For the past couple of weeks we’ve made some exciting new changes around the site. Those who frequent JukePop already know what some of these changes are.

First, we’re in the process of transforming our front page into a live feed of all author and reader activity, including new chapter releases and reader comments and reviews. Second, we’ve added features around the site to make it more sociable, such as the “Pin It” button, and the ability for people to respond to reviews and to comments directly from the feed. We’re also working on making stories easier to find, letting authors know when someone wants more chapters, and even the look and feel of certain areas of the site. The list goes on.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 3.57.06 PM

Although we’ve gotten some great feedback about the new front page feed, there’s one thing that concerns us, which is the increased visibility of comments. It’s a good thing overall, since it has led to more lively, insightful discussion on a plethora of stories. At the same time it’s resulted in the harshest critics on the site gaining a voice. Though we’ve yet to see any slanderous comments or reviews, the possibility of them cropping up on the feed at any time has made us a bit…nervous.

Let’s get one thing straight: honest, objective criticism is what we want from readers on JukePop. We’re not one of those publishing platforms that want readers to just pat authors on the back, or allow authors to do tit-for-tat reviews. We’re a very reader centric platform, more than 99% of JukePop’s community are readers. This enables us to be the most democratic, reader-oriented site around, but that requires each of our readers to be vocal in letting us and authors know just how much they love, and hate, JukePop’s stories. We’re glad to see that that’s been happening and hasn’t led to any burned down houses.

So let’s lay down a few guidelines for those on JukePop who aim to be critical. Again, we need folks like you and desire your insightful feedback. But, here’s a few things to keep in mind the next time you are leaving a harsh critique or review.

-Be as objective in your review as possible. If you’re starting a sentence with “I think,” stop and actually think over what you’re about to say.

-Avoid talking about the author in your review. Talk strictly about the story and keep it non-personal.

-This may sound counterintuitive, but don’t make suggestions or try to instruct the author how to write their work. That’s not your job, and it always sounds condescending.

-Do tell the author how you felt while reading, and what you enjoyed or want to see more of in the story. More than anything, those are the things that really help the author understand where their work succeeded, failed, and needs to improve.

-Be ready to continue the discussion with the author after you’ve left a comment or review

As a final note, stay strong, authors. We know that criticism can sometimes sting. Just remember that even the most negative comments still come from the heart. That’s a sign that your writing has reached its destination.