As April is NaPoWriMo, I've spent a few days looking for feedback on a few short pieces of poetry. Writers InTouch is one of a number of creative writing review sites that provide people with a platform to give and receive critiques, so I had a bash at this for a few days.
I focussed on reviewing poetry. I made an attempt to single out the poetry pieces in the list of review-able articles, so that I wasn't wading through fiction pieces. This took me to a list of subcategories, or genres. I clicked on one of these, and it took me to a list of articles. The articles were fiction AND poetry, though. Other links took me to a blank screen.
So. That was ball-ache number one. Also, the site is littered with Google ads that looks like links to other parts of the site, which is certainly a second pain in the groin.
A third problem: After you review an article, the original article stays in the list of pieces to review, so you find yourself wading through material you've already looked at.
Fourth, and most essentially, the reviews being given are weak. “I'm not one for poems, but this is good,” said one of them. ATTENTION, BUDDING WRITERS: If you want to be successful, you have to improve your work. In order to do that, you need constructive criticism. You need to be told what it is you need to change to make your work better. If you aren't getting that, you won't improve.
A fifth issue is that very few people are actively using the site. I looked up the “humour” section. Possibly to alleviate my annoyance, I wanted to read funny poems. The newest piece of writing uploaded in this section was dated 2010! Metaphorical dust-gathering, forgotten drafts of (largely rubbish) poems populated numerous other genres.
I checked out who actually was using the site by browsing a few profiles. From people's personal descriptions, there are very few people on there who know how to construct a sentence. One guy had written his “about me” section in third person, like his publisher had written it for him. ATTENTION: It's a feedback site. It's a site to help you LEARN. It's not a place to show off with a 500-word discourse about your every achievement.
Throughout all of this, I dished out as many poetry reviews as possible. I got to a stage where there was nothing left for me to review, yet despite this I didn't receive one review from other site contributors.
So. Moving on. What other feedback site should I try?