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A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

General, open discussion regarding writing, getting published, markets, pointers, and other related topics. All are welcome! No advertising, please!

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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby Come forth » Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:52 pm

Hi Lyn and Colin, thanks for your input and we value your opinions.

As we all know opinions vary and if the site is working for you exactly as it is then I for one applaud that and am glad.

For me however, and for many more as this thread makes clear, the over emphasis on flowery comments does not make it work. In fact, it frustrates me and defeats the purpose of being a member; which for me is to receive constructive criticism so that I can grow as a writer.

So for you the status quo is not broken, but for me and some others it is.

Our aim here is not to take over, but rather to revive the constructive critique section of the site. I know we may upset some people and appear to be critical of FW. For that I apologize and assure you it is not our intention.

We have asked Mike and Bea to join in this conversation and to give their approval to what we are doing. One word from them and we will shut down.

Blessings, Graham.

PS. Just look at the page number on this thread "6". In just a few days this thread has attracted heaps of comments and most support the idea of improving the sites constructive critiques. I think that speaks for itself.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby Come forth » Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:57 pm

For those in the newly formed group, could you please go here: viewtopic.php?f=21&t=37897.

Thanks everyone, Graham
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby Shann » Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:00 pm

Maybe I'm totally off base here. I know some people may look at profiles in order to find a writer, although I've never had it happen nor have I heard of anyone. I've heard of people getting jobs from the general submission section though.

Even if a publisher did look at the challenges, I still think anyone who is credible and would want to publish something wouldn't need a constructive critique "to point things out." I would think they would discover it all on their own.

When I look for articles for the newsletter, I'm more impressed if I see someone who had some constructive critique and the person was able to apply the corrections or suggestions. I would think wow that person is able to take feedback and make it work for them That's a good trait to have.

Now if someone leaves feedback and the author doesn't agree with it or the person was wrong, it wouldn't reflect on the author. For example, if someone commented you need to do more showing. If I were a publisher I might not agree. It wouldn't influence my opinion on the author at all.

It's just frustrating. I know I'm super sensitive so maybe I should step back and not comment here anymore. I feel like that's what people are saying without saying it. There is no way to please everyone. Either people complain because someone leaves a constructive critique (which in the real world, editors, publishers, reviewers and readers are going to be way more critical than any feedback I have ever seen on this site, so if people truly hate critiques or reviews, then writing may not be best suited for them) or people complain because all they receive is fluff comments and they don't know how to improve.

I probably get about an average of ten requests a week to help someone with their writing. They know to ask me because they have seen my feedback on the challenge. At one point so many people were asking I had to say no to some which was hard for me to do.

When the thread was first started I felt confident that God has been calling me to give feedback. I had no doubt about it, but now I'm totally doubting his will, my ability, and the whole process in general. :?

I have no idea where to go from here, but I will continue to pray and ask God to show us the path he needs for us to take.

I saw your comment Graham as I tried to post this and I believe both Collin and Lynn were saying that they too like and want the constructive critiques and that is what has helped them become better writers.
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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby RachelM » Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:18 pm

I wonder if in the future there could be the option to accept or delete comments. It works in blogs. :D
I'm not the least bit bothered by having constructive comments on my challenge entries, but I do understand why others might be.
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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby lish1936 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:00 pm

:sorry Please forgive me, but are we straining at gnats?" The "pointing out" issue is almost irrelevant, because any negative comment, sandwiched or not, points out something. :D :roll:

Blessings,

Lillian
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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby mikeedwards » Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:50 pm

Hello Everyone,

I thought I posted an article here the other day but I cannot find it now. Sorry about that.

First I wanted to thank everyone for wanting to help their fellow writers. This is an awesome thing that we greatly appreciate. I am also glad that you are consulting those who have been doing this for years like Deb and Joanne. It is true that people do get offended at times even though no offense was meant in a comment.

