NightScribe

5 Star Ratings

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Has this happened to you? You're looking for a fic, and as you scroll your fandom, or subcategory, you see a glut, a plethora, a cornucopia of 5 star rated stories. You click on one...and immediately find it is a piece of shit. Or that maybe it's an o.k. story, 3 or 3-1/2 star (I know the 1/2's don't exist, but you get my point).

This bugs the hell out of me. So many times, I have lost minutes, nay, hours, of my life that I will not get back because so many stories are given excellent ratings. I understand that these kind of things are subjective, but come on. A rambling "fuck you if you don't like this" author's note (I just saw one like that, I wanted to bitch slap that little punk) followed by a fic loaded with punctuation and grammatical errors and a half-assed plot. And a story that wasn't even freaking completed from a year ago. That does not constitute 5 stars. I'm sorry.

I saw somebody in the HP fandom asking what were some good stories to read, they were having a hard time finding any. Now that's pretty sad, but it kind of proves my point; they probably got fed up seeing all those highly rated fics and finding they were mediocre. I think what bugs me the most is the younger crowd (read: underage punks) who think that just because there's a badly written anal sex scene or blow job with lots of use of the word "fuck" and "cock" it's great. The worst part is, how many really good stories, deserving of the high rating, are overlooked because a reader is just burned out or given up because of misleading ratings (not to mention reviews?)

I guess I rambled a bit, sorry about that.

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I sympathize with you. I almost gave up on fanfic shortly after I discovered it because all I kept finding was crappy stories with horrible grammar and trite plots. It was sheer luck (or maybe fate?) that I stumbled across one story that rocked my world just as I was about to quit for good.

I know it's not very PC to mention other ff sites but I really have to say that I like the way that ficwad does their rating system. Reviewers get rewarded for leaving helpful reviews and readers can vote on whether the ratings others gave the story were fair or not. I'd love to see something similar put into practice here.

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Guest Alien Pirate Pixagi

I think a part of the problem is that few people actually use the rating system. Just how people rarely leave reviews on a story if they thought it was bad, I don't think they'll leave a low rating. I know I'm guilty of it. If I can't get to the bottom of the page without hurling, I won't rate the story unless I'm feeling spitful that moment.

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I'm going to be modest now and not preen over the fact that all of my stories have five star ratings from my fans...did I just say that I was going to be modest? Oopsie.

lol I've got good ratings from some generous souls out there as well. Except I have 1 story that has no rating at all. That bugs me, as everything else is at five and here's this lone little fic with nothing. I don't know if it's due to laziness on readers' part or suckiness in writing on mine! tongue.gif

You're also right about the ability to rate your own stuff. I'm sure there's quite a few people who slap those five stars on their own work as a means to get hits. I confess, I have marked down stories, I guess I'm in the minority on that one.

I pretty much never rate my own stories, because if my audience hates the thing I'll know and be able to edit or pull it.

I've done that as well. There were several fics I pulled because of no rating or declining rating; coupled with no reviews I couldn't tell what readers didn't like, so I yanked them. I don't want to subject people to crappy stuff.

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laugh.gif Honestly I don't know that people really pay atention to the rating. I don't rate stories and I don't pay any mind to the stars. It's rather meaningless when nearly every single fic that I run into is rather with four or five stars with plenty of them being undeserving. Doesn't seem to attract more readers either. All of my fics are highly rated (not bragging, just stating), but only a few have actually been reviewed. Or maybe I'm just not attracting people who like to review. *shrugs* Ah, the joys and agonies of writing for smaller fandoms.

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Guest Melody Fate

*Shrugs* I don't pay too much attention to the ratings. 99% of the time, I know by the end of the first "screen full" of writing if the story is good or crap. It doesn't take that much time to wade through. If I can't afford the time to read one screen's worth of stuff, then I'm too busy to be reading fanfiction at all.

