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26 October 2005 @ 12:07 am
The Vid Feedback Project: a Belated Summary  
(I actually wrote this about two months ago, apparently; I was searching through my flash drives for a file that just does not seem to be anywhere at all when I discovered this. I didn't even remember that I'd finished it. But I had, and it's here, and I'm posting it. Why the heck not?

And let this be a lesson to you all: index your damn drives.)

The Vid Feedback Project was triggered by a number of posts, but most directly sdwolfpup's Vid Feedback 101. Read the essay - it's a good one - but the message I took away from it was:
  1. Vidders want feedback.

  2. They want this feedback even from non-vidding viewers.

  3. Any feedback that isn't overtly flame-filled or insane is welcome, including, "I liked this vid."

  4. Further comments, such as emotional reactions, are also welcome.
This was very interesting to me. I am a vid watcher - oh, am I ever a vid watcher - but the closest I'll ever come to vidding is coming up with a lot of terrible vid ideas. (Example: Tub-Thumping by Chumbawumba for Daniel Jackson of SG1. He gets knocked down! He gets up again! They're never gonna keep him down!) But the thing is - whether you're a FF writer or not, you probably have all the tools at hand to discuss someone else's story. Or, god, I hope you do. But we don't write visual media critiques in seventh grade, and we don't memorize the vocabulary, and we also don't have a lot of experience with group discussions about visual media, so we can't learn by seeing others do it. (Wait. Why am I speaking for everyone? That should be me and I. Sorry.)

But, you know, vidders give me a lot of pleasure. They've taught me about canons I could never imagine watching. They've hand-fed me fandoms in three-minutes pieces. They've made me laugh. They've made me get snuffly and blinky-eyed. (And, yes, they've also confused the shit out of me, on occasions too humiliatingly numerous to document here.) And I know vidding is a lot of work; all you have to do is read the LJ of someone who is currently Great with Vid, and you'll realize that. So, here are these people, doing this time-consuming, challenging, creative thing, and then sharing the results with me free of charge. Clearly, I owe something to vidders. But what? I can rec vids, and I have, but - I'm not terribly confident about my ability to judge vids objectively, so most of my recs sets are grouped around themes like "Approximately Three Thousand Vids Set to 'Holding out for a Hero'" and "Lots of Things Go Boom." And, anyway, vid recs are pretty much exclusively for the vid-watcher, as you'll know if you've ever tried to get someone's permission to rec her vid.

So, according to the posts I mentioned way, way up there, what vidders would like is feedback. My assumption prior to reading those posts was that vidders wanted intelligent feedback. (The first reaction I ever got to a vid comment contributed to that impression. The Guide to Giving Opinions at AMV, about which more later on, contributed much, much more.) But here were live action vidders claiming they'd be happy with even uninformed feedback.

The obvious question was: were they right? And I had it within my power to answer that question. I can write uninformed feedback. I so totally can. And if they truly don't care what kind of feedback they get, well, how hard is it to write "I liked it!" and click send? (As it turned out, pretty damn hard. But I anticipate.)

Procedure (Or, Here's What I Did)

My initial plan was to send feedback for every vid I watched for one month.

That proved to be insanely over-ambitious. Total crazy talk, because it took me anywhere from a half-hour to an hour to send feedback about one vid. But, hey, as every old lab rat knows, if you can't finish the experiment in the given time, reduce the scope.

So my next plan was to send feedback for every vid I kept (as opposed to deleting it from my hard drive) for one month.

I had to scale that one back, too.

What I actually did was, for approximately six weeks, send feedback for some vids I kept, and these were mostly (but not entirely) selected based on things like how much time I had the night I watched the vid. I say "but not entirely" because there were a few people who produced new vids during that time period that I felt I really owed feedback to, because of how much I love their vids overall. (In other words, if a new vid was posted by someone who also made three of my all-time favorite vids - and that did happen during the study period - I made a strenuous, albeit still not 100% successful, effort to send feedback to that person. Which was good, because otherwise I would never have encountered the Scary Vidders, but again, I anticipate.)

I excused myself from sending feedback to anime vidders. The Guide to Opinions (opinions are the anime music video version of feedback) is just flat terrifying. Also, it makes it clear that what sdwolfpup, et al, said about feedback - all welcome, "I liked it" fine, etc. - does not hold true for anime vids. Basically, you need a graduate degree from a reputable film school to give good feedback on AMVs. Which does not describe me. So, actually, I think the vidders themselves sort of excused me from giving feedback on the anime vids, which was lucky for me, because about half of the vids I truly love are AMVs. Cut the scope of the Project way down.

I also only sent one piece of feedback per vidder; if I watched more than one during the study period, I tried to pick the vid I liked best or that I had the most to say about.

Results (Or, What the Vidders Did in Response)

I observed three main categories of vidder response:
  1. Nonexistent. This was the biggest category, actually - about 40% of my emails never got any response. Which is totally fine, but remember these were all sent via email, so I have no way of knowing for sure that those vidders ever got the feedback at all. Helpful hint for people who want more feedback: reply to it, especially if you get it via email. And, yes, I know this isn't easy; I struggle to do it myself with the feedback I get on various writing projects, because there's a massive difference between adoring feedback and being able to think of something substantive to say in return. I'm just saying - if you're wondering what you can do to increase your feedback, here's something. All you have to say is that you got it, so that people know they aren't sending bytes into a void.

    I got the "nobody home" non-response most often when I was giving feedback on vids that had been out for more than a month or two, and that held true no matter where I found them, website or LJ.

