From the Editor – Citizens of a Positive Community

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…

12 Comments

  • Nandan says:

    Ok Mam. We would ensure to be in-line. :-)

    I personally think that we can do better in the area of

    ………….. 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………..

    Very apt editorial Vibha.

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Your are very much right. We have to respect both positive & negative comment to make our stories more attractive for the readers. In same way we have to take care of the sentiments of the author while writing comment who put his/her time to share his/her experience with us.

    Very Informative post Vibha Madam, I wish it could have released on Children day. :-)

    • Thanks Mahesh. Yes we should be sensitive and at the same time, we should make a point to leave a comment because that encourages the author more than anything else.

      Now that you mention it. Wouldn’t it have been great if one of our junior ghumakkars, Rachit or Shubham, had written a story yesterday?

  • Sandeep Sehgal says:

    I for one have not been as active as I wish to be. Pure lethargy has been the primary cause of this. Let me strive to change that in the coming days.

    I share the views regarding comments. Comments should always be directed at an article, NOT at an author. It will be best to put comments constructively and goad for improvement.

  • VED PRAKASH says:

    Dear Mam,
    Be assured that this is the platform where are mutually benefiting ourselves. Hardly you will find one here with intention to hurt, passing derogatory remarks or otherwise in the line. Thus what I find all your apprehensions are meaningless here (hope so that they ever remain meaningless). However a word of caution, as put forth by you, is natural of every caressing person to keep intact the family and its ever growing regard, the same way the head of family is apprehended of, notwithstanding how well and caring the family members are……….

  • Sudhir Sobti says:

    Hi Vibha………At the outset, I must compliment u for being an author of such an interesting publication ! Its indeed interesting going thru the contents, which are not only informative but
    a pleasant reading experince too !

    I wish all success for your future editions to follow.
    I would love to subscribe.

    sudhir sobti.

    • Vibha says:

      Wow Mr. Sobti,
      It is so nice to see your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the site and the content.

      I’ll send you a separate email to help you get registered to the website.

      Cheers,
      Vibha

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi Vibha,

    A very interesting write-up; almost a clinical approach to citizenry issues of this fantastic plot called ‘Ghumakkar’.

    I would like to hold forth that Ghumakkar is all about a traveller sharing one’s experiences/views about travel; perhaps due to one of the following reasons –

    1. Share an unmitigated sense of joy/excitement on having travelled to a place; and what better
    place would the traveller find than a forum of other travellers ?

    2. A sense of gratitude, having benefited from similar contribution by others in the past.

    3. An exploratory venture by a traveller, who attempts to pen down one’s feelings.

    So where is the question of brooding about derogatory (or any, for that matter) comments ?

    If at all, unsavoury comment are akin to that rock which fell on my car’s windshield while driving across Almora last year, creating a big crack – it was just there or my car happened to be there and it wouldn’t be correct on my part to go around blaming the Himalayas for the damage.

    Similarly , an appreciation – isn’t it like that stupefying glimpse one catches at the curb, something which just comes one’s way, unplanned, unexpected…. and all one one can do is to say thanks to the circumstances for this precious gift.

    Furthermore, fully appreciating the fact that I’m yet to see any degenerative comment/post here.

    And those awards, etc instituted by Ghumakkar – I think it is a great idea encouraging the members/ newcomers alike… keep it going.

    Thanks

    Auro.

  • Vibha says:

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment Auro.

    Yes, true. Ghumakkars are citizens of a positive community and the community is positive only because of the constant encouragement each of us offers to each other. You are right, there’s no question of brooding over degenerative comments. I would like to emphasize once again that we should take a minute and congratulate each other for keeping so healthy a community going.

    :) I don’t think we spend enough time appreciating the things we do well as a community…

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