I actually use the rating system to show my disgust when I don't want to leave a review. I've had too many people on this site jump down my throat or get way too sarcastic when I've pointed out things (Such as my favorite pet peeve, several people talking in one paragraph. I've gotten everything from "Mind your own business" to "Well, my pet peeve is having to make an entirely new paragraph just because someone else speaks!" I'm sorry, but if you're going to change the rules of writing, please warn me so I won't waste my time trying to help you improve.) To be honest? I've just gotten to the point where I only review people who I know can take the good and the bad. This place is worse than ff net for having authors who cannot take even the slightest bit of critism.

The rating system is... nice, I guess, but I never really saw what good it did here. If one person reads the story and rates it at a five, that's what it'll stay until someone else downrates it. I think there are some folks who are too shy to downrate if someone else gives it five stars.

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I actually use the rating system to show my disgust when I don't want to leave a review. I've had too many people on this site jump down my throat or get way too sarcastic when I've pointed out things (Such as my favorite pet peeve, several people talking in one paragraph. I've gotten everything from "Mind your own business" to "Well, my pet peeve is having to make an entirely new paragraph just because someone else speaks!"

I do the same thing regarding rating in lieu of reviewing. And I, too, have the pet peeve of new paragraphs when a new character speaks. I've left that helpful tidbit so many times I've lost count. I've also mentioned spacing the paragraphs, nothing worse than seeing just a solid block of text with no breaks. There is a little thing called "preview" before you post that first chapter. I realized I had to insert extra breaks and that indentation wasn't recognized when I first posted. I guess some people are so jazzed about posting, they don't bother previewing to see how it looks.

If something is pretty bad or just god-awful, I'll rate it down, but not leave a review. If I think something shows promise, I'll leave concrit and wait and see what happens. It's a weird thing. Sometimes a story itself isn't all that bad, but the grammar, spelling, punctuation etc. is terrible and I can't get through it. Other stories are perfect in that regard, but very dull and plodding; although nicely written, nothing happens and I lose interest. It kind of makes me think I'm being too picky and I feel bad; I want to encourage people, but, as Melody said, if they are that sensitive, there's nothing you can do about it.

And please don't think I'm picking on just fanfic writers. I've read traditionally published novels, from new authors and literary giants, that have me pulling out my hair, falling asleep or asking WTF? Man, I've got issues! ohmy.gifwink.gif

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Guest Double

I've always felt that the rating system is a waste. People will rate a perfectly good fic a one or two just because the fic has a pairing they don't like and in turn if the fic has a pairing they love it will get a five star despite being total crap.

I've always pick fics to read base off of the summary, pairing(s), and warnings. Yes I've wasted sometime but normally I can tell if I'm going to like the fic within the first chapter.

And no I'm not someone is afraid to leave a review to a bad fic, I like to give constructive criticism because I like to get it and figure others might want it too, but damn if people won't jump down your throat if you don't like the fic.

I don't know, maybe a rating system where individual subjects like grammar, plot, etc are rated individually would be more helpful to readers and writers alike.

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Guest Jackie_Boi
This place is worse than ff net for having authors who cannot take even the slightest bit of critism.

That may be true, which is sad because people want to come here for the mature fanfiction. IF we are writing mature stories, then why can't we be mature when it comes to getting negitive feedback?

I personally would love to recieve some feedback that tells me what I'm doing wrong, as long as it doesn't degrade me (like calling me names and whatnot, telling me I should never write again). I've yet to recieve any review that has offended me and if someone doesn't like my story then I just accept it. I don't understand why someone whould get terribly mad if someone gave them some advice (even if it IS harsh), cos I mean, isn't that what getting reviews is all about? Someone giving you advice so that you can improve and do better next time? Hmm.

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Guest Adara

I'm all up for any sort of constructive reviews, be they positive or negative. But, I do have one pet peeve, and that's when the negative review is more of a complaint rather than an actual review. I mean, if one is going to give a "negative" review, one should at least give an idea as to what may help.

