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I would like to start off by saying that I really enjoy writing and being a part of this community. It's tons of fun and a great source to outlet creative writing. I have gotten to know members, and made several "cyber-friends" here on the site. Building relationships in cyberspace is very new to me. While I have always been good friends with email and general computer use, I usually never became a member of any site where I correspond regularly. My opinion is that these are valid relationships/ friendships/ 'or what have you'.

The only downfall of this type of communicating is that you can greatly misconstrue what someone is trying to say to you because you don't have that direct HUMAN contact. I know I have read comments that hurt my feelings, outraged me, offended me, but even entertained me. There are lots of areas and comments I could list that you should visit and see what I am saying, but frankly you should have encountered this as well.

There seems to be alot of condescending, smart mouthed, snippy and snide remarks just geared toward me after I give excellent ratings and comments to that person. This should be the most offensive act on this site. It's not my fault someone has asked me about myself in comments on one of your pieces. You should never tell someone to "take your comments elsewhere" unless they are directly targeting you in a disrespectful way. When someone does that, it appears that they have little respect for others or even this site. After all, the whole purpose of lit.org is to receive feedback.......right?

Ok, so I am done ranting about that issue.

My BIGGEST problem with the site, is that when I manage writings on this site and see how many times my stuff has been looked at, and then I see how many times it's been rated/commented on and I am discouraged by the numbers. To see my writing looked at nearly a hundred times and then to see that same piece be rated only once, and commented on twice. It's a wee-bit discouraging to see those kind of numbers. After all the whole purpose of the site is feedback on your work....right? Is my stuff that bad that no one can comment?

Mind you, I have enjoyed and accepted ALL the feedback that I have gotten. I am open to ALL kinds of criticism, but with my stuff being looked at hundreds of times and not getting atleast rated, it is disheartening.

Now I am not complaining exactly......rather I am suggesting that if one logged in member reads another logged in members work, they should be REQUIRED to atleast rate that piece of work. Does anyone FEEl me on that? If the whole purpose is to read.write.respond., and gain feedback to better craft our work........then WHY isn't that the guidline?

I am not sure if anyone has ever suggested that, but I personally would not care if I got all 1's on my work, I just want to know how good it is, and one or two comments or ratings out of hundreds of views is NOT enough.

DISCLAIMER: This is my opinion, and should be viewed as a suggestion and not a rant. I apologize if anyone takes offense to this.:-)

------
John K Brewster
"Willows whiten, aspens quiver, little breezes dusk and shiver"- Lord Tennyson



Comments

The following comments are for "The purpose of lit.org"
by johnb79

re: purpose of lit.org
John, you bring up excellent points that get brought up time and time again, yet they are juts as valid now as they have always been. The issues boil down to a few points:

1. Participation is Voluntary. Most people want reviews but don't want to give them. Or perhaps are too timid to give them, or even to lazy to do so.

2. Relative Anonimity. For all intent and purpose, the only thing we know you buy is your pen name. There is no tracking you back to who you really are. Some people only need that kind of "mask" to let their immature side show through.

Add these to the fact that you've got creative types, who tend to be well read and educated, all mixing it up on one big pot and ego's collide. You also pointed out another weakness, written communication is very difficult, especially when trying to determine tone or intent. It's a weakness of the system.

The only way to solve this problem would be to run a paying site where members were required to comment twice as much as the submitted and every single comment would need to be reviewed by an editor.

You also have to deal with the fact that people like to read what they like. No amount of trickery will get them to read and comment on something that they normally wouldn't even read. I'm drawn to short stories and I'm less likely to comment on a poem. The reverse it true for many people here. Then there is subject matter. I won't comment on politics or most other "social" type pieces. They don't interest me in the slightest. I'm sure quite a few people are like that.

The broad scope of the site is a strength and a weakness. You've raised excellent ponts, for sure. I don't know how to solve them. I keep an eye on about 15 sites very much like lit.org and they all suffer from the same problems. I'm always open to suggestions on how to improve things around here. I like it when people start threads like this because it opens the dialog for solutions.

