More rambling. Here's a little thought that's been niggling at me all day, which I thought I'd share with those of you that care for whatever reason. If the author is a dick, does that colour your perception of any stories they might have produced? And if they have a message or a moral that you disagree with or find repugnant, how does that affect your enjoyment of the story as a whole?
I ask, because I think I do judge a story differently depending on my opinion of the author or their own views. I got to thinking about this because there was a story posted on Equestria Daily the other day that caught my interest, promising to explain the discrepancies between season one and two, and that sounded like an intriguing premise to me. I'm not going to name names, even though it'd be rather pointless and you probably know what I'm talking about or could find out yourself easily enough, but I don't like naming names, so I won't.
The thing is though, I went into it thinking it'd be a clever exploration of the differences between seasons, maybe take a few jabs but never really go too far, but it quickly became apparent by chapter two that the writer really seemed to have a problem with the second season, and kept presenting it as being full of plot-holes for things like the appearance of the construction crane in the Mare-do-well episode or Rainbow Dash's characterisation.
If there aren't many of them, I usually read the comments section after every chapter to see how people reacted, and I was curious after the first chapter why there were so many dislikes. While there I found someone who I recognised as a follower of Human who had also read it, initially praising it, but who had later edited the comment and said that it was pretty clear the author just really hated season two and it ruined the story for them. Reading the comments of chapter two, I found an author comment making it quite plain that that was indeed the case, making several comments about how season one was so gloriously perfect and season two was so poorly written and ruined it all, and that his story was the glue that would try to fix them together, and fix all the problems and tie everything up in one neat bundle with an adequate explanation.
After reading that, despite me liking the first chapter, I awarded the story in question possibly the second or third dislike I've ever given to a story on this site. I don't read crap. If a story looks like it's going to be shit or I have no interest in it, I simply don't read it, and thus don't rate it. This is why I don't give out many of them. I only ever read anything if I think it's going to be good, so all the dislikes I do give are to stories that I went into with high hopes but which quickly turned out to be disappointments. This time though, it wasn't even because it was badly written. It was because, whatever you think about season two, that kind of egotistical snobbishness that the author displayed coloured the rest of the fic, and reading it over again, it suddenly seemed very mean spirited, and I couldn't enjoy it anymore.
Maybe that's just because I disagree so strongly with that opinion. In my view, the additions season two made to canon like that construction crane don't contradict anything. It was never said anywhere in the show that they have absolutely no modern technology like that at all, just like it was never actually said anywhere that Twilight was an only child. People just assumed that. Adding new things we never saw before is world building, not canon rape.
At least, that's my opinion. Maybe you disagree. Either way though, the point of this blog is not for me to defend season two to its critics. The point is, the author held an opinion about something which I disagreed with, and his story quite clearly expressed that opinion too. So I couldn't get behind it, and I couldn't enjoy it. It's like when you read a book by some political newsman or something, when they talk at length about their opinions on the economy, or religion, or immigration, or other such topics. Great if you agree with them, but if not, you won't like the book. And that's what happened to me.
This is why whenever Human brings up topics that people can heavily disagree on, I try to fairly represent both sides and not side with one or the other unless I have to.
Anyway. What I'm trying to say is, before reading those comments, the story just seemed like another story to me, but discovering the author's intent and the purpose of the story afterwards just made the whole thing feel different, enough so for me to actually actively dislike it, and that doesn't happen often. I want to know from you guys how you feel about this. Is an author's intentions or opinions something that should factor into the story? Was I unfair to judge the story like that, and should I have given it more of a chance, or judged it just on its merits as a story while ignoring the disagreeable message? Can a story only ever interpreted how the author intended? If not, would alternate interpretations that ignore the intended message make the story any better? And most of all, putting aside messages and morals and other such things, if a story is completely free of any kind of message that you would find personally disagreeable, but the author is just a dick in general, would that also hang over his stories and affect your opinion of him and his work?
In short, when you're forming an opinion on something, just how important to you is its creator?