/that happened" in an otherwise "plain" review makes it special. Hell, even a line like "I wonder how [character] is going to react to [other character]'s action/revelation/etc." could be enough.

It shows that you read the story and considered it worth another few moments of your time to leave a review, whereas a review like "I liked it. Please update. I wanna read more!" could be meant for any and every story. Nothing in it refers to the fic you just read. It reads like a copy-and-paste response, even when heartfelt by the person leaving it, because it's so generic.

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Lol, I guess I am a little loose when it comes to reviews. I have noticed on AFF that people don't review very often, and when they do I am always relieved and so overjoyed that I don't really register what they say >_<

A review is a review I feel. You can't expect more from it. It's the reviewers emotions and feeling poured into a long or short comment and you can't really want to kick them in the guts for it.

I have never gotten the idea that they don't read the story. If anyone reviews a story of mine I appreciate it to the full because when you think about it not alot of people actually go through the effort to review. Most just read, enjoy the story check for updates and that's that. Out of 810 hits on my one story I've got three reviews. Which tells me the staggering ratio of view per review. I personally read between ten to fifteen stories a day, and I review once every two weeks. So if I do review it means I really did enjoy the story.

So I honestly don't think we should get angry abou this ^_^ just the fact that they take the time to do so says a lot about how much they enjoyed it, no matter how insignifcant or silly the 'review' or comment is :P They thought you worthy of it, and I always feel a little flattered when they do :)

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I have a love-hate relationship with ratings. I love to use them to give my overall (dis)like of a work, especially if I don't have anything specific or constructive to say. I hate them because there are stories with perfect 5's that I was unable to affect with my less-than-stellar rating selection. I also hate ratings because, similarly, some stories with perfect 5's I consider to be inferior (in my smugly superior Slytherin way) than my own work, which often has less-than-5's.

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Why I hate the star/plus rating system:

  • Friends will up-vote their friends' stories. No matter how atrocious the writing.
  • Pairings are down-voted just because someone doesn't like them, regardless of how good the story was.
  • Drabbles and Twitfics are down-voted simply because of what they are, regardless of their content.
  • It is utilized as a form of retribution for any number of things.
  • Users will leave a "rating" rather than a review.

The last one doesn't bother me so much because I thrive on praise, but because if it sucked, tell me why. I can't get better at writing if you don't tell me what I did wrong.

(Having said that, please, by all means, tell me what I did right as well so I don't keep trying to improve something that is in an acceptable place, but neglect something that is in vast need of improvement.)

Seeing as how I don't write, I'll still answer as a reviewer. As busy as I am on any given day, if I take the time to read your work, I'll ALSO take the time to review it. Being the sort of person who tends to answer things short and to the point to begin with, I don't think I've ever left a super long review.


Case in point of that:

DemonGoddess061 2013-04-29 id # 3000030718

Squeeeee! You wrote something! Good usage of the prompt by the way.


That review meant the world to me. It told me one thing I needed to know: did I convey what I intended?

And, Daye, I can honestly say that I didn't get a "more" review on any of my stories until 2013-09-05. The story was Published [2013-05-11]. ;) Even then, there was a bit more to it, and it was spelled correctly as well as being a complete sentence.

I will say this - I generally won't 'vote' on a story in the archive (can't say I never have). I will, however, leave a review that will offset the "MOAR" reviews by leaving actual concrit. Anyone who is looking for a solid review would hopefully see that and consider it before simply clicking on the link and being disappointed by a five-star rating.

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Being utterly paranoid, I get all nervous when I hear something nice about my work. Balancing that out, however, is the little monster than needs stroking with some verbal gushing. What helps is hearing why someone likes what I've written. I'd like to know what worked and, even more, what didn't. "I love your story!" is great for the ego, but hearing why they like it, with a few examples helps me feel better about actually working on my craft.

I am totally with you on this. I love just hearing that people have read my stuff and like it, and the praise-whore side of me will cling to the belief that they are sincere even if the cynical side has no such illusions. I do prefer when people say something of substance, even if it is critical. I try to always give details in my reviews. I hardly ever review something I don't like at least a little bit, though, because I'll have stopped reading it before the end in that case, and I generally only review it if I've read the whole thing.

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I hardly ever review something I don't like at least a little bit, though, because I'll have stopped reading it before the end in that case, and I generally only review it if I've read the whole thing.

The problem with this is that the person sees that their hit rate keeps going up, and their review count is stagnant. So they think they're doing just fine in their writing, that there's no problems at all with it, and that they can't possibly improve it, because the only ones leaving reviews are the ones saying "I liked this!" and "When's the next chapter?"

Yes, I've left reviews on works I didn't like. I do it all the time. But I do always try to find something positive to convey about the work as well.

