This is a lengthy discussion we've had in the chatroom today, following things I've heard here and there from others, both on the "giving" and "receiving" side. We think that it's beneficial to the community as a whole that we sum it up here for everyone to see, as several people have stated that it was eye-opening!
I've observed many people saying that they hold off on commenting on shrine plugs (and discussion topics in general) out of desire to leave "lengthy, meaningful feedback" after having read shrines in their entirety. And that's an understandable mindset, especially since the forum format leads you to believe that only "lengthy, substantial posts" are desired (psst, that's not true), or if you compare the length and substance of your own feedback to that of previous posters. But I'd like that mindset to change, and I want to convince you that it'd benefit everyone here if people opened up to leaving "placeholder/early feedback" and "short feedback" over none at all.
Here's some food for thought:
- We all need to understand that a comment, however short, is our way of acknowledging things, especially new creations, on the forums! On Twitter and social media, it's easier to see whether something has been acknowledged by the amount of "likes", "kudos", "+1", and you're also more likely to get comments like "congrats!", "good job!", "I'll check it out later!", as such short reactions come naturally on those platforms. A forum, however, is not the same as Twitter, and in any case, in a community as small as this one, I think leaving personal words - even if just a sentence - means a lot. Yes, topics have "hit counts", but those don't say all that much, or may even make it worse, as the absence of comments is interpreted as being ignored. (And you can guess how awful that feels when you're excited about having finished a shrine and getting to share it with everyone, and wanting it to be acknowledged.)
- Many of us are busy. And because we're busy, we don't get to read shrines right away, much less in their entirety; when we do have a moment, we're also more likely to gravitate towards shrines of subjects we're familiar with and like, or by people we're close to, especially when it comes to taking the time to leave feedback afterwards. All of this is understandable!
But we all know that we also want to support others, and avoid the perception of being cliquey. Rather than not commenting on plugs at all because you haven't had time for the shrine yet, I think it'd help a lot to just leave early or short feedback: For example, you can comment on their layout or on the subject they're shrining ("I've heard about this and want to give it a try!"), or even check out their intro pages! Even the same kind of comment that's made on platforms like Twitter wouldn't be out of place ("congrats! I'll read later!"). I think it'd go a long way with boosting motivation across the community, and would particularly benefit new shrine makers and those new to the community in general.
- Banish the thought that constructive and meaningful feedback can only be given once you've read a shrine in its entirety. It is perfectly possible to leave helpful feedback on the parts you've experienced (this includes the layout and any other presentation element). There are people who avoid shrines because they don't want to run into spoilers, for example, but that doesn't mean they can't check out intro sections and leave feedback on that. In fact, some of our members are already doing that: They comment on whether or not an introduction was easy to follow, or say that the way the subject was introduced has them excited to experience the thing themselves.
- Banish the thought that only lengthy feedback is substantial feedback, and that only substantial feedback is meaningful feedback. We're a casual community and we want everyone to support each other, and for the forums to be active. You don't have to write a masterpiece before hitting "submit"; you shouldn't feel like you have to edit your post several times in order to live up to something.
Don't be hard on yourself just because you think you "don't have much to say" with regard to shrine plugs, or that your comments "get repetitive": That's your own perception, especially because you're the one writing all those comments! Other members most likely don't compare your comments against another, and instead take any comment you leave as individual expressions of support and acknowledgement! I personally think that any comment is meaningful (except malicious ones, but we don't have those here :D) just by virtue of it signifying that someone has visited a shrine, enjoyed it, and took the time to make someone feel acknowledged and appreciated.
I'd like all of us to approach commenting on shrine plugs from the perspective of a shrine creator, rather than just a visitor: If you'd appreciate short comments and early feedback, if you don't mind people not reading your whole shrine before leaving you some kind words, why would it be drastically different for others? Please don't be so hard on the length and content of your own feedback.
I'm sure that in the end, we'd all prefer short feedback over no feedback at all, or feedback that may or may not be given until months later. There are more people out there who'd appreciate attention and encouragement of any kind than you might think!