This tutorial is here to help people improve on what they do most here at Eurobricks: post comments in forums. This is a collection of tips designed to help you write more substantive comments, better criticism, and ultimately, more effective posts. As Rudyard Kipling said, “Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind.”
But, you might think, why put in the effort? First of all, well-written posts help you look like a more intelligent contributor. But that's not all. If you start writing effective comments, you'll stick out in the crowd and people will remember you. In the end, these people will reciprocate, and you'll gather more friends and see more comments on your own works.
Tips for responding to MOCs:
People spend hours, days, months, even years on building some of the magnificent works you see here. They’ve posted their masterpiece for you to notice, and they’ll appreciate a well-written comment to no end.
Tip 1: Notice the details!
- One of the most difficult, painstaking parts of an original build lies in its details. Point them out! Follow builder's links to their Flickr or Brickshelf page – you’ll find amazing things you would otherwise miss out on.
Tip 2: Write something you’d want to see on your own MOC.
- Read through the posts on your MOCs and pick out the ones that you appreciate most. Learn from those writers. For example, which of the following comments would you prefer?
- "Cool MOC", or
- (from user -R8- over in Sci-fi:) "I think what really draws me in is that it's made out of mostly standard bricks and plates, balancing both the traditional LEGO look as well as the incredible realism of the model."
Tip 3: Use the builder’s screenname.
- Salespeople use this trick all the time, and it helps make your comment more personal: use the builder's screen name! E.g.: “Flare, it’s evident you’ve put a lot of effort into your ship”
- Be careful, however, not to overuse someone’s name… you’ll look like you’re trying a little too hard ;-).
Tip 4: Artful and Constructive Criticism.
- When I post an MOC, I like to know other people might improve it. However, writing criticism can be tricky – post only to help, not to tear down.
- Start by taking the time to study the work so you can offer a critique that is well-thought and helpful.
- Always begin with the strengths, then address the weaknesses and problem areas using positive language.
- Be objective, especially if the piece you’re critiquing is not a style or genre that you love.
- Make solid suggestions for improvement. Don’t be vague.
- Offer your critique without using strong, negative language. E.g.: “I think a different color would really bring out the detail” goes a lot further than saying “Blue looks terrible there”.
- Be patient with yourself as you learn how to critique effectively
(Several of these tips on criticism are courtesy of Melissa Donovan)
Tips for responding to reviews
For starters, if you haven't yet checked out the Reviewer's Academy, check it out by clicking HERE. Writing a review is not simple - a good review takes hours and hours of effort. Courtesy of some members of the Reviewer's Academy, here are some tips on offering quality feedback to a review:
Tip 1: Tell someone why a review is good.
- Review Academy instructor Def suggests that you highlight the positive and tell why a review is good: point out when a reviewer has fully covered the set, taken clean, clear photos, offered attention-grabbing commentary, or even used software tweaks for the photos.
Tip 2: offer your own opinion of the set.
- Review Academy instructor JimButcher says, "[t]alk about how you agree or disagree with some of the reviewers statements, or simply present your opinions on the set."
Tip 3: discuss the content or description of the review.
- Review Academy instructor Big Cam suggests you "[c]ompare things, talk about things, be honest, what's good, what's bad. Ask why!"
Some general tips:
Tip 1: Take a minute and proofread your post!
- Read back over your comment at least once before finally posting it. You’d be surprised what you might catch! Recently, a user on EB took a few sentences to correct another user’s writing. However, in correcting the other person, the user left a glaring grammatical error in his own post. If only he’d proofread…
- Use the "Preview post" button to help in your proofreading. This handy little button allows you to view your post in final form, but it doesn't yet publish your post to the forums. (Courtesy of Artanis I)
Tip 2: The edit button:
- You can use this invaluable tool to go back and correct your post even after it's been posted; however:
- this tool should be used carefully and sparingly, especially if you're changing the substance of a post, if you've been quoted, or if others have posted after you. (Courtesy of Roncanator)
- If you make a substantial change after your post has been up for awhile, make a footnote explaining why you've made changes. This could avoid controversy or accusations down the road. (Courtesy of Artanis I)
Tip 3: Quality over Quantity:
- New users (and some not so new) frequently post all over the place, trying to build up their post count for whatever reason. If you’re looking to be establish yourself here, a few quality posts will take you a lot further than hundreds of short, dime-a-dozen lines. Put the work into it and it will pay off!
- At the same time, this shouldn't discourage frequent participation! Some of our best contributors are those who makes excellent, substantial, and frequent comments, keeping the forums lively.
- In closing: this guide is far from complete. All of you have styles of your own, and all of you appreciate different kinds of feedback. Please share your own tips below, and feel free to discuss the kind of feedback you like to see. Who knows? You may see your tip brought up here with your name beside it!
Thanks to Siegfried for his generous help with this tutorial.
Thanks for reading, and keep brickin’!
Edited by Blackicep8ntball, 14 August 2010 - 03:31 AM.