alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
[personal profile] alias_sqbr
I read Reposting and You – a fandom etiquette discussion and as with other similar posts I largely agreed with the basic premise (nb I don't feel like arguing about it with anyone either way), but was struck by the statement "feedback is the currency of fandom" and the assumption that people primarily create (or at least publicly post) fanworks in order to get feedback, and that a typical reaction to not getting "enough" feedback (where "enough" is of course very personal and depends on context) is to keep creating fanworks but to stop posting them publicly.

I'm not arguing that this isn't true for most fans, maybe it is. But it's not true for me, unless I'm misunderstanding the metaphor or something.

Before I begin: exceptions like me in no way invalidate posts like the one above, since their argument still works if a large but not overwhelming majority of fans react to feedback in the way they describe. I am inspired by such posts, not arguing against them :)

And now, a long ramble as I poke at my motivations for making fanworks.

So: like most fans I desperately crave positive feedback. If I don't get much I feel sad and discouraged, and if I get lots it encourages me to create and post more fanworks. The fact that fanworks get a lot more feedback than original ones is one reason I create less original works proportionally.

But I would say that overall my two main motivations for making fanworks are:
(a) making other people happy
(b) Feeling talented
In both cases, feedback (positive or otherwise) is a measure of the extent to which I have succeeded, not an end unto itself. (A third motivation is practice. This is one of the main ways I motivate myself to complete original works or obscure fanworks I know I probably won't get any feedback on)

I have never created fanworks to become popular, because for me "people whose fanworks I like" "people who like my fanworks" and "friends" tend to be largely separate groups, and crossing the streams does not always end well. I have made some wonderful friends through my fanworks, but I make a lot more through posts and comments etc.

I have sometimes used positive feedback from fanworks to FEEL popular/liked when I was feeling particularly lonely and depressed, but I usually ended up feeling dirty for spending so much effort getting praise from the teenagers who make up a lot of my fandoms. "Congratulations self, you impressed someone you're old enough to be the mother of" etc.

I have a lot of ISSUES around asking for/seeking out things. Maybe my reaction against the idea of fannish "currency" is a result of my quasi-socialist Christian guess-culture upbringing, which was all about putting others needs above your own. The idea of doing something for "money" is much less appealing to me than the idea of doing it for others, even if in both cases the underlying motivation is wanting to make myself feel good.

Like a lot of creators, I am constantly barraged by negative thoughts about how much I suck, how terrible the things I create are etc. Positive feedback reminds me that (a)I apparently don't TOTALLY suck and (b) That even if my work DOES suck it still made someone happy. But having been creating fanworks long enough to have a moderate feeling for my own abilities and other people's tastes, I need these reminders in general rather than on every work. And there is zero appeal to hiding my work away unless I think it's bad: then I would make less people happy! Also I sometimes cheer myself up by thinking "if it really is terrible it will make other artists feel better about themselves".

Being able to tell myself "there is at least one person out there who desperately wants THIS EXACT STORY/PICTURE and if you don't make it chances are noone else will" is incredibly motivating, I find it much harder to motivate myself to finish less unique works unless my muse is super insistent, I keep thinking "other people have already done this better".

I am one of those people who needs a prod to create things. I wrote one whole story from ages 16-28, and only started writing fanfic because I was friends with someone working on the AO3 and wanted to help out by beta-ing the posting template. Knowing that LITERALLY ANY FIC would do helped me get past my self consciousness, but I wasn't expecting any feedback beyond that (and now it is one of my most popular works lol)

If nobody comments on a work I think "EVERYONE HATES IT IT WAS TERRIBLE". But I think that if there was a popular website for art/writing where I got credit (I do like getting credit, I can't entirely articulate why) but nobody could leave comments I would crosspost there. I wouldn't post there exclusively, I do want SOME feedback, but as long I was getting my recommended intake of ego boo from Deviantart etc the knowledge that more people were able to access my work and were silently enjoying it would be gratifying. The couple of times I've come across people commenting on recs to my works rather than at the work itself I thought "Hey it would have been nice to hear that personally!" but mostly was just really chuffed to be recced.

