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Why a Rating of '1' for a story?

REP

For some time I have wondered about the '1' ratings that a number of readers have given my stories. Granted some people don't like my writing, but a '1' rating seems to be an extreme way to express it. Especially if they don't provide feedback about what they didn't like.

I posted my first story in March 2014, so I am a relatively new author. I like a good rating for my effort, but it is not my primary reason for writing. I can live with the fact that some people give my story a very low score because they don't like the storyline or how I write (i.e., you will never please everyone). If the story or my writing deserves a '1' then so be it; I earned it.

However, there is one thing I have observed about my '1' ratings that really angers me. Shortly after I started posting stories, I posted the Introduction and first chapter of a new story. A couple of hours later, I checked my stats and found that someone had given it a '1'. That seemed odd to me, so I checked my stats shortly after posting my next couple of stories. In almost every case, I received a '1' rating within 24 hours.

What angers me about that is I can see someone going through the listing of new stories and giving all of our stories a '1' rating without even reading the stories. I imagine that person gets some sort of perverted pleasure out of skewing a story's rating.

Has anyone else noticed this deliberate low rating for no apparent reason?

REP

Dominions Son

@REP


Has anyone else noticed this deliberate low rating for no apparent reason?


From what I have seen personally and heard from other authors is that most of the 1s come from readers who ignore the codes, and then punish the author with a 1 when the story squicks them.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@REP

Has anyone else noticed this deliberate low rating for no apparent reason?


We all have.

I may have one unique situation that's even more absurd. I provided feedback to an author. I meant it as constructive, but I guess this guy only wanted to hear how great he was doing.

The day after I sent the feedback, all my stories received a new 1 vote. I can't prove it was him, but it sure was coincidental.

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer

@Switch Blayde

Similar tale here. I let an author know that he needed to code for MM gay sex. He 1-bombed both of my stories and went on a rant about me being a homophobe. Ridiculous assertion to anyone who knows me IRL, or even knows me on FB.

KinkyWinks

I thought I had pissed someone off because I got two 1's. I blamed one on Wheezer :) but have no idea where the other one came from.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@KinkyWinks

I blamed one on Wheezer :) but have no idea where the other one came from.


maybe he voted under another name as well!! - just kidding

Replies:   Wheezer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

From what I have seen personally and heard from other authors is that most of the 1s come from readers who ignore the codes, and then punish the author with a 1 when the story squicks them.

That's a case of 'accidental squicks', when someone unintentionally reads the wrong story, however, many readers will go out of their way to attack any story they dislike. This is especially true for gay or anal stories. Things like incest and WS tend to get more of the 'accidental exposure' reactions (i.e. they don't complain unless surprised by it).

In my case, a couple readers decided I was part of the vast left-wing conspiracy because I included a reference to FOX News. They've proceeded to post 1-bombs to my stories ever since. What's strange, though, is they always adjust their rating within days of each chapter (nudging it up or down a point), so it shows they're actually loyal readers who follow each chapter I post, but they're registering their political opinions by bludgening authors with their opinions.

It's a common problem, just not of SOL, but with any rating system.

Replies:   aerosick
aerosick

@Crumbly Writer

they always adjust their rating within days of each chapter (nudging it up or down a point),


How can you tell this? Do you have a way to see which reader has voted?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@aerosick

How can you tell this? Do you have a way to see which reader has voted?

I can see when the 1-bombs are delivered. Since I don't get many, they stand out like sore thumbs. When I post an exciting chapter, all my 1 votes will jump to 3s, and drop back down when the action subsides. From that, it seems clear they're reading regularly, rather than just voting for a story they have no interest in reading ("Not worth reading" is the definition of a 1 vote).

Wheezer

@Ernest Bywater

maybe he voted under another name as well!! - just kidding


I've never voted any story on SOL lower than a 5. Anything less and I do not vote.

Ernest Bywater

@Wheezer

I've never voted any story on SOL lower than a 5. Anything less and I do not vote.


I know, that's why i figured it'd be good for a joke.

sejintenej

@Wheezer

I've never voted any story on SOL lower than a 5. Anything less and I do not vote.

