Comment on Upcoming changes to kudos

  1. Watercolour painting of a teacup on top of a stack of books.

    As an author, I totally support AO3 making the site sustainable, and such, but I totally disagree about kudos not being meaningful. I look forward to my kudos emails every day, and often check to see if a regular kudos leaving person has seen my latest story. I think they're just great. It's not leaving leading to fewer comments, it's leading to more people who wouldn't have commented at all giving feedback.

    I'm in a small fandom, I absolutely know people by name who regularly kudos, and value every one of them. Even on works in more populous fandom, I notice names.

    And I do notice people leaving more than one, but figure it's usually just bad internet/a mobile glitch, rather than liking it 5x as much.

    I do like the idea of leaving emoji comments though, if people feel like it. I for one would enjoy that. 💋💕👍

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    1. Kudos are better than silence, but I (and I doubt I'm the only one) actually turned off the email about kudos. I always thought it was either a comment or a new chapter/fic from a story/author I had subscribed to, and went from joy to (slight) disappointment each time.
      But like you, I write in small fandoms, and I recognize the names that pop up regularly in kudos - I just wish they would take the next step and start interacting more with the writers.

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      1. Watercolour painting of a teacup on top of a stack of books.

        Judging from this comment thread, you clearly are not the only one.

        Look, I like comments too, but you've got a bunch of people in this thread saying kudos are the only way they feel comfortable interacting, and that leaving them feels meaningful and validating to them. Obviously people use the archive a little differently, and I think that should be okay. Saying that people who leave kudos are lesser than people who comment feels kind of hurtful, you know?

        Plus, I've been in fandom for a long ass time, and have seen multiple rounds of "well it wasn't a good enough comment," as well. If people do "take the next step" and leave comments that are "I liked this" "Extra kudos!" or "💖", I'm sure that authors will complain about that too. "I opened my e-mail expecting a long comment and someone just left a stupid heart." and so on. If everyone uses the archive a little differently, then no interaction is going to make everyone happy.

        I think leaving kudos is a great form of interaction, and while (again) I support fixing this bug and making the archive more sustainable (because the idea of not being able to leave/get kudos is genuinely distressing to me!), yet another round of hating on kudos and being negative about people who leave them but don't comment is getting me down.

        Last Edited Thu 12 Mar 2020 02:18PM EDT

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        1. I suppose we have very different outlooks on what constitutes feedback, overall. I got into fanfics with fanfiction.net, spent a few years there reading, reviewing, writing and getting reviews, and that system (with no kudos/likes) worked perfectly well for me. On top of it, ffnet had the great function (which I'm hoping AO3 will one day implement 🙏) of answering privately to reviews. Well, I was on it before the private messaging system was implemented, but once it was there, it made for a great experience (for me at least). It really allowed to build a relationship with reviewers or other writers without it being all public, and without having to move to another website.

          I know it's impossible to make a website that will make 100% of its users 100% happy all of the time, but it's part of the game, and I think we're all aware of it. And if people really hate as it currently stands, well, they should just stop using it.

          Writers do tend to be greedy with their comments - they want feedback. Someone who has very few comments will be happy with a "I liked this", someone who has more comments will be slightly less happy, and happier with "I liked your story, especially [x] and [y]", and someone who has plenty of comments on the regular will be happier with lengthy, detailed comments. People might (or should I say "do"?) complain about the length of the comments they get, but one comment, even short, is better than nothing at all.

          One thing where I think we fundamentally disagree (and it's fine!) is that I do not think kudos are a great form of interaction. They are one form of interaction, but to me, it's equal to the "like" function that can be found on other websites. Sure, it tells me that the reader liked the story, but that's it. It doesn't create a relationship between reader and writer (for me at least, even if I can recognize names from one fic to another), it doesn't help me grow as a writer. But then again, that's because a single like is not the kind of feedback I'm looking for. It's nice, but it doesn't go any further, and I prefer having more interactions with fellow writers and readers.

          Sorry you're feeling distressed by the tone of the conversation, though, that's not the goal. I think it's interesting fixing that glitch has sparked such a discussion, but I can understand the tone/heat of it is not to everyone's tastes.

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          1. Watercolour painting of a teacup on top of a stack of books.

            I haven't been on ff.net since they banned porn, but if I recall correctly, there was a way to favourite a story that did not involve commenting.

