How NOT to respond to reviews.

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Leila
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Re: How NOT to respond to reviews.

Post by Leila » March 30th, 2011, 3:00 am

polymath wrote:
Leila wrote:Polymath that is just masterful. Wonderful. How do you find this stuff? I'm a firm believer that any approach based on the foundations of ethics, integrity, respect and courtesy will succeed in all ways human that matter. Thanks for that.
Thank you, Leila, and you're welcome.

I find this kind of stuff by due dilligence. The paraphrasing is mine inspired by my education, training, and experience. The Hippocratic Oath for physicians originated long ago, has been updated a few times since. I just recast it to fit the culture of literature's primary and secondary discourses. Freytag's Technique of the Drama, 1863, concludes with advices and cautions for dramatic artists who would give due consideration to their professional and artistic and personal reputations.

My apologies, I misunderstood. I thought you meant someone else had paraphrased the Hippocratic Oath and that's what you'd found. Hence my 'where do you find this stuff' comment. I didn't realize that it was your work! It's incredible. In this world, where litigiousness makes us paranoid to speak, the news is full of sadness and horror, and drama abounds at every turn, I appreciate every opportunity to find something which speaks to the warmer, more caring and positive side of human nature, and which encourages us to always operate in the most dignified manner befitting us as individuals and collectively.

In other words, it's wonderful to find positive, inspiring reminders of how we have a chance to add to the happiness and respect quotient in the world. Again, sir, I thank you.

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polymath
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Re: How NOT to respond to reviews.

Post by polymath » March 30th, 2011, 11:33 am

Cool, Leila.

My underlying agenda for paraphrasing a Hippocratic Oath for the Prosaic Arts was to come to terms myself with the churlish behaviors I see on a too frequent basis from writers, critiquers, reviewers, editors, and gatekeepers, etc., of which I've been guilty as well. Reading widely for due dilligence reasons, I'd seen much polemic commentary that serves more to speak to the private sentiments of the commenters than the virtues or vices of the subject matter, which the latter is to my thinking the whole point and not at all the former.

Many of my writing mentors and not a few advices here and there have remarked it behooves a writer to investigate the related attachments of the business and sociocultural aspects of writing and the correspondences thereof. I do so for building a professional stratagem as well as artistic, craft, and personal aesthetics. I don't see any reason for making the journey any harder than it has to be from being unpleasant while I seek my place in the scheme of things.

Some of the more appreciable epiphanies I've had about writing came from rigorously avoiding unpleasantness. Critique commentary, for instance, imposing my standards on the creations of others got in my way and poisoned potentially meaningful dialogues. It's far harder to comment favorably. Human nature easily finds fault. However, finding virtue speaks louder and clearer because the method trumps the message, and has served me most for penetrating the impermeable veils impeding my progress.

Reviewers have a daunting task, made more challenging by temptations to undermine competition. Writers who review in my opinion too easily founder on their own jealousies. Facing jealousy in all its green-eyed monsterhood was for me a most liberating experience.
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Re: How NOT to respond to reviews.

Post by sierramcconnell » March 30th, 2011, 12:13 pm

Wow. My first thought was, "This is the internet. How do we know that's actually her?"

Because anyone can sign up to a forum as someone and act like that.

My second thought was, "If that is, and she talks like that" not the attitude, mind you, but the grammar and wording "I couldn't possibly get through that book."

My third thought was, "I'm hungry, and I have chocolate in the fridge."

Interesting.

On another note, I used to be like that. I think as a person writes more, they tend to learn to hold in the first snarling response. I still tend to be a little snappy if I think I'm being talked down to, because of past experience with people who think\who are smarter than me treating me like\making me feel like they are treating me like an idiot.

What I try to do now though, if something sets me off, is not hit the reply button first. I breathe. I walk away. I go do something else first. I eat something or play with something. I think about it. I laugh. I snort. "What the hell do they know. Stupid moron. Probably couldn't write themselves out of a /bag/." And I do that until I'm calm, usually 24-48 hours later.

Then I go back after I've agonized over the things that stuck in my mind. Because those are usually the things that I agreed with. That were sitting there annoying the hell out of me because OMG.

They were /right/.

And I reply.

"Well, though I didn't agree with you on /this this this/, I totally agree with you on /this this this/. Because OMG I was thinking the /same thing/ when I did that. About the other stuff, I guess it's just different /writing styles or something/ and we'll just have to /agree to disagree or similar friendly phrasing/. Thanks for the comment! I'm glad you liked it enough to get to the end! :D"

And that's how it's done. At least for me.

