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Reply to Dark Apostle's Hacker Request

JPanyon

Go to YouTube, search the site using the KeyWord DEFCON. Watch a few of their videos 'til you find ones that tickle your interest(s). Contact the lecturer(s) directly. There are no better experts on the planet, they are the best of the best, gospel truth.

Have fun getting your eyes opened to the Dark Side possibilities.

P.S. I do not send replies to author requests, when the "Anonymous email" blocking function is enabled. I've got better things to do than jumping around ridiculous blockages. So, either you get the info from this message, or not, it doesn't matter to me either way.

REP

@JPanyon

it doesn't matter to me either way.


Since you took the time and made the effort to post your comment, it obviously does matter to you.

I don't block Anonymous Email. Someone may have a valid point. However, if the person isn't willing to stand behind their comments by providing a screen name, I give it the weight it deserves which is very little.

Ernest Bywater

@JPanyon

I do not send replies to author requests, when the "Anonymous email" blocking function is enabled.


I'm not sure if this is still happening, but not so long back Lazeez disabled the ability for anyone to make anonymous emails across the whole site due to an issue at that time. That may still be active or may have been rescinded, I don't know.

docholladay

@JPanyon

There has been a long history of the writers being abused and/or threatened via the use of the Anonymous email/feedback. Any one who can relate to that has to understand both the reluctance of writers to accept it and the system admin's decision a while back to disallow its usage.

No one enjoys being treated as a punching bag without being allowed to hit back. That is what a huge number of the anonymous users were doing.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

No one enjoys being treated as a punching bag without being allowed to hit back. That is what a huge number of the anonymous users were doing.

I doubt it's a "huge" number. Rather, the exceptions tend to be especially onerous, and thus stand out more than the hundreds of positive messages. Each of us can name, out of hand, our worst email message, but few can remember how many positive messages we've received.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

Although I've never used it, I'm in favour of anonymous feedback. It allows readers to reveal their honest opinions without the fear of being castigated for them. In a way it's a welcome contrast to the requirement for reviews to be supportive. Readers have no idea whether authors are receptive to criticism or likely to throw their rattles out of their prams.

AJ

Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

In a way it's a welcome contrast to the requirement for reviews to be supportive


That's why I set to allow it. But way too many people use the anonymous email to be abusive only - and that's caused a problem.

I don't know how hard it would be, but if Lazeez could set up a system where he knew who sent a message but the recipient didn't, then people could still feel safe about sending valid anonymous mail, and the authors would feel safe about letting Lazeez know about abusive ones and having it dealt with.

I'm a bit thicker skinned than some, so i don't worry about it. However, I don't like it when a person send a question by the anonymous email system and then later sends another email getting angry with me for not replying.

Replies:   red61544  Ross at Play
red61544

@Ernest Bywater

I've mentioned here before that I neither send negative feedback nor assign low scores. I believe that all criticism is destructive and that "constructive criticism" doesn't exist. Criticism says, "I would have done that much better than you!" Anonymity lets a person say it without having to prove it. It's all destructive. On the other hand, I'm free with the praise for a story I really enjoy and try to let the authors know that. Positive feedback and better than average scores encourage an author to continue to write more and better stories.

Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

if Lazeez could set up a system where he knew who sent a message but the recipient didn't, then people could still feel safe about sending valid anonymous mail, and the authors would feel safe about letting Lazeez know about abusive ones and having it dealt with.

I seem to recall Lazeez answering that recently (in the JWryter thread ?) with "Coming soon".

awnlee jawking

@red61544

How do you encourage authors to write better stories if you don't let them know what they're doing wrong?

AJ

Replies:   red61544
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Although I've never used it, I'm in favour of anonymous feedback. It allows readers to reveal their honest opinions without the fear of being castigated for them. In a way it's a welcome contrast to the requirement for reviews to be supportive. Readers have no idea whether authors are receptive to criticism or likely to throw their rattles out of their prams.

I don't mind honest reviews or complaints, but most sites which feature anonymous posts are notorious for their trolls, as the one leads directly to the other. On the other hand, for whatever you think of it, LinkedIn has remained one of the cleanest sites (for Troll abuses) simply because every uses valid emails, and are aware future employers are likely viewing their comments. That doesn't prevent honest criticisms, but it precludes outright abuse.

That said, I've never limited anonymous comments. However, rather than generated abusive feedback, more often it leads to questions with no hopes of my providing answers, or more commonly, questions with invalid emails--which as you might guess--tends readers to assume I don't 'care enough' to answer their queries. In short, anonymous feedback rarely serves the purpose it was designed for.

