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Critics United: a place for reviewers to gather and talk, exchange tales and support each other as we all try and help the authors of the site.
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ZadArchie

Well, sort of. I have all the parts for the sequel, but I have to figure out how to order it. Plus, I want to take some time to give all my other stories some TLC and catch up on making edits after I got some wonderful and helpful critiques through some review games. And again, I want to make sure I have a little buffer of time to stay ahead of my updates before I officially start posting the new one. But, all throughout, I'm still posting updates to a FNAF fic and submitting WA challenge entries. So, those will always still be coming out. Working on a new one right now, as a matter of fact. Our choices were either to do an all-dialogue story and a no-dialogue story. I'm doing one of each, but the no-dialogue is going to be my entry since that one's more of a challenge.

2/20 #2,461
P. Payne

hello

3/13 #2,462
ZadArchie

Well, I finally blew my stack this weekend after all the glitches that have been going on since the beginning of the year. I've made my plans, and I've made my announcement on my profile indicating that my stories on here now have a shelf-life before I transfer them completely over to AO3. Time to put up or shut up, I guess, and actually live by the advice I've been giving other authors here. If I want to see change, then I have to stop complaining and act. I know that a little nobody author like me up and leaving isn't going to make a difference. But, I'm hoping that if enough people get mad like I have, then maybe somebody will start listening.

Still, it looks like it's going to be a smooth process. Everything I've been trying to get situated for the big move is coming up roses. I was really worried I wouldn't be able to use the custom cover-art I won in a contest a while back, but I found AO3's posting FAQ and got that solved. So, I'm kind of excited for the first of the year now, even if that is so far away.

Just note, while I will no longer be an active author on this site, I'll still be an active member, and more importantly, an active member of CU. I still stand by my reasons for joining, and I intend to continue to help authors find a better way in the fanfic world.

3/19 . Edited 3/19 #2,463
MrGoodyTwoShoes

I fully understand your decision and admire the fact that you're standing by your word instead of backtracking because of peer pressure or you simply changed your mind.

The glitches alone, and always fall on the weekend it seems, are inexcusable for a site of this age and size. I hate to think someone is intentionally trying to cause trouble but it's hard to think that every weekend the ability to leave and see new reviews go down is a mere coincidence. As for your thoughts about how the rules are handled, well, I think every CU member has taken issue or scratched their head about it.

I also have to say I'm happy that you are also sticking around despite your move. Hopefully even if you're not writing here anymore your reviews can still help those out with suggestions and what not with their writing.

3/19 #2,464
Yemi Hikari

I started double archiving a long time ago, but I think one of the reasons came down to how the site can glitch out at any time. I wouldn't have so much issue if they'd at least announce something is going to be down for a bit, or they're working on fixing the glitches, but announcements are far and few between.

As for how the rules are handled... I'm not against the rules, as I know the reasons why many were added in. The more time it takes to take down rule breaking stuff, the more people believe they're in the right and that the admins do nothing. Which isn't true, because I know some stuff I reported for plagiarism got taken down. The problem is, it took months, and it's going to take months to get the re-posted stuff taken down.

Reviews being down on the weekend is bad, due to the fact that's when the site hits the hardest traffic. However, I'm not sure if that's a site issue, or if that's an issue with someone messing with the site. I've had problems reading stories without getting an error. If someone's trying to make a point, like the fact they want the rules changed - which I can't think of any other reason - they're having a bigger impact on the people here than they do elsewhere.

3/20 #2,465
ZadArchie
As for how the rules are handled... I'm not against the rules, as I know the reasons why many were added in.

That, for me, was only a minor inconvenience, hence why it's early on the list of my complaints. Like I said, it was easy just to find other sites to post scripts or MA stories and I was content with that. It was when we got into all the other nonsense that I lost my cool. And this inconvenience just didn't help the situation.

The more time it takes to take down rule breaking stuff, the more people believe they're in the right and that the admins do nothing. Which isn't true, because I know some stuff I reported for plagiarism got taken down. The problem is, it took months, and it's going to take months to get the re-posted stuff taken down.

