my responses to diaphenia’s six+ other points
2. I also didn’t see the link, but that’s a weird and hostile thing to do, to call out a specific person
I’ve always said that. I think that it was her way to illustrate a point, but it was not a good thing to do.
3. Not being clear in her objectives. Did she want to criticize formatting alone? In that case, a primer in how to work lj, without naming names, would’ve sufficed. If she wanted to criticize poor writing, I’m not sure what the point would’ve been. We all know everyone has different talent/talent levels. How does drawing attention to that help? Was she upset about that too nice thing? Well, if she’s a writer, she’s free to seek out all the constructive criticism she wants. She can ask for a dozen betas, she can ask her commenters to be as bold as they please. But asking everyone to critique everyone else harder strikes me as fundamentally unfair.
I don’t feel comfortable speaking to the OP’s motives and as I said before, I’m not here to defend everything that she said as I don’t agree with all of it.
This is how it seemed to me:
The OP wanted to have a discussion about concrit in the Parks fandom, and used the poorly formatted fic as a lead-in point. She specifically said that she had been recc’d the fic several times and that she was surprised that no one had commented on how difficult it was to read. Then she tried to start a meta discussion with the question that if we as a community don’t feel comfortable in giving criticism about something as basic and innocuous like formatting, then are we being detrimental in never giving a writer any constructive criticism.
Was it done clearly? Not really. Could have it all been phrased in a more concise way and not directly linked to a particular fic? Yep.
I’ll address the “too nice” comment below in my response to point #5.
4. I’ll flat-out admit. I’d hate to get criticism for something I wrote publicly. Privately? Fine. But I reread the comments on my fic when I’m feeling sad and hiding out in a bathroom somewhere trying to smile, and I don’t want that under my fic. Again, privately? That’s fine. I’ve never specifically sought it out, but I can take it.
But if someone read that post and thought, ah, I’ll critique saucydiva’s story with a fine-tooth comb, and post it publicly, I’d be mad.
I love having betas who will give me tough love. But I requested them. I don’t request random commenters giving me a beta job.
Which is basically what the OP was requesting on everyone else’s behalf.
I don’t think anyone is excited to be criticized publicly, especially when it’s in regard to a piece that they created be it written, a piece of art, a song, food, etc. I do think that you have completely overblown what the OP requested.
This is what she said: “I know we’re known for being one of the friendliest fandoms around, but we’re not doing the writer in question or other writers any favors by letting major problems with their fic slide. I can understand the sentiment of not wanting to offend someone, especially someone new to fanfic and/or writing, but one of the only ways writers can learn and improve is to have their mistakes constructively pointed out to them… Personally, I’m going to try to be offer a little bit more in the way of constructive criticism and I would hope that others would do the same for me and for others. Also, we have some terrific writers offering to beta read and I would hope that authors who are new to writing, fanfic, and/or this fandom would take advantage of the resource.”
Please show me wherein she said “we should all go into every fic with a fine-tooth comb, give a detailed list of everything they did wrong and post it publicly in their comments.”
I’m not trying to be snippy here. I just don’t see how your summary of her comments matches up to what she said at all. The only thing I could find that she mentioned doing anything publicly was: “The role of constructive criticism, and how it’s delivered, has always been controversial in fandom and I don’t think consensus has ever been reached. Some believe it should be done privately, some in public.” There was no demand or declaration of what we as a community should do.
5. Again, trying to argue that people on the internet need to be meaner strikes me as strange. If people find a story speaks to them, let it speak to them. Complaining that a person has too many comments is asinine.
Faux concern that someone will post to a larger fandom and get torn apart because we weren’t mean enough to them in our smaller community is a bizarre argument.
I agree that the “as they move on to bigger fandoms” argument didn’t make any sense.
I think that people grabbed onto “feral fandom” and “too nice” as these rallying points to get angry about when they didn’t seem to me like anything more than a reference and an adjective. In fact, I think “too nice” was a commentary on the fact that the fandom — or rather the l_b community — generally describes itself as this happy, lovey-dovey super nice fandom, and far far nicer than every other fandom.
I also missed where she said that people needed to be meaner. That people should offer more constructive criticism, yes, but meaner — especially being mean simply for the sake of being mean — no. I am open to being corrected.
6. If someone wants to improve, they will find the resources to do so. Asking that we withhold praise from people we like/fic that speaks to us so that community standards on the whole will rise is a weird argument. More likely, people will get fed up and write for other fandoms. Or go outside. And even if it would actually work, that withholding comments would make more and better fic appear, most people aren’t going to agree with the methods used.
I don’t believe that a fandom as a whole has any responsibility to grow and mature anyone.
I think that people have the ability to reach out and do something wonderful for someone else in giving them support and advice in their writing. But no one fandom will make or break someone, whether it be with praise or criticism.
7. Calling out the community as a whole for writing “mediocre” fic seemed mean-spirited. If the fic is so mediocre, feel free to stop reading it.
I agree with you.
This is just my two cents. YMMV, etc, etc, but I think that the same post, posted under a familiar name, not calling anyone out, maybe from the perspective of someone looking to work on her OWN writing and asking for bolder critiques of her work, would’ve been met with a very different response.
So, basically, not have said anything that she said.
And what if she’s not a writer looking for bolder critiques of her own work but a comm participant with a thought that she wanted to share? Which is all we know as we’re not in her brain and as I said above, I don’t feel comfortable speaking to the OP’s motives. Nor do I want to make broad and furious assumptions on motivations that I am not aware of.
You think people were getting defensive? Of course they were. She wants to change our fandom culture, in a way that may or may not result in more/better fic, but will certainly result in hurt feelings and frustration.
Or, you know, people could not change anything. Which is what will happen.
This is the one argument that I honestly find ridiculous and realize that I will sound as bitchy as i feel about it because THIS IS ONE PERSON WITH SOME SUGGESTIONS THAT PEOPLE ARE FREE TO IGNORE.
She isn’t changing anything — there is no contract that we’ve all signed naming her dictator and all knowing leader. So on this point, I think we can all quit the flaily hands of “OMG! STOP MAKING US CHANGE! YOU’RE RUINING EVERYTHING! WE’RE THE NICE PEOPLE, STOP TRYING TO MAKE US BE MEAN!”
We’re all autonomous beings right? And no one is stopping anybody from giving happy praise to fics they like. No one is going to be forced to use a beta reader and no one will be forced to take the two extra minutes to make sure that their fic is easily readable. The sky continues to be blue, the earth continues to be round and Leslie’s hair will continue to be compared to the bright, bright sun. Nothing will change and everyone will all be okay.