I mentioned to Shann that we will be placing a box on the submission form for Challenge entrants to let reviewers know if they want red ink or not. We will explain that it can feel painful at times but every writer who wants to grow needs to learn how others view their writing. We will probably include the Yancey quote from the critique page there too. This way writers can decide for themselves. I will also give them the option to place their Challenge entries in the critique circle, something they have always been able to do. Doing it this way the critiques will be private for those who prefer it that way.

I have an email out to Andrew who I need to do certain things on the site occasionally. This happens to be one of those things or I would have it done by now. It should not take too long.

If anyone wants to actually do some critiques in the critique circle that would help too. We just increased the size of the critique box and added a rich text editor for those doing critiques. This will make it much easier to critique. I just added "Challenge Articles" as a genre in the critique circle. When we add the box to say if they want red ink in the Challenge comments, I will also add the option to post it in the circle there too.

Thanks again. I hope this will work for everyone.


Blessings, Mike :thankssign
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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby Come forth » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:19 am

Thanks for joining in here Mike.

As part of the roster for this new group, we are going to get members to take it in turn increasing the number of critiques given in the circle. As the group grows I would hope that we see quite a few constructive critiques happening on both challenge entries and circle submissions.

I'm not sure how the challenge and circle will link. If posted in both areas at once, wouldn't that mean that the identity of the writer would be revealed in the circle?

And what do you think about negative comments on challenge entries? Is it possible to limit the view to the article only, similar to the circle submissions, and only having the writer see the comments? Do you see this as a problem?

Blessings, Graham.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby Colswann1 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:01 am

Are we having a new critiquing system or keeping the status quo with something added to it? I'm a bit confused about what is going to happen.

Whatever is finally decided, please explain it simply to the members what the changes are and how things will work in the future.

It's my belief that a good many of the members will not know about this possible change and what is being suggested and discussed in this complicated and long thread, and will be unaware unless they are informed; maybe on the newsletter.

Thanks, Colin
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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby Come forth » Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:18 am

Hi Colin, it is really very simple and nothing is changing at all as far as entering the Challenge is concerned.

A few members feel that they would like to see more constructive comments on the Challenge entries. They have formed a small group of volunteers who will make five constructive comments each on entries in the challenge.

As far as all members are concerned nothing has changed other than they will see more constructive comments in the Challenge.

This same group of members, called the Constructive Critique Group, will also try to lift the number of critiques received in the Critique Circle.

None of the rules for entry have changed and nor have any of the judging conditions.

There isn't a different critiquing system, simply more folk trying to make it work for the benefit of all.

Blessings, Graham.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby Cinnamon Bear » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:53 am

I agree with Colin's suggestion.

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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby lish1936 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:52 pm

Colin's idea is definitely a sound one and gets my vote. Of course it would be up to whoever is responsible for the Newsletter, and feels the Constructive Critique Group is universally newsworthy. I think t is. :D

Blessings,

Lillian
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I write even when I think I can't, because I must. :-)

I love to write. Nothing escapes the crush I have on the written word. I'm hooked on words!!

"Let words bewitch you. Scrutinze them, mull them, savor them, and in combination, until you see their subtle differences and the ways they tint each other." Francis Flaherty

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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby mikeedwards » Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:02 pm

Hello FaithWriters,

I am thinking that this may work best but want your thoughts. I do not know that we need the box on the Challenge articles. This might confuse things with critiques in two places. If we do it this way only, reviewers in Challenge section could focus more on straight encouragement. This would make the Challenge reviews quick and easy and only those who really want an in-depth critique would get it. I could advertise it in a few places to get the word out.

I have posted about the option for better critiques here http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-archives-levels.php . This is where people go to see who has won. It could also be posted in the forums. It offers Debs report or the option to copy and paste already judged Challenge entries into the critique circle. This way it keeps it private. I have enlisted several members myself who are not a part of this conversation, editors, to work the critique circle. Between their efforts and yours it should be quite successful. I really think 2 -3 critiques per article would be enough staying with the newer articles. I have also strongly emphasized the need for people to insert the submission date next to their title in the circle. Right now you would need to gauge things from the few that have dates. They go in their based on submission date and the newest are at the top.

