I started this conversation on Facebook this morning, and wanted to elaborate on some of my own experiences here, both as a reader and a writer...
"What do you think of the whole "Reviewing" aspect of fan fiction? Sometimes crappy fics get a lot of reviews, and sometimes great fics get none. We tend to look at the number of reviews and assume that means "good". Is it true, or is it just as likely that the fics with a lot of reviews are a lot of BAD reviews?"
In my experience, reviews are a wonderful thing when they are constructive (either with improvement suggestions or with praise) and well meant. They are a great way to determine if this is a story you want to read. They can also be really, really misleading.
With Dribble fics (I'm not calling them drabble fics! That's something else!), review counts end up being...well...a little silly. If there are 100+ chapters on a fic that is even a little bit popular, chances are there are a lot of reviews. At the same time, just because there are a lot of reviews doesn't mean the story is any good. Having a few reviews doesn't mean the story is bad, either.
Some of my (random and disorganized) thoughts on reviews:
1. Sometimes I wish they weren't there at all. I love getting the feedback from people, but I hate what reviews seem to do to some people some of the time. There is the potential to give writers a big head, and the potential to have a writer be accused of having a big head, humble or not.
2. I don't write for the sake of getting reviews. If I had one review per chapter, I would still be writing. Does anyone write JUST for the reviews? Seems like a lot of work for little gain. I wonder if that is even possible, but my mind is a little funny, too.
3. The very few times I have seen end notes on a story that say "I'll post an update once I get another 150 reviews" I have dropped the story completely. That's just rude, imho.
4. I wish I could respond to more of them.
5. I rarely review (isn't that awful?!?!) when I'm reading. I try to make up for it by writing a recommendation or pimping out a good story on the blog or something instead.
6. The most amusing review I ever got was from someone who obviously clicked on the wrong link. It was a review, and a very nice one, but mentioned characters that weren't in my story! LOL I didn't have the heart to respond to it and point out the mistake.
7. Tone is impossible to convey in a review. Keep that in mind when writing them AND reading them. Also, with English being many people's second or third language, keep translation issues in mind when you read them as well. Sometimes a review may sound negative when it is not meant that way.
Thanks enough of my babbling...what do you think?