            I completely respect that there are varying opinions on the value of kudos. Some people would turn them off it they could, some people only use them. I think expressing opinions about how the site is used it great, but I also think respecting that people use the site differently, and that not everyone is going to use it in a way that you, personally, feel is the best and most meaningful is also really important.

            For me, as a writer in both small and high volume fandoms, I find that kudos ARE feedback. They literally mean "good job." I'm happy to get them. I'm also happy with comments that are 💕 and nothing else. I got a comment telling me I was an "awesome spinach child" a few months ago, and I liked getting that too. Don't know what it means, or what they liked about the fic, but it seemed quite positive.

            I think it's a discussion, but it's one we've had about this site a lot of times, and it always seems to be one that's about telling people off for not being the right kind of fan (plus offering unsolicited advice about how to deal with their mental health problems), and I don't especially find it new or useful. I think it's important to consider if ones comments are unintentionally disparaging other users or gatekeeping.

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            1. Yes, you can add a story to your favorite stories on ffnet, just like you can bookmark one on AO3 (and similarly, there is an alert system for both stories and authors on ffnet, just like there is the subscription system on AO3).

              Of course respecting everyone's opinions on how they use the site and how it could be changed is important. I hope I didn't come across as trying to talk over other people in this discussion. However, I do think that people frustrated by lack of feedback (or, more accurately, comments, no matter how detailed/lengthy) and (what appears as) the over-importance of kudos might also be using this post to voice their frustrations on the topic. Personally, it's the first time I see fellow-minded people on the topic, so I'm especially glad to exchange with them.

              I prefer comments, even a single 💖, to kudos. Between someone dropping various heart smileys on my fics and someone clicking on the kudos button, I will recognize the first one, memorize the username and think about it fondly, whereas the other one will fly off the radar. Of course, it's different for everyone, as our conversation shows. That "awesome spinach child" comment is pretty adorable, I agree on that.

              The question of comments vs kudos is a heated one. People should be careful not to overstep boundaries, but what might be perceived as aggressive by one might not be written as such by the other. Getting one's tone across on internet sometimes turns into a challenge.

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              1. Watercolour painting of a teacup on top of a stack of books.

                Personally, it's the first time I see fellow-minded people on the topic, so I'm especially glad to exchange with them.

                You and I travel in very different circles it seems. I've been seeing relentless "Kudos are the cancer that is destroying feedback" sentiments since the archive went live.

                Anyway, at the end of the day, AO3 isn't taking them away, and is planning to make leaving them more sustainable in the long run, so I'm a happy panda.

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                1. We do seem to be running in different circles indeed, mine is all about kudos.

                  The team behind AO3 is working to make the site more sustainable in the long run, so yes, it's a good thing, regardless of one's opinion on kudos.

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          2. One thing you (and others who share your point of view on kudos) don't seem to understand is that kudos aren't the reason why people aren't commenting on fanworks, and kudos aren't replacing comments in any way or form.

            Someone who is inclined to leave a comment on a fanwork, will do so regardless of whether kudos are an available feature or not.

            What kudos are doing, is giving a voice to a wider audience who might not have the spoons/time/etc. to leave feedback, giving them the chance to tell a creator that they are reading/seeing/hearing them, and they are appreciating them. They are giving these people (the so-called lurkers, who have been here since day one) an opportunity to be part of things.

            And they are giving us, the creators, the chance to know these people are out there, and want us to know they enjoyed what we created.

            This might not be meaningful to you, but I can assure you thousands of people disagree.

            Personally, I've been in fandom for over fifteen years already, and I can say that a) I receive more feedback in the form of comments here than I've ever received in any other platform I've been in (ff.net, LJ, forums, other archives), and b) despite being lucky enough to have various works with thousands of kudos, my daily kudos email makes me smile every time, and I scroll down it and take note of the users in there.

            They aren't numbers. They are people out there, living their lives, letting me know I was a part of their day, telling me 'I liked this!', or 'good job!'.

            And what can I say? It makes me happy, every single time. And I know I'm not the only one.

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            1. Watercolour painting of a teacup on top of a stack of books.

              🖖🏼

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            2. Ladybug with a rainbow Pride background

              THIS

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            3. It's great that you have a better engagement on AO3 compared to other sites. It's not the case for me, and I don't think I'm the only one in that situation.

