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Thread: Constructive criticism v. flaming

  1. #76
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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    Actually, I'll hazard to say that a review can be absolutely scathing and still be considered constructive criticism rather than flaming. If something doesn't have very many (or any) redeeming qualities, fishing around for some or making them up will not help the writer at all. The difference between constructive criticism and flaming lies in intent: someone who leaves constructive criticism wants to address the objective problems with an author's writing and help that author improve, while a flame is mostly just to lash out at the author for how much they suck.

    But these aren't always mutually exclusive. Sometimes an author will be so mind-blowingly wrong in their execution that it's impossible to properly contain yourself. I think the best example of this I've read is the Gen. V fic Darkest Night. It's correct in terms of the basics, such as spelling and grammar, but the way the author handles rape is nothing short of appalling.

    (To be honest, that paragraph above is pretty much mostly about people mishandling rape or abuse. Most bad writing is just bad writing, but when you're dealing with something that a reader has every chance of actually having gone through...well, you really have to handle it with care.)

    Basically, if you're going to say something an author might find unfavorable...well, you don't have to do a compliment sandwich, but you have to have a study way to back up your arguments.

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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    Quote Originally Posted by juiceboxxx View Post
    Actually, I'll hazard to say that a review can be absolutely scathing and still be considered constructive criticism rather than flaming. If something doesn't have very many (or any) redeeming qualities, fishing around for some or making them up will not help the writer at all. The difference between constructive criticism and flaming lies in intent: someone who leaves constructive criticism wants to address the objective problems with an author's writing and help that author improve, while a flame is mostly just to lash out at the author for how much they suck.
    I think you're right, but I still think that when it comes to reviews, tone is an important thing to consider. People are less likely to listen to your criticism if you're nothing but negative and you aren't offering any concrete ways to fix things but just saying everything sucks. Even if you're right.

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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    Quote Originally Posted by juiceboxxx View Post
    Basically, if you're going to say something an author might find unfavorable...well, you don't have to do a compliment sandwich, but you have to have a study way to back up your arguments.
    Even the most backed-up argument won't be convincing if you say it in such an insulting way that the author finds you to be flaming anyway. You're right that it doesn't have to be a compliment sandwich, but 1) a spoonful of sugar really does help the medicine go down, no matter how much other people tell you not to sugarcoat things, and 2) most people, in my experience, can't handle writing constructive criticism without devolving into excessive negativity, so they need a few positive points to soften things up.

    Quote Originally Posted by juiceboxxx View Post
    a review can be absolutely scathing and still be considered constructive criticism rather than flaming. If something doesn't have very many (or any) redeeming qualities, fishing around for some or making them up will not help the writer at all.
    I'd beg to differ. A review is only constructive to the extent that it helps the author improve. Being scathing has nothing to do with pointing out problems, and it's always possible to do the latter without doing the former.

    Of course, I've said myself (earlier in this thread) that "A scathing review with a few good points shoehorned in for 'balance''s sake won't make the author feel any better about it." But that's because the review is scathing, not because the review has no good points.
    Last edited by Zekurom; 16th March 2013 at 01:10 PM.
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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    A scathing review tends to make people hate you, so they'll just simply ignore you - even if the advice is relevant.
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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    Forum Head moment here peeps:

    Just as a note, please remember that flaming is not restricted to just reviews in the main hub of the Workshop. Posting inflammatory comments in the Writer's Block or Author's Atlas can be just as hurtful/troublesome as crudely criticizing someones story. If you notice an error with what someone has posted and want to point it out, do so in private or in a way that will not come across as hurtful or offensive, as it could simply make you look bad rather than clear up whatever the issue is.

  6. #81

    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    Is it me or do a lot of people put more effort into negative reviews than positive? Not that I mean to point fingers and anyone but...

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    Your mind is a world AetherX's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    Quote Originally Posted by matt0044 View Post
    Is it me or do a lot of people put more effort into negative reviews than positive? Not that I mean to point fingers and anyone but...
    It depends on what you mean by positive and negative. A lot of the short "reviews" tend to be positive, yes. I don't tend to really call those reviews, though. As I said in my Academy article, those are more just responses. Like this: "Nice fic. I liked the part where the guy did the thing. More pls." Positive? Yes. Review? No.

