OK, I’ve been good for three weeks, so time for some good old-fashioned opinions again. And this week I thought I’d talk about likes – in their various forms.
First of all there’s that little ‘Like’ button we all know and love. Personally I think it can be a marvellous thing. It allows me to show people I liked their post – either an idea or their part of a story. And it also allows me to thank people for posting something. And on a related theme, it lets me encourage people – that writer, or others – to do more of the same.
So on the face of it, a wonderful tool. But like any tool, it’s only as good as the user. It can have negative effects. When it’s used by groups of friends to like each other’s posts, it can make the other writers in a thread wonder what they’ve done wrong. Some of the posts I’m most proud of as a writer never got a like. Am I bothered? No, because I’m comfortable in my writing. But someone less confident, a new writer perhaps, would wonder what they’d done wrong. Why their well-written post received no likes and the terse one below gets a dozen.
Now that is an accident of circumstances. Some writers have lots of friends and it would be foolish to say they can’t like their friend’s posts. But sometimes likes are used maliciously. To like posts that are confrontational to a particular writer. And to seek out every combative post against a given character and like them – even if the post, subject and writer had nothing to do with the ‘liker.’
I’ve had writers ask me why ‘X’ liked their post, given they don’t usually and they’re nothing to do with the thread. I have to explain it’s because of me. Because IC or OOC you’re opposing me or my character. No more and no less.
And sometimes the lack of a like can be malicious. I have to hold my hand up and admit to this one. Am I proud? No. But sometimes I’m human.
The second thought around likes is the fact we sometimes forget that CHAOS is written by people. A likes B and B likes C. So it stands to reason that A will like C. Actually no. Sometimes we just write better with some people. And occasionally we rub people up the wrong way and we fall out. Such is life. And if we’re grown-ups, we just move on.
I mentioned a few weeks back I had some growing up to do. I am a self-confessed drama queen. I love being the centre of attention and accept that won’t please everyone. But I was starting to hide from writers on the board and that had to change. Even if they don’t like me, or my characters, if the story calls for me interacting with them, I just have to post.
Yet when I was an FL I would every now and then hear about writers that tried to stop B writing with C. “If you write with them, I won’t write with you.” Now I empathised but that’s not a Faction issue and I’m not even sure that’s a board issue. That’s a maturity issue. People who try to stop you having fun for entirely OOC reasons aren’t worth writing with. That’s playground behaviour.
And the third ‘like’? Sometimes people have to understand that it’s *your* character. They may like them being a certain way, but if you want to develop your character, do it. It’s you character after all. That may mean that you make some less than perfect IC decisions. So what? Only you know if you’re being true to your character. Only you have read every post you’ve ever written and know what the character is thinking.
One of my (many) weaknesses is that I’m keen for everyone to like me. I take criticism very hard and have a thin skin. But I also know what’s right and what’s wrong – and when the two conflict, I struggle. I justify myself way too much. If anyone asked me, I’d tell them to stick to their guns and write for themself and their co-writers. So perhaps I ought to listen to my own advice? And that’s not a criticism of anyone who offers advice – I welcome feedback. And feedback is something you can use, if you choose.
Just like this blog really.