Ten Brief Ways To Comment on Fic For People Who are Nervous To Comment on Fic

I’ve seen a few conversations lately about commenting on fic and how to do it if you get shy or anxious or don’t know what to say, or what to do if you’ve already kudosed a fic and wish you could kudos it a second time. 

 1) "Just read this for a second time!”
2) “I loved this!”
2) “<3″
4) “This was great!”
5) “One of my favorites!”
6) “Extra kudos!”
7) Reply to another comment with “all of this!″ or “+1″
8) “Will definitely recommend this!”
9) “This was my favorite part: [paste quote]”
10) “Thanks for writing this!” 

No one will be angry if you leave a short comment.  Your comment doesn’t have to be different or unique.  It will still bring a smile to people’s faces! 

Another great thing you can do is add a fic to your bookmarks with a “favorites” selection (the little heart).  You don’t have to say anything and the author will know you cared enough to let other people know you liked it, because bookmarks often function as reclists to others. 

You can also post a link to the fic on tumblr or another social media site!  Even if you’re too shy to tell the author how much you liked it, telling other people to read it will bring more readers, and maybe one of them will say just what you couldn’t say. 

Let’s hear it for lurkers

So apparently round umpty-zillion of “people are killing fandom by not commenting” is going around, and I’ve seen a few posts trashing people for lurking/viewing/reading instead of actively participating.

My journal and my fic has always been a lurker-friendly zone. I think lurkers are great and people can fight me on this. Here’s why:

We all started out as lurkers. Or at least most of us did. Come on. I’m sure some people out there must’ve jumped into fandom with both feet and started writing and commenting right away, and good for you if you did! But I sure didn’t. I lurked for YEARS. And even now, though I’ve been in fandom since before Y2K, whenever I get into a new fandom or a new social media platform, I still lurk. I hang out around the fringes for awhile to get a feeling for the place before starting to participate. Back in the mailing list/bulletin board days, it was usually recommended that people do that on purpose, watch and listen and learn the local lingo and social rules before diving in. So you know what? You are not doing anything wrong and you are not doing anything that most of the people you see out there commenting and creating and reccing things haven’t done themselves.

We all have lurker days, weeks, months …. Nobody is 100% “on” all the time. Participating in fandom (commenting, reccing, creating content, and so forth) is WORK. It may be fun work, but it still takes effort! Even if you’re sometimes very active in fandom, then you’ll have life fall on your head or the brain weasels flare up, and you won’t have the time and energy to give. Don’t feel guilty about not being able to give fandom your extra spoons. No one in fandom has a right to demand a single spoon from you that you don’t want to give.

Some of today’s lurkers may be your friends tomorrow. How do I know this? Because I’ve made friends with some of them myself! I’ve had people delurk in my comments to say hi after YEARS of reading my fanfic without saying a word. Which I am totally okay with, by the way. And some of these people are good friends today.

So, in conclusion:

  • It is okay to feel too shy to come out of lurkerhood in fandom until you feel more comfortable there. It is fine, in fact, if you never do.
  • It is okay to be too busy and have too few spoons to comment or create stuff. You still have a perfect right to be in fandom and read and reblog whatever you want.
  • It is okay if you meant to comment on that fic or go back and press the kudos button but never got around to it.
  • It is okay if you have too many accounts already and don’t want to create a new one just to comment/participate on a social media platform. 
  • It is okay if your personal situation (a stalker ex, controlling parents) makes it unsafe for you to create an account or comment on things.
  • It is okay if you can’t or don’t want to comment or do any of the other things that constitute non-lurkerhood, and you don’t owe anyone an explanation for why.
On Feedback and Perspective

Recently I’ve seen a number of posts on the subject of giving feedback to writers / artists / creators, and I wanted to add a few thoughts of my own.

First a confession: For the longest time, I was really, really bad about leaving feedback. Not because I didn’t enjoy the stories (I did) or because I didn’t think the writers deserved some appreciation (they do!), but purely because as a reader, I really had no insight on what it’s like on the other side of the “Comment” button.

Now that I have started sending my own writing babes into the world, I have a very different perspective (and am now trying my best to leave feedback on everything I enjoyed). So I thought I’d make a little reference guide on “What I (the Reader) Believed Writers Think About Feedback” vs. “What I (the Writer) Now Know They Really Think”. Maybe you’ll recognize yourself somewhere in there, too…

Reader comments: I loved it :-)

The Reader believed: Eh. Why are you bothering me? I have important writer things to do.

