Review deletion + Blocking from commenting.

#1
Hi all, 

I recently read a story, was not very impressed, and asked a question in the comments of the novel. The author blocked me, probably because I implied the protagonist's actions didn't make sense to me. I also noticed a few other people asking the same kind of question. 

Naturally, I wrote a review. Yes, I criticized the story but I also suggested how the author might improve, by giving the reader some more information or establishing some boundaries to the protagonist's powers. I certainly wasn't being a dick just to be a dick. I gave two stars, not just 0.5 or something. 
The review (and the edit with spoiler tags and everything) got deleted, twice after re-uploading. 

Now my question is: Should authors be allowed to just block people from commenting and/or reviewing if they do not like it, and/or do not want the negative publicity for their story? 

Re: Review deletion + Blocking from commenting.

#2
MrAlwaysRight Wrote: Should authors be allowed to just block people from commenting and/or reviewing if they do not like it, and/or do not want the negative publicity for their story?

I think, yes. Some folk are here just to have a good time. Some have a story, and just want to share it for the love of writing it and aren't bothered by the ratings, the views or the criticisms even. This could describe the author you're talking about. 
I write as a kind of therapy. My series is born from a bad time IRL and is an attempt at a love letter to all the things I find enjoyment in. The story is what it is, it's what I've planned it to be and I just like writing it - and the sharing of it kind of gives it more meaning to me, a sense of purpose and accountability. I in no way intend to make money from it/open a patreon/expect people to even read it, but I just like sharing it. 

It also depends on how much of this they 'feedback' they are being given. Authors are people too and if there's constant criticism of a certain thing then that could become a bit much for them. They have feelings after all and just because they're putting something online for people to read doesn't mean they have to 'take it'.

The author I expect knows more of their story than the reader does, so if something doesn't make sense to the reader, perhaps have a bit more faith in the fact that whatever doesn't make sense to you now might come about later on. It's just up to you if you are going to stick around to find out I guess. 

Also, I personally feel that if my attempt at engaging with an author in the comments had fallen flat, I probably wouldn't try to hammer the point by doing a review. I'd probably just get the hint, move on and maybe find a story which impresses me more. 

I hope this gives you a reasonable alternate view point.  DrakanWine Happy Friday!

Re: Review deletion + Blocking from commenting.

#3
You can always open a support ticket and say your review was unfairly removed. Authors have a "hide from me" button on reviews, so if they don't like it they don't have to see it.
On the other hand, having it removed twice seems a bit immature, so starting a fight with this person might be a bad idea. Just leave your two stars and forget the story exists.
As far as "should this be allowed", yes. Trolls exist. People who say genuinely nasty and hurtful things exist. People who write reviews with the goal of getting the author to stop writing exist. Being able to block people from commenting and reviewing exists as a safety net for the authors. Sure, some might abuse it, but overall it being there is a good thing.

Re: Review deletion + Blocking from commenting.

#5
Authors who do that are not people whom I could possibly ever respect.

I don't think public stories should have such features. If some user is really abusive and offensive, that' against the rules, and mods should deal with it on a case-by-case basis, without allowing the authors to cherry-pick on who can comment on their works posted in a public domain, which is unfair and bully-like.


Though, turning away all comments is a different thing. I can understand why someone wouldn't like to have any comments at all under their fiction.

As for what you should do...opening a support ticket about review and moving on seems like the most rational option. 

Re: Review deletion + Blocking from commenting.

#6

MrAlwaysRight Wrote: Hi all, 

I recently read a story, was not very impressed, and asked a question in the comments of the novel. The author blocked me, probably because I implied the protagonist's actions didn't make sense to me. I also noticed a few other people asking the same kind of question. 

Naturally, I wrote a review. Yes, I criticized the story but I also suggested how the author might improve, by giving the reader some more information or establishing some boundaries to the protagonist's powers. I certainly wasn't being a dick just to be a dick. I gave two stars, not just 0.5 or something. 
The review (and the edit with spoiler tags and everything) got deleted, twice after re-uploading. 

