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So lately I've been reading a lot of BigBang stories. And seeing as I tend to view feedback as my sacred duty as a reader, I frequently leave comments on every chapter of a fic. I think that was common in Highlander, my first fandom, and happened sometimes in due South, my second. But in the Supernatural fandom, it seems vanishingly rare. Stories with 6 PAGES of comments on the final chapter will have 0-5 people commenting on individual chapters. Part of the difference might be that, in other fandoms most long fic was published as WIP rather than as BigBangs. I'm not sure.

Some authors also seem to feel obligated to respond to every one of those comments. I don't mind either way, but I'm wondering if it feels burdensome to them. Given how hard I find it figuring this stuff out, here's a poll!

Poll #1590552 On opening my Inbox and finding 18 comments from keerawa on individual chapters of my longfic

My first reaction would be:

So much feedback! AWESOME!
18(69.2%)
Feedback? Wow. That's ... a lot.
7(26.9%)
STALKER! Run away!
0(0.0%)
Something else, I'll explain below.
1(3.8%)

As far as responding to all the comments:

Absolutely!
13(50.0%)
I'd respond to at least one of them.
3(11.5%)
I wouldn't respond to any of them.
0(0.0%)
I'd feel stressed out and guilty about NOT responding to them all.
1(3.8%)
If I respond, it might encourage her.
0(0.0%)
I'd have fun responding to the comments.
1(3.8%)
I'd have my lawyer send a C&D.
0(0.0%)
Something else, I'll explain below.
0(0.0%)


What do y'all think?

Comments

( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
sam80853
Jul. 10th, 2010 07:01 pm (UTC)
If a story is complete but posted in chapters I usually only comment on the finale chapter. If it's a WIP though - I rarely read WIPs - I may comment on each chapter to keep the writer going. No point in start reading a story if it doesn't get finished, right?:)

I rarely post WIPs (nothing at all lately:() but the more comments the better - everybody loves feedback, no?
keerawa
Jul. 11th, 2010 06:14 am (UTC)
*nods* I almost never voluntarily read WIPs, but sometimes you'll get 21 chapters in and there's no link to the 22nd.

Just about everybody does love feedback, but I was worried people might just be too polite to mention it if I was freaking them out - hence my poll!
kill_claudio
Jul. 10th, 2010 07:13 pm (UTC)
I'd probably only bother to reply to the last comment because I'm the kind of person who would leave one vast, all-encompassing comment at the end. It wouldn't bother me either way, though. It's a pretty ungrateful person who complains about getting too much praise. Unless, of course, all your comments are telling them how awful they are. :)
keerawa
Jul. 11th, 2010 06:15 am (UTC)
*nods* I'm perfectly okay with not getting any responses at all, or just the one. I just worry I might be freaking people out, you know?

I never leave negative comments. Like my momma taught me, 'If you can't say something nice ...'
counteragent
Jul. 10th, 2010 07:44 pm (UTC)
fwiw, I really liked reading your comments on the big bangs we've read in common. It's good karma, and I bask in it. :D
keerawa
Jul. 11th, 2010 06:17 am (UTC)
Huh! You know, that aspect had never occured to me. I rarely read the comments other people leave on fic. That could be interesting, though, comparing my take on a scene to their's! *high-fives*
eledhwenlin
Jul. 10th, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC)
I only comment on the final chapter because I see these stories as one entity. I see it like: there's more than 1 chapter is due to the character limit for LJ/DW (if the story were posted on AO3, it'd just be one very long page). So it's worth one comment. Also you don't always have good story breaks, y'know? Some authors don't pay much attention to where in the story they break, apart from scenes.

I'd probably be glad about all the comments, but also slightly weirded out, since I never would anyone suspect to comment on all the comments.

(It's entirely different for WIPs, but I've fallen out of the habit of reading these, unless I KNOW that the author is indeed finishing that story.)
keerawa
Jul. 11th, 2010 06:20 am (UTC)
I only comment on the final chapter because I see these stories as one entity
Makes sense. I very frequently comment on individual chapters because I kno by the end of Chapter 12 I'll be so swept away by the climax that I'll forget all about that line that made me laugh in chapter 2, or the great twist in chapter 5, or the way I wanted to punch that particular character in the face after the argument in chapter 9.

