Halfway through, and finally here | Less Bittersweet webcomic blog

Originally appeared in the blog for my fan webcomic Less Bittersweet.

I got the idea for this comic some time after first playing Doki Doki Literature Club! in the summer of 2021. Later that same year, I drew the first comic sketch for a part of it because that part just wanted to come out so badly.

That scene was what we are about to see next: the beginning of chapter 4. That’s how forward I’ve been looking to it. And like I said in the comments for the last strip of chapter 3, now I’m finally there.

It’s been most of a year now, and we’re only just past halfway in the story. Well, it would be foolishly impatient for me to wish this to go faster, since I’m enjoying doing it all the way through.

Unfortunately, we’re all going to have to wait for some time for the beginning of chapter 4. (Spoilers: It will be called “Day 4”.) First off, I’ll be pretty tied for most of two weeks with work in the Finnish Parliamentary elections and their advance voting – though I’ll try to get a little bit of work done on the comic even during that time.

Secondly, there is just so much work that needs to be done before I can even start drawing the chapter normally. There are a bunch of things I have to have ready, that I can’t make in a hurry, because we’re going to be seeing all kinds of things this time that we haven’t seen before in the comic. Besides, I’m only now getting ready filling out the blanks in the script, not to mention the thumbnails for the comic – and this is going to be the longest chapter so far, and perhaps overall unless the finale beats it in that respect.

So… this could take several weeks. I’ll try to keep the break as short as possible. Either way, though, it’s going to be totally worth the wait.

A list of writing samples by Ville V. Kokko

This is for use in a submission form that asks for writing samples in the plural, but the field will accept only a single url.






How to save fictional characters | Less Bittersweet webcomic blog

Originally posted on the blog for my fan webcomic Less Bittersweet.

This is taken from a post on Reddit that I made when planning this comic.

I don’t need to tell you that DDLC creates sympathetic characters just to give them terrible, tragic fates. It doesn’t take a lot of looking around to notice that I’m not the only one feeling this way.

And I may know that they’re not real, but I still care so much that I wish I could do something for them. Reaching the good ending was an obvious thing to do, but that still leaves Monika. And besides, what does happen to the others? It’s open to multiple interpretations, especially without the Plus lore, which I don’t like anyway, and which isn’t obviously “true” because it contradicts so much else.

So, if the characters are all fictional, and you want to help them, what’s there to do? We don’t have the power to change canon, so to speak (and it’s too good a story to be changed, anyway). Still, we can create alternative or supplementary stories. Mods seem like an appropriate place to do this, since they’re in the same medium, even the same software. I didn’t feel like doing that myself, though.

Whatever the medium, the way I personally see it is that the most “real” way of saving fictional people would be to add fan content on top of canon without contradicting it (at least under some possible interpretation), write the characters and the world as well as possible, take the problems to be solved seriously (because it will hardly help to just write, “Actually, Monika lived happily ever after, the end”), and offer a solution that makes sense, to the extent that can be done while taking the problems seriously.

I was not going to do anything like that – sometimes, it’s better for a story to have a tragic ending – but the idea just kept growing in my head until I realised I had better make use of such a huge amount of inspiration. The way my mind works, it happened to form in my head in the form of a webcomic, so I decided to really make one.

Chapter 3 begins | Less Bittersweet webcomic blog

Originally posted on the blog for my fan webcomic Less Bittersweet.

Finally, the next chapter is starting. As usually, all the waiting didn’t mean I’d be properly prepared. In my time zone, this is already the evening of the day when I wanted to post the strip. And the next one is also relatively long, and I haven’t started it yet. Still, I’ll try to keep up the pace of every Monday and Thursday. That way, I can be done just before I’ll be working in the Finnish parliamentary elections. And then I can start working on chapter 4… I’m already excited about that. But it will also take more preparation than chapter 2 or 3 did. I’ll need new backgrounds and such.

Not to reveal anything, but the beginning of chapter 4 was the first thing for Less Bittersweet I sketched out as a comic back in 2021. That’s how forward I’m looking to it.

I’m going to keep posting the old comics on Reddit at the rate of one per day, and then continue that with chapter 3 until I run out and have to drop the rate to only posting them when I have new ones. That should happen in… hmm…
d = 15+2/7d
2/7d = d-15
-5/7d = -15
5/7d = 15
5d = 7*15 = 105
d = 105/5 = 21
Well, I checked it from just counting on the calendar because I’m not sure about the logic behind that equation, and it does seem to be correct that 21 days from now is when the comics posted on Reddit catch up to the comics posted on the site at the rate of two per week.

