sporangia: Electric John (Electric John)
[personal profile] sporangia

I am finding the fannish discussions about story feedback very interesting.  I'm paying attention because I've been a lurker for quite awhile and my excuse has been 'necessary' silence until I get a sense of what fandom is like today.  And since fandom is pretty much the same as in past decades I can no longer keep using that excuse.  The problem is that I still think of fandom as just a few people. And since my  fan-nest came on line with me, I still think of fandom as local, small and face-to-face.  This is a very dangerous illusion considering the immense size of fandom today-- I have no idea who is reading this post or even how many people are active in SGA fandom. 

Trying to get a sense of what to write and what to avoid writing in my journal is a strange compartmentalization process. I waver back and forth between casual and  quasi-formal style depending on whether I'm flocked or not.  

I have always been more comfortable doing artwork than doing writing.   Primarily because artwork is easy and writing is difficult.  The dyslexia makes writing laborious and makes any kind of spontaneous outpouring in words impossible.  I normally run every entry and comment through the spell check at least seven times, sometimes double that, correcting spelling takes twice the amount of time that the original writing takes.  Many of the words I can't spell are so mangled that even spell check doesn't help.   So because my burn-time for commenting is limited  I must ration out who get the comments and that's my dilemma.  Do I skip commenting if the author already has lots of feedback?  I admit to doing that and I feel  what I say isn't important and will just add more confetti into the air.   I mean this only about my comments, not about anyone else's comments.   

What the current discussions have taught me is that even short comments are treasured, and that confetti storms are good.  Most of my early fanworks were done when there were no easy methods for commenting so there wasn't any feedback...... that's why the feedback issue is new to me and  the proper etiquette for commenting isn't always obvious, so I appreciate all the discussion.

I tend to comment on stories that intrigue me, I particularly like experimental styles and unique perspectives.  Since I've been reading fanfiction for forty years I have an appetite for the unusual.  And I must admit to favoring those stories for feedback  I am going to make a better effort to leave more comments everywhere.  Thanks everyone for making we wake up to this.

hi! and feedback

Date: 2010-03-14 11:42 am (UTC)
princessofgeeks: (Default)
From: [personal profile] princessofgeeks
I just went to Escapade for the first time, which is a west coast fanfic and fanworks convention, and it was having its 20th anniversary! so it was so cool to see several generations of slash fandom gathered and to be made to feel so welcome.

I'm 49 but I only discovered fanfiction in 2002, so my first real experience of the fan community was through Livejournal. So that's been so much fun.

Yes: The idea that you can post and have a bully pulpit, like an old fashioned TV commentator or newspaper columnist, is so staggering to me and so ordinary to the average 19 year old. It's amazing; what the internet hath wrought, LOL.

As you know, Bob, the internet etiquette conversations and the fandom etiquette conversations go around and around again on the guitar, and this latest one is not one I've read in depth, but here's my two cents worth:

1. commenting on stories or metadiscussion posts, even in the journals of people you don't know well, people whose journal's you've tripped over on your way to somewhere else, is fine and is expected. If people don't want to have conversations with fellow fans, they'll lock their journals. I always appreciate a "Found you through such-and-such" kind of a note from new people, but it's not necessary.

2. Writers love feedback, from "Thanks, rilly enjoyed" to paragraph long detailed information to concrit by email to just about anything. Writers love to know they are being read. Full stop.

I do see some serious disagreements, as the recent feedback round will no doubt momentarily lapse into, about whether readers should feel obligated to leave feedback or not. I have a pretty "hands off" approach about this. I adore feedback and love it, and I try to leave it on all stories that I read and like even a little bit. But I also adore the voluntary nature of fandom. My life is full of obligations; fannish ones would cause me to leave. I do what I can and trust that others are in the same boat. I never beg for feedback, pout if I don't get it, or get angry that a story can get a thousand hits and ten comments. This has so happened to me now that I am archiving some stories and can see the hit counts. Fandom is mostly lurkers. I have no problem with this. And frankly I wish some people would lurk more and say dumb stuff less, LOL.

