sidra: mandala (Default)
Sidra ([personal profile] sidra) wrote2011-01-04 06:52 pm

To authors who don't like kudos, from a lurker

Kudos are often compared to comments. And rarely favorably. They're seen as a sort of "poor relation" to comments. For people who are too lazy to leave "real" comments.

But kudos are not inferior comments. They're more like hit counts on steroids.

For people who find it difficult to communicate with words, kudos are a way to communicate through actions.

There is a huge lurker community. We read, but we don't write, and we rarely if ever leave comments. We vote with our clicks. The authors we love we follow, the stories we love we bookmark and re-read.

I've been in fandom for about seven years and have written a grand total of two stories. I want to write, I just can't. The words don't come. When they do come, they're trite or meaningless.

I've read tens of thousands of fanfics. I've left maybe a couple hundred comments. Maybe. And not necessarily on the stories I've loved the most, or thought were the best. But because at that single anomalous moment, I was able to think of something to say.

It's not because I don't think the fics I read are worth commenting on. It's not because I don't love and adore them and their authors. It's not because I'm lazy or selfish or ungrateful.

It's because I don't have the words.

If I read it all the way through and I like it enough, you may say I should leave a comment. But that's not easy for me to do. It will take me longer to write a comment than it took me to read the story. If I'm expected or required to comment, I don't leave more comments, I just read less. It's no longer an enjoyable pastime, it's a difficult, stressful, and unpleasant duty.

When I open your work, it gets a hit. That means I thought it was interesting enough at some level for me to at least open it and take a look. If I never finish it, if I abandon it after a sentence, or half-way through, or if I don't like it, my hit count still stands as a testament that I was at least interested enough to visit. If I like it, I can bookmark it. I can come back later (creating another hit) and read it again.

If I read something on the AO3 I can leave it kudos. Kudos aren't a replacement for that comment that I would have left if kudos hadn't been available; that comment doesn't exist, and never will. The rare times I have something to say, I'll still leave a comment. Leaving a kudo doesn't replace leaving a comment, because they come from a very different place. If I actually have words that I want to share, kudos aren't going to be what I use to express them.

Kudos are wordless. If I had to put words on them, it might be that my hit, my clicking on your fic, my time spent reading your fic meant something to me. That I didn't just finish your story, that I appreciated it. That I thought it was a worthwhile way for me to spend my time. But kudos are not words. They are actions. And the fact that I'm willing to take that action publicly and make it visible, not only to the author, but to other readers, is significant.

Well, it's significant to me. But some people say they want words, not actions.

Actions are something that I can do. I donate my time every day to fandom. I work hard and put in long hours on the AO3 because fandom, fanfiction, and yes, fan writers, are important to me. I put in the equivalent of a full-time job programming the archive software to make it better and administering the OTW servers to keep them running, because that's something that I can do.

Some people aren't good with words, and if you reject their actions because they didn't come with words, then you're saying that words are all that count, and that actions are meaningless.

But actions aren't meaningless to those of us for whom actions, not words, are our interpersonal currency. Kudos are not meaningless. I can leave kudos on stories where I care enough to do something, to take an action. I can leave kudos when I want to.

I can come up with words when I have to. I can come up with words when I see a great need. I can come up with words when I'm forced to. But I will never be able to come up with words just because I want to.
jumpuphigh: Pigeon with text "jumpuphigh" (Default)

via network

[personal profile] jumpuphigh 2011-01-05 01:26 am (UTC)(link)
Huh. I haven't seen the anti-kudos comments anywhere, although it doesn't surprise me. Oh fandom, why so much wank? I agree with what you said. I love the kudos and think that they are valuable. The reaction to the implementation in my dwircle has been all positive.

Kudos to you for this post!
jumpuphigh: Pigeon with text "jumpuphigh" (Default)

Re: via network

[personal profile] jumpuphigh 2011-01-05 01:48 am (UTC)(link)
I love the kudos because it is an opportunity to offer appreciation for a fic that I'm not going to comment on but enjoyed. I'll still comment when so inspired but kudos are definitely not taking away from my potential comments. Perhaps that is not true for the people who don't like the kudos. Perhaps they are replacing their commenting with kudos. *shrugs* I don't know. My behavior with commenting hasn't changed. I just now have a new tool to show my appreciation.
samvara: Giant, fluffy pink biped running down a beach (Pink Fuzzies)

[personal profile] samvara 2011-01-05 08:59 am (UTC)(link)
I love you and your words and I think you're amazing :)
juliet: (Default)

[personal profile] juliet 2011-01-05 09:50 am (UTC)(link)
*strenous agreement*

I usually *could* find the words, but even then: reading is quick and writing is slow, and all the evidence to date is that much of the time I won't leave comments (& if I try to make myself, I just read less & feel bad about all these open tabs waiting & waiting & waiting (& then Firefox crashes or something & I heave a sigh of relief)). Kudos is *great*.
franzeska: (Default)

[personal profile] franzeska 2011-01-18 12:27 am (UTC)(link)

Wait, what do you mean Dreamwidth doesn't have a kudos button? ;D
cesy: "Cesy" - An old-fashioned quill and ink (Default)

[personal profile] cesy 2011-03-13 01:10 pm (UTC)(link)
I just discovered this post, and I love it. You're so right - there are so many stories where I left kudos, and if I'd read them on LJ, I wouldn't have left anything at all.
lian: Klavier Gavin, golden boy (Default)

[personal profile] lian 2011-09-24 07:29 pm (UTC)(link)
Even apart from the kudos issue... this is like everything I ever wanted to say to writers who post "just comment. It's not that hard." exhortations. Thank you for writing and sharing this -- I think I'll just link your words for perspective from now on.

(I understand the frustration of an invisible readership; but ... only a writer could say with such thoughtless conviction that commenting is "easy", and it bugs me.)
unjapanologist: (Default)

[personal profile] unjapanologist 2011-09-30 03:05 am (UTC)(link)
Just found this post. You're so very right - I wish everything in life had a 'kudos' button, because it's marvelous to be able to interact with things without having to spend half an hour angsting about the right way to word a two-sentence verbal reaction.

And I love getting kudos as much as getting a comment, truly.
hypertwink: (cookhorns)

[personal profile] hypertwink 2013-12-05 05:57 am (UTC)(link)
I'm supposedly a writer and I sometimes don't have the words to say what I want. I use kudos because I really want to give encouragement or say I love it without sounding trite or embarrassing.

Lastly, I just want to leave a kudos to this post.
hunningham: (Default)

[personal profile] hunningham 2014-01-08 08:19 pm (UTC)(link)
It will take me longer to write a comment than it took me to read the story. If I'm expected or required to comment, I don't leave more comments, I just read less. It's no longer an enjoyable pastime, it's a difficult, stressful, and unpleasant duty.

This entry struck such a chord with me. I found it and bookmarked some time back, and was thinking about it again recently - hence the comment. Thank-you