-->-- Part of a particularly angry and long-winded author's note about the negative reviews of ''Fanfic/MyInnerLife''

"Don't like, don't read" is a standard response to criticism of a work of fiction, particularly on the Internet. It raises the basic question of why the critic bothered to read or finish the work [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin if it turned out they didn't like it]].

The trope is most commonly used by FanFic authors who CantTakeCriticism and try to silence critics with this line (as part of a BadWriting trifecta with LetsSeeYouDoBetter and YoureJustJealous). When "don't like, don't read" is used this way, the problem is immediately obvious: how is the audience supposed to know they don't like it if they haven't read it? The alternative would presumably be for the critic to not read the work and [[ComplainingAboutShowsYouDontWatch complain about it anyway]]. And a reader doesn't necessarily have to enjoy everything they read, especially if they think they can provide ConstructiveCriticism that will make the author's future work better, they find it SoBadItsGood, or they can derive money or laughs by being a CausticCritic. And [[AudienceAlienatingPremise just because you don't like the premise]] doesn't mean that you can't overlook that bias and comment on how well executed the work is. It's not as if professional critics can just read/watch media that they will probably enjoy, weakening this line of attack. Expect to see this as a response to any criticism in a comment section for the work, especially on Website/YouTube (where the work may be so short that it's already over by the time the viewer decides they didn't like it).

That said, TropesAreTools, and there are legitimate reasons to use this line. Not everything [[MultipleDemographicAppeal has to cast a wide net]] and nothing will be to everyone's taste, and if the author is up-front about some of the things in the work ''before'' it starts, they can indicate to the audience that they might encounter something in it that they won't like. This is actually helpful to certain readers, given that it's impossible to "unread" something (as much as people [[BrainBleach would really like to]]). It's particularly useful for DarkFic and the like as a sort of {{Content Warning|s}}. It's also useful to warn people of spoilers if they haven't finished the parent work yet. That said, many fanfic writers' headings don't warn of what's actually in the fic because [[ISuckAtSummaries they suck at summaries]].

While many FanFic authors have issues with [[SmallNameBigEgo assessing their own talent]], fans can be [[FanDumb equally stupid]]. "Don't like, don't read" serves as a standard warning for fans who like to see very specific things happen and won't accept [[CuttingOffTheBranches plot threads going where they don't want]], [[ShipToShipCombat romantic pairings they don't agree with]], or any weird experimentation with the parent work. In such situations, the only thing to tell such a reader really ''is'' "don't like, don't read", since such criticism doesn't have anything to do with the quality of the writing. Other times, the work is put up in free installments, so it costs nothing to quit while you're ahead, and it can seem [[HateDumb remarkably petty]] to keep forcing yourself to read a LongRunner just to criticize it. (That said, this doesn't make constructive criticism less valid on its own, so it cuts both ways.)

A subtrope of DearNegativeReader, where this is one of many tools a writer might use to counter criticism of their work.

'''Note:''' Examples should be limited to responses to criticism of works of fiction, rather than ''any'' rebuff of criticism. As always, play nice, and try to avoid {{Take That}}s and Administrivia/ComplainingAboutShowsYouDontLike.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Used InUniverse in ''LightNovel/BookGirl'', an animated short based on a series of light novels about a girl who literally eats books and the boy she makes write them for her. She complains about the AssPull ending of one of the stories, leading him to reply, "Hey, if you don't like it, don't eat it."
* Kubo Tite, author of ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'', tweeted in early 2010, [[DearNegativeReader in response to criticism,]] that:
--> "Sometimes [[TakeThatAudience some]] [[ManChild children]] get the wrong idea, so I guess I'll explain. It's not the reader's right to change the story of a work. Their only right is to choose whether or not to read it. If they can't stomach it, they should stop reading.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Comic books, especially the mainstream titles from Creator/{{Marvel|Comics}} and Creator/{{DC|Comics}}, are part of a peculiar phenomenon where fans routinely complain about comics they don't like but buy them anyway because they want the complete collection. They thus feel particularly entitled to complain about them, because if they're buying them one way or another, they would rather like them to be worth reading. Comic writers hit back with MortonsFork: if the fans don't like it, they shouldn't buy it (which, if nothing else, will incentivize writers to actually make all their comics worth reading), but if the fans don't buy it, [[ComplainingAboutShowsYouDontWatch they don't have the right to criticize it anyway]].

