Criticizing stories here that you don’t like…

I welcome constructive criticism — I even welcome something as lacking in detail as “I didn’t really care for this story”.  However, when someone makes the comments personal, for example making fun of where someone went to college, etc., and when the one and only comment they have made is negative, then I see that person as a troll.  An internet troll is someone who likes to hurt and get things riled up just because… well, I’m not sure why.

Let me be clear.  Polite critical comments will not be removed.  Hateful and personal comments, however, WILL be removed.  The commenter can complain that I’m “not allowing negative comments”, but that’s a straw man argument.  What I’m REALLY not allowing is trolls.

If someone like… oh, Dave Elkin or Matt Carpenter or Nick Gucker doesn’t like something and says so, I’m going to take them seriously.  Why?  Because they also say when they DO like something.  Nick (I think it was Nick) told me something wasn’t working recently in his opinion.  Did I like it?  No.  Was he right?  Yes.  After I thought about it… yes, he was right.  So I fixed it.

There is no need to make it personal.

20 responses to “Criticizing stories here that you don’t like…

  1. No place for personal remarks at any time. When reviewing, if I don’t care for something in a book I still try to find something positive to critique. It’s a rare book or story that doesn’t have something to recommend it (though I did have a case of this in February). This is not sports and trash-talking should be unacceptable, the refuge of the shallow personality. Sorry it has happened to you.

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  2. What a bummer that you actually had to post something like this! I would’ve thought folks familiar with Lovecraft would have a little more sense. But good on you for stating things plainly, Mike.

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  3. Well said. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer before internet trolling laws pick up steam and that sort of stuff becomes old news.

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      • There was bill 2549 in Arizona that was passed and then stopped because of a lot of negative backlash (from angry trolls?). It is only a matter of time, in my opinion of course, before the laws get tweeked and passed everywhere.

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    • Uh, you do realize that those laws are horribly vague and that if the *state* considers what you’ve said “offensive”–whether it was or not–then BAM! you’re on the books. Laws like that are stupid and only hurt freedom of speech. So don’t wish for crap like that to happen.

      No one likes trolls, but I think we can all be adults here and ignore them without getting the government involved.

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  4. I have seen what hateful remarks can do in the real world. However, at least, the coward is known and treated accordingly. When you hide behind a generic name and email, you are even below a troll. I do have some respect for trolls, I would call them gully dwarfs! (Weis/Hickmen reference)

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  5. I recieved a poison pen letter from one rominent Lovecraftian writer, name witheld. I wrote an e-mail in my defense and proceeded on file it without sending it to the person. Writing it healed, somewhat, I hurt feelings; sending it would have done no good. Fortunately it was all in private.

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  6. Here, here. Honestly, if I were you I would say that “all criticism should take the form of literary reviews and submitted”. If people are so interested in making commentary, let them join the literary world and see how they like it.

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  7. Absolutely right. I applaud your sentiment, Mike, and more power to you. Life is plenty short enough without fostering general nastiness. The legitimate criticism is hard enough to take in the right spirit anyway! I for one will gratefully accept YOUR JUDGEMENT as to what’s fair, and what’s over-the-top.

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  8. Well said Mike. Whenever I peruse the comments posted on some news sites and fan sites in other fields I am reminded of the need for such vigilance, sadly. The comparative anonymity of the Internet leads too many people to post opinions in the form of arrogant, cruel, intolerant and insensitive diatribes. Opinion-holding is one thing, but rude and self-important opinionating with no tolerance for someone else’s viewpoint had no place among such a fertile fellowship as this.

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  9. Agreed. I’m sure your writers will appreciate your stance. I know that, as I reader, I certainly will. Nothing brings a site down so quickly as rude, hateful comments. Considered and considerate debate is always appreciated. 🙂

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  10. I agree with constuctive not personal criticism. I haven’t commented in the past, but I enjoy most of the stories posted and don’t feel I have lost anything when I read one that’s not to my taste. There is no need to be critical about anything other than content if you disagree.

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  11. I run several on line groups, many on fb including a few Lovecraft groups, and sadly this has at times been a problem….alas.
    Thankfully is it not an every-day problem. esp in Lovecraft circles..

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