  2. Bewildered or taken aback. About 35% of vidders fell into this category. Some of them seemed astonished to get any feedback at all, or at any rate feedback from a stranger - this was especially true of people who are not on LJ (as far as I know) and whose vids are available only through their own website. This made me wonder exactly how much email feedback vidders normally get, but of course I couldn't ask any of them. Logically, it seems like vids should get more feedback than fic, and yet I really do not get the impression that this is the case.

    Some vidders also seemed, well, slightly alarmed by my feedback, although I could just be over-interpreting. This tended to be the case again mostly with non-LJ vidders; also, the less time someone had been vidding, as judged by the dates on the vids they offered, or, if no dates, the length of the list of vids, the more likely they were to have the "Whaaaa?" response.

    But, and this is a key point, no matter how confused the vidders were, only one person who responded to me was mean. (We'll get to the mean one in more detail in a second.) In many cases, respondents clearly had no idea what to say, but still felt they should say something, and that something almost always included the words "thank you for the feedback," so clearly vidders know their fandom manners.

    Also, I should mention that there was a problem I totally did not anticipate, because I've been biased by my experiences in fan fiction. In a few cases, there turned out to be an insurmountable language barrier between the vidder and me. Both sides relying heavily on babelfish does not make for a deep, thoughtful discussion. (But those vidders still said thank you - and realize that in this case they were thanking me for sending them gibberish. Nice people, these foreign-language-speaking vidders.)

  3. Effusively happy. And this was the other 25%, excluding the one outlier. A lot of these vidders seemed stunned to hear from someone outside the vidding community or outside their immediate fannish circle, which I expected; what I did not expect was that they'd be so thrilled about it. Again, I got the sense that vidders do not exactly get more feedback than they know what to do with.

    Even though this was the smallest major category of response type, those responses totally made the project worthwhile, because, well, these were people who made me happy via the application of a lot of time and talent and effort. And apparently all I had to do to make them happy in return was to tell them that I'd seen the vid and liked it. (Well, plus a lot of other commentary. Getting to that, too.)

    The vidders in this category tended to be involved in the community side of fandom, and to have been vidding (or in fandom) longer. They were also more likely to be writers of some kind (fan fiction, essays, LJ posts of significant length and depth, etc.) than the vidders in the other two categories.

    Also, the "effusively happy" vidders were often the most threatening people I sent feedback to. I mean, of course, threatening in my own mind; they were people who had been vidding a long time, with great skill, in multiple fandoms. They attended cons and even hosted panels at them. In short, they were people who had every right to believe themselves above the random blathering of a non-vidding random cog in the fannish machine. And yet, and I think this is important, every single truly scary vidder replied to me; in other words, the big name vidders were most likely, of all the subgroups in the sample, to reply to emailed feedback. And they weren't mean or confused. They knew what to do with feedback, and they did it. Apparently fannish good breeding counts for way more than fannish social class in determining response to feedback. (I know, weak analogy. But I'm guessing you mostly know what I mean.)

    Now, maybe this whole thing would've been different if I'd done it, say, immediately after Vividcon, instead of two months before it; maybe the ready availability of high-level criticism, comments, and discussion would've made the scary vidders less receptive to my feedback. It's entirely possible, and I'd re-do the Vid Feedback Project after the next Vividcon, except that the first time through nearly killed me. I encourage other people to expand on my experimental model, though.
So. Those were the main categories. There was also the anomalous response - the person who was pissed about my feedback and told me so (because they could all have been mad and just hiding it really well). The thing is, she mostly seemed to be mad about which vid I chose. I found her site for the first time during the Vid Feedback Project period, and I downloaded all her vids. After we (Best Beloved being my unindicted co-conspirator in the watching part of this) watched them all, I picked the one I liked best for feedback purposes. And that's what the vidder didn't like; she said that I could have done her the courtesy of reviewing her more recent work, only she didn't, um, phrase it like that. At all.

She was very in touch with her feelings, though, that vidder. I will say that.

Moral of the Angry Vidder Story for Viewer/Reviewers: there may be some kind of unspoken fannish etiquette that says, in essence, hands off older work. To be safe, pick a newer vid; to be safest, pick a newly-offered vid.

Moral of the Angry Vidder Story for Vidders: put dates on your vids. And I mean, put the dates on the site and the vid itself, so new visitors will know which ones are the most recent, and which are still within the Optimal Feedback Zone, when they start downloading.

Conclusions (Or, What I Learned About Giving Vid Feedback)
  1. I need to watch. A lot. Because, see, the first time through, I spend half the vid just trying to get a hold of the basics. What song is this? Do I like the fandom? Do I even know the fandom? And, wait - I thought I knew the fandom, but then who the hell is that? (Vidders, you could spare people a metric ton of confusion by clearly labeling all vids with fandom, music, and vidder information, both on the site and on the vid. I am not even remotely kidding here. And you might get more feedback, too, especially if you put your feedback email address at the end of the vid.) And, wait, now, wait - is this from his perspective? Or hers? And what's up with the horse?

    In other words, I engage on a very low level the first time through the vid. The second time, the music and the scenes start matching up in my mind. The third time, actual vid-related cognition begins to take place.

    So I need to watch vids several times running if I'm going to send feedback about them, or if I want to engage with them on anything like a reasonable level, and that's the first thing I learned.

  2. Forewarned is fore-armed. If I watch the vid knowing I'm going to send feedback, I will definitely have something to say at the end of three viewings. This is not true if I just watch it three times and then start thinking about feedback. Apparently if I give the assignment to myself ahead of time, my brain is prepared to put forth more work effort.