( Posted by: Chrispian [Admin] On: February 22, 2004 )

personally
Hey John...this is a very nice, well constructed analysis. I agree with you on alot of your points and I think to be able to really come to a conclusion you have to take the individual into consideration. Like crowe was saying...people have different preferences. I for example never rate pieces (except the Write-Off) because I think the rating system is a bit frivilious and draws attention away from the real point. I also have a very short attention span and then there's the fact that I have a limited amount of time. Plus, sometimes people's work just doesn't interest me...if I don't get hooked right away I don't usually have much to say to the author.

Anyways...I think my advice to you would be to keep involving yourself in the community and not to get too dependent on it. Try other sites...read your work to others. More than anything, don't take a lack of a comment as a personal insult.

As a side note crowe...I dunno how many people would agree, but I think we ought to dump the ratings system except for the Write-Offs. All it does is provide people with an outlet to piss each other off. Besides, it takes away from the real point. What do you think?

Take care both of you and thanks for your interesting thoughts. =D

( Posted by: Darkshine Raven [Member] On: February 23, 2004 )

Constructive criticism
johnb79-- Yes, it is disheartening to see a piece with an inordinate amount of views and minimal or no ratings or feedback. Crowe listed some excellent reasons why this happens. A lot of it does have to do with personal preference. I've also read it said that comments won't be made if there's nothing wrong with the piece. Maybe some people don't want to bash the piece if it has a lot of glaring flaws. Like crowe, I have no idea how to remedy this, to get the pieces the feedback they deserve. It's not a site with paying members, so you can't really force people to comment.

You said:"I am not sure if anyone has ever suggested that, but I personally would not care if I got all 1's on my work, I just want to know how good it is, and one or two comments or ratings out of hundreds of views is NOT enough." -- I'm curious; how much feedback would you *need*? Two comments of constructive criticism, to me, is certainly enough to set you on track with your work, know what's wrong and what's right with it, etc.

( Posted by: Elphaba [Member] On: February 23, 2004 )

Thanks everyone!
for reading my thoughts on the subject.

Elphaba: Yes, one or two will give me something to go on, but if the views are 100 times that, then it does leave the questions of 'glaring flaws' or 'personal preferences' or 'nothing is wrong' floating around in my head. Those excellent points you made have a flip side too. From 'glaring flaws' to 'nothing is wrong' are at different ends of the scale so it's a rather broad estimate if you go off of what you suggested as reasons. I can see what Darshine said about not getting dependant on the site for feedback and I know the site has flaws and I'm not trying to complain. I just thought I'd throw it out as a suggestion, because I just came back to the "writing fold" a few months ago when I started back to college and I just need help and I want to be good at it....you know?
Darkshine and Crowe: Thank you for all for first reading my piece then giving advice and feedback. It's appreciated. I do like this site and I don't want to seem as though I'm not happy with it, but let's face it, a few things could be better. Problem is that I don't any suggestions aside from the one I threw out iin my blog. When I think of something even more clever and helpful I'll let you know and perhaps you three could do the same.

I sort of like the ratings system, but then I've always been a better judge of writing rather than a writer. SOme people are better readers than writers and readers have gifts to, like imagination. Ok, sorry I got off track....

But then I see what darkshine is saying about it only providing a way for people to target one another, that is true, but it hasn't happened to me yet.

SO on the end note, I just hope the reason people aren't reading/responding to my stuff is b/c it has 'glaring flaws' or 'too bad to comment on' Thanks Elphaba for worsening my complex!:-)But then, I was always worried about it but did not put it as eloquent as you. Thanks again all!

( Posted by: johnb79 [Member] On: February 23, 2004 )

Kidding
Oh, I hope you're kidding, john. I didn't want you to think that. Could be that there's nothing wrong with your writing, too. :)

( Posted by: Elphaba [Member] On: February 23, 2004 )

flurry of tens
I too have been trying to leave better scores for people I see have gotten one's on something that's better than that.