Circling back to the post that inspired me: I am a little annoyed when people post my (sourced) art to tumblr, especially since I do have an art tumblr they could have reblogged. But I am mostly just really flattered! (But enough artists don't feel that way that posting without asking permission is still plenty rude)

When it comes to actual money my attitude is quite different. I haven't tried all that hard to make money from my original art but if someone sold (sourced and credited!) copies of it without permission and didn't give me a cut I would be PISSED OFF.

And...that's all I can think of to say! I have a feeling I've forgotten something, though. Anyway, if you got through all that: how do other people's reactions compare? I'm sure a lot of the people who subscribe to the "feedback is fannish currency" thing ALSO value making other people happy and reassurance that their work isn't terrible, so I'm not sure how unusual I actually am.

EDIT: Further thoughts (at 4am...) based on the comments:

First: not all feedback is positive! And nor should it be, in my opinion. So really what we're talking about here is positive feedback, and that unstated assumption should be made explicit *edits post*

Second: What exactly is "currency"? Actual money can be traded back and forth for almost anything. (Positive) feedback can only be given, not traded (I can't say "I got 100 kudos, if I give them to you will you write me a fic?") and the receiver has no control over what it's "spent" on (eg the positive emotional effects) nor can they save them for a rainy day etc.

Thinking about the "business model" I guess in this metaphor posting fanworks is like busking: you produce your work in a public place and hope random passers by will throw you some coins, but there's no guaranteed income. If a busker makes no money, or not as much as they can elsewhere, they will probably stop. Hmm. Ok, that makes sense, though I see myself more as...like, a public artist who does leave a hat out but isn't there purely to get paid (which is the approach my busker friends took, but they only did it as a lark). Does that work as a metaphor for other people?

Date: 2013-03-21 12:28 pm (UTC)
tree: the middleman; text: specificity is the soul of all good communication ([middleman] specificity)
From: [personal profile] tree
pretty sure you've been forced to hear my opinions on this before, but i hate the feedback as fannish currency thing. with the fiery passion of a thousand suns do i hate it. i have been turned off many a writer by this attitude. (and i've turned off whole swaths of people with mine, i know.)

part of what bugs me is that by "feedback" people mean "praise". they don't actually mean "what you really think". the term feedback is disingenuous. if people just came out and said "praise is fannish currency" it would be much more accurate and honest. it's not the way i deal with fandom, but i accept that people like to be told how good they are.

what i don't accept is this philosophy of essentially holding creativity to ransom for praise. or maybe just withholding it until a certain level of praise is achieved. that pisses me off.

either way the problem for me is that the currency isn't indicative of quality. it's only indicative of popularity. so to me it's useless.

Date: 2013-03-21 01:32 pm (UTC)
fred_mouse: cross stitched image reading "do not feed the data scientists" (Default)
From: [personal profile] fred_mouse
Well put.

I've taken to hitting the kudos button on the AO3 when I a) finish a work and b) am happy to have done so - this feels to me like high fiving someone - a meaningless positive that acknowledges that fanworks don't spring fully formed from nothing. But I don't tend to leave comments for people I don't interract with in other places, because I generally don't have much to say beyond "I liked it. It was good." and other related inanities. I'm happy to leave such comments for friends - it makes me happy, because I feel that it makes my friends happy, and while I'm not invested in the happiness of randoms, I am invested in the happiness of my friends (which is in part part of what I see as the social contract of being friends - I acknowledge what you are doing, because you are my friend. 'Tis like going 'uh-huh' and 'hmm' to show that you are listening, but either don't have anything to add, or are restraining yourself from interrupting).

