Okay, don’t get me wrong I love the fact that some of my readers/testers are very passionate about the stories that I share and I am eternally thankful that they like my works. However, sometimes it really gets a bit out of hand.
Like, say as the writer I already expressed that a certain scene will happen and I have no plans in changing it yet they hound me to no end about changing it. Or say, a certain character I made is molded in a way that they are not romanceable or they are romanceable. One of my frustration is when they ask for flipping genders of the pre-made characters. I know it is just a matter of coding or whatnot but I kinda feel like it was cheating and I also feel like I lost the character I created. How do you guys deal with that?
Also, if the readers/testers start to like whine nonstop because you didn’t incorporate what they suggested or wanted thus creating a drama. How do you guys deal with it in an eloquent way that won’t make you look like some snobby writer?
Lastly, this is probably weird but I have a reader/tester that complains…like, a lot. Their main argument is “In my country…Blah…Blah…” I mean I get it in a way that my writing won’t reflect their experience when it comes to their home country, but the thing is I’m writing based on what I know so…meh? I’m contemplating blocking this person completely since I already said my reasons and the whys, but I think they don’t really hear it because they just kept on repeating the same argument. Is it okay for a writer to block some readers/testers when they kinda become too pushy/aggressive?
Oh, and I was trying to find a topic similar to this, but I could not locate one in the search bar. If anyone knows if a similar topic or a close one is already open then can a Leader or Mod close this or merge it? Thank you and I’m really curious about what you guys have to share on this peculiar topic.
Oh, err. My question is more on a global question rather than pertaining to a particular forum or group r person/s. I kinda generalized it as I was curious about how other writers handle such situations.
@E_RedMark From another forum/group that I’ve been more active as of late. I haven’t tried posting any of my works here yet.
@Gower Could be a solution, but some of them get really prickly when they get flag thou. Although having a Mod or Leader can soften the blow a bit. Probably need to get in touch with the Mod or Leader to fix the issue.
Ok, well the rule of thumb is to be always respectful toward your readers. Homewhever, it doesn’t mean you owe them something. You don’t.
Your answer should always be toned down, and you thank them for their feedbacks. You say you will ‘keep it in mind’ (Never ever make promises you don’t intend to keep), and never EVER EVER ARGUE with someone over your writing.
It’s like dealing with a Troll, you can’t reason and some (a few) kinda believe because they are reading your stuff, it entitled them to ‘force’ you to make changes, either you like or not…cause their idea is so ‘GENIUS’, you’ll be an idiot not to listen!
That is pretty much just Entitled behavior in general. Those, you can say ‘Thank you, Bye!’’ and leave it at that. Do not ENGAGE. Do not ENGAGE. I know it’s hard, pride get in the way and you feel like you gotta defend your writing or say ‘Back off’…but it’s really NOT WORTH IT. It just ruin the mood for every other reader, and they should be your priority.
So in conclusion, any platform that you end up on? use the Flag button and IGNORE.
Keep in mind, they are the ones doing the Harassing. They are Guilty. They are breaking the rules. So who cares how they feel? Gotta stop babying assholes…
I have no experience dealing with that kind of situations cause I’ve never posted any work. So I think it’s something more like personal preference, and I don’t know if this applies to all, but I know from the go that not everyone would like my work, so I just accept that. I don’t want to sound selfish or anything, but my way of doing things is that I do it for me, if people likes it, great, and if they don’t, great, I can’t force them to, and I’m not here for that. That doesn’t means that I don’t want them to like it cause it would be a lie. Just that they all have different opinions, and it’s not bad.
I guess it depends on how much are you willing to tolerate, if 1 bad comment of a thousand can make you fell bad, or if you have 50/50 good/bad critics and you’re still happy with your work.
At the end either you flag/ignore, or try to put yourself on their shoes and understand their point of view and maybe even learn something new, without having to change anything on your work because of it.
On the other hand, everyone can say almost anything here on the internet, so don’t take it too serious, to the point in which it could affect you on the wrong way. They can create more accounts and keep bothering or whatever, let them spend their energy on something that doesn’t worth it as you keep yours on your work.
I haven’t dealt with it yet but I’d stick to my boundaries. You are not wrong in wanting your characters to be their own people, with their own gender identity and sexuality.