In this break between chapters, I’ve been correcting old comics (I’m not done with it, but maybe I’ll be able to continue doing it as I post them), tweaked the site layout just a bit (though I didn’t figure out how the code behind it works), prepared the thumbnails for this chapter because I was running out of my initial supply, played through DDLC again (both normal and special ending in a row), played many of the side stories though I didn’t get around to doing all of them, and hastily came up with this new upgrade to the art. So now, you’ll have to bear with me trying to learn about shading in a rush – unless I find it takes too much time at some point, but I’ll try.

I wanted to do this in colour from the start, but gave that up as impossible. I’m creeping back that way with each chapter, though goodness knows what I’ll do for chapter 3 then. Maybe I’ll use those weird colour schemes real artists apparently use where you choose a suitable set of colours to do everything with instead of colouring each thing its own real colour. If I can pick just a couple of colours, that might help me actually do it. Who knows.

Chapter 3, as I see it, is more on the comedic and even heartwarming side, at least until it returns to the main plot in the final sections. It should be fun.

New nonfiction publication and upcoming collection | Goodreads author blog

Originally published on my Goodreads author blog here.

At the end of the last year, I got a piece published on The Ratty:“Dr. Manhattan, Time, Causality, and Freedom”.

Now I heard that After Dinner Conversation doesn’t publish entire season anthologies anymore, instead doing a “best of” for the year… but my “The Only Punishment” is still going to be in the next one. Wasn’t that already in one of them…? Well, anyways, it’s nice.

This year, I’m trying to get more ambitious about getting ahead and getting a career, and writing might play a part in that but I’m not sure, so… maybe I’ll post some reflections or updates on that here at some point.

You know what, I’m just going to post all the comics on Reddit | Less Bittersweet webcomic blog

Originally published on the blog for my fan webcomic Less Bittersweet.

It seems like that will catch a lot more people’s attention, and I love to share this with as many people as I can. I’ll be posting roughly one strip per day, reserving the right to arbitrarily not post on any given day.

New year and new chapter | Less Bittersweet webcomic blog

Originally published on the blog for my fan webcomic Less Bittersweet.

Chapter 2 of Less Bittersweet ended together with the year 2022. I can honestly say making this comic was probably the best thing for my last year. And people reading it and commenting. So thank you.

After a much-needed Christmas break, it’s time for me to start preparing for the next chapter. Chapter 3 should be fun, though I’m already looking forward to chapter 4, which is… different. But anyhow, I’m hoping to get the next chapter started during January. I want to take some time to really prepare. I’d like to make a bit of an art development like I did between chapters 1 and 2, but I’m not sure what that would be, and I’m pretty happy with the current state of “colouring”, not least because it’s so doable, so I might just continue the same way. In any case, I should also finally look into changing the appearance of the comic page. So far, it’s just a premade theme with a crude modification on the fonts (since I don’t really understand the code that’s used for it), and there are problems like some of the text being too small on mobile.

I’m also going to run out of thumbnails before the end of chapter 3. I made a bunch of them during Camp NaNoWriMo last year and have been using those ever since. I should probably make more at least to the end of the chapter before starting up the comic again.

Another potentially big thing is that I’m considering posting all the strips in chapter 3 on Reddit as well. It might be a good way to get attention. Still, I don’t plan to continue doing that in chapter 4. Too many spoilers for people who haven’t read from the start.

I’ll also need to replay DDLC to make sure the characters are right in my head.

As a matter of fact, I plan to focus on my career (as in actually getting one to speak of) this year, less so on hobbies and everything else. However, there’s no way I’m stopping Less Bittersweet, even though it takes a lot of my time. It’s too important to me, and it’s kind of now or never.

I wish everyone a good 2023, and if you were entertained by Less Bittersweet in 2022, I promise you’ll continue to be so this year.

Demokratia vastaan autoritarismi: Ukrainan sota tapaustutkimuksena | Indeksi

Alunperin julkaistu Indeksi-lehdessä 4/2022.