Date: 2013-03-21 01:27 pm (UTC)
hebethen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hebethen
I can't imagine that feedback itself is the motivation for most people. I mean, if you extend the analogy of feedback-as-currency -- consider legal tender. I doubt the majority of people who work for money are doing it for the money itself, for numbers ticking upward on a screen or the pure pleasure of small rectangles of paper with security measures woven in. The currency is used to obtain the necessities and pleasures of living. There isn't some kind of Fandom Mall where you take in bits of feedback and buy nice things, but the similarity extends to the fact that the goal of getting feedback isn't necessarily just feedback itself, but rather the intangible needs and pleasures that one can get through feedback: validation of skill, confirmation of positive effect, a sense of community, knowledge of one's strengths or weaknesses, even plain old hey-people-are-looking-at-what-I-made attention, which has gotten derided a lot in past discussions about the desire for feedback.

The author of the OP you linked agrees that one of the reasons they want feedback is to hear "hey I liked your thing", and says that reposts will make artists/etc stop "creating", so maybe you are pointing to stuff that's going on in the comments?

Date: 2013-03-22 12:00 am (UTC)
dharma_slut: a cartoon wolf shifts a cigarett from one side of his mouth to the other (hyuck)
From: [personal profile] dharma_slut
Hell, if I get lots of feedback, it can't even motivate me to make more fiction. Right now-- I don't know what would...

Date: 2013-03-22 06:56 am (UTC)
tree: text: Ah, the classic battle between evil and the narrator. ([mst3k] classic battle)
From: [personal profile] tree
i see it as currency in the sense that there's this mostly unspoken culture that you've got to give it to get it.

there was a post somewhere in the comments of which i had a discussion with someone about the practice of recing and how positive feedback as currency works in that sense. basically that most people are more likely to look at something that has more positive feedback or has been rec'd more widely than something else within the same fandom/pairing/etc.

it all comes down to popularity in the end. i don't mean that in a necessarily negative way. some creations are popular because they're very good. but many things are popular simply because they cater to a large and active fandom, or they're to do with the most popular pairing in a fandom, or they were rec'd by a BNF. so again the idea of a currency comes into play. as you said it's not a direct correlation with, say, money or even barter. it's more like the business concept of good will.

(also, sorry for taking over your comments section. *coff*)

Date: 2013-03-21 02:03 pm (UTC)
velithya: (Default)
From: [personal profile] velithya
As a consumer I find leaving comments difficult so I really like functions such as AO3s Kudos button which I can click if I liked something and not have to spend time and brainpower on a comment. Yay!

Date: 2013-03-21 09:49 pm (UTC)
kerravonsen: colourful circles: "Cool" (cool)
From: [personal profile] kerravonsen
(In the following, feel free to replace the word "story" with "art"; I discuss stories because that's where I have the greater amount of experience.)

I think the "feedback is fannish currency" metaphor is useful to a limited degree. It is useful as a method of pointing out to readers that, since fan authors don't get monetary compensation, they are owed something else instead; that feedback is a duty, not optional.
I think your point that it's harder to "get" that metaphor when one comes from a non-tipping culture is a good one.

The metaphor is less than helpful when it comes to the author point of view, because it gives a sense of entitlement; it encourages the practice of holding stories to ransom, which is a Bad Thing. And I agree with [personal profile] tree that it's misleading to use the term "feedback" when they really mean "praise".

I also agree with [personal profile] tree that quantity of kudos/feedback isn't indicative of quality, just of popularity. I remember, many years ago, before I got a fanfiction.net account myself, that one time I left a negative review on someone's story, and I got a snarky response which boiled down to "and who are YOU to say such things? You aren't a popular author on ffn, so your opinion doesn't count." And for a lot of authors on ffn, fanfic writing IS a popularity contest and nothing more; a social activity for teenage girls where they give each other gushing reviews purely to boost social standing.

There's been more than one case where I've seen a story recced by multiple people - so it's a popular story - and I've read the story and it was either mediocre or crap, so, yes, yes, popularity isn't an indicator of quality. Mind you, the thing that these mediocre popular stories seem to have in common is that they have good ideas, badly executed.

IMHO, anyone who has praise as a primary motivation for writing fanfic is never going to be a good writer, because they have no interest in improving their craft. Nothing wrong with having egoboo as a secondary motivation, but not as a primary one. Because one needs to write the story first and get praise for it afterwards.

