Comment on Upcoming changes to kudos

  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 πŸ™) 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 πŸ’• 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 πŸ’–, 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.

        πŸ––πŸΌ

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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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        1. Ladybug with a rainbow Pride background

          Click Reply. Figure out what to say. Type however many keystrokes. Click Comment.

          Vs: Click Kudos.

          It's not necessarily much more time or effort to comment than to kudos. And people who find it easy to put their thoughts and feelings into words will certainly find a smaller difference between leaving a comment reading "nice story" and leaving a kudos, as will people who find it easy to type and to click, full stop; the kudos function thus proves its importance as disability accessibility for people with social anxiety, people with any of a number of language issues, and for people with any of a number of movement and/or pain problems, as well as accessibility to people who can competently read the language the fic is written in but are far from certain of their ability to write even a couple of words in that language, and probably a bunch of groups I've forgotten. But it is more time and effort to comment than to kudos. Always.

          That's why the kudos function exists. So that people who otherwise wouldn't feel able to give the author any feedback can at least convey to the author that, hey, I read this, and I appreciated it.

          And no, you are not the only person who gets less engagement on AO3. I'm thinking in particular of a friend who writes a lot of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fic; the fandom as a whole is apparently centered on fimfiction dot net, such that pretty much the only creators who get more engagement on AO3 in that fandom are people who don't post to fimfiction at all. I suspect whatever reasons mean you get better engagement off AO3 than on AO3 are similarly unrelated to AO3's kudos button.

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          1. Of course there is some basis as to why the kudos function has been implemented, the team behind AO3 didn't do that just for kicks. I did notice that people have been using that function as a good enough equivalent to leaving comments, and as a writer, I'm not a fan of it, but there is nothing I can do about it.

            The reasons behind engagement on AO3 and the drop I noticed compared to other sites are multiple: size of the fandom, topic of the fic, pairing, comment culture, state of the fandom itself (still active or not), and so on. It's of course not entirely down to the kudos function.

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          2. Jesus. Go outside and touch grass.

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            1. Ladybug with a rainbow Pride background

              Why yes, I will absolutely go aggravate at least three of my disabilities because Anon knows more about how disability and ableism work than I do. That is the best idea, and the most educated and trustworthy source of advice, I have heard all week.

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              1. Oh, so you're hyperliteral as well. It figures. And pointing that out is probably "ableist," too. As everything apparently is with you.

                Let me try to spell it out for you: Get some perspective.

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                1. Ladybug with a rainbow Pride background

                  Oh no, it's not ableist imo to observe I'm hyperliteral. I'm not sure if that's the only not-ableist thing you've said in this thread, though. Depends whether I'm correct to infer that the perspective you want me to get is one that assumes nobody important is disabled and nobody disabled could possibly be important.

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        2. And I don't see why seeing written "nice story" is any different than seeing a kudos. They're fundamentally the same. If every kudos came with a message of "nice story" or "loved it!", would that satisfy you?

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          1. "nice story" and "loved it!" don't evoke the same feeling of appreciation, and a comment is more personal than a kudos, due to the simple fact that the reader took the time to do something more than just clicking on the kudos button (even if it's just copy-paste a message that's already in a note application). Leaving a kudos is a very anonymous, mechanical action that leaves no place for further exchange between reader and writer, contrary to a comment.

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            1. You're talking out of both sides. Because your very reasoning applies to most comments that aren't detailed. You can't say comments are better because they start an exchange then in the same breath say certain comments aren't any good.

              "nice story", "loved it!", and all the simple responses ARE comments. Have been since FFN and LJ. And someone saying "nice story" or giving an emoji isn't starting an exchange. They post and that's it. It's the same as kudos; a quick heads-up of appreciation and going about their business. And that's what most readers are going to do.

              So, when you say "comments" it sounds like you're talking about reviews (which are different) or praise (and/or concrit?) and trying to conflate all of that in "comments". And that doesn't help your case.

              Because it now becomes a "what kind of comment this writer wants from me?" and reader just stops bothering until it became a habit to not say anything or worse, just say praise (oh how I miss concrit). Even worse, writers can't even agree on telling readers what they want out of them. (9 times out of 10, its asspats, let's be honest.)

              tl;dr You're devaluing kudos for not being something they were never meant to be. All while adding justifications that are nonsensical to comments to do so.

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              1. Where did I say that certain comments aren't any good? Is it because I said that "nice story" and "loved it!" don't evoke the same thing? One is more enthusiastic than the other, and one is more personal (to the reader, because of the use of "loved", contrary to the use of "nice"), but it's not a judgement on whether the comment is good or not. And when did I say those simple responses weren't comments? It feels to me that you are putting words in my mouth.