I'd probably be glad about all the comments, but also slightly weirded out
I have that effect on people sometimes ...
(Deleted comment)
keerawa
Jul. 11th, 2010 06:23 am (UTC)
One of my favorite things about fandom is that it's interactive, and I get to tell people what I love about their work! I went to an art exhibit a few months ago, really enjoyed a particular artist's paintings, and felt seriously upset when I realized there was NO WAY TO TELL HIM.

Recs totally count!
etcetera_cat
Jul. 10th, 2010 08:19 pm (UTC)
Something else:

It depends on the fandom that I'm writing for. my first fandom (Valdemar) was/is all about--amongst other things--the multi-chapter WIP with a leisurely update schedule, in which case I tend to respond to all reviews individually because although cumulatively, they may be a lot, when judged against the timescale of posting/reading, they're actually fairly spread out. That being said, recently I think my ff.net-based Valdemar stuff was recced somewhere, because i had one (very sweet) person tear through most of my stuff in the course of a week, leaving fairly significant comments on every single thing (and chapter thereof) in a variety of standard ff.net reviews, PMs and forum comments.

And it was sweet, but also kind of disconcerting and I was having real issues towards the end with replying to everything, and yet I felt bad if I didn't because, maaaan, this person has just taken the time to read nigh-on a quarter million words total of my blithering and feed me back about it, so I felt obliged to respond, even though I wasn't entirely sure what to say. Particularly, it has to be said, I had trouble with responding to the comments on things that time-wise, I'd written nearly a decade ago, when I was a vastly different person.
keerawa
Jul. 11th, 2010 06:24 am (UTC)
I can see that, feeling awkward about responding from something from so long ago. The only two negative responses to feedback I've ever gotten were from commenting on someone's older works.
meresy
Jul. 10th, 2010 09:45 pm (UTC)
On stories in multiple parts posted at once, or completed former-WIPs (about the only sort I go for because serialized fic gives me hives) I tend only to comment when I finish the epic. However, if there is something just so ROCK AWESOME in the first few parts I will sometimes stop and squee because I cannot help it.

As for responding... as a commenter, it's all good. Respond only to the comment on the last section? Sweet? All of them? Sweet. Only the ones that say something you want to respond to? Sweet. (I mean, some of those in-chapter remarks from me amount to flailing. If I keep doing that, I don't blame anyone for not responding to each flailing when the content is about the same.)
keerawa
Jul. 11th, 2010 06:29 am (UTC)
if there is something just so ROCK AWESOME in the first few parts I will sometimes stop and squee because I cannot help it
I get really, REALLY into stuff I read. There's usually something I just have to express myself about in a given chapter.

And I agree that, as a commenter, I really don't mind if the author doesn't feel like responding to comments. They can just go work on their next epic for me to read, I'm totally cool with that!
(Deleted comment)
keerawa
Jul. 11th, 2010 06:36 am (UTC)
my comments can occasionally be wordy.
As an author, I LOVE that about your comments. My stories are my babies! I really like hearing about how they affected people.

As I understand it, for every posted comment, there are about 10 people who also read but didn't comment on the story.
I've heard that. I should probably install a hit counter, just to satisfy my own raving curiousity. Glancing at my stories on the AO3, it seems to vary wildly. My latest there has 6 comments, 303 hits! As an author, I'm happy with anything. One word feedback is better than none! But the people who really dig into my work and their reactions to it have a special place in my heart.
(Deleted comment)
kiwiana
Jul. 11th, 2010 01:17 am (UTC)
I should probably add, though, that if I'm posting a big bang or long story all at once (rather than a WIP) I'll usually only enable comments on the masterpost and the last chapter, simply for my own sanity - my LJ notifications are sporadic at best, and I'd rather not be checking every chapter for comments all the time if I can avoid it ;)
keerawa
Jul. 11th, 2010 06:39 am (UTC)
I'll usually only enable comments on the masterpost and the last chapter
Several authors have been doing that on their BigBangs, and it's the kind of unambiguous signal that makes me feel happy and secure.
malnpudl
Jul. 11th, 2010 01:23 am (UTC)
I comment on an individual chapter only if something about it has struck a particular chord with me, to the point where I'm moved to tell the author about it. Probably no more than 5 percent of the time, maybe a good deal less, I'm not sure.

