Posting encouraging and useful feedback on WIPs

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Rewritten Ennui
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Posting encouraging and useful feedback on WIPs

#1 Post by Rewritten Ennui » Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:36 pm

I guess you can say this is loosely connected to the infamous Neglected WIP Threads topic.

So hopefully I've been here long enough to see a pattern that is very common in the Works in Progress Feedback section. Seeing as to how this forum is developer-friendly, the users here should do their best to support the creation of the games they're interested in. I'm sure everyone has seen (and maybe even posted) the universal "stalking you" comment on the threads, but that really doesn't help when the developer is looking for actual feedback on the things they post up. More often than not, updates that involve art garner a lot of feedback; this is reasonable, since visuals attract many people. But what about the other parts of the VN creating process? Programming the GUI to work properly and writing is just as important as art in a VN, and yet these types of things are hardly ever commented on. I myself am guilty of "stalking" WIPs, but I make an effort to actually provide some feedback on the projects that I'm following. It doesn't take long to say whether or not I think something is good in my opinion, and it helps the creator out immensely.

So can anyone tell me why some users are just afraid to voice their opinions on the progress of WIP games? It can't be because they don't have enough time, because I know that some people just lurk here.
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Re: Posting encouraging and useful feedback on WIPs

#2 Post by KomiTsuku » Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:40 pm

Because people are lazy? It takes a lot more work to review and comment on those sorts of things than it does to take a quick look at art and go "OMFG LOVE!".

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Re: Posting encouraging and useful feedback on WIPs

#3 Post by Fawn » Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:49 pm

Seconding laziness.

I have a theory that people think that saying the same dumb short thing over and over again actually means something to people... Maybe some people are satisfied with "lol cute!!" but I haven't met many.

Another theory is that people just can't give proper critique because they're afraid of offending everyone. I'm afraid myself, since I'm a bit of a perfectionist and can be a bit too honest...

Or, maybe there's no critique at all and you just like everything. Usually when that happens though, I'll find something I'm curious about and ask about it. Asking someone to tell you more about their game (story-wise or gameplay-wise at least)is great encouragement because it shows a lot of interest!

I'm personally happy that my WIP page(s) don't get spammed with short comments... Better to have quality than (useless, unhelpful) quantity!

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Re: Posting encouraging and useful feedback on WIPs

#4 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:50 pm

Art doesn't get a lot of useful feedback either frankly. Someone telling me something looks good is nice, but it's not critical feedback.

For me, it's mostly a case of 'if you have nothing nice to say, don't say it at all'. If I know what I'm going to say about something is going to be more negative than positive, I try to refrain. I don't like to lie and say I like something when I don't, it makes me feel unclean. The exception to this is if I know the person has been complaining no one is pay attention to them or playing their games. In that case I feel it is better to honestly tell them why I think people aren't doing this. Sometimes it doesn't go well and it puts me off doing it again. (I really regret one because I was waaaaaaay more blunt then I intended to be, and I hurt someone's feelings). I do try hard not to terrible offend people, but at the same time I don't like tip toeing around things. I guess it's just really hard to say what you want to say and protect people's feelings, especially when they need to be told something. So... more often than not I say nothing :/

Oh, I also say nothing when I actually have nothing to say. Either I'm not interested, or there isn't enough content or anything I say wouldn't be constructive. I've never done the 'stalking' thing, but I do show interest in a project by telling them what I find interesting, like the art, writing, concept and/or character/s.
Last edited by Auro-Cyanide on Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Posting encouraging and useful feedback on WIPs

#5 Post by Tag- » Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:01 pm

Laziness is definitely a big part of it, and I suppose there are a lot of people who don't really pay attention to the text, it's easier to just be drawn in my the art. I guess 'stalking you' is a nice compliment and encouragement, but it's not very helpful ^^; I've certainly garnered a lot of different types of comments, and I'm grateful for that :D

I definitely think more people should post critique; the WIP thread is for gathering feedback afterall, and a harsh comment might let you fill an important plothole and make your project better as a whole for later on. Personally, I love getting critique, since it means that the person has sat down and taken the time to deconstruct and analyse your project, and that's something I'm extremely grateful for.