                Someone saying "nice story" or giving an emoji starts an exchange simply by posting something that the author can react to, contrary to a kudos, that can only be noticed. When I talk about exchange, I don't mind a back-and-forth of ten comments. Someone commenting "nice story" and me answering "thank you" count as an exchange for me.

                When I say "comments", I talk about everything you mention: reviews (although I do not see the difference you make between reviews and comments; they're called reviews on ffnet and comments here, but it's the same), praise, concrit, all of that constitutes comments for me. A comment is literally a feedback (from a single emoji to a ten paragraphs analysis, and everything in between one might think) from a reader to a writer. What is written in the comment box of AO3 is a comment, whatever its length or content might be.

                "What kind of comment this writer wants from me?" The answer is: a reaction, usually. Be it a single word (or an emoji) or a thousand words.

                "tl;dr You're devaluing kudos for not being something they were never meant to be. All while adding justifications that are nonsensical to comments to do so." I find you quite unfair in your assessment of my words. Me wanting interactions with the readers does not mean I'm adding nonsensical justifications to comments, whatever you might mean by that.

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                1. You should have said so in the first place. You made it sound like both comments don't evoke any feelings which is why I said that. It sounded like you were dismissing both of them as "lesser" on the evoking scale.

                  Okay, I see your viewpoint now. Really, you should have said all of this earlier because that's very subjective. I don't see that as an exchange, merely as a confirmation. Thus, it's the same as kudos in my view.

                  Reviews are detailed and tend to have concrit. Reviews are comments, but comments aren't reviews. In the same way sneakers are shoes, but high heels aren't sneakers. Yes, I know that, but there are plenty of writers who say they want comments but they want specific comments aka reviews. I'd say kudos is feedback too; all of it is to show someone is reading.

                  So you say, but others wouldn't disagree. That's what you want and what you should make note of in your fanfics, but that doesn't speak for all writers.

                  That's because you were vague. When you're vague, your arguments made no sense. Now that you've explained yourself better, I can see your side to it. And my response isn't about you wanting interactions, I don't care about that. It was about comments vs kudos. I'm trying to understand why you didn't care for kudos and frankly, you didn't make it easy.

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                  1. You could have asked me to be more precise or to detail my thoughts on the topic instead of putting words in my mouth.

                    I take note of your suggestion of clearly spelling out what kind of comments I would like to have in my fics notes. As the various conversations on this post showed, it's best to spell out everything.

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                    1. I thought those were your thoughts. You weren't that vague. If you don't to be misunderstood, be clear instead of assuming others follow can your train of thought.

                      Okays.

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                      1. Either my words were clear, or they were vague. They couldn't possibly be both at the same time.

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            2. Kudos aren't impersonal just because they don't allow you an interaction you feel you are entitled to. I refuse to believe that the interest, time, and appreciation of people who leave kudos is less worthy/important than that of those who leave comments (which can be as simple as 'β™₯'), simply because (some) creators feel entitled to engagement.

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            3. (3 more comments in this thread)

          2. For me, personally, I prefer comments because it actually lets me engage with the commenter. I usually have a lot of thoughts and feelings on characters that I want to share and squee about, and there’s no way to do that with kudos. Replying to comments and continuing the conversation lets me feel connected with readers, and I really enjoy that feeling and possibly getting more discussion with them. Kudos simply don’t allow that option.

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            1. I understand that; I feel the same way. But I also know that comments that allow us to do that are rare. And even then that's no guarantee they'll continue the conversation. Many don't want to take that kind of risk (nor may they be that interested) or they may be introverts and/or shy. I see kudos as the option for those who don't want converse; those who just want to read. If posting a comment opens one up to a conversation, I can see why many would rather not.

              That's why they are just as important, to me, as both a reader and writer. I love them both and am trying to understand the dislike for them.

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              1. But I also know that comments that allow us to do that are rare.

                I think it depends what kind of fandoms/characters you're writing for--as someone who tends to write for a lot of rarer fandoms and characters, I very frequently get conversation in the comments about different aspects of the fic, characterization, and the canon itself. I certainly feel very lucky for it, because I've had some wonderful conversations and gained some new fic ideas through it.

                Regardless, of it the conversation continues, though, I do feel much more of a connection to a reader who comments than one who just kudos. Even the smallest comment is going above and beyond in my eyes, and I'm sincerely grateful for it. Kudos are fun, but I feel like with commenting, you know you've really left an impression on your reader.