I've seen way too many reviews that state the story's bad, but don't point out how the author may improve them. I mean, if we manage to correct said bad writers, we may actually get them to start writing something decent! Beside, we are all writers here, I'm sure we all appreciate not only writing good stuff, but reading it too.

I think writing a review that complains about how this or that is wrong or inaccurate, and gives no examples as to how it may be corrected, is just as ignorant as leaving a, "wow I luv this, it's so hottttt" review.

As for the five star rating, I suppose it's in the eye of the beholder. Although, I have to admit there's some scary, crappy ass shit out there rated five stars....tongue.gif I don't go by the star rating anyway. If I can get through the first few paragraphs without mentally saying, "what the fuck was that?" then it may be a good story after all...lol

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Guest Jackie_Boi
I'm all up for any sort of constructive reviews, be they positive or negative. But, I do have one pet peeve, and that's when the negative review is more of a complaint rather than an actual review. I mean, if one is going to give a "negative" review, one should at least give an idea as to what may help.

Yea, that's exactly what i was talking about. If you're going to burn a story, just don't constantly complain about it. Yes, we KNOW that you don't like it, but tell them why. I tend to not review a story that I don't like, but, recently I've been trying to give some reviews. When I know my review is going to be negitive, I always make sure to say SOMETHING good...even if I have to stretch pretty far for some to get something good out of it.

As for the 5-Star thing, I pay somewhat attention, but I never pay ALOT attention. But say, if a story is a 1-3 star, then I tend to stay away, but, I usually just try the story out. You usually can tell if the story is for you by the first couple paragraghs.

Question, what do say to people who have well written stories, but, they are extremely dull with nothing really happening? Cos I know a few fics that were well written but the plot went nowhere. So, do you give them a review like: "Nicely written, but I'm afraid that it's a tad dull in the plot department." I'd be a tad shy to do this, because it WAS well written, but it was just my own opinion that it was boring.

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Guest Adara

Well, depending on how interested I was in the story, I'd contact the author and ask what conflict (if any) is going to occur in the story. Of course, use your writer's tact wink.gif to ask as politely as possible. I think if one show an authour that one has an actual interest in their story, they'd be more than willing to get some feed back.

I often find myself discussing my chapters with my husband, and get his ideas about how I should go with it to help me out. I mean, I honestly would LOVE if anyone took that much of an interest in my story.

I think that's the gentlest way to give someone a clue without crushing their mojo. I know that we have to give writers tough love every now and then, but, honestly, I much prefer a gentle hand of guidance to a tough direction. I mean, I know there will be plenty of people out there giving the critical reviews, so, a gentle one from me isn't going to upset the balance. wink.gif

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Guest Evil_Labs

Well, a lot of reviews that are negative I've seen are based more on opinion than actual writing. That is, in regards to semi-serious fics, not the crap written by a hundred anemic monkeys with palsey. Some stuff, such as style, impression, and the like are very subjective, so opinion has to come into it, but at the same time you have to be a good judge of just how much of your personal opinion can be injected into a review. If you hate the particular pairings, that's not a reason to start slamming something. If they're done without any believable nature... that's different.

I can't say, though, about simple ratings. I've only got a little up at AFF, and it's rated as 5 stars, but it's one of those original pieces way out there so it gets few or no reviews. I really need to add the next chapter to bump it up to the front of its section soon. x_x That seems like an easily accessible method of at least giving a general idea what people think of your work, though, so I wouldn't use it so much as a measuring stick as I would consider it a general indicator.