These type of situation usually involve loud minority. Your other readers might not agree with them. You can ignore them, meme at them - it’s been well received before. You can also be kind to say no in assertive way and make it clear that that’s the end of the conversation and that you will delete every ask/flag it if you hear about it again.
No means no. Always.
Throw the entire tester away. Block them, delete their asks etc. Even if they’ll listen to reason you are already annoyed and there are bad vibes, and you don’t have to deal with it. Tell them it’s not working first of course but if they persist, stop responding.
Huh, I guess it never really occurred to me to not engage on the argument since I think it has to do with pride, In regards with my work. What you said is great advise and I’ll keep them in mind.
I think it has more to do with the fear of lossing a reader/tester. I mean, writing is a hobby but it feels fulfilling if others enjoy it too and then suddenly having one of your readers deman changes about your work feels gut wrenching and no amount of explanation can satisfy them unless it is their way.
Yeah, I think that is good advise. I guess my fear is if I don’t engage with them I can forfeit a potential reader/tester yet it also feels like I’m doing what they demand which contradicts my works. Flag/ignore them is a sage advise from what I’m reading with everyone’s replies. I think accepting losing an aggressive/pushy reader/tester is better than having a public arguments on forums and better for the mind.
@hustlertwo do sugargliders count? Then count 4 for my loyal readers.
I mean, I’m 100% sure I’m going to be criticized, I would love to have all positive comments and nice opinions and everyone likes what I do, but the world doesn’t work like that. There are too many variables between everyone to get to that point.
For me it’s just accepting that you don’t own anyone nor anyone’s opinion, they can come and go as they like, whether because they don’t like a single hair on the wrong spot or they don’t like absolutely anything about the work you’re doing.
If your goal is to appease everyone let me tell you that you’ll have a really hard time to achieve that, if that’s even possible.
Think about that too, if you accept all the opinions and change your book with every word your readers tell you it would be completely chaotic and nonsensical and pretty much impossible, cause it’ll be contradictions everywhere. So even the best of the best book out there for sure has some negative opinion, but that’s it, you just need to let it happen and keep going.
If someone bring you an argument concerning your work, in a manner that make you curious, or enlightening? great! Those are part of ‘feedbacks’. Just because someone has an idea and is writing, doesn’t mean they know everything. We are always learning something new if we are listening.
Then you have those who are Arguing for the sake of it. Those you should be able to tell from the ‘tone’. It start as an argument that turn into arguing, then bickering, then frustration, then full fight and yelling.
Those don’t bring anything but shitty vibes that make your day worse, and hinder your workload.
These are the ones you shouldn’t interact with after you say ‘Bye!’.
In a more serious response to this, I would say you want to give people the benefit of the doubt when possible. I ran into this a bit with Parenting, and it usually went like this:
-Person asks for/demands something I don’t want to do with the story
-I politely inform them I don’t have plans to do XYZ at this time
-Most stop here. A few might press the matter.
-If they do, I reiterate my position and make sure they know the matter is closed.
-At this point almost everyone will either chill out or get huffy and depart, not to be seen again.
Only if they persist after this point would I recommend taking official action. Readers don’t reserve the right to run roughshod on (w)riters, but they are still people taking time out of their lives to not only read our stuff, but chip in with opinions. I know I for one have had my stories markedly improved by feedback, and in turn ones that get little feedback often perform poorly for it (which is why you should private beta at your own risk; an echo chamber won’t help you improve. See also: some Tumblr communities). Try to give as much leeway as you can before cracking down. But if they push it to that point by repeatedly ignoring you or being overly aggressive with you or other readers, act quickly and decisively to end it.
I mean, at the end of the day its your project, right? People sharing their opinions is nice and all, but if theyre trying to ram them down your throat; dont deal with it.
Simply block the person, or flag it. Its scary when fans, or testers start to feel so entitled that they think thr story should bend to their whim.
Changing a presets character’s gender is stupid. If you made the character as a male/female/other then they should be said thing.
And as for the wanting certain characters to be romanceable. Im sure weve all had a character in one of the games that we’d like to romance but isnt an option. If you get these ideas in moderation; id personally take it as a compliment. I means they liked one of your characters that much. If theyre being overly obnoxious about it, then be smug with the compliment.
Just in in your chair and chuckle menacingly, knowing the chatacter will never be romanced by them, and that you crushed their dreams.
