Downvoting stories without reading them – quality control or prejudice?

Evehlys King Sombra review the state of the empire on Hail King Sombra

Okay, normally it takes a very special FIMFic story to move me to go the extra step of upvoting or downvoting stories. Askre and I have talked about this subject a few times outside of FIMFiction, but in the context of snap judging a story without reading it. I’ve expressed my extreme distaste for people who hit that thumb up/thumb down button based on their own bias towards the subject matter. I am sure all of us have been there…seeing some tags just push our buttons the wrong way, whether it be on the subjects of sex, gore, death, suicide, etc. and I have as well, but I have only ever practiced downvoting stories one other time before today.

I didn’t even hit that judgmental little button yesterday when Lorenzo urged me to read a Sombra story where the King was tortured not with hot pokers, hoof screws or the rack but with, of all things, a feather.

Yes, you read me right. A feather.

I read through it all the way to the bitter, weird end and was amused and surprised by the outcome, so that made the read worth it, but the moral of this particular example is that I will read stuff under the right circumstances – even when I have that *sigh* moment a few paragraphs in that says, “I really don’t want to read this crap.”

But today, while perusing the new stories section for anything Sombra, I found that trigger that triggered my downvoting finger and was reminded I am about to do what I abhor and deride others for. Hitting the downvote button without reading the story.

So, in reflecting on this decision to slam a story without so much as reading a single word, I’ve come to the conclusion that some things must be downvoted for the sake of taking a stand on what is right and what is wrong.

This may be my Republican side coming out of the closet, irritated by the discussion yesterday with my husband of how the once-beautiful city of San Francisco has become a cesspool of FECES, NEEDLES AND URINE on it’s once beautiful streets because no one takes a stand to get the homeless population under control there. It is a den of not just human filth, but the political filth that let it get there in the first place – the liberals and democrats that squat in their city council and mayor’s office that decided the homeless have a right to also squat in the city – literally – thus creating a health problem the CDC should have come in and declared unfit for human habitation YEARS ago.

In a sense, that kind of filth also squats on FIMFiction.

It’s rare, thank the Goddess, but it does exist and it needs to be told IT IS NOT WELCOME by decent human beings.

I have always lauded the fact that the lack of background story for King Sombra lends his tales to the wild imaginings of his fans and this is a great advantage – not something to be mocked by the shallow-minded trolls of both My Little Pony and FIMFiction. Without the open book of his character we would never have had the glorious writings of Boomstick Mick, Askre, Topside, Yoru-the-Rogue, I-A-M, Maltrazz and of course, my amazing friend, Pixel_Spark.

BUT, there is a limit bound by what is known as “common decency” as to what makes sense to write about King Sombra and his crimes. And that story this morning just plan simply crossed that line.

Because the unnamed crimes of King Sombra leave the door to subjectivity WIDE OPEN, people sometimes take that concept and run with it to the nth degree of their worst imaginings. This can be expected, I suppose, considering he is the king of one’s worst fears. I personally would just rather NOT see Knighty allow such universally accepted topics of filth and degradation allowed on FIMFiction for the good of the many – especially those under age.

The topic I am talking about here is necrophilia – sex with the dead. It is a practice abhorred by the Bible, atheists, religious of other faiths and agnostics alike. I would not be surprised if it were indicative of the presence of mental illness in the practitioner in nearly all documented cases by the police in every nation on earth.

And this last point alone has to tell you something about the author AND the friend of theirs who requested the fic. Why do I say this? Because it is a well-known fact among authors that we very often write what we are familiar with, have a hang-up about or are obsessed with. I am the perfect example of this. Just a look at my author page on FIMFiction will tell you in NO uncertain terms what I am into…no doubts, plain and simple and screamingly obvious.

I am not writing this to justify my actions of snap judging upvoting and downvoting stories, though I thought at first that might have been my motivation. I am writing this to take a stand for what is right – and no, not just in my mind, but in the minds of MANY. I am encouraging everyone out there to call this garbage out when you see it – and not just on FIMFiction, but anywhere and EVERYWHERE.

Do it because it’s right and remember to always,

Hail King Sombra!

P.S. – please tell us in the comments if you have practiced upvoting and/or downvoting stories and your reasons why. We would love to hear your feedback!

3 thoughts on “Downvoting stories without reading them – quality control or prejudice?”

  1. I have never downvoted or upvoted a story without reading it first and I’m not going to start now. Believe it or not many people thrive on the term “there is no bad puplicity” because they are still getting what they want, publicity, attention. You want to know why your favorite TV show was cancelled? It wasn’t because it was panned by critics, or the viewers complaining about the flat characters. It was because not enough people were watching.

    Why do Movie studios cancel sequels? Not because panned by critics or the raging of fans. Because not enough people went to the theaters to watch it.

    You want to hammer in a point to a writer, or a movie creator or a TV creator that their show, story or whatever is not wanted? Don’t read it, don’t even comment on it, don’t give it the slightest bit of attention.

    The voting system on fimfiction is seriously broken. The stories at the bottom of the ranking system are not the ones with the most downvote, it’s the ones with the least vote no matter the direction the voting bar goes into. So all down-voting really does is actually elevating the story, granted it’s negative feedback, but it’s still feedback giving the author the idea that at least people are taking a look at it and for some that’s all they need. I personally don’t understand people who write just for the feedback or the votes, I personally barely pay attention to the voting and even if I always love a comment, I don’t make lack of comments stop me from writing. But there are people who only write for the votes and some are strange enough to just accept the downvoting as enough, a sign that at least people looked at the story.

    So I personally make my stand by using an author’s worst enemy in the writing business. Obscurity. Getting no attention, not even looking at their work, not even bothering with hitting a an arbitrary voting button that really only serves as a “hey your story was noticed by someone” button.

    That is what I will do. Just ignore them, turn my head away in disgust and go my merry way. I will not even give them that one ounce of satisfaction that I noticed their work by pressing a button that will tell them that.

  2. I never would have thought to up or down vote a story without reading at least part of it. This brings up an interesting question, is the up/down vote button just for writing quality or also for content? If I saw a story description with necrophilia in it, I would just avoid it. But I would have to agree with Hail King Sombra. No matter how well written such a story is, I would have to down vote it for content – if I ever read it. It’s like an “R” rated movie with excessive violence. I’m not interested in it no matter who stars in it, who directed it or how well it’s reviewed. I’m not going to go see it.

    At least the description warned you. I would be far worse to unexpectedly come across the necrophilia half way through the story. I hope it also had a MATURE rating. At least those with the mature filter on would never even see it. There are other topics I find inappropriate, rape fantasies for one, and any clop involving the CMC at the age they are now. Fantasize about any mature pony you want, but the CMC ARE KIDS! Whether real humans or TV characters, that is wrong and I would be very concerned about the author of such a piece. That’s another line that can’t be crossed.

    Askre is right when he says some writers just want attention, good or bad. Some purposefully just want to shock. For them, a down vote is positive feedback. They got what they wanted, they disgusted and shocked someone. Letting them fall into oblivion with no reader reaction is probably the best way to discourage them from writing these kind of stories.

    It’s been a while since I’ve read the submission guidelines, but rather than down voting or leaving negative comments, I think bringing this to the attention of the site administrators is a better response. I’m sure they don’t have time to read every story that is submitted. This is our community and even with tags such as violence, gore and mature, we need to let the administrators know we don’t want our community to be dragged down into the gutter. San Francisco may not care about the filth the homeless problem is causing, but Orange County, CA is fighting it full on because the public spoke out.

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