I tend to find that when I have nothing more to say other than, "Nice project, interesting premise", then I usually refrain from commenting as my comment will probably be repeated by other people throughout. I know there are also a lot of people who are shy and afraid to engage in conversation (I used to be like that until not too long ago), but lemmasoft is a very friendly community, and getting over shyness is fairly easy here xD
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Re: Posting encouraging and useful feedback on WIPs

#6 Post by Desu_Cake » Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:28 pm

There's the fact too that a lot of the time, there's threads that don't actually have very much to comment on. Often they start out with just a very basic premise and some rough concept art, which means that there isn't very much that can be said. At the same time, since most of the people here are developers, they don't like seeing sad and lonely threads that no-one replies to (Or at least I don't).

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Re: Posting encouraging and useful feedback on WIPs

#7 Post by Anna » Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:57 pm

Auro-Cyanide wrote:Art doesn't get a lot of useful feedback either frankly. Someone telling me something looks good is nice, but it's not critical feedback.

For me, it's mostly a case of 'if you have nothing nice to say, don't say it at all'. If I know what I'm going to say about something is going to be more negative than positive, I try to refrain. I don't like to lie and say I like something when I don't, it makes me feel unclean. The exception to this is if I know the person has been complaining no one is pay attention to them or playing their games. In that case I feel it is better to honestly tell them why I think people aren't doing this. Sometimes it doesn't go well and it puts me off doing it again. I do try hard not to terrible offend people, but at the same time I don't like tip toeing around things. I guess it's just really hard to say what you want to say and protect people's feelings, especially when they need to be told something. So... more often then not I say nothing :/

Nooo, please say something instead of nothing at all! Critique doesn't have to feel bad, it's the way you put it that matters. If you start with something positive first (you can't tell me there's nothing positive at all, or that not even a tiny little detail you thought was good or decent) and then try to tell them what they did wrong, why it's wrong and how it's supposed to be done better (even if it's just a suggestion and you're not sure).

Just don't make it sound like they're stupid or that you hate them - make it objective. It shows you're thinking about it and not just trying to put someone down. Being ignored is a much crueler treatment.

My partner/best friend is also constantly throwing honest, objective and useful critique at my face, it's awesome :'D.

edit: Also, I think a lot of people just don't have time for it either. Critique takes up a lot of time.
Last edited by Anna on Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Posting encouraging and useful feedback on WIPs

#8 Post by DrakeNavarone » Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:58 pm

I'm generally a pretty quiet guy when it comes to posting opinions about WIPs and even completed games, not because I'm afraid to voice an opinion, but because the project or game in question fails to pass an "interest threshold". There isn't enough content to go on, or it'ss nothing I haven't seen before, or it is perhaps weakly executed or error-ridden.

It takes a lot for me to get emotionally engaged with projects because I've been a part of the forums for a long while now. I've seen how a lot of things end up and I've been disappointed before. There's so much out there now that I just can't give it all my time or interest without losing a lot in return.

Lately, I've forgone WIP threads in favor of developer blogs and twitter feeds. It lets me pass through the jungle that is the WIP subforum to find the people and projects I want to follow.
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Re: Posting encouraging and useful feedback on WIPs

#9 Post by Deji » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:24 pm

I'm guilty of the "if you don't have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all", with a doze of laziness.

I don't have much knowledge to critique stories; I know nothing about settings, themes, pacing, proper writing or anything, so I feel that if say something, it won't be helpful and it'll probably just sound stupid >: In fact, every time I try to write a review or a decent thoughtful comment I either I screw up things badly or nobody pays attention to it x_x; I'm pretty sure I just suck at it and shouldn't try doing that again >>;

Art-wise, I usually restrain myself from commenting at all, unless it's something positive.
From experience, I know people can get *very* defensive about their art if you point out a flaw or if you redraw or redline their drawings.
Sometimes the art is from an artist in earlier stages of improvement, so I feel it's pointless to tell them that there are a lot of things on their art they should improve (also I'm pretty sure they know that already and they don't need another person telling them they should improve their anatomy or whatever).
Also, I feel people posting their games with their art are not looking for much critique on that (unless they're requesting it) rather than just... making a game and enjoying it and saying "I can draw my own characters! look! :D". I think critiquing the hell out of them (unless they're asking for it specifically, of course) would be be counterproductive =/

