1. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    This Fourms Readability

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by colorthemap, May 30, 2011.

    Now don't hate me for this post, its not intended to be an insult to the fourms as much as it may sound to be.

    But, I believe we need a list of strategies on how to get people to read your works and more importantly respond to them.

    For you see in the fiction section, people(like me) just don't have the patience to read a full 1,500 word story. So people don't give any help, and thus no one responds.

    I am writing a piece that will probably be that length(or close to it), and I know hardly anyone will respond to it.


    So my question(finally!): what can we do to upgrade the infrastructure of the reviewing section because let's be honest it needs work?
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't disagree that "why isn't anybody reviewing my piece?!" is a problem. But I'm not sure how changing the infrastructure is going to solve that problem. The existing rule requiring you to make reviews before getting reviews seems like a pretty good motivator; I don't know what else would help.

    Actually, there is one thing that would help, but I can imagine it involving a lot of expensive programming or an impossible amount of moderator effort: After writing a review that subsequently vanished because the writer hadn't written enough reviews, I've begun to hesitate to review stuff as soon as it appears, even if it's interesting, because the same thing might happen again. It would be useful to know immediately that, yes, this thread is going to stick around. But I don't know how that could be achieved.

    ChickenFreak
     
  3. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    But people are selfish.

    Its much easier to review "Funeral of a Clown"(yes an actual piece go read it. Quite nice.)

    Than oh ho ho I wrote mi self a fantasy epic chapter one now go read it!

    Because as opposed to 1 hour of review time they can do it in 25 min.
     
  4. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    First, I hardly consider 1,500 words to be "full". 1,500 words is TIIINY. I might be hesitant about a 10,000 word story, but if a glance at it made it seem like it was pretty good then I'd review it.

    I'll reiterate my point from above in return to your saying that you're writing a piece that'll be about that long. 1,500 words is TINY. If I recall correctly, it was Edgar Allen Poe who said that, to him, a short story was anything between two and twenty thousand words.

    Second, I haven't found any problem with the reviewing section as of yet. If you want reviews on a more consistent, constant basis, find yourself a beta reader.
     
  5. dizzyspell
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    dizzyspell Active Member

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    I don't see how people's laziness is the forum's responsibility.
    Imo, their review policy is very good.

    One thing though, people need to make sure that their work has paragraphs. No-one will give a thorough review to a wall of text. If they do, they're much, much nicer than me :)
     
  6. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    It's pretty simple, and nothing to do with the forum's structure. If you want people to give you detailed reviews of long pieces, make sure they're well-written. If I don't like (or at least see promise) in a piece within the first few paragraphs, I don't review it, because, as you say, a review takes a long time to do well. If you post something that's engagingly written, free from errors and properly formatted, it will get reviews. If you post a wall of text with spelling and grammar errors, or something that's poorly written, people aren't gonna stick around to read the whole thing. The forum shouldn't be reading first drafts and uncorrected versions. People should be posting work that they've edited to the point where they can no longer see where it might have flaws. I think the fact that people neglect the review rooms and sometimes seem to use them as glorified spell-checkers makes some members hesitant to review anything. So yeah, I'd say the problem is with some people, not with the structure or policies of the site itself.

    /rant.
     
  7. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    Alas, (no innuendos intended) but length is simply relative. I dunno just wish people could care as much as they do for this general writing section for the reviewing section.
     
  8. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmm. Another way to look at this could be that as long as a writer has fairly basic errors that he hasn't yet learned to correct, he'd do better to post pieces that are quite short. I'm much more willing to point out the errors with a short piece than a long one - assuming, of course, that the writer _wants_ to hear about those errors. If he wants an overall impression of a piece that's packed with errors, I'm so far unable to do that. The errors blind me to the rest.

    ChickenFreak
     
  9. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    In most of the reviews I've done, I've had to go through and correct people's use of commas. Commas are fairly simple to learn, and it's knowledge that is easily retained. To be honest, it's the one thing I hate having to add into all my reviews. I'd rather point out flaws in the plot than have to tell them that they need to learn how to use commas.
    It's not really my responsibility to teach them grammar and punctuation. They should be shouldering this sort of thing themselves and taking the effort to perfect their punctuation, spelling, and grammar. Then, the only "errors" will be stylistic things (like stylistic sentence fragments, et cetera).
     
