Judging Fics By Their Review Count (31)

1 Name: AkitaFallow : 2011-03-14 10:04 ID:KY7SEItz

I'm sure I'm not the only one guilty of this, but it makes me feel exactly that: guilty.

Whenever I get into the "I want a good fic, and I want it RIGHT. NOW." mood, I consistently find myself scrolling through fics and judging their worth by how many reviews they have versus their chapter count. Sometimes I don't even read the summaries unless they have a good few hundred reviews. In my hunt for a great-fic-quick, I end up passing up what could very well be the best fics out there, simply because not many other people have taken the time to comment on them. As a writer, I KNOW that that's not a good way to judge fics, because a lot of people DON'T review, regardless of quality, but I just can't stop myself from doing it.

Does anyone else run into this problem? Why do we do this? Is it worth it?

2 Name: Bitch Goddess : 2011-03-14 11:26 ID:o1oRawFs

I do have this problem. I really try not to do this, but I catch myself doing it frequently. However, though you are right for the most part, I have noticed that sometimes it is the opposite. A fic can be absolutely horrible and have a TON of reviews. It's odd how that works sometimes...

I think we do this because we make the assumption that if it has alot of reviews then it must be worth it, but just read fics from a fandom such as Twilight or Saw and it becomes painfully obvious this isn't the case.

I don't think it's worth it personallly, though I catch myself doin' it all the time. I try to find a story that sounds interesting and then I read the first few paragraphs.

3 Name: Francys Pai : 2011-03-16 06:08 ID:FRMHw+3Z

That being the case I'd never have any readers of my own. You have to bear in mind that some pairings/concepts are out of the norm and these tend to have little reviews.

That in mind, some FF.net people (like I used to) turn anon comments off, meaning you have to log in. And if you're lazy like me, you really cannot be bothered logging in just to write something.

I've seen so many horribly written fics (like, it's almost in SMS speak) and they have tonnes of reviews.
Rule of thumb, if you're into literature, and it most certainly should apply here, is "Don't judge a book by its' cover."

4 Name: Piccylo : 2011-03-16 07:15 ID:mJOOi7jc

I have done this in the past, but I honestly haven't done it in a while. Review count depends on a lot of things--age of the fic, length of the fic, genre, characters involved, fandom(s), uniqueness of the story...

Then again, my fic-choosing method has been different for a while; instead of scouring for something GOOD, I've just been reading through anything of certain parameters, then just getting miffed with the author if they're a few points below tolerable in quality (or laughing if the quality is so bad it's good).

5 Name: MaryMagdalen : 2011-03-16 16:10 ID:YfLHnuQq

Number of reviews is not necessarily a reflection of how good a story is, but then again neither are the comments made in reviews.
I used to actually check out the reviews before the story, and judge the fic on the comments rather than the number of reviews. Problem is, there are writers out there who just delete bad reviews, so you can't judge a story on reviews anyway. Now I just open the story, and if the first paragraph's any good, I give it a go. Unfortunately there's so much crap out there that in most cases, I rarely get past the first paragraph...

6 Name: Karama : 2011-03-16 17:31 ID:Pz7HhMOf

It's always tempting to figure out some kind of filter when browsing through hundreds of fics, and the review count is easy to see and immediate, plus it gives that impression that a lot of people are reading a particular story.

And sometimes, it even works. Some of the best stories do have a lot of reviews. Sadly, using that criteria will also net you any story where the author is part of a 'review circle' (usually informal group of writers who review everything each other write) and a whole lot of Mary Sue stories. At the same time, you will pass over the unknown diamonds.

So, it's not reliable. That being said, I never did find a reliable way to find the pearls out there. My fandom of choice lately only has a few new chapters or stories posted daily (anything from 0 to 5 is the norm), so I can actually check out everything, even if I close some of them before even making it through the first chapter.

7 Name: Red : 2011-03-16 20:12 ID:RdNvrPla

I've noticed in my main fandom, the stories with the most reviews are either A) 30+chapter masterpieces, or B) 30+chapter P.O.S. stories where the author panders to the audience by asking for their OCs to put into the story.