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Maybe if the author was prevented from rating their own stories in the first place, or from rating more than once, there might be a change in that feature. You can rate a fic over and over just to get the odds up in your favor. Its a useless feature if you rate someone's fic one star just to bring down the 5 star rating it doesn't deserve because all they have to do is rate it 5 again to bring it back up to its misleading rating. WTF? You write bad, and people are telling you by the rating system, then improve it! It's a good indicator of how well your work is recieved, especially if people are like Melody Fate and let their good manners speak instead of leaving a critical review that even though well intentioned, may be deleted. Rating is a safe way of showing displeasure and warning people that this may not be worth your time. But well, now its kind of misleading in another way if a person rates it negatively because they don't like the pairing or hate the writer's voice or because of content rather than because it actually is a bad fic. Oh well. Let's ask Dark Avenger! She knows everything ph34r.gif

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I find it annoying that authors vote for their own work to tery and secure a five star rating on their fics. Do they have so little faith in their fans? well if they don't put in any effort and then insult the readers they can expect a low rating. why do they try and fool us into thinking something is better than it really is and then bitch when we complain?

When i post a new fic i vote on it once and let the reades decide the rest. I give a three star rating putting it in the middle, leaving the votes of the readers to really decide which way it goes.

if they don't put in the effort why do they expect the praise?

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Guest Melody Fate

A lot of the reasons mentioned here are why I miss having the "favorites" on our profile pages. Tastes can vary and I've found stories in fandom that people squee over and yet I hate them with a passion.

With favorites, I would go to the pages of authors whos work I liked and check out what they liked. Sometimes it didn't work, but more times than not, at least their favorites were stories I could read without wanting to hurl my cookies.

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What do you write in, Iggy?  I have stories scattered all over the anime section, and I've been amazed by how many reviews some categories garner, while others will get only one or two over a period of months.

Well, the majority of my fics in the anime section are for Hellsing. For awhile I was getting a decent amount of reviews, but these days, not so. I also have one fic for Cowboy Bebop, but that never had a lot of reviews, and one fic in the InuYasha section, a re-post of an old fic that I'd always been fond of and felt that it belonged on AFF. Er...Since it's for a less popular pairing (Sess/Kagura), it doesn't get much attention.

These days I'm mostly writing for SO: 3, a pitifully small video game fandom, and though I write for a fairly popular couple, I'm lucky to get one review for any one of my stories.

And yet I have great ratings. It's so frustrating. I just want to strangle my readers sometimes. I don't give a damn about the stupid little stars. If you're reading it and liking it so goddamn much then review me, dammit!

mad.gif

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Question, what do say to people who have well written stories, but, they are extremely dull with nothing really happening? Cos I know a few fics that were well written but the plot went nowhere.
Well, depending on how interested I was in the story, I'd contact the author and ask what conflict (if any) is going to occur in the story.

This situation came up with a fic I started reading a while back. After five chapters, I left a review. I told the author I found the first chapter interesting, intrigued by a few different things that could eventually happen, but there was a real lack of interesting conflict, in the following four chapters; they were quite dull. The descriptive passages were quite nice, very visual, but a lot of "I hate him/her, I'm attracted to him/her." Nothing but continuous slap and tickle.

They responded to my concrit, very politely saying "thanks for the feedback, but we're doing this our way." I tried reading the next chapter, but it was more of the same. Another reviewer, quite a bit later, echoed my thoughts; liked the first chapter, but lost interest very quickly. I believe that fic is up to 30 chapters. Unfortunately, this particular author/story has a very rabid fan who's left tons of reviews. Not much you can do to help them tighten things up a bit if they only want to hear slavish raves. A shame, really; aside from the languid pace, I thought it was well written.

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Guest Melody Fate
They responded to my concrit, very politely saying "thanks for the feedback, but we're doing this our way." I tried reading the next chapter, but it was more of the same. Another reviewer, quite a bit later, echoed my thoughts; liked the first chapter, but lost interest very quickly. I believe that fic is up to 30 chapters. Unfortunately, this particular author/story has a very rabid fan who's left tons of reviews. Not much you can do to help them tighten things up a bit if they only want to hear slavish raves. A shame, really; aside from the languid pace, I thought it was well written.

