A perpetual question for authors on GSS is, “how do I let people know that my story is a good one?” Theoretically, badges accomplish this function, but they only do so after ten days that a story has been on the site, and by the time the badges appear, the story has disappeared. This is, of course, understandable, because we don’t want quickly or often-highly rated stories to steal all the attention.
I propose a solution: provide the ability to highlight a single comment at the top of a story’s page, somewhere before the text begins, perhaps below or above the title. When people open up a story, they can see something akin to a rating—a “rave review” comment selected by the author. That way, new stories still get a chance, and stories that were good enough to earn engagement get a way to prove to readers that they’re worth reading.
(As a personal, biased example, I regularly experience concern that readers will skip over my stories on account of their length, because I don’t have a way beyond my title, description, and tags to try and convince them that I’m writing content that will really appeal to them and will be “worth it” to go through.)
Possible objection: people will collude with their friends to write false “rave reviews” for their stories and pin those. In my mind, this is no different from a book that gets published on Amazon doing the same thing. If the story isn’t really very good, it likely won’t get any more engagement and will stay stuck at one or two comments.
If this is too hard to implement, no worries. But I think it would be a great help for new, unknown writers like myself who feel like they have something worth “selling” but no means to sell it.
Hate to be so blunt, it, but I think the author is not the best person to determine whether a story deserves a rave review. It’s up to readers. If readers are looking for a good story, yes they can go to the ratings. Personally, I find a much better method is to look at the comments. Really good stories get lots of comments, especially from the “heavy hitters.” To me, that has been a more reliable method than the ratings. I’m so happy Martin enabled us to see all the comments of all the stories – it becomes obvious which are the stories that are grabbing people’s cocks…er, I mean attention.
Oh, I agree that the comments are the best way to determine if a story is a good one! I myself sometimes look at the comments to help me decide if I want to read a story.
What I’m arguing is that a writer should be able to highlight one of the already existing comments at the top of their story. Not that they should ask for rave reviews and deserve to get them, but that once a comment appears, if they think it’s a glowing review, they can highlight it at the top so a more cursory searcher can immediately see “oh, someone really liked this for this reason!”
Or is this idea that I’ve just explained already what you were objecting to?
Now I get what you’re after @Soren_Fitz - why not. There have been times that I wish the comments were interchangeable with this Forum because sometimes authors are enthusiastic about responding and the comments turn into a discussion.
Sometimes the comments can be reveal good and useful insight. Perhaps one way would be to able to “like” (or “love”) a comment?
I could make it possible to mark an answer as “favorite” and I could add a “like” button. There could only be one comment that’s “favorite”, but many could be “liked”.
But: A “favorite” button would make this a competition again (who gets selected to be the favorite comment writer?) and I guess about all comments would get a “like” by the author anyway.
On the othen hand, a “favorite” button might be a good incentive to comment more, too…
I think I prefer the idea of comment ‘likes,’ with some number of likes hitting a threshold that grants a badge or star or some other indicator on the story lists outside the story is a good idea. Further, if only logged-in ‘likes’ count for that purpose, we can avoid or at least limit the vote-hacking Soren mentioned.
I don’t know how this would change behavior but I don’t think it’s bad for readers to be able to comment or interact with each other.
I like the idea of better/smoother integration with the forum but am a little torn on how it could be accomplished, beyond maybe some sort of system that converts “long enough” comment chains to a pregenerated forum thread and then notifies the participants … but that sort of defeats the point of making the comments section a lively place unless they’re somehow synced. And even if they are synced … everyone involved already has both the forums and the stories at their fingertips. Why double the work?