• Member Since 4th May, 2013
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Estee


On the Sliding Scale Of Cynicism Vs. Idealism, I like to think of myself as being idyllically cynical. (Patreon, Ko-Fi.)

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Jul
16th
2018

The silence of the (to be determined): the new 'disable comments and/or votes' feature · 3:48pm Jul 16th, 2018

There comes a point where negative feedback is just part of the routine.

It generally doesn't arrive early. During the first days (months, a year or two) on the site, those red marks can truly feel like they mean something. You did something wrong. You must have, right? And now someone doesn't like your work and by extension, that means they're also not all that fond of you. You want to know how you screwed up and in the worst-case scenario, that downvoting party will not quite tell you. They'll be happy to discuss all of what they've determined (and it's amazing, how brilliant and insightful they are) to be your character flaws, your personality defects, and all of the reasons why you should absolutely commit suicide today. They won't necessarily say much about your story, but when it comes to cutting your own wrists, please accept this list of seven common mistakes to avoid. All of which you would surely make without them, because you're just that much of a screwup.

But after a while, the shock wears off. Or, in my case, transfers over, because if I lose a Patreon sponsor, that's when the '...what did I do?' sets in for a nice long stay. (Fortunately, I discovered the latest dropout early enough this morning that my heart rate is almost back to normal.) However, that's also directly comparable to the first days on the site. If you have sixty followers, you're going to notice when you drop to fifty-eight. And what stings more than that? Going from ten to eight. Two to zero. The lower the initial number, the more impact that new total is going to have. Those on Patreon with thousands of sponsors likely consider a loss of two to be part of the routine. And on FIMFic...

Stick around long enough, post what others decide is quality work, and followers will come. So will those who hate everything you do. I can reasonably expect six or more downvotes on just about any given new story, and the core of that number consists of those who never read anything more than the author's name. I posted, therefore I must be downvoted. It's part of their routine. I've thought of multiple nastier things which could be done to me and because I have no obligations towards my anti-fans, I'm not going to say what any of them are. But really, if they had any imagination, they would have thought of a few themselves.

It all means a little more in the beginning. It still means something now. More upvotes on a given story means I probably did something right: a higher negative number than usual indicates something didn't quite click for a few (actual) readers. But in the beginning, when you're scrambling for every page view and Groups like 'I Just Want A Comment!' are actually starting to look enticing... that's when every electron-glow piece of disapproval draws its share of blood. (Hey, that red color had to come from somewhere.) Because you just want to hear that you did something right.

Even if you didn't.


She will always tell you what you need to know and almost never what you want to hear.

Honesty can be the cruelest of Elements, and part of that is because we're used to using a few lies just to get through the day. The little white ones we tell other people, the huge ones we tell ourselves about things like Justice. Henrik Ibsen spotted it early: we live our lies and if someone breaks through that with truth... the reactions start with collapse.

But we need those truths.

You want to hear that you created a great story. Except maybe you didn't. It's possible that people are just upvoting ironically, or don't have the skill set to understand that this is bad. Downvotes become legitimate critiques, and the Comments section is filled with those desperately trying to explain what you did wrong and how it might still be possible to fix it. If you're lucky. If there's anything which can be fixed.

If you're willing to listen.

If you even let others express themselves at all.


Recently, Knighty installed a pair of new features. They can be found on the Edit Story page, right under the Unpublished View Password: two toggle switches. You can flip one, both, or neither. You can also change your mind later and flip them back. You could even play cat and bat them around for a while.

They offer the option to disable comments and votes, respectively.

And I wondered... why?


It doesn't make much sense for trolls. A troll story is present to waste your time. It has to make you angry. Downvotes and negative comments are a troll author's applause. Look at how mad they made you! Not only did you waste your time reading their non-story, you expended more of it in trying to talk to someone whose entire skill set is built around not caring what you say! Sure, maybe there's a little extra frustration in preparing your rant across the space of a single 300-line paragraph and then finding you can't speak or downvote, so the only option is something nasty on the userpage... but how is the troll author going to get their high from that?

I suppose there are those who truly can't have their newest story judged fairly. Some writers have built up that much of a hatedom: automatic downvotes by the dozens, critical rants posted by those who worked out their essays based on the title alone. And there's a subcategory of sorts there: the more extreme gorefests, fetishes, and anything where just reading the short description sends the average stomach into a lurch. Plus we have entire shared concepts/universes which induce rage just by mentioning where the story is taking place. I can think of people who occupy all of those sets (sometimes in the intersection), those guaranteed to gather red just by showing up. Maybe they're better off shutting things down before they can even get started, for those who like the work will still do so -- in silence.