Liberaali demokratia on tullut tiensä päähän, väitti Venäjän presidentti Vladimir Putin kesäkuussa 2019.1 Hänen oma hallintonsa sitä ei ainakaan ole edustanut, eikä ei ole ollut ainoa. Johtajat Unkarin Viktor Orbánista Yhdysvaltain silloiseen presidenttiin Donald Trumpiin ovat esittäneet samankaltaisia ajatuksia ja seuranneet samankaltaisia toimintatapoja. Putin puhui muun muassa nationalistisesta vastareaktiosta monikulttuurisuutta vastaan, ja sellainen on todella ollut nähtävissä. Itsevaltaiset valtiot Valko-Venäjästä Kiinaan ja Venezuelasta Kuubaan tukevat toisiaan, mikä tekee niistä vähemmän riippuvaisia demokraattisten valtioiden hyväksynnästä.2 Lisäksi myös Yhdysvaltain republikaaneissa on niitä, jotka pitävät Orbánia jonkinlaisena esikuvana, ja toisaalta he käyttävät yhä kasvavassa määrin samankaltaisia taktiikoita kompensoidakseen sitä, että he eivät saa tarpeeksi varsinaista kannatusta kansalta.3

Vaikka Putinin ja muiden puhe nimenomaan liberaalista demokratiasta on myös merkityksellistä, heidän edustamansa vaihtoehto ei kuitenkaan ole vain toisenlaista demokratiaa, vaan pikemminkin autoritarismia. Orbán on esimerkiksi sanonut kannattavansa ”kristillistä demokratiaa”, jota hän kutsuu myös epäliberaaliksi, koska se kieltää jotkin liberaalit arvot – monikulttuurisuuden, maahanmuuton, ja perinteiselle vaihtoehtoiset perhemallit. Kyse ei kuitenkaan ole siitä, että vastareaktio liberalismia vastaan olisi demokraattisesti johtanut Orbánin Fidesz-puolueen toteuttamaan näitä arvoja. Sen sijaan Fidesz käyttää pitkää listaa likaisia temppuja estääkseen todellisen demokraattisen prosessin: vaikka Unkarissa pidetään yhä äänestyksiä, Fidesz on piirtänyt vaalipiirit uudestaan omaksi edukseen, myöntänyt äänestysoikeuden maan ulkopuolella oleville etnisille unkarilaisille (jotka äänestävät lähes pelkästään Fidesziä), hallitsee 90% mediasta, hajottaa oppositiota luomalla valepuolueita…4

Jos Putinin, Orbánin ja muiden mukaan demokratia on mennyt konkurssiin ja lakannut toimimasta, yksi tapaustutkimus siitä, kuinka paljon paremmin autoritarismi toimii, voisi olla Venäjän hyökkäyssota Ukrainassa.

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Dr. Manhattan, Time, Causality, and Freedom | The Ratty

Many superheroes allow readers to investigate questions of morality, but some introduce deeper philosophical questions. Dr. Manhattan is one of the characters in the classic superhero deconstruction graphic novel Watchmen written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. Thanks to the nature of his superpowers, he’s able to see the past and the future much as he sees the present, and because of this, he sees free will as an illusion. This, obviously, makes him an interesting example of philosophical questions of time, causality and freedom raised by his portrayal in the comic.

See the rest of the article on The Ratty.

Kirja-arvostelu: Esseitä eläimistä | Indeksi

Alunperin julkaistu Indeksi-lehdessä 4/2022.

Elisa Aaltolan kirja Esseitä eläimistä pohtii ihmisten suhdetta muihin eläimiin pitkälti kirjoittajan omien kokemusten kautta, mutta myös faktojen ja filosofisten teorioiden. Se voisi olla todella arvokasta luettavaa kaikille meistä, tosin pelkään, että eräs kommentoija Goodreads-sivustolla oli oikeassa sanoessaan, että tällaisia kirjoja eivät koskaan lue ne, joiden kaikkein eniten pitäisi.

Omista kokemuksistaan – joiden ympärille kirjan narratiivi rakentuu – Aaltola kertoo alkaen lapsuudestaan maatilalla aina viimeaikaiseen eläinoikeusaktivismiinsa asti. Hyvien esimerkkien lisäksi tämä antaa mahdollisuuden nähdä asioita hänen perspektiivistään, ja sitä kautta epäsuorasti ei-ihmis-eläinten perspektiivistä, koska Aaltola on kirjoittamansa (sekä tekojensa) perusteella aina ollut herkempi näkemään sen kuin monet muut ihmiset. Toistuvaksi teemaksi nouseekin se, miten ihmisillä on jatkuvasti tapana kiistää ja työntää syrjään ajatukset muiden eläinten moraalisesta arvosta, ja siitä, miten niitä tulisi kohdella. Kirjoittajan lapsuudessa maaseudulla sellaiset kysymykset tukahdutettiin, ja nytkin tietty vähemmistö ihmisistä suorastaan suuttuu eläinten oikeuksien puolustamisesta.

