Assuming the worst with writers when online.:

Total posts: [147]
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Who's Vergo-san.
I shouldn't have to say this, we've all had the "Welcome to the internet!" speech, but maybe we need a reminder. Look at ourselves and the way we post and the way we read. We're assuming the worst of every troper that posts here, except for maybe a handful of our personal favorites. Whenever we read someone's topic or post related to the topic, we jump right to the conclusion that the only thing they've ever written, or what they consider to be the most important part of their story, is that one post. We read in a fashion that every troper is trying to sell their book/written work to a professional publisher/me/you, and this post on this thread on this forum is all we're getting.

This assuming has derailed a lot of threads. In recent memory, the "epic fights" thread didn't even last one post before it got derailed, going headfirst into "you people think fight scenes are too important." Then there's the "worst thing done to your character" thread, which recently got locked due to more generalizations of the posters. Everyone just jumped on the idea that every troper on the forum (besides themselves and their few favorites) is a horrible writer, and that what they've described in the matter of two or three paragraphs is the sum of all their written work.

There's also the number of threads of "analysis" on the subforum that is Writer's Block. Threads that randomly ask "have you guys noticed that this forum typically talks about...?" They come off quickly as "now I don't write all about that, so aren't I great?" This is just more assuming. More assuming that anyone who does write about those subjects or topics, as demonstrated on these forums, are probably bad writers that have a one-track mind.

We tend to talk a lot about how there's hardly any written work actually posted on the forum. There isn't any solid work to actually critique and work with, just a lot of general threads that encompass a wide range of concepts. But considering how people react to those threads, completely generalizing dozens of writers based on a post about their work in a thread dedicated to one concept, what incentive do they have to post their actual work? If you people jump shit on writers for simply talking about a particular fight scene, what makes you think they'll gladly post the rest of their work for you to generalize and tear up?

Let's discuss the matter. There's a few ideas I want to talk about here.

  • What is the purpose of these "general concept" threads? Threads that are basically "What if the most something you've done in a story?" Are they places to post ideas and inspire other writers with similar ideas? Or are they circles of bad writers trying to compete for the most awesome something?
  • How much of the writer's skills can we determine based on a few paragraph's worth of their book's information? Are we able to smell out totally bad writing and accurately snoop our way into determining what the writer needs to do to improve? Or are we just prideful little bastards that are trying to demean others and the way they write? In the end, are these "general concept" threads really the place to try and critique others?
  • Is there any real purpose to the "tropers tend to write about" threads? Do they actually inspire insightful conversation? Or do they boil down to "my writing is sooooooo good because I'm different?"

Hopefully this thread can inspire some difference in the forums. I've been hesitant to post any of my work here, not just because of the issues above, but general internet insecurities. Anonymous folk on the internet always assume the worst - they see what they think is a grammatical error or plot hole and enter a man-child induced rage. Writer's Block at least has a good number of sane posters I can probably trust, but I have no incentive to post actual work when I can't even post a few stray ideas I've written without people assuming I'm a blind sheep in a crowd.

Also don't let this turn into a "yeah that one particular thread/poster is horrible." The examples I've mentioned are just references and should not be seen as a direct attack on any troper. They're evidence to show this has happened. You can reference other threads, just don't focus solely on them please. This isn't a fire pit to start a war, this is a thread to discuss the issue of this bad habit most writers here have. Sorry for the length, but please, actually read it. Again, this is not a place for flaming. Nope. Just discussion.
I'm pretty sure the concept of Law having limits was a translation error. -Wanderlustwarrior
I know I am biased in the sense that I tend to think less of writing automatically from people who I have a distaste for.

I think it's because in the real world, we see a polished piece, that has no connection to anyone. Here, we don't get that. We get the person first, and then some sort of unpolished draft.
People are going to be held accountable for what they post, obviously. Looking through the "worst thing you've done to your character" thread, how many people in there have posted actual work to show that the violence wasn't there merely to indulge in sadism? Until they provide that proof I have no reason to assume otherwise.

edited 20th Dec '11 11:29:23 AM by melloncollie

4 Gault20th Dec 2011 11:36:46 AM from somewhere far, far away , Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
Laugh and grow dank!
Why was there the automatic assumption that the violence within an individual's work was simply an expression of their personal sadism in the first place? That seems dubious.
the ride never ends
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
[up]Because the thread itself had the atmosphere of a one-upmanship jerkfest in which people tried to outdo each other with really, really horrible stuff. Plus, there were a couple of posters (and I'm not naming names, send me a PM if you wanna go into the specifics) who were being quite upfront about how their work was a reflection of their (rather repulsive) personal opinions/kinks.
What's precedent ever done for us?
6 Masterofchaos20th Dec 2011 11:45:48 AM from the void , Relationship Status: In Lesbians with you
its marie! by caldroid

I'm going to admit something: in the Fridge Horror thread, yes, that was something I haven't written down yet, and even I'm not sure if I'll put that in the next book. After all, I have to really focus on finishing the first book. So, I guess I'm part of the "no proof" part.

