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On Giving Constructive Reviews

On Giving Constructive Reviews

A Chapter by Dr. YumnaKay
"

A rant mainly.

"
Giving out reviews is never easy. Especially if you mean it in a good, constructive way. 
During my time here in the cafe, I've always tried to give honest opinions regarding writes although I've been guilty too of reciprocating the ones who reviewed me in the past. 

Here's what I don't understand. When you leave a review commenting on a writer's lack of grammar/feel of the write, etc while also pointing out the positive aspects of that piece, they thank you. Then they ask you to point out the errors. When you do so, they end up offended somehow because 10 other reviewers did not see those obvious errors. 

The hilarious thing comes when you get a friend request from them after that and a private message offering thanks for the effort you made on pointing out their mistakes. Afterall, they want to make their poetry more poetic. (keep in mind that I asked them not to follow the edits if they didn't want to). After thanking you immensely, you get unfriended and when you check to see the edits--ta-da--the piece you pointed out the mistakes on is deleted. 


The above scenario was what happened with me recently by a writer here. It makes me question where do new writers here stand in improving their writing skills (that is, if they really want to improve it), and where reviewers like me stand when we're kept being treated this way by immature writers on a platform like WritersCafe. Not meaning to offend anyone by this but my advice to the newbies - keep an open mind while posting a piece and especially if you specifically ask someone to review it or they take the time to review it for you. Keep in mind and observe the tone of the reviewer to judge whether they're genuine or trollish or simply the reciprocating ones. That's easy enough to notice. 

Not meaning to brag either, but my time here in the cafe in the past 1 1/2 years is what gave me the courage to be open about things and improve myself as a writer which is what the constructive reviews are for. 

Thank you for reading. 


© 2018 Dr. YumnaKay


Author's Note

Dr. YumnaKay
Just my personal opinion and an opening for discussion. I'm not in the least bit offended or bothered by what happened but just wanted to put it out there. I'd love to hear differing opinions. And of course, I'll continue giving reviews the way I usually do :D

My Review

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Featured Review

I don't give detailed and constructive feedback about structure etc unless I know that person well. Over years I have found that writers can get very upset about their precious lines. I prefer to give feedback on how a poem gets to me on an emotional level. If someone wants more specific help, then they can ask for it.

Chris

Posted 1 Year Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Dr. YumnaKay

1 Year Ago

I realized that too during my time here and for a while stopped giving reviews but it's hard to igno.. read more
Christine Anne Shaw

1 Year Ago

I am new here, two months only. As I get to know people better, I may change my stance.



Reviews

I think your opinions are very valid. There are so many platitudes given here in the cafe. Not sure why. Sometimes I think it is fear of rejection or reprisals, at others that some believe that the best way to encourage is to stick with the positive. Personallyt I have welcomed constructive critism and have conversed with several young writers and had very positive responses. None of us are too clever, too wise or too old to learn.

Posted 11 Months Ago


Well done for this comment on what is going on in WC Yumnakay. Every so often I click to check out some writing and find that I'm blocked. I guess that the problem is that I do try to give some constructive criticisms if I think it is suitable. Giving honest but sensitive reviews is a great way to learn but it seems to be too much for many. It is too easy to fall into the 'I'll scratch your back' scenario and no-one gains anything from the exercise. I fear it is a human failing!
All the best and i hope this makes a few think!
Alan

Posted 11 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Dr. YumnaKay

11 Months Ago

Aye, that is the problem I faced too for a while... I just wish people here were more clear about wh.. read more
I really like when people point out my grammatical mistakes. I am a horrible editor and usually don't read a piece again until someone reviews it. I like to hear what people think my poetry means to them even if it is far from the feelings and theme I had in my mind when I wrote it. I also wear glasses and still have bad eyesight, so don't catch things on my screen. My hands also dont type as fast as my brain works!lol When I review others I try gently to point out significant language mistakes that take away from the read but mostly just express what I feel or see from their pieces. Some writers bring me very strong emotional ties and others just words. I just hope that I am reviewing appropriately and I know I am a horrible return response after they review but I always try to recipercate by reviewing a piece for them. My only annoyance comes from friend requests before you have ever reviewed one of my pieces. oh! , and the sites - it must be at least 25 characters...lol

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Dr. YumnaKay

1 Year Ago

Ah, yes. I do get annoyed too when I get FRs without a review interaction and end up deleting those .. read more
I think your views on the subject are good and correct. In my experience, offering constructive criticism is risky business. Some will really appreciate it, while others will get offended or go quiet and never contact you again. It's just how things are. I believe we're all amateurs here, some more serious about our writing than others. For my part, I will always appreciate constructive criticism that's given in earnest.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Dr. YumnaKay

1 Year Ago

Aye, that's what I've deduced so far too. Thank you so much for adding your thoughts here and for ag.. read more
What you say makes sense. And your ability to communicate in English as a second language is amazing! It's better than most natives here I think.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Dr. YumnaKay