So... I don't know @_@
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Re: Posting encouraging and useful feedback on WIPs

#10 Post by Sapphi » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:34 pm

Fawn wrote: Another theory is that people just can't give proper critique because they're afraid of offending everyone.
This. There are a lot of lighthearted threads on this forum, in that the creators have just thought of a vague idea and posted some character descriptions and maybe a brief synopsis. When I read threads like this, I sometimes want to give constructive criticism, but when it looks like the person who made the thread isn't taking their project entirely seriously, I figure at best it won't help, and at worst it will offend.

Also, I do sort of feel like a jerk when I post criticism, just because it doesn't seem to be the "norm" here. I mean, I like getting (well-meaning) criticism, but the general atmosphere of this forum seems to be to focus on the positive when it comes to giving feedback, so I don't want to be the deviant...
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Re: Posting encouraging and useful feedback on WIPs

#11 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:38 pm

Deji wrote:Art-wise, I usually restrain myself from commenting at all, unless it's something positive.
From experience, I know people can get *very* defensive about their art if you point out a flaw or if you redraw or redline their drawings.
Sometimes the art is from an artist in earlier stages of improvement, so I feel it's pointless to tell them that there are a lot of things on their art they should improve (also I'm pretty sure they know that already and they don't need another person telling them they should improve their anatomy or whatever).
^This as well for art. For newer people to art, you could sit there all day with them and it wouldn't technically help. Art takes years of practice, and so only time can really help that one. If I notice a small technical flaw in something that is otherwise very good, I might mention it. Not so much so they can fix it sometimes, but maybe be aware of it in the future. I feel it's rude to tell an artist how to stylistically draw, so if it falls outside the technical, I won't critique it. Style is very subjective, so while I personally might not like it, if it is technically solid, than it's fine.

Also second what Sapphi said. I think I might just start asking them 'Do you really want feedback'? At least than I'll have some idea of what they want?

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Re: Posting encouraging and useful feedback on WIPs

#12 Post by leon » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:41 pm

I'm primarily a programmer, so I often feel voicing my opinion on art or the story could be misleading for the developer, unless there are real critiques from others.

If a thread has several pages of comments, I may also decide not to comment. I don't want to repeat what someone else has said, but I also don't want to read trough 10 pages of comments.
Fawn wrote:I have a theory that people think that saying the same dumb short thing over and over again actually means something to people... Maybe some people are satisfied with "lol cute!!" but I haven't met many.

(snip)

I'm personally happy that my WIP page(s) don't get spammed with short comments... Better to have quality than (useless, unhelpful) quantity!
Every comment bumps the thread and increases the chance, that someone else will notice that thread and leave a proper critique. They may be useless and unhelpful, but better than nothing...

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Re: Posting encouraging and useful feedback on WIPs

#13 Post by Rewritten Ennui » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:48 pm

@KomiTsuku and Fawn: Isn't laziness a sin? While I agree that laziness is a factor in the absence of critique, that's a bad excuse for keeping quiet when people want someone to comment on something.
Tag- wrote:I definitely think more people should post critique; the WIP thread is for gathering feedback afterall, and a harsh comment might let you fill an important plothole and make your project better as a whole for later on. Personally, I love getting critique, since it means that the person has sat down and taken the time to deconstruct and analyse your project, and that's something I'm extremely grateful for.
^This is something I wish some of the stalker-users would do. I won't point fingers, but I'm sure you've seen a few of them around. The way I see it is if you're really interested in a game, you'd do your best to see what the creators were trying to do and appreciate the work that went into finishing it.
Anna wrote:Just don't make it sound like they're stupid or that you hate them - make it objective. It shows you're thinking about it and not just trying to put someone down. Being ignored is a much crueler treatment.