I have NEVER seen this done well. Ever. 9/10ths of these OCs are blatant Mary Sues who are faster, stronger, more skilled, more mysterious, have more painful pasts, have better special abilities, have more bizarre lineages, and are all around more ridiculous than any of the canon characters could ever hope to be, and that's saying a lot, considering canon.

Other stories get a lot of reviews too (usually because of a famous but slow-updating author where most reviews are begging for the next update) but it's a pretty small fandom, nothing like Bleach/Naruto/Inuyasha.

8 Name: Red : 2011-03-16 20:14 ID:RdNvrPla

Hmm...too bad I can't edit.

Anyway, I forgot to add this: in my fandom, if you have as many reviews as you have chapters, you're doing pretty well.

9 Name: Francys Pai : 2011-03-17 04:48 ID:MBWY/0Kg

There is also the fact of idiots out there who form groups specifically to flame people just because there's one teensy bit that they don't like (IE, plenty of people have flamed me for writing yaoi, luckily they've been removed)
They congrugate to one person and harrass them constantly by review, then when you kindly message them asking them to take it to messages as opposed to reviews, they block you and keep "reviewing"
This can also happen on shit stories, where they've all flocked and flamed via review and in no time flat a shit story can accumulate 60+ reviews that when looked at, is just a flame war.

I'm not naming names as there's one community I can think of off the top of my head that does this and quite frankly, it's pathetic. But eh, children will be children.

Like someone above said, read the first paragraph and go on that.

10 Name: Francys Pai : 2011-03-17 04:49 ID:MBWY/0Kg

There is also the fact of idiots out there who form groups specifically to flame people just because there's one teensy bit that they don't like (IE, plenty of people have flamed me for writing yaoi, luckily they've been removed)
They congrugate to one person and harrass them constantly by review, then when you kindly message them asking them to take it to messages as opposed to reviews, they block you and keep "reviewing"
This can also happen on shit stories, where they've all flocked and flamed via review and in no time flat a shit story can accumulate 60+ reviews that when looked at, is just a flame war.

I'm not naming names as there's one community I can think of off the top of my head that does this and quite frankly, it's pathetic. But eh, children will be children.

Like someone above said, read the first paragraph and go on that.

11 Name: Yemi Hikari : 2011-03-20 00:09 ID:bU+cvJRc

>>1 - I don't have a problem with this simply because I have had plenty of experience where a fanfic with a ton of reviews end up being not as great as they are chalked up to be. I've passed up good fanfics with a ton of reviews for this very reason, but eventually I end up checking them out. Particularly the time one of the fanfic writers tried drumming up their fanfic and I had to be honest with them about WHY I hadn't reviewed their fanfic despite the fact I kept reading the first chapter. Egads, it is bad when I have at least three times and can't get past maybe the second chapter of any fanfic.

>>3 - Exactly. As a critiquer too, the ones that have a ton of reviews can be the hardest to critiqe simply due to the fact that you run the risk of having someone with the snotty attitude of having so many reviews thus being above your advice. And it might not just come from them, but the fans of said fanfic. Some... some you feel like there is nothing helping said fanfic.

>>4 - It can also depend on how well a fanfic writer is known in any particular fandom. Or even more particular, a particular pairing, or theme in said fandom.

>>5 - Thank goodness on fanfiction.net they can only delete anon reviews. I was on Pottersues and I was nice enough to critique the persons fanfic and they reviewed anonomously on one of my fanfics saying that my review was a flame, because if it was anon, they would simply just delete it just like I would with their review. I left said review on my fanfic to make a point. That said, they delete ANY fanfic that gets a negative review. Very mature, not...

>>6 - Egads, the whole 'review circle' problem. I had an issue with that over in Shugo Chara when I critiqued the fanfics good and hard. I had to stay away from that fandom for a year or two simply because I felt like I wasn't helping anyone and they decided to gang up on me using said review system. I mean, on one fanfic all I said was that their grammer took away from their lovely fanfic and so they should fix it. I thought their fanfic was REALLY good too.

I also came across a group that said they would sic their friends on me if I continued to harrass their friend. None of them seem to be active on the site anymore, thank goodness.

