The 3 Keys to a Good Short Comment

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    ^^ Safe-T's Avatar
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    Thumbs up The 3 Keys to a Good Short Comment

    I'm sure that everyone, whether they're writers or readers, notice that when in the thread for a fic you find many comments, varying from the short "Wow, this is really good. Keep it up. :)" to the long full reviews.

    And to be honest, whenever I open a thread for a fic I always read the comments first -unless it's been recommended to me by a friend- I think it usually gives you a general idea of how good or how bad a fic is.

    So what I thought was, there should be a "standard" or a minimum amount of content that goes into the writing of a short comment or critique.


    The 3 Keys:

    1. A rating:
    This is basically what you thought of the story or chapter, the general feel. It doesn't necessarily have to be a rating from 1-10, it could be something like: It could have been better... it blew my mind... I was drinking tea and spit on the screen... it was OK... I loved it, but...etc everyone is different in the way the give their rating, so be creative.

    2. A particular part of the story or chapter that you liked:
    This can be anything from "that part when the character did..." to "when that explosion happened and there was a..." it could also be a unique quirk in the writers writing style or the way they portrayed a certain character. And it doesn't have to be just one part it could be as many as you want. But you also have to remember that the writer wants to know why.
    Quote Originally Posted by unrepentantAuthor View Post
    I don't think it's possible for something to be universally liked or hated. There will always be detractors and admirers. What matter to me is the justification, if you like.
    I don't want to be told my fic is good, I want to be told my reader likes the way I succeed in describing my characters' body language.
    I don't want to be told my fic is bad, I want to be told my reader dislikes the way I fail to describe the physical environment, in contrast.
    I want, even in a short comment, to understand why the reader thinks what they do.


    3. What you hope or what you'd like to see from the writer in the future:
    Whether it has to do the writing itself or with the story or a character. This gives the writer a chance to get a second opinion and maybe come up with some new ideas, so don't be stingy and be honest with what you think, there is nothing worse than a dishonest review.


    In my opinion, this should be the minimum amount of content in a review since it gives the people who open a thread and don't have the time, or a least don't have the motivation to read the actual fic a general idea of what it's like.

    If you prefer to add some constructive criticism or a full review, then that's up to you. Like I said this is a standard and we should always strive to be better at giving our reviews. Good luck.

    So what do you guys think? Do you think I missed something important? Or that it's too much?
    Last edited by Safe-T; 31st May 2012 at 02:25 PM.
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    ポケモン Tsutarja's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 3 Keys to a Good Short Comment

    I personally think that this is just the right amount of content a simple review can hold, like you said, the minimum amount. And of course, you can do a more thorough, detailed review as well which I'm sure many would be content with.

    But yeah, I agree.

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    Default Re: The 3 Keys to a Good Short Comment

    Moved for you. :p

    first time i've done this oh god what

    Also, not so sure about the first part. While it's true it doesn't have to be assigned a numerical value, ratings imply a ranking system. Leaving aside any possible ramifications regarding perceived versus actual superiority, I've found that ratings in a review somewhat cheapen the post and cause any actual advice to be ignored. It assigns an arbitrary value to a piece of art that exists on a multidimensional continuum for no particular reason other than inflating/damaging the ego of the author.

    Of course, rating things out of 100 or five stars or whatever isn't necessarily a bad thing - in competitions, it's necessary, and in newspaper reviews, it's helpful - but in a piece of private, I find it redundant. Just my two cents. :p Everyone has their own way of doing things.
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    Default Re: The 3 Keys to a Good Short Comment

    Disagree on the ratings, slightly. Ratings have strengths, but they say nothing. I always read the comment and judge based on the content of said comment/review, not the score. It's only worth it if it's really, really poor (below 5/10) or really good (above 9/10); then the rating may say something about the story. Even then though, there are exceptions, as you may like something even though others abhor it.

    The safest way to go is thus, for me, a split rating system. One for the quality of the plot, one for the quality of characters, one for the quality of writing, and perhaps one for personal enjoyment ("this was good, but personally I didn't enjoy it" often result in a poor rating when it should have been good).
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    J'ai Envie De Toi AetherX's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: The 3 Keys to a Good Short Comment

    I don't think that Sai was implying at all that a numerical rating system be used. I think he was just saying that the comment should open with a general statement about the quality of the fic overall: "I loved it," "I got bored," "I shat bricks," etc. I agree that numbers are subjective and impersonal, but the opinion should still be there.

    I think this is a good guide for a quick comment and one that I usually follow. Expanding on this to a full review would certainly require breaking things down to plot, characters, writing, and what have you, but this works for the bare minimum. To be honest, responding anything less than this would be a waste of time. It gets kind of frustrating to see no real response to your writing than "gj moar plx." Not that anyone has ever used those exact words...
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    Default Re: The 3 Keys to a Good Short Comment

    Aether is right, you guys, Sai didn't say that the numerical rating should be used. ^^

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    Default Re: The 3 Keys to a Good Short Comment

    I never implied Sai ever said they must be used. I was merely expression my opinion on numerical ratings, since they were, after all, brought up. I mostly agree with the rest, which is why I didn't touch upon it.

