New Critiquing System Draft - Opinions Needed

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Jedi Knight Muse

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New Critiquing System Draft - Opinions Needed
« on: April 27, 2018, 12:46:04 PM »
So back in March, a post was made where we discussed getting more critiques going on the forum, particularly when it comes to challenge entries (though non-challenge entries, too). I finally got around to writing up the draft to a potential critiquing system, based on some of the discussion that was made in that post.

I've put the draft in this Google doc. I would greatly appreciate it if everyone - both old and newer members - would take some time to read it and reply to this post with your thoughts. The proposed system is pretty straight forward- basically, we would be implementing three levels of critiques, which the author of a submission would choose from. The three levels would determine how much honesty you want for feedback, basically.

I found a bunch of questions that can be used for beta reading, as well, and put them in the bottom of the Google doc. As a reader, they will hopefully help you find things to focus on and ask the author about. They're totally optional, but hopefully they'll help you write a concise review if you're not sure where to start.

Like I said, this is just a draft. I wrote it up based on the fact that people seemed to like the idea of having different critique levels. I'm hoping that this is one more step to help push everyone into taking the time to give their fellow writers critiques for their writing.

Please reply to this post with your thoughts and any questions you may have. Do you like it? Do you see it working for the forum? Are the optional questions for reviewing something you will use going forward when giving a critique to a submission on the forum? Is there anything else that we could try adding in to it, or should we keep it the way it is? Is there another way we could consider doing it?

Note: the Google doc does not have commenting turned on - I want all of the discussion/feedback to be here in this post, rather than here AND in the Google doc.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2018, 12:48:19 PM by Jedi Knight Muse »
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kendoist

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Re: New Critiquing System Draft - Opinions Needed
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2018, 07:15:27 PM »
This is great. Thank you for making the lists.
I wonder how to set them and how to activate these review activities.

A kind of review tag thread will be set?

It's miserable no one try reviewing your story for ages.

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rkcapps

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Re: New Critiquing System Draft - Opinions Needed
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2018, 10:05:09 PM »
Hi guys, I've been away (I run an Australian writing forum and been concentrating on it) but I'm really missing the fantasy discussions and I miss here. It's been a year! Anyway, enough of my time away.

This is a great list! Thanks for putting in the time to create it. Maybe add, "what's your favourite (or 3 favourite) bits of dialogue?" and "what did you anticipate?" and "If there's a twist, was it 'unexpected but inevitable'?" and "would you keep reading. If not, where would you stop?"

Really fantastic work as is. These are just ideas to enhance an already comprehensive list. I love the idea of chosing a level of critique.
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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: New Critiquing System Draft - Opinions Needed
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2018, 10:34:46 PM »
This is great. Thank you for making the lists.
I wonder how to set them and how to activate these review activities.

A kind of review tag thread will be set?

It's miserable no one try reviewing your story for ages.

Mostly it'll be a matter of us implementing it (meaning, I have to add a part in the current submission forms asking what level the writer wants for critique) and then...really, it's up to you guys, as members. It's not something we staff members can be the only ones doing, it's something everyone has to do, now that we're hopefully implementing this system.

I'm not sure what you mean by a review tag thread, but no, at least not at the moment. We're leaving it totally up to you guys to take the time to review the submissions in the library and read the challenge submissions when it comes time to vote and give critiques. I know how frustrating it is to wait and wait for feedback and not get it, but it's a two way street (and I know that I'm not exactly the greatest when it comes to giving feedback, but one of my goals is that I'm going to start trying to do so more often, especially with the challenge entries). Once you start reviewing submissions for other authors, hopefully they will return the favor. (I don't know offhand if you've already done so, but just in case you haven't yet.)

Obviously, everyone has busy lives and can't always dedicate the time to giving reviews, but...even just reviewing one story a week or something would be a great start.

Can you explain what you mean by a review tag thread? Because maybe it's something that we can implement, I'm just not sure what you mean by it, though I have a guess.

Hi guys, I've been away (I run an Australian writing forum and been concentrating on it) but I'm really missing the fantasy discussions and I miss here. It's been a year! Anyway, enough of my time away.

This is a great list! Thanks for putting in the time to create it. Maybe add, "what's your favourite (or 3 favourite) bits of dialogue?" and "what did you anticipate?" and "If there's a twist, was it 'unexpected but inevitable'?" and "would you keep reading. If not, where would you stop?"

Really fantastic work as is. These are just ideas to enhance an already comprehensive list. I love the idea of chosing a level of critique.

Welcome back to the forum! We're glad to see you back!

