Rules about Ratings, and Reviews

Reviews aim to inform prospective readers if the story is something they will want to read. This can be done by communicating how well a story delivers what was promised in the premise (as outlined in the synopsis and opening chapters), by judging how well the story is written (both in terms of grammar and prose), and by highlighting the highs and lows of a reader’s experience with a story.

You can verify the validity of a review by checking the reading history of the reviewer. You can also check the upvotes and downvotes given by other readers to show how accurate or good they think the review is to the story

If you read the story, there are three levels of feedback you can leave:

Ratings are plain 0.5-5 star scores. No written feedback or justification for the score is required.

Basic Reviews provide an overall 0.5-5 star score along with a brief overview of your opinion of the story, providing some justification for the score.

Advanced Reviews provide a score for the overall fiction in addition to the following subcategories: Style, Story, Grammar, and Characters.

  • Style: The general feeling of the piece as created by the author's word choice, literary devices, and unique way of writing.
  • Story: Plot development and pacing (i.e. how well a story is put together).
  • Grammar: The technical aspects of the writing, including spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Character: The characters in the story, how well they are depicted, how realistic and three-dimensional they are. This applies to both main and side characters. ___

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Reviewing Rules

Justify The Rating 

  1. The Review needs to justify the rating, regardless of how high or low the score is.
  2. In an advanced review, you must write a detailed review that covers the subcategories being rated (Style, Story, Grammar, and Characters) and to justify the overall score

Stay On Topic

  1. Your review should address the story itself, and only the story. 
  2. Do not write about unrelated content, including comments about the author's activities, other people, other reviews, etc.
  3. Reviews and ratings may not be based solely on superficial information such as cover, synopsis, tags, title, story’s popularity, its position on the ranking lists, or similar things that have little to do with actual story content. If you wish to review this regardless, especially the genre and tags, it cannot be the main focus. You may say how certain elements of the genre were poorly done or how they take away from the story, but that cannot be the central topic of a review.  
  4. Reviews comparing the story to another according to the following rules will be removed:
  • Accusing an author of plagiarism in reviews is forbidden. Any story violating Royal Road terms of use(such as plagiarism) should be reported directly using the report system via the report button on the violating fiction or chapter.
  • Don’t discourage readers from reading a story by comparing it to another similar story.

Be Fair and Respectful

  1. Directly insulting the author or the readers is strictly forbidden. You may criticize the writing in constructive ways if you have a genuine desire to help, but do not direct your feedback at any author specifically, especially if it is a personal attack on their character.
  2. Discouraging an author from writing is viewed as taboo on Royal Road.
  3. Note that while the review could generalize the story as a whole, it can’t intentionally depict a story as something entirely different from what it is. Such as stating that a story includes instances of horrific actions when it does not. Examples such as pedophilia, incest, necrophilia, racism, etc.
  4. Do not instigate or incite any harmful acts in the review.  

Use Appropriate Language

  1. Reviews can’t contain profanity, vulgarity, sexual content, or descriptions of gore. This includes, but is not limited to; vivid descriptions of sexual acts, torture, violence, and other acts or situations that may be considered “gore”.
  2. Slander and discrimination is completely forbidden, and violations are viable to get the user banned. This includes but is not limited to attacks on ethnic, religious, political, sexual orientation, gender or racially discriminatory reviews.

Spoilers

  1. A review may contain spoilers under the appropriate spoiler tag(from the toolbar).  
  2. Spoiler content may not exceed a third of the overall word count. 
  3. Discussing spoilers can’t be the focus of a review.
  4. Spoilers can’t be the majority of the plotline summarised into points, nor can they mention any major revelations in the story. Examples: a character's death, success or failure in achieving a main goal. Among others.
  5. Quoted content can’t break any of the review rules.

General

  1. Reviews must not contain meaningless characters and words used with the purpose of inflating the character count and review length.
  2. Reviews must not contain any spam. 
  3. Reviews must be written in English or in the language the fiction is written in.
  4. Offering to release chapters based on the scores of reviews and ratings is considered ranking manipulation and is prohibited.
  5. Campaigns encouraging others to upvote or downvote reviews, whether positive or negative are forbidden.
  6. Rating and reviewing from multiple accounts is prohibited. We have software to catch people who try to manipulate the ratings by doing this. 
  7. Members of the same household or friends may review the story as long as they clearly state their relation to the author. 

Review Swap Rules

  • Review swaps are allowed on Royal Road. In fact, you can request them in our Reviews forum. However, rating and review swaps promising high scores is prohibited. If you agree to a review swap, we expect you to actually read the other person's fiction and to write a thoughtful review with a rating that matches your opinion of the story
  • The review swap must be an advanced review.
  • Both users must read at least 10,000 words (approximately 36 pages) of the other person's fiction before writing the review, unless the story in question is a completed short story. 
  • The review must justify the rating. Agreeing to give high ratings beforehand is considered vote manipulation and is against the rules.
  • If an author abuses the review swap system for a rating manipulation attempt, all reviews received by the author, and written by the author will be removed, and the reviews by the other participating users will be subjected to scrutiny as well. 

Reporting Reviews

If you see any reviews that violate the rules above, please report them by clicking the [Report] button at the bottom of the review you wish to report. Clearly state the reason(s) for reporting the review on the page it takes you to and click [Confirm]. Our staff will review the report and decide what action needs to be taken.

Reporting Fictions

If you find that a fiction violates any of our rules, do not leave a review stating as such. Report the fiction in question by clicking the [Report] button on the top right side of the story’s main page. Clearly state the reason(s) for reporting on the page it takes you to and click [Confirm]. Our staff will review the report and decide what action needs to be taken.