And of course, there are those who have always been convinced of their utter perfection. Since they're going to reject anything to the contrary submitted into evidence, why even bother opening the courtroom?

But when I really look at this new feature... I don't think it's going to see the majority of its use from any of those categories.

I think this is mostly going to be about fear.


Thank you for submitting your story to Equestria Daily. Before we can accept it, we require you to completely change the following details:

Setting
Genre
Background
Characters
Dialogue
Composition
Plot
Author

Go forth and never darken our Inbox again.

P.S. Have a nice day!

Somewhere in the world, there was once a writer who staggered into an emergency room, heavily bleeding, begging for someone to save him from the rejection notice. One who, after being informed that it was actually a stab wound, responded with "Same difference."

In some ways, writing is -- I've said this before, so only the new arrivals get to be shocked -- desperate attention whoring. Hey, everyone, look at me! Let's talk about my work! I'm going to take my ego and incarnate it as a character: let's see if you can guess which one it is!

But it's also a search for acceptance.

These are my ideas. This is what I think, while this is what I believe. I am taking everything real I know about the world and putting it on a screen. Accept it and you understand me a little better than you once did. Reject it and you reject me.

Writing is a search for acceptance.
The Internet is where acceptance goes to die.


Oh, look: new author. Well, time to break that downvote virginity!
See that story with zero red thumbs? Can't let that stand.
Hey, let's downvote every comment! They'll spend hours wondering what they did wrong!
This story has a het pairing. That's all we need to know.
This story doesn't have a het pairing. Strike now!
And so on down the line.

Writing is a quest for exposure. It's also, in and of itself, exposure. It exposes the author. Not necessarily what they believe (although that can be true), but often what they were thinking about. It can strip away layers and reveal the core. It captures a life lie or threatens to remove it entirely. It can be immensely personal.

It can leave you completely vulnerable.

Reject the work...

When you're putting yourself out there for the first time... it's scary. Every negative comment, every red thumb... they're wounds. Some of those cuts are produced by people trying to drain the infection, while others just want to see you bleed. How do you tell the difference? Sometimes you're afraid to trust the wrong person. Sometimes you can't trust. You're vulnerable, you don't have experience with this, the calluses haven't built up yet, you don't know this is all routine, you can't filter and the pain doesn't stop and you just wanted someone to listen and...

...now there's a way to shut them all up.

There are those who can't take criticism. There are others who can't acknowledge it. And there are a number who are just afraid. Because it's so easy to feel like you did everything wrong, and there's no shortage of people willing to agree with that.

But if you don't get feedback... if you don't learn how to filter, sort, get the wheat away from the chaff and just flush the weevils into the toilet where they belong... then how are you going to get any better?


I understand the fear.

I go into the site's Discord server on occasion, spend a little time watching the flow in #writing-help. I don't know if I really contribute that much in the way of actual aid: my style is (charitably) weird, and trying to send someone in that direction... possibly not the best idea. But there are times when people ask about getting established. Why the page views and comments aren't coming. Why no one's noticed them. If it's possible to get anywhere on the site. And for that, I have a standard statement:

It took me 90,000 words to receive three comments.

We've talked about the mistakes I made in starting on the site. Some people have repeated a few of them on their own. But when I look at the works for some of those who are new and desperate... most of them are ahead. For that stage in their FIMFic career, they have more page views, more votes, and more comments. They at least found people willing to say something. At least the trolls thought they were a viable target, instead of not thinking of them at all.

Because when you're looking for acceptance, there's something worse than rejection. When you don't know what anyone's thinking. If you made them think at all. If they care.

Rejection is the wound. Silence is the abyss.


Turning off comments and votes could potentially create a zone of safety for the new author. It's also building an echo chamber. Eventually, the only thing you hear are your own thoughts. You get feedback from yourself. And maybe you go full Vorbis: you always have all the answers because the echo has never disagreed with you, and so you're convinced of your own perfection.

Or maybe the quiet presses in on you until you can't think any more, and that little inner voice which says you're not good enough to do this finds no one to disagree.

The wounds bleed. Maybe they heal. Maybe you're stronger for having come through it. And it's true that the ones who venture into danger are those who get hurt.

Writing is exposure, risk, rejection and pain and a thousand kinds of cuts. It's also journey begun, and so it's an adventure.

It's safe in the hobbit hole, without comments or votes to distract you. It's also stuffy. Quiet. So let people talk. Because in the end, you never go anywhere until you open the door.



