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FAQ About Critique Tags

The forums now have “critique” tags, which are represented by the headings below, to note what intensity of critique they want for their stories. Ordo organized this document to help facilitate a common understanding of each level. The following people contributed to the content of this outline: Paine, LittleBattler, Mouse, Robin

Note: These are specifically designed for storylockes, but that does not limit their use in other mediums, simply changes the interpretation if applied to other mediums.

General guidelines
Sourced from https://oregonstate.edu/instruct/comm440-540/criticism.htm
  • Take into account the author’s perspective if you can
  • Be specific, provide examples
  • Mainly look at the hows and not the whats
  • Be open for further dialogue
  • Keep it relatively concise
  • Provide positive feedback in addition to criticism

Critique Level 0
An opt out option and/or positive only. Untagged works are explicitly Lv 0. Critique will be strictly opt in, to avoid misunderstandings.

Critique Level 1 (Specific and/or basic criticism)
A Lv1 critique may contain the following:
  • Critique on the usage of English
  • Critique on the specific areas requested by the author.
  • Point out the things that you find impressive or exceptional in the work, or you otherwise judge as being the strong point of the work.

A Lv 1 critique must be worded politely. The author may at their discretion disregard the criticism, or not engage in further discussion.

For authors wanting to generate discussion & wanting lv 1 critique, here are some examples of things you can ask readers to focus on: (Nothing too intense, only the broad strokes.)
  • Broad language & grammar (are things spelled properly? Are there any completely incorrect words that drastically change a scene?);
  • Pacing (too fast? Dragging too much?).

Critique Level 2 (Technical criticism)
A Lv2 critique may contain the following:
  • Critique on the usage of English (grammar, spelling etc)
  • Feedback on the execution of ideas (plot, character, action). This should be prefaced by explaining what you think the idea is, what you think is wrong with the execution, and then elaborating on what can be improved, but without changing the idea itself.
  • Point out the things that you find impressive or exceptional in the work, or you otherwise judge as being the strong point of the work.

A Lv2 critique must be worded politely. The author may invite the critic to further discussion, but it is not required. It is considered bad form for either party to ignore discussion once it’s started, unless things get heated.

For authors wanting to generate discussion & wanting lv 2 critique, here are some examples of things you can ask readers to focus on:
  • More detailed grammar & spelling picks (smaller typos, incorrect tense);
  • Character critiques (are they consistent? Do they have an identifiable personality?);
  • Stronger pacing picks.

Critique Level 3 (General criticism)
A Lv3 critique may contain the following:
  • Critique on the usage of English (grammar spelling etc)
  • Feedback on the execution of ideas (plot, character, action). This should be prefaced by explaining what you think the idea is, what you think is wrong with the execution, and then elaborating on what can be improved.
  • Feedback on the ideas themselves, such as plot holes, character traits, world details, etc. This should be prefaced by explaining what you think the problem with the idea is, and then elaborating on what can be improved. This is the main distinction between levels 3 and 2.
  • Point out the things that you find impressive or exceptional in the work, or you otherwise judge as being the strong point of the work.

A Lv3 critique must be worded politely. Both the critic and the author are expected to be willing to engage in further discussion.

Lv3 author discussion generation points:
Same as level 2; and perhaps here is where you might want to ask for opinions on worldbuilding, and if there are any smaller potential plot/logic holes.

Critique Level 4
  • Like level 3 but the author has signed off explicitly that they will accept more vague criticism if you have points that you can’t quite elaborate on and/or does not necessarily want or require praise.
  • May allow for more blunt phrasing in a more ‘this just doesn’t work’ manner, as long as there is an attempt to explain why. Outright flaming is not okay.

A Lv 4 tag means the author is willing to accept casually worded criticism, which may include blunt (but not offensive or overly provocative) language. Both the critic and the author are expected to be willing to engage in further discussion.

All aspects of the work are fair game for criticism at Lv4, the author must be willing to accept unsolicited criticism on areas that they did not specify.

Critique Level 5 (Anything Goes)

Anything goes, the author does not mind some measure of smack talk and memes as part of the feedback. Bonus points for topical ones.
Flaming still frowned upon but the author does not explicitly forbid it, however you are still beholden to forum rules.

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