Mmm... that's part of the problem, tastes vary. Obviously someone adores that fic and doesn't care that the plot is clearly waffling.

I'm sure you were very polite with your crit, but in sympathy to the writer, in the long run she's the one that has to be happy with it. I've gotten critism and seen other people give critism that really boils down to, "Don't write it your way, write it MY way!" That always irritates me. Especially when they start telling me what to write next (Not suggestions, I'm taking about, "You will do this, this and this." Uh, wait a moment... who's story is this again?)

Just for clarification, I don't think you were demanding when you made your comment. I'm just saying I've seen people be demanding before and forget that opinion is not necessarily fact.

I find it amusing that on Live Journal there are several communities designed to insult ridicule and warn folks against bad fanfiction. There are several other web sites devoted to ranting and raving about bad fanfiction. What I don't see many of, are communities where people can recommend good fanfiction for others to find. It seems like if someone writes a horrible fanfic, anyone can find out about it in seconds. Let someone write a gem and it only gets out by word of mouth.

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LONG POST AHEAD!

I've only posted in 2 fandoms on AFF so far, and they're both relatively small. Many of my reviews consist of "OMG, I luv it! Update soon, K?".

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad that there are people reviewing the fic, and that there are so many who love it, but when I read a review like this, I have to wonder whether they like the fic itself or whether they're simply giving a positive rating based on the pairing (which is popular).

My favorite review so far is this one:

Sorry for not reviewing the fic in a long time. Here goes:

I would have posted in the forum, but I can't because I'm not a member. I won't sign up because I'm more of a technical writer than I am a creative writer. If you want, I'll leave an e-mail address on AFF once it comes back up.

I think that at this point, it would be very hard indeed to keep Martin and Diana sufficiently IC while developing it into a believable AU. Very few people could pull it off. However, you have displayed the talent, skill, patience, and respect for canon that it takes to pull this off. I'm sure you'll do an excellent job.

I actually had to read "Domestic" twice for it to sink in. Martin putting away his clothes and Diana lounging around in her underwear seems off. The second time around, I noticed that it does tap into certain personality traits that aren't often explored on the show, but have been established in canon. Thus, they are IC. Martin does have moments where he tries to get along with Diana or give her some comfort as opposed to antagonizing her. Diana has a wild side, and she does tend to be logical to a fault.

Judging by your updating speed and the quality of your work, I'll hazard a guess and say that you have "Writer's Syndrome". In that case, don't let the first sentence in the previous paragraph give you a panic attack. The flow is relatively smooth and the pacing is fine. Just keep developing the relationship this slowly and you'll do fine. As for this chapter and the whole question of characterization: slow and steady. Make sure to use subtle clarification for their actions in future chapters, and space out the character developments. Also, develop them by degrees. Martin was fine, but Diana might have been over the top. I suspect that there's an invisible third party present, as there recurringly is.

Once again, no panic attacks please. There's negative concrit mixed in there, but all of it is meant well, and you're someone who strikes me as capable of becoming a professional author. Consider this a taste of what is to come in real life if you choose to follow that path. Don't worry about rushing your chapters. Take your time and post the chapters once you feel that they're good enough.

I'd also like to wish you good luck on your exams and finishing off your final projects. I know that the first year of university is tough. I should know - it's my first year too. Hopefully, you'll look back on your first year and have loved the whole experience. I've enjoyed mine so far.

Sorry for the long review. I wanted to make up for not reviewing in such a long time.

-sweetblood

The last chapter I wrote, I was insecure about characterization. I was finally starting to develop the main characters, but I wasn't sure if I kept them effectively IC. This is why I stated this in a brief AN at the top and asked people to give concrit on characterization. I mean, there are definitely criticisms that aren't exactly praise, but I wish she didn't apologize so much. She must have been blasted by others for providing concrit.

