1. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Does anyone else get tired of one-sided reviews?

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by LordKyleOfEarth, Apr 14, 2009.

    Has anyone else here noticed t hat a solid 80% of the posts in the review room seem to be from 'new' members (>80 posts) and that, while you may type up an in depth review of their work, they never extend the same courtesy to yours? I guess I am just getting a bit frustrated with taking up my own time to help people who, seemingly, are not contributing back. Yes they will do the needed 3 reviews, but not many post much beyond that (and often they only seem to review the shorter pieces posted on site).

    Sorry about the rant, I'm just venting I guess.
     
  2. Yitz
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    Yitz Member

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    I think it's a required two reviews unless the rules have changed.

    Honestly, I try to keep my reviews short. I struggle with brevity, so I make it a point NOT to run at the mouth if at all possible.
    I also appreciate short and/or concise reviews. Sometimes it's a bit much to read through a long review,
    and sometimes it seems that good reviewers can relay ideas, thoughts, and critiques succinctly in a paragraph or two rather than two whole pages.
    Then again, are you talking more about the length of the review, or the spirit/content of the review?
     
  3. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    You're being your own worst enemy by hoping for reciprocity. When I do a review, which unfortunately is a lot more seldom these days, I do it simply to help out, and because I still garner some enjoyment from the process. To be honest, I've always learnt more from doing a review rather than receiving. I think it's just the nature of such forums that the majority of posters (new writing) will be so-called Newbies. It's also unfortunate, but the reality, that the majority will only be interested in receiving feedback on their own material, so if I were you I wouldn't allow it to bother me so much and continue with your positive contributions.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There are members who will dutifully post two five-minute critiques when they are ready to post one of their works for review. From then on, they only respond to comments on their piece, then they vanish until they have something else they want feedback on.

    Yes, it is frustrating, and very self-centered.

    There are at least two approaches you can take. The first is to ignore them. If you feel you are being used, you can choose to put your effort toward critiquing those who take a more active role. Chances are you won't be able to change te selfish one's behavior anyway.

    The other approach is to go out of your way to set an example. Do the best critiquing job you can, and maybe the other person will get the idea and reciprocate. Besides, doing an in-depth critique often benefits the critic even more than the author.

    I'm NOT trying to say one of these approaches is better than the other. Both are very valid, and which you decide to use in a particular case may depend on many factors.

    You will not change human nature.
     
    Quixote's Biographer likes this.
  5. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    A agree whole-heartedly, its just discouraging when you pour actual effort in to trying to help a person who makes no effort to help another forum member (be it yourself or others).

    Sadly, it has greatly reduced the frequency that I choose to review material these days.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Then do it for yourself. I have learned a lot by staring at a piece of writing that feels inexplicably wrong until I come up a reason. Even if it turns out not to be the full or correct reason, at least I have learned something by sticking my neck out.
     
  7. Dalouise
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    Dalouise Contributing Member

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    If the critique is seen to be harsh, it not only puts the poster off ever doing it again, but can leave in their mind the belief that in putting up something sub-standard, they are not qualified to comment on anyone else's work. Not knowing the reviewer's experience, nationalty, (for spelling and some grammar) ability or age leaves the poster unable to judge the validity of comments.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This is another reason we really don't encourage newcomers to run straight to the Review Room. No one should walk into that type of intense workshop without knowing exactly what it entails.

    The problem is, many (most?) new members can't wait to show everyone what they can do. Instead of looking around and finding out what's what, they make a beeline for the Review Room without any clue about what it is, and what it is not. It leads to hurt feelings and confusion.
     
  9. Mr Marshmallow
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    Mr Marshmallow New Member

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    I don't incredibly enjoy giving reviews, not being such a great writer myself, and being a sucker for anything with more than two adjectives and correct grammar/punctuation/spelling etc. etc. (read: anything that's better than the drivel I have to read when we peer review in my English class... ick...)

    However, I am trying to post on things (mostly on other sites, but here as well, hopefully) constructively. Critiquing, along with most other things, should get better with practice, right? Even just reading other people's reviews of other people's works have given me insight on both my own work and my own critiquing. I don't dare post anything of my own here yet, it would just get torn apart...
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If your writing does get torn apart, that may be a good thing. It often means someone sees enough potential to make it worth detailed dissection.

    This somewhat presupposes that the writer has done everything possible to fix the errors he or she is able to correct. Getting a report of every spelling or punctuation error you could have found yourself is not only frustrating to the writer, it's a waste of a reviewer's time. But if you have done all you can first, the feedback you get is in=formation you can really use to improve your writing skills - or at least contains points worth considering.

    Cririquing is primarily opinions, so not every suggestion will work for your writing. The more you yourself critique oter people's work, the better you will be able to decide what advice is soliid, and what is just not a good idea for you.
     
  11. Mr Marshmallow
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    Mr Marshmallow New Member

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    With the piece I'm thinking about, it getting critiqued would be a bad thing. I can see several major plot holes already, and am working to fix them before posting it anywhere.
     
  12. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    I believe it would help if the 'novel' section had sub-forums.

    I'm, honestly, not interested in reviewing short stories at all.

    But the novel section is entirely ambiguous. I don't know if 'Dark Rose' is a boring romance or an intriguing fantasy.
    I don't have the motivation to even START reading if I don't even know what I'm going to be looking at.

    Furthermore, I don't know anything about romance stories, so I would have little to offer in advice beyond the most basic critique.

