Re: I think my review made someone quit the site

#21
I come from a competitive background. Athletics, military, manual labor. My opinion is a little different.

Number one: Don't let their emotional weakness and vulnerability be used as blackmail against you to keep you from giving honest and fair critiques and suggestions. If they delete their story after one bad review/critique, then they're too weak to make it writing even semi-pro, where an editor will rip your guts out, hand them to you, and say "Nothing personal, but fix this" and expect you to act like an adult and fix it. And no, don't let their age stop you. Coddling someone who has had the balls to put something out there means you expect them to have the balls to take what comes their way. If you get in the ring, don't bitch when you get punched in the face.

Number Two: You don't get to be good by holding yourself to the lowest standards and only grappling and interacting and challenging the worst. You go against near-peer or better standards, opponents, challenges. Reviews, critiques, all of it are critical to growth and change.

Number Three: Too many people expect their stuff to instantly be good, automatically garner hundreds of thousands of followers and likes, and that they will become a household name overnight. You see it with people who want to be YouTube stars after the Adpacolypse went down and YouTube is a very different thing than it was when these people got popular. When the discovery that it won't happen hits, they quit, making it a self-fulfilling prophecy. When they discover that writing is RARELY "Keyboard go BRRRRRR" and that it involves research, discipline, and dedication, that it involves other people being able to form opinions on their work, and that they might get told they aren't the Digital Omnimessiah's gift to literature, they quit.

Number Four: From a sports point of view? You put quitters out of your mind, because they don't have what it takes to survive the sport/activity the moment it got tough. Liking to run doesn't mean you like the fact your body literally thinks your dying at mile 20 of a marathon.

Number Five: As long as you are honest, polite, and reasonable with your review and critique, their actions are their own, you are not responsible for them.

Welp, in closing, Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk and remember:

There are three types of writers: the guy who keeps meaning to start writing about his great idea, the guy who abandoned working on it because it wasn't fun, and the writer.

Re: I think my review made someone quit the site

#22

Lord Wrote: So I'm wondering, do I need to surgery coat my reviews for people? Because the last thing I want is for people to stop writing because of me.
So you wanna smother your reviews with a "surgery coat"?

:p

At the end of the day, you felt the way you felt. That doesn't mean the next reader will feel the same way. If Picaso quit painting because somebody said his painting sucks, well...

I don't think you need to sugar coat, but it never hurts to choose your wording carefully.

Re: I think my review made someone quit the site

#23

Lord Wrote: So last night I did a quick review when I saw someone asking for one in the forums. The story lacked description and the quick pacing made it hard to follow, and I pointed this out in my review. I was also rather blunt about it and poked fun at a few spots I found funny.

He sent me a PM thanking me for the review and that he would try and improve but that it also had kill his motivation to write. I tried to encourage him to keep writing, however, come today I saw that his account was deleted.

Now I just feel like an ass.

So I'm wondering, do I need to surgery coat my reviews for people? Because the last thing I want is for people to stop writing because of me.
Honestly I love critical reviews as long as they're not blatantly bashing me, but personally I prefer them in a PM instead of an actual review. Being publicly criticized is so much harder than being privately criticized. I generally try to take everyone's thoughts into consideration.

I think the best way is to simply ask if they need it to be sugar coated or not. I'd appreciate your concern for my mental health in that scenario. If they say no then feel free to go all in. Otherwise you can basically slap em with a feather.


Besides no one's harsher than my brother who will just blatantly call my writing "trash" or "so boring I would prefer to die".

Re: I think my review made someone quit the site

#25

AshroBugger Wrote: To be fair if you quite right when someone says you suck at it then that means you aren’t really cut out to do that thing
Thomas Edison was taken out of school very early, due to doing poorly there. 

"In 1854, Reverend G. B. Engle belittled one of his students, seven-year-old Thomas Alva Edison, as “addled."

