1. kudos I hate them. XP AO3, you're so pretty, and you can make ebooks, which is fab. But I hate kudos so much. And I can't figure out how to turn them off, like you can with the hit counter! I mean, getting them is nice--who doesn't love presents--and giving them is, well, quick, but I feel like they buy into this culture of accretion we've been wrestling with as Internet users. Like Facebook 'likes' and Tumblr (...hearts?), kudos, to me, are communication breakdown. They're alienation. They're the kind of thing that get people wanting to accrue little gold stars--as many as possible--and feel good about a number rather than an actual reaction, a conversation. And to me, the whole point of fic is conversation--from canon to writer and back again, piece and reader and back again, too. If actual conversation isn't happening, then... it's not really fandom, to me.
And you know, I've eavesdropped on pro-kudos conversations. I understand that if there's a language barrier, if you're shy, if you have a condition that makes typing difficult, then kudos are a way of speaking without words. I get that. And it does make me hesitant to be as anti-kudos as, in my heart of hearts, I really am. I don't know how to resolve that. But it's not like I run Facebook, or Tumblr, or AO3, so it's not like my opinion is going to destroy the system for other people! So that's all right.
But I still do not like the direction they're taking the Internet, and formative young minds, etc. /waves cane
[The rest of this is just me and my ultra-speciic baggage wrt cultures of accretion.] The other thing about kudos is, I tend to regard them as "I didn't actually read this, or I skimmed it but didn't really Read it; but I approve of is existence." Which I know is not actually how many people use them!! And that that's just me!! But I also know that people totally leave kudos on shit they have not actually read, or haven't read yet. And what is that but baseline approval of general existence? And this is totally how I use Facebook Likes sometimes.
Once my dad was like, "Oh hey, I saw you liked that article about your cousin. Were you surprised by the face that--" And I was like, "Oh, I didn't actually read it. I just Liked it to approve of its existence!"
He was very disappointed in me. (He also believes that if I call, e-mail, write a letter, or send a text message, I should not be disappointed when no one ever responds, because not every thought necessitates a reply. Which is TRUE, but... sob. XP)
Anyway, so now I try to read shit before liking it on Facebook, and if I read something that's only on AO3, I will leave the damn kudos, because the system is there and presents are nice. But I will never leave kudos without also commenting proper, because every time I just feel like what I'm really saying is, "I didn't read this."
TL;DR bizarre kudos hangups, can someone please tell me how to disable them on my things. Cry moar, Kalliel, just stop posting to AO3 if it bothers you that much. (IT DOES. AND I DID. BUT LONGFICS AND EBOOKS, THOUGH.)
2. header comments and metacommentary I've yet to meet a single person who actually likes writing fic headers and summaries. They are awful. XP But for once I am not here to complain about how incomprehensible the process is!! Having had the displeasure of constructing a good many by this point, however, I think I've decided that I really don't like headers that get too narrative, and I also don't like it when author's notes are attached to the story.
And I say this as a person who has a tendency to either write unhelpfully sparse, entirely unappealing headers, or headers that get so over-narrated they just end up being kind of sarcastic and also unhelpful. XD And also as someone who CLEARLY loves fic talk and author's notes (both mine and others').
But it just... What I don't like is the idea of curating the reader's experience of a text, beyond what is necessary re: trigger and spoiler warnings. I guess like, when a header says "this fic is so sad/dark/scary" or something like that, hipster!Kalliel is just like, WHO ARE YOU TO PRE-SUPPOSE HOW I WILL TAKE THIS PIECE OF WORK INTO MY BEING. XP Same with "this is so dumb," etc. which yes, yes, and yes, I am so totally guilty of!!
In the same vein, some long narration about the process, inspiration, background, etc. for the piece, I feel like I can't help but read with that in mind, and read toward those notes (or, if they're at the end, compose my comment with respect to those notes), which is so claustrophobic, man. And I feel like it de-centers the work itself.
It just bothers me when all that stuff is sitting in the same place as the work. You don't want to slide into relying on your notes to tell your story for you, or to lose your own reaction to a piece in light of the author's. That lessens, rather than deepens, the conversation.
I mean, at the same time, those notes are wildly useful for me as a writer, and fascinating for me as a reader, and they are often the door to all kinds of great conversations. I'm not at all against notes as a concept! I just see them as needing their own space.
Of course, then you just end up with a bunch of stupid posts talking about other posts, haha. And that's an organizational/spammy nightmare, really.