>>7 - Umm... with those OC donation pools as I call them I leave a lovely review telling them said fanfic is against the rules. I mean, comprised of authors notes and also being you based and/or obvious self inserts. Some aren't this way, but egads... they are so

>>9 Thankfully there is an awsume report system now. I get leaving a polite note if someone is breaking site rules, and then later having a few others you know review the fanfic before one resorts to reporting a fanfic, but flocking to bad fanfics just to hurt someone is wrong. I've also only reviewed a few slash fanfics. Most of the time it is that I wish for them to keep up the good work. Ones ended up in my favorite list. Then there was the one written by the person writing pairings for sport in which I laid in why the fanfic was off as the characters were mondo OoC.

Later on, they added an authors note saying I should have known it was slash from the summary and the characters, to which I say hell no, not if there is no slash warning. Lets just say, I read the summary as if an older girl was having a conversation with a younger girl about an issue that was sensitive. That's something else I've left in reviews for some slash fanfics, is asking them to put in a slash warning in their summaries when there is no warning. Two character tags does not always equal a pairing. Goodness knows I've gotten two reviews for my fanfics with Toshiro/Momo in them where they asked why I labled it that if it wasn't Toshiro/Momo.

Of course, some people do go and have a full on critique, chapter by chapter. On one side, we have people who do get livid mad at us for doing that and tell us we shouldn't have bothered reviewing that much, but then we also have people who tell us we can't say squat with only reading one chapter. You kind of have to pick and choose how you critique each fanfic and sometimes it is off... and sometimes, well... no matter how you review, it won't go well simply because people don't like being critiqued. Over sixty reviews that are negative pushes it, unless it is a REALLY old fanfic, and by t hat I mean REALLY old.

12 Name: Francys Pai : 2011-03-20 09:26 ID:wPEsj5qv

I don't mind critique chapter by chapter, heck I wish I had someone who could do that for me. I like the "Yeah this is nice" messages and all but I thrive so much on critique, it helps me so much as a writer. When I was in college, I had someone who would look over my fics on occasion just to tell me things like grammar errors, where I'm going wrong, better words/ways to word things.

I really hate it when people flame someone for leaving constructive criticism because I get so annoyed seeing people turn down good advice when I can only dream of having the same advice given to me.

13 Name: moonphase : 2011-04-19 05:49 ID:4ZlpzT5A

I used to do that, but quickly realised that it was a futile way of getting good stories. In Death Note, the highest reviews tend to go to long yaoi fics, which are sometimes not that good.

Now what I do is, search for a good story via the summary and reading the comments (this can take time) then I read their other stories, or what stories they bhave faved.

14 Name: Neil Dunsmore : 2011-04-20 12:13 ID:vdAvon+l

I personally choose not to go with that and just check out the fic if it seems interesting to me. See, some fanfics gets loads of views but little to no comments. And some fanfics that do get loads of comments probably get them for different reasons. (Like the writing is so bad that just about everyone feels the need to flame this person to death) Maybe it's because I get this funny feeling some of my best fanfics get ignored because of a strange lack of comments. Besides, what about the fics that were just uploaded that exact day? Rarely do you see a ton of comments for a fic after less than a day.

15 Name: Yemi Hikari : 2011-04-20 17:10 ID:bU+cvJRc

>>12 - Thank you for clarifying. I've had people get pissed off at me for doing that and ask why I even bothered to review chapter by chapter. Hmm... maybe because I WANT to see you improve as a writer. Plus, I've had people accuse me of not knowing what I was talking about because I only read one chapter. One such case is in the "Best OC Ever" thread on the forum. I still wish someone had come out and awnsered my questions on that one, or could come up with something that explained the problems I had... if anyone is willing to give it a try, go ahead. I thought they were rather legitimate.

>>13 - I actually know what you mean here. Sometimes I honestly have to wonder if the reason I've gotten as many reviews as I have on some of my fanfics is because they are really good, or if I happened to hit the nerve of what the readers wanted when they read my fanfic. Not many people in Bleach write stories about Isshin being Toshiro's former captain, or Gin+Ran=Toshiro. The only one I think that deserves as many reviews as it has in fact gotten is ST, with over three hundred and that is because it is a joint fanfic that wouldn't be nearly as good if it was written by just myself.