I wonder if this is the sort of stuff I should blog about...
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Re: How NOT to respond to reviews.

Post by Leila » March 30th, 2011, 12:32 pm

polymath wrote: Human nature easily finds fault.

Well, indeed! And then there's the flipside, our own fragile ego's. On a public level, it must be much harder to fight the urge to instantly counter criticism, regardless of how professional one is. We're all human after all. And we all want to be liked. Nobody wants to be rejected, or hear anything negative about themselves, no matter how tiny the criticism may be. Yes we learn to manage it, process it, grow from it where it's useful but still.. And to have that happen on a public stage would be a challenge. For any author. I really appreciated Sommer Leigh's comments about how when you are passionate about something, it's easy to let that passion come out in your discussions/comments, and perhaps not always in the most tactful manner because those comments are offered at the height of that passion, or in the heat of the moment. (If I got that right Sommer Leigh?) I can't imagine ever responding like that author did if I received a challenging review, but I could see myself ringing a few friends and 'sounding off' about the injustice of it all. Then I'd calm down, have some chocolate and the world would right itself again.

The key for me about reviews is respect and courtesy in approach and manner, on both sides of the table.

And I've always believed that the best teacher in life is experience. And I guess if I'm ever in the position of receiving a challenging review (in a public sense) I'll appreciate the strength of the accompanying emotions then. Until then, I can only imagine.

What is that Confucius saying? Something like "When I hear, I forget. When I see, I remember. When I do, I understand." It's just so true.

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Re: How NOT to respond to reviews.

Post by polymath » March 30th, 2011, 12:38 pm

Blogging about etiquette and decorum might be an inspirational pastime. The challenges and risks I see are; it might come across as preaching to the choir no matter how much of a minority the choir is, it might raise a maelstrom of unpleasantness from opposition malefactors who take it as an invitation to do their duty to infuriate the host and contradict at every turn because etiquette and decorum are so old-fashioned stale and because it's their self-ordained duty to thicken up skins wherever there's thin skins carrying on in a public forum. Beware of hecklers.
Last edited by polymath on March 30th, 2011, 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How NOT to respond to reviews.

Post by Leila » March 30th, 2011, 12:43 pm

polymath wrote:Blogging about etiquette and decorum might be an inspirational pasttime. The challenges and risks I see are; it might come across as preaching to the choir no matter how much of a minority the choir is, it might raise a maelstrom of unpleasantness from opposition malefactors who take it as an invitation to do their duty to infuriate the host and contradict at every turn because etiquette and decorum are so old-fashioned stale and because it's their self-ordained duty to thicken up skins wherever there's thin skins carrying on in a public forum. Beware of hecklers.
I agree with polymath. And I wouldn't like to see you put in a difficult position because of these issues, in spite of your good intentions. But I agree it would make for interesting conversation, so if you decide to go down that path it will be interesting to see how it travels! Good luck if you do!

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Re: How NOT to respond to reviews.

Post by polymath » March 30th, 2011, 12:49 pm

Leila wrote:Well, indeed! And then there's the flipside, our own fragile ego's.
Mine no less fragile than any one other. The lessons I learned in that regard came from putting myself in the other's shoes and appreciating the underlying contributions of the other's concealed nature. Why does he find me offensive? Was it my unintended offense that first set him off? Am I at fault? Or do we not share sufficient common ground to establish a meaningful rapport? Friendship like enmity is a participation mystique. It takes two to tango and two to fight. Dancing like it's a knife fight belongs in literature. I can't say I find it entertaining in life.
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Re: How NOT to respond to reviews.

Post by Beethovenfan » March 30th, 2011, 1:08 pm

Thanks everyone for the clarification on "indie" vs. "self-pub." Upon thinking on it though, I guess I shouldn't say "vs" in this context - it might start something!
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Re: How NOT to respond to reviews.