Aaltola päätyykin käyttämään paljon tilaa vastustajiensa ”psykoanalysointiin”, teesinään erityisesti se, että muunlajisia eläimiä törkeästi hyväksikäyttävä yhteiskunta vaatii sitä, että niiden moraalista arvoa ei saa ottaa vakavasti – niin että eläinten oikeuksien puolustaminen voi näyttäytyä jopa uhkaavana. Voitaisiin kysyä, onko tämä lähestymistapa oikea – miksi sen sijaan, että perustelisi omaa näkemystä, keskittyy selittämään, miten kieroutuneesti sitä vastustavien on ajateltava?

Lähestymistapa on kuitenkin hyvinkin oikea ottaen huomioon tilanteen yksityiskohdat. On yksinkertaista perustella, miksi muillakin eläimillä pitäisi olla oikeuksia. Jos jokin olento voi kokea kärsimystä ja nautintoa ja sillä voi olla intressejä, tarvitaan pikemminkin ajattelun akrobatiaa siihen, että perustellaan, että sillä ei ole oikeuksia samalla perusteella kuin ihmisillä. Aaltola esittää aivan riittävät argumentit tämän puolesta, ja myös pitkän listan empiirisiä tosiasioita siitä, miten ihmisten vuorovaikutuksessa muiden eläinten kanssa ihmiset usein eivät kunnioita näitä oikeuksia edes kaikkein yksinkertaisimmalla tasolla. Sen jälkeen keskusteltavaksi jääkin vain se, miksi ihmiset niin usein eivät kunnioita muiden eläinten moraalista arvoa, vaan sen sijaan tekevät siitä monimutkaisen, kiistellyn, jopa vihatun, ja ennen kaikkea huomiotta jätetyn asian. Tämä ilmiö itsessään on tarkasteltavaksi olennainen asia ihmisten suhteessa muihin eläimiin, paljon enemmän kuin se, mikä olisi oikeasti eettistä suhtautumista.

On tosin niin, että tämänhetkinen suhtautumisemme muihin eläimiin on niin kaukana moraalisesta, että joissain suhteissa meidän tulee olemaan haastavaa edes keksiä, millainen uusi suhde olisi sen sijaan. Tässä suhteessa muistutamme muita eläinlajeja, jotka eivät ole kykeneväisiä moraaliseen ajatteluun; sudet eivät mieti saalistamiensa hirvien oikeuksia. Me kuitenkin olemme moraalisia toimijoita, ja siksi meidän tuleekin toimia toisin. Sitä paitsi jotkin muutokset, kuten kiduttavan tehotuotannon lopettaminen, ovat selviä jo nykyisestä perspektiivistämme.

Suhteemme muihin eläinlajeihin on joillakin tavoilla uskomattoman kieroutunut ja aiheuttaa valtavia määriä kärsimystä. Aaltola auttaa näkemään sen, ja myös sen, millainen se voisi olla sen sijaan. Tämä kirja esittää erittäin tärkeän ajatuksen erittäin kauniisti ja voimallisesti.

Elisa Aaltola: Esseitä eläimistä. Into-kustannus, 2022.

Cast | less Bittersweet webcomic blog

Originally posted on the blog for my webcomic Less Bittersweet.

I’ve seen webcomics have cast pages before, explaining who the characters are. Of course, with Less Bittersweet, people reading it presumably know all about the characters already, and if they don’t, they’ll be spoiled by an explanation. Still, I wanted to write this for fun… and it may give even fans of the original game some information about the characters’ situation in this comic. Of course, you might want to avoid those slight spoilers by reading the first chapter from the beginning first, since this reflects the situation after the first chapter.

And… if you really want to read this comic without playing the game first, this is your chance to get spoiled enough to roughly be able to follow what’s going on in the comic.

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At the end of the first chapter | Less Bittersweet webcomic blog

Originally posted on the blog for my webcomic Less Bittersweet.

Comic 22 concluded “Day 1”, the first chapter. There will be seven in total, and the second one will be called “Day 2”. You probably can’t guess what all the rest will be called. No, seriously, you probably can’t.