>>14 - I think this goes back to how many people are writing for a particulal subject. The one shots that get more reviews are the ones that are unique in subject, not necisarily the best written.

16 Name: Neil Dunsmore : 2011-04-20 17:45 ID:vdAvon+l

>>14 I agree with you on that whole "people who flame criticism" thing. If someone gives me criticism that I find helpful, I do all I can to personally thank that someone. I mean it. One time, someone criticized a rant I'd posted on youtube and I found his thoughts very legit, so I sent him a pm thanking him. I often take people's advice, too, like someone on ff.net once suggested I try not to add things like "it gets better after the first chapter" in my summary, so from that day forward, I chose not to do something like that as, yeah, it would probably turn people away from the first chapter.

17 Name: Neil Dunsmore : 2011-04-20 17:46 ID:vdAvon+l

I meant 13, not 14... seriously, why is there no edit option?

18 Name: Neil Dunsmore : 2011-04-20 17:47 ID:vdAvon+l

I meant 12, not 14... why is there no edit option here?

19 Name: Naomi Hansen : 2011-05-18 18:09 ID:2Y6vBV6k

Guilty. But mainly because I run a Hetalia community that collects every fic with 100+ reviews.

If I'm looking for a good fic, though, I also skim the summary while also looking at the review count.

20 Name: storyspeaker : 2011-05-20 02:31 ID:tT3G8XaN

I don't bother judging a fic that way and will read the summaries or go so far as to read the first chapter or two. Sometimes, I will read a story simply because of the plot and plot devices and other times will pass something over because it's not the genre I'm in the mood to read.

I'm a terrible reviewer in my own opinion because I waffle between the 'it's a good fic' and not quite critiquing, mostly because I don't want to phrase something that sounds like I'm being critical simply because I can be. You know the reviews that point something out, grammar or facts, but sound insulting about it. So, I don't review a lot at all, and I definitely hold back when an author pretty much threatens that they're continuation of a fic depends on getting reviews.

If you're writing at all it's because you enjoy doing it.

21 Name: storyspeaker : 2011-05-20 02:31 ID:tT3G8XaN

I don't bother judging a fic that way and will read the summaries or go so far as to read the first chapter or two. Sometimes, I will read a story simply because of the plot and plot devices and other times will pass something over because it's not the genre I'm in the mood to read.

I'm a terrible reviewer in my own opinion because I waffle between the 'it's a good fic' and not quite critiquing, mostly because I don't want to phrase something that sounds like I'm being critical simply because I can be. You know the reviews that point something out, grammar or facts, but sound insulting about it. So, I don't review a lot at all, and I definitely hold back when an author pretty much threatens that they're continuation of a fic depends on getting reviews.

If you're writing at all it's because you enjoy doing it.

22 Name: storyspeaker : 2011-05-20 02:31 ID:tT3G8XaN

I don't bother judging a fic that way and will read the summaries or go so far as to read the first chapter or two. Sometimes, I will read a story simply because of the plot and plot devices and other times will pass something over because it's not the genre I'm in the mood to read.

I'm a terrible reviewer in my own opinion because I waffle between the 'it's a good fic' and not quite critiquing, mostly because I don't want to phrase something that sounds like I'm being critical simply because I can be. You know the reviews that point something out, grammar or facts, but sound insulting about it. So, I don't review a lot at all, and I definitely hold back when an author pretty much threatens that they're continuation of a fic depends on getting reviews.

If you're writing at all it's because you enjoy doing it.