He continued to be homeschooled and went on to become one of the most successful inventors of all time. So, NO.
DrakanGlasses

Re: I think my review made someone quit the site

#26

FantasyBliss30 Wrote:
AshroBugger Wrote: To be fair if you quite right when someone says you suck at it then that means you aren’t really cut out to do that thing
Thomas Edison was taken out of school very early, due to doing poorly there. 

"In 1854, Reverend G. B. Engle belittled one of his students, seven-year-old Thomas Alva Edison, as “addled."

He continued to be homeschooled and went on to become one of the most successful inventors of all time. So, NO.
DrakanGlasses
Except Edison didn't quit.


Just because someone says you suck at something, doesn't mean you just give up. LOTS of people are told they suck at something only to become great.

Van Richtoven, a WW-I flying ace, joined the cavalry where his horse threw him over and over. When he tried to join the air corps, at first he was told he sucked. Then he started flying the triplanes, and become one of the most famous aces in WW-I history.

Like Edison, he didn't quit.

Quitters NEVER win.

Nobody is owed accolades and nothing but butt polishing. While they are due respect and politeness out of general civility, that doesn't make them free from all criticism or critique.

Re: I think my review made someone quit the site

#27
That's true, but some people need support.  To hop onto the analogy bandwagon, the Allies would not have won WW2 without the Americans.  If you're a person who needs help, and all you ever get is people who don't care, who's think you're bad at what you invest your time into, would you be able to go on?
I don't think so.
If nobody ever liked, helped with, or cared about my writing, I wouldn't be here.

Sincerely, Wile

Re: I think my review made someone quit the site

#28

Ralts Wrote: Like Edison, he didn't quit.

Quitters NEVER win.

I was not talking about quitting at all. My response was to them saying that if you are bad at something then you aren't really cut out to do that. So not sure why brought up the matter of quitters. BUT since you did, I do actually ALSO believe that just because you removed yourself from a situation temporarily doesn't mean it is okay for everybody else to brand you as a quitter and a loser. Every body needs a break. If someone wants a break and goes away, does not mean he cannot be a winner. He can always make a comeback. He can be a winner in something else. 

Lastly, given how pervasive depression has become now, and how COVID has taken a deep toll on all our mental health, I feel we all need to take a step back and think if there is a way to bring some decency and niceness in our interactions.  Gone are the days of training people in toxic environments to have 'true' winners. You can learn with love and decency. I do not see that as butt polishing. 

Re: I think my review made someone quit the site

#30

FantasyBliss30 Wrote:
Ralts Wrote: Like Edison, he didn't quit.

Quitters NEVER win.

I was not talking about quitting at all. My response was to them saying that if you are bad at something then you aren't really cut out to do that. So not sure why brought up the matter of quitters. BUT since you did, I do actually ALSO believe that just because you removed yourself from a situation temporarily doesn't mean it is okay for everybody else to brand you as a quitter and a loser. Every body needs a break. If someone wants a break and goes away, does not mean he cannot be a winner. He can always make a comeback. He can be a winner in something else. 

Lastly, given how pervasive depression has become now, and how COVID has taken a deep toll on all our mental health, I feel we all need to take a step back and think if there is a way to bring some decency and niceness in our interactions.  Gone are the days of training people in toxic environments to have 'true' winners. You can learn with love and decency. I do not see that as butt polishing. 
FantasyBliss30 Wrote:
AshroBugger Wrote: To be fair if you quite right when someone says you suck at it then that means you aren’t really cut out to do that thing
Thomas Edison was taken out of school very early, due to doing poorly there. 

"In 1854, Reverend G. B. Engle belittled one of his students, seven-year-old Thomas Alva Edison, as “addled."

He continued to be homeschooled and went on to become one of the most successful inventors of all time. So, NO.
DrakanGlasses
He misspelled quit, but it's obvious reading it that he meant to type quit, not quite.


Which is why I argued about quitting.

And there isn't anything wrong with falling back and regrouping. Hell, it's advised even in major sports. But there's also getting back up on the horse after you've been thrown.

It's figuring out the balance.


