Re: Is it better to leave no review or a bad review?

#1
I don't want to hurt an author's chances (though I will admit to writing a rage review a few times) so if anybody knows:

(And to clarify, I don't mean just giving a story 1/2 to 5 stars, but giving it a verbal written review.)

1. If there are already other good reviews, how badly will a bad review effect new potential readers chances of picking up the story?

2. How badly does this mess up an author on the Royal Road statistics? Will their rating and chance at popularity/reaching the front pages be lost forever/almost impossible to rectify even with subsequent reviews? 

I wouldn't want to do that to someone. Even if the word count quality is a heap of awfulness, getting that word count onto paper in a commendable effort.

Thanks and please let me know!

Re: Is it better to leave no review or a bad review?

#2
According to what I've read, the top list algorithm takes the occasional bad review into account. How exactly is a secret, in order to prevent people from exploiting the standards; but odds are very good that they expect a story to contain a certain percentage of bad ratings and reviews. 

Think of it this way. If a hundred people read your book and only 10% like it, then that's still 90% likability. However, that 10% is going to be louder than others on a per-reader basis, because as a species we're more likely to complain than praise. This is something that doesn't change no matter what culture you're in; and other than metaphysical implications about the human condition, we therefore know that bad reviews are going to be slightly more common than good reviews, even if total good reviews outnumber the bad. Therefore, the algorithm likely takes that into account. 

In addition, if you don't give the author feedback, how will they grow? 

Re: Is it better to leave no review or a bad review?

#3
Something I really appreciated when someone didn't think my story was for them was that they privately messaged me about their reasoning/dislikes in lieu of leaving a negative review. If you're concerned about rocking the boat, maybe just send a message with some constructive criticism and wish the author and their work luck from there? To me, that's better than leaving a bad review, though others might advise you differently. I don't know the answers to the statistic questions, sorry, but someone else with more knowledge and experience will likely offer their take in this thread. 

Re: Is it better to leave no review or a bad review?

#4
If your review is genuine criticism, most authors won't mind a bad review. If its just nonsense praise, most would even feel disappointed by a five-star review. So don't worry about genuine criticism.


SomethingNew Wrote: If there are already other good reviews, how badly will a bad review effect new potential readers chances of picking up the story?



This greatly depends on the readers. Some just read the -ve reviews while others read 2-3 reviews before making up their mind. A negative review does affect the story but it doesn't turn away all potential readers. Hell, my topmost review is a 0.5 review. 

SomethingNew Wrote: How badly does this mess up an author on the Royal Road statistics? Will their rating and chance at popularity/reaching the front pages be lost forever/almost impossible to rectify even with subsequent reviews?


As for how bad it affects authors, well, anything below 4 [this is just for RR] means your novel is hot garbage. On RR, a 5-star means that the novel is good; 4.5-star means okay and 4-star means it isn't hot shit, yet. This is just how the system works here. 

This of course doesn't mean you should be afraid to rate a story. You should always rate and review if you feel like it. Most us authors are quite used to review bombs where disgruntled readers or trolls would give a 0.5-rating for absolutely no reason. I even heard of someone who got a 0.5-star as soon as they released their story. It happens. And it hurts the story badly. However, that's just how it is. It is almost a right of passage now. 


Re: Is it better to leave no review or a bad review?

#5
I prefer stories I read to have a mix of positive and negative reviews, honestly. No story is perfect. If there are no negative reviews, I'll wonder if they're biased.



If the negative reviews complain about stuff I don't care about as a reader, then I'll be more likely to try it, while if they have complaints of things that I'd be frustrated by as a reader, then they save me time.



As a writer, if you're going to rate I would vastly prefer you to review as well. A flat 2 rating tells me nothing. A 2-star review that says 'the main character is too stupid to exist' is much more useful as it tells me what particularly is the problem. Whereas a 2-star review that says 'MC with no romantic interests is garbage' would tell me that I don't have as much to worry about since those searching for romance would be best served knowing to avoid my writing anyway; and indeed might help to drive away those who'd expect something other than what I'm delivering.

Flat ratings are much less useful.

Re: Is it better to leave no review or a bad review?

#7

Asviloka Wrote: My 3.8 story is crying right now. T-T



Don't worry, I am approaching there as well. XD
What's bad about being hot garbage anyway? What even is hot garbage? What even are we? What is this universe? Why are we here? What is the purpose of life?
...
Ahem. 
The rating meter was about how readers perceive ratings and not the actual quality of your work. Someone might just have a stroke of extra bad luck with trolls and end even below 2. 

Re: Is it better to leave no review or a bad review?

#8
I don’t review a story if I don’t like it. It’s about as simple as that for me. If I do like it, but see some glaring errors, I just DM the gripes and leave a public review about the things that I like.

It’s why all of my reviews are literally 4 or higher. People that go out of their way (especially other authors) to publicly rag doll a fic annoy me to no end. Like did you literally have nothing better to do? 

I’m fully aware that my thought process differs from others at times. But still, that’s my take anyway.

Re: Is it better to leave no review or a bad review?

#9

SomethingNew Wrote: 1. If there are already other good reviews, how badly will a bad review effect new potential readers chances of picking up the story?