That goes for me too. A story can be well written, gripping with plenty of hooks and it will get a high score, badly written from those points of view and it goes down (typos etc affect the score also) but if it simply doesn't "suit" me I stop reading and don't score. (I have just read a chapter in a well written story where the author has prefaced that chapter by stating that it was unedited and that any errors were his; there were typos but in the circumstances they were forgivable)

Going back to the older argument I do score chapter by chapter because I almost always go for the very long stories which, at my pace, take weeks to finish (if ever - Arlene & Jeff!). Some chapters are better than others but I do try to score on the story to date rather than the latest chapter.

Replies:   aerosick
aerosick

@sejintenej

...take weeks to finish (if ever - Arlene & Jeff!). Some chapters are better than others but I do try to score on the story to date rather than the latest chapter.


One of the 1st books I read when I joined here. When a reader changes their original score, does it show up or is the original score locked in place?

Ernest Bywater

@aerosick

in the current system (some years old) the score is adjusted and the old one replaced with the new one.

Crumbly Writer

@aerosick

One of the 1st books I read when I joined here. When a reader changes their original score, does it show up or is the original score locked in place?

There's a long history behind this feature. In short, in the old days, readers only voted once. However, since the votes were tied to cookies, the cookies would eventually expire, and readers learned they could vote again after a certain amount of time (or if they used a separate device/account).

Lazeez changed the mechanism, so now it tracks your votes based on your account, but any changes are to the score itself. So if you first voted a 7, and then vote a 9 for an exciting chapter, your vote--until you change it--is a 9. That's why, after voting for each chapter, you should always give the final story a comprehensive vote for the entire story, so new readers have an honest evaluation of the story as a whole.

Daydreamz

I reckon a lot of 1-voters just want *their* rating to count more than if they only voted a 4 or whatever their real opinion is. Who knows though. It's a trolls' charter providing the 1 option, really.

richardshagrin

If you really, really hate a story, its ok to vote the way you feel, even if its a one. The top and bottom 5% of all votes get discarded, so the occasional one or ten have virtually no effect, as long as the voter is not part of the majority.

Replies:   DerAndy
Dicrostonyx

There's an oddity of human psychology that we tend to subconsciously expect good things to happen. Thus, when something bad or unexpected happens, we really notice and remember it, but with positive results an event has to be truly exceptionable to really be noticed.

In business, especially retail and service, this effect is generally taught with the idea that a customer with a poor experience will tend to tell ten people, on average, whereas someone who has a very positive experience will likely only tell one other person.

For reviews and such, unless someone is trained as a critic or uses a specific system for generating scores, this tends to mean that scores will tend towards the lower end. Any bad experience with a story could conceivably rate a 1, but a story needs to be absolutely perfect to rate a 10. The bad experience doesn't need to be a squick.

For example, if someone who previously enjoyed a story doesn't like the ending, or an event part way through, they might rate it a 1 and stop reading. This isn't necessarily punitive, the reader feels like they have invested time and emotional energy into a character or situation which has been rendered irrelevant. Most people will give ratings based on how they feel at that time, not by comparing the story to other things they've read or on any consistent scale.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dicrostonyx

For reviews and such, unless someone is trained as a critic or uses a specific system for generating scores, this tends to mean that scores will tend towards the lower end. Any bad experience with a story could conceivably rate a 1, but a story needs to be absolutely perfect to rate a 10. The bad experience doesn't need to be a squick.

Except, the observed phenomenon here on SOL is that everyone votes high. Readers typically vote in the 7 to 10 range, and only vote 5 is they really dislike a story. That's why Lazeez had to adjust the scores several times to bring them back to a 'normal' distribution curve.

The 1-bombs, though, are truly outliers, as only a handful of trolls seem to register them, and in that case, they go directly from 5 to 1, with nary a stop in between.

aerosick

My 1-Bomb showed up 2 days after I posted my story.

My Codes are: True Story, Humor, Workplace

Yes, I call it a story. It's the *TRUE* story of my life's work.

I never got any Feedback from them ever!!!

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@aerosick

I never got any Feedback from them ever!!!

In my case, they (the 1-bombers) were very explicit. They insisted that I change my story to suit their political philosophy. When I refused, doubling down by going on the attack, they got nasty.

