Re: My reviews seem to be garnering downvotes. Am I doing something wrong?

#21

chumponimys Wrote:
Zogarth Wrote: Well, you only write negative reviews on otherwise highly rated and popular stories... what do you expect?


I thought that was what it was too, but the one glowing review I wrote (9/10 on Beware of Chicken) received the MOST downvotes (in relation to upvotes). So I don't think it's that simple.
... People will hate you for liking or hating it. There is no difference in the eyes of haters

Re: My reviews seem to be garnering downvotes. Am I doing something wrong?

#24
I guess, I'm confused by what you're basing your reviews against.

Most of the stories on here are 1st or 2nd drafts of unedited manuscripts written by amateur authors. While your reviews appear to be comparing them to the quality level expectations of a premium novel from one of the big four publishing companies, novels which have their writers' manuscripts go through... what's the norm now? Four? Eight? Twelve? Let's just say eight. Eight levels of editing and polishing.

I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with your reviews or the reasons for your ratings, just pointing out that the context that you are reviewing them against might be the reason others are disagreeing with you.

Just the 2 cents of some internet rando. Hope this helps.

Re: My reviews seem to be garnering downvotes. Am I doing something wrong?

#25
Let me explain why you're getting so many downvotes. Let's start with the review on Beware of chicken.

The review was made on Oct 9th, at which point Beware of chicken has close to 21k followers on the website and has been sitting comfortably on the #2 position on Best Rated. So people are unlikely to be going through the review and seeing yours. The only person who really will see, is the author, and your first upvote/downvote is likely to come from them.

So, your review is not being seen by people, and so, no one can agree or disagree on whether it is a good review or not. This explains the lack of upvotes. For the downvotes. A lot of readers who dislike a fiction will routinely go through the reviews downvoting anything positive that they see. You can look at other reviews and see that almost all of them have 4-5 downvotes, which explains the downvotes to an extent.

So your review is for the author, and the author has stated that he won't be editing the typos as someone will eventually be paid to fix them. And as an author, especially a web fiction author, people often do not fix the typos and move on to simply write more chapters, as most readers do not care about the typos. This is an amateur writing website and thus, polished works are rare, and do not gain as much traction. It is why LitRPG, progression fantasy, and other fiction that I like to call "popcorn" fiction are what tends to be popular.

And as an avid popcorn reader (or former reader, not much reading has happened since I began to write) I rarely cared about how good the plot, or story was, much less prose or grammar. All that mattered was whether I was enjoying myself or not. And that is how most readers think. People rate based on how much fun they are having, and usually, when they enjoy a story they simply give it 5 stars. Conversely, those who dislike a story, mindlessly give it 0.5 stars as a rating.

Another thing to note is that, the average rating of fictions on Royal Road is 4.2 stars. Mathematical average. That means, that giving a story anything under 4.5 stars is the equivalent of saying it's under average.

Now, you can of course have your own scaling in mind for what an average story deserves and what an average score is. But knowing about these facts will allow you to understand how things work better. Any score you give that is below the average rating of my story, will hurt the rank of my fiction. And that is a sad thing to see. That is just facts. As much as I'd like to say, I can look impartially at a review and only take the meaningful feedback I can extract from it, it's often times difficult to simply not get hurt by seeing the story you've worked so hard on drop in rating and ranking.

This is why, I often don't make reviews for stories that I dislike, and know I would rate poorly. In fact, I've completely stopped making reviews unless the author explicitly asks me to, because I've been on the other side of receiving reviews and a negative review, or even just a critical one can bother people quite a bit. And I'd dislike to do that to someone else who may just be trying to write for fun.

For the grammar rating score, if a story reads well but I spot typos, I tend to give it 4.5 stars. If I find no typos and the story flows smoothly that's an easy 5 star. And if there's a LOT of typos, then it's a 4 star, but I don't think I've given a 4 star score in grammar yet.

When I saw your review on Beware of chicken that was the first thing I'd noticed, the 2.5 star. And you may disagree, but spelling/typos are not all that grammar is. Grammar is the sentence structure, verb usage, and that entails the correct usage of the language. And from what I've read from Beware of Chicken, it may have typos but that does not interfere much with the reading process, at least for me.

Personally, I take a 4 star rating or above as praise. (even when those ratings hurt me, I still count it as praise) 2.5 star to 3.5 as, (it's alright, nothing special, or meh) and anything 2 and below is calling the story bad, with a 0.5 simply telling the author to stop writing.

Most stories, if they are well written, and read well, get a 4.5 star from me, if I enjoy the story, it's an easy 5 stars, and if I think the story needs work, its a 4 star. A 3.5 star review, would be the equivalent of me telling the author that they have a lot to work on.

But that's how I do it. It doesn't need to be how you do it. I'm just sharing the reasons behind how I think of things and how I take the random number that is 3.5/5 and make it a bit more meaningful. because a 3.5/5 means nothing to me, it's just an arbritary number.

Also, if you'd like to see the rating distribution, this is how it's spread.

5 star    : 64.6%
4.5 star : 15.0%
4 star    : 10.5%
3.5 star : 3.07%
3 star    : 3.65%
2.5 star : 0.96%
2 star    : 0.76%
1.5 star : 0.57%
1 star    : 0.00%
0.5 star : 0.76%


This is for my story, with a total of 556 ratings. You can clearly see the skew in the upper end. And even then, my rank is in the low 200s on the website. So having nearly 80% of people rate the story 4.5 or 5 stars still has me below 200 other stories on Royal Road.