Now my question is: Should authors be allowed to just block people from commenting and/or reviewing if they do not like it, and/or do not want the negative publicity for their story?
Yes, they should be able to. Not trying to be snide but I'm not sure why you are asking this question as clearly RR allows writers to do this. I have done this to a person. When I first started on here on another account, I got the nastiest review. Now, I understand that my stuff isn't perfect and I understand that my style isn't for everybody, but there is no reason to be nasty about it. It appalls me how rude and condescending writers are to each other. I blocked the person and deleted his comment. He then proceeded to come on forum telling people that I did this. This is clearly against RR's rules under being toxic. I reported him, his comments on my thread got deleted. He then went and did an advance review on my story. Now, he added information in the review that isn't allowed. RR clearly states in their FAQs that you are only allowed to talk about the story in your review and nothing else. So, I reported him and his review was taken down. Furthermore, I discovered that you can subscribe to future reviews on works if you have made a review on them. Everytime I did a review on someone's story, it was weird, it was like he would immediately make a nasty review on my work. Anyway, RR took care of everything. So, in the end, I think that yes, writers should be allowed to utilize the options of blocking and deleting that RR provides for us. I use blocking and comment moderation on several sites so that I can have a peace of mind and enjoy myself. I am schizophrenic and I can't deal or cope with a lot of drama. It just unnerves me how writers treat each other and it's all across the net on several forums. I say it all the time, it's not what you say, it's how you say it.

Re: Review deletion + Blocking from commenting.

#8

EnhancedBeing Wrote:
MrAlwaysRight Wrote: Should authors be allowed to just block people from commenting and/or reviewing if they do not like it, and/or do not want the negative publicity for their story?

I think, yes. Some folk are here just to have a good time. Some have a story, and just want to share it for the love of writing it and aren't bothered by the ratings, the views or the criticisms even. This could describe the author you're talking about. 
I write as a kind of therapy. My series is born from a bad time IRL and is an attempt at a love letter to all the things I find enjoyment in. The story is what it is, it's what I've planned it to be and I just like writing it - and the sharing of it kind of gives it more meaning to me, a sense of purpose and accountability. I in no way intend to make money from it/open a patreon/expect people to even read it, but I just like sharing it. 

It also depends on how much of this they 'feedback' they are being given. Authors are people too and if there's constant criticism of a certain thing then that could become a bit much for them. They have feelings after all and just because they're putting something online for people to read doesn't mean they have to 'take it'.

The author I expect knows more of their story than the reader does, so if something doesn't make sense to the reader, perhaps have a bit more faith in the fact that whatever doesn't make sense to you now might come about later on. It's just up to you if you are going to stick around to find out I guess. 

Also, I personally feel that if my attempt at engaging with an author in the comments had fallen flat, I probably wouldn't try to hammer the point by doing a review. I'd probably just get the hint, move on and maybe find a story which impresses me more. 

I hope this gives you a reasonable alternate view point.  DrakanWine Happy Friday!
Totally agree.

Re: Review deletion + Blocking from commenting.

#10

Mad Wrote: You can always open a support ticket and say your review was unfairly removed. Authors have a "hide from me" button on reviews, so if they don't like it they don't have to see it.
On the other hand, having it removed twice seems a bit immature, so starting a fight with this person might be a bad idea. Just leave your two stars and forget the story exists.
As far as "should this be allowed", yes. Trolls exist. People who say genuinely nasty and hurtful things exist. People who write reviews with the goal of getting the author to stop writing exist. Being able to block people from commenting and reviewing exists as a safety net for the authors. Sure, some might abuse it, but overall it being there is a good thing.
Agree

Re: Review deletion + Blocking from commenting.

#11
Hey everyone, 

Thanks for the answers! I'll, indeed, just leave it and ignore the novel. 
You are certainly right that authors deserve to be protected against trolls and plain negative comments/reviews. 
I was mainly annoyed because I've never been blocked by anyone before and I don't think I was rude or anything. In hindsight however, I might have been too harsh. 

