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January 2, 2015
Posted at 4:55 pm

A 1? Why a 1?

I want to clarify my view on those occasional 1s that any story, even mine, receive.

My referring to someone who gives me a 1 as a troll is a gut reaction that may not be justified.

But when I get a 1 I have no idea why. Is it just someone with a grudge? Just someone voting out of spite? Is there really something so wrong with my effort that it really deserves a "You call this a story?" vote. Even a 2, which is "Hated it" is more acceptable to me. That puts it into the "Personal Taste" category in my mind. I can accept that. It simply may involve a theme that the voter would rather not read about.

My personal squicks are graphic violence, nonconsensual sex, rape, etc. I see those codes, I usually don't go any further, even though there may be a valid plotting reason for the material to be there, such as a revenge story.

I also don't vote on stories like that at all.

A vote of 1 is a very blunt instrument. It may come from someone who finds interracial sex offensive, or graphic male homosexuality.

But that doesn't make it not a story. Other people either may not mind such action or even want to read about it, for whatever reason. But by tilting the overall score of a story that 1 may discourage readers from looking at a story they might otherwise enjoy.

Reviews, on the other hand are valuable, but negative reviews are not encouraged, and I can understand that. The chance of flame wars is just too great and counterproductive.

Now, speaking for myself, if I get a 1 I would really like to know why. If I get feedback, even anonymous feedback, it gives me the chance to alter the description. I can say that "some readers do not like that this story features interracial sex. If that is your squick, I suggest you look elsewhere."

I have been known to include material that some fans have found offensive and they have let me know. Boy have they ever! When that happened I have apologized to my fans, but generally not withdrawn the chapter. However I have altered the descriptions to warn readers to avoid certain specific chapters, and why, so they can skip them. If the action is key to the plot I can refer to it in future chapters in an inoffensive, off-stage way without damaging the story as a whole.

You want to give me a 1? It'll pain me, because this is my baby, but at least tell me why. I won't argue.

Well, I'll try not to, and if it from that great correspondent Anonymous I can't.

Because I do recognize that there's no arguing with taste.

If I know why I can at least post a warning notice about the offending material so others don't come on it unawares. And I am aware that there are those out there who do not seem to take the trouble to READ THE DAMN CODES! They are there to tell you what the story contains.

I do accept Anonymous feedback. I welcome ALL feedback. But a 1 by itself tells me nothing and leaves me muttering about trolls who may not really be trolls.