  10. Lilithmoon
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    Lilithmoon Member

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    I really don't see the problem. I just scanned through all the short story sub-sections and I didn't see any pieces that had not been reviewed. Except, for a 1500 word piece called Cryo, that Cognito had closed the thread on because the poster had not met his review requirements before posting.

    There were many much longer pieces that had multiple reviews. I see people reviewing lengthy stories all the time here quite thoroughly. I try to give line by line reviews of every story I read. It's true this takes a long time for the bigger pieces. But like someone else said earlier if it is not one giant wall of text full of errors I don't mind taking the time to read it. This is a writing forum for goodness sake, you would think that most of the members enjoy reading.

    I would like to point out another matter that I find vexing. It is really the flip-side to the OP point. As I said, I don't mind taking the time to review a piece but it irks me to no end when I go to the trouble of line by lining a lengthy piece and it never gets revised. I thought the main reason for putting a piece up for review is to receive constructive criticism and ways to improve the work. I find it extremely annoying to suggest improvements only to never see the piece changed in anyway.

    So, there is my two cents. I think the forum is fine and people are people. I think there are some wonderful people here who go out of their ways to be helpful. I'm very happy to be here. :)
     
  11. LaGs
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    LaGs Banned

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    Yea i remember you didn't read a piece i posted up because you didn't like the words i used in the first sentence, which i thought was a tad harsh (After putting a good bit of effort into it). I mean, people post up because they need help. If everybody was an excellent writer, then they wouldn't need people to go through their work and make suggestions, would they?

    Anyways, IMO, i think if someone wants to post up a piece of their own work, then before each piece is posted they should be required to review a piece of their own. (This, changed obviously, from the current set up where people are required to make two initial reviews).

    It's not to much to ask for really, one review per post, and with good moderation, we could see a much more active and vibrant section.
     
  12. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're welcome. </ego trip>

    Almost worse still when they say, "Yeah, I read your suggestions, but I didn't agree with some of them. I revised though. Here it is:"
    Then you skim/read it and realise that although they've taken some of your advice, they've completely ignored your spelling/grammar/punctuation corrections. You try to make sure they understand that it's not actually a suggestion; it's just what you DO, and they ignore it and think it's just YOUR opinion. >=C

    </rant>
     
  13. Lilithmoon
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    Lilithmoon Member

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    I am so-o-o glad I didn't go to bed before reading this little gem. HAHA!
    I have to agree.
     
  14. Ice Queen
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    Ice Queen Senior Member

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    1,500 words?

    You'd have to have the attention span of a flea to see a 1,500 word story and go 'Holy ****, this is too long for me to review... I'ma go play Xbox instead'

    Pfft!

    If someone can't concentrate long enough to read a 1,500 word story, it'd be pretty difficult to write one of their own imo. In fact, if there are such people I hardly doubt they'd be on a writing forum...

    In any case- this forum is actually very good for reviews: especially those who do the line-by-line breakdown. (Usually I prefer to concentrate on the plot/characters/language/style though unless the poster has indicated that they find grammar/spelling a difficult point)
     
  15. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    My thought on this being more a novel reader, writer and reviewer, is that we seem to get two main forms of piece to be reviewed. Some are very poor grammatically (I mean lets face it if I can see the flaws in a piece that's not a good sign!) and some are well polished and its more the thrust of the story that the writer wants critiqued.

    My thought is that I don't mind doing a line by line, pointing out typos and comma's etc, but I don't want to do this for twenty pages. On the other hand if its better edited and people are really looking for comments as to how the story grabs them, if they like the MC or can accept the world the writer creates etc, then I'm much more happy to read and critique a longer section.

    As to how to explain this to submitters, and I include myself in this since my spelling and grammar can use some work, I don't know. Maybe a simple rule that first time submitters should not post more then a thousand words their first time out?

    Cheers.
     
