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12 January 2011 @ 09:06 pm
Inquiry: lj silence syndrome...  


THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH! There have been some really great comments from everyone and I'm really glad to have heard from so many of you on this. All these different POVs are really interesting. Since I got so many more responses than I could have imagined, it may take me a while to respond on all of them, but I WILL.

Again, thanks so much! This has been really interesting.



Hello, all,

I've been wondering about something concerning fanfiction for a while now and thought maybe someone here (or my other communities) might be able to answer it for me. Apologies if this inquiry is deemed inappropriate - I'm really just trying to understand...

I've be noticing this for a few years now, not just here, and not just for FMA fanfic, but in all my fanfic communities. (I'm also Glee...)

The "problem" is this: people don't comment on stories anymore.

Or, well, they do if they're friends with the people - there's all sorts of mutual admiration society stuff going on ["You're great." "No, you're great!"] - but in general, you can post and hear nothing at all. Or maybe a comment here or there. (For which I am always, always grateful - so pathetically so that I gush all over the poor reviewer...)

You all may be experiencing this to some degree yourselves (maybe - maybe not), but if not, you can probably understand what it's like to pour yourself into writing a story for the pleasure of others (I'm not one of those typical writers who writes "for themselves;" me - I write for people to enjoy), and then get no response to it. It's very dispiriting, very disheartening. If you're like me, you work very hard at the craft and you work toward an audience. If you're like me, you've gotten enough response in other places (fanfiction.net, for one) to know when you're doing something right, writing something people enjoy. And I have - gotten a LOT of response. The readers on ffn have been very, very supportive and make me feel great about what I'm writing. (Plus, I actually have a 4-year degree in writing and have gotten enough good grades and feedback to know I'm actually not bad at this...)

So it looks like it's just livejournal - and I don't know why.

LJ doesn't record "hits," so posters have no idea if they're even being read, unlike ffn and aff, which kindly keep statistics for the writer - so they know what they're doing right or wrong.

This isn't strictly an anime thing, by no means. My friends and I have noted this in the Glee communities. But from what we've seen, it's just here on lj.


So I pose this question, knowing that there isn't really an answer. No, rather, I post it so that maybe readers (and I include myself in that group, because I try not to be, but am sometimes guilty as well...), will stop and realize that writers need to know when they've connected with readers; like Tinkerbelle, they need applause to live...

My apologies if this has run on too long. (I know I write like I'm getting paid by the word...) And please, please, no one be offended by what I'm saying. I'm just trying to understand why people don't...well, applaud anymore.

My thanks for your time and I promise to try to be a better reader in the future, as well.

Truly yours,

P.S. - I know I haven't posted anythng here for a while. I actually wrote this to post on my Glee communities, but since I first noticed lj silence syndrome here in the FMA communities, I'm posting here, as well.
Blyssedarkblysse on January 13th, 2011 02:09 am (UTC)
LJ doesn't record "hits," so posters have no idea if they're even being read

Actually, there's the My Guests feature, though it is only available to paid users. It will count page views for your profile and individual entries, as well as show you the exact users who have visited your journal.
Irene Shaferibshafer on January 13th, 2011 02:11 am (UTC)
Hmmm, I did not know that.

I'm a paid user.

Though, truly, it isn't the hits, it's the validation that comes from someone acknowledging the work you've done. Anyone can open a page - that doesn't mean they read or liked it...

Arthur: Al - peace!cxrdevil on January 13th, 2011 02:22 am (UTC)
Probably because people are on fanfic.net solely for the fic. It's a fic website. On Livejournal, there's much more of a social atmosphere. If I go through my flist in the morning, I'll open the fics that look interesting in new tabs and they'll be read as I have time, but I'm also chatting on meta posts, commenting on friends' updates, that sort of thing. By the time I get through reading a fic or two, leaving a comment doesn't even cross my mind.

On the other hand, if I hop on ffnet and search something or browse, I know that I'm going to be encountering fic, there's a standard layout throughout all the pages, and there's a big fat green "Why don't you leave a comment" button at the bottom of the chapter. With the reputation that site has, too, I don't feel pressured at all; if I like the story, I'll drop a nice note. If I really liked it, I'll write a longer comment. On LJ, it doesn't feel so casual. I don't know if that's because of the commenting system or what, but it feels different ~psychologically. Haha. Usually, commenting on people's fic here requires a conscious effort, even though I love the folks and the fic.
Arthur: Al - peace!cxrdevil on January 13th, 2011 02:23 am (UTC)
*I should say, a conscious effort to make the comment, not to compose the content.
(no subject) - ibshafer on January 13th, 2011 02:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
Barking at the windevil_little_dog on January 13th, 2011 02:23 am (UTC)
That's why I like the kudos on Archive of Our Own; even if someone doesn't want to comment, they can still give you an "appreciation" on your story.