Crumbly Writer

@red61544

I believe that all criticism is destructive and that "constructive criticism" doesn't exist.

"I would have done it better than you" isn't criticism of any kind, it's praising oneself for something you've never accomplished. Instead, constructive criticism is: I love your story, but XXX doesn't really work for me because of YYY.

That's not a negative approach, and it provides information authors often need to understand how their stories impact readers. Even if it's only a subjective opinion (i.e. others don't agree with it), it at least keys the author into how it impacted that reader, and why he felt obligated to score it lower than he otherwise would have.

As long as there's a valid reason because most criticisms, I don't think most authors have an issue with it. It's the personal attacks (ex: "You suck because your writing is stupid!") that stand out as abusive, however the author personally takes them.

Ernest Bywater

@red61544

I've mentioned here before that I neither send negative feedback nor assign low scores.


I know, and never said you did otherwise. I simply mentioned others abuse the system, and that affects the whole ability to sue the system while discouraging some from using it. Thus it's not your fault, but all get tainted by the misuse.

red61544

@awnlee jawking

How do you encourage authors to write better stories if you don't let them know what they're doing wrong?

You encourage good authors by praising what they've written and giving them good scores. Some people can't write. I know it's not PC to say that someone's writing simply sucks, but that's a reality. For god's sake, don't encourage them to write more. Maybe over time, a good writer may improve his grammar or spelling; he may even improve his plot lines and the continuity of his stories. But if he doesn't start out understanding simple sentence structure or plot development, all the criticism in the world won't help him. We have some great stories on SOL and I thoroughly enjoy them. But we have many stories that are the equivalent of "See Spot fuck. Fuck Spot, fuck!" Don't encourage mediocrity.

awnlee jawking

@red61544

We'll have to disagree on that. When a story would be better if the paragraphs were less than a page long, or the tense didn't keep changing, or it's not clear who is doing or saying what to whom, I think it's better to tell the author.

I appreciate such criticism myself. For example, I would probably never have realised I'm susceptible to dangling participles if a reader hadn't told me.

AJ

Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

susceptible to dangling participles


the big problem with them is when they break and fall on you.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

the big problem with them is when they break and fall on you.


Aha, that would explain my headaches and brain damage!

AJ

samuelmichaels

@awnlee jawking

I appreciate such criticism myself. For example, I would probably never have realised I'm susceptible to dangling participles if a reader hadn't told me.


Let them dangle, I say! Better for the participles to swing free than be confined in a stuffy subordinate clause.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

We'll have to disagree on that. When a story would be better if the paragraphs were less than a page long, or the tense didn't keep changing, or it's not clear who is doing or saying what to whom, I think it's better to tell the author.

That's who he sees as the great 'not to be encouraged'. He thinks they're SO bad, he'd rather NOT encourage them to get any better!

Ross at Play

@red61544

if he doesn't start out understanding ... Don't encourage mediocrity.

I partially agree, but please don't be too hasty in making that kind of judgement. I think whether feedback encourages improvement or mediocrity depends largely on the experience of the writer.
***
For someone's first effort I would try to stress the things they have well done, or are at least working. I would try to avoid identifying problems unless I had some constructive suggestion they could use to improve.
For authors with some experience, I am disinclined to bother if I cannot see some basic level of competence for most things. If I perceive their attitude is "this is good enough for me", my attitude is generally "you are not good enough for me", i.e. I can't be bothered if you are not trying. And yes, I have seen first efforts bad enough to make that call straight away.
For authors who appear to be doing their best, I try to be very forgiving of not knowing things yet, or unable to detect problems in their writing. My assumption is such authors are welcoming of both positive and negative comments, but I should be specific about why I am making all comments.
***
I recently had a wake-up call about just how much there is to learn to just reach basic levels of competence.
I wrote my first ever story eight months ago. I did not even know volunteer editors existed until after completing the draft. I worked hard on it, sought advice from a number of others, and produced something I was proud of with few blatant errors.
I did not post it. I found out my group of main characters were largely indistinguishable, and I needed to learn a lot about character development before I could produce anything that would do justice to my plot ideas.
I recently started a rewrite of that story from scratch. I was astonished when I looked at the original draft after some months. I found the language dull and verbose. I wanted to throttle the author screaming, "Stop telling me this shit. Show me some characters!". I exaggerate a bit. It did have some great moments; it's just that there was so much tedium in between them.
***
To red61544: I try to encourage mediocrity, with signs of effort by newer writers. I tend to give up on writers who seem only interested in the story they want to tell, without concern for the way it is told as well.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


That's who he sees as the great 'not to be encouraged'. He thinks they're SO bad, he'd rather NOT encourage them to get any better!