  16. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    A method I used to apply to my reviews before was to have a set word limit (more or less) for a critique and once that limit would be reached the review ended. In that way if the first paragraph was riddled with so many errors that every sentence required several corrections, then the world limit would be reached very early, and most of the piece would not be critiqued. It would have been mostly repetition of rules and guidelines anyway.

    But if very little was off about the story then the entire piece would be reviewed. So it's the same amount of effort you put in to every review, and with that in mind I wouldn't be afraid to review the good, the bad or the ugly.
     
  17. Rex
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    Rex Member

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    As a new member here, I would like to add my two cents to this. I am not going to go so far as to advise to the original post, for I do not feel qualified to do so.
    I will say, that the main reason I decided to join this forum was in hopes of learning more as to the mechanics of better writing. I have read a good portion of this forum before I joined, and not to mention much more after I joined.
    I do not wish to insult, but I have to ask this question. In general are you, wanting constructive criticism on particular story, or are you truly seeking guidance as to your writing abilities? What's more as a reviewer, are you truly reviewing the story because you wish to help, or you submitting for the sake of submitting?

    I mean given that once you post one of your stories on this forum you have just effectively limited your options as to publishing that story elsewhere, what is the main purpose of posting in the review section? Are we wanting to be reviewed as a writer or do we want our writing abilities excused from the process, and merely go for the vanity play and be told we have a "great story"?

    I have indeed noticed the many reviews where the reviewer has gong through great lengths, (much more than I ever would) to correct the author's grammatical mistakes, and punctuation. To add the are several cases where the critical review towards the story was far more positive than the mechanical review. Which to me, should serve as huge NEON sign pointing the way for the author's "next obvious step". Not only correct the mistakes, but apply that towards the entire writing learning process, not simply for the one story in question,but all other projects perhaps?

    I personally do not see the necessity of posting stories much longer than 3000 words, I mean that should be enough material to go on, in order to provide a very efficient review of both story, and the writer's abilities. To me it seems more obvious that many of the stories which are posted are perhaps misunderstanding the purpose of this forum.
     
  18. Lilithmoon
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    Lilithmoon Member

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    I like this idea very much. It seems a good way to be fair across the board to anyone who posts regardless of their skill level. It begs the question, what was your set word count?
     
  19. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^^^

    I couldn't say. But I always knew when I'd written enough words.
     
  20. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Just because someone doesn't post a revision doesn't mean they haven't considered your advice and revised a work. Typically, on sites where I post work for critique, I do not post any revised versions. People have already read through the work once and given comment. I thank the people and incorporate the advice I find useful, but I see no reason to post a revised version and expect people to read through it yet again.

    My contribution to the critique forums here is fairly limited because I don't post works here, and I tend to participate on the review-side of things more fully on sites where I also post bits of writing for comment. When I do provide a review of a work, I don't expect to ever see the revised version.
     
  21. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    ...which may suit you just fine, but I like to follow progression. I've helped them in some way, and I like to see that they are progressing.
     
  22. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    You may like to, but I don't think an author should feel obligated to post the revisions. Particularly if they're trying to produce a work for publication. The closer they get to the final product, they less willing they should be to post it online. And when you consider the site rules here, that goes double.
     
  23. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Even a simple, "Thanks guys. Incorporated 'n' ****." would be nice. C: *Daydreams*
     
  24. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, I think that would be considerate.
     
  25. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^As for acknowledgement of critiques, I'm perfectly happy with something along the lines of 'thanks, what you said about blah blah has been really helpful/I'll think about what you said' etc. It is nice seeing an updated version of it, but it's not obligatory.

    To be honest, I think the reviewing system here is great. Members have to review to get their own writing critiqued which is fair. I have to admit, sometimes seeing that the word count is 1500+ puts me off a little but that's only when I'm pressed for time or not in the right frame of mind to do a long review. Otherwise I'm perfectly happy to review, regardless of length.

    Also, I try and review writing that either hasn't be reviewed, or hasn't had a thorough critique. So I don't think the reviewing system needs work. All of us have just got to ensure that everyone's work gets at least a couple of thorough critiques.
     

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