I have no problem, unlike a couple of the high profile posters recently, with people commenting in a thread without commenting on the story. I like it, actually.

Some people on LJ and DW treat their reading lists as "people I know and whose posts I will always respond to". I don't do that. I skim a lot. Also I blow hot and cold on what I can contribute to any given discussion.

About the "how much information do I reveal" -- I struggle with this. By nature I am outgoing, yet I need to be cautious. If I had to do it over I would try to be more like some of my fannish mentors and say NOTHING unlocked about my personal life. But I started out locking nothing, and am still trying to juggle that. Yet, I've met plenty of fans face to face now, seven years later, and dozens of my fannish friends know me in real life. Yet I don't want that out in public here. It's a big issue. I wish I had erred more on the side of caution, but I was a dewy eyed newbie who was like a big puppy with a slashy bone.

I do know that many writers do not want public corrections, even of typos, and many actually do not want negative criticism of any kind, even in private.

I'm not like that; I am happy to have a discussion about anything reasonable, in public, and to discuss just about any decision I made with fic, in public. And I'm very good at agreeing to disagree.

But I've found that a lot of writers are very much struggling to have the nerve to post at all, feel intimidated at best, and that they prefer to keep the critique part of writing inside the beta process. Full stop.

Again: That's not me, but I've learned that my approach is not very typical.

Lurk away, as far as I'm concerned. Lurkers are good. And welcome.

Re: hi! and feedback

Date: 2010-03-18 10:25 am (UTC)
princessofgeeks: (Default)
From: [personal profile] princessofgeeks
you would love escapade. lots of people from TOS there including my friend stranger (strangerian) on Livejournal.

kdlangley is around livejournal, too -- have you run into her?

how wonderful that you have an active fan club!

i am not nearly as multi-fannish as some,

my friend rubynye is on the east coast and is very active in new trek but loves old trek too -- you might check out her LJ. I don't know if it's locked or not, come to think of it, but if you use the LJ message function and say, i'm a friend of princess', do you mind if i friend you, she probably would.

Through following her links you could get a sense of what's up with the trek community on LJ; you've probably found a lot of those people.

Stargate Atlantis has peaked, but it's still huge. my friend green_grrl has lots of SGA recs, and i'm sure you've found the SGA notice board community? Let me know if you have't.

The main way I tend to use both Dreamwidth as LJ is by mining my friends' user pages for the names of communities and friending or subscribing to (depending on the jargon) to lots of them and monitoring them for a while to get a sense of the active writers and posters.

then i friend or subscribe to all those people too.

but the very best way I got to know people was by commenting on their fic. i approach fandom primarily as a writer, so interacting with other writers was the first thing I did.

I look forward to exploring SGA with you -- it was so huge for so long, and still is, really, and I'm honestly not looking for much fic becasue I don't really have a pairing. but if you post recs or why you love the characters that would be great.

have you discovered the community ship_manifesto on livejournal?


Re: hi! and feedback

Date: 2010-03-19 05:48 pm (UTC)
princessofgeeks: (BWMacCU by Magnavox)
From: [personal profile] princessofgeeks
sounds like you have found your way to a bunch of the DW and LJ hot spots for SGA.

I have so many SG1 friends who also adore SGA and who moved there either partially or completely, and now there are not a few SGA fans who are discovering the earlier show second. So it's all good.

You sound like a serial monogamist like me! I read in several fandoms but I just went through a wave of cutting back on comms for my reading fandoms because I just wasn't bothering.

I'm not sure what "wave" sga is on now; people seem to be so much more multi fannish than I ever dream of being! There was a definite sense of angst at the end of season 3, because of elizabeth, but I don't really know when the peak was for new fic.

again: i'll certainly watch for your recs and character discussion, if you choose to post any. I don't really have a favorite pairing in SGA; I enjoy them all. So I would read quite indiscriminately there.

and no worries about the comment typos: As you can see, I make no attempt to be neat and tidy. I have to be such a perfectionist about writing in my day job -- fandom is a place to relax.