  3. I can't shut up. Which, no, is not news to anyone, but, see, my plan was to send "I liked it! A lot! On account of the scene with the dog made me smile! So thanks!" type feedback. But apparently some deeply vested part of my brain sees "I liked it!" as inherently incomplete. It wants me to add at least four paragraphs to that sentence. And it will get its way, oh how it will, and after a while I learned to stop fighting that. I accepted that if I mentioned the scene with the dog, I was going to have to talk about how it tied into the lyrics, and why I thought it was a great and unusual clip choice, and also my emotional reaction to it. And how I loved that the dog reappeared every time the guitars went twang.

    Probably I would've had better responses from vidders if I hadn't been so over-the-top with my feedback, but, well, I write what I am. I can't help it.

  4. If you feedback it, the words will come. By which I mean that - well, okay. When I started this, I had no vocabulary to discuss vids with people, and I also had no idea about the way vidders talk to each other. And guess what? I still don't have any clue about either one, but here's the thing - if I said to a vidder, "I loved how the camera movement followed the music when it went all swirly," the vidder knew what I was talking about, even if neither the camera or the song ever actually swirled. Sometimes I included time stamps - "You know, right around 1:15, when there's the noise like a bunch of metal dropping and you see that look on the one guy's face" - but generally I didn't, and vidders got it anyway.

    In short: you don't need to speak vidder like a native in order to communicate with the natives.

  5. You don't have to apologize for having an opinion. Seriously. So you don't need to preface all your remarks with "Lo! I am unworthy" and "Forgive me, my liege, for my shrewish tongue." But if you feel the need to, try to segregate your disclaimers; keep one paragraph just for them. In other places, ruthlessly excise all apologies and disparaging remarks about your own acumen or ability.

    And, hey, if you actually manage to do that? Go you. I mean that. Because I never entirely got the hang of it; right up to the end, I was hedging my bets and couching my words and just generally being deeply apologetic for sending feedback. But I still encourage you to try. For one thing, the effort is very educational.

  6. Talk about the vid, not the vid you wish the vidder had made. Talk about the choices the vidder made, and whether you think they worked, but try to avoid veering off into things like, "Well, X would've been a way better song" or "I was really hoping you'd make a vid in this other fandom this time." This is not real feedback; it's using the concept of feedback as an excuse to complain. I imagine your stronger vidders will still grit their teeth and thank you for this type of response, but, really, we're not out to cause dental problems, here.

  7. Praise what you mean to praise and damn what you mean to damn. I'm talking here about statements like, "I totally hate this [song/song genre/fandom/vid genre/etc.], but..." This is damning with faint praise, and for many people it's worse than actual criticism, let alone an actual compliment, for it is the hideous chimera that smiles while twisting the knife.

    So, you don't like country? Or hip-hop? Or emo moaner semi-pop? Or fifty-five minute instrumental pieces for washtub and two-string guitar? Fine. But the vidder has already chosen her music, and - think about this - she probably likes this song. (Exceptions, of course, do apply, especially in comedy vids.) I mean, she chose to vid to it, which, as I understand it, means she will listen to the song a billion times and never get it out of her head again. So you're not just criticizing musical choice if you say, "I totally hate this song and also this song style," you're also criticizing the vidder's taste. There are many vidders who choose songs I wish they would not. I'm tired of Evanescence, too, and I'm none too fond of big '70s power love ballads. But I'm not going to tell the vidder that in the feedback, which is not about changing other people's tastes, and especially not about attempting to change the way someone does something she loves. Likewise, I'm not going to say that I hate her pairing of choice or her fandom of choice. There's a place for that. Feedback isn't it.

  8. Vid feedback is hard to give. There's the whole don't-know-what-I'm-talking-about factor, and there's the sending-email-to-strangers thing, and then there's minor stuff like the Elitist Vidder icons, which are hysterical all the time except for the split second when you're about to send feedback to someone who has one. And it does get easier after the first two or three, but it never gets easy, exactly. I came up with a lot of reasons not to hit that old devil we call the send button. Those excuses, in fact, may have been my greatest fannish creative output since I got into fandom.

  9. It takes a Project. When I wrapped up the Project, I intended to continue sending feedback. And I did. Sort of. But, well, remember how I said it's scary? Turns out the key to overcoming the scary send button aspect of this was having made a commitment to do just that (with myself, of course). Since the Project ended, I have sent a truly measly amount of feedback, and then only to vidders I originally sent feedback to during the Project, and am therefore much less afraid of. (And usually not even to them.) I've started to write feedback to others, but every attempt just crouched uneasily in my web mail client until my browser crashed, often days or weeks after I started the email.

  10. A little encouragement goes a long way. This was evident in every part of the Project, from the feedback I sent right on. This is why it's important for vidders who want feedback to reply to whatever they get. It also applies to the download site itself. Yousendit users can't do much with that, but people with LJs and websites can. Because, see, I noticed that it was about 30% easier to hit the send button if the vidder had a statement somewhere that said something like this:

    If you watch one of my vids, please tell me about it. Any and all feedback welcome!

    But, conversely, any qualifiers on that statement made it virtually impossible to hit send. So, vidders, I think that kind of statement is a good thing to have on your site, provided you actually mean it, and also provided you don't follow any part of it up with ", but..."; if you need to add a "but," well, know that to me that all those statements read like this:

    I'd love to get feedback from you. Except, no, I lied; I totally wouldn't.

    Now, that's probably not what the vidder meant. But it's still what I heard.

  11. Vidders are nice people. I was, in almost every case, offering criticism as well as praise, although I was much heavier on the praise. Try sending that kind of feedback to writers (FF or original or pro; really, makes no difference) and see what you get. I bet you'll get a higher (though still relatively small, let me emphasize) percentage of mean responses. See? Really, they aren't as scary as they seem. They have Mystical Vidding Abilities we wot not, but otherwise, they've got souls and hearts and everything.