    Critical reviews where the reviewer is trying to point out mistakes and suggest improvements will obviously tend to be longer because there is more to say. It's hard to claim that not a lot of effort is put into those. A flamer on the other hand will probably also put some effort in so that they aren't immediately brushed off as a troll.

    A troll will tell you that you suck. A flamer will tell you why you suck. A constructive reviewer will tell you how to not suck.

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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    Quote Originally Posted by AetherX View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by matt0044 View Post
    Is it me or do a lot of people put more effort into negative reviews than positive? Not that I mean to point fingers and anyone but...
    It depends on what you mean by positive and negative. A lot of the short "reviews" tend to be positive, yes. I don't tend to really call those reviews, though. As I said in my Academy article, those are more just responses. Like this: "Nice fic. I liked the part where the guy did the thing. More pls." Positive? Yes. Review? No.

    A troll will tell you that you suck. A flamer will tell you why you suck. A constructive reviewer will tell you how to not suck.
    Bingo.

    "This is awesome."
    "Nice story so far."

    As much as we all like getting this comments, these are not reviews in the slightest. Negative or not, if some heart is put into the review and isn't bashing, rude comments, and straight-up telling you nasty things without offering anything to improve upon it counts as a review.

    Ex. "Your dialogue is awkward." - Not helpful.
    Ex. "Your dialogue didn't flow very well, it can be improved upon in certain areas like these....." - Helpful.

    If someone goes to the trouble of going through and trying to find these for you and quoting these things, it's obvious they aren't attempting to flame you imo.

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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    Quote Originally Posted by AetherX View Post
    A troll will tell you that you suck. A flamer will tell you why you suck. A constructive reviewer will tell you how to not suck.
    And a truly skilled constructive reviewer will tell you how to not suck without mentioning the word "suck" even once.
    The word "quadragonal" is the only word with "dragon" in it where "dragon" is not a root word. That makes it awesome.

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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    One thing I want to say: if you're writing a critical review, keep in mind why you are writing it.

    Are you writing it because you want to see a promising story live up to its potential?

    Are you writing it because you genuinely want to help people become better writers?

    Or are you writing the review because their mastery (or lack therefore of) of English and/or storytelling offends you?

    Or are you writing the review because their plot/headcanon clashes with your headcanon?

    In my opinion, if you are writing a review for the last two reasons, you're better off not writing said review at all.
    What are the Legendaries really like? Find out in The Life of the Legendaries

    Humans and pokémon no longer live in harmony. Hear their tales in The Poké Wars Chronicles: Tales From A World At War

    Cynthia once had it all: powerful pokémon, fame and hordes of adoring fans. But Ho-oh's campaign tears her life asunder. Now to survive this deadly new world, she must do the one thing that she never wanted: kill. Follow her trials through a world at war in Poké Wars: Downfall of a Champion

  11. #86
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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    I review stories on fanifiction.net and as you are all likely aware, the stories there a god-awful.


    I'm considering myself guilty of Drakon's point about reviews based on their lack of basic understanding of the English Language.
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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    The recent topics in the Writer's Workshop General topic made me think of this topic and I believe some important points need to be made.

    One thing that I find incredibly galling is when reviewers take personal offense to writers politely dismissing their comments or defending their story. The writers are the ones who control the story, they do not have the obligation to listen to you.

    Another thing that I find annoying is people who defend caustic reviewers. I fail to see how acerbic reviews are helpful. If anything, they'll make the author less likely to be receptive to criticism.
    What are the Legendaries really like? Find out in The Life of the Legendaries

    Humans and pokémon no longer live in harmony. Hear their tales in The Poké Wars Chronicles: Tales From A World At War

    Cynthia once had it all: powerful pokémon, fame and hordes of adoring fans. But Ho-oh's campaign tears her life asunder. Now to survive this deadly new world, she must do the one thing that she never wanted: kill. Follow her trials through a world at war in Poké Wars: Downfall of a Champion

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