I’m going to take two weeks off from updating the comic – until October 10. Edit: October 17 because I was sick and lost a week. I want to add something to my art style in the meantime, maybe some efficient way of adding shades of gray instead of it being totally black and white most of the time. Maybe I’ll even draw ahead, make a buffer so as not to have to miss updates, or at least not so soon.

I can see from the statistics provided by ComicFury (which is who hosts this for free) that people keep visiting the site, and I’ve had a bunch of positive comments too. Which is awesome. Thank you so much. Creating this comic so far has been just a perfect storm of satisfaction, from getting to do something I love to developing my skills to seeing what I envisioned realised – to the part I’m usually missing, that I know somebody else is actually sharing and enjoying what I’m producing.

Storywise, we’re moving ahead slowly, but next is going to be something a bit different again… I hope the slow rate is only a good thing the way it might be, letting the effect of the story simmer in people’s minds and giving it more impact. Establishing a kind of status quo, too, so if that gets changed, it really feels like something.

So, I do intend to be working on the comic during these two weeks too, and posting something about it on the blog and Reddit too. Meanwhile, here’s the really vague sketch thumbs for the first few panels of the next chapter. I wonder whether anyone else can even make any sense of them…

The Padawan Paradox

I’ve been thinking about this thing I decided to call the Padawan Paradox. It’s not that I can’t explain it at all, but it shows I don’t fully understand everything that’s involved.

So here’s the example that got me thinking about it: Obi-Wan Kenobi is promoted from padawan to Jedi knight, and at the same time, Anakin Skywalker is made his padawan in turn. They go around adventuring and learning together for years, until Anakin is a Jedi knight, and Obi-Wan is a Jedi master.

It makes sense that Obi-Wan has the higher status now, since he has more experience. Nothing strange about it if you put it like that. But since they’ve been doing this together (and even when not, for the same amount of time), it was the same experience that made Anakin become advanced enough to become a Jedi that made Obi-Wan become advanced enough to become a master. The experience Obi-Wan had that Anakin didn’t was back when he was a padawan – surely that wasn’t, in itself, what made him a master, because that only happened when he got this more advanced experience.

So in some sense, there must have been a qualitative difference between the learning and advancement gained from the same experiences, the same events, for Obi-Wan who was already more experienced than Anakin who wasn’t. One reason I can think of is Obi-Wan being in charge, but that doesn’t seem enough, and it would only apply for part of the time, because Obi-Wan was no longer taking the lead after Anakin ended his apprenticeship. (Even once Obi-Wan was a master and Anakin wasn’t, they acted as equals.) Although of course I don’t know Obi-Wan didn’t immediately become a master when Anakin became a Jedi, I don’t know that timeline… but it’s perfectly possible they would have been of equal status for some time before Obi-Wan got promoted due to more experience, even though the last part of that experience was something they shared.

Of course, the Jedi could just be counting experience in years, but it does seem possible (and likely at least earlier on) that Obi-Wan actually advanced further through the same experiences, which means they must have been different for him. Suppose you went to the gym for five years, constantly increasing your strength. Then you started going there with a friend whose strength is like yours was to begin with. Then you go on with that for five years. You’ll probably make advancement during that time… but not if you go back to using weights that are as light as your friend is using – then you’ll both just be in the same place by the end of those five years.

Well, I don’t mean to say this is somehow impossible by calling it a paradox. It’s just that I think it can apply in real life as well, and I can’t fully explain how it works. How does the same experience teach you more, take you further, because you’re already more experienced?

Why the randomness argument leaves no wiggle room for incompatibilism | Dynamis Seminar 2022 (August 17-18 2022, Helsinki)

These are the slides for my presentation at the Dynamis Seminar 2022 in Helsinki on August 18 2022.

10% through the comic? | Less Bittersweet webcomic blog

Originally posted on the blog of my webcomic Less Bittersweet here.

With strip number 13 posted, by rough estimate, I may have now posted about a tenth of all the strips I will for this comic. It feels weird that it should be so much, since there’s a lot of story left and not that much has happened yet. But then again, ten times something is a lot more than the something.

Well, this is just the point things are about to get interesting. I’ve been looking forward to this next part…

And here we are, finally | Less Bittersweet webcomic blog

Originally posted on the blog for my webcomic Less Bittersweet here a couple of weeks ago.

