gaudinight (gaudinight) wrote,

I wish writers left polls at the end of their work or why I don't go to cocktail parties.

Mostly I lurk.  I read like crazy, but I rarely comment. 
It's not because I'm lazy.  It's not because I'm afraid of the writer's reaction.  It's because the LJ comment is an uncomfortable medium for me.

"I love you."  "You win at fandom"  "You're made of awesome."  "I'll be in my bunk."  "Awwwww."  "HAWT."  "Sigh."  "I want to marry you."

The jargon of the LJ comment is uncomfortable for me.  I just can't say those kind of things to people I don't know and maybe not even to people I do know.  It feels awkward.  Beyond awkward. 

One of my problems is, I mostly don't have anything to say except, "I really liked this story.  Thank you for sharing it."  That seems stiff and formal in the context of the hip patter of the typical LJ comment.  It's exactly how I feel at cocktail parties.  Everyone knows one another and they know exactly what to say. Augh.  I stand around awkwardly and say the wrong things.  Too serious or too formal or too boring.  Always missing the mark.  A huge dork.  I avoid cocktail parties and I avoid LJ comments for similiar reasons.

If I had in-depth things to say, I might email the writer but I'm not that kind of reader.  My response is simple.  Yay or nay.

I know many writers love to hear that someone read and enjoyed a story.  Fanfiction brings me so much pleasure that I feel uncomfortable about reading and not responding.  An exchange words is the currency of fandom and I'm a freeloader.  I feel guilty about it.

The guilt builds so then I break down every few months and comment on some story.  Then I find myself fretting about the five words I posted. Then I am embarrassed if I get a response.  It seems like such a waste of the writer's time to respond to my little, "I liked your story" comment.  But then if I don't get a response then I am irked.  From start to finish it's an uncomfortable process.

One way I have coped is that if a writer has a website or a story archived I read that version.  Websites count hits and collect IP addresses.  That way the writer has a very measurable sign that somewhere in the universe a person is crazy about their stories. Me. Crazy enough to read everything they've written and re-read some of it too.

People can put counters on their LJs or insert web bugs to count hits but since I usually don't know if that's going on, it doesn't comfort me.

Hit count is like a vote.  But it's not perfect.  You could click and then click away after reading two sentences.  True, if I click on every story you wrote you might guess that I like your stuff but once?  Who knows how to interpret that?

What would be perfect for me would be a simple poll at the end of the story where I could register my reaction.

One box.  "I enjoyed this story.  Thank you for writing it."  That would be perfect.

I wouldn't want to grade the story.  I wouldn't want to register if I hated it.  I just want a place to register my thanks and appreciation if I read and enjoyed it.  Then if I had anything complicated to say, I could comment.  But that never happens for me.

I can think of a million reasons why this wouldn't be adopted in fan culture but it comforts me when I feel twinges of guilt.  After reading in fandom for 4 years and vowing more than once that I will comment more, I have faced the fact that the discomfort of not commenting is more palatable than the misery of commenting.
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