Still, they're loyal readers, following each chapter as it comes out, so I can't really hold it against them. Just like their political leaders, they feel entitled to inflict their personal views on everyone around them. But the story was never political, I just used a news station as a foil in a story, and they took offense to it.

Not knowing why you're being attacked has got to be rough. It could be anything, from use of 1st person (many readers hate that) to your story telling style to your philosophical bent.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

In my case, they (the 1-bombers) were very explicit. They insisted that I change my story to suit their political philosophy. When I refused, doubling down by going on the attack, they got nasty.

sick sick sick

Grant

@REP

For some time I have wondered about the '1' ratings that a number of readers have given my stories.

Some people are dick heads.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@Grant

Some people are dick heads.


I just think of them as bullies looking for a victim.

DerAndy

@richardshagrin

Of course it's ok to vote a one for a story that's really bad. As in badly written, not as in containing topics I don't like and were mentioned in the codes. But that's not what tends to happen for most of us.

In my case, well, I post stories with contents such as BDSM and scatology. Such stories tend to get voted down much more than those with "safe" topics. It's probably the same with codes like MM, but I don't like those very much so I don't read (or vote) them.

I'm always wondering if that's because the reader did not read the codes and description and was surprised by the content, or if they read them and go to the story specifically to one-bomb it.

Dominions Son

@DerAndy

I'm always wondering if that's because the reader did not read the codes and description and was surprised by the content, or if they read them and go to the story specifically to one-bomb it.


I have stories with similar content. I actually had one reader write that such things even when coded for should be mentioned in passing as something that happened off stage.

Dominions Son

@DerAndy

In my case, well, I post stories with contents such as BDSM and scatology.


What's you pseudonym? I might be interested in your stories.

Replies:   DerAndy
Argon

@DerAndy

Some of it may be over compensation. They read the story, they like it - even feel aroused - but they feel guilty for it. Maybe because BDSM is dirty, maybe because they are in their closet full of Angst, maybe they are afraid to be "one of those" who like "that". To absolve themselves of their feelings of guilt, they 1-bomb the offending story to show (to themselves) that they are not really "such a person". Okay, that's straight from the Reader's Digest Abbridged Edition of "Psychology Today" :o))
My personal bane were the "burn the bitch" faction who protested in this original way against any reconciliations between straying lovers. Yet, as already stated by others, they were avid followers of the stories even sending feedback explaining their motives. Illuminating but tiresome and it gets worse the more readers you attract.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
The Slim Rhino

Down-voting seems to be rampant lately. I'm not too hung up on ratings, but I do for instance avoid stories below 7.0, because they are often - pardon my French - s**t. Unfortunately I've seen good stories being blasted lately. You know, you see a story rated 7.9 and the next day it's 7.2 for no apparent reason.

The hint I can give is - post several chapters at once. The negative impact will be less in that case.

Crumbly Writer

@Argon

Illuminating but tiresome and it gets worse the more readers you attract.

I might jinx myself by admitting this, but I haven't noticed my traditional 1-bombers on my newest story. Either they've gotten over their anger, they're upset about other political discussions (highly lightly), or they just don't don't frequent FS.

However, as bad as it is here, the trolls are worse on Amazon. There are a number of "Reviewers", who've posted hundreds of reviews, who've never reviewed any book higher than a 1, including all the literary classics. They're just working out their anger at the world, at other's expense. In short, they're bullies, pure and simple.

DerAndy

@Dominions Son

I have two here. Currently I'm working on a story where I'm experimenting with my ability to write with little plot and more porn under the pseudonym "Dark Fantasy". Needs editing though.

A few years ago I started working on a story with actual plot and character development under the pseudonym "Felix Bauer", unfortunately it's currently inactive after some bad things happened in my real life which would probably have led to me killing off all my characters just because of my mood. I'm starting to get the itch to resume the story, however. ^^

Dominions Son

@DerAndy

I have two here. Currently I'm working on a story where I'm experimenting with my ability to write with little plot and more porn under the pseudonym "Dark Fantasy". Needs editing though.


Thanks. I was already following Hell Week.