And I've noticed it on LJ as well. I try to comment on anything I read, personally, it doesn't matter where I read it - LJ, FFN, AO3, wherever I can leave a note.
Irene Shafer: All in the Family - alchemyotakuibshafer on January 13th, 2011 02:45 am (UTC)
I really should get myself over there. alchemyotaku75 sent me all the links, but I was busy with end of semester work and didn't have time (or brain cells).

Sounds like the "like" button on fb, which I WISH we had something like over here...

And yes, you've always been great when I've posted something - I can always count on a response from eld. :D
(no subject) - evil_little_dog on January 13th, 2011 03:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
amethyst_konekoamethyst_koneko on January 13th, 2011 02:53 am (UTC)
I think cxrdevil nailed it. On the other sites (ff.net, aff.net, etc), you're there for the fic and nothing else and you expect to leave a comment; here, not so much. :/ There's a lot of, mmm, distractions here on LJ - friend's personal posts, memes, icons, fanart, fic search requests, pic search requests, etc etc - that don't exactly encourage the leaving of comments. This is even more compounded when you belong to more than one fandom. You read the fic, or even just bookmark it for later reading, and move on. It's bad but unfortunately that's the way it is. :(
Irene Shaferibshafer on January 14th, 2011 12:38 am (UTC)
People are spread pretty thin here, yes. And usually when you add new communites, you don't drop your old ones so that pool of posts on your friend's pages just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

For myself, I'm focused a lot on Glee right now, doing a lot of writing for it (though I didn't think I would...), and so my FMA communities don't get much attention from me at all... :(
semipertinentsemipertinent on January 13th, 2011 03:10 am (UTC)
About the 'only on lj' thing, there's kind of a feeling (for me anyway) that whenever a new fic shows up it's time-sensitive. With the schedules I keep, most of my lj-ing is done in large batches of catching up, and if I come across a fic more than a day or so old I kind of think well, I can't comment now, I'm so late it's embarrasing. Like when the author gets my comment they'll roll their eyes and think, 'Haha, that old thing? I was done with that fic two weeks ago. Lame!'

It's a very weird, irrational thing. I find myself jumping on the most recent fics, because hey, something I can post on! I do leave a lot more feedback on ffn, because there's not that same sense of pressure. The downside, of course, is that I love those times when authors leave responses to the comments on their fics in lj, there's so much good meta and insight to be gleaned from them.
Barking at the windevil_little_dog on January 13th, 2011 03:19 am (UTC)
See, I'm just the opposite - I always think that someone would appreciate me finding their fic later and commenting on it - the same way I feel when someone's discovered some of my older fic on FFN - they've actually spent time searching me out.

Plus, I don't post everything to FFN due to their ratings restrictions and very few people ever comment to my stories on AO3, which makes me sad, as I like that site far more than I do FFN.
(no subject) - semipertinent on January 13th, 2011 03:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - evil_little_dog on January 13th, 2011 12:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - theemdash on January 13th, 2011 11:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ibshafer on January 14th, 2011 12:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
Aru: ponderwateria on January 13th, 2011 03:25 am (UTC)
Sadly it's not just fics. fan art and amvs are also treated like that on here. It's gotten to the point that I very rarely post anymore on lj because of the fact that I don't get any response. I usually get like 1 or maybe 2 comments (with a lot of luck) even on my friends list so Livejournal has really made me bored over the past few years. Why post when you don't get any response. Even though I have quit editing amvs, I knew I was also doing really well with it considering the fact that I was getting really nice critique and comments from high end editors on youtube. Yet it does seem on here, that unless everyone knows you, or they just flat out won't look at your stuff. They probably do but it just feels like that some times.
Irene Shaferibshafer on January 14th, 2011 12:45 am (UTC)
Yeah, I agree. In a lot of cases, it's the people who are already friends that get read and thus, reviewed.

In a way, I suppose people do that not just because they're friends with the person, but because they know the caliber of what they've written (drawn, amv'd), and so know it's worth their time. Which is...not a great way to broaden your horizons and *does* shut out other people who could *become* friends, but I don't think it's done intentionally.

cornerofmadnesscornerofmadness on January 13th, 2011 03:30 am (UTC)
I've noticed this a lot myself, even in the fandom communities where you assume that there isn't going to be social interaction (though in my experience it has lead to that which is cool) but I was just talking about this tonight. I get it a lot on FFN, the favoriting but no commenting on many of my stories. I can't tell with AO3 since that seems deader than dead. I've gotten zero feedback there

I'm not sure why it is. I do know if I've read it, I feedback on it. I'm just a slow reader any more
Irene Shaferibshafer on January 14th, 2011 12:51 am (UTC)
Thanks. (For being on the same page.)