  12. The safest vidders are the ones who scare you the most. (I don't mean "scare" in the chainsaw-wielding mime sense, just the shock and awe sense. Avoid the chainsaw-wielding vidders, is my advice. Also the mime ones.) Going by the extremely unreliable statistics yielded by the Project, the safest possible vidder:

    • Is on LJ
    • Is probably also on your friends list
    • Even though you may not be on hers
    • Has made vids in multiple fandoms
    • And I mean vids that have won prizes and have premiered at a con
    • And also she went to those cons, and has probably been going to cons since the days when you thought fan fiction was a seriously humorous joke, or possibly the days when you were learning to talk
    • Has been making vids since the old two VCRs, a wing, and a prayer days
    • And may even have those VCR vids available for download
    • Is willing to send you a DVD of her vids
    • Has a lot of scary vidding friends
    • Writes fan fiction or essays or reviews or long LJ posts as well as vidding
    • Or otherwise participates in the fannish world - I mean, of course, in addition to vidding
    • Is not famously psychotic or mean or whatever (not that I know of any vidders that are; basically, this is just the "don't go looking for trouble unless that's what you want to find" caveat)

    Now, I'm not suggesting you use that as a checklist, because you'll end up never sending feedback to anyone, but if you notice three or four things on that list apply to a given vidder? She's a safer feedback candidate, is all.

    And there's a hidden bonus to feedbacking the scary vidders. See, I learned things. Seriously, I learned more about vids from people responding to my feedback than I have in all the rest of my time in fandom. I learned shocking secrets, even. Well, maybe not shocking, but they were certainly news to me.
Prospects for Future Study (Or, Here's Where It Gets to Be About You)

If you watch vids - and you know what I mean; don't say, "I don't watch a lot of vids," or, "I'm just a consumer, not really a, you know, thinker," here - try your own Project. Set small goals for the first one: send feedback for four vids this month, say. Or the next four vids you keep. Eventually, if you want, you can expand into bigger and better Projects, with different experimental designs, and more rigorous record-keeping, but it doesn't really matter. What matters is: send the damn feedback already. I can't promise you that any given vidder wants to hear your, "I liked this vid!" But I do promise you that vidders, as a whole, want to hear that. Even, yes, if you aren't a vidder. Even if, yes again, you aren't really sure what you're talking about. You'll get better at it, and the vidders will likely be gracious about your learning process, and, seriously, it'll all work out.

You'll start watching vids differently - more intelligently, for one thing - and enjoying them more. You will make contacts in parts of fandom you'd otherwise never set foot in. You will learn about the people behind the vids.

You will give them something back for the enjoyment they gave you.

And, seriously, you will influence more than just someone's pride and joy in her vid. You will encourage vidders, reward them for their efforts, and eventually there will be more vids of the kinds you like. This is power, people. Use it for good.

Further Reading

sdwolfpup's post that inspired the Project, Vid Feedback 101, is the definitive vid-feedback-for-non-vidders how-to.

permetaform has a nice index of LJ-based vid discussions and essays; much of it is directed towards vidders, but the ones on feedback are very educational no matter where you are on the vidding spectrum.

gwyn_r has an extensive post about Visual Vocabularies. Take note, particularly, of what she says about the importance of feedback to vidders.
(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe banana: Drawthefourthvine on October 26th, 2005 01:49 am (UTC)
Yup, you were an unwilling (because there can be no consent in this arena without full information and understanding, and if only we could teach every fictional doctor ever that very fact, I would SING) subject in the Project. I suppose I should debrief you or something, but, um - I, um. smallDidn't have Human Subjects approval</small>. Great is my shame. Still, that means we can totally skip the debriefing. Yay!

You may continue to feel free to send me feedback anytime, on any vid you like. Or fanfiction. Or anything.

You are one of the Project people I started to send feedback after the Project ended, only to put it off until the browser made my decision for me. Um. Twice. I did that twice.

See, you tend to have a really unusual, almost vintage-feeling - not I don't say old or old school - style that creates this kind of anti-music-video vid effect. And I have no way to put that into words, or talk about my reaction to that. So I tend to stutter my way out of writing feedback to you.

But, seriously, that is such a weak excuse. I will work on this. Perhaps my time at thereel will help.
Diana: At Work -- O'Brien (by nostalgia_lj)butterfly on October 26th, 2005 12:59 am (UTC)
As a newish vidder (hee! I can say 'as a vidder'. This thrills me to no end.), I think that there's a sorta good reason why that person might have wanted you to remember their latest attempt best. If they feel like they're improving as a vidder, they may feel as though they've failed if their older vids are more popular or striking.

Of course, this is no excuse to be mean.
tried to eat the safe banana: Big eyesthefourthvine on October 26th, 2005 09:52 am (UTC)
See, I totally get that you might not be all that thrilled to know that you are now associated in someone's mind entirely with work you did while you were still trying to figure out if Premiere was evil or what, and if it was evil, if clicking on this part right here would result in a demon possession.

I'd actually suggest accepting feedback on every vid - you never know what things will strike a chord with people, and you never know what things people will see that you didn't even mean to put in the vid (I forget who coined the term, but this is "Wow! I am DEEP!" feedback). But if the person's all, "You know, you should really do [this thing you've since done] and I didn't like [this other thing that you would never do now]," you can just say, "Thanks for your feedback! I'd also love to hear your opinions on my newer vid [X], where you'll see some changes I hope you'll like."

That way, the person knows, hey, this is an older vid - because, believe me, you have no idea where your feedbacker got the link; the ways of vid-finding are weird and wonderful, and she may not even know you have a back-catalog of vids to offer - and that you'd welcome feedback on your other vids, too. I would consider that a perfectly normal response to feedback, and feel encouraged by it.