I'm told that if a story already has comments and votes, turning the switches on doesn't remove anything which was posted. Also, no votes=no Feature box.

Report Estee · 1,376 views ·
Comments ( 63 )

I agree honestly. The whole feature seems unneccessary,

If I wanted a way to disable anything, I'd like to learn how to make certain stories not appear in my searches since they're either horribly illiterate (sadly those exist despite the quality filtering attempts) or show up in searches for topics they have nothing to do with because the person who wrote it put as many keywords in the description as possible to try and artificially gain notice.

SPark #2 · Jul 16th, 2018 · · 1 ·

My two cents: the ability to turn off comments means I might, maybe, possibly, someday consider putting back up the difficult, personal, emotional story that earned me screaming from bigots and screaming from people who said I was a bigot and hate for being terrible to Celestia and hate for painting her too kindly, and plenty of people saying that Twilight, who was me in this particular tale was wrong and awful and should never have done or felt or thought what she did.

It also had some people who said they were very sad when it went away, and kept asking if I'd ever put it back up again. I did briefly, but one more bit of commentary on it showed I wasn't over the thing behind the story and it'll probably be a decade before I'm over it and so I took it down again, never to return.

But maybe.

I'm tempted to flip the switch on the one I've got up right now for science, but I probably wont.

I hadn't even noticed that one when I read (okay, skimmed) the changelist. Clearly, I'll need to go back over it more carefully. I kind of shut down when I saw the new quick and easy account deletion button, then went to make sure my backups of a few authors were up to date.

Still, wise words indeed. Writing's a risky, potentially heart-rending venture... but if you don't let anyone in, why even bother sharing?

Also:

It took me 90,000 words to receive three comments.

90k published words on this site?

This is why I treat the down vote carefully. If I leave a down vote I will leave a reason for why. If I where ever to start writing I would disable the upvote/down vote for my first few stories. I want people to tell me what is wrong not just drive by.

Another worthless feature? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised there as it seems all the worthwhile features that are trivial to implement already have been.

I'm being charitable here, but turning off the ability to comment and/or vote is the coward's way out. Estee put it more succinctly, but how can you grow if you don't know your mistakes?

Writing is a search for acceptance.
The Internet is where acceptance goes to die.

Don't know why but this is my favorite part of the blog. Though I am not really here for acceptance, I just am having fun. Less stressful.

4902005

90k published words on this site?

Roughly. Go to Triptych, note the date of the third reader comment, find the chapter closest to that date, and then do the very depressing math.

I know all about whispering into the void.

4902004

But I've been begging for the Delete My Own Account button for years!

(However, there's an instant worry here: hacked passwords combined with a user who's offline for one day.)

4901998

I would be happy with an ultra-block option which kept people from seeing my stories, voting, or being able to locate me in the search engine. I also wouldn't mind just having certain authors turn invisible to my view, with the New column smoothly sliding closed over the gap.

4902017

I'm mostly discouraging this for new authors. I do feel there are legitimate reasons for hitting those switches.

4901999

See? Here's a legitimate reason.

Hmm, I knew knighty was going to add the Disable comments feature. Didn't know turning off voting was going to be a thing. Can't say as I'm very pleased about that. Comments are for the benefit of the author, but votes are for the benefit of readers.

In some ways, writing is -- I've said this before, so only the new arrivals get to be shocked -- desperate attention whoring. Hey, everyone, look at me!

Hey, I resent resemble that remark!

4902022
Well, I just checked my own first story, and...

I apparently got 9 comments before the story was even published.

Fix yer website, Knighty.

4902022

However, there's an instant worry here: hacked passwords combined with a user who's offline for one day.

Looking over Knighty's responses to the update blog, it seems this is just a formalization of the pre-existing service where you email the admins to remove you from the site. Still plenty of off-site, email based confirmation.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

If you disable votes, then you shouldn't be getting a requisite portion of the heat necessary to attain the wacky boxes. So long as that holds, and stuff can still be added to bookshelves, I don't give a damn.

Today is Prime Day.

I assigned myself a gift card balance. I called it my shopping budget. I went to the Movies & TV page to see what Amazon had first-wave preview-wrought, as the actual sales don't start until 3 p.m. EDT.

And I spoke:

"Half this stuff was up LAST year!"