                Many don't want to take that kind of risk (nor may they be that interested) or they may be introverts and/or shy. I see kudos as the option for those who don't want converse; those who just want to read. If posting a comment opens one up to a conversation, I can see why many would rather not.

                There's been a lot of reasons listed in this section as explanations why readers prefer to kudos, and I agree, it seems as though the main one is that many readers simply prefer not to engage directly with the author. It does make me a little bit sad to think that it's considered a risk to leave a comment, though--for me, fandom is about being enthusiastic about a canon or characters, and it's a bit of a blow to think my enthusiasm is driving readers away rather than encouraging or inspiring them. But I guess we can't win them all.

                I love them both and am trying to understand the dislike for them.

                I think for many, kudos are nice, but not particularly meaningful? I like kudos as well, and I look forward to my kudos emails. It makes me smile when I see particular names pop up. But I think actual comments are what really let writers know that readers enjoyed their work. I don't think kudos are robbing authors of comments, but I also think that a reader taking the comment to write a comment, even just an emoji, is going the extra mile.

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              2. (2 more comments in this thread)

        3. "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."

          You answered your own question downthread.

          "a comment is more personal than a kudos, due to the simple fact that the reader took the time to do something more than just clicking on the kudos button (even if it's just copy-paste a message that's already in a note application). Leaving a kudos is a very anonymous, mechanical action that leaves no place for further exchange between reader and writer, contrary to a comment."

          That is how it takes more spoons.

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          1. THIS! :thumbs up:

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

        I agree with this, thank you.

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      5. *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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        1. Thank you and you too!

          It's amazing how a little positive comment or remark or something else can brighten up a tough day as well in a writer's life. Just like all of us, I've had some major ups and downs over the last few years, and when you open your mail to get a message about your stories, it just helps take the edge off the bad (maybe especially in a time like this one, all the positive spirit we can share really needs to be shared to as many people as possible, for who knows what each person is dealing with right now).

          I had one reader who told me she took an English degree at university in part because reading my stories had inspired her to improve her English. I had another person going through serious hard times find some kind of escape in my stories. Someone once linked me a page which recommended my story to others as one of the best fanfics in the fandom. Those are all subjective and individual comments but stuff like that makes a huge impact if you're questioning stuff in your life or dealing with particular stress or negativity.

          Writers are people, not machines churning out entertainment. We respond to stimuli. Some people also just want to read and not engage and I get that. But the sense sometimes that people expect content without recognising the work, love, effort and struggle that sometimes goes into that content...makes me a little sad. It's why I'll never say no to kudos, but yeah, I like the conversations too.

          Also some people on FFnet would PM me because of spoilers they didn't want to leave in the reviews. Ao3 as far as I can see has no means to mitigate that problem. I haven't written a story on Ao3 that this matters hugely for in contrast to some of the stories on FFnet. It's yet another consideration.

          All the best for your writing :D

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          1. Yes! When you're having a bad day (or a collection of bad days) and you get an email and you see it's a new review/comment of someone who is being very positive and encouraging about your story/writing? It's the best feeling honestly! Can really save the day - or a whole week, truth be told. Especially in those times, you're entirely right about that, we all need something to take the edge off, so it's even more helpful.

            English isn't my native language - I started reading fics, and I didn't leave comments at first because I clearly didn't comfortable nor confident enough in my English skills, but I tried after some time (I don't want to check those first comments though πŸ˜…), and then once I was used to it, I left longer comments, and so on, and now I'm more at ease to write fics in English than in my own native language lol. There are writers who encouraged me a lot, and when I started writing in English, readers were very supportive too, and it's thanks to them that I kept writing and got better at it! (Well, regardless of which language you're writing in, when you start, readers' encouragements mean the world, like, almost even more than after, if it makes sense? Someone who is trashed as they start writing sure will be burnt out and stop writing, compared to someone who is encouraged.)

            Writers are people, not machines churning out entertainment. We respond to stimuli. Some people also just want to read and not engage and I get that. But the sense sometimes that people expect content without recognising the work, love, effort and struggle that sometimes goes into that content...makes me a little sad. It's why I'll never say no to kudos, but yeah, I like the conversations too.
            That's exactly that! Not everyone is in the mood to engage with each fic they read, and I understand it. But sometimes, I really feel like people think hits (or maybe kudos, too), are coins to be put in a machine that will churn out stories on the other side. But us writers are humans! Real ones! Communication with others is key! AO3 isn't as conductive to discussions as ffnet and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that one day we might get a private messaging system.