What do I mean by that? It's bad practice to need praise while writing a story, because:
* it distracts you from concentrating on the story itself, from serving the story.
* it encourages you to second-guess your decisions.
* if you rely solely on praise as a motivation to finish, you won't finish, because people are fickle and unreliable; praise is not a sustainable thing.

For me, praise/feedback is a secondary motivation. The likelihood of feedback doesn't determine what I want to write, but it can influence what I want to write next, out of all the stuff I have ideas for.

Another factor is that the difference between zero and one is infinite. Zero comments/kudos on a story does make one feel unloved. But I find that just one positive comment is enough to make me feel okay, because, hey, there is someone out there who liked it, it now has a justification for existence, a justification more than solipsism. Anything more than that is gravy. So I look down at those authors who feel they need X number of reviews before they can continue. What egotistical greedy sods! Maybe it's my fanzine origins that speak, or the fact that I write gen (gen being by no means as popular as het), but I have the expectation that five responses is good, and more than five is lovely.

Likewise, yes, it can be helpful to have a cheerleader to encourage you while you are doing the actual writing, but surely you don't need more than one cheerleader at a time?

Date: 2013-03-22 06:39 am (UTC)
tree: wonderwoman; text: her frown means that something is going on in her head. ([else] for science!)
From: [personal profile] tree
i pretty much agree with everything you've said, barring this:

they are owed something else instead; that feedback is a duty, not optional.

no. absolutely, adamantly, vociferously, no. i abhor that philosophy. creators are not owed anything by anyone. fandom is not (or certainly shouldn't be) transactional. (obviously there are exceptions, like charity auctions, etc.)

Date: 2013-03-22 06:58 am (UTC)
kerravonsen: Ninth Doctor holding out his hand: "Come with me if you want to Live" (come-with-me)
From: [personal profile] kerravonsen
fandom is not (or certainly shouldn't be) transactional

(nods)
I get what you mean, and I do actually agree. However... I think there are entitlement issues on both sides, and that's a problem. It's a problem if an author feels entitled to feedback (instead of being thankful for it), and it's a problem if a reader feels entitled to fic (instead of being thankful for it). I guess what I was attempting to say is that the "feedback as currency" metaphor was trying to address the reader-entitlement issue. It does it the wrong way, but at least it does try.

One of the many problems with it is that guilting people into giving feedback doesn't work, because guilt is a crap motivator.

Which is why the "fandom snowflake" challenge is so lovely, because it is full of positive vibes instead of negative ones.

Date: 2013-03-22 07:03 am (UTC)
tree: calvin from calvin and hobbes; text: it's a writer's block! you put it on your desk and you can't write there anymore! ([else] writer's block)
From: [personal profile] tree
okay, i see what you're saying now. you're right that there can be entitlement on both sides, although in my experience it's much more on the side of other writers than on readers. but i know people who have definitely experienced reader entitlement.

that said, i don't believe an attitude of compulsory feedback is beneficial to anyone. like you say, guilt is a crap motivator. and it also tends to make people belligerent. me, for example. ;)

Date: 2013-03-22 01:25 am (UTC)
chaila: Diana SWORDFIGHTING in a BALLGOWN. (breaking bad - skyler)
From: [personal profile] chaila
Interesting discussion! I always find discussions about feedback to be sort of awkward, b/c it can be hard to say it's important to you without sounding like the people who view it as a popularity contest. I think for me it'd be more accurate to say "interaction is fannish currency"? I do get really sad if there's an overall lack of feedback, just because to me fanworks are a way of engaging in a kind of discussion about a canon or characters or an idea, and it's kind of sad not to have anyone else on the other end of that discussion, to some degree (even if it's just to say, I watched this!) Mainly I just think lack of feedback can feel *lonely* in a demoralizing, un-fun, disconnective way. And without feeling connected, it gets harder to want to make fannish things?

