As some may have noticed, I’ve taken my story The Lawyer’s True Name out of the contest and opted out of ratings for my most recent stories. Long struggles with my mental health have left me vulnerable and less equipped to deal with bad feedback, especially anonymous feedback without clarification. Most mental illnesses come with a paranoia element, and I would see ratings of 3 or less appearing on my stories almost as an attack, a way to tank my ratings. Bad thoughts at the extreme could lead to bad actions. It’s not that I wanted to be perceived as better than I am, more that I thought that flaws or bad faith ratings gave a wrong impression. But mostly, they made me doubt myself, and hurt my self-esteem.
Martin has been very understanding and supportive throughout those struggles, and added the possibility to opt out of the ratings system. I wanted to speak out to let people know that it’s possible to be so obsessed by something like ratings to the point of being detrimental to your health. Society is becoming more and more about allowing people around us to sit in, often anonymous, judgement on things we do and it can lead us easily to let it influence how we feel about ourselves. I’m really scared for the generations who follow us and how they are vulnerable and craving for likes and what kind of things they might do to get them.
I had peace of mind during the last week. No anxiety, no obsession.
Please don’t hesitate to opt out of the ratings system if it is affecting your mental health.
I’m glad to hear that you’re much better and less stressed out. This site is all about fun and release - of stress and any kind of pressure - so the last thing I want to see is that people get agitated as authors or as readers.
So that posting of yours really mean much to me.
Thank you. And I hope you’ll post many stories on the sites and find much release and fun doing it!
Already working on the next one: The Cursed Greek Play.
Thank you so much for opening up and sharing. I’m sure your words will help many people stop, take a breath, identify what is hurting, and take action. Sharing is not only a brave gesture but also a generous one since it can helps us and others at the same time. I’m so happy that you are feeling better already.
Also, thank you Martin for always being there doing the changes needed for a healthier community. We appreciate it.
yeah don’t let the words of asshats who won’t sign their name make you feel like shit. Write your truth and you will find others who love it, mad respect for opening up like this. I hope it gets better.
Take care of yourself. Writing fantasy takes a lot out of a person. If you need less anxiety it’s great that you can opt out.
Why are unregistered, anonymous people allowed to comment or rate stories?
To be fair, the lower ratings didn’t only come from unregistered people. But there was no way to know who rated or no explanation as to why it was rated that way. I’m not saying that there should have been, just that in the absence of information, my paranoid mind had free rein. Also, I did not receive bad comments (except maybe once) and those I don’t mind because at least they go into more detail than just 3/5.
Ratings from registered, logged on users count 5x as much as ratings by anonymous users.
In my original post, I used the word anonymous not in the sense of anonymous users, but to refer to the fact that ratings are anonymous (even if from registered users) and that it made it more difficult for me because I had no way to, for example, go and ask the person who left me a 3, why they did so.
But we’re straying from my point. My post is not about the ratings system and certainly not about being a “victim” of it. It is about recognizing my mentally unhealthy reaction to ratings and advising people who have such reactions to consider opting out for their peace of mind.
That’s great. But would it be possible, or should it be required that a comment be mandatory for a rating of 3 or less?
As I said, my post here is not about changes to the ratings system. The problem is with me. No change in the rating system would have solved this for me. I have an unhealthy relationship with ratings. It’s a “me” problem that was solved by opting out.
I have thought about suggesting the site stop allowing anonymous posting or rating before, simply because some of the meanest, cruellest comments I see come from anonymous posts. And sure, I could say “write for yourself, fuck how others rate it”, but that’s like telling someone to calm down – our psyches do what our psyches do. I’ve enjoyed many of your stories, Mafisto, just to let you know.
I have been a fan of your work for the longest time! Anonymous feedback also sets me off. People are quick to criticize and all I can think is…well, at least I wrote something and contributed to the site.