This. Exactly this. Chances are, by the time a report resolves, those authors will have already abandoned that account anyways, or like you said, just repost it, and they still get throngs of annoying defenders screaming their praises. They learn nothing. This is most of what my issue has boiled down to: how little the admins are currently doing to help themselves. And maybe, that's just the fact that this site grew at an exponential rate that they just couldn't keep up with. That's entirely possible, but then, they should have perhaps found ways to handle that.

Again, this is why AO3 is mopping the floor with these guys, in my opinion. Their invite system helps keep over-sized influxes of new users joining at bay until they are able to support a larger number. They actually bother to email you if your story breaks their rules, tell you what's wrong, and give you a week to fix it. They're actually there, and vocal, and not some man behind the curtain that doesn't hear the voices of its users. I mean, several months ago, I requested a new category to be added. Usually, they're pretty quick with those requests. Nope, not a peep anymore. They didn't even bother to say, "Sorry, but no." Just dead silence.

I hate to think someone is intentionally trying to cause trouble but it's hard to think that every weekend the ability to leave and see new reviews go down is a mere coincidence.

This isn't exactly a possibility I thought of, nor do I care to think about it. Personally, I've always just assumed that either these guys just dug their feet in the ground about doing things their way without updating their systems, or all that funding they get from their sponsors really isn't doing as much as it should, and they've had to stay in the dark ages. But, anything's possible, I suppose.

I mean, yeah, AO3 isn't perfect. I struggle with their story search feature, and I know I'd be taking a huge hit in readership, but I'd rather leave sticking to my principles than just going along to get along.

3/20 #2,466
The Dragon's Jaws

I've been gone a while, but I want to throw in my two cents and then some here. First of all, I'll address Goody.

The glitches alone, and always fall on the weekend it seems, are inexcusable for a site of this age and size.

Sadly, I think the site's age is part of the problem- I'm no programmer, but I'm willing to bet the site's innards are a mess of outdated scripts and code. Take a look at when the ToS was last updated- that's probably how long it's been since they've done any major database updates. That being said...

I hate to think someone is intentionally trying to cause trouble but it's hard to think that every weekend the ability to leave and see new reviews go down is a mere coincidence.

This, I very much doubt. If it were a shadowy, clandestine group trying to take down FFN, I don't think they'd stop at just stopping review updates for sh!ts (feel free to edit that if it's too close to a swear word) and giggles, they'd DDOS the site. No questions asked. As stated above, this site is old (twenty years as of this year, in fact), and probably hasn't had any major updates in at least nine-ten. That is beyond ancient in tech terms.

As for the admins lack of doing, well, anything, it is inexcusable, but what else can we do? We don't know where they are. There's nothing we can do. At this point, I'm halfway hoping some hacker cracks this place wide open, and 'floods the market', so to speak, with all the dirty little secrets Xing's kept hidden from the world. Not going to happen, but we can dream, right? By the way, I do applaud your decision to leave, Zad, though I can't help but feel that once AO3 comes out of beta, the admins there will follow in FFN's footsteps and eventually just become rarely-responsive 'men behind the curtain', as you put it. Call me a cynic if you wish, but that's how I see it.

3/20 #2,467
ZadArchie
though I can't help but feel that once AO3 comes out of beta, the admins there will follow in FFN's footsteps and eventually just become rarely-responsive 'men behind the curtain', as you put it. Call me a cynic if you wish, but that's how I see it.

I could see that happening, so, I'm willing to ride the train as long as it satisfies my needs. Once they cease to be able to do that, I guess it's onto the next archive site I find. So many are going down some disappointing paths. Writing(dot)com is starting to lose my vote now as they continue enforcing their "pay to play" policy on writers. They're slowly strong-arming their users into having to pay for accounts. Now, it's this nonsense of "You can't access this story because our servers are too crowded. Maybe if you paid for an upgraded account, the servers might 'just happen' to not be so crowded for you." Insane what some admins will do. In the grand scheme of things, it won't matter where I post my work, or what my readership will look like in the future. I had fun doing it. And that's all that matters.

