1. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    Choosing what to review.

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Thanshin, Jun 4, 2010.

    How do you choose what to review?

    Thinking about it, I've just discovered I'm avoiding texts for many reasons and, surprisingly, some of them are quite capricious:

    - Anything with > 2~4 replies. I think my contribution would be less useful if many others have already reviewed.

    - Anything more than two or three days old. I don't know why, I think just feel farther from the poster.

    - Anything beyond a couple thousand words. This makes no sense, as I could review just a part, but I avoid them anyway.


    Do you also set some conditions? Are they all rational?


    [edit: Maybe the avoidance of old posts has something to do with a too much forum use experience and the long established custom of avoiding thread necromancy.]
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The Review Room is a critiquing workshop. Your critiques may be helpful to the author of the writing. But what is more important is what you learn from doing the critique.

    For that reason, the Review Room does not follow the usual rule abour tread archeology. Don't worry if the writing is three years old. If something about it makes you dig deeper, go for it!

    Get out of the habit of asking questions to the author. Instead, tell the authro what your thoughts are, and assume you will not get a response. Many critiquers use questions to avoid making an actual recommendation. It's indecisive. Make a commitment, right or wrong. Assume it is your writing, and you need to decide what to do next to whip the writing into shape.

    There are threads that are easy targets, low hanging fruit. I tend to avoid those as a matter of course, because they aren't much challenge. How mush will you really learn by pointing out the piece is riddled with spelling errors and terrible punctuation?

    What I an most inclined to go after is the piece that seems well enough writte, but somehow just doesn't grab me. Digging in to discover why it fails to capture my interest can be extremely rewarding, and may teach me something about my own writing.
     
  3. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    'It's all about learning' attitude is okay, but it doesn't hurt to just help sometimes even if you can't reap any benefit out of it. But I know you do help others with your educational blog posts and your replies on threads. Let the others do their bit by plucking the 'low hanging fruit' too :)
     
  4. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    The first thing I'll do with this blank check is dig out previous texts from authors I've reviewed and enjoyed.

    I do that and not even subconsciously. There are two main reasons I'll suggest without giving a response. The first one is to avoid forcing a particular style on the author, keeping a difference between the concept of my suggestion and just one possible solution. I think I'll keep doing it in this case.

    The other reason is, of course, not having found a good example. It wouldn't be a big problem if the objective was purely to end up with a better text. I should stop doing that, as those some of the points where I'd learn something.


    I mostly go for texts I like and yet think could get better. So I enjoy the reading as much as the reviewing. I think I'll enjoy those for a little bit more before starting with the pure exercises.
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I did this as well.

    Then I gave myself permission to only review a portion of the work. I read the work and then pick that part of the work that best exemplifies the issue I want to focus on. There usually is one central issue to most works. You don't need to point out every single occurrence. You can often best make your point with just a portion and then spend more time discussing the idea. This lets you focus instead of spending a bunch of time on the physical act of inserting all your little comments and making quotes and bolds and highlights and colors.
     
  6. Joules03
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    Joules03 Senior Member

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    Thanks for posting this question, I was wondering it myself. I was also wondering what makes people open a thread in the review room. Mine was opened about as much as the closed threads were opened, and I'm thinking I should have titled it, or maybe it's because I don't post much?
     

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