1 Year Ago

:D thanks so much for the compliment, Levi. I'm glad you think so :)
Levi

1 Year Ago

Your welcome indeed :)
Bravo - I applaud you for speaking your mind about this. If someone can't take constructive advise they should either not post their work or request no reviews (which I think is a shame) I agree that it can help new writers improve their grammar, style etc. I have tons to learn and I welcome any and all suggestions - if someone is rude I can always block them

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Dr. YumnaKay

1 Year Ago

I share the same opinion as you. It is a shame indeed to see posts here asking to be read but wantin.. read more
I tell the young writers. Have hard skin when requesting help. I like honest reviews. They teach us to write better. Thank you dear friend for sharing the powerful and worthwhile thoughts.
Coyote

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Dr. YumnaKay

1 Year Ago

I agree. Hard skin is a must if one wants to grow.
Thank you so much for your words here, Jo.. read more
Coyote Poetry

1 Year Ago

You are welcome my friend.
You have grown immensely as a writer since coming here, precisely because you can take what you dish out and you are willing to put what you learn into practice

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Dr. YumnaKay

1 Year Ago

That has always been my intention, yes. Having started from scratch on here, I feel I have loads to .. read more
Whom do we think we're kidding?
(excerpted from a blog)

When we first join one of these poetry web-sites, we really don't know what to expect.
We read and are told that it is all about exposing our poems to the world so we can know how we measure-up and to acquire helpful critique, corrections for our typos and misspellings, and to receive lessons from the others that have much to offer us on our way to becoming better poets, and eventually, more proficient experts in the craft.
Certainly, this is true to some extent, that we have to become better if by virtue of reading those that we consider better wordsmiths than ourselves, or has some quirky, appealing twist to a phrase that we do not, or that have words we never would have thought of otherwise, and even more ways to say what we feel and think than we probably could have come up with on our own.
If we are honest, there are few that feel rewarded to learn they have made a typo, said something in a less than inspiring and admired way, that their poem received less than the highest marks, or that it receives few reviews.
Then, as we wander ceaselessly through the processes set forth by the site's designers and follow the prescribed control-mechanisms built into the site's system, and despite this dictatorial-directive, we soon discern that it is not really totally about becoming better poets, at-all, but more about reaching out to others in some way to be recognized, accepted, admired, praised, encouraged, inspired, respected for our own abilities, and to discover how we measure up to others – even in our own eyes, how desired and desirable we are, and yes ... even loved and adored. Sometimes, even finding deep love and adoration.
Some of us first come cocky, shy, aggressive, sad, lonely, depressed, loving, spiritual, hoping, mean, giving, whatever each of us has in ourselves or is lacking in us; but, we all come out of some "need" to be here, and some out of mere curiosity.
Most have no deeply comprehensive idea why they really came until here for awhile, if ever, but the involvement among so many soon awakens the answer to that, because there is nothing like the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual power of poetry to pull forth from us whatever stirs in the deepest depth of our hearts, our souls, and our minds.
Then, despite whatever first brought us here, the truthful answer finally emerges:
We really come to "touch and be touched" in some way enthralling, enticing, thrilling, and inspiring way(s) that adds whatever it was that we were missing.
Some, find it – most, I suspect, do not ... but, one thing is for certain, "Poetry sites are definitely not for sissies" … LOL!

A grrreat oratory, Yumna, not only on reviewing, but to bring rise to the question of why we're here at all, and it all ties together … I am sooo glad you're staying!
Humbly, I bow to your always interesting, enlightening literary prowess! ⁓ Richard : )

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Dr. YumnaKay

1 Year Ago

I agree wholeheartedly with what you said here, Richard. It is definitely a mix of need and curiosit.. read more
Richard 🍃

1 Year Ago

The way your mind and heart work, inspires the pen to speak.
We all tend to overlook our writing shortcomings and mistakes. We need others to point them out. However, we often think we know better, or attempt to defend our mistakes as intentional experimentation. I'm as guilty as anyone.
When reviewing, my lack of training limits what can be said with confidence about, "the proper way".
Positive feedback, is at times, not easy. In such instances, I do not review. Yet, I do not lie or blow smoke.
Every time I offer advice, it requires an undue length of time to remove my foot from my mouth.
I recommend others, asking for more detail, to have someone read the work out loud and look and listen for where they stumble or pause too long, as places to rework.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Dr. YumnaKay

1 Year Ago

That is the point I did try to make here, about not lying while reviewing. Thank you so much for you.. read more
VALORMORE DE PLUME

1 Year Ago

It is like, no matter how compassionate, telling a smoker that they need to quit. They know you're r.. read more

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Added on July 18, 2018
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Dr. YumnaKay
Dr. YumnaKay

Pakistan



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