(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-14 08:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vala3.livejournal.com
Since reading Buffy and SGA, I have been trying to leave positive feedback when I really like a story or an author. The ones I dislike or find boring, I just don't leave a comment. Just appreciate that there are people out in the 'aether', who are creative in their fan fiction. However, I too have been reading it forever and it seems as if most stories tend to repeat plots with which I am already familar. Think many of us have certain genre's that are preferred, and ones that are not to our taste. Now that I am on lj it is much easier for me to give feedback, except on fanfiction.net. For some reason it won't except me when I hit the feedback prompt.
And as you say, some writers have a lot of feedback, but usually if you respond to them with positive comments, they almost always reply with a thank you or more. So feel free to comment.

Re feedback..

Date: 2010-03-15 03:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] momcat09.livejournal.com
I suspect most people who take the trouble to post publicly appreciate constructive comments... that tells 'em someone's reading their work. They may or may not want formal criticism, especially if they're just writing for fun, but I think they will indicate if that's what they want.

Re: Re feedback..

Date: 2010-03-15 10:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sporangia.livejournal.com
I think it is safe to say that just about everyone enjoys a thank you comment for their fan fiction. Where it gets more complicated is the application of constructive criticism (concrit) and the etiquette about when, where and what to say.

I won't make any criticisms of a story I have read on the direct threads associated with that story. I am not comfortable doing that, even if the author is amenable to concrit. If I have anything I consider helpful (always an unknown) to add, I would do it by email. I also would not make any concrit of a story outside of the direct thread. And if I wanted to talk about issues raised in a story, I might do that but I would not reference the story unless the author specifically wanted to have that discussion public.

Because of my long ugly history with dyslexia I have a deep aversion to spelling correction, I have used up my lifetime of restraint with public humiliation toward imperfect grammar and spelling. So I would not appreciate public comments if my spelling or grammar was bad. I know it's bad, my choice is to either not write, and remain silent or post as best I can.

When I post my fan fiction, I will have them betaed to the max. But that is no guarantee that they will be clean enough for the grammar perfectionists.

I readily understand why concrit is traumatic for writers, and I also understand that there are writers who treasure it. I have been giving concrit in a writer's group for several years, so I have thought seriously about what to say, and what not to say, I'm obviously no help on the grammar and spelling side, but I do have strengths in other areas.

One area that hasn't been getting much attention is story analysis, specifically positive story analysis about issues that stories might raise. I prefer neutral discussions an example would be a question like. Why did you choose to write Sheppard as a military brat in your story? What did that interpretation allow you to specifically explore about him that wouldn't have been possible if he was the son of a wealthy family? I am more interested in the author's thinking process then in the rightness or wrongness of the character's background. It fascinates me, and I don't consider these kinds of questions inherently critical. Though I might be deluding myself. The few lucky times I have had these discussions I have been careful to hide them so people who are bored silly by this kind of exchange won't have to wade through them.

Re: Re feedback..

Date: 2010-03-16 01:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] momcat09.livejournal.com
It sounds like you have a good strategy going... this way you don't embarrass someone publicly, or set them up for someone else to take potshots at them.

I think you have the sensitivity to tell if someone's just writing for the fun of it and is happy with what they've got, or if they're hardcore and want to get REALLY good at their craft (yes, I said CRAFT... and I meant it, LOL!!)

I know there are communities on LJ that are groups of folks who want to write well and who are there specifically to give and receive constructive commentary on each others' work; the ones I've run across have been pretty general and many of 'em insist on original work, but I'm guessing there are such groups within the fan fiction communities too.

I think that given your extensive knowledge of both fan fiction and writing in general, you would be a welcome addition to any writers' community you wanted to join, hon..