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* FanFiction is notorious for authors who use this excuse as a way of deflecting [[CantTakeCriticism any and all criticism of their work]], essentially implying that coherent writing, characterizing, and [[RougeAnglesOfSatin spelling]] are just a matter of personal taste. That said, it's also common to use the line as part of a FanficHeader warning readers of what they may expect to find in the fic:
** Website/FanfictionDotNet and sites like it will indicate every [[{{Shipping}} romantic pairing]] in the fic before it starts, warning fans not to read it if they don't like what they see (which, since this is fanfic, can range from HoYay to {{Foe Yay|Shipping}} to {{Incest|YayShipping}} to just not a FanPreferredCouple).
** Website/ArchiveOfOurOwn supplements this with an elaborate {{Content Warning|s}} system that will let you know of anything remotely objectionable in the fic, enough to approximate an MPAA rating. Funnily enough, some fics are so short that the tags basically summarize them in their entirety.
* Prolific fanfic author (and likely {{troll|fic}}) Creator/HansVonHozel, known for his extremely tenuous grasp of English, used this line when he re-hosted his ''Series/{{Numb3rs}}'' fic after it was reported and deleted.
* After the last ''Literature/HarryPotter'' book was released and the [[OfficialCouple pairings were settled]], fanfiction which did not conform to the canon pairings (especially Harry/Hermione fics) would add headings like this as a matter of course to ward off the ShipToShipCombat.
* ''Fanfic/MyInnerLife'', a ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' fanfic that's supposedly an account of the author's lucid dreams, begins with an "Author's Note" which is really a multi-page AuthorTract that amounts to repeatedly throwing this excuse at anyone who questioned whether writing all that down was such a good idea.
* Cori Falls has these disclaimers in the form of long-winded rants on both her ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' and ''Franchise/YuGiOh'' pages.
* The fictional fanfic authors included in ''Fanfic/BleachFanWorks'' do this quite often. Jolene Meyers possibly has the most succinct example:
-->''If you don't like my character, then [[PrecisionFStrike fucking]] don't read.''
* ''Series/ICarly'' is notorious for its insane [[ShipToShipCombat shipping wars]], such that pretty much any fanfic of the series requires the author to give away the end pairing with a warning like this just to head off criticism.
* Nick Scipio, a highly-acclaimed X-rated fanfic writer best known for the [[{{Doorstopper}} million-plus word]] sex drama ''Summer Camp'', has been known to give this response to critics of his work. The problem is that some of those critics also include fans burned by his ScheduleSlip who feel particularly slighted when a new long-awaited installment isn't up to their standard.

* When the ''Star Trek'' [[Film/StarTrek reboot movie]] was released, producer Creator/JJAbrams flat-out told ''Franchise/StarTrek'' fans that it would make things more accessible to non-fans, they [[ItsPopularNowItSucks probably weren't going to like it]], and they probably shouldn't watch it.
* ''[[Film/{{Transformers}} Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen]]'' demonstrated the problem with responding like this to professional reviewers, as fans will point to the film's CriticalDissonance as meaning that it's just not to critics' taste and they thus shouldn't watch it. The problem is that they get paid to watch it, whether they particularly want to or not.
* This phrase seems to be Creator/KevinSmith's mentality. As years have passed, he's gotten nastier and nastier towards critics, and seems to resent them. The idea is "don't like, don't watch" because he [[NotScreenedForCritics makes movies for himself, not for critics]].

