META: The Problem of Subjectivity

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at
Fri Mar 14 02:08:07 PDT 2008

On Mar 14, 2:24 pm, Andrew Burton <tuglyrai... at> wrote:
> Martin Phipps wrote:
> > Because you think I'm a liar and I won't admit something when it is
> > true?
> No, because I'm a liar

If you say so.  At least you were able to admit that a negative review
can make the writer feel bad AND that it can cause other people to
decide not to read the story.  It's hard to see how a 100% subjective
negative review couldn't be seen as an attack, especially on this open
forum where we all supposed to be friends.

Seriously, the issue is touched on in the monthly posted RACC FAQ:

"Reviews of stories (even negative ones) are one of the most
 sought-after commodities on RACC.  You will instantly win friends
 influence people if you post reviews.  But especially in the case of
 negative reviews, ensure you confine your review to the story and
 the writer.  Keep in mind as you write "that SUCKS" that someone
 worked long and hard on the text.  They might want to know what
 and what didn't in their narrative but it's doubtful they want to
 how clever you can be in ripping them up.

"It's certain the rest of us don't."

Isn't this exactly what I've been saying?  I know I posted a negative
review of ASH once: I said that I found it depressing, what with the
worldwide calamity that killed billions, separatist terrorists in
Quebec and a nuclear detonation in Beijing.  But it was negative in
the sense that I was finally explaining why I didn't read ASH
(something that I had felt guilty about for a while and yet I decided
it still wasn't for me after reading one) and not that I was saying
the writing was bad.  (People tell me that Dave, in particular, is
good at writing story arcs and obviously I couldn't get that from
reading a single issue.)

I get the feeling that somebody out there thinks I just write stuff in
a few minutes and I don't put any thought into it and that my stories
exist for no other purpose than for him to rip into with a "stylish
and witty" review.  That isn't the case.

>> Similarly, Roger Ebert very, very rarely ever says that he'd "hate
>> hate hate" a movie...

And if he does the writer / director / producer of the movie could
very well see it as an attack.  But even if he hates a movie then he
at least tries to say something constructive about it.  Otherwise it's


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