    Short stories, on the other hand-- I don't like to review for two reasons,

    1. Because I don't write short stories, so I don't feel a connection.

    2. Because the story is generally ALREADY FINISHED. I would be, basically, helping polish a complete story, rather than assisting someone in the completion of a novel.
    That is a large difference for me.


    So, I submit that we put a genre subsection in the novel forum.
     
  13. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    I really don't see what is wrong with helping an author polish a complete piece (its not finished if it is still being workshopped). I finish writing, re-read it a few times for SPaG, then present it here to hear what does and does not work. I take that feedback and re-write the story; is that not what the review forum is for?
     
  14. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    In the words if Maia: When did I say, or even hint that there is something wrong with reviewing a finished work?

    I was merely explaining my own reasoning for reviewing the stories I review.

    Perhaps people should write the genre of the story in the title.


    Tinge of Fossiliferous by Atari (Fantasy)


    That would give people like me an IMMEDIATE decision. I don't want to read a romance or a artsy poetic story.

    I want action, adventure, action/adventure, or fantasy. Or detective. (See? I'm fairly diverse)
     
  15. OneMoreNameless
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    OneMoreNameless Contributing Member

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    Buuuuuut, helping someone to review and polish a complete short story is effectively helping them to complete whatever story they right next. Plus, in the case of a novel excerpt, you're still only helping to polish that particular part, which in turns improves their writing quality for the rest. It's not so different.

    (Encouraging those posting in the novel forum to label their works according to genre is good idea, though.)

    As to the original topic, what annoys me more than seeing newbies post one line "reviews" is seeing the authors treat those "reviews" as if the newbies were being just as helpful and kind as the posters who actually put some thought into critiquing the writing. Let's not encourage that.
     
  16. x_raichelle_x
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    x_raichelle_x Contributing Member

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    I'm worried now that I'm one of these annoying newbies...I'd like to be told if I am~!
    xxx
     
  17. thegearheart
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    thegearheart Member

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    You said it. This post is straight up intimidating to those of us who diligently attempt to follow the rules.
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Everyone has a learning curve.

    As far as I'm concerned. the problem is not new members who have yet to figuire out what makes a critique constructive - it's the members, new or old, who just don't give a crap as long as they get to post their writing - the ones who diligently count their critiques and always male exactly one constructive remark in each response.
     
  19. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    I must have misunderstood your point number 2 than. I interpreted that to mean you had issues with helping to polish a finished piece of work. Appologies if that was innacurate. :)

    Your point regarding mention of genre is an excelent one; the times I have ventured into the novel realm I have found the mix of topics a bit cumbersome.

    If you are concerned, its a good indicator that you are not one of those people. The fact that you have ventured into the review forum is also a good sign. When in doubt, go pick a story and offer the best damn critique you can muster; actions speak much more loudly than words :)


    I agree strongly with this. That about summarizes how I feel.
     
  20. archer88i
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    archer88i Member

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    Y'know, the funniest thing I run into with regard to doing reviews for others is that they really _don't_ want to hear most of what I have to say -- and I'm not just saying that out of (im)personal experience on this board, either. I actually have a BA in writing (don't ask any dumb questions) and, in the course of doing peer reviews in my writing classes, one thing I heard over and over from fellow students (and even some professors) was that I was pretty damn harsh.

    It's funny seeing an English grad student on the verge of tears. Funny in an, "Oh, crap, I didn't really mean it like that," sort of way, that is. >.>

    I sort of see it as a don't-ask-don't-tell thing these days. I bring this up here because I wanted to ask this:

    If you see someone whose writing you respect and/or someone you figure owes you one, have you considered asking them to take a look at your work? I myself am generally a little hesitant to do that; I usually shunt my work off to my RL peers instead of contacting strangers online... But it might work.

    (In the last sentence there, the "you" is intended to refer to any reader, not just the OP.)
     
  21. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have asked people here on the board (this and others) to take a look at my story. I feel there is nothing wrong with asking.
     
  22. diamonds overun
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    diamonds overun Member

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    I am one of the newbies reviewing. I did a few of the shorter peices only cause they came up in the yet to be reviewed section. I took my time and i hope they were helpful.

    I review peoples writing at work alot so i would liek to think that i am ok at it. If i ever post my own work for review i would hope that some more experienced writer would review it, i am not sure that new writers really can help with constructive critisism.

    Its not just about the spelling.
     
  23. GonzoCeltic
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    GonzoCeltic New Member

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    I'm a little hesitant with giving a critique on here, although I do plan on doing so pretty soon. It's the mere fact that I don't have a lot of experience giving critique that is marring me.

    However, I have critiqued a lot of pieces about sports over the last year or so, but that fact pales in comparison when it comes to topics I need to delve more into.

    As I was telling Rei, I just need to study the material and become a savant at reviewing. The philosophy that was mentioned earlier about giving critique could help you the more than receiving the critique is pretty clear. Thanks for elucidating that. I've taken some time to think about it, and noticed how it's an "active thinking. . ." type of process.
     
  24. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's funny how the quality of the review a person gives is almost always directly related to the quality of the pieces they post for review. It makes perfect sense though. Both are just different forms of writing, and your habits are going to transfer between the two to some degree.
     
  25. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    One way to critique is to simply edit it the way you would if it was yours. Pretend that you are the author and it is your world to play with, then give it back when you're done. You are not borrowing a friends car and you don't have to worry about returning it with dents.
     

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