What’s Wrong with the Kudos Button on Ao3 and What to Do About It
Ellen
1549

Let’s be absolutely clear about something. Your experience in the fanfiction community is not the same experience everyone else has had. I have been reading fanfiction for somewhere close to twenty years now. This idea that back in the ‘good old days’ we had fanfiction where people had grand discussions in the comments and people truly analyzed what they were writing because they took the time to read things instead of binging reading is absolutely and completely wrong. Maybe that’s the way you were reading and experiencing things, but it’s not universal.

People wouldn’t comment all the time. Fanfiction has never been some glorious place where every single person commented every single time, nor was it ever a place where all of the feedback was great. Hell, even the arguments sometimes were just misplaced. Many people, including myself, were sometimes convinced that they had to do hardcore analysis and critiques on every single thing they read and not every author wants that. You seem to put a lot of stock in that sort of thing though, so here we are.

Complaining about AO3 making things accessible for people and easy to navigate is also genuinely the most ridiculous criticism I’ve ever heard. You’re mad that the site is easy to use? You still have to sort by tags and do some sort of navigation. Also, that very navigation and the way they sort things is why your comment about kudos being pointless just shows you don’t pay attention. Kudos are a way for someone to quickly show an author they liked the story. It’s also a function within the site where you can sort through stories by booksmarks, comments, date updated, date posted, and KUDOS. If you sort by kudos, the one with the most amount of kudos does appear first. There is a metric being used and it does have a purpose.

Also, can you please get a grip when it comes to your anger with binging? I’ve been binging stories since I was a kid. I can remember sitting down and reading through entire books in a single evening. I remember that. Why shouldn’t I be able to do the same with fanfiction? Why does it bother you so much that I might sit and read a 40,000 word fanfiction in a few hours instead of spacing it out unnecessarily? What’s the point of it? My Sunday afternoon is mine to use as I please. And honestly, it’s not up to you the level of insight I put into the work. You also have zero way of knowing what level that is anyway. I can absolutely read a fic in one afternoon and think it over, sometimes overthink it, in that span.

There’s never been a single fanfiction site where binging hasn’t happened. There just isn’t. People have been binging stories since print and they will keep doing it as long as they’re engaged enough with a piece to do so.

I write lengthy fanfictions and I love it when people comment on my work, but if I ever saw any of my readers having to go through an obnoxious ‘are you still reading? Comment’ set up to continue reading my story, I’d scream. I don’t want people guilted into commenting on my story. The kudos button not being there will not make people comment. Sometimes people just feel they have nothing to say and so they don’t comment anything.

Also, it’s more than a little hilarious to see someone complaining about the kudos button and non commenting on a site where APPLAUSE is an option.