Also @IvyVeritas: I'm not an author so I don't exactly know how it works regarding review deletion/hiding/... . What happened is my review got removed, twice, and I received this message: " Reason for deletion: Rule 5.2 The majority of the review is made up of spoilers."  --> I thought it was because of the author but I'm wrong. 
I didn't spoil anything but oh well. 

Re: Review deletion + Blocking from commenting.

#12

MrAlwaysRight Wrote: Hey everyone, 

Thanks for the answers! I'll, indeed, just leave it and ignore the novel. 
You are certainly right that authors deserve to be protected against trolls and plain negative comments/reviews. 
I was mainly annoyed because I've never been blocked by anyone before and I don't think I was rude or anything. In hindsight however, I might have been too harsh.



Respect to you for taking on board what every one has said so reasonably. 
So many OPs double down on things and the conversation just spirals, so it's nice to see you just accept and take it all on board.  
FancyDrakan

Re: Review deletion + Blocking from commenting.

#14

MrAlwaysRight Wrote: Yeah no worries, like I said I'm not here to act like an ass or anything. We're all here to have fun and read some nice stories :)
You're so reasonable compared to your screen name, MrAlwaysRight. I like the irony! ^.^

You can make sure to use the spoiler box when talking about the content of stories in future reviews, then they won't get deleted for that reason anymore.

Chances are, it was the author who reported the review both times. We get notifications when those things go up / receive modifications. Authors are more likely to check through the points of RR rules and report a 2-star review that had spoilers, but would totally not report a 5-star review that also contained spoilers. It's just the way it is. If you write negative reviews, you have to make sure you fall in line with all the rules to not get reported by the author and subsequently removed by the mods.

As for comments getting deleted, yes I think it should be possible for authors to delete comments. (Authors are our own moderators on our fictions. Not just to prevent an author from getting trolled, it might be necessary to remove comments in otherwise bad taste. I could see authors needing to remove some wonderful but inappropriate comments if they wanted to keep it PG for a younger audience, for instance.)

This is a feature that should exist, and like all features, it is subject to its share of bad actors. It very much irks me when authors delete comments just to maintain their own personal hug box. (I would classify this usage of the system as bad actors.)

If you're sharing a story online, it isn't just for you anymore. Keep it on your own hard drive if it's meant to be just for you. The comments section is for the readers. For authors, it's totally an option to just never look at your comments section if you can't handle it. We see some of the big name authors on the site do exactly this, in fact.

I've had my constructive comments deleted before, but it makes me wonder why they didn't delete some of my analytical, positive comments? I'm the same reader, and all my comments come from the same place at heart. In my eyes, the positive and constructive comments were the same thing, but apparently only one was okay?

One time I had a little comment exchange with another reader about why we felt so uncomfortable in a part of a story.... (Basically, the MC was getting sexually assaulted, but it was a weird situation with some body snatching going on, and it was happening to a male character so sometimes it's harder to recognize than if it were happening to a female.) In fact, this other reader responded to my reply to their couple-month-old comment and thanked me for eloquently describing what they found so troublesome about the character dynamic. I think that was a useful little dialogue for us to have, handled poorly by the author's replies who just didn't seem to understand what we meant.

Our comments were deleted.


Are we not allowed to try to politely explain why a part of the story came across as way too creepy and heavy for us as it pertains to sexual assault? Apparently that author doesn't think so. Ah, yes, it's great to silence vocalization around the topic of sexual assault. That's not like, something that actual victims of sexual assault are at risk of happening to them, especially men who just *can't* be sexually assaulted.

There's so many silent readers and also future readers to an online work, I think there was value in those comments just existing there, floating beneath the chapter. But they're not there anymore. I feel bad for the future readers honestly....