I will definitely add those to the questions! Glad you like the critique level idea.
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kendoist

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Re: New Critiquing System Draft - Opinions Needed
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2018, 11:49:00 PM »
"Can you explain what you mean by a review tag thread? Because maybe it's something that we can implement, I'm just not sure what you mean by it, though I have a guess. "

I think someone posted in the other thread the other day on the forums: Just a simple. I mean 'leaving a review for the person above' in the thread (whatever you call the thread) within a week if you could. The first person posts the link to her or his story with their choice, which level feedback they want. And the second person leaves a review for the first (above on the thread)
and saying reviewed done for the person above and posts the link to the story to be reviewed by the third person. :)

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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: New Critiquing System Draft - Opinions Needed
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2018, 12:04:45 AM »
"Can you explain what you mean by a review tag thread? Because maybe it's something that we can implement, I'm just not sure what you mean by it, though I have a guess. "

I think someone posted in the other thread the other day on the forums: Just a simple. I mean 'leaving a review for the person above' in the thread (whatever you call the thread) within a week if you could. The first person posts the link to her or his story with their choice, which level feedback they want. And the second person leaves a review for the first (above on the thread)
and saying reviewed done for the person above and posts the link to the story to be reviewed by the third person. :)

Huh, I don't remember seeing anyone suggest that in any recent posts.

Hm. That's pretty much what I thought you meant. I mean, I guess we could do something like that? But honestly, I don't know how many people would actually participate VS just going into the genre sub-forums and finding stories to review there...or even doing either of those things, for that matter. But it's something to discuss. :)
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kherezae

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Re: New Critiquing System Draft - Opinions Needed
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2018, 06:52:48 PM »
Hiiii I really like this idea! But unless I missed it I didn't see anything clarifying that the writer sets the max review level, and the reviewer can review anything UP to that level. So if the reviewer doesn't feel up to a no-holds-barred critique, even though the author set that as the cap, they can still just give some basic low level feedback. Specifying this in the system guidelines would be very helpful, I think!

Other than that, looks great!

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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: New Critiquing System Draft - Opinions Needed
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2018, 07:23:03 PM »
Hiiii I really like this idea! But unless I missed it I didn't see anything clarifying that the writer sets the max review level, and the reviewer can review anything UP to that level. So if the reviewer doesn't feel up to a no-holds-barred critique, even though the author set that as the cap, they can still just give some basic low level feedback. Specifying this in the system guidelines would be very helpful, I think!

Other than that, looks great!

Okay, so just so that I clearly understand what you mean before I put it into the Google doc...

Basically, I need to make it clearer that the writer is the one setting the max review level, and that the reviewer needs to follow through with that review level? So if I submit something and say I want an intermediate level review, that means that the reviewer has to follow up with a review of that level, and not just give me a basic level review. Is that basically what you're saying, or...?

I guess the only downside to this system is that it relies on the reviewer to actually follow through and give a review at the requested level...so we'll just have to hope that people will take the time to do so.

So how about something like this:

Quote
Please note that the writer of a submission is the one responsible for setting the critique level that they want to receive for their writing, and that the reviewer is also responsible for following through and giving a critique of the requested level.

oooor...does it need to be elaborated beyond that?
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Manu

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Re: New Critiquing System Draft - Opinions Needed
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2018, 05:44:46 AM »
I think @kherezae was referring to the level of detail - in the feedback discussion thread, we had two different sets of levels, one for the kind/tone/level of feedback (basic, intermediate, advanced), and one for how detailed it should be (name one thing you liked and one thing you didn't like and make a suggestion how to improve it; fill in a short questionnaire; do line edits).

In the current draft, only the first set of levels is included, the cap was for the second one.

My first impression is that it looks good, but that it's a lot to read. I'll have to leave again soon, weekends are always busy for me, but I'll try to think about how we could include the second set of levels without confusing everyone.
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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: New Critiquing System Draft - Opinions Needed
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2018, 08:11:28 PM »
I think @kherezae was referring to the level of detail - in the feedback discussion thread, we had two different sets of levels, one for the kind/tone/level of feedback (basic, intermediate, advanced), and one for how detailed it should be (name one thing you liked and one thing you didn't like and make a suggestion how to improve it; fill in a short questionnaire; do line edits).

In the current draft, only the first set of levels is included, the cap was for the second one.

My first impression is that it looks good, but that it's a lot to read. I'll have to leave again soon, weekends are always busy for me, but I'll try to think about how we could include the second set of levels without confusing everyone.

Ah, okay. I think I wasn't quite sure how to make that part of what I was already writing, so I just left it out rather than to try and figure out how to add it on. If you can figure out how to add the second set of levels without confusing everyone, let me know and I can add it in.

I'd really appreciate more feedback from others, too.
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kherezae

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Re: New Critiquing System Draft - Opinions Needed
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2018, 01:14:40 AM »
Sorry I am a slow replier! I actually meant quite the opposite. I don't think an author should be able to insist on someone giving them a thorough, no-holds-barred critique. Not every reviewer is up to that, and even basic feedback is helpful! What I meant to say is that the author sets a cap ("This work is ready for no-holds-barred critique, so be as thorough as you like!") and the reviewer can decide what to do within that limit. ("Well, line by line critique isn't my strong suit, so I'll just give general feedback on characterization and flow!" for example, or even "I can't really handle giving an in depth review, so I'll just say a few things I liked and a few I thought could be improved.")