Of course, this is no excuse to be mean.

Precisely! Especially if you want future feedback. My reaction to that sort of thing initially was, "Waaaaaah! Vidders hate me! They are mean people and I will never send any of them feedback again!" I have matured, though; my reaction now, post-Project, is, "Lady, I have seen better vidders than you thank people kindly for feedback that really and truly sucked eyeballs. You've got nothing to complain about, let alone any reason to call me names like that. So, seriously, you're a crazy woman." And then I sort of mark that person down as, "Vidder excuses watchers from all further feedback" and go on with my life.

And, wow - congratulations on vidderhood! That is indeed a cool thing to be able to say about yourself. (You should consider slipping it into introductions. "Diana Michelle, Vidder" has a certain cachet to it, sort of like, "Bond. James Bond.")
(no subject) - butterfly on October 26th, 2005 12:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Very inconvenient, as now I have no shaving-glass: Fandom and madness by Dzurladydzurlady on October 26th, 2005 01:00 am (UTC)
Huh. Part of the problem I find with sending vid feedback is email. I hate using email - my email account has my non-fannish name on it, for a start; secondly, it's a lot more fiddly. Yes, it's lazy, but I'm sooo much more likely to respond to a lj entry.
On a very basic level, I find that talking about particular clips - how they reacted with what was around them, how they matched the music, that kind of thing - is something that you don't need a great deal of vocab to communicate your meaning with.
Entirely randomly, how much would I sell my soul for all vidders to put a summary on their vids with their links? I mean, how much information do fic writers put on their fics, and all they want to do is get people to load a page which will take five seconds with recourse to a back button. Vidders want people to download a file several mb large, which takes god knows how long and can really make your download limit hurt. A little information so I can decide if it will be worth it for me would be nice.

Oh, and does this mean we can expect some vid recs from you? Because - things that go boom - I am so there.
tried to eat the safe banana: Evil planthefourthvine on October 26th, 2005 10:00 am (UTC)
Yes, it's lazy, but I'm sooo much more likely to respond to a lj entry.

Loads of vidders provide LJ links, bless their encouraging hearts. I went with email because half the time my comments were over the character limit (did I mention that I am *talky*?), and also because then I could store all Project responses in one place along with my outgoing feedback.

(Of course, then that server crashed irrecoverably, my email provider stopped offering email, and I lost every single Project response. But, you know, at least I was organized in theory. And I managed to record the gross data and write up the results before the server went dead, so that's a yay.)

Oh, and does this mean we can expect some vid recs from you? Because - things that go boom - I am so there.

That is the goal! The problem is that vid recommending takes time - more than fic recommending - because of the need to track down the vidder and get her permission. But, yeah, vid recs ahoy. And I've already recommended a few, albeit mostly in passing ("Hey, this vid goes along with this recs theme") or as part of a vid rant.
wychwood on October 26th, 2005 01:04 am (UTC)
That was a great post. Thank you!

I tried something similar, having previously been scared of the whole "not knowing what to say" thing - and actually, ran straight into your problem #3. Once I start talking about things I liked, I just don't seem to be able to stop *g*.
tried to eat the safe banana: Drawthefourthvine on October 26th, 2005 10:07 am (UTC)
Thanks right back at you!

and actually, ran straight into your problem #3. Once I start talking about things I liked, I just don't seem to be able to stop *g*.

Oh, yeah, I hear that. I've been there. Hell, I've taken up residence there, bought property, settled in for the duration. I've got a little bunker, even, in case they come to take my wordiness away. My advice: type until you're ready to stop, or until your fingers are tired, or until you have to do something else, and click 'send.' The vidder will get the core message ("Yay! Vid good!") and in addition be happy to hear so many specific things praised. But, really, the only solution for the interminably talky, such as ourselves, is not to require completeness.

Look on the bright side. I've heard lots of people call our feedback style "the good stuff." We're loved! Even though very talky!
(no subject) - wychwood on October 26th, 2005 11:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
rydra_wong on October 26th, 2005 01:25 am (UTC)
there may be some kind of unspoken fannish etiquette that says, in essence, hands off older work.

*scratches head*

I've seen some people make the pretty reasonable point that if you're going to offer a lot of concrit on an much older vid, you should be aware that you may be telling the vidder a whole lot of stuff that they've worked out for themselves by now, and they may be painfully aware of just how much their earlier work sucked.

But apart from that, I know of no such rule.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV glowythefourthvine on October 26th, 2005 10:11 am (UTC)
I've seen some people make the pretty reasonable point that if you're going to offer a lot of concrit on an much older vid, you should be aware that you may be telling the vidder a whole lot of stuff that they've worked out for themselves by now, and they may be painfully aware of just how much their earlier work sucked.

I think that's pretty much it, yeah, although in my case "concrit" is not exactly what I was doing. ("Burbling" would be a more accurate description.) And I can totally see that it would be frustrating to get a long, detailed piece of feedback on a vid you can hardly remember making, or that you can remember only too damn well. Especially if that's all the feedback you've had for a while.

My points there: clear labeling can do wonders. As can, you know, courtesy. Probably the feedbacker isn't intending to be irritating; helps to remember that, I think.
(no subject) - rydra_wong on October 26th, 2005 10:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
Charmaxcharmax on October 26th, 2005 02:23 am (UTC)
That was a really interesting and helpful post.

I always try to respond to feedback when I get it. I have even on occasion responded to people who simply write "Your vid sucks" but I generally find that people who take time out to post venom at you are kind of unstable.