            Best of luck for your writing as well :D

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            1. May I just say I have *so much* respect for anyone writing a story not in their own language. I'm fairly fluent in Japanese for most purposes but seriously would never write a story in it for fear of making mistakes. I think that's yet another skill people ought to acknowledge - the sheer arsenal of talents writers have behind the work they put out.

              It's really nice to engage with other people also on that creative curve, too, since writing can be a very solitary affair otherwise.

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              1. Well, English is closer to my native language than Japanese is (same family of languages, whereas Japanese is from another family altogether - and I have mad respect for those who learn it!) but yeah, my first fics weren't very good lol. It's better now though. And yeah, some people don't seem realize everything that happens behind-the-scenes before a fic gets posted.

                I entirely agree that writing can be a very solitary affair, so when people don't react with words to the stories you're putting out, it's just... it becomes disheartening, after a point. Nonetheless, I'm very happy to have met fellow writers on the same wavelength here!

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        2. Lin Xue Lian

          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.

          Ooooh. I know I'm VERY late to reply, but this just really stirred me into wanting to say something. Sorry. 😳

          You're not the only one, it seems. It's just that instead of getting depressed about it, though, I'd worry and fret about the content itself, or at least the quality of it. I've have one piece with a lot of views but not a single comment. Since there wasn't anyone there to say anything, I could only rely on the views to kudos ratio, which was also very low. In the end I managed to figure it out and deleted some highly inappropriate scenes to change the rating, and it ended up with a spike of kudos. I still didn't get any comments, so I'm like, yeaaaaaaaah, so it's that bad. What else is wrong?? What do I change!?

          Then I end up deciding I'll delete it in two weeks' time. Whiiiich is tough, because it took me two days to write it in its entirety, including proofing. The SALT. I taste it.😱

          I don't know if you've ever felt the same way, but I feel it's so embarrassing to post something that nobody comments on. Like, is it THAT bad? I take it as yardstick and a sign that I should be removing it, because something's really, REALLY wrong with it. People are polite in general so they don't comment, but that doesn't mean they aren't probably privately going in their hearts, "HEH. THAT SHIT FIC IS STILL UP. HOLY WOW." I think about it every time.

          I mean, I just deleted an entire fic to prune what was showing in my profile. It had a very high view count, but very low kudos rates and next to no comments. Leaving it up would just make me look pathetic compared to others.

          Sometimes I look at other fics in the same tiny fandom/pairing with a high comment count, and I ask myself, "should I even keep doing this!? All I'm gonna be is bottom tier." lol
          I mean, I see a fic with over 19 comments and they don't reply to a single one of them, and here I am waiting to reply to everything, and I get less than half. 😳🀣 I'm embarrassed of myself, really. It's a clear indicator that I can't write well, but here I am, wanting them just the same.

          I feel that less accomplished content creators like myself are the ones who thirst more, overall. It's galling to admit, but it's nice to see someone else who feels the same way, at least to a degree, about comments in general. Not that I need the extra security, since it would make no difference to the fandom in general whether I contribute or not, but hey, that sorta L-O-V-E is nice to have. πŸ˜™πŸ‘Œ

          My only issue with it would be myself having a hard time when I need to mass-delete stuff that I feel poorly about. I just wish AO3 had a way to privatize content immediately, so that I can look at it and feel better that I didn't have to delete all my words which I'd spent hours writing just because I was super embarrassed to have it up where everyone else can see........ and silently diss with snarky, snarky eyes. 😱😱😱

          Last Edited Tue 24 Mar 2020 08:32AM EDT

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          1. I'd worry and fret about the content itself, or at least the quality of it. I've have one piece with a lot of views but not a single comment. Since there wasn't anyone there to say anything, I could only rely on the views to kudos ratio, which was also very low. In the end I managed to figure it out and deleted some highly inappropriate scenes to change the rating, and it ended up with a spike of kudos. I still didn't get any comments, so I'm like, yeaaaaaaaah, so it's that bad. What else is wrong?? What do I change!?
            Oh, I'm sorry this happened to you! I have one fic that does not have a single comment (only a few kudos and some hits), but I suspect it's because I made a fairly unusual crossover - and didn't go at it in the way that is usually enjoyed by the readers/writers of said crossover. I don't plan on making any changes to it though - I wrote it that way and enjoy that way. I'm less bothered that this particular fic has no feedback (although I would kill for a comment 😭) than by others that deal with popular pairings (for the fandom) and yet have very few comments. But I digress. I do find it too bad you reworked your own story like that - unless you like it better that way, of course, but... πŸ™

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            Then I end up deciding I'll delete it in two weeks' time. Whiiiich is tough, because it took me two days to write it in its entirety, including proofing. The SALT. I taste it.😱