    I once wrote a guide to reviewing, here. While intended for the purpose of reviewing visual media (tv series/cartoons/animanga etc.), it can be transposed unto the fanfiction media for the most part (just replace animation and sound with fluency and overall writing quality), and represents my views (mostly) on what needs to be looked at in a real review. It's more intended for a full-length review, but thought I should share it nonetheless ;D
    "People like you and me overcame the Neanderthals. People like you and me overcame the Ice Age"

    "You can hold [the brain] in the palm of your hands - and it can contemplate the vastness of interstellar space"

    "Along some paths of cosmic discovery there are times when, at least for now, one must be content to love the questions themselves"

    The Symphony of Science; a tribute to the marvels of science and nature.


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    Default Re: The 3 Keys to a Good Short Comment

    The minimum that - as an author - I would be gratified to receive is a comment on a particular aspect that was good, a comment on a particular aspect that could be better - preferably with a suggestion for improvement - and perhaps a general response to the quality, such as a qualitative, verbal rating. The minimum that - as a human being - I can accept as worthwhile to post is any comment with specific reference to the fic. If I perceive the post to be generally applicable to any fic - thereby being as effectual as copypasta - I will flip some gorramn tables.

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    Default Re: The 3 Keys to a Good Short Comment

    Quote Originally Posted by Misheard Whisper View Post
    Moved for you. :p
    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Misheard Whisper View Post
    Also, not so sure about the first part. While it's true it doesn't have to be assigned a numerical value, ratings imply a ranking system. Leaving aside any possible ramifications regarding perceived versus actual superiority, I've found that ratings in a review somewhat cheapen the post and cause any actual advice to be ignored. It assigns an arbitrary value to a piece of art that exists on a multidimensional continuum for no particular reason other than inflating/damaging the ego of the author.

    Of course, rating things out of 100 or five stars or whatever isn't necessarily a bad thing - in competitions, it's necessary, and in newspaper reviews, it's helpful - but in a piece of private, I find it redundant. Just my two cents. :p Everyone has their own way of doing things.
    Actually for the rating, specifically, I don't think numerical values would be very appropriate, I only brought it up for people who like to be exact and not comparative. There's a difference between an "8" and "I thought it was great".

    Secondly, I think that rating -despite being "an arbitrary value to a piece of art that exists on a multidimensional continuum for no particular reason other than inflating/damaging the ego of the author."- is still a good way to keep track of quality. For example I might read a fic and give the first chapter a 7.0, then later as the writer gets better they might get a 7.8, but when a chapter comes along that isn't on par with the previous ones, and the inconsistency is obvious, they might get a 6.7.

    Quote Originally Posted by Llama_Guy View Post
    Disagree on the ratings, slightly. Ratings have strengths, but they say nothing. I always read the comment and judge based on the content of said comment/review, not the score. It's only worth it if it's really, really poor (below 5/10) or really good (above 9/10); then the rating may say something about the story. Even then though, there are exceptions, as you may like something even though others abhor it.

    The safest way to go is thus, for me, a split rating system. One for the quality of the plot, one for the quality of characters, one for the quality of writing, and perhaps one for personal enjoyment ("this was good, but personally I didn't enjoy it" often result in a poor rating when it should have been good).
    Splitting the rating system is actually not a bad idea, it will most likely widen the range of how well the fic is perceived. And personally I think enjoyment is one of the most important factors.


    Quote Originally Posted by Llama_Guy View Post
    I never implied Sai ever said they must be used. I was merely expression my opinion on numerical ratings, since they were, after all, brought up. I mostly agree with the rest, which is why I didn't touch upon it.

    I once wrote a guide to reviewing, here. While intended for the purpose of reviewing visual media (tv series/cartoons/animanga etc.), it can be transposed unto the fanfiction media for the most part (just replace animation and sound with fluency and overall writing quality), and represents my views (mostly) on what needs to be looked at in a real review. It's more intended for a full-length review, but thought I should share it nonetheless ;D
    You know I suspected you to be the same Llama_Guy from MAL. I used to always read your reviews. :)

    Quote Originally Posted by unrepentantAuthor View Post
    The minimum that - as an author - I would be gratified to receive is a comment on a particular aspect that was good, a comment on a particular aspect that could be better - preferably with a suggestion for improvement - and perhaps a general response to the quality, such as a qualitative, verbal rating. The minimum that - as a human being - I can accept as worthwhile to post is any comment with specific reference to the fic. If I perceive the post to be generally applicable to any fic - thereby being as effectual as copypasta - I will flip some gorramn tables.
    Most of what you suggested is mentioned, if not all of it, just rephrased and in a different order.

