elf: AO3: So awesome, even the logo is celebrating (with logo with party hat) (Celebrating AO3)
[personal profile] elf posting in [community profile] ao3some
Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who really loves the Kudos feature at AO3. I don't mean, "wow, it's great that there's this option for people too busy or overwhelmed to leave a comment, so authors can know someone liked their story," because sometimes that comes with the unspoken (or not unspoken) followup of, "but of course people should be leaving comments, so if it causes people to not leave comments, maybe it's not so good." I love kudos. Unreservedly, with no caveats. I maybe like them more than comments.

I love comments. Pretty much everyone loves comments, and I write little enough fic that I treasure every single one of them. Comments tell me what worked, tell me when I've managed just the *perfect* way to get across what I was thinking, tell me if I've failed to cover the (obviously brilliant and compelling) backstory & other bits in my head. Comments tell me that someone else loves not just my favorite characters, but loves them the same way I do. Comments tell me I've succeeded in intriguing or disturbing or arousing the reader, or maybe all three at once.

Comments help me grow as a writer, and I feel horribly guilty for everyone one of them I don't reply to. I know lack of replies means it's just a bit less likely that person will leave comments in the future. :( Bad elf. No cookie.

Kudos don't do any of that. Kudos just tell me someone is glad I wrote the story. And I don't have to reply. That's the best part, for me... I don't have to shove my antisocial, moody and sometimes creepy self back into its little cage and bring up my I'm-Going-To-Be-Cheeful face (and I *am* cheerful when I get comments; I just don't always feel like expressing it directly). Kudos are no-pressure appreciation.

One kudos, two kudoi? Kudoses? Kudea? (Yes, I know they're technically singular and should be kudoses. I think I like kudea better.) A cluster of kudos? A kiss of kudoi? No, that's silly. (And besides, it's "a kiss of vampires.") A sparkle of kudoses?

I think of them as something like tribbles, only with little sparkly-bits in their fur so when they wobble around (they can't go very far on their own; they have to be carried), they shed a trail of little gold and silver stars. And their fur is very warm and silky so you can skin them and make a nice comfy blanket to keep you warm instead of the money you're not making because fanfic is mostly unmarketable cuddle them close and enjoy them either individually or in big swarms.

As a reader, I like seeing kudos. Kudos counts are simple and honest... there's no question whether half of them are the author herself, or a back-and-forth exchange between the author and a friend or two. 25 Kudos? 25 people enjoyed this. 25 comments? Maybe 4 people enjoyed this, and just *love* talking with the author. (And good on them; yay for actual conversations in comments. But that doesn't tell me how widely-liked the story is.)

Kudos don't, specifically, help me grow as a writer. They don't tell me what amazing insights readers had about a story, neither mine nor anyone else's. Kudos give me that warm fuzzy feeling that makes the dark days worth putting up with, and without any anxiety about how I'm supposed to react. Kudos are someone telling me "you did good," without caveats, without reservations.

I don't care if they're kudosing me for one good line and they think the rest of the story is junk, or if I've written their new favorite fic that they'll re-read every three weeks and love it forever but they don't want to tell a total stranger that I've pegged their deepest id-infected kinks exactly. With kudos, they don't have to feel obligated to explain, and I don't have to drag on my game face to thank them. I ♥ all the kudos.
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