(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-15 03:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sporangia.livejournal.com
There are lots of complex issues involved in feedback that I hadn't considered and that is why I have been finding the discussion so interesting. I want to start leaving more feedback, but I first wanted to get a better idea of the length and breath of SGA fandom. I want to be able to make feedback from a semi-educated understanding of the community I'm entering. So I have spent the last nine months or so mostly lurking and getting a sense of the ebb and flow of SGA discussion and story posting. From my past experiences I know that fandom's share similarities but they are also unique in their assumptions and traditions. Since I wasn't around while most of the assumptions and traditions for SGA were being formed I've been trying to intuit them from current discussions. It takes awhile to figure out which topics are 'old hat' or of the been-there-done-that variety. I know I'm going to be dredging up some of those and I hope the established SGA fans don't roll their eyes too much.

We both have a very long history of reading fanfiction, and I know the feeling of....I've just read this trope too many times. But just because it is old and tired for me, doesn't mean it is for the thousands of people who are just discovering fandom.

Like you, I read the genres that I like and since I'm mostly reading recommended stories I'm missing most of the work by novice writers. This is kind of a necessary evil now, we can both remember a time when it was possible to read almost all the fanfiction published in zines and know we had read a large chunk of what was available. Those days are long gone. What is interesting is that the quality layering created by rec listings has created a kind of professional category of fanfiction, where kudos not cash is the delineator. I both enjoy this because it makes finding excellent stories much easier, but I also miss some of the egalitarianism of my earlier fannish experiences. The structure of LJ and DW and their very powerful systems of sorting and searching make it much easier to ignore whole cohorts within fandom. I'm uneasy about the eventual structure this will, perhaps even unsuspectingly, impose upon us all.

In terms of feedback it means I'm mostly only tracked to stories I really want to read, so once I feel more secure in my fannish IQ I should be better at feedback. Well maybe. That's my hope anyway.

I think a lurker fan, is just as much a fan as anyone else. I do not feel or have ever felt any pressure to leave feedback, nor would I ever put pressure on anyone else to leave feedback. One of my frustrations with LJ and DW response structure is it puts undue pressure on timeliness in posting. I feel it's a window and if I miss it due to RL (real life) priorities I tend to never go back and post, because it is either lost in a sea of flist posts or my thoughts on a story have dissipated into incoherency. It particularly frustrates me if the story is spectacular and I need time to gather my whits about posting my appreciation--so I delay and again I miss the window. Since I am new to LJ and DW I am hoping that eventually I will adjust to the relentless NOW of posting, but so far I am finding it very difficult.

(Gotta get to work will continue this later)

Getting thru the Window...

Date: 2010-03-16 01:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] momcat09.livejournal.com
Umm... I think it's not just LJ or Dreamwidth... it's part of the bloggish nature to want more or less instant response; it comes of e-mail, texting via cell phone or beeper, cell phones, Blackberries and other such devices; people (some people, anyway) have come to expect that everyone is connected more or less permanently and that we all sit there with bated breath awaiting their next communication..

It's Liz from Goerings!!!

Date: 2010-05-01 02:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] russianliz.livejournal.com
Hey Lady,
Been trying to get in touch with( so has Tom!). Hope all is well. So far, ok-but still jobless. Finally made it up to JAX and Chamblins-amazing!!! Please write. Would love to meet up and chat or hit dinner at Sandy's the next time you go. Let's please keep in touch.

Re: It's Liz from Goerings!!!

Date: 2010-05-02 02:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sporangia.livejournal.com
Great to hear from you. I just friended you and added you to my Saeob group. On live journal there are several levels of privacy. Friending means you can read my friends only posts. I keep most of my posting here very fannish and related to my SF interests. I friend lock (Flock) any posts I want to be seen only by people I know, most of my posts are public. All my icons and all my fan related essays are public meaning anyone can read them. Please look for a new entry from me, it is a Saeob Entry. Within this group I discuss personal stuff, and it is limited to people we both know. By the way make a journal entry to your journal so I can comment to it.

Re: It's Liz from Goerings!!!

Date: 2010-05-02 02:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sporangia.livejournal.com
Also you need to Friend me via your own journal, if you need help with that call me.


sporangia: (Default)



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