It seems so simple, right? Fanfiction thrives on community: readers rely on writers to create the stories we love, while writers rely on readers to let them know their work is appreciated.
But nothing is ever that simple when it comes to human interaction, especially online. Readers don’t comment, leaving writers to feel hurt and discouraged, even resentful. After putting so much of their time and energy into a story, it’s fair to expect that readers make the comparatively little effort it takes to leave a comment. On the other hand, readers struggle, too. Some don’t know what to say, while others do but are earnestly too anxious or shy to say it. And both are confused why their kudos—a word literally meaning praise—aren’t enough.
I wanted today’s rec list to help (and explain) both sides of this struggle. If you do find it helpful, be sure to let the original posters know, and check out my last Meta Monday on commenting for even more. 💛
Fandom – Commenting
[USERSCRIPT] Comment as you read on AO3 by @ravenel, I saw [a post] about how it’d be nice to review fics on AO3 as you read. A little while back, because I was so in awe of the Clexa fic writers, I made this userscript (can install on Firefox by using Greasemonkey and on Chrome by using Tampermonkey) so that I could do just that.
Don’t feel guilty if you can’t comment on fics by @telesilla, @codenamecesare, and @cookiedoughmeagain, […] Look I don’t care why you don’t comment. But if you sit there after reading my fic and feel a sense of dread while looking at a blank comment form, then do us both a favor and just hit the kudos button. I want you to be entertained. I want you to walk away smiling or…idk turned on or, really, anything positive. If all you feel is guilt, how is that fun for anyone?
[COMIC] Fanfiction Isn’t Free by @jaciopara, Hi, I’m bitter about people not commenting on fics. I’m sad seeing all these authors get so discouraged because no one comments. It takes like 5 seconds! just do it!! Don’t know what to type? Me neither! Here’s some handy pre-written comments for you!
How do authors feel about kudos? & Initial Results by @longlivefeedback, This is the first real breakdown of our kudos survey. I’m starting this with the major takeaways, but you can find graphs and more in-depth discussion, including potential reasons, below the cut!
How do you comment on smut? by @ao3commentoftheday, The age old question: what do I say about “the sex”? There are a few routes you can take with this one, anon, and I think it comes down to a combination of the type of smut it is and how comfortable you are talking about it.
How to comment on fanfictions by @headcanonsfromremnant, Comments are the one thing that keep fanfiction writers going. I can’t say that often enough and it has been definitely true for me. But back when I’ve started reading fanfictions I didn’t really know that every writer really does appreciate comments and what kind of comments writers would appreciate. That’s why I wanted to make a post that might hopefully give some inspiration to those who never know what to say when commenting on a story.
LLF Comment Project by @longlivefeedback, This is an initiative organized by longlivefeedback to improve communication between readers and authors. Authors are often unsure of how to invite readers to comment, or specify precisely what sort of feedback they’re looking for, without feeling pushy or demanding. Many readers aren’t certain whether an author will appreciate a certain type of comment […] and so decide not to comment at all.
Passively devouring content is killing fandom by @saucywenchwritingblog, I’ve seen five different authors take down, or prepare to take down, their posted works on Ao3 this week. At the same time, I’ve seen several people wishing there was more new content to read. I’ve also seen countless posts by authors begging for people to leave comments and kudos.
Readers who don’t comment by @ao3commentoftheday, […] Readers who don’t comment aren’t a scourge. Writers that want more comments aren’t demanding. We’re all just human beings trying to get along as best we can. I think if we can remember that, we’ll all be better off. I don’t hate you if you don’t comment. But I do hope that, sometimes, you do.
Some recommendations for showing your appreciation for fic by @galacticprideandprejudice, I never know how to make this post, largely because I write fic and so I don’t want it to come across as a “do this for me.” But I see my peers and friends routinely stating that they don’t know how their fics are being received and feel as though they are shouting their fic into a void and that it is wildly disheartening.
Why silent readers behave the way they do by @salt-of-the-ao3 & @undead-gay-trekkie, […] Sometimes I get the feeling that authors, here on tumblr or elsewhere, are stuck in a mindset of bitterness and resentment towards readers that don’t comment (”lurkers”). We talk endlessly about why they should comment, why it’s terrible they don’t, how sad and angry it makes us not to get feedback (I’m probably guilty of this, too). And those are all very valid emotions! But still, this builds a lot of pressure on lurkers witnessing that entire debate, which I think is detrimental.