I try to tailor my responses to feedback. So "I liked it" gets a "Thank you". A four paragraph critique warrants more detail including answering any specific queries and responding to any specific criticism.

I do find the "I don't like the song" criticism annoying. That is partly because I have chosen it carefully it isn't just that I love the song it is that, to me, it fits the character or fandom. So if someone’s only response is to tell me they don't like the song that means they haven't been able to get past that and view the vid as a whole. That is not their fault and it is not mine but it makes the comment entirely redundant.

I should say if there are scary vidders there are also scary feedbackers (is that a word?). Sometimes they are the same people. By which I mean that they see things in your vid you didn't even think about and have you scurrying to rewatch it whilst also reaching for a dictionary to figure out exactly what that particular word means. In this context though it is good to be scared- I mean scary in a theme park ride way not a psychotic mime way.

This post has also made me realise that I am such a hypocrite because although I am only too happy to receive it I do not give it nearly as often as I should.
tried to eat the safe banana: Secret societiesthefourthvine on October 26th, 2005 10:45 am (UTC)
I always try to respond to feedback when I get it. I have even on occasion responded to people who simply write "Your vid sucks" but I generally find that people who take time out to post venom at you are kind of unstable.

Um, yeah. I've made a few efforts to engage the lunatic fringe, too. It...doesn't work out so well.

I do find the "I don't like the song" criticism annoying.

And you label everything, so I sort of wonder why anyone would bother to download a song that they loathed so intensely. (I mean, if anyone ever makes a vid to "The Pina Colada Song"? I will, okay, likely download it, just to see, but I will know better than to expect myself to be impartial about the song. And I'll try to send feedback to the vidder about something else.) And when you download a vid set to a song you don't know...well, all I can say is that when I've given them a chance, unknown songs attached to good vids tend to become loved songs in fairly short order, no matter what the genre. Vidders have excellent taste in music.

Or maybe I'm just a music whore.

Point being: yeah. If all anyone has to say about a vid is, in essence, "You and I have such different musical tastes that I am incapable of enjoying your work," well, probably best for all concerned not to bother.

Actually, I used to think the widespread hatred of the "Don't like this song" feedback was sort of oversensitive, until I started looking at vid feedback. (This was a side effect of the Project; I started paying attention to quantity and quality of LJ comments on vids.) Vids to less-than-popular songs - by which I mean anything not in hourly rotation on a Clear Channel station - get a lot of feedback like this. Vids to locally unpopular song styles (country, hip-hop, rap, bluegrass) get a ton of it; I've seen some vids on LJ that end up with every single comment starting with, "I hate this song" or "I wish you'd used a different song" or "What made you choose such an awful song?"

The sole exception is classical music. People may characterize it as boring, but they are, for the most part, embarrassed to say they hate it.

In this context though it is good to be scared- I mean scary in a theme park ride way not a psychotic mime way.

Oh, wow. I never considered the terror inherent in getting feedback from the Scary Vidders.


You've totally altered my worldview, there.

(And Vividcon, the one session where everyone, including the Scariest Vidders, gives feedback on every vid, while the vidder sits there quietly listening - well, let's just say that if it was me, no one would have to tell me to be quiet. I'd be frozen in fear.)

This post has also made me realise that I am such a hypocrite because although I am only too happy to receive it I do not give it nearly as often as I should.

None of us does. I love getting feedback and comments, and yet I don't balance it out. I get a lot more feedback than I give, and I know now that recommendations don't make up for the one-on-one stuff. But it has to be a balance: you can't make your fannish life impossible, so sometimes you contribute less than you should. (And by "you," of course, I mean "I.")

My plan, from here on out, is to set some kind of monthly goal - starting with a very small one, especially during these over-committed months, and working up until it becomes untenable - for feedback. I won't get everyone, or even close, but at least I'll be doing *something*.
(no subject) - sisabet on October 26th, 2005 12:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - gwyn_r on October 26th, 2005 02:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sisabet on October 26th, 2005 03:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Lithyhalcyon_shift on October 26th, 2005 05:47 am (UTC)
... I kinda ... like ... the idea of a Daniel vid to "I Get Knocked Down". Mercy.
tried to eat the safe banana: Time won't find the lostthefourthvine on October 26th, 2005 11:29 am (UTC)
Please come live in my brain, then. Clearly, we were meant to be together.

(And my thing with the "I Get Knocked Down" vid is - how do you make it a full vid? It's pretty much a one-note joke. If I could vid, I'd probably end up actually doing this one, but cutting the song. A lot.)
(no subject) - halcyon_shift on October 26th, 2005 11:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) on October 26th, 2005 12:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - sisabet on October 26th, 2005 02:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - littleheaven70 on February 6th, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
indywind on October 26th, 2005 05:49 am (UTC)
I don't watch vids hardly at all, but there are a couple by a friend of mine which I have to reccomend whenever I have even a vague excuse to do so, because I like them that much. They're BtVS and Babylon5, femslashy and very well-produced.
Go see!
Send feedback!

tried to eat the safe banana: Big eyesthefourthvine on October 27th, 2005 07:23 pm (UTC)
Ooo, thanks for the rec. I'm off to download!
semiellipticalsemielliptical on October 26th, 2005 05:59 am (UTC)
A very helpful and entertaining post! Timely, too - I have only recently started watching vids, and I find the thought of sending feedback on vids extra intimidating, even though I have been giving feedback on fanfiction for years.

tried to eat the safe banana: Drawthefourthvine on October 27th, 2005 07:44 pm (UTC)
You know, the two skills - sending feedback on vids v. feedback on FF - are actually fairly similar. It's just that it's weird to send fb when you don't know the field as well; most of us are used to being confident and knowledgeable in FF feedback in a way that we, as long as we remain not-vidders, probably will never be with vids.