Yes, if they are not trying to get better for themselves, why bother encouraging them?

How does that great line go? ... You can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make her think.

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

A writer can be a great storyteller despite being ignorant of the basic mechanics of story construction. I think those people are worth encouraging - the help of editors and proofreaders may well turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.

This touches on something that came up in my local writers' group. The course junkies were adamant that, if they went on enough courses, anyone could be taught to become a great writer. That's not an opinion I share.

AJ

docholladay

I may have a funny attitude, but anytime I send a PM/Feedback or an Email to a writer. They have the right to be able to respond via Email or PM to me as well. I have also had nice individual discussions of an opinion or an idea. Lots of those would have been missed entirely if I had taken the anonymous route. Even sites which default to anonymous feedback, I include my email just so its available for replies.

ustourist

@awnlee jawking

A writer can be a great storyteller despite being ignorant of the basic mechanics of story construction.

I would consider some of those to be instances where there should be collaboration between those who can tell a story and a wordsmith who can write one.
It isn't as if that isn't already commonplace in other areas of 'fiction', with politicians / athletes /so called celebrities who can't string a sentence together using a ghost writer to write an 'autobiography' which omits anything even slightly detrimental but includes a lot of fantasy.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

This touches on something that came up in my local writers' group. The course junkies were adamant that, if they went on enough courses, anyone could be taught to become a great writer. That's not an opinion I share.

There are ... hundreds of intelligent college professors, cranking out one paper after another on "How to Write", yet virtually none has ever written a best-selling novel. Knowledge does not equal a knack. It's always been said: Great Writers are born, not trained. It takes a feel for language, a familiarity with technique and an ability to communicate one-to-one with readers which few possess.

Replies:   samuelmichaels
samuelmichaels

@Crumbly Writer

Great Writers are born, not trained.


Here I must disagree. Yes, some authors seem to be born with the talent; their first book shows enormous promise, even genius.

I have seen however people who start as mediocre, writing competent but frankly boring books. Back in the day when midlist was a thing, many of them stopped after one of two books. Some, however, persevered, honing their craft, selling just enough to be picked up for another book. A few of those became truly exceptional authors, where their book 30 or forty actually became one of my favorites of all times (and won awards, etc.) Only a few, but it shows there is more than one path to greatness.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
JPanyon
Updated:

Let me explain MY frustration. I am a long time registered member of the site. I was logged into the site, just like always. I used my legitimate email address, as it's the same as my anonymous address. I clicked on the provided button in the author's feedback request form. SOL let me fill out the message form. THEN, when I tried to send the message via the provided button, I got the (for me) usual notice that the Author does not accept anonymous email. Which means I have to go log into my email, wade through a ton of junk, find the message from SOL, click on the confirmation link and HOPE that the message gets through the convoluted pathway to the recipient, as there is NEVER a notification that the email was actually received. Good Grief!

So, just how in Hades do I make myself NON-anonymous? Perhaps I'm more senile than I already believe and have some parameter at my end mis-configured? Perhaps I should just keep my mouth shut when someone suggests they could use some advice?

Thanks, in advance, for any advice...(grin)

John Panyon (JPanyon)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@samuelmichaels

I have seen however people who start as mediocre, writing competent but frankly boring books. Back in the day when midlist was a thing, many of them stopped after one of two books. Some, however, persevered, honing their craft, selling just enough to be picked up for another book. A few of those became truly exceptional authors, where their book 30 or forty actually became one of my favorites of all times (and won awards, etc.) Only a few, but it shows there is more than one path to greatness.

Sorry, I should have clarified, but by "born into it", I meant your second category, those whose story shows promise. For everyone who has the capacity needs to keep at it, as it takes a long time, both to learn, and also to hit on a winning combination that captures the public eye.

In the old days of traditional publishing only, we never saw anyone until they'd been writing for years, honing their skills, now we see the raw talent, cranking out weak novels as they struggle with their craft, but generally, you can tell by their very first story if they're decent storytellers or not. Plus, with a big publisher, a decent editor can make a world of difference (assuming they get along well).

Crumbly Writer

@JPanyon

So, just how in Hades do I make myself NON-anonymous?

If Lazeez is true to his word, hopefully that's been (will be) solved. If only members can send messages, and Lazeez forces everyone to send signed mail (i.e. he attaches their email to it, or alternately, allows authors to contact them through SOL), then you wouldn't need to 'confirm' your email. If your email didn't work, your message would never be sent.

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