Response to Email Complaint

(and information on how asstr.org works)


A recently received anonymous email:

You must be tragically insecure or a raging narcissist to keep posting the same meager number of stories nearly every day. My complaint of you is not that you are a lousy writer (and you are) but that you need the attention so badly that you bump other authors off the ASSTR recent story posting list so that you can see your own same postings day after day. Reviewing the past week's posting is awkward so I rely on the recent postings list once or twice daily to find new stories, not the same old lousy shit. Wake up and be a gentleman.

I've taken the time to respond to similar email complaints over the years. Obviously, it's too much work (or too 'awkward') for those who complain to actually read what's already been written on the subject. But then, I wouldn't expect any less from them.

"You must be tragically insecure or a raging narcissist..."-- actually neither. I just have a basic understanding of how asstr.org, and the real world, works. At least for most of us on the right side of the IQ bell curve. My first thought upon reading this was "Project much?" (See the very first Defense Mechanism listed on my info page.)

"...to keep posting the same meager number of stories..." -- At last count it seems that I've posted thirty-one (31) FREE stories on my site - hundreds of thousands of words- not including those that I've posted for a couple of fellow authors who sent me their stuff. FREE How many would I have to post to get out of the "meager" category? 32? 50? 100? For some reason, I doubt that any number would satisfy this complainer. And remember, FREE!

"My complaint of you is not that you are a lousy writer (and you are)..." -- I noticed that there was no link to the anonymous complainer's story site or multitude of stories so that we could judge the quality, not just quantity, of his writing. Why do I tend to think that there are no stories written by this person? Ever. FREE or otherwise.

"...that you bump other authors off the ASSTR recent story posting list..." -- Uh, last time I looked, the recent postings page was pretty much endless, as html pages can be, and that additionally there are links to the last seven days of posted files. Anyone with the intelligence to left dlick a mouse can page through a full seven days of postings. So it seems that nobody would be "bump[ed] off of the recent story posting list". It looks all inclusive to me. But damn, let me congratulate you on your deep and abiding concern for the other authors of FREE stories - for you.

"Reviewing the past week's posting is awkward so I rely on the recent postings list once or twice daily to find new stories, not the same old lousy shit." -- Since the new postings list covers the past seven days, "once or twice" daily should easily turn things up. I'm still not seeing the problem. I guess it must be the sheer mental efforts required for someone who considers it "awkward" to review a past week's postings. Just how difficult is it to scroll through an html page listing and ignore those you've already visited? My browser (as does most people's) marks the links I've visited differently than those I've not. Plus, how the fuck do you think others find stories to read for the first time? And why would you care since I'm such a lousy writer of old, lousy shit.

"Wake up and be a gentleman." -- Actually, I had really thought I was. I always hold myself up on my elbows after... uh, nevermind, that's something else. From the time I first started posting my stories on asstr, and before that on other story sites, I've really gotten nothing but quite complimentary input from readers. Those literate enough to actually read my stories, that is. Uploading my site files provides a way for new readers to find my stories. Of course, since I'm a lousy writer in the complainer's opinion, maybe nobody should be allowed to find my stories. Yeah, that's the ticket!

Regarding being a gentleman, I wonder exactly how most people have found my stories on asstr.org. Unless they know my author's nym, or a specific story title, or some other specific piece of information about the stories, how would someone find them on asstr? Or anywhere? How would they search for them? I suspect that the vast majority find them via the 'recent story posting' page. Otherwise, they would not have any way of knowing the exact URL to go to or the name or title to search for. So it seems that the numbers of people who read and potentially enjoy my stories will only happen upon them via that asstr main page listing.

Suppose I had a donut store and I put out a sign that said, "Free Donut on Thursday (one per customer)". Unless it was promoted elsewhere, only those who saw the sign, or were told about it, would know about the free donut on Thursday. So our email complainer walks by and sees the sign and gets his free donut. Now that he has had his one free donut, he can get no more until the next Thursday. So he complains that he walks past the sign "once or twice daily" and it's awkward for him to keep track of what day it is and that he can't get a new, free donut every time he sees the sign. So he wants me to take down the sign so he doesn't have to see it when he walks by and can't have his free donut. Because it's awkward.