But the Writer knows: I am so happy to hear that, thank you for taking the time to tell me!

Reader comments: This was so funny / sad / hot!

The Reader believed: I know. That was the point. Why are you bothering me? I have important writer things to do.

But the Writer knows: I made you have a feeling! I made a thing and it touched you! YesYesYes! Thank you for taking the time to tell me that!

Reader leaves kudos / comment on a story that is older than two weeks

The Reader believed: Geez, that one’s ancient. Why are you bothering me? I have important writer things to do.

But the Writer knows: Someone is still reading and enjoying that story! That is so awesome! Thank you for taking the time to tell me that!

Reader leaves kudos on every story in the series / comments on every chapter in the story

The Reader believed: That’s a bit creepy. Please don’t be a stalker.

But the Writer knows: They read one thing and liked it so much they read the others, too, and they liked all of them! Thank you, lovely person, for making my day!

Reader writes long, burbling comment full of exclamation marks!!! and emoticons :-))))) because THEY LOVE IT SO MUCH

The Reader believed: What are you, three? If you expect me to take you seriously, try talking like an adult, please. Also why are you bothering me? I have important writer things to do.


(Okay, so I haven’t actually had that last one happen to me, but I imagine that is what my reaction would be. Except I probably wouldn’t be quite so restrained.)

Anyone else have that experience? Feel free to add your own :-)

Sometimes I’ll be off doing stuff - laundry, errands, work, hanging with friends - and then check AO3 and see that I’ve gotten kudos on something or will get an email about a comment and it never fails to blow my mind a little, that while I’m sorting socks or buying broccoli someone has been reading something I’ve written and gotten something out of it. It doesn’t matter how many times it happens. It is a thrill and an honor and a source of happiness every. single. time.

Thank you, all of you, who have ever left kudos and comments for any of us. It’s such a gift.


Doctor Strange Promo Clip - Civil War Cure

In love with this video. Benedict is sooooo funny!!

Dear reader…

…you like a story. You leave kudos and bookmark the fic. You’ve heard over and over again that authors feel discouraged and unappreciated when no one comments, and you feel guilty knowing that you should do so but it just feels too intimidating or you don’t know how to start.

Here are some easy ways to start (and a lot of these scripts you can mix and match or even just copy and paste if you’re not up to ad libbing!):

  • <3 [optional: add extra 3′s or <3′s in proportion to your love]
  • Thank you!
  • I really liked/loved this story. 
  • This chapter was fantastic!
  • I want to wrap [character] in a blanket burrito and feed [them] cookies and hot chocolate.
  • !!!
  • [character] is my favorite./I hate [character].
  • I’m always excited when I see you’ve updated.
  • OH. MY. GOD.
  • Wow. I wasn’t expecting [surprise/plot twist]
  • This is  [hilarious/sweet/adorable/heartwrenching/terrifying]

Commenting gets easier the more you do it, and there’s nothing wrong with having core scripts to work from.

  • me: *commenting on non-fanfiction stories* Perfect grammar, no spelling mistakes, no caps, no bad word-usage and no fangirling

I’ll be the first one to admit that I prefer comments to kudos, but have you guys ever stopped and thought about what all those kudos add up to?

Let’s say you have a fic that got 50 kudos. That is 50 individual people who read it and liked it. 50 human beings. Imagine 50 people standing in your living room. Go on, imagine it. Now imagine all those people are applauding you.

Sometimes it boggles my mind. Some of my fics have over 100 kudos. One of them has over 300. Over 300 people have read my words! And liked them! THAT’S SO AMAZING.

Comments are great. Comments are what keeps me going. But sometimes I just have to step back and think about the audience that fandom gives me, and how wonderful it feels that people even read the things I create. I’m grateful for every single reader. <3

A Homestuck's Guide to Fanfic Commenting Etiquette

Leaving comments on things one likes is the most basic way to participate in a fandom. Kudos and Like buttons helpfully convey the most basic of thanks, but at times one wants to leave something with more substance. However, sometimes one may find oneself at a loss as to how to leave a good comment – perhaps one is feeling tongue-tied or particularly anxious about social interactions, and is worried about how to proceed without embarassing oneself or offending the person one intends to compliment.

Or, perhaps, one is already an enthusiastic commenter but has been gently guided here by a kind friend or stranger as a polite way of saying ‘Please step up your game’. 

