Is This Constructive Feedback

I know this thread is older, but it seems like the most appropriate place to ask?

Is it ever helpful to authors to hear: “I think this is well done, but it doesn’t work for me because [ x ]”, where [ x ] is just a personal taste issue? Not a criticism, just something you’re not interested in?

I run into this frequently because I’m kind of fussy but I’ve just been keeping my mouth shut and moving on. But is it something that could be useful if stated nicely, or are my instincts correct and it should be kept to oneself?

I mean for large things like the premise of the project or the characterization of the MC, not minor details.

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I think sometimes it can be helpful, especially if you make a comment about what’s well done about it (“I’m not into gore but that zombie scene was very atmospheric because XYZ”). If it’s simply that you didn’t want to play because you don’t like zombies, it won’t be so useful. But if the premise of the game got your attention because of the characters’ plight, then you couldn’t play past the second chapter because the zombies grossed you out too much, that may be helpful information.

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Kudos for opening this up to a general discussion, I think that’s very thoughtful and considerate of you!

To be completely honest–and this is just my personal experience–I don’t find feedback on things I can’t change about the story very useful or helpful or actionable. If someone were to comment, “This is well-written, but I’m not interested because it’s science fiction and I generally don’t like that genre” or “I think this is well-done, but it doesn’t work for me because I don’t like playing older protagonists,” or “I’m not a huge fan of zombie premises so I won’t be reading further, but this is good work,” I think if it were an issue the author was not intent on changing–like the genre or main premise or the age of the protagonist–than I, personally, would not really know what to do with that feedback than say “thanks for your input!” and move on. It wouldn’t be actionable, if that makes any sense.

I think if you were responding to a question from the author (“does playing as a snarky protagonist turn you off?”), then that can be really helpful. Or if you have more feedback than something based on personal taste–“I was at first really interested because of X but character A really rubbed me the wrong way because of Z”–then that is indeed something that is actionable! But when it’s something very intrinsic to the story, like genre or premise, then I don’t know how useful it is.

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If the criticism is about the setting or world of the story as a whole or the entire story’s premise, then I’d say it probably it’s not necessary because it’s clear that the commenter has a completely different idea/expectation than to what the author has to offer.

Maybe they could say that “X is what I expected based on your plot premise, so Y took me by surprise because A, B, and C” which would be helpful. Not necessarily to change the story, but rather the marketing of the story.

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I personally think you should feel free to post that type of feedback.

First off because in my opinion any feedback is better than no feedback. Better to have one person tell you which points they liked and which killed it for them than to just have everyone ignore the thing you put out altogether.

Second, because if you also mention which parts you did like, it can give someone a nice boost in confidence to know that even if this particular person has their reasons for not playing the whole thing, at least they enjoyed parts of it and cared enough to let you know about it.

Third, there’s a chance that your opinion is shared by more people than you realize who wouldn’t necessarily say it, but who would like your post to show agreement. I imagine it would be very useful to an author to know where their story loses a decent chunk of potential readers. Maybe they can change that part, or find a compromise in order to reel those readers back in. Even if they can’t, at least now they know why they don’t have as many people reading their work, as opposed to maybe assuming that their entire work is just horrible enough that people don’t even care to comment at all.

And finally, while I agree with the points about action-ability, I also think that as a reader you can’t always know for certain what is and isn’t actionable to that particular author. One author might be dead-set on their MC being over 40 years old, while another isn’t necessarily opposed to letting the MC be younger. For the second author, maybe a bunch of people would assume they aren’t willing to change that thing, and so they turn away from the story. Meanwhile, the author might just assume that nobody has any issues with this particular thing because nobody pointed it out. In that scenario, the author would lose out on potential readers while those readers miss out on a story they could have enjoyed, if only they’d pointed out their issues with it.

You won’t know for sure unless you point it out, and if the author has a good reason for the story or the MC to be the way they are, who knows, maybe they can convince you and others like you to give them a chance anyway. And if they just won’t budge even if they don’t have a good reason for it, so long as you’re respectful and you accept their decision to do with their story what they want and leave them to do their thing afterwards, I really don’t see any harm in it.

But that’s just my opinion, of course. :slight_smile:

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While I’ve never written anything publicly , on other projects I’ve worked on I’ve never minded when someone shared an opinion. Which it sound like you are saying? As long as the person understands that it is just an opinion and I might not agree, and they can respect that.