Author Topic: Save the PN Forum! (aka "If You Build it, Will They Come?")  (Read 3506 times)

Offline Quazar

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I am reprinting some comments here I posted in Flacksguy's newest photonovel chapter.

Generally speaking, though I think we are seeing more and more great photnovels than ever before, I am dismayed by the general lack of participation and commentary that this great work seems to generate, not only here but at RS, which also has its own PN forum with many of the same members and stories.

I am not singling myself out of the bad behavior, as there have been many stories in which I have not personally commented on, so i don't mean to come across as hypocritical.  But it is upsetting that these labors of love seem to get so little in the way of replies.  While in-depth feedback is always appreciated, even a few of the quickie comments would be a step in the right direction. 

There are a number of amazing chapters right now in this forum that have less than ten replies each (and many of those are replies from the authors responding to the few comments they did get.)

Here is what I wrote in Flacksguy's forum.  I really wish that we could revitalize the level of analysis and participation here.  It terms of material, it seems like we've never had a richer mix of projects, so it is puzzling and frustrating that the comments themselves aren't commensurate with the great work being done.

Hopefully together we can find the solution and make this an exciting, encouraging place to be.  From personal experience, as someone who has poured his efforts into photonovels in the past, there is nothing more disheartening than having to wait days and days and days just for a few comments. 

Here's what I wrote in the other thread -


I am a little dismayed over the fact that there are so many good photonovels here and at RS that seem to get very little feedback.  And I'll admit I'm just as guilty as others, since I haven't been posting much lately and don't comment on every single photonovel (just because I'm usually pretty busy).

But I really wish that these awesome stories, whether they're yours or Swede's or Longhorn's or Ennis' or Lushro Dofine's got more replies.  Making photonovels is probably the most difficult and labor intensive project on these boards, as it involves making customs and making dioramas and writing and photoshopping/special effects.

And yet....so often, an awesome story like yours only gets a small smattering of comments.  What the heck? 

It seemed like last year, all you had to do was crank out a quickie clone custom and you'd easily get a dozen replies or more.  But spend hours and hours on a photonovel and you're lucky if you crack double-digits.

I don't want to denigrate anyone's great custom work, but I just wish that, both on JD and RS, that we could somehow revitalize and re-energize the fan base so that these stories not only get big audiences but get some feedback.

As a once and (hopefully) future photnovelist myself, I have had many frustrating days when I've worked my ass off on something only to get a minimal response. 

The general slowness of the forums lately has been one of the reasons why I haven't been eager to resume my stories.  I worry about spending literally four, five or six hours on a single chapter if I'm only going to get three or four replies.

Unfortunately, I don't know what the solution is.  The last year has really been a "golden age" for photonovels, with many wonderful and talented people getting into the act.  There are some really amazing stories being made out there and, at least for a while, there seemed to be the audience to go along with them.  It's why RS eventually created its own forum (following in JD's footsteps, which made the sub-forum here.)

i've tried to be a cheerleader for photonovels for a while now (though admittedly I've been lacking in at least the past few months) and I just wish there was more interest, more discussion and a greater awareness and appreciation of the art form from these forums.

A story as cool as this deserves 50 or a 100 comments, not just five or six.  Like I said, I don't have any answers, but it frustrates me to no end to see our uber-talented photonovelists get so little love from the general public.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2006, 03:36 PM by Quazar »
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Offline Angry Ewok

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Re: Save the PN Forum! (aka "If You Build it, Will They Come?")
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2006, 04:32 PM »
Since I'm on dialup, it takes an extremely long time to load a story. I can't just click 'Reload' and walk off for 20 minutes, either - I have to actually sit there and right click progressively... Imagine then, after 10 minutes of right-clicking, how disapointed I am if the photonovel is crappy.

Like with anything else, for every few really great Photonovels - there are a dozen crappy ones to have to pick through. If I had a faster connection, I'd be much more into this - I admire alot of the work of customizers, and moreso, I like reading a good story.

To answer the topic title, 'If you build it, will they come?'... My answer would be, if you have a good story - regardless of your customizing skills, regardless of your ability to do flashy junk in photoshop, word of mouth will get around and people who don't even frequent the Photonovel Section will take a look at your work.

I think another thing to take into consideration is that some people, myself included, may often choose not to respond to a Photonovel due to the cliquey reach-around responses going on. It's difficult for me to make a constructive criticism when I feel like an 'outsider' that the photonovel wasn't written to appeal to, in the first place... Who am I to criticisize, right?

All that said, I've tried writing stories to submit to a photonoveler - but I've never felt like my writing ever reaches a standard that I'd feel comfortable with other people seeing, so cuddos to the photonovel writers who have the balls to submit their work.

Offline BrentS

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Re: Save the PN Forum! (aka "If You Build it, Will They Come?")
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2006, 05:51 PM »
Quazar,
What a good post.  It is too bad that these posts don't get more attention.  I think one of the biggest problems is that they are all so long, its difficult to make meaningful comments.  THere are several people that do a great job at providing good solid critiques.

I for one will cite a lack of time to get through all the great PNs.  I've also avoided the forum out of guilt for not getting my own PN updated sooner.  I've been sidetracked on a major diorama project for the PN.  I'm going to try and go back and get caught up on all the great stories I've missed!

Offline S_A_Longhorn

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Re: Save the PN Forum! (aka "If You Build it, Will They Come?")
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2006, 06:08 PM »
I think part of the problem is that traffic has decreased in both RS and JD forums.  Last year was perhaps the last great year for collectors, unless another SW movie or TV show bring to life new characters.

Now, over at RS, we know even less traffic will go thru the PN section since it is tied into the Custom section.  Some people don't care about customs and all of that creative work.  Thus, the interest for the rest of the work (i.e. - Fan Fiction, Artwork, PN, and Dioramas) fades.  I, myself, am guilty of rarely if ever venturing into those forums.

But I agree with ANGRY EWOK.  I can't imagine trying to read my PN with dial-up.  Some updates have 90+ pics.  And if there are not enough responses, a second update can be on the same page, which would increase the total pic count to over 150.  No way someone with dial-up is going to wait for that.  But also, a cheaply done PN will spoil someone new to the forum.  My advise is to look at every story (if time permits) and determine which ones you like.  And always leave feedback.

Personally, I prefer something over nothing.  One or two lines of feedback is enough to keep me motivated to finish my story.  Honestly, I would stop creating stories if I got no feedback, simply b/c I would presume that nobody cares for my story.  But if everyone who took the time to open the thread (and there are many here at JD) left a simple message, then I would be more than satisfied.

If it weren't for 3 Scummers on RS (SpecialOps, Flacksguy, & Redd), I would not even post my PN over there.  I've always thought of JD as a smaller, tighter community than RS.  About 20% the size of RS Forums?  Nevertheless, my PN gets more Views and Replies over here than at RS.  That, is in part due to the devoted members of collecting here on JD.  RS has many 'fairweather' fans.  

I did PM Mac about the reason the PNs are no longer featured on the Home page of JD, something supremely valuable over RS.  Mac said we should post info about an update in the Feedback section of the forums, perhaps a link to the PN itself.  That way, the Admins can know about the new work, and post a mention of it on the Home page.
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Save the PN Forum! (aka "If You Build it, Will They Come?")
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2006, 07:15 PM »
Mac said we should post info about an update in the Feedback section of the forums, perhaps a link to the PN itself.  That way, the Admins can know about the new work, and post a mention of it on the Home page.

Previously, folks had been using this thread in the Customs area or this one in the Site Feedback section to announce new photonovel stories.  That way, folks who normally don't troll the PN section get a reminder to go check it out.

No one has posted in either of those for a while now, so the Photonovels have sort of drifted off the radar thanks to the other things going on this summer (SDCC, etc).  :-\
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Offline Diddly

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Re: Save the PN Forum! (aka "If You Build it, Will They Come?")
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2006, 08:36 PM »
As a person who used to make a Photonovel, I know how you feel at the moment, Quazar. However, I have to agree with BrentS. A lot of these PNs are very long, with over 50 pictures. After reading through an update, I don't feel like typing out a long response and instead try to summarize my thoughts. In fact, I think that Quazar is really the only person who goes into detail with his responses.

However, like AE said, it's kind of hard to reply to a Photonovel. I mean, if you say you don't like something, you can either just say you don't like it, or you could rip on it, which some may find offensive or rude. I've always found this to be a problem, since nobody really does this, and I don't want to come off as the one big ******* on JD who can't be pleased by anybody's work. And if you can't say anything bad, all you can really do is lie and say that you like everything about it. It's just kind of hard to keep lying, which is why I just stopped coming to the section altogether. This is also one of the reasons I stopped making my Photonovels.

I respect all the guys hre who take the time to make these things for our entertainment, but it's just really hard to criticise something when nobody else does it.

Offline Swede

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Re: Save the PN Forum! (aka "If You Build it, Will They Come?")
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2006, 09:02 PM »
Wonderful topic Quazar,
It's already answered quite a few questions I've had for quite some time.  I've  often wondered what the reasons were, why people didn't respond to some great PNs.  It always seemed so wierd to see a post with 175 hits and 4 replies.  I'd look at something like that and think, "wow, maybe they listened to their mothers and decided, if they didn't have anything nice to say, then don't say it at all."  Then I'd look at the replies and they'd be all positive, leaving me totally confused.  
  
There's a bunch of issues listed I've never thought of ...ie, dial-up and just plain not having the time to get through the PN.  But, I think it was Longhorn who said, even a little something lets the PNer know somebody took the time to read through it and check it out.  Even a quick, "Nice Job" or "This Blows" works for me and most guys that post; I understand that everyone doesn't have the time to post super in depth reviews ...ala, the great ones Quazar comes to the table with.  It's just nice to know someone's giving a nod to the hours of work you've done.

As far as feeling not qualified to respond to a PN, man, if you dig SW and stories ...congrats, you've just qualified and your opinion is totally valued.  I am extremely greatful for the guys who reply regularly, many have already been named, these guys often make the difference in motivating me to do another chapter; but, when I hear from someone new, I'm just as geeked. :D

Enough rambling,  the crazy cats that frequent these boards are top notch ... keep it up, I'd love to see some more PNs!!! ;D
« Last Edit: August 23, 2006, 10:16 PM by Swede »
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Offline Angry Ewok

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Re: Save the PN Forum! (aka "If You Build it, Will They Come?")
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2006, 11:19 PM »
I know exactly how you guys feel about seeing your work get a slew of hits, but not having much in terms of actual feedback... It happens to me whenever I get the guts to post work in the Fan Art section - in fact, the last thing I posted got 60 views and only one response (which I appreciated alot).


Offline Jediknight760071

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Re: Save the PN Forum! (aka "If You Build it, Will They Come?")
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2006, 05:51 AM »
When I was writing photonovels, I wasn't at all phased by the amount of comments I got when I posted. All in all I think I got 6 or 7 photonovels on here. I've since been on hiatus from posting photonovels, but have been writing them, bit by bit. Recently though, I've realized that I have just as much (if not more) fun writing photonovels and playing them out in my head rather than posting them after working hours on them (yes...it takes a long time to do a photonovel). I'm sorry to disappoint anyone who's been waiting for a second part to my series, but it'll probably be a long time before I ever get around to posting anything again. I've even been slow to customize figures. I don't think people like CHEWIE and Owen come around often, and now since they won't be here I think I'll be less and less dedicated to customizing. What I mean is that for me, personally, there's just no drive anymore. I'd really love to be a photonovelist again someday, but it just isn't there right now.

In regards to my personal absence of replies, frankly, I'm very selective about what I like and what I don't like. There's a lot of stuff out there I simply just don't like to read. Sure I appreciate the work the authors do, but I couldn't take myself seriously if I posted "Hey great job" in everyone's photonovel just to avoid being a jerk. I've held this belief for a long time, and please, don't think that if I don't post in your photonovel I didn't like it, that's not the case, I just really don't have anything to say most of the time.

Although I loved taking pictures for my photonovels, I like writing a lot more. I also pride myself on being a very efficient editor. I'd love to take the time to edit and double check anyone's photonovel before they post it. If anyone wants to send me some Word documents, Emails, or PMs about it, I would be thrilled to edit your guys' stories (basically check for spelling/grammar/continuity errors) before you post them. I'd really be happy to help any of you.

Lance, you're a great guy. You've always been a great guy and you always will be in my book. You helped me out a great deal when I was writing and I won't forget it. We all love you and (secretly) want that interactive photonovel back again, but I understand it's so difficult sometimes. Well sir, that's about all I have to say except that I'm sorry for my absence and I hope you have a great time reading these guys' photonovels and help them like you helped me.

« Last Edit: January 17, 2013, 04:33 AM by Jediknight760071 »

Offline S_A_Longhorn

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Re: Save the PN Forum! (aka "If You Build it, Will They Come?")
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2006, 12:05 PM »
Previously, folks had been using this thread in the Customs area or this one in the Site Feedback section to announce new photonovel stories. 

Damn, I didn't even know about these two threads EXISTED until right now.  That is the reason why I never posted anything there!  Why didn't you tell me guys?!   :o

Many thanx to CHEWIE for letting the staff know when the new stories were up.  I'd assume that the staff found the new story and posted it on the home page.

We are correct when we say the PN have gotten longer.  Some of my update are nearly 100 pics.  And I understand it can be difficult to comment on these stories.  But something is always better than nothing when it comes to comments.

If you don't like a particular PN, then give specific reasons.  No one will pay any attention to your comments if they are "This blows!"  There have been very few times I have written a negative review, but each time I tried to fully explain my opinion.  When I first started out, I would take offense to some comments.  But I eventually understood what the cristicism was about and accepted it.  Sometimes simply explaining that the photos are unclear, the grammer/dialogue is difficult to read, or the story is too difficult to understand will help the author improve.  It worked for me, I think.

Se sure to support FLACKSGUY's new PN.  He was one of the guy who always posted feedbak over at RS, and it is really good to see him join JD and post his story over here.

I will also try to take some time and read more PNs.  Someone mentioned on the Preview thread about characters crossing over to other PNs.  That sounds like a great idea!  I would be interested in doing that, although I may be limited due to my customizing skills.

Good conversation we have going here and and thanx to JEFF for posting his comments as well.  Always good to have an Admin comment.  Be sure to post in the threads listed above whenever a new PN or UPDATE is posted.
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Offline Flacksguy

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Re: Save the PN Forum! (aka "If You Build it, Will They Come?")
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2006, 01:28 AM »
Thanks again for all the support for my PN.
I can understand Quazars concern about the lack of comments in some of the threads, and I know the I myself am guilty of the same.
My take on it is this: We all know how time consuming it is to put together a PN, and unfortunately than cuts into time allowed for reading, and putting together a well thought out response to, other PN's. I find it impossible to read through a long PN and come up with an in depth comment, when I have work I need to do on my own.
I'd like to comment on every single PN I read, but I can barely find the time to just read them all.
One thing about the amount of traffic in the PN section, and this probably applies more to RS, than here:
Last  year over at RS, when we had our higest amount of traffic toward PN's, it was because we had our one PN thread in the ROTS section. Which at that time was one of the busiest sections on the board. People would see that it was consently bumped to the front page, and always had 8, 10, 15 new posts, and though " hey, maybe I'll check out whats going on in here". We used to get a ton of new people dropping in and checking it out, and then getting hooked on the stories.
When we moved to our own section, thats when traffic started to slow down and we started seeing less and less feedback.
Not that theres anything wrong with our own section, I think it's great, but it's just not in the high traffic area like we were used to.
I guess that all applies more to RS though, I don't know the history of this section over here. I will say, however, that this PN section was a little tough to find at first. It took me awhile before I checked inside the customs section, and even then, I didn't expect to see a sub-section inside. Scrolled right by it at first.
Anyway, I totally see how minimal response can seem like lack of interest and be discouraging. When I did my Star Wars Bloopers over on RS, I was very aware of how many views I had and how many posts followed. I was actually very lucky with that one and got and incredible response, but if I hadn't, I know I'd have been extremely disappointed, and probably would think twice about putting in the time and effort on another one. What really helped me with that one was just getting the word out about it as much as I could. Putting the link in my signature got it out there alot, and I think I found an excuse to stick it in Wuhur's.
I really like what they used to do here by putting a little blurb on the front page, that was probably a HUGE help, and the threads in customs and site feedback are a great idea too.
Anything to get the word out.

Offline Darth Depressis

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Re: Save the PN Forum! (aka "If You Build it, Will They Come?")
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2006, 11:36 AM »
in a lot of ways i think were more creative than movie makers and in a lot of ways we clearly are storytellers without the connections to get our storys out there in that meduim.
it is pretty sad that this form of media has no recoginition,but i really think you guys should do what i've done and start your own fanon pedia pages, were all full of storys that no one really knows or can gather from the pn's. if anything we might just gain some sort of following good or bad.

but yes comments are the main reason for posting, we want to know what everyone thinks about what we've done. its the only form of encouragment we can get for doing this. it makes us feel that there is interest in the storys were telling.

Offline Deanna Rash

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Re: Save the PN Forum! (aka "If You Build it, Will They Come?")
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2006, 10:08 PM »
Sorry I'm a little late.I really enjoy these!So far.Since I don't have any experience with photoshop or anything like that.I feel you may not value my opinion from my lack
of experience,but  I call them like I see them.I do make customs and dioramas.I usually do my critiquing from there.The story has to get me excietied to sometimes it has to take place in a certain era before I will take a look at it.You will always get a good response from me.I want to encourge not discourage.Just to let all of you know I've really enjoyed these and keep them coming!
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Offline Darth Depressis

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Re: Save the PN Forum! (aka "If You Build it, Will They Come?")
« Reply #13 on: January 2, 2007, 01:20 AM »
you know i think robo-quack or snaggletooth or whatever he wants to call himself, needs to read the title of this thread.
if you "BUILD" it, will they come. not if you briefly mention your intention to build it will they shower praise upon it.

Offline David

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Re: Save the PN Forum! (aka "If You Build it, Will They Come?")
« Reply #14 on: January 2, 2007, 01:02 PM »
you know i think robo-quack or snaggletooth or whatever he wants to call himself, needs to read the title of this thread.
if you "BUILD" it, will they come. not if you briefly mention your intention to build it will they shower praise upon it.

i like calling myself roboquack.
itll stay that way for a while.

and yes, i understand the 'building' part is the most important. are you quite finished?
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