FantasyBliss30 Wrote:
Ralts Wrote: Just because someone says you suck at something, doesn't mean you just give up. LOTS of people are told they suck at something only to become great.
Point is this seems like a really good advice on paper, but in real life it is not easy for any average human to power through all the adversities they go through.

peoapproval
Maybe if people took it off of paper and applied it to real life they'd be able to power through all those adversities.


Failure is part of success. Falling down is part of learning to walk.

Buckling down and driving on is how you overcome adversity, not by giving up just because someone told you that you suck.

Re: I think my review made someone quit the site

#33
The biggest problem with giving a bad review to a new author, is that Royal Road incentivises them to burn their work to the ground (Deleting the account/fiction) and starting over fresh, rather than persevering and 'improving'. Clawing back from a death sentence review is just not worth the hassle and heartache compared to starting over. That is of course assuming that the aspiring author even wants to try again. So few people will revisit and adjust a review after improvements are made, that it largely defies the point in making the changes, because no one will read them.


It isn't like it is a new concept either. Authors using pen names was for partly the same reason. Write a stinker? Who cares it was Fluff Mcguffin, not me. Discard identity and start over. Having your name, your brand, associated with failure is needlessly shooting yourself in the foot. it sucks that the smart play is to destroy everything and start over, but that is the system we have. /shrug

Not moralising what you did, one way or the other, just adding context.

Re: I think my review made someone quit the site

#34
I for one used to love writing reviews. Thing is, I suck at giving compliments all the while focusing on the shortcomings of the story.  This had lead to some authors stopping or getting too defensive.

So, my lesson is that stop treating them as 'authors' and start treating them as 'fellow readers' who are taking the extra step and trying their hand at writing. Most of these guys aren't experienced with criticism and writing your first book is hard. Actual authors we come across have spent years building up their craft and have/had massive followings so they have gotten used to the criticism. They've learned the methods to deal with it all the while having positive reinforcement in the form of the large audience they already have. With experienced authors, we can be as harsh and objective as possible but with authors on this site, we have to be soft. I don't mean to sugarcoat stuff but given the choice, always use a politer tone. People can take things too personally when it comes to their first.

Re: I think my review made someone quit the site

#35

Ralts Wrote: I come from a competitive background. Athletics, military, manual labor. My opinion is a little different.

Number one: Don't let their emotional weakness and vulnerability be used as blackmail against you to keep you from giving honest and fair critiques and suggestions. If they delete their story after one bad review/critique, then they're too weak to make it writing even semi-pro, where an editor will rip your guts out, hand them to you, and say "Nothing personal, but fix this" and expect you to act like an adult and fix it. And no, don't let their age stop you. Coddling someone who has had the balls to put something out there means you expect them to have the balls to take what comes their way. If you get in the ring, don't bitch when you get punched in the face.

Number Two: You don't get to be good by holding yourself to the lowest standards and only grappling and interacting and challenging the worst. You go against near-peer or better standards, opponents, challenges. Reviews, critiques, all of it are critical to growth and change.

Number Three: Too many people expect their stuff to instantly be good, automatically garner hundreds of thousands of followers and likes, and that they will become a household name overnight. You see it with people who want to be YouTube stars after the Adpacolypse went down and YouTube is a very different thing than it was when these people got popular. When the discovery that it won't happen hits, they quit, making it a self-fulfilling prophecy. When they discover that writing is RARELY "Keyboard go BRRRRRR" and that it involves research, discipline, and dedication, that it involves other people being able to form opinions on their work, and that they might get told they aren't the Digital Omnimessiah's gift to literature, they quit.

Number Four: From a sports point of view? You put quitters out of your mind, because they don't have what it takes to survive the sport/activity the moment it got tough. Liking to run doesn't mean you like the fact your body literally thinks your dying at mile 20 of a marathon.

Number Five: As long as you are honest, polite, and reasonable with your review and critique, their actions are their own, you are not responsible for them.

