This afternoon, the following comment popped up in the “awaiting moderation” queue:
I read your magazine. It stinks. Seriously. The paucity of content is appalling. The excerpts above [in the latest issue] exemplify this. I asked a couple of editors I am associated with about you and this ragtag project. They just laughed. Get some real writers who know a little about constructing a story properly.
I was a little taken aback by this. Kaleidotrope has by now published nearly a dozen issues, and while the feedback hasn’t always been 100% positive, I haven’t had many people tell me that it stinks. I’ve had submissions from rude, potentially unstable writers, and I’ve had spam, but I think this may be the zine’s first genuine comment troll.
So I wrote back:
I’m sorry you feel that way. I suspect “paucity” isn’t quite the word you’re looking for here — it refers, typically, to a smallness or lack in quantity, not quality — and I naturally question anyone who leads with insults, only to build to nothing more substantial than “and some other people I know agree, too!” But I’m at least happy to know that my “ragtag project” has provided your “couple of editors” with a merry chuckle. While I’m sorry you won’t be reading Kaleidotrope again, I appreciate your candor (however nonconstructive) and thank you for providing me with some laughter of my own.
I can’t say I’m entirely surprised that my e-mail bounced back. If “Paul Davies” — presumably not this Paul Davies — actually exists, his comments lend me to suspect he’s the sort to employ a long list of fake addresses.
Look, obviously I don’t like it, but I’ll accept negative feedback when it’s warranted. I hope my contributors — who I think know quite a lot about constructing a story properly, actually — will do the same. But if it’s nothing more than an anonymous screed about how what we’re doing stinks, what makes you think we’re actually going to care?