Post by Leila » March 30th, 2011, 1:26 pm

polymath wrote:
Leila wrote:Well, indeed! And then there's the flipside, our own fragile ego's.
Mine no less fragile than any one other. The lessons I learned in that regard came from putting myself in the other's shoes and appreciating the underlying contributions of the other's concealed nature. Why does he find me offensive? Was it my unintended offense that first set him off? Am I at fault? Or do we not share sufficient common ground to establish a meaningful rapport? Friendship like enmity is a participation mystique. It takes two to tango and two to fight. Dancing like it's a knife fight belongs in literature. I can't say I find it entertaining in life.
Walking a mile in someone else's shoes is invaluable experience. I find that the hardest part, when talking about the ego, is taking a good hard look at oneself in the mirror. It's hard to reach that 'you don't know what you know' quadrant of the Johari window (I'm only using that model as an example because it's so well known) until you either experience something enlightening, or painful, and you are willing to walk through the hurt, etc to work out why it hurt and what it means.

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Re: How NOT to respond to reviews.

Post by polymath » March 30th, 2011, 1:42 pm

Leila wrote:Walking a mile in someone else's shoes is invaluable experience. I find that the hardest part, when talking about the ego, is taking a good hard look at oneself in the mirror. It's hard to reach that 'you don't know what you know' quadrant of the Johari window (I'm only using that model as an example because it's so well known) until you either experience something enlightening, or painful, and you are willing to walk through the hurt, etc to work out why it hurt and what it means.
The Johari Window and its several quadrants are most on point for the thread's several related topics and writing in general. Where does cognitive bias end and self-aware enlightenment begin, eh? A great paradigm for creating subtext meaning for a narrative. Thank you, Leila, something new to explore as subtext has its complexities that have thus far escaped my full appreciation.
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Re: How NOT to respond to reviews.

Post by Leila » March 30th, 2011, 2:24 pm

polymath wrote:
The Johari Window and its several quadrants are most on point for the thread's several related topics and writing in general. Where does cognitive bias end and self-aware enlightenment begin, eh? A great paradigm for creating subtext meaning for a narrative. Thank you, Leila, something new to explore as subtext has its complexities that have thus far escaped my full appreciation.
Polymath, after everything you give and have given to all of us, if I have been able to contribute in some small way to your wonderfully open and highly intelligent mind, it is my pleasure. I would like to add to your question about where does cognitive bias end and self-aware enlightenment begin. It's a great question, and if you add layers of conscious v's unconscious experience and absorption, cultural and environmental filters and the fourth quadrant of Johari's window into the mix it is indeed a most complex yet compelling avenue to explore; particularly in relation to creating subtext meaning for a narrative.

I've found (well, for my characters at least) that more high tension, dialogue based scenes, offering some discomfort for one or more characters are one way to create a more seamless fit for these sorts of elements. But they are tricky and need to be managed with great subtlety. These sorts of discoveries for readers, in my limited experience, require enough background to be provided about each character and enough challenges thrown down along the way that the reader takes the threads of new information offered and twines them together themselves to add another layer to that character's nature/behavior etc without even realizing it at that moment. They just absorb the new information about the character as if it were a natural progession or an expected response to a situation. Does that make sense?

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Re: How NOT to respond to reviews.

Post by polymath » March 30th, 2011, 2:53 pm

Leila wrote:Does that make sense?
Yes, it does, and in perfect accord with my more enjoyable reading experiences, though I'm becoming more conscious of and alert to subtext in literature and in life. Recent civil rights events opposing tyrranies for example. I was finally able to read and fully appreciate William Makepeace Thackeray's Vanity Fair, though it took me a month to read through, because the subtext was at last accessible after decades of trying to read the novel.
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Re: How NOT to respond to reviews.

Post by Guardian » March 30th, 2011, 5:26 pm

My writing is just fine!
Now this is an interesting line from the author, especially as she is making greater mistakes in her forum grammar than humble me... and I'm the non-native English speaker.

But regardless from her behavior, she is raising a very good point. Who is this reviewer? Why the reviewer is hiding and writing under an alias? Personally I would handle his reviews with great skepticism, because as I know the industry and professionals and their practices, they love to create phantom reviewers and reviews (Games, movies, books) to ruin indie products which are better than the pro industry ones (Which is not a hard task in the present.). So, when a reviewer is not capable to use his real name, when he is hiding behind an alias, writing reviews under an alias and you actually don't know anything about him, why should we take him seriously and why should we accept every word what he is saying in his reviews?

