Now that I think about it, reviews need to be harsh from time to time. However, it's like balancing on the edge of a knife. If you're not careful, reviews can turn from constructive to downright insulting to the writer. And no one likes being insulted.
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I don't recall receiving a harsh review yet. I usually get good reviews and reviews that give criticism, but in a nice way. That's the best way to receive criticism imo, but I still learn as much as someone who receives harsh criticism.
It still feels good knowing your getting either positive reviews being praised or good reviews giving you things to fix :D
I am a hideously harsh reviewer, but if I mention something then it's because it's a genuine issue with the story, not just because I feel like being randomly horrible. I get frustrated trying to explain this to people, though, and I'm not about to sand my rough edges off for random internet people (I don't even sand my rough edges off for my best friend, but apparently he likes my bitchcritic style?? idek whatever, it's no weirder than him wanting to be my friend in the first place) so I usually only review stories when authors have specifically requested me to do so. I take the view that if they're asking for it, they should be able to handle it.
I've stolen my brothers' laptop to type this, and it's reminded me how much I hate typing on laptops. I'm sorry, I just can't handle living in this world any more: tell my wife and kids I love th--
Nothing like spending an evening blasting rap music. Ahhhhhhhh :33333
Anyways, I don't really tend to be harsh. I know it seems selfish, but I have trouble reading other peoples' fics, besides a couple. I rarely give reviews, but I try to be helpful without being too much of an asshole when I do.
I generally dislike overly harsh reviewers, even if they are helpful. Think of it this way. The writer has displayed effort, he/she sat there and wrote something down, even though they were under no pressure to do so, with no benefit to be gained other than a profound sense of accomplishment and happiness. Nevertheless, all the reviewer has to do is sit down and read, when they're done, if they feel like it, they comment about they like and what they didn't.
Personally, when I look it that way, I see no reason to be harsh with the writer, or insult them in any way. That being said, there is such a thing as being honest, firm and never sugar-coating it. In the end, the reviewer aims to help the writer improve.
First off, the best thing to be is objective. So you may not like the genre or plot, that's ok, but don't say it's 'shit' or 'bad', that's opinion not fact. Secondly, be honest, if you see something off, you say so, don't kiss ass or disregard anything, doing that means defeating the whole purpose of reviewing, assisting the process of improvement.
But the keyword here is RESPECTFUL. Respect the writer, respect their effort, respect the work itself.
Last edited by Thabet; 4th June 2012 at 06:21 PM.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, pointing out the flaws and explaining how they can be improved is, in my opinion, only part of a good review. You also have to frame it in a way that the author is going to be able to use it easily. A lot of people like to say "I say the genuine problems with the fic, they need to be able to deal with it", but if you genuinely want to help a writer, that's not what you should be doing. The fact is that giving the really harsh, rude review that does genuinely point out all the flaws with a fic is just plain easier (and more fun) to write - it doesn't make you cool and it doesn't make you clever, anyone can be rude. The challenge in writing a review is getting your point across in a polite manner that is digestible for a reader. That is what makes a good reviewer. I'm not saying that I do it, as I've said I'm often concerned that I cross into rudeness (I'm glad Kelleo was happy with her review from me, but that doesn't mean that I've been as effective in all my reviews), but I certainly think this is what you should be aiming for when reviewing.
What I like to do is phrase my criticism in the form of a question (eg. "I noticed X in this paragraph, is there a reason why you did this?") This way, the authors have a chance to tell you why they did what they did--what looks like a flaw to a reviewer could be artistic reason for the author
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I've never had a terribly harsh review. A few of my first reviews were critical, but rightly so. So I can't really say how I'd respond. As for my own reviews of other's works... to be honest, I feel like I'm not harsh enough. I'm too easily entertained and satisfied. I do my best to point out problems, but I'm too nice to be very critical.
@R0-S3; I just realized: R0-S3... ROSE. And here I was thinking that you were named after some obscure droid from Star Wars. *Facepalm* My slowness at times surprises me.
I remember my first review ever was probably the harshest review I've never had too xD though granted I was a sucky writer back then. That was back when Blackjack Gabbiani was the only mod of the then Fanfic Corner and boy was she harsh, I have to admit she stuck with me for a while but her reviews were always kinda rude.
That being said I'm not harsh with my reviews, actually I should be harsher xD I usually point out what I like or didn't like in an honest manner. Sometimes I can like a story but I can still point out the bad things and sometimes I don't. I honestly wish I was a harsher reviwere :( I feel like my reviews suck.
Well, Blackjack was always a little...abrasive :/
Honestly, to me, it all comes down to whether or not the review was helpful. Once you know how to look for the things reviewers are actually trying to say (which might be very different from what they write), the tone of the review really doesn't matter. If people are gonna bitch, they're gonna bitch.
This stupid laptop keeps crying whenever I try to quote posts, aaargh :I
See, the reason why I write harsh reviews is because I am Ass Burger Girl with a c-c-c-combo hit of a naturally abrasive personality, no brain-to-mouth-filter, minimal ability to pretend to be a functional human being, asbolutely no empathy whatsoever, and a deepy-imbedded desire to give zero fucks, because in my opinion anyone who throws a tantrum about a less-than-polite review on their pokemon fanfic is taking fandom far, far too seriously.
I have tried - really, genuinely tried - to give reviews nicely, and without any bitchiness, but I have literally no idea what's socially appropriate to say, and there are people out there who will take offense at any criticism of their fic, no matter how politely-worded. So on the whole, it's simply too confusing for me to deal with and I don't want to expend valuable pretending-to-be-a-functional-human-being energy on people I don't even know and will probably never interact with again.
I really don't just want to stop reviewing, because it's something I genuinely enjoy doing - taking a story apart and looking at how it works and what the problems are - and it's also something I find very soothing and comforting to do if I'm unhappy.
So I only review people who ask for it and are presumably aware that I am a horrible person, because doing it that way creates maximum benefit along with minimum life stress on my side and minimum tantrums on the other person's side.
Last edited by R0-S3; 5th June 2012 at 05:09 AM.
I also must agree with your assertion on genre. When reviewing, one must review on the writer's own terms - who the love interest is is not an aspect up for debate, but the description of such certainly is. Critique how good the writing is, not what it is. (The exception being if the content is horribly offensive.)
And yes, respect is key. I cannot stress enough how much respect is to be valued. Thanks for bringing attention to this.
It's very true, though, that the review cannot simply state that there are flaws. The flaws must be identified, explained, and have solutions suggested in order to be as helpful as possible. The most insulting thing, I think, is when a reviewer claims you have flaws, but refuses to say what they are or how to improve - without seeming to realise that if the flaws exist, they probably aren't visible - or solvable - to the reader.
Lastly, GaMa, your review of DE was one of more measured, helpful ones I've received. It's exactly the sort of critique I appreciate most. Not rude at all~