Me? I'm just re-reading this several times in awe. I just find it so amazing that someone would take so much time and care in reading my fic and providing such a thorough review addressing the issue that I'm worried about. On top of that, she somehow managed to figure out that I have Writer's Syndome. Wow.

This person has reviewed nearly every chapter of every fic I have posted so far, and she always does a good job. This, however, is the first time she has ever given me criticism that isn't positive, and she does an even better job.

Here's another review that actually tells me I'm doing a good job:

...ew...ugh i feel bad for them.

Hopefully something happens to get them out of it.

I like the story though.

-Red XIII's Twin

Apparently he doesn't like the pairing. However, he does like the fic. I assume that this is a sign of objective judgement. He didn't like the pairing so he chose to judge it based on other factors, which I assume would be factors related to writing style.

Now for the flame I've received:

Lololol. Moronic. I would stop writing if I were you.

-Anon

Is there something wrong with me if this doesn't bother me, but rather I feel relieved that the flamer obviously knows normal English?

Now for the other fic.

I feel a little guilty for having found the sex scene kinda hot...I'm not a fan of underage sex, but you wrote it realistically enough that it didn't turn my stomach. XD This was pretty amusing at points, too, especially Lucy's plan totally failing on her.

And your characterization of Lucy was...unexpected. My interpretation of her is quite different.

-Sara Jaye

She generally doesn't like the themes that were involved in this fic. Yet she liked the fic to the point that one of her squicks actually started to arouse her. And that last comment was, to a degree, a euphemism. I've read her fic, and she has a positive characterization of Lucy as opposed to my negative one. This means that there were many main factors in the fic that ought to have earned a negative review and rating, yet she gave me a positive review and rated it a 5. At least, I think it was her, because the first rating and review for the fic came at the same time.

That's when I knew I that the high rating was meaningful.

All in all, I think that reviews and ratings have similar advantages and disadvantages. There are many instances where a review or rating is a poor reflection on the story itself, even when it is placed honestly. Not everyone who reads fanfiction has discerning tastes. Then there are those who rate/review on only one factor, either because it's the only factor they care about, or because it's the only factor they feel qualified to judge.

There are people out there who read a fic and don't review because they don't feel that they have the right words. Maybe they like the fic and are a bit overwhelmed by the quality. Maybe they're shy about their English, because it's not their first language. If that's the case, and they rate it instead to show that they have read it and do want to give an opinion, I appreciate that. There are times when I read fics in Spanish/French, rate it, but don't review it. Why? Because the language is so good that I'd feel stupid reviewing in the same language, and perhaps my concrit would come across wrong because I used improper grammar or vocabulary. I just don't feel right giving simple reviews such as "Je l'aime. C'est une fic excellente." or

"Me gustó esta fic muchísimo. Fue bien escrito. Soy una fan enorme de X/Y."

The thing is, I know reviews like these are well-meant, but after the nth time, the English versions of them mildly irritate me. I wish they didn't, but they do. When I give a review like that, I can't help but wonder if it will irritate the author.

I'm yet another person who believes that no one should be allowed to rate one's own fic. The problem with that is that someone can easily rate one's own fic while logged off even if there were a system that prevented members from rating themselves while logged on.

I'm going to stick to my system, because it rarely steers me wrong. I read the summary and the reviews. If the summary is something like "PLZ READ" and nothing else, forget it. If it's something like "I was bored", "Nothing else to do", "not that good", etc, then I want to know why you bothered to post the fic in the first place. If there's heavy chatspeak, then I'm not visiting that room. If the spelling and grammar is so bad that I can't decipher it, then I'm not going to give myself a potential headache. However, if I can decipher it, I'll give it a go. There have been times where a potentially good story has been written by someone who's not that good at English, and I want to see if an offer of a beta helps. I'll also go easy on "First Fic," provided that the rest of the summary is good, and the reviews give me the impression of a fic worth reading.