Let me know your thoughts. If we do not want the box on the Challenge articles asking for critiques I want to get to Andrew before he does it.


Blessings, Mike
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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby lish1936 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:55 pm

Mike, I'm only speaking for myself, but I must give a slight variation of Colin's post to express my opinion. We're doing a major overhaul of something that only needs a slight repair.

I would not like to see a complete do away of comments on the Weekly Challenge, if that's what you're suggesting.

Mike wrote:I have posted about the option for better critiques here http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-archives-levels.php . This is where people go to see who has won. It could also be posted in the forums. It offers Debs report or the option to copy and paste already judged Challenge entries into the critique circle.


I took a look at the option that you posted and there are several things that trouble me. With all of Deb's responsibilities how likely would she be able to handle additional requests for reviews in a timely fashion? Also, and I'm speaking personally, navigating the site with so many options is confusing to me...Critique Circle...Regular Articles...Weekly Challenge... :roll: Again, I confess it could be me, but the way the options were worded further added to my confusion.

Can we go back to the drawing board to initiate simple changes?

Just one opinion. :D

Lillian
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I write even when I think I can't, because I must. :-)

I love to write. Nothing escapes the crush I have on the written word. I'm hooked on words!!

"Let words bewitch you. Scrutinze them, mull them, savor them, and in combination, until you see their subtle differences and the ways they tint each other." Francis Flaherty

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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby Come forth » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:15 pm

Hi Mike, I'm not sure I'm clear on this at all.
reviewers in Challenge section could focus more on straight encouragement


What you seem to be suggesting is that ONLY positive feedback be left on Challenge entries and that constructive comments can only be made if the entries then go to the Critique Circle.

What I, and several other members are saying, is that the Challenge entries themselves need more constructive comments. It is the consistent sugary, flower throwing comments on the Challenge entries themselves which are disturbing some members. I personally stopped entering for a while just because of this. When I started again it wasn't the comments of "Wow well done/this was great/what a good entry/this is a winner for me" that helped me improve. In fact, many times when I was told that my entry was a winner, it bombed and confused the heck out of me. It was counter productive to receive so many flowery comments and yet not rate at all. I'd rather not enter that way to be honest.

It was the honest comments of folk like Shann and Jan, and getting a writing buddy who was simply excellent and unwavering in giving honest comments about what I was doing wrong, that saved the day for me. And I've stopped putting anything in the Critique Circle because it is a complete disappointment.

Have you checked out the Critique Circle lately? I just did and it is pretty dead. A low entry count and an average of two critiques per article.

We are not suggesting in-depth critiques on Challenge entries; in fact we are discouraging that. What we are trying to do is increase the level of meaningful comments in a way that writers would at least learn something rather than collect bouquets.

The group of members that have joined together to give constructive comments on challenge entries need either a go or a stop sign here. We have already rostered to start giving comments next week in an organized way. We have already started this week giving balanced red ink to at least 23 more entries. I have received several personal messages thanking me for getting this going and telling me how great it is going to be. But i too have an issue. I'm not a boat rocker.

If this is a good idea it needs the full approval of leadership. Without that approval I'm not happy to go ahead. The conflict is obvious and the elephant in the room is driving me nuts. :lol:

Red ink should not only be allowable it needs to be encouraged if we are to grow as a writer. We bandy around Yancey's quote but then say we might frighten people away or upset them if we are honest in our comments.

Do we or do we not go ahead with constructive comments in the yellow boxes of the Challenge entries? It's your choice, Mike, and I will respect your decision.

Blessings, Graham.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby Come forth » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:20 pm

Lillian posted while I was writing, so I just want to add another comment in agreement with her.

This is not an overhaul or major change. Actually, I don't even see it as a repair. For me it is simply an attempt to revive what the Challenge is all about; learning to be a better writer.

For me, we don't need to change a thing. No boxes to tick, no extra guidelines and no need to post anywhere else. We will just increase the number of constructive comments on Challenge entries, others can still leave the encouragement which makes for a happy mix, and we will also try to support the Critique Circle as well.

Blessings, Graham.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

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