Author Topic: commenting and comments  (Read 6480 times)

Listener

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on: October 16, 2007, 12:48:01 PM
After listening to "Results" this morning, I was thinking about what I wanted to say about it in the forums.  I remembered that, the last time I'd checked, there were two pages of comments.  Which led me to wonder:  if I read the comments before adding my own, would my own comments be different?

In my experience, it's good forum etiquette to read the posts that came before yours, so you don't inadvertently reopen a can of worms or ask a question that's already been answered.  But in reading comments threads, the act of observing changes the observer -- or, in this case, could change the opinion of the observer or the way s/he plans to comment.

What do you do?  Do you read the comments and then add your own; do you add your comment and then read the other ones and respond as you feel necessary; do you ever not comment on a story because someone else has already said exactly what you plan to say?

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Russell Nash

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Reply #1 on: October 16, 2007, 02:53:19 PM
I read everything in the thread first and then make my own comment if it will add to the discussion.



DDog

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Reply #2 on: October 17, 2007, 03:00:56 PM
I read the thread, but I have realized it can change my opinion of the story. Sometimes I end up liking a story more, sometimes less. But I've found that reading the thread usually takes me off the shallow level of just enjoying having a story to listen to and more into the meat of the story itself. Some stories are just fun to listen to (yay intelligent toothbrushes), while others that I'm not grabbed by as much (say, Sundial Brigade) I'm just happy to listen to.

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Planish

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Reply #3 on: October 24, 2007, 04:00:15 AM
In my experience, it's good forum etiquette to read the posts that came before yours, so you don't inadvertently reopen a can of worms or ask a question that's already been answered.  But in reading comments threads, the act of observing changes the observer -- or, in this case, could change the opinion of the observer or the way s/he plans to comment.
Kind of a Heisenberg's Cat situation, if I may mix my metaphors for a bit.

Initially I would have said yes, read everything that went on before first, which always I do.
For the most part, reading other peoples' reasons for liking a story typically causes me to raise my opinion of the story by 20% or so. It never causes me to lower it. So, for me there is a ratcheting effect.

OTOH — If one is treating the Episode Comment forums as a type of review or audience polling system, then it should be all about the story. The story should be judged as a thing by itself without commentary provided by others. If it *needs* explanation or additional context, then perhaps it was not as successful as it might have been, and the author would get a more realistic picture of how the story was received.

Already, as a result of  reading your post all the way through, my reply has changed from what it might have been, which illustrates your point.

On the gripping hand — No story is ever written or read in a vacuum. There is always some kind of context for it, especially in short works where there is no room for such frills as cultural background and history. Whether the context is provided before the reading or after it, is perhaps a moot point, especially if it is not the author that is providing it, but other listeners who presumably do not have insider information.

I'm thinking that the only result of posting first and reading comments later would be to increase the proportion of negative or merely "meh" comments. Bummer for the author. Why not focus on the positive aspects of the work, (provided there isn't something horribly offensive about the story)? At the same time, if reading other's comments causes me to enjoy a story a bit more, then yay for me. It's like having turkey leftovers on Tuesday.

Getting back to the purpose of the Episode Comments forums:
— If they are deemed to be a compilation of independently-written reviews or an audience opinion poll then I would say "Post first, read later".
— If they are deemed to be a sort of coffeehouse discussion and conversation, then I say "Read first, add comment later". That is the default etiquette for other forums, so I guess it's hard not to apply it to the Episode Comments forums as well.


Excellent topic, Listener

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eytanz

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Reply #4 on: November 09, 2007, 02:30:43 PM
I realize, ironically enough, that this is not really a new thread but an old one that's probably missing posts which I therefore can't read before responding, but I missed it the first time round, and I figure I have something to say.

Anyway, what I usually do - at least for new episodes, where the comment threads aren't very long and established - is I write my post first, without reading other people's posts, but then I go back and read all the other posts before pressing the "post" button. If my opinion changes, I will try to be explicit about my initial reaction versus my revised opinion.



FNH

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Reply #5 on: November 12, 2007, 12:05:48 PM
I usualy read the thread, but if it's gone over two pages, no way am I going to read all that.  Except in exceptional circumstances


Thaurismunths

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Reply #6 on: December 03, 2007, 04:27:52 AM

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


ajames

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Reply #7 on: December 12, 2007, 12:20:13 PM
Excellent topic.  I was thinking the other day that it would be nice to have a poll for each story.  This would allow Steve to get a better idea of how well received a specific story was, as the posts don't always serve this purpose, and would remove the dilemma of whether to post when you don't have anything unique to say about the story.

Personally, I say if your post is a stand alone post not aimed at starting a discussion or gathering information, such as "Great job, author!", you probably don't need to read the posts before you post a comment.  Otherwise, however, I would recommend reading the previous posts.  If no one has addressed the topic of your comment, then you've got a potential discussion starter.  If someone has, then you know where the discussion is and can adjust your comments accordingly.

What's more important, in my opinion, is listening to a story and thinking about it a bit before reading the posts.  If you've done this, then while reading the posts may still affect your opinions and change what you were going to post, the change should usually be for the better rather than otherwise.



Darwinist

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Reply #8 on: December 13, 2007, 03:33:58 AM
Excellent topic.  I was thinking the other day that it would be nice to have a poll for each story.  This would allow Steve to get a better idea of how well received a specific story was, as the posts don't always serve this purpose, and would remove the dilemma of whether to post when you don't have anything unique to say about the story.

I think the idea of having a poll for each story was brought up sometime last summer (for northern hemisphere folk) and if I recall correctly, Steve was against doing this.  I can't remember his reasoning, maybe someone remembers this better than I do.

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DKT

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Reply #9 on: December 13, 2007, 06:36:05 AM
I believe he was worried that polls would kill some of the discussion going on in the forums.  Basically, the stories deserve more than a thumbs up or thumbs down or 1-5 stars.

I'm not sure, but I think the person who previously suggested polls was hoping to have more of an influence on the kind of stories Escape Pod run.  And Steve said something to the effect of: you can start up a poll somewhere if you want, but they won't affect what stories I choose. 


ajames

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Reply #10 on: December 13, 2007, 10:43:34 AM
That makes sense - I hadn't considered the quieting effect polls might have on the discussion.  I can also see why Steve wouldn't want his decisions on story selection to be driven by polls - I wouldn't want that either.  I guess I'll continue to chime in with the praise even if I have nothing else of substance to say at the time of the post.



Thaurismunths

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Reply #11 on: December 17, 2007, 02:59:33 AM
Having given this some more though...
But in reading comments threads, the act of observing changes the observer -- or, in this case, could change the opinion of the observer or the way s/he plans to comment.

Unless you're likely to change your opinion just to agree with/be contrary to someone else, then there's no harm in reading all the preceding discussion. Aside from the very valid points of not opening a can of worms and to avoid being redundant reading first lets your post act to further the discussion already in progress rather than be just another bump. Also, whether you read the thread before or after you post your view will be changed either way for having read it, except that if you post first then your post will be out of date with your actual opinion.

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


CammoBlammo

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Reply #12 on: December 29, 2007, 01:37:21 AM
I listen to the story and think of something insightful to say. Then I look at the forum.

  • If it's a recent story and there are few comments, I choose not to comment. I've probably missed the point of the story and I haven't got the time to take part in an extended discussion defending the indefensible.
  • If it's an older story, I'll look through the discussion. If I have anything fantastic to say somebody else has already said it, albeit more articulately. Or I'll see why I was so very, very wrong, thus reinforcing my first point.