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I've been thinking about using Google Docs to share a novel with a few beta-readers because it is simpler than sending every one of them a separate text file and keeping track of the comments across files.

For this to work, though, I would need the comments of each reader to be visible only to them and to me, so they can't relapse into a "herd mentality". Each of them should read the novel and comment by themselves, with no influence from the others.

Is there any way to achieve this in Google Docs?

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Unfortunately, this is not possible in Google Docs. All comments are visible to all commenters.

  • This is really unfortunate. I can't believe this wouldn't be a common scenario, like AT LEAST every beta-reading scenario, and perhaps many, many other workplace situations. Not just a herd-mentality problem, but good old-fashioned spam, where everyone sees every other comment which is completely irrelevant to them, and pops a valuable one-on-one intimacy bubble they thought they had with the author. – bwperrin Dec 22 '19 at 13:18

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