The reviews are harder to work with. There are very few concrits out there. If I can find a fic with even one positive concrit, I'll give it a go. If it's gushing praise with one harsh (and I mean callous) concrit, I'll read it to see if it's GAFF material. There have been times when the fic is not that great but definitely reedemable, and the harsh concritic is just a bit too full of it and is actually an eloquent flamer as opposed to a negative concritic (there's a fine line there). Then there are other times where the fic merits the harsh review, so I'll bring it to GAFF, get the worst out of my system, and leave a gentle negative concrit.

With the rating system as it is now, I can't fully trust it unless the rating matches the reviews. I know that very few people do both, and most opt for one or the other. Still, a 3-star rating should have mixed reviews, a 1-star should have mostly negative reviews, and a 5-star should have mostly positive reviews. If the rating is much higher than the reviews claim, I'm gonna have to go with the reviews.

I also agree that a multiple rating system would be really nice. How about a rating system like this one:

Overall Rating:

Fetishes:

-(list fetishes here)

Language:

-terminology (sex words, etc.)

-swearing/cursing

-spelling/grammar

Pairings:

(list pairings here. Also include Mult.)

Writing style:

-Description

-Pacing

-Characterization

-Settings

-Plot

If there is anything else you'd like to add, please do so in the following field.

The rating system could range from 1-5 and include a radio button for "No Rating". Anything else that's added as comments in the rating box could be transferred to reviews. This way, people can rate in the areas where they actually have an opinion. Also, when presented with a form like this, most people tend to use phrases instead of chatspeak or attempting full sentences, and give comments on specific things, rather than a general "I like it.". The result: not the best ratings or reviews, but certainly a better idea of how we're doing in each area, which is something I'm sure many of us want to know when we're writing.

Of course, it's just a suggestion. I realize that implementing a rating system like this is rather complicated, so it's really up to the mods.

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Guest Jackie_Boi
I find it amusing that on Live Journal there are several communities designed to insult ridicule and warn folks against bad fanfiction. There are several other web sites devoted to ranting and raving about bad fanfiction. What I don't see many of, are communities where people can recommend good fanfiction for others to find. It seems like if someone writes a horrible fanfic, anyone can find out about it in seconds. Let someone write a gem and it only gets out by word of mouth.

I know! There needs to be a place where only extremely well written and paced stories are. Sort of like a fanfiction hall of fame tongue.gif. I've found some sites that have that type of archive but, they are usually for ONE pairing or fandom. That's why I suggested awhile back that we should have a section on AFF that has the best of the best. Having like, the moderators and a select few choose certain fics and put them in a catigory as the best of the best. In this catigory, there of course would be sug-catigories to make it easy to find a fic best for you.

Also, people could suggest stories and they can be read and considered to be added. It would be cool to have a best of each fandom, that way we don't have to read so much crap. But, I guess, that comes along with reading fanfiction. Once you come along a wonderful fic, it like owns your soul. I hate it though when I come across a great story, but, it's at like chapter 20 something and the author hasn't updated in almost a year >_<.

I know that plan wouldn't work, but...can't a boy dream? *thinks about all the conflict that would cause, people not understanding why their favorite story isn't in the best of the best catigory*

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Guest Melody Fate
I suggested awhile back that we should have a section on AFF that has the best of the best. Having like, the moderators and a select few choose certain fics and put them in a catigory as the best of the best. In this catigory, there of course would be sug-catigories to make it easy to find a fic best for you.

My problem is that I'm not necessarily sure the moderators would be fair. Yes, that sounds mean, but I'm not just saying moderators either, I don't really trust anyone to not be biased towards friends and unfair towards people they dislike. I've seen too many "contests" in fandom turn out to be nothing but popularity contests and I've seen instances where a judge tries to be honest, only to be snubbed or yelled at by someone for not giving their fiction the award, siting, "But we're friends!" as their reason for complaining.

