Reviews for Why Some Fanfics Are Just Terrible
Persnickety Fox chapter 3 . 11/6/2012
I might have an answer to your questions.

I had a similar experience with an author on Fictionpress. I noticed many grammatical errors, misuse of words, and misspellings of foreign words in that author's work. I wrote a review to help that person, but the response I got was disheartening. That person blamed Fictionpress formatting for his own lack of English language knowledge and said he was too exasperated with the foreign language's conventions to bother using them. He basically thumbed his nose at not one, but two written languages in one PM. It was clear that he didn't want to learn or take responsibility for his own mistakes. I didn't waste my time reviewing his work again.

Despite that debacle of a PM, I don't think he was intentionally writing badly. For all his horribly-formatted work, there is a sincerity in his storytelling that somehow resonates with people. Other reviewers either willingly overlook the flaws and enjoy his work, or don't know any better and enjoy it accordingly.

Using my experience as an example, I think that some writers who write for fun but post badly-written stories are not trying to act like trolls. Some people don't *mean* to not care; maybe they just care about the story and not the craft, as if the content will somehow outweigh the flimsy, inconsistent, badly-constructed packaging.

Some of these writers will not get reviews because of this and their work will simply exist on the Internet. But other writers, like the one in my example, do get reviews. These reviews are not only positive and encourage the writer to keep writing, but they have no constructive criticism at all.

This brings me to my next point. I think some uncaring authors post their stories for feedback, but not for the constructive kind. From what I've seen on Fictionpress (and FFnet), a majority of reviews are not constructive. They are short and vague, and usually exist to cheer-lead the writer to update a story. Reviews like these are what an uncaring author wants, and to be honest, these are probably all he or she is going to get.

That's why I don't think fear is what stops potential reviewers from giving constructive feedback. I think lack of motivation might be a bigger culprit. Constructive reviews require a lot more time, thought, and effort than one-line reviews. An average reviewer doesn't read a story to analyze and criticize it; he or she is there to be entertained. Explaining how to write something better takes effort and time and tact. Who has time for that when all a reader wants is to find something good? A reader will probably spend more time searching for and reviewing things that are already well-written (or what he or she *thinks* is well-written) than reviewing lost causes and hoping his or her efforts are not in vain.

If an author is not motivated to work on the craft, then his or her work remains unimproved. Improvement doesn't matter if an author posts his/her work on the Internet for adoration. It doesn't help that good aspects of a badly-written story may bleed through its framework and resonate with readers, because that could generate positive reviews which perpetuate the cycle of not-so-awesome storytelling. Readers who can see the flaws in such a writer's work may choose not to respond to it because of lack of motivation or time.

That's just my theory. Hopefully, it answers your questions.
Ghost in the Machine chapter 1 . 10/28/2012
Went through the six chapters you have so far while I agree with some of your premises, I can't agree with all of them.

While a bad summary usually does indicate a bad fic (fanfic or original fic), it's bad writing that makes a bad fic. Use of a first person viewpoint is merely a style choice, although I will admit it is harder to pull off in fanfiction than original fiction for the reasons you gave. I find it works best for characters who are self-centered. (Since the universe revolves around them anyway.) It can also be a challenge to write a story when restricted to a single viewpoint. Things happen off panel and the first person character has to infer them in a way to let the reader know instead of having it spelled out from an omniscient viewpoint.

Uncaring authors and rule-breakers aren't two sides of the same coin. They're the same side of the coin. Rules, either site rules or grammar rules, don't matter to them. They do what they want and simply don't care about other's opinions, be they readers or site administrators. (But you can pretty much guarantee a whine-fest if anyone objects in the slightest to their work. I feel this is an unwarranted self-esteem issue, but will save you the lecture.)

Looking forward to the chapter on author names.
Desa chapter 6 . 10/23/2012
Couple of typos.

I'm just wondering, when you do this story research, do you leave short reviews and/or report the stories at all?

(Also, is English your first language?)
Desa chapter 5 . 10/23/2012
The way you're wording this is kind of odd. Doesn't all fanfiction have the potential to be bad?

I would have thought that you would be putting more focus onto how to identify these issues as opposed to the issues themselves. It's not an issue that you're presenting it differently, of course. I just find it somewhat odd.

Also, you might consider paragraphing differently and restructuring some of your sentences, as right now it's not the easiest thing to track ever.

(Also, Grammar Nazi is a rather offensive term.)
Lord Mephystroph chapter 6 . 10/22/2012
I'll have to point out a minor fallacy in chapter 6 concerning a 'correlation between bad summaries with certain categories'. This 'suck at summaries' plague really exists in most fandoms, but it's more recurrent in entertainment that is designed to reach out to 14 year olds and younger. The three categories you've mentioned are all generally at the top of the list for number of fanfics posted. Other fandoms like 'yu-gi-oh', Bakugan, and MFBeyblade also have this problem.

Other than that, the logic is pretty sound. Nice piece of work, keep it up!
FixedUrFic chapter 2 . 10/14/2012
Very interesting... I didn't even know that there were rules against sexual content on FF. The entire practice has such a prominent reputation for it that it seems like a contradiction. I can't wait until you get to titles and pen-names, by the way. They're the kind of things that I would feel bad about tearing apart, but there really is a whole set of unique cliches for them. I'll admit that I've facepalmed at my fair share.

Keep it up. I look forward to seeing where you take this. :)