My partner/best friend is also constantly throwing honest, objective and useful critique at my face, it's awesome :'D.
^This is also something I wished more people would do: not troll a work, but actually break it down and try to help improve it. Just recently I let someone (not a member of this forum) read a part of my script, and she went completely bat-shit insane after she was done reading it. Instead of telling me why she hated it, she went on an unnecessarily long rant about how stupid my entire story was. That would be an example of trolling and not critique. (I ignored her, so it ended up being a complete waste of time more than anything.)
Deji wrote: I don't have much knowledge to critique stories; I know nothing about settings, themes, pacing, proper writing or anything, so I feel that if say something, it won't be helpful and it'll probably just sound stupid >:
I don't have much knowledge when it comes to drawing art (though I've analyzed it), but I can still comment on it. Not everyone can be a Renaissance person who knows everything, so don't be afraid to say how you feel about something.
Sapphi wrote:
Fawn wrote: Another theory is that people just can't give proper critique because they're afraid of offending everyone.
This. There are a lot of lighthearted threads on this forum, in that the creators have just thought of a vague idea and posted some character descriptions and maybe a brief synopsis. When I read threads like this, I sometimes want to give constructive criticism, but when it looks like the person who made the thread isn't taking their project entirely seriously, I figure at best it won't help, and at worst it will offend.

Also, I do sort of feel like a jerk when I post criticism, just because it doesn't seem to be the "norm" here. I mean, I like getting (well-meaning) criticism, but the general atmosphere of this forum seems to be to focus on the positive when it comes to giving feedback, so I don't want to be the deviant...
And if I may quote my dictionary... "[Criticism is] the act of giving your opinion or judgement about whether someone or something is good or bad." So it doesn't have to be always have to be negative. As long as it's constructive criticism, it should be welcome.
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Re: Posting encouraging and useful feedback on WIPs

#14 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:56 pm

Rewritten Ennui wrote:
Sapphi wrote:
Fawn wrote: Another theory is that people just can't give proper critique because they're afraid of offending everyone.
This. There are a lot of lighthearted threads on this forum, in that the creators have just thought of a vague idea and posted some character descriptions and maybe a brief synopsis. When I read threads like this, I sometimes want to give constructive criticism, but when it looks like the person who made the thread isn't taking their project entirely seriously, I figure at best it won't help, and at worst it will offend.

Also, I do sort of feel like a jerk when I post criticism, just because it doesn't seem to be the "norm" here. I mean, I like getting (well-meaning) criticism, but the general atmosphere of this forum seems to be to focus on the positive when it comes to giving feedback, so I don't want to be the deviant...
And if I may quote my dictionary... "[Criticism is] the act of giving your opinion or judgement about whether someone or something is good or bad." So it doesn't have to be always have to be negative. As long as it's constructive criticism, it should be welcome.
I think a lot of people, including me, don't want to be seen as 'bad guys'. When giving critique that involves negative feedback, you are probably going to hurt someone's feelings, espcially if it is something fairly bad. I have never gone out of my way to be mean, but it definitly comes across that way sometimes, even when I do the positive thing at the beginning and end thing and give them precise reasons why I thought so and what I think can be done to fix it. I'm on this forum a lot and I don't exactly want to be seen as a mean person because I told someone I didn't like something :(

Extending on that point, people generally only do tghings when they benefit from it. It might just be the warm fuzzy feeling you get from helping someone, but it has to be something. Why would people keep doing something if they get nothing out of it, or only get negative outcomes, when they are doing it in their free time?
Last edited by Auro-Cyanide on Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Posting encouraging and useful feedback on WIPs

#15 Post by VenusEclipse » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:57 pm

Some people didn't react well to critique before. I've seen some feedback that's mostly positive and they only pointed out one or two things that the creator could fix to make the game better. The reaction was pretty negative towards the person who critiqued. I'm sure some people stopped because of that.

I hardly give any though, but I sometimes do if that person wants it. I also don't want to repeat the same things said in those threads with five or more pages. There's just so much to read through.

There's so many WIPs to look through now too. DX
I personally find it overwhelming after a certain number of pages. I'm not a big forum reader.

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