I'm thinking more of a recommended reading list that people could add to as necessary. "I recommend this fanfiction because..." and you list all it's strengths and weaknesses and give a reason why you think this is an excellent fiction to read, including a small excerpt from the story itself.

Or, something like I saw on another site where you have five or more people with varying tastes. (One might love slash, one might love het, one might be tollerant of a few mistakes, one might be a total grammar whore who freaks at a missplaced coma, so on and so forth) People suggest fics that all of them read, then all five of them do a review on it saying that the recommend or do not recommend this fiction for reading. Pretty soon, people will find themselves identifying with one or two of the reviewers, noticing that their tastes are similar, thus they know who's advice to take seriously.

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I'm gonna have to agree with Melody on that. It would be nice to have an area where people recommend good fanfiction for a change. Antidotes on GAFF isn't active enough. Still, everyone has discerning tastes, so it's not that great an idea to put one person in charge of judging what's good and what's not. Having a group of people judge on different factors is a good idea. Maybe you could leave at least one spot open for a special guest critic who specializes in a different area that relates directly to the fic. How about having specific positions with varying critics? For example, there could be one position called "Pairing Veteran", where someone who has read the pairing for a long time and is known for concrit can comment on how the pairing is handled in a particular fic both in general and as opposed to most other fics with the same pairing. Obviously, you'd have a different critic in the same position for Ron/Hermione and Harry/Hermione, depending on the fic being reviewed. I, for one, like R/Hr, but there are just too many fics out there that handle the pairing in an unrealistic manner, and I get fed up with it. The only reason I don't support H/Hr is because there are less fics that handle it well in comparison to R/Hr, and that's sad, considering the numbers. I also like Draco/Ginny, but I've only read two where they're both IC and manage to fall for each other in a believable manner. Yes, a "Pairing Veteran" would be nice.

A guest critic could be introduced for a number of different reasons. Suppose you have a fic that centers around a brother-sister couple who move and take up new identities. The fic is excellent because it makes you feel for them even if you don't approve of incest, and it makes the relationship rocky rather than simple (too many fics make incest easy, but it's not). Along comes a reader who knows a lot about the R v. Ball case (Britain, 1911). In this case, a seemingly average married couple, who were living together happily with their healthy daughter, paid the bills, and had a fairly respectable reputation in their neighborhood, were arrested by the police. The reason: they were actually brother and sister. Someone who knows a lot about this case and read the fic could come on as a panel guest to draw parallels between the fic and the case, thus discussing how realistically incest was handled in the fic.

Once again, excellent idea, Melody. However, there would be a major problem with quality control. Which critics can be trusted to give a thorough and dependable review in their area of expertise? Who knows? The best candidates would be members of sites that tear apart badfic, because we know for a fact that they're critical. We'd have to take those critics and cross-reference them with the fandoms they write in. If that critic has repeatedly left constructive criticism on both good and bad fics in their fandoms, then we know that we've found an eligible panelist. Who's willing to go to all of that trouble to find people who can truly spot the goodfics?

Your other idea is very feasible. After the Favorites list is reintroduced, we can have special links to our own signed reviews on the review page of the fic. The reviews could point out what the member liked about the fic and why it's on the Favorites list. It's a matter of how well Dark Avenger could pull it off.

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Guest Pink Lace

Ratings atm are not really useful so I don't use them to try to find good fics. I also do not leave low ratings, I just get out of that page as soon as possible when I encounter a bad fic. rolleyes.gif

In theory it would be good to have a Hall of Fame or something but in actual pratice I am sure such a things would be subjective and biased as all reviews are in essence based on someone's personal opinion. There is no objective way to say which fics are "good" unless you base it completely on technique - grammar, punctuation, word choice, etc.

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I think that if a list of stories should be put up, it should go by hits, or number of reviews, not by ratings. I find ratings fickle. I always look at the number of hits, and in this, a thousand leaves me wet. tenthousand leaves me delirious

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