The 24 Hour Rule

When I became a freelance RPG writer in the early 90s, the internet was young. When you had something published, it might be weeks or even months until reviews started to appear. Of course, as a creative person, I was always interested to see how the work was being received. I wished the reviews happened faster, so I could get that feedback.

You know what they say: be careful what you wish for.

Now, feedback happens with frightening speed. And most of it is not thoughtful reviews based on careful consideration. It’s off the cuff impressions, honestly emotional but often not factual. I have, on more than one occasion, released a new gaming PDF and started to see bitching about it 10 minutes later. I can’t tell you what a drag this is.

When you are working on a creative project of any sort for months, there is a feeling of triumph and satisfaction when it goes live. At last the thing you’ve been toiling on will get in front of an audience. Hooray! And you’d like to, at least briefly, feel good about the accomplishment of finishing a creative work and getting it out there. So when (often well-meaning) fans immediately pounce and start cataloging your perceived failures, it totally deflates you. It can make you feel like shit. Make you feel like you should be doing something else. That there is little appreciation for the work you put into that brand new thing.

I would thus like to propose the 24 Hour Rule. It is simply this: save your criticisms of a new creative work for at least 24 hours. More, ideally, but I know that’s asking a lot of the current internet. Give the people behind the things you like a brief period to bask in that feeling of accomplishment. Criticism will surely come (it’s the internet) but at least there will be one day they can savor the completion and release of their work. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

9 thoughts on “The 24 Hour Rule

  1. Not feasible. You could wait 24 hours before you check on the days feedback, and you could hire someone to manage all of the content feedback. Makes me think about the designer from The Guild. Haters gonna hate, players gonna play,

    Shake it off, Boss.

  2. This idea sucks! Sorry, I’ve never had an Internet Irony Point…

    Honestly though, asking the land of “My opinion is important, listen to it NOW!” to show restraint and wait seems kind of like asking the sun not to rise… So – counter-suggestion (and something I’ll think about if I ever start being 1/10th as productive as you): Take a day off from the internet. Celebrate the release of a new work by stepping back and taking a day away from email, the webs, and the new product. Maybe physical projects if GR can’t spare you, or take the family to a museum, a park, something. Game with friends, but leave talk of the new product for another day.

  3. First, belay that irony point for a moment till you hear what I have to say.

    I feel you’ve got something good here. Occasionally I’m interested in someone’s first impressions of something, but you’re right that usually it’s just surface thoughts, and possibly stems from a misunderstanding of the work.

    At the same time, as soon as I get my grubby little mitts on something new, those first 24 hours are when I’m most passionate about absorbing it, and piecing it together in my head. I feel, like maybe, I’m better than most people at examining any misgivings that I come across, rather than gesturing wildly with them on the internet immediately.

    So after I’m done smelling that new-book smell, heady with ink and fresh paper, and I’ve decided where I’ll be keeping it safe from my Cats/Dogs/Toddler/Misadventure and I dig in, I’ll do my best to let anything I put out there simmer for a while.

    On the other end of the spectrum, I suggest a 24-hour vacation rule. Like if you’ve missed the latest episode of your favorite show, and want to stay away from spoilers. After all, you’ve earned it. Steer clear of the world, and relax for a bit. Bask in your accomplishment, for surely, that’s exactly what it is. Internet off, phone entrusted to someone who can handle emergencies, and any other email handling device banished.

    We’ll call it a team effort.

    Now give me that irony point, and I’ll avaunt.

  4. I’ve mulled this over for a day, Chris, and I think it sounds solid.

    Seriously, though, it’s disappointing that people so often forget their manners when commenting on something online. What does it hurt to lead with “I liked X and Y, but here’s something I think could be improved.”

  5. Love the idea. Brilliant concept. Chance of actual rule application working none. The current generation of teenage empowered rage monkeys are never going to control themselves. What I suggest you do is not read those reviews. Wait for the peer reviews like you used to. Mostly those will influence sales hopefully.
    Been a Pramas fanboy for a long time. People gonna hate. You have to learn not to look for a couple days. What I suggest is the Ban Pramas from the Internet for 48 hours rule after release.

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