* Laurell K. Hamilton gave this line in a DearNegativeReader letter to fans of her ''Literature/AnitaBlake'' series, who complained of increasing [[MarySue Sue-ishness]] of the title character and emphasis on IKEAErotica over an actual plot.
* Creator/TerryGoodkind, when talking about people who didn't enjoy the ''Literature/SwordOfTruth'' books but still read them, said that their complaining was like someone slamming their hand in a car door, screaming about how much it hurts, and then doing it over and over again. Fans of early books who hated ''Naked Empire'' took this to mean that even Goodkind [[AnalogyBackfire thinks it's like slamming your hand in a car door.]]
* ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'' fans tend to use this excuse when dealing with the series' {{Hatedom}}. It never works, as the hatedom is particularly focused on studying the series because they believe it promotes dangerous ideals such as StalkingIsLove; they're working very hard to try and turn fans against the series. That, and they also keep hearing that they can't criticize it unless they've read it.
* Website/AntiShurtugal, a now-defunct [[{{Hatedom}} anti-fansite]] for ''Literature/InheritanceCycle'', was founded reportedly because certain individuals received this (and the [[LetsSeeYOUDoBetter other]] [[YoureJustJealous two]] StockPhrases in the Holy Trinity along with forum bans and [[DisproportionateRetribution death threats]]) every time they'd post something critical on an ''Inheritance'' fansite. Its SpiritualSuccessor, Impishidea, received a number of ugly comments along the lines of this trope when it was critical of ''Literature/InheritanceCycle'' or ''Literature/{{Twilight}}''. It also accidentally attracted the author of ''Bitterwood''.
* Creator/JKRowling used this line productively; she explained in an interview that when she encountered a fan who did not react well to a character's death in ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire'', she told this fan not to read the other books because [[AnyoneCanDie it wasn't going to get any better]].

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* This has been heard like a mantra on ''Series/DoctorWho'' fan sites since the new series began airing (and in all kinds of fan venues even before then), to the point where there are certain areas where expressing ''any'' criticism of the new series will invoke this response.
* {{Creator/MTV}} reality show ''Series/JerseyShore'' has been accused of reinforcing negative stereotypes of Italian-Americans as nothing but loud-mouthed party animal guidos. Cast member "Snooki" responded with this line, which [[StopBeingStereotypical made her look like a stereotypical loud-mouthed guido]]:
-->''FUCK YOU! If you don't want to watch, don't watch. Just shut the hell up! I'm serious. FUCK YOU!''
* Co-creator of ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'' Larry David would often state in response to criticism of the show, "If you don't like it, please don't watch."
* In a press conference before the ''Series/BattlestarGalactica2003'' series premiere, Edward Olmos was asked about the reaction of ''Series/BattlestarGalactica1978'' fans to the reimagining. He said, flatly, "If you're a fan of the original, don't watch the new one. You won't like it, turn it off." This made some minor entertainment headlines ("Eddie Olmos ''doesn't'' want you to watch his new show!") and was probably the result of Olmos seeing one too many [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks complaints]] from [[FanDumb the original show's fans]] about the new show's mere existence. Ron Moore would later admit that it turned into [[NoSuchThingAsBadPublicity better publicity]] than they could have paid for with people tuning in [[BileFascination just to see why Olmos thought they would hate it]].
* In a pre-series [[http://www.scifijapan.com/articles/2009/02/22/kamen-rider-returns-to-us-television/ interview]], ''Series/KamenRiderDragonKnight'''s producer Steve Wang commented on [[FanDumb fans]] who [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks automatically hate any US adaptation without giving it a fair shot]], saying (in so many words) that ''Dragon Knight'' wasn't for them, and that he'd be the first to suggest they just not bother watching the show at all to save themselves the trouble of going to the fan forums and [[Administrivia/ComplainingAboutShowsYouDontLike bitching about it]]. Wang is, however, a huge ''Franchise/KamenRider'' fan, and in said interview he also points out that "the original Japanese versions will always be there for them to enjoy and, despite what they believe, no one can ever take that away."
* Happens InUniverse on ''Series/TheMuppetShow'' with Statler & Waldorf, who buy tickets to see the show every week even though they hate it. They even [[LampshadeHanging lampshade]] this fact in the opening credits.
* In an interview promoting ''Series/{{Preacher|2016}}'', Joseph Gilgun was asked to address the show's possibly offensive nature towards Christians. Gilgun's response was to say "fuck them" and to not watch the show if they think it won't be nice to their religion.

