Reviewing (meaning leaving comments on stories) is one of the more anxiety-provoking and frustrating aspects of fandom participation, in my experience. I frequently see newbies lament that their stories aren't receiving comments; authors sometimes stop posting to or leave entirely from sites where they feel that their work isn't receiving adequate comments. I know few authors who haven't marveled (or lamented) over the discrepancy between their read count and review count and wonder what made those precious few readers decide to comment.
As an author, of course, I am interested in reviews because I like getting feedback on my work. As a site owner/moderator, I am also interested in reviews because I want the sites I'm involved in to feel like active, welcoming communities to those who choose to share their work there, and I know that a site where stories are answered with only silence will not thrive.
I have umpteen theories about what motivates reviewing and even more opinions on the issue. I'm going to resist stating them now because 1) I am more interested in seeing how others' experiences/opinions align or don't align with mine and 2) I don't have the time right now to give adequate attention to the discussion I know will ensue. I'd very much appreciate fannish types--whether you're an author, reader, or both--answering the poll below about reviewing. FYI, I have set the poll so that individual responses are not visible to all and sundry. (Dreamwidth won't let me set it so that even I can't see individual replies, else I'd do that; instead, I can only ask participants to trust that I'm not interested and won't be viewing individual responses.) Please do feel free to elaborate in the comments as much as you'd like! For the record, I'll likely be using this poll data and comments (with permission, if I mention individuals, of course) for a Heretic Loremaster post sometime in the near future.
This is cross-posted to Dreamwidth, as always. I'd appreciate if you'd reply to the poll in one place only! :) Also, because I built this is Dreamwidth and then replicated it here, some of the questions had to be divided into two parts, since LJ doesn't allow as many items as DW does.
How important are reviews/comments to you when determining where to post your writing?
Very important--I don't post on sites where I don't receive adequate reviews.
Important--the number of reviews I receive is a primary factor in determining where I post.
Somewhat important--the number of reviews I receive is a consideration in determining where I post.
Not important--I don't consider the number of reviews I receive at all when deciding where to post.
How frequently do you leave comments on the stories that you read?
Always or almost always (90-100%)
Which of the following are reasons you comment on stories? (Check all that apply. Please comment with reasons I didn't include.)
I enjoyed the story and want to tell the author.
I didn't enjoy the story and want to tell the author.
I want to provide concrit to help the author improve.
I want to ask the author a question or engage in a discussion with the author.
Commenting on stories is an important way for me to contribute to the community.
The author is a friend.
I enjoy the author's work and want to encourage her to post more.
I want to encourage the author.
I want other readers to be able to see what I thought about the story.
I want my comments to help other readers to decide whether or not to read a story.
I would like the author to read and comment on my stories as well.
The author commented on one of my stories, so I am returning the favor.
I want to respond to other comments made on the author's story.
I found a typo or mistake and want to point it out to the author.
I would like to build a friendship or open up communication with the author.
A reader you don't know leaves a lengthy and insightful comment on one of your stories. What are you most likely to do? Check all that apply.
Reply to or thank the person.
View the person's profile.
Look at the list of stories the person has written.
Read a story by the author, if it interests me.
Read a story by the author, whether or not it interests me.
Comment on a story by the author, if it interests me.
Comment on a story by the author, whether or not it interests me.
Do you think you're more likely to comment on a story written by someone who frequently comments on your work?
Which of the following are reasons you choose to read a particular story? (Check all that apply. Please comment with reasons I didn't include.)
The summary sounds interesting.
The story is about characters, plot events, or time periods that interest me.
I generally enjoy work by the author.
I have heard others recommend the author.
The story is nominated for or won an award.
I read all stories posted to a particular community, list, or site.
The author is a friend.
The author has asked for feedback on the story.
The author has read and commented on my stories.
Comments left on the story pique my curiosity.
Continued: Which of the following are reasons you choose to read a particular story? (Check all that apply. Please comment with reasons I didn't include.)
I have heard that the story is really badly written.
I want to learn more about a particular character, plot event, or time period.
The story was recommended to me.
The author is popular or generally well-liked.
The story is controversial.
I generally dislike work by the author.
I want to form a friendship or open up communication with the author.
Which of the following are reasons you DON'T comment on stories? (Check all that apply. Please comment with reasons I didn't include.)
I don't have time.
I don't feel like I have anything important to say about the story.
I don't want to think hard enough about the story to come up with a good comment.
I'm just reading for relaxation or enjoyment.
I don't know the author.
I didn't like the story.
I don't feel like I have anything nice to say about the story.
I don't have any concrit or suggestions for the author.
I enjoyed the story so much that I don't feel I can put into words why I liked it so much.
The story has a lot of comments already.
Continued: Which of the following are reasons you DON'T comment on stories? (Check all that apply. Please comment with reasons I didn't include.)
The story has a lot of insightful comments, and I don't feel like I can say anything comparably insightful.
The author is popular and my comment won't matter to her.
I liked the story but I don't like the author.
The author has never commented on my work.
I don't want to encourage the author.
I don't believe the author will care what I think.
Do you think you're more likely to comment on a story written by someone familiar to you (either a friend or someone very active and visible in the community)?