Like you, I’m deeply grateful for the feedback I’ve had from readers and testers. They’ve had ideas that have enriched my work tremendously. So it’s as someone who really values forum feedback that I say: Be ready to upset your readers by sticking to the creative choices that satisfy you. That’s even more important than your fans.
If you do things that make you feel you’ve “lost the character I created” or similar, you’re ultimately less likely to finish your game at all. That kind of relationship with your more demanding fans will steal your joy and energy, fast.
When you run into someone who’s got a passionate investment in something that you don’t want to write, just say e.g., “I really appreciate your sharing what you’d like to see, but that’s not my vision for where the character/story is going.”
If a reader doesn’t accept that and keeps pushing you to make a change you’ve said no to? Flag 'em, block 'em, absolutely. Life’s too short to deal with that kind of drama.
I’d have to say around here usually everyone is pretty respectful (doesn’t surprise me you’re saying a lot this is happening elsewhere. Some sites are more wild west in opinion expression than others). In my experience it’s only very rarely something has gotten significantly out of control rather than being a respectful discussion, and tends to involve conclusions being jumped to when the work may not even have been read rather than a discussion between invested readers/writers which is a different sort of discussion again. I’ve found readers generally want the game to succeed and will behave accordingly if you are fair in your responses. Some readers are really invested as you’ve noted, and you have to take that as usually being due to high engagement and loving where your story is coming from and not get defensive about things they may ask changed/added. At least it means there are people who actually want to read your work and see it succeed. This is a good thing and what every writer wants in the end! Occasionally this can be in a way that is potentially going to push your game in a way you don’t wan’t/hadn’t planned for/may derail your storyline/add a tonne of extra work, therefore I find I sort of try to go through a process.
Take a deep breath/go grab a nice cup of tea, detach as much as possible emotionally from what I’ve written, look past any emotionally loaded language in the comments and look at it as objectively as possible. Does the reader have a valid point that should be ideally addressed? (People will see your story from a different angle to you as the writer. Sometimes really good points are being made I may not have considered and could really do with being implemented.) Is this a request that could be included? How much work would it be? Would it potentially derail my planned story structure, and is that likely for the better, worse, neutral outcome. What might happen if I don’t action the feedback? Consider all things, then decide if it is something that can reasonably be done and that you want to include.
If it isn’t. Thank the reader for taking the time to give their input and ideally explain (as much as possible if there’s spoilers) why you cannot include their suggestion. After all, most of the time people are just trying to be helpful or engage with a story they like. I’ve had perfectly reasonable requests I can’t include simply because it’ll mess with the planned story arcs or end up adding so much extra work that I’ll never get the thing done which is something no one wants. The person making the suggestion usually can’t know this (unless they have secret telepathic abilities.)
With your example of RO characters, I’d say they are a higher emotional point that comes up frequently. A lot of readers love the inclusion of romance in these stories and I think a lot of writers will agree that requests for more RO’s are one of the most frequent. Sometimes the worst thing you can do is make a non-RO a RO if your heart isn’t in it and they’ll have a shallow, not well written arc, or worse if their character’s arc means it’s going to become evident sooner or later they were never meant to be one. (For example: Upsetting people when their primary RO essentially dumps them or disappears to go do whatever the storyline needs them to later in the game or a sequel.) There are some cases where I think you do need to stick to your guns on that one, however hard it might be not to want to disappoint people by making a character off limits.
If things get genuinely nasty (rare but can happen and some forums are more prone to it than here) my advice is to try not to continue engage. It can be hard when you’re trying to clarify where you’re coming from against harrssment/attacks, but if the situation is continuing to escalate it’s probably time to stand down. State your case clearly and without firing back if possible, advise this is the way the story is being written and you’re not discussing further, then peace out of the convo. If you continue to get harrassed, flag or ignore. Forum drama is just not worth the related stress past a certain point if it’s clear neither party will change their mind and in the end, you’re the one that needs to write the story so it has to be something you want to do if you don’t want to end up with writer’s block or an endlessly extended project.
If you need to, take a break from whatever forum/site etc. I’ve done this. Sometimes you just need time for things to simmer down if emotions have gotten too high. Rare it comes to it, but it’s an option rather than continuing to stress out about something.