* Music/JayZ's attitude toward his critics can be encompassed in "99 Problems":
-->''If y'all don't like my lyrics / You can press fast forward''

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* From [[http://lileks.com/institute/comicsins/comics/milquetoast/15.html Casper Milquetoast]]: "While wading through the second installment of a tiresome serial, Mr. Milquetoast suddenly realizes that there is no town, state, or federal law compelling him to finish it."

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/RomanReigns is without question the most unpopular [[{{Face}} babyface wrestler]] of all time, even winning ''Pro Wrestling Illustrated'''s "Most Hated Wrestler of the Year" award despite that being almost exclusively reserved for [[{{Heel}} the bad guys]]. Wrestling fans [[XPacHeat booed him relentlessly]] and begged for him to go. The executives, though, audaciously declared there to be NoSuchThingAsBadPublicity and that if the fans ''really'' hated him, they wouldn't even bother to turn up and boo him. It's as if they expected the fans already there to universally just remain silent -- which ''would'' send quite a message, but it's completely implausible to expect thousands of fans to spontaneously decide to do that.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Video game fans tend to complain about optional DownloadableContent, to which they're told just not to buy it if they don't like it. That would work if that were the sole problem, but the content is also taking up space on the disk that could be used to make the game they ''do'' like better, or else should have been part of the main game to begin with.
* Video game fans also tend to prefer specific genres over others, so reviewers might find themselves criticizing a game just because it's a genre they're not really into. "Don't like, don't play" can be a valid response when it's just some guy on Website/GameFAQs who's probably trolling. It's less valid when the reviewer is being told to play it by his superiors and says right up front he doesn't like the genre because he has to let the readers know he probably ''can't'' provide an objective review of the game. And it warps right back to valid when those reviewers start to cater to the fans' entitlement complexes and demand only games in genres they like.
* Later ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' games have side contests that only really give out {{Cosmetic Award}}s and have no impact on the game itself. When fans complain that this isn't like the early games, they're reminded that almost all of these side contests are completely avoidable; don't like, don't play.
* Invoked by the developers of ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine'', which forces the player character to commit war crimes. The game was written in such a way as to encourage the player to quit in disgust at that point. Those who continued playing were [[YouBastard reminded of how horrible they're being]], which they didn't appreciate; when they complained, the game effectively told them, "don't like, don't play." It didn't resonate well with fans who just wanted to play the whole game they paid for only to be told the best way to play was [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption to give up halfway through]]. As for the plotline itself, lead writer Walt Williams was much more responsive to criticism.
* {{MMORPG}}s occasionally attract players who complain about how much the game sucks as a whole, in spite of the fact that they've clearly been playing it for a lot longer than it should take them to make that determination; "don't like, don't play" is the only appropriate response.
* Video game franchises that specialize in a certain genre tend to receive complaints about games that dabble in a different genre; for example, fans of ''VideoGame/SonicChronicles'' complained that it was an RPG and not a platformer like other ''Sonic'' games (or the opposite when ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'' turned out to be a platformer and not an RPG). But since the games were upfront about the genre, this seems to imply that such fans are completionists who ''have'' to buy every game in the franchise, and thus have to be reminded, "don't like, don't play".
* This happens on the ''VideoGame/{{Minecraft}}'' forums all the time. Generally, it follows a pretty recognizable pattern. First, someone will complain about a play style or technique they don't like and demand that Notch overhaul the game mechanics so that said play style no longer works (or more cynically, to cater to their own preferences). Then, other players who either use that play style, or have realistic expectations about the amount of attention Notch is paying people who are complaining about how people arrange dirt, come along and invoke this trope, pointing out that in single-player games, it's not actually affecting other people, and in multiplayer servers, it's considered bad form to destroy other peoples' creations, so the best they can suggest is finding or creating a server where those playstyles are disallowed by HouseRules. Sometimes it stops there, but if the original poster and their supporters are feeling ornery, ''they'll'' come back and invoke this trope right back, claiming that if you don't agree with the OP, ''you'' can go make your own server.