Date: 2013-03-22 07:13 am (UTC)
kerravonsen: Simon Illyan: "It's nearly a prosthetic memory, Miles. I'm thinking of chaining it to my belt." (prosthetic-memory)
From: [personal profile] kerravonsen
After considering what [personal profile] tree has said, I think the problem is more with the word "currency" than the word "feedback", because fan-creation is in the context of a gift culture, not a market economy. Thus, to use the terms of a market economy, such as "currency", misrepresents the nature of the process, reduces it to something it is not, and indeed may inadvertantly destroy the gift-nature of it entirely, if too many people believe it. Which is, I think, why [personal profile] tree is so vehmently opposed to the whole idea of "feedback is fannish currency".

Date: 2013-03-23 04:13 am (UTC)
chaila: Elizabeth Bennet reading a book, from the 2005 movie. (austen - lizzie/books)
From: [personal profile] chaila
I don't think I'd defend the term specifically, but I do think it captures something accurate about fandom? Even in a gift culture, feedback has value in fandom. Feedback (defined broadly, i.e. comments, kudos, bookmarks, recs) is one of the things that people get out of creating things for fandom, and I think it's one of the (many!) things that helps keep fandom creating. Which I absolutely do not think means that anyone is obligated to give it, or that creators are owed it. It's more like, I think it's a nice, voluntary thing when someone creates a thing I like, and it's a different nice, voluntary thing to tell them I liked it, and something I hope will make them feel happy with the work they've done. And I think feedback is part of what makes fandom run; if everyone collectively decided to stop leaving feedback, I wonder how many new fanworks there'd be in a month or two (not that there'd be none, but probably a lot less?). So maybe currency has bad connotations, but in my very personal opinion, there's something conceptually accurate lurking in the term?

Date: 2013-03-23 12:45 pm (UTC)
kerravonsen: Eighth Doctor, relaxed, eyes closed: "Breathe deep" (Doc8-breathe)
From: [personal profile] kerravonsen
Even in a gift culture, feedback has value in fandom.

It has value, yes, but it doesn't have a price. It cannot be bought, and it cannot be sold. Indeed, if either is attempted, it loses all worth. Yet the word "currency" does imply a buy/sell transaction, which is the antithesis of what it actually is.

Perhaps a better word would be "karma". Feedback adds to fannish karma.

Date: 2013-03-22 02:07 am (UTC)
cest_what: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cest_what
So really what we're talking about here is positive feedback, and that unstated assumption should be made explicit

I'm not sure that I agree with this. Of course most people aren't creating in the hope that somebody will tell them what they made is flawed, but I don't think that "feedback" in this context is a straight-up synonym for "praise"? I think it's literally sending something out and having something else bounce back; a confirmation that what you said was heard, and has created some kind of ripple, a tiny change to the fandom landscape or conversation. I mean yes, you want that ripple to be positive, but -

If one person leaves a comment along the lines of "Oh my god this is amazing I'm in awe of your writing you're so great" and another person leaves a comment along the lines of "This was fun and I really liked that one insight into Character X, here are my related thoughts inspired by that", the first one is a lot more praisy, but the second one is a bigger thrill for me, because it suggests what I made doesn't stop short at the end of the story.

And if I see people talking about or referencing something I made somewhere else, especially if it's influencing another fanwork or some meta or squee or somebody's personal fannish engagement, that's an even bigger thrill.

Anyway, I think the points people are making about the usefulness and limitations of the currency metaphor are all good, so I have nothing in particular to add to that.

Date: 2013-03-22 06:46 am (UTC)
tree: a woman in front of a graffitied wall holding a red can of spraypaint - the graffiti's grammar has been corrected ([else] language is badass)
From: [personal profile] tree
but I don't think that "feedback" in this context is a straight-up synonym for "praise"? I think it's literally sending something out and having something else bounce back; a confirmation that what you said was heard, and has created some kind of ripple, a tiny change to the fandom landscape or conversation. I mean yes, you want that ripple to be positive, but -

but the two examples you've given are both examples of praise. one is more detailed and invites a deeper level of discussion, but they are both positive. if creators really want feedback as opposed to praise then they have to be willing to accept the possibility that "somebody will tell them what they made is flawed".

