Long Comments vs. Short Comments

A Preference in Length

I had a conversation with my co-workers last month about comments, in particular the size of comments in reply to blog entries. We were discussing our company’s blog and were trying to figure out how to entice our audience to be involved in our content. It seemed unanimous that the office preferred short comments, a few lines would suffice. I, on the other hand, am not so fond of short comments and prefer longer feedback.

They were confused as to why that was. I know that my love for lengthy feedback was built and maintained through my online writing – most writers on Fanfiction.net and FictionPress.com prefer long reviews over one-liners – so I had to explain to the office why I prefer longer comments, replies or reviews.

Yes to: Long Comments

1. Usually, a longer comment contains useful critique. As a writer, positive feedback is essential and even vital to building one’s craft.

2. The longer the comment, the longer the reader has put thought and energy into the writer’s content. It is the best reflection of a one’s work.

3. With longer comments, sometimes conversations between readers generate and help writer’s develop better perspectives of their story.

No to: Short Comments

1. Short comments rarely have useful critiques; it does not help writers evolve.

2. If a long comment illustrates a reader’s in-depth engagement in a writer’s work, a short comment (at times) demonstrates the reader’s lack of attention. To me, it means that the reader has other stories to read or other places to go or other things to do.

3. With shorter comments, writers who wish to discuss their work with the reader will have a difficult time in engaging in a conversation when one hasn’t started.

As a creator, a reader’s feedback is one method, if not the best method, in analyzing one’s writing. Almost all online authors (from what I’ve seen on forums, discussions and groups) prefer long, substantial and helpful reviews. Perhaps a business is different. For my co-workers, they spoke of how readers are busy and don’t have time to comment. For blogs, I can understand that. People read blogs while waiting in line for coffee or talking to their friends at the dinner table.

But for Nocte Yin, I would prefer it if my readers sit down, read and absorb the content.

I would prefer it even more if they give me long, insightful and surprising reviews. ;P

甄雪清

Acanthus | The Arts

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2 thoughts on “Long Comments vs. Short Comments

  1. Heeey, long time no see! 😀
    It feels like forever since I last wrote you, but I was away for a while, so no internet. But I’m back and catching up on review writing!

    The length of comments is something I’m actually pretty ambivalent about. On the one hand, I agree with everything you’ve said, but on the other hand, I feel like it’s fine so long as I know people are reading it and looking forward to more. For example, sometimes my friends want to read my stuff. I rarely get helpful feedback from them, which can be frustrating, but it’s better than no feedback at all (which has happened).

    So I don’t mind the middle ground, when I just hear ‘It was good!’ and then next time they ask me again if they can read it. That’s enough to know they’re enjoying it.

    On yet another hand, I like talking to writers. Sometimes you get to have the most interesting conversations, with thoughtful analyses of characters or the latest story arc or something (though that applies more to fanfiction). Reading other people’s discussions is also great. But you can’t start a discussion without a review with some substance.

    But then, length isn’t always substance. I like to think some of my reviews are helpful, but there’s just as many where I could have stopped after the first half. Out of curiousity, do you think my reviews are ever helpful? Because I tend to just gush a lot about Nocte, so I’m not sure.

    Later,
    schattenmalerin

    • Hi schattenmalerin,

      I hope you’ve had a good break from the internet! I agree that sometimes short comments are helpful too, but it’s difficult for me gauge how well I’ve done with only a sentence. Fortunately, most short comments I get are from my fanfictions and not for my original fiction. I tend to not judge my fanfics as heavily as my original. I also find replying to longer comments easier because there’s more to say! 😀

      I think your reviews are one of the most helpful. Even if you think there’s no substance, your guesses and predictions tell me whether or not I’m heading in the direction I’m hoping for. Thank you so much!

      Yours,
      Zhen Xue Qing

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