But that just puts us both, as commenters, in a different role - we're the audience, not the cohort. It doesn't decrease the value of our comments, and that's something I didn't understand prior to the VFP.

An "I liked this!" comment is actually probably more valuable from the audience, because it's letting the vidder know that a) the audience exists (which otherwise she will only know by downloads) and b) the audience is enjoying the experience (which she will otherwise not know at all).

And even if you aren't going to talk with great wisdom about the unique use of a given effect, and how with this additional effect the vidder could also have done etc. etc., your more detailed reactions to and thoughts about the vid will still be interesting to the vidder. For one thing, other vidders who see her vid know what she's doing. Only you can tell her what the vid is like for someone who doesn't know all the vid techniques and methods and effects and so on. And since she can sort of be her own expert audience (or rustle it up from her betas and friends), but she'll never be her own newbie audience, more in-depth comments from the general audience give her something she can't easily get anywhere else.

Okay. That was prolonged and, um, moderately incoherent, so let me just summarize. Basically, I'm saying that there's an inherent value to feedback from non-experts as well as from experts, and that the non-vidding audience can provide something useful and important (and nice to have) to vidders. And also that this is true whether you go for the classic "I liked it!" feedback, or you go for a more detailed reaction. ("I liked it because wow I never thought of that character that way, and also, whoa, creeeeepy." Or even more detailed than that, if you're so inclined.)

And, um. Yay! Yay that you are watching vids - because I think they are amazing and I love them, and of course that means I want everyone to experience them - and double yay if you manage to send feedback for some of the vids you watch.

Also - any particular fandoms you're watching vids in? That's just curiosity on my part, and you don't have to answer. I'm, you know, nosy.
(no subject) - semielliptical on October 28th, 2005 02:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
woe: orli bites lipbunnysquee on October 26th, 2005 06:23 am (UTC)
i have so far fedback [is that the past tense for feedback, or did i just verb a noun and you are going to come chop my head off?] ... er ...

i have so far left feedback for all the vids i've seen and i've gotten #2 and #3 responses so far - people who are amazed and happy that i e-mailed them in the first place to tell them i liked their vids or their vids made me cry or OMW! a whithnail and i vid ... !!! no one has not responded. i send 2 or 3 lines because i'm awful with praise and don't want to sound insane. but i feel that, if someone took the time to make something which entertained me and it's a freebie, it's only good manners to at least thank that person - the same for fanfic or pictures or scans from magazines.
woe: orli rolls eyesbunnysquee on October 26th, 2005 06:23 am (UTC)
i meant ,withnail not whatever i typed up there ...
(no subject) - bunnysquee on October 26th, 2005 06:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on October 27th, 2005 08:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
sockkpuppett on October 26th, 2005 06:29 am (UTC)
Heh. Well, now I know. You don't watch my vids. LOL [wails privately]
tried to eat the safe banana: Stylethefourthvine on October 27th, 2005 08:55 pm (UTC)

Actually, I was, um, fairly glad you didn't make a vid while the Project was going on (at least, I *think* you didn't) because, you know, Scary Vidder and all. But now I know what you were working on during at least part of that time: Scooby Road. And, on the one hand, I cannot wait to see it - I've pretty much been in awe of the concept since the first Vividcon reports came in - but on the other hand, how the hell am I supposed to send you feedback on that?

Impossible to know. But I will come up with something. (I will, even though it will likely be totally incoherent. Although, truly, I think you're wrong about how much feedback you'll get.) I figure everyone else will be daunted and speechless, too, so we'll all be sending lame feedback together, and that will make it easier.

Ooo! Maybe all of us who send you lame feedback can form a club. We will have secret handshakes, and maybe also secret ASCII signatures - like, instead of a whole little rendering of the Mona Lisa that uses every single ASCII character at least once, we will just have three dots and a line. It will be the exact opposite of cool, and I will be very happy and comfortable in it.

Now that I think about it...huh. You know, maybe you're right about not getting much SR feedback from the mailed out ones, because it never occurred to me until this very minute that I could also send feedback to people whose vids I have on DVD, that I can still use online feedback mechanisms even if the vids themselves came in the mail. And those are such good vids. Plus, the Loop folks deserve feedback on two counts, because they have the coolest DVD menu ever. I'm a pathetically intense fan of the Tube Map, and the Loop menu hits precisely that same bulletproof kink.

You know, the VFP changed the way I look at vids. A lot. (It's what made me willing to get vids on DVD, too - for a long time that was too scary to contemplate.) And then it changed the way I look at feedback. A lot. And apparently it's still teaching me stuff. Best investment of fannish time ever.
peeps wanna see peeps boink: contextmusesfool on October 26th, 2005 06:41 am (UTC)
there may be some kind of unspoken fannish etiquette that says, in essence, hands off older work. To be safe, pick a newer vid; to be safest, pick a newly-offered vid.

I can't speak to vids, but I can say that for fic, yeah, if you're (generic) going to offer a critique, it's best not to pick an older story (and yeah, I do have the dates on all of mine at my site) - I know my writing has changed and improved in the five years I've been doing this, and having someone comment about unwieldy metaphors and POV breaks from a story I wrote five years ago isn't going to make me do anything but roll my eyes, because can't you see I've learned and gotten better? So I would suggest to people who do want to send in-depth feedback that includes con crit choose a recent example of the writer's work.

You of course (specific TFV you, and everyone else out there) are always welcome to send me feedback if you ever feel the need.

