Discussion: Is Critiquing Cliches/Tropes in Stories Against the Forum Guidelines?

Alright, so I decided to make a thread about this because I’ve seen a lot of comments that it is. I would have asked a mod about this but idk I feel like having a thread that may get answered by a mod would answer the question for everyone. I would have commented on this on the other thread but I didn’t want to derail it.

This is inspired by the discussion on this thread: DISCUSSION: What are your thoughts on cliches in Episode stories?
But again, I’ve seen a lot of people have the same opinions that talking negatively about things in stories is rude/against the guidelines. And this is not to call anyone out lol. I just want to have a genuine discussion about this, hear some opinions and hopefully get a clear answer.

If there’s a specific rule in the guidelines, please let me know!

But here’s why I think it isn’t/shouldn’t be against the rules:

So critiquing any form of media is already really present online/in real life. And usually, online it’s critiquing something specific like a specific harmful story. But I haven’t seen that on Episode. All I’ve seen is people talking about general tropes/cliches that authors sometimes use to point out what they think is harmful and why authors shouldn’t use those tropes. Or simply because they don’t like them.

I think this is great and can be incredibly helpful in finding what readers do and don’t like in stories and also how to make our stories better. And it’s all opinions anyway, so if you really want to write about cliches or bad boys or love at first sight then you’re more than allowed to do so. You’re also more than allowed to like and enjoy those stories. But I like poking fun at those stories because I really enjoy critique.

As for the opinion that if we are doing this then we’re poking fun at the authors themselves, I think there’s a difference between making fun of/harassing a person and critiquing/making fun of their content. Yes, sometimes people name call and I don’t agree with that and that may be against the guidelines. But the thing is that these tropes are used a lot and a lot of the people aren’t calling out specific authors but just the content in general. I mean, this stuff is not only on Episode either. It’s in books, movies, other media as well. So I do think that we should be able to say our opinions regarding these things. Even if they come across as more negative, I hold the opinion that as long as you aren’t name calling a specific author and making fun of their person, then none of us are really “attacking” any author. It’s the media, the cliches, the tropes.

I think that everyone deserves the right to hold an opinion about these stories and if we feel so to say these opinions/address concerns. Unless of course they’re being overly hateful towards a specific user or author. That’s definitely not okay and probably against the rules.

I really like this definition of criticism:
Criticism is when you are given clear ways to improve; hate is when someone trashes your work without giving any hints on how to get better.

So saying “the dialogue is a little flat” is criticism because it makes it very clear that the dialogue is the thing that needs to be improved. Saying “this story is terrible” is hate because there is no indication on what can be done better next time.

I like to use this method when I’m reviewing stories myself. But even if we’re just talking about people critiquing tropes/cliches, usually they say why they dislike the cliche and how to make it better. It’s not always super clear but it definitely is hinted towards. I think people just explaining why they don’t like something in a story is both criticism and their opinion. This is what I see on the forums mostly.

Anyway, what do you guys think?
Is it against the guidelines?

If it isn’t, then should it be against the guidelines?

I’m gonna tag
@Sydney_H for this since this relates to the forum rules

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Hi there @Stargazer54, thanks for asking! As stated in Our Forum Moderation Standards and Guidelines

Story critique is acceptable so long as it doesn’t involve attacking the author or using the story as an excuse to attack the author. :slight_smile:

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Thank you! I’ll keep this in mind the next time I’m on one of those threads!

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It’s a free countr- uh, let me rephrase that. It’s a free platform. So if you think any cliches/tropes is just not entertaining to read it’s fine to voice it out. As mentioned above, it’s important that you don’t (intentionally or unintentionally) call out any author that can be mistaken as a hate message.

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Yeah definitely! I make it a point to try to never shout out anybody by name or even say the story name if I’m giving a critique that is a bit more negative.

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It’s not necessary this case. It’s okay to critique someone’s story while stating the story/author if they asked for story reviews/feedbacks.
Or, maybe you have a discussion thread that discusses random episode stories and you discuss what’s good and what’s bad about that story.
In both cases, not only it helps the respective authors see what can they do to improve but the community as a whole as well.
It all comes down to context. It’s different to badmouth someone than giving insight.

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Oh yeah definitely. I totally agree on the review part because I do reviews myself when people ask for them. But I personally wouldn’t make a thread about someone’s story without their permission first.

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Heads up, you’ll meet some snobs who doesn’t know to read and wants to start an argument with you. Just leave their comments flop I’d say :joy:

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