2. How badly does this mess up an author on the Royal Road statistics? Will their rating and chance at popularity/reaching the front pages be lost forever/almost impossible to rectify even with subsequent reviews?



 Reviews matter to other readers somewhere between jack and shit. Authors will freak out and obsess over them, completely overinflating their importance.

Ratings are slightly more important in that higher ratings can make your fiction more visible. But even then, 'Best Rated' is inferior to Popular this Week or Trending.

Re: Is it better to leave no review or a bad review?

#10
I rarely leave reviews below 3.5 stars and almost never below 3 stars; if I am writing something that would be extremely negative on here, either the story is so popular that my review doesn't "matter," or I'm PMing it to the author instead of sending it (but ONLY if they were open for critique beforehand, otherwise I just leave some simple reasons why I didn't review publicly).

Sadly reviews affect the statistics so much that it's hard to justify writing something that could tank the author unless they really deserve it.

Re: Is it better to leave no review or a bad review?

#11
I would never leave a review below or rating below 4.5 to anyone. Rather not leave any rating at all if I can't justify giving it 4.5.

Low ratings affect the average scores and rating far more than positive ones. I think it is insane that a single 0.5-star rating/review outweighs 5-star reviews for a story like mine. It is even worse for those higher rated.

It also just sucks as an author. Before I began publishing my novel I didn't get why some authors could just say: "fuck it." and abandon their novel. Now I get it. 

Re: Is it better to leave no review or a bad review?

#12
My feeling is that a bad review is just as valuable as a good review to the only people a review should matter to. THE READERS. 

A bad review tells people why you don't like a story.  if someone reads that and says, oh, i hate stories that do that, then they won't read it.  You just saved them wasting their time on a story they were going to chuck in a couple of chapters anyways. 

On the other hand, you'll get readers who look at your bad review and go, oh, i LOVE stories that do that.  I should read that. So your bad review actually helped them get a new reader. 

That said, a bad review should be with actual PROBLEMS.  A fridging in the opening.  Horrible grammar, typos, issues with reading.  confusing stories. 
not, the protag has blue hair, and i dont like blue hair. 

Re: Is it better to leave no review or a bad review?

#14

I’m not sure anything good comes from bad reviews on this site. 

On Amazon, sure, you can save someone from wasting money on a bad product (or even a scam / false advertising.)

RR doesn’t have scams. It’s just writers—mostly amateur—doing their best to share their work with people for free. Sure, some are newer and less experienced than others, but tearing them apart in public is more likely to permanently discourage them than to accomplish some "greater good". And if you permanently discourage a writer, you’re harming the collective body of work as a whole. This is especially bad when you get angry internet mobs who collectively decide they don’t like an aspect of a story (the main character, for example.)

And it matters from a numbers standpoint too. The popular stories on here get thousands of five-star reviews, so they can handle dozens of bad ones too. But what if you’re writing in a less-popular genre like romance or sci-fi? You might get less than 100 ratings total. A few unlucky half star ratings can plunge you to the relative bottom of the Best Rated list where no one will ever see you.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t be critical to help authors improve, or that we shouldn’t make other readers aware of potential issues with stories. But you can do that in other ways (a comment, a message, or a smaller part of a larger review that also includes the positives and/or presents the issues in a constructive way.) 

But if there really were no positives, then why did you keep reading long enough to justify leaving a review? (Note, I use the word ‘you’ in a general sense here, not singling anyone out.) But that always feels like a paradox to me when people read 50+ chapters of a story and leave a half star review. 

Re: Is it better to leave no review or a bad review?

#15
I think it depends how constructive it is. Everyone here only cares about getting their numbers up, so their has to be something valuable beyond those numbers for the review to matter. Personally, I think a well constructed negative review can be extremely helpful as an author; but once again, a lot of people here don't care about getting better and just want that instant gratification. 

Re: Is it better to leave no review or a bad review?

#16
Welll, there are two different aspects. There are ratings, then there are reviews. A review explains or expands in a few paragraphs on the ratings the reviewer posts. I do not think you can post a review without having filled in at least the overall rating indices , which rates from 1 to 5 , or poor (1) through average (3) to excellent (5).  There is no number rate called "hot garbage". People who do not rate the indices accordingly skew and ruin the rating system so that it in the end indicates nothing, and nobody wins.  Below the overall rating, there are the scales that should compose it, namely Style, Story, Grammar and Character.  If the review sticks to discussion of these story aspects, does not wander off into maundering about the author, his prospects or personal life, people will likely look to see what you generally find to be "to your taste" on your profile and decide whether your affinities for stories generally matches their own, are different, opposed, or if you are just a troll. If similar, they might come to respect your reviews and be guided by them, or figure if you hate something they will probably enjoy it, or in the last case, just ignore you. FWIW, I am pretty sure any review activity spikes (causes) a rank increase, whether good or bad. Any work that evokes a response is counted as a plus.

Personally, I hate the rating system since it has absolutely nothing to do with how many people read a work posted here, and because as can be seen from all the above posts, is abused horribly by readers who couldn't scale a fish let alone a work of fiction and largely don't even bother to rate the proper scales that compose the overall rating.  But, of course that's just my opinion.