Welp, in closing, Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk and remember:

There are three types of writers: the guy who keeps meaning to start writing about his great idea, the guy who abandoned working on it because it wasn't fun, and the writer.
as soon as i read military and athlete, I kinda predicted 80% of your review.
i just wanted to remind you of one thing. not everything needs to be a match and not everyone is writing here to go pro. treating it as such is just blinding yourself to the many other aspects of being a writer here. Writing is fun. Some do it just for that. No need to throw them in a ring and punch them in the face. criticism can be done without picking up the gloves. 
From your second point, you want someone to always focus on moving forward with utmost dedication. again, not a good principle to have in life. you can do that to yourself but expecting the same from others is just unnecessary. some like it where they are or wanna move along at their own pace.
The fourth point again bothers me. What you said is true. In sports. the goal there is to win, to perform better than others. If we think of it in terms of a scale, some won't quit when even heavens fall and there are those who'll quit if there is 1% more humidity in the air. But, we can be a bit mindful of the greys who depending on our actions can be pushed towards either camp.
this is why I don't like sports metaphors when talking about life. anyways, my unwanted 2 cents.

Re: I think my review made someone quit the site

#36
Please keep in mind this is an amateur writing site. Some of the authors posting here could be in their teen years or younger. Constructive criticism is key. Constructive point, positive point, constructive point, final positive point is a good format to go when writing a review.

I feel like people who say that other people just need to suck it up and leave it at that are too harsh but I also think that people who just say to sugar coat things might hinder the creator. Everyone is different. Not everyone is the same and nobody receives criticism in the same way. It ain’t black and white. People working in any public field should know this. Not at you OP but people in general need to understand that. That’s why there’s things like specialized healthcare in the field because there’s no one cure all. That’s actually what every country is trying to move towards in terms of healthcare but its expensive af. It might be good to ask the creator how critical they’d like for you to be. What works for one person won’t work for another. 

It’s not your fault that they quit the website. It was ultimately their choice. But now you know what can possibly upset people and try to be gentler in the future. Or just ask the person how critical they want you to be.

Sorry for the essay lol. 

Re: I think my review made someone quit the site

#37

Ralts Wrote: I come from a competitive background. Athletics, military, manual labor. My opinion is a little different.

Number one: Don't let their emotional weakness and vulnerability be used as blackmail against you to keep you from giving honest and fair critiques and suggestions. If they delete their story after one bad review/critique, then they're too weak to make it writing even semi-pro, where an editor will rip your guts out, hand them to you, and say "Nothing personal, but fix this" and expect you to act like an adult and fix it. And no, don't let their age stop you. Coddling someone who has had the balls to put something out there means you expect them to have the balls to take what comes their way. If you get in the ring, don't bitch when you get punched in the face.

Number Two: You don't get to be good by holding yourself to the lowest standards and only grappling and interacting and challenging the worst. You go against near-peer or better standards, opponents, challenges. Reviews, critiques, all of it are critical to growth and change.

Number Three: Too many people expect their stuff to instantly be good, automatically garner hundreds of thousands of followers and likes, and that they will become a household name overnight. You see it with people who want to be YouTube stars after the Adpacolypse went down and YouTube is a very different thing than it was when these people got popular. When the discovery that it won't happen hits, they quit, making it a self-fulfilling prophecy. When they discover that writing is RARELY "Keyboard go BRRRRRR" and that it involves research, discipline, and dedication, that it involves other people being able to form opinions on their work, and that they might get told they aren't the Digital Omnimessiah's gift to literature, they quit.

> Honest and fair

In that lies the problem.
We will 90% of the time believe our viewpoint is the most 'honest and fair'. Why wouldn't we? We have only lived our own lives, developed our own sense of ethics, built our opinions based on decades of personal experience. We cannot, and will never, view the same subject matter through the same lenses as another person, because we have never went through their experiences, suffered their tribulations, experienced their joys. 

So of course we'll always see our viewpoint as more "honest and fair". It's their problem for not understanding us. If only they'd listen better then they would understand our intentions!

