So You Want to Leave More Feedback

Recently, as part of the Snowflake Challenge, I decided to challenge myself to leave more feedback. Here's what I learned:

I leave a lot more feedback when I'm consciously making an effort (surprise!), but I still find myself falling back on the kudos button out of habit. I've gotten better at stopping myself, though, and now as I hover over that kudos button I ask myself the following question:

Do I have the (time, energy, brain) to leave a comment instead?

If the answer is anything other than no (probably, I should, yes, maybe, ughhhh), I then consider my toolbox of commenting options. Happily, these options are modular and—like something you might find at Ikea—can be used on their own or snapped together to construct a larger comment:

1) A short phrase.

I like to use "I enjoyed this!" It's quick, cheerful, and gets the message across.

Other quick comments I might leave:

2) A favorite part.

3) A phrase, sentence, or paragraph from the story.

Quote it and add a reaction:

4) Bonus round: Keyboard smash.

Who doesn't love a good:

So, on a day without much brain, I might leave a comment like this: "I really enjoyed this! Loved all the antics with Jim and the cow."

On a good brain day, I might say something more like this: "Eeee! This was so much fun. I love how Jim accidentally stole that guy's cow and Spock made him give it back. Also, all the kissing was excellent, especially this part in the barn with McCoy: {quoted text} :D :D :D"

Sure, one is more detailed than the other, but any author would be happy to receive either comment.

The thing I tell myself as my finger is hovering over the kudos button is that a friendly comment is always better than no comment. Just because I can't perfectly and comprehensively express my enjoyment of a story shouldn't stop me from leaving some kind of feedback. The important thing is to let the creator know I enjoyed their work, and the best way to do that is to tell them.

So go ahead and apply this to any kind of fanwork: Tell a vidder you loved the parts where Iron Man was all swoopy. Tell an artist that you loved the colorful details on Hermione's socks and her sweet, sleepy expression. Tell a podficcer that you loved the emotion in the kitchen scene with Troy and Abed and now you'll always hear the story in their voice.

Start small. Expand as needed. When I start typing in that comment box, I often find I have more to say than I thought I did.


Someone left me feedback on this using all four of these methods and I can confirm it's super effective. In fact, it was so effective it took me a moment to realize they were using this system as a framework. I was too busy enjoying the feedback to notice.

Also, the second part of this plan to leave more feedback is that, from time to time, it may become necessary to remind yourself you're supposed to be leaving more feedback. Editing and reposting this piece has reminded me of exactly that and I'm once again following my own advice.