On voting and other forms of useful feedback

I'm the Municipal Liaison in my NaNoWriMo region, which means that I must not only write 50,000 words during November (to set an example to my fellow writers) but I must also monitor our regional board, set up Write-ins and other events, answer emails, semi-curate our Social Media pages (Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr mostly) and nag the Post Office wondering where my 8-bit stickers are.

I enjoyed the competition that SuperMegaNodeFestQuest 2013. Shazam! provided and it left me wanting more competition. I couldn't enter the Halloween Quest for personal reasons and Iron Noder seemed like the perfect chance to get me in another competition. Except it gets in the middle of NaNo.

After careful deliberation, I decided that I wouldn't be a mere spectator of the show and volunteered to be a Panelist. I promised myself to read, vote and comment on every single IN node, which seemed easy in the beginning. Even if I could drop everything my job requires, giving honest critique to others isn't easy, but I never knew it before this.

My normal voting pattern is usually:

  • Upvote for interesting and well written writeups
  • Downvote for low effort writeups (shoutout to average64 and that other obnoxious kid that was on the catbox)
  • No vote for writeups about subjects that don't interest me or about which I have no solid position (due to ignorance)
  • Comment for extraordinary situations that require more communications (congratulations, suggestions for a writeup I have faith in, etc.)

During IN, however, I have to read even the WUs that I'm not interested in and those that deal with topics that I may know nothing about; and I have to give meaningful feedback on every one of them. This has led me to several internal problems, namely:

  • Poems. I like reading poems, I love savoring good poems. The thing is, I'm not a good poet myself and I feel rather inadequate to judge other's poems. You like me in all the wrong rooms is an awesome collection of poems and I don't feel prepared to rightfully judge any of them
  • Writeups about things I don't know about. I'm a bit ashamed to say that I didn't understand low-level format (how-to), although I could if I went through a thesaurus or related source.
  • Writeups about things that I don't really care about. Gone Away is one example: I'm neither a fan or a hater of The Offspring; I just haven't listened to their music (maybe except Staring at the sun). I have to get past the apathy about it and judge what is written and how it's written
  • Sad stuff, like November 7, 2013. I find it difficult to judge such things objectively. My empathic feelings say I should upvote it regardless of how well it's written. Is this a bad thing to do? I don't know

However, seeing that November ends next Friday and I've been consistently been under the 25% mark of voted/commented writeups of IN, I declare myself incompetent to give out comments for every single writeup posted for IN. I will, however, continue my duties as a Panelist and will read and vote on every writeup as I did before and will only comment on those writeups that merit so because of excellent writing or in desperate need of help.

I'm sorry, Iron Noders.