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    Reality is a dream TheLlama's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 3 Keys to a Good Short Comment

    Splitting the rating system is actually not a bad idea, it will most likely widen the range of how well the fic is perceived. And personally I think enjoyment is one of the most important factors.
    Yeah. The thing is, by "enjoyment" I was referring to the subjective experience. You rate plot, characters and writing as objectively as you can in the other scores, but this one's all about your subjective experience. Something can be, from a neutral point of view, of horrible quality, but still enjoyable. Or the opposite - of excellent quality, but not enjoyable for whatever reason. Usually these correspond, but I've had my fair share of experience with stuff on both ends of the scale, and likewise, experience with a fair share of people who've been on both ends of the scale. Thus the marvel that is the "enjoyment" score. A way for a reviewer to be purely subjective in what is otherwise a study in objectivity (well, as close as one can get and still be a human being).

    You know I suspected you to be the same Llama_Guy from MAL. I used to always read your reviews. :)
    Thanks :P
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    Default Re: The 3 Keys to a Good Short Comment

    Quote Originally Posted by Llama_Guy View Post
    Yeah. The thing is, by "enjoyment" I was referring to the subjective experience. You rate plot, characters and writing as objectively as you can in the other scores, but this one's all about your subjective experience. Something can be, from a neutral point of view, of horrible quality, but still enjoyable. Or the opposite - of excellent quality, but not enjoyable for whatever reason. Usually these correspond, but I've had my fair share of experience with stuff on both ends of the scale, and likewise, experience with a fair share of people who've been on both ends of the scale. Thus the marvel that is the "enjoyment" score. A way for a reviewer to be purely subjective in what is otherwise a study in objectivity (well, as close as one can get and still be a human being).
    I know, and even though rating objectively is very important, I personally like it more when a reader is subjective and isn't afraid to admit he likes something even though it might not generally be that good.

    Then again, being subjective is usually what makes something popular, while being objective is what gives something its high rating in which case whether you like it or not you have to admit it is good or bad.

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    Wordsmith unrepentantAuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 3 Keys to a Good Short Comment

    I don't think it's possible for something to be universally liked or hated. There will always be detractors and admirers. What matter to me is the justification, if you like.
    I don't want to be told my fic is good, I want to be told my reader likes the way I succeed in describing my characters' body language.
    I don't want to be told my fic is bad, I want to be told my reader dislikes the way I fail to describe the physical environment, in contrast.
    I want, even in a short comment, to understand why the reader thinks what they do.
    Does that make sense?

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    Reality is a dream TheLlama's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 3 Keys to a Good Short Comment

    @unrepentantAuthor; it makes very much sense!
    @Sai; I advocate commenting on both. Subjective ratings say very little to me unless they're either 1: backed up with a objective overview of what and how the story does well/poorly, or 2: the person in question is someone who share my tastes. Only being objective, while it gives clues, doesn't say anything about entertainment value.
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    "You can hold [the brain] in the palm of your hands - and it can contemplate the vastness of interstellar space"

    "Along some paths of cosmic discovery there are times when, at least for now, one must be content to love the questions themselves"

    The Symphony of Science; a tribute to the marvels of science and nature.


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    Default Re: The 3 Keys to a Good Short Comment

    Quote Originally Posted by unrepentantAuthor View Post
    I don't think it's possible for something to be universally liked or hated. There will always be detractors and admirers. What matter to me is the justification, if you like.
    I don't want to be told my fic is good, I want to be told my reader likes the way I succeed in describing my characters' body language.
    I don't want to be told my fic is bad, I want to be told my reader dislikes the way I fail to describe the physical environment, in contrast.
    I want, even in a short comment, to understand why the reader thinks what they do.
    Does that make sense?
    It actually makes a lot of sense, and if you don't mind I'd like to add your quote to the second key, as it is more specific.

    Quote Originally Posted by Llama_Guy View Post
    I advocate commenting on both. Subjective ratings say very little to me unless they're either 1: backed up with a objective overview of what and how the story does well/poorly, or 2: the person in question is someone who share my tastes. Only being objective, while it gives clues, doesn't say anything about entertainment value.
    As for (1) It sould be expected that even though you are given a subjective rating that it is somewhat backed up by objective overview or else it would be just plain bias.
    (2)And that's what I meant when saying that I personally prefer subjective to objective ratings, because only being object can't tell you much of how well it was enjoyed.

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    Wordsmith unrepentantAuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 3 Keys to a Good Short Comment

    Quote Originally Posted by Sai View Post
    It actually makes a lot of sense, and if you don't mind I'd like to add your quote to the second key, as it is more specific.
    I wouldn't mind at all, good sir, provided I am credited.

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