I dunno - maybe it's just that there's so much fanfiction out there, people can only read and comment on so much.

Still, if i really like something, I make a point of saying so.

My problem is that I don't have much time to read. So, yeah, as someone said somewhere else (this was posted to three diff. communities so the responses have been...in the 100's...) if you read and comment a lot, you're more likely to get people reading and commenting on your stuff. Which would explain my invisibility in the FMA comms - and the others, as well. I don't read fanfiction a lot because it sometimes makes it hard for me to write. (As in, 'So-and-so is already doing this SO, SO well. Who needs to read *my* crap?')

If anything, this question is making me more conscious of my own commenting (or lack). But to be fair to me, I've spent the last 12 months getting a crash-course 4-year (writing) degree and there've been no brain cells to spare for anything fun...

(no subject) - cornerofmadness on January 14th, 2011 02:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
Kelssykelssy on January 13th, 2011 03:35 am (UTC)
Some of us are rather shy... so we don't talk much. Sorry
Irene Shafer: Pixie Ed by ibshaferibshafer on January 13th, 2011 03:41 am (UTC)
That's OK! Seriously!

I get that and it's cool.
(Deleted comment)
Irene Shaferibshafer on January 14th, 2011 12:58 am (UTC)
Thanks - great response. (Everyone's really giving me lots to think about. Heck, I should roll it all up into an article or something; "Response Behavior: LJ vs. FFN - a Comparitive Analysis."

I've never been one to demand feedback. In fact, I'm embarrassed because I think people might be thinking that that's what this post was all about, when really, I was just trying to figure out why you get responses on one site, but not here...

I love to help people become better writers - I edited and published my own fanzine a while back, loved working with the writers - but there is a definite element out there that doesn't WANT to learn how to write better. They think they know it all and who are YOU to tell them they're mixing their POVs? [g]

As I said (somewhere... here?) I don't write much FMA anymore, though I did have a sort of big series going for a while (Branded - Ed/Win; the last chapter was Learning Curve, which was, oh, say 75 pages long and *mostly* awkward first-time sex...) and I'm about to start working on the next chapter in that series for the spring_kink thing, so... I *will* be? :D
(no subject) - ibshafer on January 14th, 2011 12:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
Kyoko Fujimiya: Thinkingkyoko215 on January 13th, 2011 04:04 am (UTC)
In all honestly, I get sorta self-conscious when I post a comment on a fic. Most comments I see on fics I like have these details about what exactly they liked about the story or the writing, and all I can really come up with is "This is awesome!". I've seen writers complain in places when reviewers hardly leave them actual critique or if people just don't go into detail about it, and I just can't do that.

I sorta feel like an amateur amidst a sea of professional writers on LJ, so I rarely comment.
Em Dash: FMA Altheemdash on January 13th, 2011 11:50 am (UTC)
There was one person who read every fic I posted in one fandom and was always one of the first comments and always said, "Thanks for writing." It was enough for me to know that she read the story, to be honest. (Though I did sort of take that as a challenge to write a story that would earn a different comment, and I totally did one time!)

Just saying, "Awesome story" or "Thanks for writing" is appreciated by authors, really.
(no subject) - ibshafer on January 14th, 2011 01:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ibshafer on January 14th, 2011 01:03 am (UTC) (Expand)
alchemyotaku75: Edbluehaganeneko on January 13th, 2011 04:04 am (UTC)
I get few comment here on LJ, less on aff, none on AO3 (I haven't even gotten a 'kudos') or dreamwidth. About the only place I receive comments seem to be ffn, but they're few and far between.

As to the hits, LJ's system is lame and DW's is non-existant. About the only place I get any amount of hits is on ffn and aff; I get a few on AO3, but far less than other fics there that have been up a lesser amount of time.

Speaking for myself, I've given up being concerned as to whether or not I get feedback or hits; I've learned to write for myself or there would be no reason to write at all. I write what I enjoy, and if someone else enjoys it as well, that's wonderful.

*sigh* I'm one of the guilty when it comes to not leaving comments (Sorry everyone, it's not personal, really!), but my reasons are a bit different than most others; considering I live in chronic pain and am generally sleep deprived, I honestly can't think of anything witty or constructive to leave, and if I do leave something, I fear the intent to my message will be misconstrued. And not in a good way. I tab the page with good intentions of eventually leaving a comment sometime during the day, but it usually ends up with me crashing because I'm so exhausted, with nothing said. I plan to look at the fic/art the next day, but when I get up, the information has left my brain and I totally forget. (It's like 50 First Dates; I wake up and the slate's wiped clean--at least for the little things! XD)

However, even if it's months later I get back to it, I will leave a comment. If I remember. Just so's everyone knows.