Replies:   DerAndy
DerAndy

@Dominions Son

Ah, that's you! :D

Switch Blayde

@DerAndy

I'm experimenting with my ability to write with little plot and more porn under the pseudonym "Dark Fantasy".


Why limit the plot? You can have a lot of sex AND plot.

Replies:   DerAndy  Crumbly Writer
DerAndy
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

True, but I wanted it to be more like a fantasy and at least for me my sexual fantasies tend to have litte plot. :)

Let's say, this is a story about sex with some plot thrown in to hold it together. The other one is a story about people with some sex thrown in for fun. ^^

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Why limit the plot? You can have a lot of sex AND plot.

There's a difference between sex (which is a form of 'action scene') and a plot which spans a story. The sex scenes help to further the plot and define the characters, but they don't really move a story forward. It's the plot which gets readers to come back after the first five minutes.

Replies:   Switch Blayde  DerAndy
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

The sex scenes help to further the plot and define the characters, but they don't really move a story forward.


I believe sex scenes in the erotica genre move the story forward just like romance scenes move the story forward in the romance genre.

In erotica, you can't remove the sex and still have a story. What I hear ranted about here is gratuitous sex thrown into a story rather than it being integral to the story.

Clee_Hill

Score bombing - ugh!

For some reason I seem to attract a lot of it, perhaps because in my Simon and Trudi story, the usual thing of a teacher and his teenaged student actually have sex doesn't happen, though there are lots of other things going on and the dance around the whole thing rather nicely. Which is the whole point, actually. Also, the story is slow, character development is gradual, and Simon's use of langauge is pretentious and elusive.

That said, I don't know why I get bombed every time I post another section of the story, but I do.

Once I posted a new chapter, got score-bombed, bemoaned this in the blog, and then got score-bombed again! I presume the reader of my blog (why read if you don't like what I do?) didn't care for my calling attention to score-bombing.

So I'm afraid the short version is score-bombing happens no matter what you write, and there's no way to stop it unless you choose to disable voting.

My attitude is the person who score-bombs me isn't the person my story is for in the first place, so their opinion isn't worth anything, and I refuse to let them annoy me that much.

Salut!

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
DerAndy

@Crumbly Writer

The sex scenes help to further the plot and define the characters, but they don't really move a story forward. It's the plot which gets readers to come back after the first five minutes.


That's the challenge. :)

Sorry for getting off topic.

Crumbly Writer

@Clee_Hill

For some reason I seem to attract a lot of it, perhaps because in my Simon and Trudi story, the usual thing of a teacher and his teenaged student actually have sex doesn't happen, though there are lots of other things going on and the dance around the whole thing rather nicely. Which is the whole point, actually. Also, the story is slow, character development is gradual, and Simon's use of langauge is pretentious and elusive.

You may be right about why they're 1-bombing your story, but it sounds like it's a matter of setting the wrong expectations. If the story has no actual sex in it, but lots of innuendo, I'd suggest moving it to FS, where there wouldn't be the same expectations. I'd also list is as either "no sex" or "little sex", so readers know up front what to expect. It may be that you have hundreds of fans, waiting for something which may never come, and are voting you down for how long you're taking to develop the wrong story.

Try adding a blog post and a new tag-line in your story description, describing that the story was intended as a tease where no actual sex takes place. You may get fewer readers, but you'll get fewer 1-bombs (hopefully).

Story descriptions are one of the essential pieces of a story, as are the story codes. They're what targets your audience, letting them know what to expect, and it reminds you to keep the story focused on what you initially promised, rather than on side plots and story drift. If it's not covered by the story description, it's probably excess fluff which can be cut to make the story more focused.

Jim S
Updated:

This thread points out the value of good reviewers. I've been here for about 6 years and found myself relying on a few reviewers with whom I've agreed, this after reading the story they reviewed. This is the main reason I became a reviewer myself, i.e. hoping to provide some guidance for what I consider misgraded stories when I find them. Sorry that I'm not an author (don't know that I have the patience to write, along with being too much of a perfectionist) and I hope you creative geniuses will forgive me invading your topic area.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Jim S

I hope you creative geniuses will forgive me invading your topic area.

This area is concerning with "author issues", but is hardly limited to authors, just as the "Editor/Reviewer" section is limited to editors or reviewers.

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