Now, with me judging other people's writing by a few paragraphs? I never assume the worst out of them, but I did wonder IF they actually planned it or they're just making it up on the spot just to, as stated above, compete with each other when it comes to their writing.

[up][up] I think it depends on what they've written. (like rape, killing character/character's friends or family, torture, ect)

edited 20th Dec '11 11:48:56 AM by Masterofchaos

7 Night20th Dec 2011 11:46:59 AM from Jaburo , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
The future of warfare in UC.
[up][up]And a couple posters admitting it covers the resulting blowout at the end? The majority in the thread posted in good faith and were painted with the same brush. The assumptions made about the majority of the posters were made in a total vacuum. No one even asked for an explanation, merely went directly to "this is badwrongstupid and let me tell you why".

But they didn't know why. They had no possible means of knowing why because nobody had even hinted at why for the vast majority of the thread. That in itself suggests something was seriously wrong.

edited 20th Dec '11 11:47:39 AM by Night

Nous restons ici.
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
[up]On the Internet, you can only be judged by the information you provide. In this case, that was two hundred posts of contextless Gorn. Whilst leaping to conclusions based off limited data is seldom a good idea, there's something to be said for how you choose to present yourself online, as well.
What's precedent ever done for us?
9 Night20th Dec 2011 11:54:55 AM from Jaburo , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
The future of warfare in UC.
[up]Two hundred posts with at most twenty by the same poster.

A lot of people got judged towards the end. Very few of them were judged wisely.
Nous restons ici.
10 HeavyDDR20th Dec 2011 11:58:27 AM from Central Texas
Who's Vergo-san.
As relevant as that particular thread was, we shouldn't limit our conversation to just that. I don't want to continue where a locked thread was left. Just a heads up.

However, I do agree that there was a bit of a mess in that thread. Some people were likely making things up, but I don't see the point in trying to call them out on it, nor do I see a problem in people admitting that it's part of their weird little kink. If it's relevant to the thread, then it's relevant and they have every right to post about it. If you really care for proof, you could politely ask them to expand on the details, either there on the topic or through a PM.

In these small types of "general concept" threads, I don't think it should be mandatory to go into grave detail. Let's be honest, at some point, people aren't even going to read the entire explanation. It's still going to look like a competition, especially if you're already see it as one right now.
I'm pretty sure the concept of Law having limits was a translation error. -Wanderlustwarrior
^^ The lack of context remains. If you choose not to provide context, the fault lies with you when people judge you based on what you write.

(Sorry, Heavy DDR ^^; )

edited 20th Dec '11 11:59:51 AM by AllanAssiduity

The Puzzler
Personally I think the Writer's Block forums is an exercise in Writer's Block. Look at the threads and posts from the past couple of months. How many of them have people actually writing a story? Not many I'd wager.

To be honest if people have an idea I want to see it written, not talked about.
Has ADD, plays World of Tanks, thinks up crazy ideas like children making spaceships for Hitler. Occasionally writes them down.
13 Morven20th Dec 2011 12:22:01 PM from Seattle, WA, USA
I'd say that most such threads are largely pointless and just involve people boasting and attempts at one-upmanship.

I've posted in such before, but I've been as guilty as any about that.

At the same time, making major personal judgements about someone based on an entry in such a thread is a bad move, because people are being encouraged by the surroundings to post things they normally wouldn't.

edited 20th Dec '11 12:22:48 PM by Morven

A brighter future for a darker age.
14 HeavyDDR20th Dec 2011 12:24:30 PM from Central Texas
Who's Vergo-san.
[up][up] I'd argue Writer's Block is for both those things. It's a forum dedicated to tropers writing. If you want to discuss a general idea, such as fight scenes or preferred relationships or whatever, this is definitely the place, but if you want to post your work and get specific critique, then you can also do that.

Basically the forum has only two places to really discuss writing - Writer's Block, which is really open-ended, and World Building, which is also open-ended but more about the setting. I'd suggest we divide Writer's Block into two different subforums, one for actual excerpts from writing and another for discussing general ideas, but that's just me.

edited 20th Dec '11 12:24:37 PM by HeavyDDR

I'm pretty sure the concept of Law having limits was a translation error. -Wanderlustwarrior
15 SharkAttack20th Dec 2011 12:41:55 PM from under and within the sea
There's a difference between posting an excerpt and explaining something "cool" from your story—one is actual work, the other is an idea. Ideas are fun, but they're also cheap, and without context, they don't mean diddly-squat. People don't read ideas, they read stories.