I've definitely struggled to remind myself that this was one bad actor; most authors really appreciate constructive criticism. I know I do anyway, and my replies in my own comments section is there as evidence. Try not to let the experience influence your behavior on the site (aside from putting stuff in a spoiler box). Comments and reviews are for the readers enjoyment, and a majority of authors in fact appreciate it so much to the point that it can make their day if someone interacts with our stuff!

Re: Review deletion + Blocking from commenting.

#16

Brian Wrote: Everyone deserves the right to speak freely
No one deserves the right to force others to listen to them.


This is a heady thing to get your head around. Just like there's a difference between listening and obeying. There's a subtle but important difference.

As to the comment about cherry picking comments/reviews - I agree. Too many hug boxes. If they want to write for writing's sake, there's always the desktop hard-drive. It served me quite well for years. If you want to write for funzies (and I do seriously hope it's fun most of the time), which means to me, you're not keeping to a schedule, you're not trying to please readers, and you don't care about rankings or views - but want to give people something of yourself to read. Cool do it. Turn off comments, and reviews and ratings (not an actual function), because for your purposes none of these things really matter; they aren't your core motivator.

While I've met people who do fall this bracket, so very few who make this claim actually do. You can tell based on what their complaining about. "Wah! I got a 0.5 star. Wah! I got a bad review!" Yeah it hurts. But you're writing for you. Not them. You're not going to FIX anything, so it doesn't matter. Move on. (not you specifically - I'm thinking of the many I write-for-fun writers).

Writing to build a platform, writing for the reader - even then I'd have to say. Take it and move on. You're purpose is to learn how to write to an audience. Not have the audience learn to love your writing. It doesn't work that way. You can't please everyone, so it's important to understand why you approached a scene or a character in a certain way. 

I've had one reader comment that my writing was too complicated for them. Now my choice is to re-write 200,000 words using simpler sentence structure. Which is do-able. Only I hate the way modern fiction is written. I feel dumb reading it. I mean I feel like I'm talked down to. I don't want to talk down to my readers. Does the work need an line editor - for-f'ing-sure it does. But will I simplify everything? No. I'll keep writing the way I write, because it's the way I write, KNOWING that it might be too wordy, or complicated for some readers. It's not a reflection on them or their preferences. I literally CAN'T write for them. 

I had one publisher hand me back the first Act of the book I was writing for them and literally stripped out all the world building and descriptive prose. Had nothing left except raw fight scenes and dialogue (and I don't write a lot of dialogue). 80K words stripped down to 50K words - with all the context stripped out. As a reader myself, I was completely lost as to why anything was happening when I reread what was left. Obviously, that book won't get finished. I have a severe case of writers block for that project. It's no fun for me. Since it's no fun for the publisher - they have the right to say it's not for them. No money lost. We get to walk away still friends (not really - I don't know them). 

My long winded point is, as a writer, you need to know what you intended and where you're willing to bend. If the reader's opinions matches your intentions, you're golden. If the reader's opinions are not quite hitting the mark, that's a writer problem, and a decision needs to be made. I used to explain to new writers that it's not reasonable to talk to every reader into seeing the writing in exactly the same way you intended. It's just easier to fix it so that the reader perceives the thing closer to what you intended.

Re: Review deletion + Blocking from commenting.

#18

Brian Wrote: I am considering removing a review.
Not because I think they are offensive, but just because the review is an incomprehensible and ugly mess marring my review page. I think maybe 3 words were spelled right in the entire thing, and the 'flaws' were stuff that make no sense that I think he just cribbed as buzzwords from other reviews.
Well you need to report it first. Mods might not care

Re: Review deletion + Blocking from commenting.

#20
I regularly do this, don't feed the trolls. I understand my story is very polarising and is intended as such. It was cathartic for me and a way to process things that have happened to me in a fantasy setting. It's very good at what it was intended to do, invoke anger. 

It's very simple, if you want to critique someone, you first have to build a rapport with said person or they're just going to consider you a dick. It takes me all of 30seconds to block someone and hide their comments and then I'll forget about them. If they leave a review, it'll just cement my low opinion of them 🤷‍♂️