            I don't know if you've ever felt the same way, but I feel it's so embarrassing to post something that nobody comments on. Like, is it THAT bad? I take it as yardstick and a sign that I should be removing it, because something's really, REALLY wrong with it. People are polite in general so they don't comment, but that doesn't mean they aren't probably privately going in their hearts, "HEH. THAT SHIT FIC IS STILL UP. HOLY WOW." I think about it every time.
            I don't think it's necessarily a question of whether or not there is something wrong with the fic, more with the fact that it's probably not in line with the current trends of the fandom you're writing for (and other parameters that remain a baffling mystery to me). I don't consider it an embarrassment though. Have you considered leaving a note at the end saying that, considering it seems not to be to people's tastes, you're going to delete it? You might have a nice surprise (I found out people sometimes come out of the woods when you explicitly say you're not going to write for a particular fandom, or you're going to delete a story, and so on). But yeah, I totally understand where you're coming from!

            I mean, I just deleted an entire fic to prune what was showing in my profile. It had a very high view count, but very low kudos rates and next to no comments. Leaving it up would just make me look pathetic compared to others.
            Was it an explicit fic? These have a very particular ratio of hits versus kudos/comments. Otherwise, well, like I said earlier, possibly not in line with the current trends. (I mean, it does happen to me too, and I understand how painful and annoying it is!)

            Sometimes I look at other fics in the same tiny fandom/pairing with a high comment count, and I ask myself, "should I even keep doing this!? All I'm gonna be is bottom tier." lol
            I mean, I see a fic with over 19 comments and they don't reply to a single one of them, and here I am waiting to reply to everything, and I get less than half. 😳🀣 I'm embarrassed of myself, really. It's a clear indicator that I can't write well, but here I am, wanting them just the same.

            I do side-eye people who don't reply to comments. Like, for on-going stories, if they leave a message of thanks explaining that I don't have the time to answer comments but appreciate them all the same, I let it slide (though it does impair my desire to leave comments, but that's my relationship with feedback & exchange with fellow writers), but on one-shots? That's rude, damn, especially when so many of us are crying out for comments lol. The lack of comments is not necessarily a comment on your writing skills/style but, as I said before, the trends! For one of the fandoms I'm writing for, I know I won't have a lot of comments when I post stories because my choices of characters/stories are unpopular most of the time. Doesn't stop my few readers to enjoy my stories, but it does restrict the audience. Maybe it's the same for you?

            I feel that less accomplished content creators like myself are the ones who thirst more, overall. It's galling to admit, but it's nice to see someone else who feels the same way, at least to a degree, about comments in general. Not that I need the extra security, since it would make no difference to the fandom in general whether I contribute or not, but hey, that sorta L-O-V-E is nice to have. πŸ˜™πŸ‘Œ
            I have absolutely zero shame over the fact that I'm a complete sucker for comments lol. I've been going at length in the comments of this post about it, but the connection one gets from having comments and responding to them is a major factor in fandom life as a writer/reader for me. And it is also a good ego-boost, not gonna lie lol. And hey, all fanfics make a different to a fandom! Even if they get very little appreciation.

            My only issue with it would be myself having a hard time when I need to mass-delete stuff that I feel poorly about. I just wish AO3 had a way to privatize content immediately, so that I can look at it and feel better that I didn't have to delete all my words which I'd spent hours writing just because I was super embarrassed to have it up where everyone else can see........ and silently diss with snarky, snarky eyes. 😱😱😱
            You could orphan your fics if you want them to remain available while not having your account attached to them? At least it wouldn't throw all your work down the drain, so maybe there would be less pressure about the lack of feedback?

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            1. Lin Xue Lian

              Oh, I'm sorry this happened to you! I have one fic that does not have a single comment (only a few kudos and some hits), but I suspect it's because I made a fairly unusual crossover - and didn't go at it in the way that is usually enjoyed by the readers/writers of said crossover. I don't plan on making any changes to it though - I wrote it that way and enjoy that way. I'm less bothered that this particular fic has no feedback (although I would kill for a comment 😭) than by others that deal with popular pairings (for the fandom) and yet have very few comments. But I digress. I do find it too bad you reworked your own story like that - unless you like it better that way, of course, but... πŸ™

              Aaaah, crossovers huh? They're a bit tricky, those things, but wow! I gotta say I look up to how you're making no changes to it. I could aspire to have a bit of courage and leave stuff as they are. Gotta admit, I know how you feel about those written with popular pairings that don't get feedback. It's like you've hit all the checkboxes.... but THEN.......