This explains the rating scale, and why even a 4 star or 3.5 star rating hurts fictions.

Hopefully this was informative, in the end, it is on you to rate a story as you think you should.

Re: My reviews seem to be garnering downvotes. Am I doing something wrong?

#26

KrazeKode Wrote: Let me explain why you're getting so many downvotes....


Thank you so, so much for this writeup, Kraze. I really appreciate the feedback.

It's...saddening to hear that RR uses IGN review metrics. That feels pretty antithetical to getting good feedback as an author--which is something I was hoping to eventually use the site for.


KrazeKode Wrote: It is why LitRPG, progression fantasy, and other fiction that I like to call "popcorn" fiction are what tends to be popular.

And as an avid popcorn reader (or former reader, not much reading has happened since I began to write) I rarely cared about how good the plot, or story was, much less prose or grammar.


Your point on popcorn is a great one. This may be why there are so few stories here I find I can stick with and really sink my teeth into. Most seem to spiral out into endless slice of life or next-big-fight kind of things with no overarching plot to cohesively bring things together and keep me interested. I suppose this is a "me" issue, in that I need to adjust my expectations both for my reviews and what I'm reading (I should only be reading completed stories here or be looking elsewhere for entertainment).



Quote:KrazeKodeWhen I saw your review on Beware of chicken that was the first thing I'd noticed, the 2.5 star. And you may disagree, but spelling/typos are not all that grammar is. Grammar is the sentence structure, verb usage, and that entails the correct usage of the language. And from what I've read from Beware of Chicken, it may have typos but that does not interfere much with the reading process, at least for me.


On the subject of grammar... It's my personal belief that there's no such thing as "good grammar," only invisible grammar. If I'm taken out of the scene because of an error in the writing--that is to say, if I notice the writing--that's points off on the grammar in my opinion. And for Beware of Chicken in particular, there were points where I had trouble telling what was happening due to typos. (Although I do agree that for authors on this site, typos/grammar is not a massive concern. They're focused on being prolific, not perfect. And typos/grammar is something that can easily be fixed by anyone after the fact. It's one of the reasons I don't factor that into my overall review score.)

All that to say... As with the above, this is likely a case of me needing to adjust my expectations. I haven't yet read a story on RR with truly atrocious grammar/typos to the point I can't make it through more than a few pages. Perhaps I do just need to lower my expectations here. 


KrazeKode Wrote: Also, if you'd like to see the rating distribution, this is how it's spread.


Super cool to get so see some real numbers! Thank you for sharing this!! It definitely confirms what you're saying about review trends.


KrazeKode Wrote: Hopefully this was informative, in the end, it is on you to rate a story as you think you should.


It was extremely informative. Thank you so much!

Honestly, with the perspective from your post, I'm not sure I should be reviewing. I'm rating these stories as if they're being published. I thought that was what an author would want--constructive criticism as if this is a real story, and a number to match. But from what you've said, it sounds like reviews (and the votes on them) are expected to be closer to a popularity contest.

Re: My reviews seem to be garnering downvotes. Am I doing something wrong?

#27

Allanther Wrote: I guess, I'm confused by what you're basing your reviews against.


You make some great points here, thank you!

Like I mentioned in the reply I just posted to Kraze, I'm starting to realize that I may need to lower my expectations in reviews. I expected authors to look for the kind of feedback they'd get from those expectations so that they could indeed one day publish, but it's sounding like reviews are actually a "5 star if you liked it, otherwise move on" kind of affair.

Re: My reviews seem to be garnering downvotes. Am I doing something wrong?

#30


Allanther Wrote: That's.... kinda going from one extreme to the other.



I exaggerate a little to make the point of how far off my expectations were. But honestly, from the numbers KrazeKode quotes, I'm not exaggerating too much. If the average rating site-wide is 4.2 stars, then that means the overwhelming majority of all reviews on the site are 5 stars. (for reference, if there's a single 1 star review, it'd take FOUR 5 star reviews to balance that out to 4.2).

Re: My reviews seem to be garnering downvotes. Am I doing something wrong?

#31

chumponimys Wrote: It's...saddening to hear that RR uses IGN review metrics. That feels pretty antithetical to getting good feedback as an author--which is something I was hoping to eventually use the site for.
 RR itself doesn't use it. It's just how things work in amateur writing novel sites. And also just how most people think. It's also the same case over at Scribblehub. 5 stars if you like and 0.5 if you don't. Very extreme, yeah, but that's just how people are. And also why there was a talk of just having thumbs up and thumbs down before, but majority of readers still preferred the stars. Now, if you rate is with the usual scale with 3 as the middle and 5 as absolute banger, and you give something 3.5 or something, because of how people rate on a 5 or 0.5 scale, you'll just end up hurting the story instead of conveying what you wanted to say that it's a bit above average. 


chumponimys Wrote: I expected authors to look for the kind of feedback they'd get from those expectations so that they could indeed one day publish
       

Most people here just write for fun, in their spare time. Only a small percentage of RR authors have serious and concrete plans to get published someday. Also, I'm not sure if this has been mentioned, but reviews are primarily for prospective readers. When I used to do reviews and I have something more critical, I message the author directly rather than rate poorly on one aspect of the review knowing that rating something below average would hurt it alot. I have personal experience on getting bombarded with really low ratings and just how hard it is to climb back up after just a few very low reviews that I don't do it in the ratings of my own reviews.