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"the audience is only safe when the story isn't about them."

they/them - probably listening to sufjan stevens

Message from Writer

bio quote is from the magnus archives

Why You Should Comment, and Not Just Like

January 5, 2019


    A while back I published a piece with a really long title that I'm too lazy to type here, so I'll just call it Reviewing Tips. As the title might suggest, it was a piece about how to write an effective review, and I was honestly surprised by the reception. It got over twenty likes, and many people said that it helped them. You can find it here
    Because of that piece, I've decided to write another one about commenting. The reason I'm not doing a piece about how to write an effective comment is because, well, I've already done that. I wrote a piece for the Corner Writing Club about exactly that, and you can find it here. J.A. also wrote an excellent piece about that which you can find here. So, seeing as I've already written about how to write a comment, I'm going to talk about why it's so important.
    Please note, before we begin, that this isn't meant to call anyone out or make anyone feel bad. I've liked pieces plenty of times without commenting. We all have. This is just my opinion and it's meant to help the community become better at giving feedback.

    How many times have you excitedly opened up your notifications after seeing the bouncing red/pink symbol on your dashboard, just to see a like? Have you ever felt a little... well, disappointed by this? You're glad that they read it and liked it, of course, but still.
    This has happened to all of us. It's happened to me a lot. But more importantly, how many times have you opted for simply liking something instead of commenting on it? Don't feel bad about it, because it's a very common thing to do. Liking is an easy way to show your appreciation of the piece, and I'm not saying that liking is a bad thing. I'm just saying that maybe we should do a little, well, more.

Liking Doesn't Say Anything
    Well, that's not entirely true. A like shows that you liked it, obviously. But it doesn't show that your favorite line was the one in the second stanza, or that you thought that one character was especially interesting and well-built, or what your thoughts are on the piece in general.

Likes Get Old
    Let's say that you publish a piece you're really proud of. You spent a lot of time on it and you finally think it's polished enough to show to the world. You refresh the dashboard, and lo and behold! Someone's liked your piece. You're pleased, maybe slightly disappointed or annoyed that they haven't left a comment, but still pleased.
    You step away and come back after an hour. Nice, five notifications! You open them up, and see that five people have liked your piece.
    And here's where the first point comes in too: they don't mean anything, not really. You mark them as read and carry on, but you have no idea what their thoughts were. It doesn't tell you what worked in the piece or what could be improved. And you probably won't remember any of the people that liked your piece besides the first person, if that. Whereas if one of them had left a comment, you probably would remember who it was and what they said.

 Why it Happens
    As you probably know, writers thrive off of feedback. It's something all of us want. And the readers probably know that too, so why do people like but not comment?
    Two answers: it saves time and/or they don't know what to say. 

How to Fix It
    As writers, we cannot fix this problem. It's not our fault. Sure, you can leave a question or prompt in the footnotes, but that won't guarantee comments. However, we CAN fix this problem as readers.
    Let's return to the previous point, why it happens, and address the two reasons.
    "It saves time." But does it really? Writing a comment, putting thought into it, doesn't take an incredibly long time. Maybe two minutes at most, but that's only in the cases of the really long ones. Often I have to kind of force myself to write a comment instead of liking, and it's never as hard or time-consuming as I thought it would be.
    "I don't know what to say." Simple! Check out the pieces that I linked in the second paragraph.

    I hope this piece was somewhat helpful, and again, I don't mean to be rude or condescending, and this wasn't meant to call people out or to make them feel bad. Thanks for reading, and if you have something to add or if you found this helpful at all, please leave a comment!


See History
  • January 5, 2019 - 9:21am (Now Viewing)

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  • spearmint

    Yeah, I get frustrated when all I get is a like, and I don't know who it was, and what they liked about my piece, and I lost some readers because I didn't know what they wanted! Thank you so much for this piece!

    over 3 years ago
  • Mangolover

    Thanks for getting this out there! I feel like people just skim through pieces and then like it just to make the author feel better. It makes you feel better, although it's not satisfying enough. This piece really described the importance of "comments" !! I know, that I also do this sometimes because I get kinda lazy, but I'm willing to improve! Once again, thanks so much for writing this!!! :D

    over 3 years ago
  • paperbird

    thank you for this!! i’m always unsure if people even read my work, because the likes are so vague. i’m a bit guilty of this myself, but i’m trying to improve.

    over 3 years ago
  • Anha

    Just realized some people did exactly that on this very piece lmao. Irony is ironic

    over 3 years ago
  • Julius Caesar

    I absolutely agree!!! I love reading what other people have to say and often enjoy writing comments myself. Also, as I writer, I get extremely excited when someone leaves a comment on my pieces. I

    over 3 years ago
  • Kahasai

    Funny thing, I wrote a piece on why subtext is important. I immediately got 12 likes .... and three comments, the commentators being master Luna Lemon, friendly neighborhood Quille, and Ursa Rover, who is my sister and doesn't count That is the most disproportionate ratio of likes to comments I've had on a single piece. So, I'm really glad you published this. I'm feeling a bit confused about how my advice piece worked for other people.

    over 3 years ago
  • pieridae!

    Thank you! I try my best to comment on every piece I like, and a lot of pieces that I don't like. (Not that I don't like the piece; that I didn't hit the "Like" button)

    over 3 years ago
  • Big Blue

    Blue is quite guilty of this, but they will be sure to comment more on pieces! Although Blue usually peer reviews rather than commenting, they've realized that it might take a while for the peer reviews to be shared. Thanks for publishing this article!

    over 3 years ago
  • _________

    I literally just published a piece thanking everybody for their comments on Elfboy :D
    Thank you for publishing this though, I wish more people would take the time to comment if they could. I understand that sometimes, you don't have the time, but when you do...... Comments are appreciated so much more than likes :D
    Likes are useful for getting your piece on up further on the dashboard, so I have learned to appreciate them also :))

    over 3 years ago
  • Catlover

    Thanks for publishing this! I can relate, when I see someone like a piece but not comment.

    over 3 years ago