Of course, the present "event" is presenting how not to respond to reviews, but as #1, we don't know anything about the reviewer and his credibility, #2, as there are some interesting contradiction between the statements of the reviewer and author, I would handle all of these "no name" / "under alias" reviews with caution. Right now this BigAl's review site sounds as a typical industry "Phantom Review and Discrediting Factory Co. Ltd." which is producing reviews about self published books in every 1-2 days, which is almost impossible if the guy is doing it alone and if the novels are around 50-70k+ / each. Maybe I'm wrong, but this review site sounds a bit fishy to me, especially after this line in the Submission Guidelines... "I will post reviews to Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon UK as applicable.". If you're a blogger, you're not doing this, especially not for free. This site sounds as a bait to me and translates the following... "Send me your ebook, I'm going to review it under an alias and do you like the review or not, I'm going to present my opinion as the universal truth on every possible site.". Now, whoever is writing under an alias, that one doesn't take responsibility for anything he writes, regardless that review is capable to determine the outcome of sales and the reviewer is well aware of this.

So, always observe everything from two sides, not just from one. Yes, the author made a great mistake, but if the reviewer is not read the up to date version, while the author said to do so, in this case, the reviewer is also made a great, or even a greater mistake (Directly or indirectly, it's really matter.).

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Re: How NOT to respond to reviews.

Post by Margo » March 30th, 2011, 8:08 pm

Guardian wrote:Yes, the author made a great mistake, but if the reviewer is not read the up to date version, while the author said to do so, in this case, the reviewer is also made a great, or even a greater mistake (Directly or indirectly, it's really matter.).
There were a LOT of comments on the reviewer's site, and I think you might have missed some of what was said.

1. The reviewer's credibility is a moot point when the auther asks the reviewer for a review, which she did. If she didn't think he was credible, she shouldn't have asked.

2. She says he didn't read the updated version. He says he did. She called him a liar and said the mistakes and awkward wording he pointed out are not in the updated version. However, after she said that, one of the readers downloaded the updated version and found the same things the review pointed out, the same things the author said were not there.

3. When people pointed out that it was just an honest opinion, and just one person's opinion, and contained more good comments than critical ones, she told them to butt out and then started cursing at them.

Sorry, but this is a total author fail. People pointed out in the comments that the review (even containing some criticism) had convinced them to at least check out the sample, but then they saw her comments and decided not to read it. So she comes off as a loon, the reviewer gets more followers, and a couple more book bloggers chime in that this is why they won't review self-published novels (which isn't really fair, and they know it, but the self-pub crowd appears to have a disproportionate number of meltdowns when THEY ask for reviews and don't get praise and adoration).
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Re: How NOT to respond to reviews.

Post by Guardian » March 30th, 2011, 8:24 pm

1. The reviewer's credibility is a moot point when the auther asks the reviewer for a review, which she did. If she didn't think he was credible, she shouldn't have asked.
This is why I said; to me it sounds as a "bait site". I've seen few similar before here and there which had only two goals; give false hope to writers and trash and discredit them with the very same move.
2. She says he didn't read the updated version. He says he did. She called him a liar and said the mistakes and awkward wording he pointed out are not in the updated version. However, after she said that, one of the readers downloaded the updated version and found the same things the review pointed out, the same things the author said were not there.
And how do you know not the reviewer made that comment just to protect himself? The only thing what we're never going to hear in the 21st century; I was wrong.
3. When people pointed out that it was just an honest opinion, and just one person's opinion, and contained more good comments than critical ones, she told them to butt out and then started cursing at them.
That's where the author made her greatest mistake... if the commenter was the true author.
Sorry, but this is a total author fail.
No one said she did not, but I always observe everything from two sides; pro and contra. Yes, the author failed and overreacted this. But I've seen these type of discrediting reviews and these sort of comments along with it way too much to have great doubts about the "no name", "I'm working under an alias" reviewer and it's "Anonymous" commenters (And here there are plenty Anonymous commenter). The best way to boost the visitors of a site is to create a great clash where the site is the "victim". And with it a vitually unknown site became famous, while you actually doesn't know who made those comments in the reality (As anyone can write anything into the "Name" part of the comment section as it's not requesting any passwords.).

I'm not saying this is the actual case. But I always have doubts when I read pro and contra, "victim" reviewer vs. someone else, because in many cases it's made by the owner of the site, especially owners without any true identity. These sort of acts are usually serving two purposes; #1; discrediting someone by intention, #2; raising the visitor stats.

Also, the other option, the straight one... the author really can't handle bad or constructive reviews. Although it's the reviewer's responsiblity to send the review to the author PRIOR the release, especially if the author asked for the review. This is used to be the ethical way.

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