              I don't see how leaving a "nice story" kind of comment requires more time/spoon that clicking on the kudos button, but to each their own.

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            4. (25 more comments in this thread)

            5. "i will kiss every inch of your baby"

              I agree with this, thank you.

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            6. *Zidy leaves kudos on A's comment* :)

              But thanks, this is it. Right here. I've been in fandom over 20 years now and I've probably left more kudos since AO3 started by an order of magnitude than the number of comments I've ever left.

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          3. I've had a similar long term relationship with FFnet and the reason I have no intention of moving any stories from other fandoms to AO3 is because of that long term rapport over stories built over private messaging as well as replies to reviews.

            I like Kudos as a system if people aren't going to comment. I'm afraid I'm also in the category whereby if you see lots of hits but no response on something, you start to question your work a little bit and that can dampen the enthusiasm for writing. On FFnet the excuse of being too shy to comment works, on A03 if you like something it is so very easy to leave a kudos to note it. The only problem with one kudos per fic is that the same person might bookmark/reread the fic and thus they put the hit count up - but they can only leave kudos the one time. I don't know the solution for that.

            All artists thrive on encouragement for their work, however small that encouragement might be. I wrote a lot more fanfic on FFnet because of the interaction with people reading it and I also improved as a writer thanks to a few people taking time to give me critical commentary as well. A03 lacking the private message option kind of impairs discussion. Sometimes you don't want to have a conversation with someone that every person on the internet can read...

            In an ideal world we'd see more kudos or comments left on work to match the hit count but in reality that probably won't happen. I am not really worried about the loss of duplicate kudos although grateful to those people who left it for really showing their support for my writing. What would make me happy as a writer would be some way of encouraging people who just read and leave to give some feedback. Even if it's "I'm not sure if x worked", polite negatives can be more helpful than people who liked it not even leaving a kudos. But that's just me.

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            1. Oh, how I understand where you're coming from! I was in something akin to a writing lump when AO3 became accessible and I got an account. I posted very intermittently there in the first years I had my account, but I already wasn't using ffnet much anymore. The private messaging system of ffnet is something that I really miss for all the reasons you mentioned. It makes it easier to reply to reviews, and, most of all, to exchange with fellow writers and/or readers over stories (and then everything else as the relationship builds).

              Kudos are better than silence for sure, but I do prefer when people leave comments to show their appreciation. Recently (this year), I had someone leaving me a comment telling me they were re-reading my fic "after a long time" (their words, not mine), and I was absolutely delighted to hear it! I do not mind seeing the hits count go up (it can't go down, so that's a good thing), because I know people click by accident, click and don't finish the fic, click and finish the fic but don't like it, and so on, but not having a reaction at the end of the day can be really taxing.

              I really understand what you mean about the fact that artists thrive on encouragement. Sometimes I get really depressed when I see the hits/kudos count go up but without any comment to accompany it. Did the readers really like the fic? Was is a pity kudos? Did they think it wasn't that good, but still wanted to encourage me? I don't know, I have no way of knowing, so sometimes I have periods where I just don't want to post anything on AO3.

              People who take the time to leave feedback (critical commentary, praise, words of encouragement...) are great. I received some very good commentary over the years, and it's thanks to the people who took the time to write that I became a better writer. Of course it might be complicated when one isn't used to it, but I found out using the "sandwich technique" was really helpful. (The "sandwich technique" is one positive element (ex: great descriptions), one critical commentary (ie: the characters might have acted a little irrationally because [x] and [y]), and another positive element (ex: a lovely writing style), and I always conclude with encouragement.) It seems that certain people on AO3 are really cautious about leaving feedback, or comments that contain critical commentary. It's interesting, because it seems to me than on ffnet people are less shy about it. Maybe it's a question of site and fandom culture? I don't know.

              This post started a lot of threads and very interesting discussions on kudos and comments and what kind of weight/importance readers and writers put behind these two forms of feedback. I hope you're having a good time and good interactions on ffnet to keep you motivated to keep writing, in any case!

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            2. (25 more comments in this thread)

        2. but you've got a bunch of people in this thread saying kudos are the only way they feel comfortable interacting, and that leaving them feels meaningful and validating to them.

          Why should AO3 cater to a bunch of whiny infants who think a fic archiving platform is responsible for their mental health?

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          1. ಠ_ಠ

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