Date: 2013-03-23 02:41 am (UTC)
cest_what: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cest_what
Yeah, fair enough. Fandom's complex about post-posting critique can certainly be frustrating, especially given that it doesn't stop people mocking works in public and semi-public spaces.

Date: 2013-03-23 02:27 am (UTC)
cest_what: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cest_what
Fair enough :)

Date: 2013-03-22 08:00 am (UTC)
pebblerocker: A worried orange dragon, holding an umbrella, gazes at the sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] pebblerocker
I try to comment on every fic I read that gave me a definite positive reaction. I don't write fic and I feel so lucky to have all this material around for my enjoyment, I want to let the writers know they're not shouting into the void. And I do only leave positive feedback, because I figure if I didn't enjoy the fic, if it didn't do anything for me, it wasn't intended for me in the first place.

AO3's kudos button is good too, for if I liked the story but it didn't inspire enough of a reaction for me to comment, as well as for when I'm in a hurry or brain-scattered. But I find myself much happier to comment on AO3, even with the kudos button as an alternative, than on a fic posted on the journal of someone I don't know.

Date: 2013-03-29 05:51 am (UTC)
snickfic: (Default)
From: [personal profile] snickfic
I am commenting mostly to say that this below exactly describes why I write 90% of what I write (and why I will never have a huge following):

Being able to tell myself "there is at least one person out there who desperately wants THIS EXACT STORY/PICTURE and if you don't make it chances are noone else will" is incredibly motivating, I find it much harder to motivate myself to finish less unique works unless my muse is super insistent, I keep thinking "other people have already done this better".

Yes. As you say, I really like feedback to tell me that I was able to reach that handful of people that desperately wanted that particular fic, and also there's a part of me that desperately wants to sucker people into liking the things that I like to write. Feedback is concrete evidence that I am reaching an audience, which is the part I really care about.

Date: 2013-03-29 05:52 am (UTC)
snickfic: (Default)
From: [personal profile] snickfic
I wandered in via [community profile] metanews, btw.

Date: 2013-03-29 04:34 pm (UTC)
jelazakazone: sketched dragon with scales breathing fire (drawn dragon)
From: [personal profile] jelazakazone
This whole conversation about feedback, currency, popularity etc has me kind of depressed.

I write fanfic because it's a compulsion. I've been writing for a little less than two years now and I consistently get less hits/kudos than other people. I really try not to compare myself to other people, but one of the reasons I write stories is in attempt to connect with other people and if they aren't responding, I feel like a failure.

Sometimes I find it incredibly liberating to write stuff I know people aren't even going to read and other times I ask myself, why bother.

I have only recently gotten into fandom (in the last two years). I've been on the internet a long time. I don't have this naive notion (and I really think it is a naive notion) that you have control of anything once you post it on the internet. I don't trust FB. I rarely lock entries on LJ/DW because of this also. If I don't want something spread around the internet, I don't post it on the internet.

So, um, these are my disjointed thoughts about feedback and spreading things around on the internet.

(here via [community profile] metanews)

Date: 2013-04-10 01:39 am (UTC)
jelazakazone: black squid on a variegated red background (Default)
From: [personal profile] jelazakazone
SO HARD. Also, all my collabs get way more hits/kudos than anything I've done on my own. Talk about a boosting my already strong imposter syndrome.

I am currently signed up for a BB fest and I'm seriously considering pulling out. I am afraid the pace I'll need to keep for it will kill me and stress me out. I don't see a benefit to writing a long story that is not the juggernaut pairing when the market will be flooded. Gee, the more I think about it, the more I think it's the right thing to pull out and write at my own pace.

I just did a remix fest and got great feedback from the people who left comments, so that was definitely worth it.

LOL. Go indie authors!

Thanks. No worries on that front. I might take little breaks, but I love writing stories. I just got a plot bunny from a little seventeen minute vid that is in Portuguese. So cute!