3/20 #2,468
Yemi Hikari

The two sites I know of which have premium accounts - Deviant Art and Wattpad, they don't have that kind of nonsense (yet, at least in regards to Wattpad, as DA actually provides premium content. Premium accounts mean you don't have to deal with ads, but sites like A03 and the other one you mention don't want to play that game. There are also some bonus features, such as creating polls on DA, and site themes on Wattpad.

A03's reason lies with the fact one of their stances regarding the protection of fanfic is not making a profit off another person's copyright period, yet should they go out of Beta - which I doubt they'll ever will for this reason - they'll need to go the route of ads rather than having an open campaign for funds from fans to keep the servers up. Fair use is complicated, but the fact money is changing hands doesn't mean something isn't in fair use. Take for example archives dedicated to archiving information regarding copyrighted material, such as release dates and such, but I don't get why people think a sites ads are enough to actually earn any kind of money.

3/20 #2,469
ZadArchie

Really starting to get tired of the people who keep reviewing me with things like this:

So let me get this straight, you CU guys go after people who make challenges because it's against sight rules, but at the same time you'll actually answer them and make stories out of them...whaaaaaat?

Again, check post #1249 in the Worst Response thread. Never have I ever said that challenges are against the rules. Making non-story posts to advertise your challenge is. And I only (I can't stress this enough ONLY) answer challenges appropriately posted to forums. Learn to read, people.

3/26 #2,470
MrGoodyTwoShoes

Sadly there are quite a few on the site where you can tell their reading comprehension ability is extremely low. Ironic as those are the types that like to claim their greatest love is reading but are completely baffled by things written out for them in plain English.

It's rather scary when you think about it and reflect poorly on the education systems in whatever country these folks reside in.

there's also the case where many are just too dim to bother checking so they'll believe things they see on tumblr, twitter and the likes about it and just go with it. Before you joined Zad we had to deal with a flood of people who read a tumblr post that stated that CU we after stories because of a specific pairing (in truth it was because they were chat/script) but since none of these people bothered to check they just listened (or read) and believed and went with it. this is also scary about how easily swayed the dim witted could be by someone telling a lie they want to believe.

Edit - me being both blind and busy I forgot to add this on when I read it to keep the worst response thread from being too cluttered

As for Redbotten, you pretty much summed the situation up quite well. The one part missing is the fact the creator openly admitted their goal was to flame people, not to clear out the rule breakers. That's why they weren't concerned with the false positive ratio. The way the programmed worked was if a person wrote a story about Nightwing and used the name he prefers being called, they'd be caught by the program, but there were other issues.

I will note that by my info it depended on who was actually using it as many Lu members had access to it so at times it was flame crazy and others it was just trying to be used a tool that didn't work right. I won't argue about the creator not caring about the false positives and others issues. It's not a secret that the person behind redbotten has a wee bit of a ego and and wee bit of a issue about admitted they made a mistake.

I also know that a few LU members were not too happy with it's issues as well.

3/26 . Edited 3/26 #2,471
ZadArchie
It's rather scary when you think about it and reflect poorly on the education systems in whatever country these folks reside in.

Sad but true. Especially sad when I consider my line of work. I could tell several stories, though I feel too many details would be too personal. But, yeah, we're moving backwards, not forward.

Before you joined Zad we had to deal with a flood of people who read a tumblr post that stated that CU we after stories because of a specific pairing (in truth it was because they were chat/script) but since none of these people bothered to check they just listened (or read) and believed and went with it.

I would believe something like that would happen. If it's on the internet, it must be true, right?

I think what weirds me out about all this is that this is the third time I've gotten flack over this, and it's been months since I've ever reviewed a story for this non-story reason. Where the heck are these people coming from? Also, I've had my challenge pieces for WA and other forums on here for over a year. Why are these people coming out of the wood-works now?

EDIT: BTW, tomorrow's my fanfic birthday! The ol' account's turning two years old.

3/26 . Edited 3/26 #2,472
Yemi Hikari

Same goes for me Zad. That, or I do challenges posted to other sites. I wonder if the reason they don't want to post to forums is because people can openly discuss how a challenge is not a good challenge, because most I see posted as non-story content aren't well thought out and read more like story requests.

