Issues with reviews

#1
Hi all,

After reading quite a few stories and looking at the reviews of dozens more, there is a significant recurring problem i see.

Reviewed are meant to give an idea to the reader of the overall quality of the story and possibly what is is about if the title and synopsis are vague.

However the problem is people leaving reviews after barely reading three chapters, both good and bad but mostly bad in this case.

There are definitely stories that are so terribly written or so greatly written that can deserve these low or high reviews so early on, the problem is that things such as plot, character development, backstory, and other plot elements are just not there yet.

A mini rant here, it is quite agitating to see poor reviews with less then 5000 words read on stories where the main complaints are no plot, character development, ect. 

The first few thousand words of a story do not show the quality as a whole, stories will get better or worse in most cases.

There is also the issues of poor reviews due to the story just not being for them instead of a poorly written story or on the flipside, something I am also guilty of is giving good reviews to a story that may not deserve it fully because it fills a niche I enjoy reading. (Not just on RR either, again talking about reviews given in the first few chapters)

The ratings on stories are also quite skewed, as the paragraph above states, people give good and bad reviews based off their tastes rather then the story. I dislike steampunk though I just read another story rather then reading three chapters, dropping it and giving it a 2 star review. I have also seen poor reviews due to the story being dark in nature while ignoring the tags.

There sadly is not a great solution to this issue, its not just RR but most sites I have seen. When was the last time a poorly translated Chinese webnovel with a 4.x star rating was on par in quality with something such as Azarinth Healer for example.

The only solution I can think of is to have a minimum words read / chapters read before reviewing but sadly this is full of flaws and won't change much.

For negative reviews, there is definitely going to be people saying that they can tell the story is terrible and they have no need to read more after a few thousand words. Though I must disagree, I think its completely unfair to read 2-3% of the chapters released and just say its bad, you can at least see if these problems are either fixed or being addressed in later chapters or find another.

Over the fifteen or so years I have spent reading, one or two chapters does not dictate the story of over fifty.

Re: Issues with reviews

#2
Reviews are inherently flawed due to being biased towards extreme opinions. Most people feel the need to review something in two cases. A, they hate it. B, they love it. There's not much that can be done other than weighting ranking systems more towards other less biased metrics. There is no such thing as a fair review as everyone reviews for different purposes, reasons, and viewpoints. At the end of the day nothing is fair in the world of creativity. Creatively bankrupt media regularly makes more money than avant garde media with so much care put into it that it'll make you cry.

Tldr; Reviews are unfair anyway and they don't really matter. As an author, it's best to grow thick skin and be able to take criticism well. As a reader it's important to know your own tastes and be able to make decisions as to whether or not you like something.
peoreaper  

Re: Issues with reviews

#3
I don't know about you, but I don't have time to read 20 chapters into a meh story just in case it gets better. Is a 3-ch review better than no review? I think so. The more gatekeeping done on reviewers the less likely the few we have are to continue doing them.

If you want more longer-into-the-books reviews to exist, then by all means read further into the books and write reviews. You'll be doing a public service and helping change the world a little more toward the ideal you envision. Maybe you can even inspire others. Who knows?

Re: Issues with reviews

#4
I mostly ignore reviews unless they've read a big part of the story. And that information is shown above the review, it's easy to see!

The best reviews are the ones from people who had read it in full. They have the full picture.

Like, I've never in my life seen a movie review by someone who just watched the first ten minutes. Or, just the trailer. 

So I apply the same logic here

Re: Issues with reviews

#5
i read a couple five and oh-point-five star reviews first
maybe an advanced review if worse should come to worst
but they never stop me from opening a fiction
i form my own opinion on my book selection
PeoReading
as for review quality, they're more of a forum
ten percent or less respect the explained decorum
from what i can see reviews don't impact readership
by the up and down votes, they seem something people skip

Re: Issues with reviews

#7

StgBria Wrote: I'm actually going to be the asshole that flat out disagrees. Three chapters is enough of a web novel to get a sense for an authors overall skill level. If you're a 5/5 writer that's going to come through reagrdless of the content. RR standards really aren't that high.
Oh really? Because I agree with you, Stg. First impressions make or break a story, especially in this day and age where eye-catching works often show themselves right at the start. If your story flops before it could even run, then something is terribly wrong, and your audience is probably already out the door.

Re: Issues with reviews

#8
Well, idk. There are stories that started of pretty bad in my opinion, but improved a lot over the future months/years, and I would've missed out on A GREAT story if I just clicked off right away! It's still a great story even if the beginning is subpar. That's the same as some arc in the middle of the story being subpar. It can lower it from 10/10 to 9/10 in my opinion, but not much more than that 

Re: Issues with reviews

#9

eric_river Wrote: from what i can see reviews don't impact readership

I regularly make decisions on reading or not reading based on reviews. There'll be stories I'd normally pass over that I've read because of reviews, and those that seem at first glance ideal but which reviews reveal fatal flaws which would ruin my enjoyment and I subsequently skip over.

I can't speak for everyone, certainly, but I wouldn't say it has no impact.

Re: Issues with reviews

#10

Asviloka Wrote:
eric_river Wrote: from what i can see reviews don't impact readership

I regularly make decisions on reading or not reading based on reviews. There'll be stories I'd normally pass over that I've read because of reviews, and those that seem at first glance ideal but which reviews reveal fatal flaws which would ruin my enjoyment and I subsequently skip over.

I can't speak for everyone, certainly, but I wouldn't say it has no impact.
that's a fair assessment, i should not say 'no impact'
some people do read them after all, and that's a fact
i should say instead, "I bet they change the minds of few"
just based on the upvotes that they get per story view
DrakanPotato

Re: Issues with reviews

#12
I tend to avoid review swaps because it’s very clear when other authors actually read a story they’re reviewing past like, the first 3 chapters. Many don’t realize that the review stamps the last chapter that you spent considerable time on. So, when you make a big old review about abstract stuff you stole and deduced from other reviews and the synopsis, it’s very easy to see. 

Many authors in review swaps aren’t even honest about their criticisms. They just bloat it up to get rewarded with the same in return. Because once they get their review they pretty much forget your story existed lol

But as for readers reviewing, I tend to believe that if the first impression isn’t good, very few will read beyond like chapter 5. If they do, they’re either hopeful, or masochistic. 

Most that don’t like a story tend to not review it, however. The ones that do have stronger reasons probably, even if at the bare minimum it’s just cause they’re a dick. They hate it, so everyone else must know that they hate it. Or they like it, and want everyone else to like it.

The vast majority of readers tend to do neither and are quietly neutral. At most you’ll just get a follow and a fave.