...I wish I was joking. Several of these titles were Prime Day sale items in 2017, while others go on Lightning Deals every other week: if you ever have an actual need for a Land Before Time Complete Collection, you can use the rather short wait time for the sale to seek therapy. So as before, a lot of this is inventory blowout, while a few others are tricks. At least one item was on sale in the days leading up to this. And as for finding the true gold... well, if the mine's big enough, there's got to be one overlooked nugget, right?

...right?

Currently, I'm keeping an eye on this Simon Pegg trilogy. (The to-be-determined sale price is several hours away.) But so far, that's it.

Someone else's idea, so I can't claim it as my idea.

What if the site completely eliminated down votes?
A low positive vote next to a high #views would be downvotes by comparison. Yet great stories will still get a popular count for features.

Comment sections are trickier. I wouldn't want to eliminate all positive with the negative comments. It seems that those who don't like negative feedback either need to get a thick skin quickly, or learn to use the ban function liberally.

Read this scientific paper.

Breathe in deeply.

Reroll as often as necessary.

Well stated, Estee. I can't imagine using those features, though I appreciate knighty trying to keep things as fresh and up-to-date as possible. I write my stories because I want to tell them, and I want people to enjoy them. Still, if they can't enjoy them, I want them to tell me why, if they feel like doing so.

As you mentioned upthread, the audience builds over time. People will follow as long as you keep at it. I started with 1 follower, and I was thrilled! Now I have (as of this posting) 196 followers, and that blows my mind. There are 196 people out there who like my stories enough to keep track of what I'm doing next. Why would I want their thoughts and suggestions to go away? I don't want the silence, I need that communication. Never in the history of story publishing was it possible for an audience to react to a written work immediately, until now.

My writing style is... something... and people seem to enjoy it for some reason. I had one reader tell me he loved the way I wrote, that my style was elegant. ELEGANT! I think I cried for half an hour from that comment, because no one had ever complimented me like that before. It felt good to know people liked my stories, the characters I created, and wanted to express to me how much they enjoyed those stories and characters. All of the negative comments in the world won't take away that compliment. So I say keep it all turned on, you're making someone happy somewhere, and if nothing else, that has brought some good into the world that wasn't there before.

those that hide from criticism are doing themselves a disservice. I didn't get better by hiding in a bubble, granted I still have a ways to go. below is an excerpt from a fic I like, it's an interesting take on honesty and I find it intriguing.

I turned and took a few steps back before continuing. “This may shock and appall you all, but this wizard actually read a book once…”

Nobody laughed. Figures.

I waved it off. Sometimes you get a tough crowd; it just happens. “Now, I didn’t actually like it, but it had an idea about Honesty I just found fascinating.”

“...And that would be…?” Applejack said, squaring her shoulders slightly as she waited for the other shoe to drop.

“That capital T Truth is a barbed, horrible, deep cutting thing. A horror of such depth and magnitude, that no friend would actually be totally honest to another.”

The crowd had clearly not been liking my little stunt so far… but this time? Now they actually began to mutter angrily.

I pressed on. “That true honesty cuts so horribly, so deep, may destroy the very core of somebody so thoroughly; that only the most bitter of enemies will ever employ it against one another.”

Outright shouting started breaking out. So I turned in a lazy circle with my arms spread wide and addressed them all. “Anypony care to look me in the eye, and tell me they’d still be the friend of somebody that just heard give as much as a single other friend of theirs the type of tongue lashing I just gave these misguided but well-meaning girls?”

The silence was all but deafening. Almost unnaturally so, for such a large city.

“Anybody? No takers, whatsoever?” I did another slow turn, as the crowd’s collective gaze slid off me like butter on a too hot skillet. “Not a single pony here that wishes to rise to the challenge of actually following your own damn beliefs about honesty being a cornerstone of friendship?” I threw my arms out in disgust and just let them fall, but I continued my slow turn, just in case. “I’m even saying I don’t believe it myself! I think the worlds would be a much better and healthier places if more people actually grow some thicker skin and could take some truth, every once in a while!“

The one feature this site desperately needs is the one it will never get: a stupidity filter.

I'd never turn off comments, because of the amazingly kind and helpful ones I've recieved over the years. One gem of a reaction is worth a dozen nasty flung turds. And even nastiness alone isn't the problem for me. I've gotten quite a few very nasty comments that have actually pointed out flaws in my writing. Despite the disagreeable/insulting/passive-aggressive tone of them, I was (partially) thankful, because they helped me grow as a writer.