* Used InUniverse in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', in one argument between Specialist Copeland and TagalongReporter Diana Allers. Copeland will object to an opinion piece advocating abandoning Terra Nova, appalled that Allers would even think of writing something like that despite being on the Normandy, and Allers tells Copeland that if he doesn't like it, he doesn't have to download it. You can choose whom to support in this argument.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'' has a weird case regarding the cash shop, where every item is a CosmeticAward with no effect on gameplay. It's completely optional to use the cash shop anyway, so players who complain about this are told "don't like, don't buy". Some complainers will shoot back that Creator/SquareEnix is milking players for money and priming them for BribingYourWayToVictory -- ''i.e.'', suggesting the developers are secretly planning to sell ''real'' power, so no one should have access to cosmetic items.
* Jim Sterling of WebVideo/{{Jimquisition}} points out the illogic of complaining about how the [[ThatOneLevel Water Temple]] from ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'', which was made easier in ''Master Quest'', was restored to its original tough layout for the [=3DS=] version -- nothing was stopping you from just hanging on to ''Master Quest'' and continuing to play that. He was similarly befuddled by complaints about ''Zelda'' games [[ComplainingAboutShowsYouDontWatch before they even came out]].
* This is actually one of the rules on Nexusmods, a site hosting many {{Game Mod}}s, particularly of ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' games. If someone thinks a mod does not correspond to their vision of the game, they are required to just move on, instead of voicing their discontent in the mod's comment section.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Website/YouTube is a funny animal, as it's known for its nonsensical and vitriolic comment sections. A common reaction to negative comments is "don't like, don't watch". This wouldn't be particularly valid if the video is so short that the viewer doesn't have much of a chance to ''stop'' watching before realizing he didn't like it, or if the viewer is expected to trawl the comment section to see if anyone mentioned that the video contained something he didn't like. It's more valid for complaints that "Artist X sucks!", because you probably did know beforehand that this was an Artist X video, or for complaints about spoilers if the video is tagged as such. Some reviewers will even start videos with a "don't like, don't watch" warning if they're about to criticize something [[HePannedItNowHeSucks people generally like]].
* Dana of [[http://reasoningwithvampires.tumblr.com/ Reasoning With Vampires]], a blog criticizing the ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'' books, often hears this from irritated fans who read her blog. She says it right back.
* The phrase is quite common within many art gallery-type sites -- sometimes it's fair criticism, sometimes it's an artist who just CantTakeCriticism. Some artists don't want to hear constructive criticism, despite the fact that the only reliable way for them to improve their artwork is for others to point out what they need to work on. Some critics don't understand the concept of ''constructive'' criticism and think "stop drawing anime-style" is an example of such improvement. The Internet can be a stupid place sometimes.
* Website/{{Newgrounds}} has its share of {{Hatedumb}} fans who go around looking for videos in a genre they don't like and complaining basically about their existence. It's particularly common with the site's many {{hentai}} videos, or for parodies of works [[HePannedItNowHeSucks the haters were fans of]].
* WebVideo/MirandaSings tells this repeatedly to her "haters".
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiEIc-U13pE This]] episode of ''WebVideo/MrDeity'' [[LampshadeHanging hangs a lampshade]] on the phenomenon; it ends with a [[PleaseSubscribeToOurChannel begging segment]] explaining that if you hate the show, loathe the begging segments, and are still watching anyway, there are trained psychiatric professionals who can help you.
* On WebVideo/TheAngryVideoGameNerd website, people frequently come into unrelated videos (such as "Board James") and bash them because they aren't AVGN. This usually attracts at least one or two comments saying, "Just don't watch the non AVGN-videos."
* A web series based on the sequel for ''VideoGame/PAYDAYTheHeist'' is constantly harped on for being "bad", yet most of the people who complain about the quality of the series keep watching every new episode that is released just so that they can justify their constant complaining.
* Greg Farshtey, writer of Franchise/{{LEGO}}'s now canceled ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'' line, has offered this suggestion on the Website/BZPower forums regarding his online serials that have gotten mixed reviews.
* {{Deconstruct|ion}}ed by WebVideo/{{PIEGUYRULZ}} in [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiGMXlyEtaA 6 Reasons Why the "Don't Like, Don't Watch" Argument is Hilariously Idiotic]].
* Many ''Website/GoAnimate'' videos will have videos or descriptions proclaiming that one should "respect [their] opinions", essentially saying that those who complain about their videos are "baby show lovers".