In either case, this guide is for you.

Keep reading

Can we talk about A03 comment culture?

I’ve been writing on A03 for ages (AGES!  Since APRIL!–note heavy sarcasm), and what I’ve noticed periodically is that people will lament the general comment culture. Either they’re too short, or the author doesn’t reply to them… or there’s this shyness about giving concrit.  I do appreciate the general positive vibe of most comments, but I sometimes feel like the need for one-note positivity means that you don’t get real conversations going on in the comments. I love a good long comment thread. I love the collaborative environment of fanfic.

But I’ve found that when I really want to talk to people, I wind up just giving them my email. It’s so disconnected: even tumblr’s not a perfect platform for conversation. It’s almost a platform for self-advertisement. 

Where’s the conversation? I wind up befriending specific people and messaging them and giving out my email–or meeting up in group chats (hello, there, hydra trash party friends). But sometimes it feels like the atmosphere of discussion around actual fic that I know affects people is just… lacking.

Thoughts on this?

I have a little request to anyone commenting on pictures/stories featuring Hades and Persephone - no matter what your opinion is on the orginal myth, remember that modern day retellings/works inspired by the mythology are not the same thing as the myth itself.

I saw it already a few times on tumblr - people shouting “You are romantizing rape/abduction/abuse” when they saw any work (a picture or a story) presenting Hades and Persephone in postive light, even when the work itself had Persephone follow Hades out of her own free will (no abduction) or didn’t give any details on the backstory at all.

You have to remember there is usually a degree of separation between the source material and new story/picture based on this material. Especially if author put an active effort into eliminating any elements of the original story that may seem problematic to the modern audience.

It’s ok to have your own opinion on the orginal myth, it’s ok to discuss it, but the work you are commenting on is a separate thing and it deserves to be judged separately.

If it’s a shitty picture then go on and write what you don’t like about it. If the story has flat characters or gloifies abuse by the way how the main character gets away with abusing their sigificant other then comment on this. If you want to discuss the orginal myth go on and create a new post about it, but don’t go crying “rape apologist” on anyone who slaps “Hades and Persephone” on their work.

[social sandbox] commenting! metrics!

Howdy everyone,

I attended the American Press Institute Innovative News Metrics Workshop yesterday in Chicago. The objective was to discuss and formulate better, more useful metrics to test with live news sites. 

Three simple takeaways:

1. I spoke with Tom Negrete, the former managing editor of the Sac Bee and now their Director of Innovation. He is partnering with Stanford University’s CS dept on several initiatives. Here’s an API Q&A with him on this. 

2. When we speak to student audiences, we should always ask them 1) How they’re getting their news and 2) What social networks they’re using? Often times, they’re hearing about stuff before we do — and it’s nice to know what’s new out there.

3. Talia Stroud of UT-Austin is going to start summarizing academic articles that are applicable to journalists in a clearinghouse, of sorts. 

Happy to share more info if you’d like. Have a whole list of it. Just email me. 

On commenting in the comment section on

Camila Domonoske writes “I was watching Adam Ragusea (from GPB) engage in the comments on his piece on Flint Dollar, the gay band director who lost his job in Georgia.


Adam had a LOT more back-and-forth with the audience than I usually see from reporters in our comments. It was really interesting to observe. A few things that struck me:

1.       Many members of the audience (though, of course, not all) seemed to really appreciate getting to talk with him about things that were outside the scope of the story, like supreme court cases he didn’t bring up in the piece.

2.       This comment from Adam, about his choice to ID himself as the author at the start of his comment: “Whenever I comment on a story I wrote, I always mention that fact straight away as a matter of disclosure. I used to just assume that people could see my full name in my user ID and connect that with the byline, but one time another commenter got really upset that I hadn’t explicitly disclosed my ties to the story, and after I thought about it for awhile, I figure she/he might be right. So, now I disclose in every comment.”

3.        And this one: “Note of disclosure: I do stories for NPR, but I am not employed by them, and I don’t speak for them.” (Both of those seemed great to me, and like they’d be good rules-of-thumb for anybody doing what Adam did,)

4.     I realized, watching him push people on their points and reply to their questions, that I spend a lot of time reading comments on NPR but almost never reply (except to acknowledge typos that were pointed out). I reply to people on Twitter all the time, but not in our comments. I suspect other people might be the same way.”

See something interesting? Working on a cool project? Let us know!!