Year 2011 will soon be coming to a close and the Editorial team at Ghumakkar has already started the initial discussions for the Ghumakkars of the Year 2011 awards. If you think that you stand a chance of being one of the lucky few who’ll receive the title, now is the time to put in that extra effort and seal your place amongst top 5. If you are not sure, click here to know more about the criteria for the award. Even if you don’t think you have made it this year, don’t be disheartened. There are always other awards up for grabs and there’s always the next time.
The topic of this month’s editorial may not be directly relevant to Ghumakkar simply because we are already so awesome at it. However, I just thought I’d put my thoughts into words so that we could all share what we feel about this. The question is what do we do when we read someone’s well-written post that makes the amount of hard work that would’ve gone towards creating the story apparent.
And here are our options
Do we post a comment or do we simply appreciate the story in our mind and move on to the next? And if we do post a comment, is it just a general comment or do we take pains to show the author that we read through each line and appreciate the details? Or better still, do we leave any subtle suggestions for improvements? And if we do offer criticism, do we make efforts to not attack the author with our comments?
For all of us, the answer would differ based on our frame of mind while reading the story, our feelings about the story, and our concern for the author’s hard work.
Hopefully all of us agree upon the handling of abusive and derogatory comments
At Ghumakkar, there have been incidents when we have either received reports from concerned authors about some unnecessarily derogatory comment or an uncalled for attack on an author’s skills. At times, we’ve noticed blatantly abusive comments by some readers. Without exception, in all of these cases, the perpetrators have been people we haven’t seen on Ghumakkar and, invariably, such comments have been removed by the Editorial team promptly. And some of our authors have experienced such personal attacks and smiled bravely through them only to go on and become some of the most respected authors at Ghumakkar.
Thankfully, readers and writers within Ghumakkar family respect each other too much to indulge in personal verbal attacks. In fact, most of the comments are positive, involved, and helpful.
But does this mean we can only shower praises?
No, this does not mean that one cannot criticize. Positive criticism helps. So one might occasionally hear “Wish there were more pictures!”, “try to add captions from the next time”, or “Wish the pictures were bigger.” but all of these are intended to make the story and its experience better and not at belittling the author in any way.
But what if I don’t get too many comments? Is the community indifferent towards me?
Ghumakkar is a healthy community that encourages participation, creativity, and persistence. If you extend your hand, you can be sure that the community will not only take it but it will also go ahead and embrace you. If you feel that you could do with more feedback (appreciation or suggestions) from the authors, take time out to read the their stories and leave empathetic comments. Get involved in the community and become a part so that when your story comes up, the other authors know who you are and are comfortable interacting with you.
So readers need to be careful of what they say?
The responsibility of keeping a community healthy not only rests with readers who comment but also with the authors who have to deal with the comments positively. Try to give people, who you know to be reasonable, a benefit of doubt. By this I do not mean that you try to get in the shoes of someone who hurls abuses at you. If it gets as bad as that, it is better to report the comment to the Editorial team and then try to get over the impact of the comment. However if you find someone’s comment mildly curt or rude, try to look at it from different perspectives. Perhaps the person did not mean it. If someone offers an opinion contrary to yours, try to consider it impartially and you may be surprised at how positively your mind reacts and how healthily you are able to discuss opposite point of views. There’s no better way to grow as a human being.
Wait a minute! Ghumakkars are always careful about all of this!
Yes, true! Then what am I going on about? Such problems hardly exist at Ghumakkar. Ghumakkars take out time and read each others’ stories. They leave meaningful and helpful comments. And they always accept criticism positively. The editorial sounds untimely then, doesn’t it? No. Because while it is important to offer criticism and suggestions for improvements, at times, it is also important to appreciate what we have with us just to ensure that we treasure it enough and never lose it. We are all citizens of a positive community and we have full rights to tell ourselves how great we are at it.
Till the next time…