I stayed up all night to finish and post the first six strips/pages of the comic. Phew. Starting next week, I should be posting a new strip every Monday and Thursday. Let’s hope I can do that without staying up many more nights. At least I’m not going to colour most of them anymore.

I still need to work on things like site layout. I would have polished everything first before starting to post, for sure, if it hadn’t been for the fact that it was already taking me forever just to get started.

It’s almost exactly a year since I decided to create this comic, you know. I hope it won’t take much more than another year to get to the end. With at least over a hundred strips to post at twice per week, I doubt I can finish in a year even if I can keep up that schedule. Well, it’s going to be a fun and challenging year.

About this comic | Less Bittersweet webcomic blog

Originally published on the blog for my webcomic Less Bittersweet here.

Less Bittersweet is a fan comic based on the video game Doki Doki Literature Club!

Having said that, I basically need to tell you immediately that reading this comic will probably work better if you’ve already played the game. Otherwise, you’ll risk simultaneously not knowing what’s going on and getting the game’s plot spoiled by it anyway.

Luckily, the game is short (about four hours), free to play (from Steam or the website ddlc.moe; make sure to start with the original free game, though, not with Plus), and brilliant, and I’d recommend it to basically anyone who isn’t too sensitive or suffering from anxiety or depression. It starts out looking like a light-hearted anime thing, and then turns into psychological horror, heart-rending tragedy, deconstruction, and who knows what.

Here’s what to expect from this comic:

  • Set after the secret ending of the game.
  • Genre: Drama, comedy, speculative fiction, metafiction (ie. fiction commenting on fiction).
  • Much less dark than the original, but, well, mostly has the same set of themes, including the darker ones.
  • Not really manga: I’m trying to imitate the animesque art style of the original enough to make things look familiar, but I have no particular interest in adopting the conventions of Japanese comics, so don’t expect that. My main influences for the format here are probably Sluggy Freelance and the webtoon format I’ve seen in Tower of God.
  • Learning process: Part of the reason I’m doing this is so I can learn a lot of new things, so don’t expect a fully polished product from the start. About the only skill I consider myself as having on a high enough level as I begin is writing. I can also draw a bit already, so the art will look roughly the way I want it to and shouldn’t be an eyesore. That still leaves a lot of other things to learn on the fly that I only have a clue about – anime-style of drawing, drawing digitally, shading, 3D modelling backgrounds, panel layouts, lettering, publishing online… I’m probably going to gain a level from doing this project. Mind you, I have come to the conclusion that I simply don’t have the time to colour every comic strip.
  • Metaphysical—metafictional engineering: Well, let’s just say I’m taking the secret ending and seeing what I can do about what happens in it while following the logic established in the original story as much as I can. Sorry, but I have to vague here lest I spoil both the comic and the game.

I started publishing my webcomic already | Goodreads author blog

I started publishing the fan webcomic I’ve been talking about last week. The address is lessbittersweet.thecomicseries.com.

I wasn’t in a rush to announce the comic here because it was quite enough work without that too, and, as I explained previously, it’s really aimed at people who know the game. I already reached those people by posting about it on Reddit. While I kind of want to show others who know me what I’m making too, I find it unsatisfying that they’ll not really see the point of it even if they look at it. Besides, I’m not always that proud of the art – it’s a learning process.

I am very much enthusiastic that I am making and publishing this thing, though. It’s just that for people who know me in general, I want to tell them to go and play the game first and then read it.

I don’t rate books with my contributions in them on Goodreads, but… | Goodreads author blog

Originally appeared on my Goodreads author blog here.

…but it seems like I would be the only one who would do so impartially. My ratings would usually bring the overall rating down, because the works are all usually such small-time collections of short stories that the majority of the people rating them, or even the only people, are associated with the publication. Who mysteriously just happen to think highly of it.

(So yes, that means that the reason I have a high average rating for works on Goodreads is because they’re all so insignificant.)

Here’s the thing, I believe the others may be trying to do it impartially. But they always end up saying “I’m impartially rating every other story in here except my own. Anyway, I think this collection of stories by newbie writers is totally worth four or five stars.” (I would say that too sometimes, but only sometimes. With four stars, not five.)

That rather undermines the argument, which someone presented to me, that authors can also honestly rate works like that as readers. It seems like we’re prone to be biased.

Of course, the other, even bigger reason why I don’t do it is that it would probably look bad anyway.