Regarding education issues, I've seen kids look up definitions of words yet ignore all others, but think that you can always derive the meaning of the word by using the roots and stems rather than using context clues.

As for Rebotten, there were a few people dragged into that mess because they honestly thought it was a good tool, until they found out otherwise.

Is it an anon? Might be the same person, and might be someone from an older story. The other reason may have to do with they're trying to find any way to paint you guys as hypocrites because they want to win rather than admitting they're wrong. Plus, some kids have been taught that if they pester enough - in reality, it is harassment - they'll get their way, so it's a shock when someone doesn't back down, so they start doing things like guilt tripping. If you think about it, these tactics are tactics used by kids against parents because they're trying to outsmart the adults.

3/27 #2,473
ZadArchie

So, recently, I've had a few unexpected days off from work (snow still hit us for a few days), and it's been nice to have the time to just do some fun stuff. I've been recently deconstructing all of my Magic decks so that I can re-purpose them into Commander decks (a game format I've found I prefer more than something like Modern or Casual). It's been fun, but a lot of work reorganizing everything again. Still, I was able to build what I think will be a nice green/black, ramp, elf deck, featuring Jarad, Golgari Leech Lord. I'm excited to playtest it soon. I've missed having time to just play a few games and enjoy the sweet sound of card shuffling.

4/1 #2,474
DarkSiren49

I have some old Naruto, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Bleach cards that were given to me when I was younger. Never really played with them as I didn't get how the game worked, and wasn't all that interested in it. So, now I have a set of cards just collecting dust in a box somewhere.

I've been helping my mom pack up her house the past few weeks during my free time, and recently we encountered a rather nasty surprise in the closet of one of the Guest bedrooms. A dead rat was lying in at the left corner of the closet. We're not sure if it was poison that did it in, or Mom's cat. But dang that smell...

I got a day off work to help with the packing and cleaning, working on the new entries in the SiV thread while I wait on my brother to get back with the truck.

4/9 #2,475
PizzaSteve3902

Has anyone had a reception similar to mine at AO3? I published my most popular story from here onto AO3, and soon after I was getting angry (angry probably isn't the best word to describe it) comments about plot holes, ambiguous lines, you name it. I had a WAY better reception on this site. It could be that I'm better known on this site and I'm still new on AO3. But anyone else had something like that happen?

5/15 . Edited 5/15 #2,476
Venomheart the Dreamer

I like AO3 for the insightful feedback. I received my first completely unsolicited constructive review on AO3 and it was some six paragraph in-depth description of why my story needed insects. Oddly enough, that person alone inspired me to keep writing.

You've attracted one of my favorite reviewers, lucky.

My FFN acc is marred by the rule-based reviews that I choose to post so it's taken over by one person that obsessively spams song lyrics to this day, but before that, it was the same as you mostly filled with positive remarks. Now, negative reviews are (a bit) tricky to decode on this site because I have to decide if they genuinely hated it or hated me because of my actions for something else. Although, even if people leave negative reviews here, it's odd that it's constructive. It doesn't take much effort to say, "This story sucks because of x and y."

Those two reviewers obsessing over your story are to be treasured.

5/15 #2,477
PizzaSteve3902

My internet is messing up so I accidentally posted to replies. Oops.

Thanks, Venomheart. Angry isn't the right word, it was just so... different than what I had been used to from FFN. The reviews here are usually short and (sometimes) sweet. But there, they give details on why they like or don't like it. It's just not what I'm used to.

5/15 . Edited 5/15 #2,478
Venomheart the Dreamer

If you like reviews like those, you can try the review games on Writers Anonymous.

5/15 #2,479
PizzaSteve3902

One user on AO3 left a review that is a bit mean-sounding. If he's trying to give constructive criticism, he's going about it wrong. Uh... (yes, that's his username) seems to think I think my readers are idiots and he implies that my story is click bait (it's not). Any advice on how to respond, or should I ignore him?

5/15 #2,480
Venomheart the Dreamer

His review combined with your author's note, it seems like he's in the right or at least not wrong because it is an opinion after all.

If you have to warn about that when no one's even accused you of being guilty, it likely is a political statement dressed up as fiction. I haven't read it so I can't judge but most people don't warn about things in advance.