              Oooooof, I don't like it better that way. I thought my original version had EDGE. But I felt ashamed of trying to be edgy after that. Makes you feel like you're that kid who tried to be grown up but failed miserably. I don't even write smut that well, which made it even worse....

              Was it an explicit fic? These have a very particular ratio of hits versus kudos/comments.

              Yesss it was! How did you know?? Is the ratio significantly different because people hate smut? I mean, I just found out people don't like smut, so I've hidden them from public view now. πŸ‘€ I'm sneaky!

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              I don't think it's necessarily a question of whether or not there is something wrong with the fic, more with the fact that it's probably not in line with the current trends of the fandom you're writing for (and other parameters that remain a baffling mystery to me). I don't consider it an embarrassment though. Have you considered leaving a note at the end saying that, considering it seems not to be to people's tastes, you're going to delete it? You might have a nice surprise (I found out people sometimes come out of the woods when you explicitly say you're not going to write for a particular fandom, or you're going to delete a story, and so on). But yeah, I totally understand where you're coming from!

              I hear you! It's a little hard to figure out what the trends are though, since fandom's always ebbing here and there - on top of that, you do want to try something different once in a while. Haven't thought of putting a note there, because I'm completely new to writing for that fandom in particular. For the other one, I simply deleted it as is. So far, nobody's noticed, even if I've been writing for that fandom for quite a while. I don't think anyone's gonna say anything if I do delete this one, since I'm completely new to that fandom. But I might put a note there and ask if anyone's offended by the edgy content. It'd be good to know where people's boundaries lie, so we can gauge a little better. Thank you for your suggestion~!

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              I do side-eye people who don't reply to comments. Like, for on-going stories, if they leave a message of thanks explaining that I don't have the time to answer comments but appreciate them all the same, I let it slide (though it does impair my desire to leave comments, but that's my relationship with feedback & exchange with fellow writers), but on one-shots? That's rude, damn, especially when so many of us are crying out for comments lol. The lack of comments is not necessarily a comment on your writing skills/style but, as I said before, the trends! For one of the fandoms I'm writing for, I know I won't have a lot of comments when I post stories because my choices of characters/stories are unpopular most of the time. Doesn't stop my few readers to enjoy my stories, but it does restrict the audience. Maybe it's the same for you?

              Mmmm, well, I don't really side-eye people who don't reply to comments, although I do covet what they have. They've just got what it takes - the skills, the pizzazz, the all that. I feel their lack of replying makes them like a superstar or something - you know, like they've got charisma. 🀩 I wouldn't blame you if you thought it was rude, though. I imagine it'd be hard for users to comment and not get a reply - but I've replied plenty myself, to what little I do get, and have often not received a discussion from them, so it's likely also a two-way thing, where authors don't reply because they know they won't get another one to further it. It's very hard to tell, sometimes.

              I see where you're coming from, in terms of unpopular trends. Thing is, I believe I've hit all the trends for certain ones, but they don't get a lot of feedback in general. It's my writing style that seems to be the issue, since I tend to write in a very detached manner, instead of writing the character's thoughts. Most people who read pieces depicting ships like it when you write from the character's heads or viewpoints, but I'm disturbingly poor at that since I tend to describe them as is, like they do in the novel.

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              I have absolutely zero shame over the fact that I'm a complete sucker for comments lol. I've been going at length in the comments of this post about it, but the connection one gets from having comments and responding to them is a major factor in fandom life as a writer/reader for me. And it is also a good ego-boost, not gonna lie lol. And hey, all fanfics make a different to a fandom! Even if they get very little appreciation.

              D'oh! I hear ya, preach! The bond you get from engaging is tremendous. I know I've ended up making stories as presents to folk who've commented whom I've had a conversation with. You get in their head and you like them for it, and they inspire you to make more. I mean, here we are, with you responding to a comment of mine - and I think you're great! Even if we don't share the same fandom, it's nice to find someone who enjoys what you also enjoy (comments, lol) and would discuss it at length. There's a connection there. That's why I like them, and I'm glad to see you do too.

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              You could orphan your fics if you want them to remain available while not having your account attached to them? At least it wouldn't throw all your work down the drain, so maybe there would be less pressure about the lack of feedback?

