Honestly, I would say respect what feedback the authors want in their WIP thread. I know it might feel frustrating to want to say something and maybe even feel that the author would learn something valuable from a certain criticism. But the truth is that this is in the end on the author. Unasked for criticism/suggestions are not gonna help any. I would say if you are unsure, ask the author what kind of feedback they want, if any.
Why is that?
Because the kind of feedback that would be useful is vastly different depending on the stage the project is in, as well as the author. An author shouldn’t expect readers/playtesters to be able to guess what they need, and readers/playtesters shouldn’t have to feel unsure of what is wanted. And yes, this is a skill that needs to be learned, both from the author and the playtester.
So, authors, please add a thing about what kind of feedback you want on top of your WIP. It will help you target what you actually want from showing off your WIP.
For example, this is what I used for the Remnants WIP for my partner (after a short description about some stuff I knew about the game.
So what kind of feedback do we want?
Honestly, at this point, just your thoughts if you have any. We have an idea, but we want to see if what we want out there rhymes with how you read it. As always, spelling and grammar are erratic at this point. You know how it is.
Very loose, we were just looking for vibes and thoughts as this was a very early draft.
Compare this to what I wrote for Fallen Hero: Retribution when it was in the late alpha stage:
What do I want from playtesting?
Look for inconsistencies. Events that flow weirdly. You acting upon information you haven’t got.
Keep focus on the auction. Know why you are there, and if your objectives suddenly shift. If they do, please screenshot the first scene where you feel weird, and then DM it to me and explain why it is weird.
I’m not interested in grammar. Pronouns are welcome to report if you find any wrong ones.
Any events that throw you out of the game, makes you feel things go too fast, or scene shifts that are too abrupt.
At this point I had the vibe, the characters and the story. I just needed to know that if flowed for all the various paths.
So, one kind of feedback would not suit these two very different stages of projects.
tldr: Don’t be afraid to ask the author what kind of feedback they want. And authors, put that at the TOP of your WIP; people might not read it, but at least it’s there.
(not gonna post all the shit from the various beta/grammar/final servers, that’s a lot of very specific instructions for the playtesters)