If that author's note didn't exist, it would be better.

People said the same about Zootopia, a movie to communicate a specific message instead of being a movie in its own right. Even if you disagree, it is a viewpoint.

It is a valid critique of the chapter's contents I assume even if you weren't intending it to be such. What authors write is one thing, what people read might be another.

5/15 . Edited 5/15 #2,481
PizzaSteve3902

True, but people were starting to suspect I was trying to make it political, when I wasn't. The only reason there was the scene that people were confusing as political was there was so it will tie into the next new story, which, some may also confuse as making a political statement, when it'll be making an ethical statement (at least, that's the plan).

5/15 #2,482
ZadArchie
Has anyone had a reception similar to mine at AO3? I published my most popular story from here onto AO3, and soon after I was getting angry (angry probably isn't the best word to describe it) comments about plot holes, ambiguous lines, you name it. I had a WAY better reception on this site. It could be that I'm better known on this site and I'm still new on AO3. But anyone else had something like that happen?

No, not really. I honestly have to beg for constructive criticism like that. Most of my unsolicited reviews amount to "it was good." It never mattered if it was here or AO3. Now, at least on AO3, I did have one reader who would at least explain why "it was good," but that's about it. To get the real, gritty, honest opinions, I had to play review games and do review exchanges. If I were you, I'd be thankful someone is at least taking their time to give you that kind of feedback.

5/15 #2,483
PizzaSteve3902

I see that now. It comes as a surprise to be sure, but a welcome one that someone leaves reviews like this.

5/16 #2,484
MrGoodyTwoShoes

Just a note - if you've blocked me don't be shocked when you PM I don't respond. Kinda hard to respond to something that a) I can't see and b) can't reply to due to the block.

5/19 . Edited 5/19 #2,485
Venomheart the Dreamer

Fun, had issues like these with a few people. That's why I had FFN send me PMs again to my email.

Never figured out what the old ones were saying though.

5/19 #2,486
MrGoodyTwoShoes

I get those as well. Usually smartasses who think they're getting one over on me by sending an insult/threat and tossing a block so I can't reply.

In this case it's someone who is apologizing for past behaviour and I can't reply saying "good on you" or something to that effect.

5/19 #2,487
ZadArchie

This is going to sound like a dumb question, but I'll ask anyway.

So, I keep an ongoing document where I write down the stories I review, along with the date when I review them so that I'm better able to know if changes have been made to their stories or profiles since I reviewed them. About two and a half pages of these entries are now over a year old, and it's pretty clear that the authors have gone MIA. Only once can I recall a situation where an author came back and updated stories after a year. So, after the year runs out, I just move into a report only phase with these stories (and if I'm wrong in this, let me know). But, my question is, has there ever been any talk about a list on CU where we can submit stories that break the rules, but the authors have gone MIA, or their publish date is so old there is no point in reviewing them, so it can just be a report only list? I mean, yeah, I've reported these stories after a year, and that's all well and fine, but we have kind of learned from experience that more reports means the admins will take notice sooner. And at the same time, these authors aren't in the same boat as trolls or other stories we submit to the SiV because we've had zero interaction with them, and they've just shut down for whatever reason. I'm just curious if this is something that's ever been brought up or considered?

5/19 #2,488
MrGoodyTwoShoes
But, my question is, has there ever been any talk about a list on CU where we can submit stories that break the rules, but the authors have gone MIA, or their publish date is so old there is no point in reviewing them, so it can just be a report only list?

We've talked about it off and on over the years and the conclusion has always been it's better to devote our focus on the thing we can help with, ie active authors and stories, as opposed to things we know that won't get any traction.

Another worry that was brought up was that by having such a list it could be seen as (and taken by those that see anything not praise as being) bullying.

5/19 #2,489
WargishBoromirFan
Besides what Goody mentioned, sometimes no response is in fact a form of response - a less outwardly dramatic form than the "I'm leaving Foreva!1!" messages of a violator realizing that it's been caught breaking site rules, so it quits without bothering to take down the offending fic before it goes.
5/19 #2,490
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