Date: 2013-03-29 06:43 pm (UTC)
carmarthen: "Would you like my hat?" (Default)
From: [personal profile] carmarthen
Hmm. I like praise, I like constructive criticism (although preferably from people I know and in private), and if someone engages with my writing enough to say something I find that reassuring.

But. I write because canon makes me think, and my form of engagement is to write. There might be an intermediary of someone else's prompt or idea, but the basic motivator is canon. I keep writing because of the discussions that happen in fannish communities, which can happen in feedback, but more often happen elsewhere. No community, no discussion, I usually run out of ideas and move on.

I don't anticipate future feedback at all when I'm writing, and wouldn't stop writing from lack of feedback as long as the character and meta discussions I crave are still happening.

Date: 2013-03-30 03:17 pm (UTC)
goodbyebird: Community: Britta and Shirley dances enthusiastically. (Community Rooooxanne)
From: [personal profile] goodbyebird
The way I look at it is that feedback is a great big part of the lifeblood of fandom. It's not easy to build a community without communication, to keep it going without interaction. Some people do write in great parts for feedback, but I think for the majority the reasons are multi-layered, with a small sub-set of people who don't really care either way. There will always be outliers :)

But with fic/meta/art, most people will be less enthusiastic about creating and also sharing what they've created; coding things take time, writing meta takes time, formatting your art takes time, and if you feel like all of this disappears into a vacuum, well, I think a lot of people lose their motivation when that happens. Enthusiasm is contagious. Think about all the fandoms people have fallen into because their friends squee about it - I mean, we're all here because we stumbled across this amazing thing where others are as engaged with our favorite characters/stories as we are. And that's what keeps most of us around, the interaction, the exchange of ideas, talking about the things that we love.

So, our motivations to be in fandom are complex and varies from person to person, just like the motivations for creating and sharing things vary, but I definitely see the value of feedback and I get where the term "fannish currency" comes from(also not a fan, I prefer "lifeblood"). Nobody's entitled to feedback, but whenever I'm mentally in a place and have the energy to do so, I always leave a little something when I see fanworks enjoy. They've made me happy and I like to let them know and maybe make them smile in return; but if that wasn't the case, I'd still leave feedback because imo feedback is one of the things that makes the fandom go 'round. And not just to encourage the creation of more fanworks, but also for other fandommers, because it's always nice to know we're not alone in this. When I stumble across some thing I really enjoy, or if someone's written a post raising interesting points, I always browse through the comments afterwards; it's like walking in on the coolest parties where the entire room is just filled with people who had a response to the same thing you did, maybe even some interesting insights or just that good old infectious enthusiasm, and how cool is that? Fandom wouldn't have held the appeal that it does if I was fine loving my shows/books all by my lonesome ;)
Edited (typo) Date: 2013-03-30 04:02 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-04-03 06:37 pm (UTC)
lbilover: (right to write)
From: [personal profile] lbilover
As a reader I try always to leave positive fb when I enjoy a fic. It will (hopefully) make the writer happy and possibly also encourage them to write more. The mere existence of fan fiction (free! for me to read!) and the incredible generosity of writers in sharing it with others seem to me to be worth at least a comment. A writer I admire said that the relationship between fanfic writers and readers is symbiotic: they need each other. But if there is silence, how can they have a relationship?

As a writer I love getting feedback, not solely for my ego (but let's face it, who doesn't enjoy knowing that a story you wrote meant something to someone else) but because that connection, that communication, can lead to so much more. Friendships, for one thing. That's how I've met some of my closest friends in fandom, because they left feedback and we got to talking and it grew from there. It's also resulted in plot bunnies that inspired me to write other stories. That's what I value, that's the currency for me: the give and take, the discussion. That's one reason I'm not a huge fan of the kudos button. It's nice to get kudos, but it's not the same as a comment - you can't engage a kudo in discussion. :) Obviously not all comments lead to great discussion or new friendships, but they can. And that is a tremendous thing.

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