My main beef with those kinds of threads is that it takes the soul out of the writing. We're given a line or a concept and expected to feel something (disturbed by the gorn, awed by the badass boast, delighted by the wit), but there's nothing to back it up— no context, or if there is context, it's just more talking. It's like explaining the punchline instead of telling the joke— it does nothing for the reader, it does nothing for the writer. So why bother?

You know what they remind me of? The threads in Forum Games. Cheap threads you can come in and out of— there's nothing at stake, no discussions to follow, you post once or twice or as many times as you like, and the thread isn't going to change. I guess they can be fun sometimes, but frankly, a real discussion on a topic of writing is worth more than a few people posting neat things they did in their stories. In a forum where people are supposed to be practicing the craft of writing, "share X idea from your story" type threads just seem masturbatory.
For the rain it raineth every day.

edited 21st Jun '17 5:17:14 AM by ArlaGrey

17 Gault20th Dec 2011 12:46:38 PM from somewhere far, far away , Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
Laugh and grow dank!
I do think that the most valuable types of threads are those which promote discussion on aspects of writing. I am also of the mind that the generic "Post X from your story" isn't very useful.

If someone were to make a thread along the lines of, "Post an example of X from your own work, because I'm trying to do the same in mine and think I may be doing it wrong, please help", it would be far more productive. That might actually prompt a bit of dialogue as to how to write that particular thing.

Ideas need to be worked with. There needs to be some kind of purpose in putting them out there. Getting feedback on them. Discussing them.

edited 20th Dec '11 12:49:58 PM by Gault

the ride never ends
18 nrjxll20th Dec 2011 02:14:17 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
To be honest, I've never understood where this assumption that Writer's Block is even supposed to be for actual writing comes from. I've always seen it largely as a place for writers to simply chat about their works, with the writing practice and criticism being more of an afterthought. I know I'd spend less time on here if I was actively working on a project.
Woefully Ineloquent
I've recently joined a writing forum where people do sit around talking about serious stuff related to seriously writing serious novels, and where people do post excerpts of their work and others provide opinions and line-edits. And while I do find that forum useful to an extent, lurking around there for a few days made me appreciate the pointless messiness of this place, and I'm content with it being as it is.

Though I do think that the idea of creating a subforum just for posting excerpts and nothing else would be useful. Writer's Block, when you look at it, doesn't even feel like a place to post your writing. Doing it here would make me feel completely off-topic.
Individual liberation is an illusion.
I don't like judging other' writing based on a few paragraphs, although I'll freely admit I'm not immune from doing so. Judging an entire person based on the same, however, is for me out of the question.

I also think that context is really important. This is the Internet - we only have what you give us to work with. We're not inside your head when you made that post; it feels like some assume that we were, and, well, that just doesn't freaking work.

I agree with the others that a subforum for posting excerpts is needed. I don't feel like I can post excerpts of my writing - given the tone of the forum, it feels out-of-place. And aside from popular tropers, those threads never seem to get picked up for long.
oh no the snack table
If someone asks a simple question in the thread title/OP, about "Have you ever...?", or whatever, then I don't see how people can be condemned for doing anything other than simply answering the question.

Then why make those threads? They're always just full of snippets without enough context for anyone to discuss them. They're white noise.
It's beautiful and so full of deep imagery that it doesn't surprise me to find that it has gone WAY over your head
22 Schitzo20th Dec 2011 03:21:21 PM from Akumajou Dracula , Relationship Status: LA Woman, you're my woman
My own problem is just the overall attitude that comes from people closing off their minds while tooting their own horns. I think these "Describe a time when you" threads are a by product of that. I hate how whenever the Troper Critique Thread is finally posted in for over 2 weeks apart, the previous post that was there is ignored and was never addressed.
23 HeavyDDR20th Dec 2011 03:22:16 PM from Central Texas
Who's Vergo-san.
If the thread's purpose is to get writers to post their ideas and share them with other writers, and that thread gets exactly that, then what's the problem? Those types of topics are typically made with the mission to share ideas and see what other writers have done with certain topics. It's unfortunate that people go there just to one-up each other, but that happens. Take it as it is.
I'm pretty sure the concept of Law having limits was a translation error. -Wanderlustwarrior
24 Schitzo20th Dec 2011 03:24:20 PM from Akumajou Dracula , Relationship Status: LA Woman, you're my woman
Guess so.
oh no the snack table
If the thread's purpose is to get writers to post their ideas and share them with other writers, and that thread gets exactly that, then what's the problem?

Because they're meaningless. "Joe cut off Bob's head with a broadsword" isn't an idea, and the format doesn't lend itself to the sort of discussion that would allow for criticism or elaboration.
It's beautiful and so full of deep imagery that it doesn't surprise me to find that it has gone WAY over your head

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