One issue that crops up because of finally getting a concrit review when all they've received to that point is fanpoodling is that suddenly, someone is making them think about their work objectively, and the author gets extremely defensive. I am firmly of the opinion that if more readers would at least tell the author what they liked and what they didn't, there would be less question of "is this a good story?" when one sees numerous "I liked this!" reviews because there would be concrit on that board to balance it out.

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The problem with this is that the person sees that their hit rate keeps going up, and their review count is stagnant. So they think they're doing just fine in their writing, that there's no problems at all with it, and that they can't possibly improve it, because the only ones leaving reviews are the ones saying "I liked this!" and "When's the next chapter?"

Rogue, I see your point. Honestly I had not thought of it that way (now I'm wondering if that's what's happening to my current story lol)...

For me, I think I am pretty decent at taking concrit, though it's not like I don't have a vain streak - I just have the restraint in my old age not to let my vanity barf all over people. I am quite scared of people who don't have that type of restraint, though, which is one of the reasons I am not likely to review something I disliked. Basically, I'm a wimp.

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On this site, I don't have any worries reviewing something I didn't like.

I know that I'm not overstepping by telling them what I thought, because I always try to do so in a courteous manner. I give points in their story to back up my opinion, and I always try to point out something about the story that I did like - even if it's just the use of active voice instead of passive voice.

An example

One reason I don't have to worry about what I say within the boundaries of civility on this site is simple: flames aren't allowed. So if I review your story with actual viable criticism, and you flame mine in return? I report. The end.

On FFN I have the option to block a user, and I use it quite frequently. Here, I don't have to worry about slow mod response, so I don't need to block users. I don't just say that because I'm a member of the staff, I say that because we actually care about our readership, and anyone that's flamed would get the same treatment, as long as they had abided by the terms of service themselves.

I can say that I haven't had the issue of retaliation reviews on this site. Most of the users here (not all, mind, but most) will either simply delete the review if they don't like it, and ignore you, or they'll accept you have an opinion and respond to you. Some will just ignore the review.

I don't have a problem in the world telling someone what I thought of their story, especially when they make it publicly available. I understand the hesitation, but rest assured, retaliation would not be permitted as a response to true concrit.

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Like phoeyay, I tend not to leave a review if I have absolutely nothing to say that's even vaguely positive. That's not because I am afraid of retaliation, but because in most cases, I will have hit the "back" button before even reaching the end of the first chapter.

In the cases where that is not the case, I will usually have at least one positive thing to say. Be it that the story has an interesting premise, that I smiled at a witty remark or joke or sarcastic line, that there was some description somewhere that I liked, or a character I liked or (in case of fanfiction rather than original) felt was portrayed well, or even just the title or a chapter title, the use of proper grammar, spelling and punctuation, an interesting piece of dialogue or a neat plot-twist.

However, if absolutely none of these apply; if I have even searched for something I like but came up blank, then I will not leave a review unless that person specifically asked me for feedback.

Because frankly speaking, at that point, the story isn't worth even more of my time.
Especially because the chances of an author honestly welcoming an in-depth concrit review, rather than deleting it or crying "FLAME!", when in their story, the spelling, grammar and punctuation were off, the titles cliché, the plot twists absent or visible from ten miles distance, the characters completely and utterly boring, OOC or Mary Sues, the descriptions not evoking anything, the storyline not interesting and not a single sentence in sight that I liked... yeah, those chances would be practically zero.

EDIT: For clarity's sake, with "the spelling, grammar and punctuation were off", I do not mean the occasional typo, homophone-switch, a single missed capital or similar problems.

I mean the kind of story where it's very clear that the story has seen neither spell-check nor beta and most likely hasn't even been re-read once by the author before uploading it.

Edited by SillySilenia
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Again, though, I have to point out that not leaving reviews to let the author know that their work needs work only perpetuates the idea that their writing is perfectly acceptable.

Without anyone telling that author, even in a friendly or civil way, that they really would benefit from using the spell-check on their word processing program, that their plot was cliched and could not hold your interest, that their characters were boring, or even that there is a massively gaping hole in their story which makes the entire premise impossible, that author will go merrily along, without ever considering that their work could be better than it is.

As to it not being worth your time, if it was worth your time to click the link and read as far as you did, why is it not worth your time to leave the author a few words about why you feel finishing the story isn't worthy of your effort?

Apathetic reading leads to complacent writing. I never want to see a world where sub-standard becomes standard, and without someone speaking up, that's the direction in which we would clearly be headed.

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To be quite frank, I don't leave reviews on stories that I simply can't read.