Of course, I also tend to be taken aback when I get feedback for old stories, not only because now I can see the problems with them clearly, but also because I'm out of at least two of those fandoms for at least two years now, and I kind of forget that not everyone else is.
tried to eat the safe banana: Secret societiesthefourthvine on October 27th, 2005 09:26 pm (UTC)
So I would suggest to people who do want to send in-depth feedback that includes con crit choose a recent example of the writer's work.

See, here's my puzzlement. The few times that I've done feedback or critiques (on fic) by request in a non-beta situation (in other words, reviewing a finished, posted, already-out-there story, generally by a complete stranger, usually as part of a feedback challenge), the author has always picked older work. Like, years older. So I guess I assumed that there was something better or easier about getting concrit on something that's been out there for a while. But it could just be that the authors picked their most popular (or most unpopular) stories or something.

You of course (specific TFV you, and everyone else out there) are always welcome to send me feedback if you ever feel the need.

Well, fic feedback is this whole other area where I have problems - different ones, but the same result, i.e., very spotty feedback. Maybe my next Project - assuming I ever have the time again - will be the Fic Feedback Project. Or, hey, the Infrastructure Feedback Project - I could send sincere love to archivists, recommenders, site maintainers, challenge hosts, and community mods!

also because I'm out of at least two of those fandoms for at least two years now, and I kind of forget that not everyone else is.

Hee. Fandom solipsism!
(no subject) - musesfool on October 28th, 2005 11:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - musesfool on October 28th, 2005 11:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
The sanest lunatic you've ever met: by catatonic1242: vidding (not shareablesdwolfpup on October 26th, 2005 07:32 am (UTC)
Here through sockkpuppett's link. Fascinating stuff, I'm really glad you took the time to report on your results to the project! I'm a bit dismayed that you received a mean response at all, and while I can understand the genesis of the meanness, it doesn't excuse it. I think the interesting thing here is as musefool says, that critique for older vids may be on things a person has already overcome, so it isn't as useful. Still, if someone had sent an email like that to me, I think I'd thank them for taking the time to provide in-depth feedback and then say something like, "I was really bad about stray frames when I was starting out, but I've avoided them in my latest vids." At least I'm hoping that's what I'd do. Hee.

I may have to amend my Feedback post to point out that AMV vidders are their own category and want more in-depth feedback.

Again, really neat stuff - thanks!
tried to eat the safe banana: Yoko Ikenothefourthvine on October 27th, 2005 09:59 pm (UTC)
I'm a bit dismayed that you received a mean response at all, and while I can understand the genesis of the meanness, it doesn't excuse it.

Actually, I was surprised and delighted that received only one mean response. Because we're talking about people, here - I could stand on a box and shout, "I love puppies!" and I'd probably get at least one dissent phrased in seriously unkind terms. And that's without the magnifying effect of internet pseudo-anonymity.

I may have to amend my Feedback post to point out that AMV vidders are their own category and want more in-depth feedback.

Plus, you don't send it to them directly, AFAIK. (Though, obviously, I'm not involved with the community side of AMVs.) Opinions are posted on AMV for all to see, and once you've paged through a bunch of good (in the sense of useful and appropriate) opinions, you will never want to leave feedback again. At least, I always feel that way. Also impressed, because AMV people don't seem to have any trouble giving opinions at that level.

Again, really neat stuff - thanks!

And thank you for the 101 post; without that, I would never have done the Project in the first place.
aliquid stat pro aliquomaygra on October 26th, 2005 07:55 am (UTC)
You rock and you are a much better person than me. I can squee with the best of them for a good vid but I tend to do it in person rahter than even in email (for lo, I have a dial up connection and downloading vids is an all day thing.) But even with VHS or CD collections I suck at vid feed back. I do. I admit this.

As for the person who was mean about you commenting on an older vid...

They need to get over it. Or they need to take the vids down if they don't want feed back or critque or anything remotely like it. I feel the same way about people who get even slightly torqued about feedback on older stories. If you don't want the feedback or can't take it graciously (and we're not talking about feedback that includes how much the story or vid sucked) but unless the story or vid comes with an expiration date (After 2 years ay further comment on this vid/story will be ignored) they need to get over it.

If people have their older stuff up still, they have it up for a reason. If they've gotten better and have left the older stuff as a comparison to how much better they've gotten, then why oh why would they be surprised if people comment on how possibly flawed the earlier stuff may be. OR that they love it despite it's flaws. If you aren't prepared to get ambivalent comments on it. Take. It. Down.

[/end rant]

Whew. Sorry. I think you are to be commended with huge standing ovations for doing this. Some incredbily talented, really good vidders are friends of mine, all wonderful people and I don't feedback them enough for thier stuff. This post has inspired me to be better and to comment more. I hope other people do as well.

This Space Intentionally Left Blankbarkley on October 26th, 2005 08:31 am (UTC)
What she said. I couldn't have said it better.
(no subject) - sinensiss on October 26th, 2005 10:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - astolat on October 26th, 2005 12:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on October 27th, 2005 10:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Betty: Let's break stuff!brown_betty on October 26th, 2005 07:59 am (UTC)
Hunh, really? I like getting feedback on old stuff. It means it's getting recced, and not just read the once as it comes off the presses. Of course, I'm not a vidder.
tried to eat the safe banana: Bat-sentinelsthefourthvine on October 27th, 2005 10:15 pm (UTC)
I like getting comments (feedback, critique) on my old stuff, too. It's neat to know that someone is reading my back stories or posts or whatever. And I say this even though my style has markedly changed in my rec posts (and I'm embarrassed by some of them) and my early stories are - well, flawed.

But I haven't been doing this for all that long. And, of course, I am not a vidder. Plus, I'm sort of a slut for comments - I love pretty much all of them.
(no subject) - brown_betty on October 27th, 2005 10:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)