              AAAAH NO NO NO, I can't let it float around the interwebs and stain everyone's eyes! If I'd orphan them I'd have no control over them anymore... and someone's gonna find it and side-eye it all the same... 😱 They'd be like, "HA! WHO'S THIS CHICKEN WHO DOESN'T DARE TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR SUCH FILTH???" MUCH WORSE, MUCH DILEMMA

              Buuuuut maybe I'll get over it in a few weeks. I'll just pretend it doesn't exist for a while. Thanks for your advice about the note though, I'll be sure to put it there in case, to know if anyone's offended but too polite to say anything. πŸ‘Œ

              Last Edited Tue 24 Mar 2020 10:53AM EDT

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              1. Aaaah, crossovers huh? They're a bit tricky, those things, but wow! I gotta say I look up to how you're making no changes to it. I could aspire to have a bit of courage and leave stuff as they are. Gotta admit, I know how you feel about those written with popular pairings that don't get feedback. It's like you've hit all the checkboxes.... but THEN.......
                I knew that particular story was very unlikely to get feedback, so not having comments hurt less than the one with the popular pairing, I am really annoyed about that one lol but you can't force people to leave comments so I'm just... mopping on my own lol

                Oooooof, I don't like it better that way. I thought my original version had EDGE. But I felt ashamed of trying to be edgy after that. Makes you feel like you're that kid who tried to be grown up but failed miserably. I don't even write smut that well, which made it even worse....
                Well, if you don't like it better that way... maybe leave it the way you like it best, and explicitly ask for feedback? Like, the first time I tried to write smut, I got very few feedback on it, which made me really doubtful about what I had done, but my second attempt at a much better reception, so it was just... the overall story that wasn't to people's tastes. I'm annoyed, but there's nothing I can do about it (or want to do it about it, like, I could have made the story less angsty, but it's not how it came out, so I'm leaving it be).
                And yes, smut fics are a special case (and it's not because they're hated!): people tend to be very shy with those, seldom leaving comments (compared to fics with other ratings), more likely to leave kudos, but not necessarily... there is also a lot of re-reading, but without actual feedback. It's one of those trends on AO3 that transcends fandoms lol. It's annoying, but nothing can be done about it, all the power is in the readers' hands.

                Mmmm, well, I don't really side-eye people who don't reply to comments, although I do covet what they have. They've just got what it takes - the skills, the pizzazz, the all that. I feel their lack of replying makes them like a superstar or something - you know, like they've got charisma. 🀩 I wouldn't blame you if you thought it was rude, though.
                I think they lack basic manners πŸ‘€. But I'm all about interactions, and some people aren't, so of course our viewpoints are gonna clash at one point.

                I see where you're coming from, in terms of unpopular trends. Thing is, I believe I've hit all the trends for certain ones, but they don't get a lot of feedback in general. It's my writing style that seems to be the issue, since I tend to write in a very detached manner, instead of writing the character's thoughts. Most people who read pieces depicting ships like it when you write from the character's heads or viewpoints, but I'm disturbingly poor at that since I tend to describe them as is, like they do in the novel.
                Sometimes we just... don't have an audience. When it's for all our fics for a specific fandom, then it gets complicated to handle, but when it's just one fic once in a while, it's easier to deal with it. Well, question of practice lol. I've been writing fics for 15 years now, I'm better now at recognizing situations where my writing isn't necessarily at fault - it's just not in line with what people want to read. Maybe try to branch out to other fandoms? See how it goes?

                D'oh! I hear ya, preach! The bond you get from engaging is tremendous. I know I've ended up making stories as presents to folk who've commented whom I've had a conversation with. You get in their head and you like them for it, and they inspire you to make more. I mean, here we are, with you responding to a comment of mine - and I think you're great! Even if we don't share the same fandom, it's nice to find someone who enjoys what you also enjoy (comments, lol) and would discuss it at length. There's a connection there. That's why I like them, and I'm glad to see you do too.
                It's that bond that made me become a better writer honestly. Exchanging with readers, and with fellow writers, when you're starting out? Quickest way to progress (well, for me, it was.) And I know what you mean about writing stories for folks you're talking with! It happened to me a few times in various fandoms, we ended up writing fics for one another lol. Good times - and it's also a way to stretch out your writing muscles, when it forces you to tackle characters/pairings/genres you wouldn't necessarily have gone of your own volition. I'm all for discussions where fandoms are involved - I spent quite some years there, on various plateforms, so it's always cool to talk about it, even when it's with someone who isn't in the same fandom ;)

                Buuuuut maybe I'll get over it in a few weeks. I'll just pretend it doesn't exist for a while. Thanks for your advice about the note though, I'll be sure to put it there in case, to know if anyone's offended but too polite to say anything. πŸ‘Œ
                Okay, no orphaning then ^^. Leaving a very explicit note usually gives results, you wouldn't believe the amount of readers who spoke up the last time I announced I was going to stop writing for a fandom. Warning you're going to delete a fic because you feel it's hated should give you some feedback! I hope so, in any case.

