So I made a blog about this but then I deleted it shortly after because I thought it was crappy so I’m gonna try again lmao.
You may be aware of this issue on AFF, it’s silent yet deafening: silent readers. It’s not my first time seeing this issue being brought up on this website and after spending a good amount of years here, it’s honestly disappointing to see it continue to be a prevailing issue.
Here on AFF, we all come here to show our love for our favorites in a number of creative ways; designing, role-playing, and most commonly - writing. There are over a million stories here done by thousands of authors available in so many genres that could be thought of on this website for you to read from. Among all those stories, we have a plethora of creative plots and they still keep on coming to this day. To remind you, authors here are doing this for free. Creativity for your own enjoyment is not free outside of this website and just in the world of fandoms overall. I think people are forgetting that and that is often taken for granted.
The only form of payment that these authors would generally receive from their stories are karma points. And that is often earned through from readers subscribing, upvoting, or commenting.
I don’t heavily stress on having readers comment on my stories but I won’t deny that it feels damn good to receive one. Seeing that white globe turn orange with a “New story comments” notification gets my heart pumping. I’m curious and thrilled to see what my readers think of what I’ve written. I can’t help it. And no matter how short or long it is, I love it. I often reply to all of them back but sometimes I’m not articulate enough to come up with a good response so I would wind up upvoting that comment but I’m hoping to fix that very soon.
And with the recent attention of the issue, I can’t help but be reminded of my previous experiences on my old accounts here on this website. Previously as an author, I spend my waking and sometimes even sleeping hours coming up with good story ideas and bringing them to life through writing up to the point where my brain feels like it’s being fried relentlessly. It’s tiring and nearly draining. And when I publish the chapter, I hope that effort I put in is worth it. And when I notice that I receive very little to no comments, I often ponder my worth and skill as an author even though it was just a hobby. That has led me to lose motivation quickly and I would often delete my stories without notice. I can’t tell you how many times I had left this website and came back with new accounts, only to delete them again when the problem continued. It was incredibly disheartening.
I don’t want to generalize, blame, or guilt silent readers into commenting, I completely understand the reasons why they wouldn’t: not comfortable to speak, don’t want to embarrass themselves, be annoying/redundant to the author. But I assure you, any kind of comment no matter how bad you think it is will make your author’s day. I’ve been a silent reader before and it took a long time for me to begin commenting on the stories I would read and it felt good. And seeing the author reply back is enlightening, it’s like we hear and recognize each other. And for once, I didn’t feel so unheard and alone.
I don’t want to force anyone to get out of their comfort zone immediately, so please take your time. Do what you need to do to get to that point. But I will highlight the fact that readers are the literal backbone of this website. Having your voice be heard allows for authors to continue sharing their creativity and ideas for you to enjoy, you guys keep this website alive. If you’re one of the silent readers out there, please let yourselves be known. Like the authors here, your words are just as powerful as theirs.