Edited at 2011-01-13 04:18 am (UTC)
Izzuhonou_no_izumi on January 13th, 2011 05:17 am (UTC)
This. So much.

and being on fanficrants comm I've seen too many people complaining about not getting any reviews, or getting too few reviews or just complaining why people don't review so much... or why don't they review instead putting the fic on fav, or not getting any actual reviews instead of "please update" "I love this soooo much" and stuffs.

Things like this just happens, no use worrying about it.
(no subject) - ibshafer on January 14th, 2011 01:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
Bay Alexison: Serve and protectbay115 on January 13th, 2011 04:23 am (UTC)
Hm, with me the first few stories I posted didn't get much comments, but after I get myself known more somewhat by commenting on other people's work, I began getting some comments here and there. At first I would be upset over not getting comments at my LJ, but then I'm cool with it since I enjoyed what I wrote and perhaps whomever lurked and read my story enjoyed reading it.

When it comes to LJ, I see communities that gear towards writing like Big Bangs amd fic contests having better success when it comes to wanting comments (saying this for all the fandoms I've read fanfics for, not just FMA). But yeah, I agree with some people that LJ can be distracting and you tend to forget to comment on the story, which happens to me sometimes. XD I try to comment most of the fics I have read, though.
Em Dash: FMA Havoctheemdash on January 13th, 2011 11:54 am (UTC)
I agree with everything in this comment.

Commenting on other authors frequently gets them interested in reading you, writing a lot gets more people reading you and then they read other things you've written, participating in Big Bangs and fests gets more people reading/commenting—especially if those fests are specific to pairing or theme.
Catw00mancatw00man on January 13th, 2011 04:25 am (UTC)
I have to say I've seen it too. I came from a much smaller fandom than FMA and would consistently get a little FB. When I came to FMA I expected things to pick up in the comments, but so far I haven't seen it either. I don't if it's people don't comment as much anymore or they just read people they know. I don't know. When I read something I like I do try to always comment, especially these days.

I hope things go better for you as well as all the other great writers on LJ. :-)
Izzuhonou_no_izumi on January 13th, 2011 05:10 am (UTC)
Nah... I don't think posting on ffnet or lj or anyway made any difference. Even on ff.net a lot of ppl are wary of giving concrits or even any comments for fear that some writers thinks it's flame and and later got themselves bashed for no reason. That... or people are just lazy.

Nowadays I don't usually look around for fics much because nothing much had grabbed my interest. Fic posts that lacked basic headers like title, summary, etc also don't make me feel like clicking to find out if it does interest me.

Then again this was just normal. All these times unless the readers are really a fan of well-written fanfics of the fandom related, fanfics that are NOT porn, or OOC or pwp will always be getting less reviews. So just bear with not getting any response to your fic and just be happy with the few that you did get.
Yuuki Hikari: Ed Dhr Faceyuukihikari on January 13th, 2011 05:58 am (UTC)
My mind seems to think the same way semipertinent's does with: whenever a new fic shows up it's time-sensitive

I'm guilty of feeling that way too. Once upon a time I had all the time in the world to keep up on the internet (I really miss those days D:) but now life gets busy for a few days, or a week, or two weeks, or a bleepin month and I'll stock pile things I want to read in new tabs, and sometimes by the time I get around to devoting time to fic reading, I feel like it's been too long. Or I feel guilty that I put it off for so long... like I've somehow done the author a disservice by doing so. Or something ridiculous to make me sound like a headcase. I wish I didn't think that way, because I love hearing feedback on things years later (it makes my ball of glee bigger), but for some reason I sometimes think others wouldn't... I don't know why. I try and convince myself that other people have a happy ball of glee that later down the road I can inflate with a review, and sometimes I'm successful, sometimes I'm not for no logical reason. Having the shy/timid switch go on without warning doesn't help LOL.

There's also been a huge dynamics shift in the LJ crowd the last few years. A lot of drifting towards more trendy things like facebook and twitter that takes people away from LJ. Plus migration to Dreamwidth, other bloggin sites, and whatnot. Before all that, LJ was much livelier.
Bay Alexison: Can you hear me?bay115 on January 13th, 2011 08:45 am (UTC)
On the migration part, I noticed that too. Before I had a lot of friends that would use LJ a lot, but now either they're using either another blog or something more trendy like twitter. I use twitter and facebook and such too and able to communicate with my friends though those, but I'm not too active on those like livejournal. XD;