But then there are the clueless nitwits who decide there is some hidden meaning in one of my stories and spend a dozen lengthy paragraphs condemning me for a bizarre "agenda" that I don't actually have. Or the obsessive foamers who have concocted a strange headcanon and viciously attack anyone who even seems to contradict it. Or the ignorant pedants who will aggressively "correct" a minor detail that isn't wrong, and will argue with every source you present to them without providing any of their own. Or the ideologically poisoned bigots who... well, no need to belabor the point.

So... yeah... comments might not always be of much help for feedback or ego-stroking, but they certainly give one an education about humanity. Nasty I can deal with; stupidity is the real problem.

4902065

I feel obligated to point out that your titles have a natural, almost unstoppable lure to the Dan Brown/Summer Novel fans of the world. Drop the worm in the pond, you're gonna get fish.

Seriously, if you changed it to The Luna Epsilon Enigma...

4902068
:rainbowlaugh: If I had it to do all over again...

A couple of years back, I had my computer stolen. The worst part was losing my files. Now, I download something, I save it in a file. If it's not good enough to be worth rereading, I just delete it & remove it from my files. I almost never downvote. Those that suck bad enough to downvote, I write a comment explaining why.

Of course, that's on my laptop. The screen on my phone is so small, I sometimes hit downvote by accident. If I notice, I fix it but I don't always notice. :applecry:

I've sent you this before, but for those that haven't seen it, this is a negative review.
http://twain.lib.virginia.edu/projects/rissetto/offense.html

4902056
As the person with the most downvoted story on the site, I am highly against this idea.

E🦄P🐴L🐎E🏇A🦄S🐴E🐎🏇D🦄O🐴W🐎N🏇V🦄O🐴T🐎E🏇🦄T🐴H🐎I🏇S🦄🐴S🐎T🏇O🦄R🐴Y🐎!🏇
My OC, Super Trampoline, is dating all of the Elements of Harmony plus the princesses plus the major antagonists plus the minor antagonists too! That's a lot of work! Also, he's obviously the seventh element. Read on for his many amazing adventures!
Super Trampoline · 21k words  ·  187  1,935 · 5.4k views

The thing with the fetishes, yes, there's those bound to attract downvotes by the bucketloads. At the same time, I don't think many writers will choose the option of not having any votes at all, because isn't it better to have a few upvotes on there to show someone is getting something out of what you publish?

And now for FimFic's newest soon-to-be-favorite game:

Which authors are gonna fully enclose themselves in the cone of silence?

~Skeeter The Lurker

Writing only for yourself is a one sided conversation, and I've never heard anyone speak kindly of those.

Prime Day is live. I've been browsing, trying to find anything interesting, and I'm... not doing well. Most of the non-Lightning movie/Tv deals are 20% off for Prime members only -- which brings you down to a normal Amazon sale price. No Kindle books. The one major piece of kitchen hardware is A. a great price and B. something I got at Christmas. I don't trust the first-generation Fire Cube enough to try it, plus the wifi signal in my living room is so weak as to make normal streaming into hit-or-miss. And the Food section has allowed me to learn about the existence of Lactation Tea.

I may just get a bird feeder.

I have birds outside. Maybe they would enjoy being fed.

"Writer is a quest for exposure. It's also, in and of itself, exposure."
"Writing is a quest for exposure. It's also, in and of itself, exposure."?
(For this post, that typo-spotting probably has some sort of contextual meaning... but I'm not sure offhoof just what it might be.)

...And afraid I don't seem to be thinking of much else to say here at the moment; sorry. It seems like the post may be useful to people, though.

4902065

The one feature this site desperately needs is the one it will never get: a stupidity filter.

Dude, there'd be like, two people left on fimfiction. Also, I'm pretty sure this whole feature was introduced as a way to show people why it's a bad idea (this being said, did someone actually switch off votes/comments on their story?)

4902033
The chapter publication date changes if the chapter is edited.

I *think* the story publication date is unchangeable, but I'm not sure.

Whoa, overwhelming!
But hey, if enjoying stories is the same as accepting them then you have my acceptance.

4902152
A case of "be careful what you wish for?" I suppose.

4902033 4902155 Well... That's debatable. If the chapter date changed every time it was edited, I'd have a whole lot of current-to-this-year chapters. There was some sort of hanky-panky with dates on chapters and stories back in the 2012/2013 era, but thankfully *comment* dates never changed, so I can say within two days of me publishing my first story, I had a whole two comments not my own (since I'm a habitual self-commenter). There've been a couple of database waffles that have done weird things with dates and times, including one of my stories that got 30k chapter reads in the middle for some wacky reason (and about 2k elsewhere), but on the whole, Knightly has done an amazing job. A++

Eh... content curation is better than no content curation. A wide verity of choice on how to interact on social media and how much to interact is good site design on Knighty's part.