* Webcomic writers are among the authors best suited to this response; their works are almost always totally free and released in installments, so readers lose almost nothing by just quitting once they realize they don't like it.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Concerned}}'', Gordon Frohman is in the world of ''VideoGame/CounterStrike'', and the players complain about all sorts of stuff promised to them:
-->'''Frohman:''' So, let me get this straight. You basically complain about every single aspect of this game. Yet you've been playing it over and over since 1999.\\
'''Terrorist:''' Yes! So I complain on [[RougeAnglesOfSatin teh]] Steam forums every day.
* Jeffrey Darlington, creator of ''Webcomic/GeneralProtectionFault'', has been known to advise complainers to take a vacation from the comic for a number of months -- ''i.e.'', until the current arc is over.
* Challenges like UsefulNotes/NaNoWriMo, which are based on quantity over quality, are occasionally criticized for their quality nonetheless; "don't like, don't read" is basically the only rational response to these people. The fiercest users of this trope are the community members at the ''Daily Grind'', a comic-drawing contest that demands a 2+ panel comic every weekday with the prize going to the artist who lasts the longest without missing an update; some commenters will pressure artists whose work they don't like into dropping out so that someone more "deserving" will win, completely missing the point of the contest.
* Creator/AndrewHussie of ''Webcomic/MSPaintAdventures'' has responded to people not liking ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks because it is not like]] ''Webcomic/ProblemSleuth'' [[http://www.formspring.me/andrewhussie/q/781027547 with]] [[http://www.mspaforums.com/showthread.php?32178-Anyone-else-think-Hussie-should-cut-down-on-the-Pesterlogs-a-bit&p=4125631&viewfull=1#post4125631 several]] [[http://www.mspaforums.com/showthread.php?29915-Pester-Chum-s-are-too-long!!&p=3857423&viewfull=1#post3857423 essays']] [[http://www.mspaforums.com/showthread.php?29915-Pester-Chum-s-are-too-long!!&p=3859169&viewfull=1#post3859169 worth]] [[http://www.formspring.me/andrewhussie/q/750738682 of]] [[http://www.formspring.me/andrewhussie/q/780995992 rant]] [[http://www.mspaforums.com/showthread.php?29915-Pester-Chum-s-are-too-long!!&p=3859225&viewfull=1#post3859225 that]] [[http://www.formspring.me/andrewhussie/q/1158778979 all]] [[http://www.formspring.me/andrewhussie/q/1093953142 boil]] [[http://www.formspring.me/andrewhussie/q/1093935286 down]] [[http://www.formspring.me/andrewhussie/q/1001292582 to]] "I'm doing it the way I want. If you don't like ''Homestuck'', don't read it." "Go read ''Problem Sleuth''" has become a stock fan response to complaints, which apparently implies that [[DoubleStandard the fans are all incredibly dogmatic]]. Hussie also threw in a TakeThat in Act 6, as many of the new trolls are avatars of these fans, and they're not portrayed sympathetically.
* In the first ''Webcomic/MegaTokyo'' compilation book, one of Piro's commentaries mentions that after an early strip that broke away from the gag-a-day norm for the sake of the story, a reader said that he would stop reading if Piro did something like that again. The author's response was basically, "Go ahead, I'm not forcing you to read it."

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The episode "Boys Do Cry" of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' ends with Peter Griffin giving a TakeThat to MoralGuardians which takes this form.
* The episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Sealab 2021}}'' that introduces Shanks had him note that if the crew (and by extension the audience) didn't like that he was replacing the much beloved Captain Murphy, they can go watch anime instead.