I respect your opinion Pen. I am sorry you think that it is too personal as opposed to global, but my intent was to NOT assume feelings or opinions of others, to only directly state MY feeling on the subject. All I was concerned about was doing that tactfully and stating my point consistantly. IOn the past, I find that including assumptions of other's makes me sound like I am trying to derive support by relying on the opinion of other's to formulate my own. I never do that.

However I will disagree with you on one thing. I ALWAYS RESPOND OR RATE A PIECE I HAVE READ!
1) if I am interested enough to read I am not going to waste my time or the effort of the writer by just avoiding the comment or ratings. The site should be geared to feedback and that to me is the sure-fire way getting it.
2) Even if a response to a piece may not always be good, or even meaningful, it shows that you have respect for the writer to atleast give your opinion.
3) I comment alot and always will, I think it is my duty as a member and as an aspiring writer I wish to learn as much as opssible from like-minded people. the only way to accomplish that is to communicate with other's.
4) Thank you for reading my piece, I still luv ya......Smooches and cuddles!:-p

( Posted by: johnb79 [Member] On: February 23, 2004 )

BMW Z1
Dear sir, I would like to purchase your advertised Z1 for 35,000...

...hey, wait a mo, where's me Auto Trader site gone? Bloody Internet!

Kidding.

Yes, it's disheartening to get multiple viewings and minimal ratings - kinda suggests people can't be bothered. Some sites (I won't mention Darklines.com...ooops) require a specific number of comments per posting. Dunno if this is good or not. As for Lit.rog: maybe we dial-up users can't spare the time to wait for pages to load. The answer could be that simple. Perhaps Crowe could insert another box in the comments section, just below SUBJECT, where we rate the story we're commenting on. (Could Crowe, with his programming skills, add just a couple of noughts onto my bank balance? Just a couple! Please!) It wouldn't involve loading fresh pages, for a start!

Or we could rate the work here, like this:

RATING
8

See? Easy. Now then, is anyone selling a BMW Z1...?

( Posted by: jbicko [Member] On: February 23, 2004 )

Comments and Ratings
Since I'm new to the site the fact that views outweigh comments and ratings for my pieces hasn't really ticked me off yet. I can see what you mean though. I guess I just really don't care if my stuff is liked or not. I write for the joy of writing. Why do I share then in a forum that invites feedback, criticism and ratings? I don't really know. To be a part of a writing social group, I guess. In the real world there are not a lot of people sharing writing. Where am I going with this? Even I don't know, so don't be discouraged. Just agreeing that I can see your point, but it doesn't really bother me personally. Talk to me in a week when I still don't have many comments and my stuff has been read more. (I will probably be insane with anger and lashing out at my monitor by then.)

( Posted by: Zachary Martin Glass [Member] On: February 24, 2004 )

oh yeah...
I forgot to mention that I wouldn't use the rating system myself. Only for the Write Off. I might comment if something moves me to, but the rating thing just doesn't jive, except for the purposes of the Write Off...which obviously needs a rating system, since it is the entire point of it.

( Posted by: Zachary Martin Glass [Member] On: February 24, 2004 )

The Tone of Tech
On the other hand, there are entries where you just don't know what to say. How many ways are there to comment that a work has fallen direly into cliche? How helpful is it to comment simply that a poem needs more work?

On most days I read through every new poem listed on lit.org, methodically, from top to bottom. Where I feel I have constructive criticism, I weigh in with comments. Where I feel unusually moved by the sheer brilliance of a piece, I chime in with praise. I rate works only where my rating is obvious or I feel I can back it up with a few reasons why I felt a certain way about an entry. I focus, most of all, on the kinds of constructive criticism I find helpful as a writer, which means including examples of what I'm troubled with or thrilled by and offering concrete suggestions when a revision seems likely. I think that if I can get or give three really incisive critiques of a work, that's far better than 100 of "Eh, this left me flat" or even "Wonderful!".

However, if you feel so strongly otherwise, I'd be willing to make an exception in your case.

( Posted by: hazelfaern [Member] On: February 24, 2004 )





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