4902155

The chapter publication date changes if the chapter is edited.

No it doesn’t. Not now, anyway, unless it’s a very recent change. I just skimmed all the chapters of Silver Glow’s Journal, and they all still look to be in order, despite spelling corrections that are still ongoing (mostly when someone notices). :derpytongue2:

4902238
Chapter dates used to change, which is why a bunch of my Spark to Light a Candle chapter dates are totally incorrect. I used to go back and edit stuff to be more in line with new show canon, though I stopped doing that pretty quick, but all the early chapters got touched to bring them up to about half way through season 2 before I realized that was total madness and just started letting things diverge.

4902208 4902238
As 4902240 says, then, this changed sometime between the past and now. Hitchhikers’ chapter publication date is Nov 1, its story publication date is Oct 23, and its first comments are from Oct 23.

4902016

Except, so far as.I can find, being able to tag filter out some of the more extreme content, sadly. Still just the 'mature' switch, and woe betide you if you want more granular filtering.

It seems to me like it might be interesting as an experiment to turn off votes but leave on comments. That'd basically be forcing any feedback on your story to be in the form of a comment.

I have to wonder how hard it would be for a good story to be noticed if there aren't any votes on it to tell you that a lot of people liked it, though.

--Sweetie Belle

Regarding the new features: I understand why they're in place. For me, if an author turns off comments and/or likes & dislikes, it proves they're not serious about their writing. The best way to improve as a writer is to hear all opinions on your work, both positive and negative. Good writers have to have a thick skin. Never get too depressed by the negative, but don't let your head get too swelled by the positive.

All writers should write for themselves. They should then re-write for their audience. This is why I can't write on commission. If I'm not passionate about what I'm writing, it won't be up to snuff.

—because if I lose a Patreonsponsor, that's when the '...what did I do?' sets in for a nice long stay.

Speaking of which, I bought a new car and might have to downgrade my Patreon again. Sorry.

If the practice of disabling comments becomes too wide spread, I wonder if a new group will spring up to facilitate reviews and discussions of those stories.

I'm not too familiar with the groups on Fimfiction, maybe something similar already exists. Can an author prevent their stories from being added to a group?

I don't know why Knighty is bothering with this. Seems fairly unneccary and, overall, it's just going to help new writers become worse or not help them at all.

Also:

Thank you for submitting your story to Equestria Daily. Before we can accept it, we require you to completely change the following details:

Setting
Genre
Background
Characters
Dialogue
Composition
Plot
Author

Go forth and never darken our Inbox again.

P.S. Have a nice day!

God that made me laugh. I remember submitted stories to that site and basically, all the feedback amounted to, change details and the plot of your story, please. Then we'll reconsider.

That's when I knew to submit stories to that site was just a joke, I only use it for news on merch. All I could think at the time when they asked me to CHANGE everything about my story was...

4902112

I snagged a smart watch for $100. I always kinda wanted one.

~Skeeter The Lurker

4902441

Can an author prevent their stories from being added to a group?

No, but they can hide groups it is placed in from being displayed on the story.

I'll just say this.

Authors can disable comments and votes if they want... but I won't read their stories.

One of the biggest reasons I spend so much time reading stuff here rather than on any other fanfiction site is the workflow it allows me:

  1. Find a group, tag combo, or other filter setting that describes what I'm in the mood for
  2. Sort by rating and then scroll down until I either find something I haven't read yet that looks interesting or run out of things with ratings I'm willing to take a risk on
  3. Start reading comments on the story page for the same reason that I start reading the reviews on a GOG.com purchase page, rather than merely trusting the developer/publisher's sales blurb.

If votes are disabled, I'll just wind up treating "votes disabled" similarly to how I currently treat a grey "not enough votes yet" bar... except that I won't bother putting them on a shelf to re-evaluate later once more votes have landed.

If comments are disabled, that's an automatic bad first impression, so it'll have to be a damn good synopsis, on a story type I'm specifically starved for, for me to give it a chance.

(I've actually been meaning to write a userscript that collapses away stories I've already read in results listings to further optimize this workflow.)

"I don't want to argue with That Guy who is surely sure to show up" is one of the fictions I normally use to stop myself from taking the risk of trying, so I guess this feature does force me to be more honest with myself.

This is a good blog. Bront. Good insight into the nature of story telling and the quest, however intentional, for validation and acceptance.

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