Buckle up. Here we go. I'll start with how my stories have changed based on reader feedback. First, "Time & Tied". The only real feedback (aside from generic remarks like "that was clever" or "show more, tell less") was from my two reviews here. One of the main things I took from Billy's review was that Carrie isn't a terribly likeable protagonist. Which is a valid point, and is somewhat rooted in the fact that she's also the antagonist (time travel is weird), but on account of that, I moved up her redemption arc by about 4 episodes and tried to foreshadow it more strongly. (Of course, half the cast was also introduced after the review was written... more on that below.) From Maddirose, I got that my "point of view" writing needs work (which I suspected, work in progress) and that the illustrating is more distracting than not (which I guess I also knew from these forums but had kind of resisted). So I have that going forwards.
Regarding the latest "Epsilon Project", the feedback is in the form of the 3 or 4 people who vote every week, literally changing the story out from under me. Alijda's shrinking problems, the layout of the DEO, even the name of a character (DuChessy, named after my "April Fool" writer used the name Duchessy), none of that was in place when I started. If the audience stays true to form, we'll never see what the government is up to, so beyond vague thoughts, that hasn't formed in my mind. A very similar thing happened with "Wish Fulfilment", which is actually on WFG.
Based on all this, I wouldn't say my "Interpretive Community" is a comment section for my blog, I'd say it's this site, and my voting system. Hell, it took about 80 weeks of regular posts before I actually had two different people comment on one post. Yes, I did gasp and celebrate a bit, even though they weren't responding to each other. So... maybe "community" IS one of the most important things - at least as far as motivation. As far as "Responsiveness to audience desires", I think it's valid, but there needs to be an awareness of not only what they THINK they want, but also what they TRULY want.
I was at a writing convention last year, and mentioned at one panel about the voting system I had. One of them thought that was great for encouraging interaction, another didn't like it, reasoning that the audience won't want bad things to happen to their favourite characters. ("Game of Thrones" comes to mind - I haven't read it nor seen it, but I've heard people die unexpectedly.) So a bit like what Dary said above "if you write to please other people, you will never please anyone" -- you have to know which things to allow, and where to put your foot down.
Now, as to that video ITSELF, I kind of question using "Star Wars"... it wasn't initially screened as being "Episode 4". In fact, you could make an argument that "Star Trek 2", "3" and "4" were their own kind of serial in the same way. And "nerd writer" is making the argument that we're at an entry level with the franchise, given the new movie, when there has been an entire expanded universe for the thing for decades in literature -- merely not "canon" things. Seems more like a "reentry". Which brings me to my last thoughts, namely that serials these days appear to be different from those in the days of Dickens. Maybe it's the web, maybe it's our attention spans, I don't know.
The video talks about how Dickens' first story was effectively a flop, it was his fifth instalment that finally got people's attention. I do NOT think people give the benefit of the doubt for that long any more. The last two months, I've had 58 hits on Part 1 of "Time & Tied" (what with Maddirose's review). Part 2? SIX views. We don't even meet half the cast until Part 7!! I think in this day and age, Dickens would be forced to rewrite his first story, because even with a serial, people want to go to the START. More proof, I had a complete relaunch of my story with Part 25. Full cast involved, no prior knowledge needed, could be treated like Part 1, threw that all around on social media. How many views? FIVE in that first weekend. Only 14 views TOTAL in 8 months, for what could effectively be the start of a story. Despite how (in theory) writing improves over time, it's Part 1 or nothing for people. (I grant, it could be me. Sorry if that sounded ranty.)
Now, society gradually seems to be moving away from that, with some TV shows being given life even after less than stellar numbers up front, due to the "binging" people do online. Communities and the like can even resurrect serial shows like "Firefly". So, are the communities and audience the most important things about serializing a work? I'm not positive they are, but I DO think they're the most important thing to keep a serial from dying on the operating table. Because if you don't have them, all you have to go on is sheer stubbornness, and the enjoyment of the writing experience. Thank goodness I have those qualities, otherwise I'm sure I'd have given up... granted, my tenacity means you just spent five minutes of your life reading this post. Kudos if you made it through!