It's not because I don't care about the future of the written word. On the contrary, I'm in love with words, and have been all my life. I relish the interplay of language, and I delight in nuance and shading. Nothing makes me happier than to be transported elsewhere by a well written story.

But...

But if you don't care enough to run a simple spellcheck, if you prefer the sloppiness of text-speak, if you haven't the barest notion of how to use punctuation, if grammar is an elderly female relative good only for birthday handouts, NOTHING I say in a review is going to make you change. I've no desire to waste my time tilting at windmills.

The best advice I can give to anyone who wants to improve as a writer is to read. You'll see some common themes in published books everywhere. They follow the basic rules of grammar. They use punctuation appropriately. They spell words correctly. They attribute dialogue in a way that lets me know who's speaking without having to read back three paragraphs. They don't broadcast a change of scene or change in point of view with a banner headline. They research, so you don't have a medieval monk checking his wristwatch. (Brownie points if you can name the play in which Shakespeare makes a similar error.)

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There was a time--on different sites, though, I'll readily admit that--where I did bother leaving reviews on such sub-standard works. To the best of my knowledge, not a single one of those reviews was listened to. Indeed, in a few cases I've had authors call "flame!", in another few cases I've had authors send their fluffy fanpoodles after me. That does not bother me as much as it does to some people, and indeed, would not have stopped me if at least one of the authors I left reviews for actually listened.

Unfortunately, the people you describe, who will assume that their story, with all it's flaws, is the best thing since sliced bread solely because they see their view count jump up, tend to also be the people who assume that anything less than sugary sweet reviews are flames and that the reviewer, honestly wanting to help them improve, is just jealous of them and their great story.

Of course, that is just all my experience. However, what I am speaking of in such cases are not just "bad" fics. They're the borderline-troll fics. Anyone who can upload, say, a whole chapter of sentences like "n den i flied on top f teh coluds, wif mai beatyful prefectly whit wings & my fifthy ft long black-blu-blond hare was rifled bye teh wind. Den my pruple-gren-blu eyes spoted............................................... somting weeeeeeeeeiiiiiird. n den jake flied 2 were i am nd puled his 18 ins long fat rod off manmeet outta him lether pans nd stated makin luv 2 me form behin" (not a quote of any specific work to the best of my knowledge, but yes, some inspiration for this... style was drawn from the infamous 'My Immortal') and actually believes their work is perfectly acceptable for uploading will not be likely to start scratching their head and think, 'hey, I could improve some' because of a review. Or twenty.

Like I said, generally speaking, if I come across stories like that, I hit "previous page" before ever reaching the point where I can leave a review. The exceptions is if I'm trying to figure out if someone is a troll or just that bad a writer. Of course, now that I am staff, there'll be more stories I'll have to read for obvious reasons that I normally would have clicked away after a few lines because it's giving me a headache.

There are writers who just have no real interest in writing, just in the fluffy fanpoodles. They see writing as a way to get their attention fix, without any love for the written word, for the stories they've read or the stories they're telling and without any wish to improve, because that would take effort. They don't want to do something that takes effort, they just want their daily/weekly/monthly dose of attention.

There are people that believe whatever they do cannot be anything less than perfect--whether they're people singing for talent shows that honestly believe they're talented, amazing singers and that everyone who dares say different is just jealous, even though that would mean that 99% of the people around them are jealous, whether they're the people that honestly think they're the next great baseball star, even though they can't run or hit a ball or whether they see themselves as awesome writers.

Yes, some of these people do grow a love for writing and a realization that they're not as perfect as they think they are at some point, as well as a wish to improve. However, that requires them to open their eyes. So long as they've gotten their eyes closed, their fingers in their ears and singing loudly "I'm amazing! I can't hear your criticism, because I'm too amazing to improve!", it quite honestly is not worth the effort in my opinion. They might hear what I say, but they will not listen. Especially not if there is not a single point I can mention that is positive.

Now, I don't say this goes for all or even most of the writers whose writing is below "outstanding" or even "acceptable". However, when there is quite literally nothing positive to say about their fic, that tends to be a VERY big clue pointing in that direction. Combined with some other factors--like tone of voice in ANs, certain kinds of snark in disclaimers, etc.--there just are cases where I know there is no way they're going to actually listen.

However, that does not mean I do not care for the future of the written word, or that I want to see sub-standard become the new standard. It's just that, as BronxWench put it, I have no desire to waste time tilting at windmills. If I figure in a case that there is some chance, even if but a small chance, that the author will listen, if not to all I have to say, then at least one or two points, I will be likely to leave a review anyway.

(Though I must admit I have been slacking here at AFF, for a good part because I haven't read as much as I would like. Will be working on that, though.)

Edited by SillySilenia
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