23 Name: storyspeaker : 2011-05-20 02:34 ID:tT3G8XaN

...stupid internet connection... took forever to post...pressed 3 times...the results can be seen

24 Name: Elkkun : 2011-05-20 11:39 ID:QBykCyzL

>>22 actually, I agree with you there. But if I feel like I can give them a review, no matter how cynical I sound I try not to be. But I like laying it out as it is instead of sugar coating it.
"Yeah, it's good but I don't like this" rather than "This part was amaazzziinnggg" XD

25 Name: Yemi Hikari : 2011-07-29 21:16 ID:bU+cvJRc

>>16 - I actually advize never to say that something is going to get better after the first chapter. Only a very select few fanfics that have problems in the first chapter actually do get better as the story progresses. I guess it has to do with the fact that stories depend on the complete thing, not just a small part. That, and the people who typically say that, say it in defence for something really badily written that doesn't seem to have any signs of being salvagable. The ones that get better are ones with very basic plotlines with few mistakes from the begining.

>>22 - I am a critiquer, so I end up pointing out a lot of problems that people have in their fanfics. I wouldn't be able not to tell people the truth about their fanfic simply because I would feel I was lying to them. And when someone does the review threat, they get a lecture from me.

26 Name: Neil Dunsmore : 2011-07-30 14:07 ID:vdAvon+l

>>25 - Well, in the case of that particular fic, the first chapter wasn't even meant to be that interesting. It was supposed to be general build-up to the good stuff. Still seems rather stupid of me to say "it gets better after the first chapter". If anything, I should let the readers be surprised than just out-right spoil it. But you bring up very good points too.

27 Name: Anonymous : 2011-07-31 00:51 ID:bU+cvJRc

>>26 - Or perhaps say that "the story will pick up pace" or "stuff will begin happening" the next time around. The way people word things can make the world of difference.

28 Name: Anonymous : 2011-07-31 05:53 ID:1rSvTlSt

>>11 I thought you could only delete anonymous reviews on ff.net, but one person deleted a review that I was signed in for. Not only that, she emailed and PMd me about what a bitch I was (because I suggested she might consider a beta to correct grammar and spelling - ooh, aren't I terrible!!) and then made the second "chapter" of her fic a rant about me giving her a bad review and saying how she would delete any bad reviews because some people were only out to stifle her creativity! Gee, wasn't I Miss Popular!!

>>16 / >>27 And yeah, I would agree, that would put me off reading a fic! If someone puts anything like "It gets better, honest", it says to me that either i) what's there is not worth looking at; b) if it starts out bad, it's unlikely to get better; c)the writer has no confidence in him/herself (in which case it might be worth looking at to give some gentle criticism and encouragement, but if you've been put off already...); or d) that they know they're rubbish and just want their ego massaged (see my point above about >>11!!)

I know I'm a good writer, but I also know there's plenty of room for improvement, so personally I welcome good, constructive, properly thought-out criticism. But just putting "awesome, update soon" (or the other extreme - "you spelled a word wrong so I'm never going to read anything you've written ever again and I hope you die a slow painful death"!!) seem to be the norm, so there really is no way to judge a fic by the number or content of reviews, imo.

29 Name: MaryMagdalen : 2011-07-31 05:54 ID:1rSvTlSt

>>28 Haha - that was me^^^! Forgot to sign in - I don't like being Anonymous!

30 Name: Yemi Hikari : 2011-08-04 02:22 ID:bU+cvJRc

>>28 - Are you sure the review was deleted? Are you positive that you were signed in? Could she have reposted her fanfic? Personally, I would have told her that her fanfic breaks site rules and that I was adding her to my watch list because she thinks she's better then the rulees. That, and chapter rant was also against site rules, as is not being able to take critique. Actually, put that kind of author rant in some of the fandoms, you're going to get people on your tail instantly.

I haven't just seen that written in a chapter, but I've had some fanfic writers try and tell me that their fanfic would get better in time. For example, one of those said fanfics made Momo have Bankai and pawn Aizen just so she could rescue her sweetheart Toshiro. On top of the fact that it is made very clear in the Bleach canon that they think of each other as brother and sister... Momo's personality doesn't mesh with someone who would eventually learn Bankai. Not unless Mayuri experimented on her.

>>29 - I've been having that problem too!

31 Name: MaryMagdalen : 2011-08-04 10:58 ID:1rSvTlSt

>>30 Maybe I just assumed I was signed in, because she knew it was me and PMd / emailed me... but I could be wrong.

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