This is the first thing most communication courses tells people not to do -- judge based on our (the speaker's) viewpoint, and not theirs (the listener).

It's also the reason as disciplines such as communication, coordination, and managerial skills become more studied as academic and professional disciplines, people realize that EQ (emotional quotient) is far more important than IQ. We might never fully understand what another person has gone through, but we can at least try -- providing constructive criticism, and not just "this this this and this are all terrible. Fix it!". Think from the perspective of the person who is about to read the review. Have we given them specific advice that they can take action upon? Have we suggested a potential course of direction for them to consider?

Are we opening paths for them to take, instead of just shutting down what they have built?

As my boss once told me -- one of the most important skills is Empathy. To not just understand, but anticipate what others need. Even those intensely self-driven, self-motivated individuals got to where they are because they had others --parents, teachers, bosses-- who supported them along the way. 
Nobody is born with sky-high self-confidence.

Re: I think my review made someone quit the site

#38
Aorii, I like how you put it.  So many people point to a famous person and say "look, they didn't need help," when in reality everyone needs help.  Because you didn't see it, doesn't mean it wasn't there.  Without support and people who believe in us, not just criticisms and put-downs, no one would accomplish anything in the writing world (unless the person is ego-centric, and let's face it, it's in the nature of most artists to self-doubt).
I like how you said we should look from the other person's perspective instead of our own, biased perspective.  Regardless if harsh criticisms putting down your writing work for you, that doesn't mean they do for everyone.  I like how someone said the person who quit could have been a little kid.  It's not fair to tell a little kid they suck when they're just starting to learn the ropes.  If everyone had told me that when I started, I would have quit.

Sincerely, Wile

Re: I think my review made someone quit the site

#40
[Clarification: The below are my views about reviews in general, not about your specific case. From what I understand, you were polite and trying to be helpful]

I think that there is a difference between sugarcoating a review and being polite. If you sugarcoat the review, you give the author the false impression that their story is alright as it is and so you prevent them from finding out their flaws and fixing them. So sugarcoating is something you should avoid, because you will only harm the author. Honesty is best. Point out their flaws and make suggestions on how they can fix them. 

On the other hand, you should be polite in your review. A chapter as short as 2000 words can take hours to write: it requires coming up with an idea, putting it on paper/page and then editing it. A work of say 100 pages would have taken (usually) countless of hours and days to write. That is a lot of hard work that requires dedication and discipline, especially in our age of smartphones where you can easily get distracted. So when you write a review that is unnecessarily aggressive, ridicules the author and mocks their work, the author is bound to take it personally; they've spend hours upon hours working (without getting any payment or reward) only to get insulted. 

You can point mistakes without mocking the author. You can highlight what you don't like without insulting the author. You can be honest without being aggressive.   

Authors also need to understand that not everyone will like their work. They should also be receptive to constructive criticism, and view it as an opportunity to grow and become better writers. Constructive feedback is an absolute necessity to evolve one's writing. Personally, I am more dismayed when my stories do not get any feedback than when I get a negative feedback. Because if you get negative feedback, it means that at least someone bothered to read your story and cared enough to comment.

Secondly, authors also need to understand that there are idiots online who insult and mock others [I am not talking about the OP, just to clarify]. In that case, they should learn to ignore those idiots and move on. Otherwise, they won't be able to last long online.

Lastly, a few thoughts about the site: I can understand why some authors may delete their story if they get negative feedback. Even if that feedback is constructive and the authors take it to heart and edit their story to fix the flaws, the readers will read the negative review and be discouraged from reading the story (since they would have no idea that the author fixed the flaws). So even if the author was 100% receptive to the criticism and took the time and effort to fix their work, they might feel the need to delete their story in order to get a chance to attract readers.

That's why maybe it is a good idea for new works that have no or only 1-2 reviews to leave a comment or send a PM if you have negative feedback to give. That way you can both express your opinion/help the author improve and not permanently end any chance of their work gaining readers.