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Amblygon

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Re: New Critiquing System Draft - Opinions Needed
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2018, 09:32:37 AM »
I think it looks great! I also agree with kherezae's addition. The writer should be the one to decide how thorough they want the critique to be at the most (as is set out in the guidelines), but a reviewer should be able to come along and give critique that is at a less thorough level because, as kherezae said, even basic feedback is helpful. Though if for some reason a writer was only willing to accept a detailed line-by-line critique, I would respect that and if I wasn't up for giving that level of critique I would just not bother reviewing at all. But hopefully most writers wouldn't want to limit reviewers so even if they're looking for intense line-by-line critique, they'd be happy if someone has the time and motivation to provide a less thorough review.

Is there some way we could incentivise critiquing? I don't think it should be turned into a numbers game so it probably wouldn't be helpful to have "leaderboards" of how many reviews/critiques people have provided (and in any case quality over quantity), but is there something we can do to spotlight great reviewers and great reviews? Maybe a quarterly review shoutout? I'm trying to think of the graphics site I used to be on where they tried really hard to get people to provide more critique of other people's work. Obviously, graphics are a lot easier to look at and review and it doesn't take that much time to look at someone's gallery (let alone one graphic!) and write out a thorough critique, so I know reviewing writing takes more time, but perhaps there's some tricks we can borrow from there? They

I'm just musing out loud here, but here's another idea. Maybe we can have a review request topic where people can request a quick review for a particular piece of writing and someone can come volunteer as a reviewer? It could be something like a "Flash feedback" topic where you can request basic level critique for a piece of writing that is at most x many words (because the writing piece shouldn't be too long so potential reviewers would actually feel like they have the time to read it - maybe something between 1,000-2,000 words?) and then someone who has a bit of spare time could come along and think 'Ooh that sounds like something that interests me - I'll volunteer to review that'. I think we'd have to limit it so that each writer can only request a review x many times per month (because we don't want people to post all their work there), but it would help people to get feedback on something that's in the library but has been overlooked and hasn't received any critique. Maybe this could tie into the quarterly review shoutout - the person who volunteers (and provides) the most reviews in a quarter gets a shoutout? (But I'll just repeat that there's a risk it turns into a numbers thing or puts people off so I think it should be a celebration of someone who has given a lot to the site rather than a contest that makes people who can't participate feel bad). My thinking behind this idea is that probably one of the most common reasons people don't give feedback is because they don't have time. Hopefully with an initiative like this more people will feel like they have time to provide basic level feedback on text that's limited to x many words and they know it'll only take them 20-40 mins to read it and come up with something to say about it. Also this will showcase pieces that writers really want feedback on and potential reviewers who are a bit short on time don't have to go through the library looking for something to review. And hopefully people who receive critique will be more likely to give critique so it could hopefully turn into a cycle of good critique.

If the critiquing system is implemented, the above ideas should probably be delayed so people have a chance to get used to the critiquing system and then you could implement things that encourage people to critique and request critique. (:

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Sheepy-Pie

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Re: New Critiquing System Draft - Opinions Needed
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2018, 09:42:29 AM »
@Amblygon in regards to the second bit, we do have a thread where people can put up a paragraph and get feedback, but it wasn't really used.

We can still try it though and see if it fares any better :)

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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: New Critiquing System Draft - Opinions Needed
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2018, 10:22:11 PM »
Not ignoring your reply, @Amblygon - I thought I'd have more time to reply to it today, but that ended up not happening. I'll reply tomorrow after work!
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kherezae

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Re: New Critiquing System Draft - Opinions Needed
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2018, 11:01:05 PM »
@Amblygon I like where your head is ^_^ I remember one writing critique system that used to be around but unfortunately fizzled out. It was called Review Fuse. It had really cool software that unfortunately we're not in a position to imitate here, but I really liked the concept... it's technically something that could be implemented manually, but it would be much less elegant, haha.

The way Review Fuse worked was that you could submit your writing to be critiqued. It was a specific segment of writing, not sure what the cap was; one of the system flaws was actually that sometimes you'd get a later chapter in a work you'd never read anything from previously. Anyway, you submit some writing for critique, and initially you give three critiques to get two in return. The system would more or less randomly assign you someone else in the queue's submission to critique.

The critique gave you the option to add in-line feedback and also picked either at random or at author's preference several elements of story to offer overall feedback for, such as characterization, pacing, description, etc. Once you submitted a critique, the author could rate the quality of your critique, and you did the same for critiques on your own writing.

As you give more feedback, the system parses the sorts of critique ratings you receive and pairs you with critiquers who also receive a similar rating, so in theory you're getting back the same quality you put out.

I always thought it was a really cool concept. It may not be perfect, but might have some qualities of value to us when considering how we want to handle critiques and feedback here!