                Good luck writing your next fics in any case!

                Last Edited Tue 24 Mar 2020 11:54AM EDT

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                1. Lin Xue Lian

                  I knew that particular story was very unlikely to get feedback, so not having comments hurt less than the one with the popular pairing, I am really annoyed about that one lol but you can't force people to leave comments so I'm just... mopping on my own lol

                  Oh, snap! Sorry! Yeah, it does hurt a lot less when you're already expecting poor feedback because you already knew it wouldn't be received well... and then the one that was supposed to be received better wasn't and it guts you lol!

                  Anyway, I'm with you that you can't force people to leave comments. They're not obliged to, really. I feel most people don't leave them because we're pretty much an archive - most would assume you simply posted works to keep them archived there. It's a bit like a large public library where people browse through things.

                  I know someone irl who uses it as such. She has an account so she can log in and see the stories that are locked from unregistered users. After she reads something she's filtered out, she drops a kudo as courtesy. I'd initially discovered the site from her and joined around late last year, but after joining, I found the community to be a little different from expected. It's certainly a different world depending on how you're using it!

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                  There is also a lot of re-reading, but without actual feedback. It's one of those trends on AO3 that transcends fandoms lol. It's annoying, but nothing can be done about it, all the power is in the readers' hands.

                  Wait... re-reading? 😲 Isn't one hit counted per person, logged by IP? I know that if we logged in, our hits won't be counted. Not sure about guests. That does skew the hits-to-kudos ratio somewhat, hmmmm. I've recently been using it as a benchmark to clean up, edit and delete older fics - so thanks for letting me know! Looks like we can't rely on the stats 100% huh....

                  But yeaaaaah, the power's in the readers' hands! πŸ˜‹ It can't be helped! If they don't like it enough to say anything, then they just don't. I mean, it's galling and such, buuuuuut what can we do? I like engagement, but perhaps it's normal for humans to be shy of it, even online. I'm pretty shy in real life too, so I can understand how they feel. It's like, I'm braver and I'm writing to you now, because it's just words. For someone with anxiety, from what I've read from the other comments here, this isn't the case. They're scared, even if they're using an account.

                  There seems to be a bit of a rift between readers and writers though, from the look of things. It seems like a them-vs-us thing. So if one writer is mean enough to shoot back with, "I hate your comments", most readers would more than likely be too afraid to comment anymore -- and when the story passes around other readers, they too, would stop commenting.

                  And when we stop getting comments? We stop writing.

                  Fortunately for the readers, there are always upcoming, new and budding writers for fandoms, especially if they're large. For writers though, I suppose we're a little bit on the shorter end since the competition is never-ending. We slip out of trends, or someone else just tops us in our own game. The only thing we can write for is our love for something, so much, we just can't contain it and have to express it. I've only realized that now.

                  Most writers, moreso than readers, have extremely timid natures. In real life I act like a dragon, but in private, I'm somebody else, possibly more vulnerable. I'm sure it's very much the same for you, and for others. That's why you'd feel bad not getting feedback. It's also why I'd wanted to reply to you about it. You're not alone.

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                  And I know what you mean about writing stories for folks you're talking with! It happened to me a few times in various fandoms, we ended up writing fics for one another lol. Good times - and it's also a way to stretch out your writing muscles, when it forces you to tackle characters/pairings/genres you wouldn't necessarily have gone of your own volition.

                  Yeeeeesssssssss! You end up writing something that you wouldn't expect you would, like a new ship, for example! Or even in a new style, with a different viewpoint. I've actually ended up doing it myself, so interaction is the best - chef's kiss, muah! It's so interesting to see that you have as well, across in another fandom. Good times indeed!!

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                  Okay, no orphaning then ^^. Leaving a very explicit note usually gives results, you wouldn't believe the amount of readers who spoke up the last time I announced I was going to stop writing for a fandom. Warning you're going to delete a fic because you feel it's hated should give you some feedback! I hope so, in any case.

                  I see! You big shot you, hehehe~ having fans is so nice! What does it feel like?? 🀩

                  Mmm, yeah, I did that, but I don't think it'll make a difference, so I'll just methodically go about it instead. I've just added a few things to the purge lineup and logged them, so I can find them easily and delete them in the near future. If I can find another place to host the stories privately, perhaps in a Cloud, all the better. I don't like losing data, especially when I have worked on it. Might get a personal account elsewhere to just upload them there privately, only unlike AO3, they likely won't allow you to host anything explicit. So finding an alternative has been hard.

                  Thanks for your well wishes, and your guidance so far! Good luck with your fics too!!

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