As for replies, I have problems with replying to all the feedback I receive as it is. If I got even more, like one per chapter (should I ever write something that long), I would probably get as much anxiety as gratification out of it, since there'd be that much more room for me to fail to reply. The exception is when there's something in the comment that I can engage with, more than just "yay, I liked it, thanks."

But that's just me. I have my... quirks? Issues? Whatever.

As for general fandom etiquette, I think that either way of commenting is fine.

(And, again speaking just for myself, I don't ever expect/require an author to reply to my feedback. They did their part by writing and posting the story; they don't owe me anything more than that. Commenting is my side of the social equation, saying thank you to the writer. That balances the equation, as far as I'm concerned. Fandom etiquette differs, so I try to reply to all the feedback I receive, but I'm not very consistent, especially with anything received after the first couple of days.)
keerawa
Jul. 11th, 2010 06:43 am (UTC)
I would probably get as much anxiety as gratification out of it
See, now, that's what worries me! Am I making my new favorite author hide quivering under grandma's quilt by deluging her with feedback? Maybe I should use the Subject line: No need to reply, I'm just wildly enthusiastic!

I agree about not expecting replies when I leave feedback.
unovis
Jul. 11th, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC)
For a completed long story that's been posted in chapters, I'd say a comment for each chapter isn't necessary, unless you feel excited about something and want to say so -- our unless you just like commenting as you go along. But getting a comment on each chapter is far from bad!

For a story posted as a serial, or a WIP, commenting on each part, if that's how you're reading the story, is different. I know in my case, that lets me know someone's reading.
keerawa
Jul. 15th, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC)
I try to avoid reading WIP, but sometimes I just can't help it. In that case, yeah, I am certainly posting a comment on every chapter as my own subtle enticement. 'Here, nice author. Write some more. Come on. You know you wanna!'

I don't comment on every chapter as a duty - it's a pleasure of it's own!
brigantine
Jul. 11th, 2010 06:38 pm (UTC)
As a reader, with a WIP (though I've been burned by WIPs, so I don't read a lot of them unless I know the author) or a multi-chapter fic I'll be sure to comment at the end of the finished story, but if I'm struck by something in one of the chapters, I'll generally leave a short "Oh that is really neat!" sort of comment, so that I don't forget later. If the author responds to that, that's cool, but I won't be disappointed if they don't.

Actually, I'm okay with an author not responding to comments at all. I mean, it's fun if they do, but I don't feel like it's required. They went to the effort of writing the story, and now I'm telling them I liked it. I figure we're good right there.

As a writer, all feedback is groovy, short or long, though it can be a bit overwhelming trying to leave thoughtful responses to thoughtful comments, if there are a lot of them. I try to, because I appreciate people first of all, commenting at all, and secondly, taking extra time to think about exactly what bits they liked. Sometimes I'm just better at responding than others. :)
keerawa
Jul. 15th, 2010 07:54 pm (UTC)
I also tend to Edit:Copy lines that made a real impression on me, and then just paste that into the comments at the end of the chapter. Sometimes I'll end up over-writing it 2 or 3 times in a chapter, but I can't imagine trying to do that over a whole fic.

They went to the effort of writing the story, and now I'm telling them I liked it. I figure we're good right there.
*nods* Exactly!

And feedback is groovy! It really really is!
tifaching
Jul. 18th, 2010 04:38 pm (UTC)
I'm late to this, but I have to respond. Feedback doesnt' freak me out at all, I love it. I try to respond to each chapter of a multi-chap for the reasons you gave above. By the time I get to the end something that I loved in an earlier chapter will have gone from my mind or be impossible to find again and I would want to let the author know how much it affected me. As far as responding to comments, well, it's not like my stories get that many, and even if they did I would try to reply to them all.

I usually read other people's comments to a story I've liked just to see if what they liked was what I liked or if what they liked will give me a whole new perspective on it.

I don't have a hit counter (I've thought about it) but I do have a bad habit of compulsively checking the "My Guests" stat to see how many readers come by after I post something. It's uplifting and disheartening at the same time when you see a hundred readers(most of them repeat readers) after you post something that gets five or ten comments.

Just my two cents worth on your poll. You pretty much already know my feedback policy (give it!) and I know yours so.....
keerawa
Jul. 18th, 2010 08:02 pm (UTC)
My questions don't come with time limits. Guest stats, huh? I should check that out ...
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )