Or Rather How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Trolls
-... and please pardon any typos. -bluefox07
Okay, so here I am writing a short piece on something that I need to talk about. It's the Fourth of July, 2007 and it is sweltering outside my small 3-bedroom apartment here in Oregon. My children are watching Spongebob Squarepants, eating popcorn and drinking Sierra Mist by the liter. I'm recently single again and in the need to catch up on some erotica. As I peruse the wealth of Literotica, I notice some things that bother me.
Normally, I don't have much to say outside my stories, but in this case I figured why not? Really, it's been on my mind since I joined Literotica. I work all day long, raise two toddler-aged children by myself and haven't had a rest for more than five minutes since my ex-wife discovered barhopping and sex with random men I figured the only way to express this particular thought of mine was right here.
And now that I have an excuse, here it goes...
I think that all authors on Literotica share at least a few things in common; we all feel the need to write, we all enjoy the act of writing and we all have a sexual addiction that just has to be shared with others. Given the liberal and free nature of the site it stands to reason that everyone, experienced or not, can and should have a chance to write their stories. Everyone should have the chance to submit said stories to their peers and see the feedback. This is the only way we grow as writers and, at least for me, as a person.
I've read some stories on here so hot that I nearly orgasmed right in my jeans. I'm talking about the kinds of stories that make you so hard you'd drop your trousers right then and there and rub one out... if only you weren't at work and goofing off looking for porn when you should be filing the report that was due three days ago.
Authors like Cristo, Daniellekitten and Simply_Cyn can make frigid January nights painfully hot. And remember the girl from England who did all the erotic audio? Sexy Kitten was her name, I think? Holy mother of god she was good at what she did. She could have built herself an empire just by reading the phone book for $1.99 a minute.
Yet, I digress...
On the other hand, I've read some stories so laughably bad even Larry Flynt would have taken one look and put his wheelchair in reverse just to watch reruns of "Silk Stalkings" to clear his mind. These are the kind of stories where a cock becomes a cook (in one memorable case, a "cork"), a pussy is occasionally a puppy and a woman's tits are referred to as "beasts," "bobs" and "hooters" (okay, hooters isn't a misspelling... I just think it's a stupid word for such a glorious example of God's incredible decorating sense). I've read some real canners out there that could have been written by the hillbillies from "Deliverance" and edited by Gene Hackman's character in "Young Frankenstein."
Typos, with very rare exception, are a fact of life here on the site. I'm just as guilty as anyone else. It happens, and believe me, no one is more upset about it than the author. Typos are like a dingleberry that just won't fall off your dog's ass at the end of the day. You've groomed, fed, played with and loved that pooch all day long, much like we writers work, refine and love on our stories. Yet, for a lot of us, when it comes time to show off we discover there's a dingleberry of a typo hanging off the hindquarters for all to see.
Son of a bitch...
And eventually we all write a story that seemed like such a good idea at the time but later on you realize you've created a literary turd. For example, I once wrote a story titled "Lindsay Jones Began to Write," a lesbian jerk-off tale made more for the boys than for the girls and I ultimately suffered the appropriate backlash. Why was it so poorly received? Because as a man, I have no fucking clue how women think as it is, let alone what makes one woman love another woman. Oh sure, I love seeing lesbians, porn or not is inconsequential. It's fascinating. No complaints here. But I know more about quantum physics than I do about women, and that's saying a lot, as all I know about quantum physics is what I learned from James Doohan on the original "Star Trek."
The majority of people here on the site, both readers and authors, are very gracious, savvy and helpful with feedback. They usually have a very healthy, even dose of constructive criticism and praise. Every story I have ever posted is a work in progress, and when the typos slip by my editor or by me, my peers save my sorry rear end every time. I don't concern myself with "H" ratings or having stories that light the world on fire. I'm writing to please myself and do something that has meaning for me. If we based the value of a story on it's numerical rating, we'd never get anywhere.
Now, I ask you, the reader, what is the deal with leaving unnecessarily rude feedback and tearing a writer down? I've seen many stories, good and bad, where reviewers needlessly destroy the ego and passion the writer had for the project. Why do it? It's happened to us all, I know. There's that one guy or gal that just has to tell you how much he or she hated your story, and just to prove a point there's scathing remarks concerning intelligence quotients, impotence, stupidity, length, girth, vaginal elasticity and name calling. And then, to add insult to injury, they troll the bloody story just for good measure.
I find it funny that more people are likely to passionately complain about the details of a sex story online and can find the time and energy to pursue writing a hurtful comment yet, fewer people make the effort to tell our politicians they're all crazy and we need a national lobotomy. I suppose it's all about priorities in the end. Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, we all like to bitch. It's a universal truth.
Mind you, I believe everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Everyone has the right to say what they will. I've read some stories that were as close to having an enema as I ever hope to come. But that doesn't mean belittling the author and trying to wreck the story is appropriate. If I feel the need to dispense some constructive criticism, I give it in private through the site. If the story makes me want to shove marshmallows in my eyes to prevent me from ever reading it again, then I won't say anything at all and I sure as hell won't vote on it in the public forum, no matter how much of turkey it was. I feel no need to blow someone out of the water and give him or her a 1.00 rating just because I didn't care for the tale.
It takes a lot of courage for authors to post their work for the world to see. It's almost like showing yourself off naked to a group of a million strangers. Shouldn't we, as readers, do everything we can to nurture and assist that rising talent (there might be a pun there, and if there is it was unintentional)? What's to be gained by being hurtful, as opposed to saying, "Hey author, you got the right idea but you had some issues... why don't you try this ..." instead of "Hey author, you're a asswipe, you smell like really bad cheese and by the way your dick looks like a narcoleptic jalapeno!"
It might be slightly naive of me, but I must believe that one of the things that makes Literotica stand head and shoulders above every other site like it is the work environment and the sense of community. It leads to a comfort level and ultimately, better writing. Why can't we all work together and make every story better as a group of colleagues? I've met and worked with people on here that have become lifelong friends, and almost everybody I've gotten feedback from has been helpful, positive or not.
Come on guys, if you gotta bomb somebody, do it private. Be humane. Don't be one of these inconsiderate assholes that leaves a scat trail a mile long over a writer's story and then can't even leave a name to the comment. It's cowardly and in my mind, if you can't back up your review without the comfort of hiding behind "Anonymous in Wherever" then you have no right to be reviewing in the first place. Take responsibility for your words, good or bad. It shows integrity and that you truly believe in what you're saying.
All that being said, I take the ridiculous over-the-top comments as a sign that I'm doing something right. I'm provoking people into a response. I'll give you an example. For my story, "Discovering Cindy Martin," the main character attempts to fix a sink clog for his sexy neighbor. He knows nothing about the process, and probably couldn't tell you a wrench from a winch. Yet, he plows ahead anyway and floods her kitchen out. After a few days of this story being posted, I received this little gem:
"I'll admit to not reading this piece to the end. I didn't get past the first page, in fact. How does disconnecting a drain pipe result in spraying water? And how does turning off the supply valve stop the spraying? Isn't there a faucet and a ambient-pressure sink between the supply valve and the drain?
"If you can't understand plumbing, I don't want to bother reading your sex scenes..."
Clearly, he didn't like the story. That's okay. What I didn't know was knowledge of modern plumbing and a working understanding of how to pull a Bob Villa in your own home is directly linked to a man's ability to write a decent sex scene. Who knew?
But I beg of you, anonymous reader and reviewer... how does knowledge of pipes and ambient water sinks effect the overall quality of someone's experience or ability to write a sex scene? I mean, does the size of a man's toilet plunger directly equate to his girth and length? Does the frequency of clogs and number of times he has to snake it out somehow retard the process of putting a sexual fantasy to paper? I've had some harsh and strange feedback in my time, but never a criticism based on my lack of knowledge about household plumbing.
My first instinct upon reading this guy's feedback was to laugh. I pictured in my mind a lonely, stubbled, slightly overweight man in his late forties sitting at the computer around 9 pm on a Friday night, clad in his boxer shorts (with something classy written around the flap like "Home of The Whopper" or "In Case of Emergency, Pull Lever Vigorously") ... sitting in front of the computer, a box of tissues at the ready, a beer in one hand and a toasted cheese sandwich in the other as reruns of "The Dukes of Hazzard" play continuously in the background.
I angered a disciple of the pipes with my ignorance of plumbing, and for that I'm sorry... but not sorry enough that I won't comment on it here. Give me some real feedback, dude. Finish reading the story before you pass a judgement. Get to the sex. The story does have sex in it, I promise. That's what Literotica is all about... sexually charged stories. Unless you have a plumbing fetish, in which case I suppose I did ruin the fantasy for you.
In that event, my apologies.
BUT this might make an interesting erotic humor story... a man who refuses to have sex with women who don't understand elementary plumbing... he almost makes that sensual, long desired connection, but then he discovers that his date doesn't know the difference between an ambient-pressure sink and a supply valve or a support hose, so he assumes she doesn't give fantastic head. The sexy date goes home, confused, ready to blow her neighbor and our plumbing-centric hero is left alone, horny and frustrated. I like that. Thanks for the idea!
To all you authors out there, display your high ratings with honor and wear your low ratings with pride. Feel privileged when other readers and authors have the respect to give both the good and the bad in private. Feel pity for those who have nothing better to do than troll other people's work just because they hate it or don't want the piece to rate higher than their own. Never equate the worthiness of your writing based on numbers and ratings, equate it with the heart and soul you put in to it.
As always, I remain ignorant of plumbing, needled by typos, always trying to be a better writer, pushing the limits of the run on sentence and forever yours, bluefox07.