Now other people walk or drive by and see the sign and stop in for their free donut. It seems that it's good advertising, so I continue to keep the sign up. But our complainer is upset. He doesn't consider that many other people find out about my donuts only by seeing the free donut sign, and come in to try out my donuts. Mr. Complainer doesn't care about anyone else finding out about or getting my free donuts. He's only outraged that he has to see that 'free donut' sign and can't have one every time he sees it. Ya know, it's awkward.

Nevermind that he complains that my donuts aren't that good. He sees the sign and seems to want a free donut that isn't even very good. He doesn't even like my donuts, apparently. Nevermind that others seem to and find out about them by seeing that sign. And some even think they're good.

I point out to our complainer that he can pay (gasp!) for a whole bunch of new and different donuts. Naturally, he's not at all interested in paying for anything, he wants them for FREE. Even though they aren't any good and he doesn't like them apparently. But he doesn't want anyone else to know about them either. Because they aren't even that good. And, ya know, trying to ignore that damn sign is, well, awkward for him.

The ASSTR.ORG 'recently posted stories' listing is often the only way for large numbers of people, or new readers, to find out about the stories of authors like myself. The statistics illustrate it very succinctly. The page doesn't autolist the main index.hmtl page of the authors' sites. To illustrate, here are the statistics for last week:
/www/home.html: 2542
/www/index.html: 6

As you can clearly see, the 'home' page, which is auto listed on the 'Most Recent' page has more 'hits' or page accesses than the 'index.html' page, which is not autolisted. Since there are no (or few) links to my main 'index.html' page on my asstr site, those hits to the index page probably came from our membership site, which does have several links to it. Purposely. We try to promote asstr.org to new readers who haven't heard of it or know about it.

So you see, pulling my 'free donut' sign - which is the equivalent of never uploading files to my site - would prevent some pretty good numbers of new readers from finding about my stories- maybe over 10,000 a month. After all, it's about the only way to find access to them. If providing a way for new readers to find out about my stories and read them, like them or not, makes me "tragically insecure or a raging narcissist", then that's what is needed. For me, it isn't a matter of being insecure or a narcissist, it is just how asstr.org works and how people will find my stories. The feedback over the last 6 years of posting my stories on asstr.org has resulted in quite a few rather nice, complimentary emails from people who enjoyed reading them, once they've found them. If that makes me insecure or a narcissist, I'm OK with that.

It is odd that the only very few negative emails that I've ever received via asstr have been this very same complaint. Similarly worded and each anonymous, so I couldn't respond. Most readers who send me feedback include their email and I always promptly respond to any I receive. In fact, the major theme that runs through all of the emails is that they wanted more stories. Not everyone likes the same themes necessarily; à chacun son goût. But they liked what they'd read and wanted me to write - and post - more.

So my decision, insecure narcissist that I am, comes down to providing a method for literally tens of thousands of new readers finding my stories on asstr, or catering to the wishes of the guy with the degree in 'Social Justice Theories of Karl Marx' with a minor in "Womyn's Studies and Gender Diversity", sitting in his mom's basement under his Che Guevara poster, taking a break from a marathon stint playing "World of Warcraft XVI:Mage Triumph" or "Call of Duty:Alien Invasion XXIII" (which were downloaded from a bittorrent site bacause mom wouldn't give him the money to buy a legit copy of them if he didn't get a job) because it's "awkward" reviewing all those pages of porn story listings. After all, he has to whack it off and get back to his virtual reality game, which is about as close to any kind of "reality" he'll ever get.

Decisions, decisions! Send me feedback to let me know how you found your way to my stories and how you feel about this complaint. And when was the last time you complained about FREE porn? I'll post responses (anonymously, of course) here.

Cheers,
Ole