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richardshagrin

I have noticed a good trend of having more reviews on the front page. I think the reviewers should be congratulated and encouraged.

There is one issue (at least) that might be worth discussing. Negative reviews should be discouraged. Management leaves it up to us to decide if a review is too negative. If you are impelled to say you didn't like a story, at least some positive comments should be included. Numbers below 5, which is a D, or low pass, are particularly suspect in a published review. The guidance to reviewers suggest sending an email to the author rather than posting a review if you don't like the story.

From the site's viewpoint, reviews are to encourage, reward or make constructive suggestions to authors and to help readers find good stories. If reviews don't give those results, the bandwidth used by the reviews could be better used to publish more stories.

SOL and Fine Stories survive and grow by authors posting new stories to attract readers, particularly readers who become Premier Members and send money. Or at least give feedback to attract authors to post here rather than elsewhere, or only at sites that pay them money. What kinds of reviews help the sites? What don't?

Replies:   awnlee jawking  Grant
awnlee jawking

@richardshagrin


Negative reviews should be discouraged.


When posting a negative review, the reviewer has to justify their opinion. 1-bombers have no such obstacle yet story scores also represent a kind of review. I'm not convinced that banning negative reviews represents a consistent approach.


the bandwidth used by the reviews could be better used to publish more stories


I'm not convinced that lack of bandwidth limits the number of stories on the site.

AJ

richardshagrin
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@awnlee jawking

I agree that bandwidth is not the real problem limiting the number of stories on SOL and Fine Stories. I suspect finding authors who are willing to share their stories without receiving pay in money is far more important. I hope many authors who do post, post here because they are far more likely to get comments and support of a community of readers.

I may well be wrong, but it seems likely to me that one way to reduce the number of those authors is to publish negative reviews. I am not saying every story should get straight tens. But fives or less without any constructive comments may chase away authors who may have other, better stories to share with us.

This is one reason why "one bombing" stories defeats having a broad range of stories available and attracting new authors and retaining ones who have already been attracted. Readers who don't like stories can do what floats their boat. Reviewers have special privileges extended by the site to make known their opinions. That privilege can be withdrawn if it jeopardizes the site continuing to prosper.

I have a few reviews where I gave fives. If I had it to do over, I might not have posted those reviews. On the other hand, Celeste, the best known reviewer of erotic fiction ever, gave some fives, as well. I suggest newish reviewers read some of her reviews. Some are very short. Some are much longer than the typical SOL review. Almost all are better written than most reviews here. Experience and talent matter. Lets try to do a better job at reviewing as we get more experience.

Maybe I am way off base on why the site wants reviews, and why reviewers want to write them. Comments could be helpful. You could always just tell me to shut up.

Grant
Updated:

@richardshagrin

What kinds of reviews help the sites?


Honest ones.

If a story is crap, and the author read it through to the end, and they feel the need to review it, then they should state that it is crap.

Of course they should then say why they feel that way.

There are several stories I've read through to the end & if I were to review them the score for personal appeal would be a 3, however the plot & spelling & grammar were excellent so those would have been marked as 9s or 10s.

Then there is a recent review of Evolutionist where I disagree with the reviewer's reasons for their marking down of personal appeal & the plot.

For the plot it was marked down for lack of character development- even though the reviewer acknowledged it was a short story. Not only was it a short story, it also covered only a short period of time so any major character development wasn't a possibility, the story was about what happened to the main character & those around him during that time frame. A story doesn't have to have character development to be a good story, particularly when it's a story set over a limited time frame.

The marking down for personal appeal was because the story didn't explain how the present situation came about.

To me, that is more a reflection of the reader than a short coming of the story- the story was about the main character at this point in his life- his release from jail, and what then happened. It was later explained how he ended up where he was & then it develops from there.

How the country got to be the way it was wasn't of any relevance to this story; it would be a completely different story, IMHO.

I personally would have scored this story higher; but at least the reviewer explained why they scored it the way they did, and someone reading the story for themselves can decide if they agree with that review, or one of the preceding ones.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin
Updated:

@Grant


however the plot & spelling & grammar were excellent so those would have been marked as 9s or 10s.


I hope it is OK to disagree. I have read reviews where the reviewer claims the story is better than just a ten and is sorry he can't give it an eleven. The problem with all reviews being nines and tens is its hard to praise the really exceptional stories enough. Some other reviewers have agreed that an average story is a six which is the equivalent of a C. That makes seven a B, good, and eight an A, excellent. There is nothing wrong with giving good stories a seven or excellent stories an eight. That saves the three standard deviations above the mean score of nine for the top fraction of one percent that meet that standard. And tens for the story other reviewers want to give an eleven to. I try to give at most one ten a month. Some months I fail, particularly when there are really much better than just a nine stories. And I didn't always fell this way, there may be some tens in my list of reviewed stories that I might now give an eight to, or maybe a nine. I recommend other reviewers decide if they want to give every story they review a ten, just because its a good story. I hope others will give good stories a seven and excellent stories an eight. Lets save tens for Dance of a Lifetime or something else that winds up in the top fifty, or maybe the top half of the top fifty. Or at least the best story you read that month.

Replies:   Grant  awnlee jawking
Grant
Updated:

@richardshagrin

I hope it is OK to disagree. I have read reviews where the reviewer claims the story is better than just a ten and is sorry he can't give it an eleven. The problem with all reviews being nines and tens is its hard to praise the really exceptional stories enough.


I don't see how you're disagreeing, or why you think you are.

The plot & spelling and grammar for this story was really excellent, it's just that the story itself didn't do anything for me, hence the extremely low appeal rating even though the others would have been so high.

And I agree about he ridiculousness of people awarding 10s to really good or really great stories.

10s should be only for most amazing/incredible/awesome stories.

Or even those that give 8s & 9s to stories that are very good or really good, but aren't great or excellent.

It's the opposite of 1 bombing.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

I'm not convinced that lack of bandwidth limits the number of stories on the site.

It's not that negative reviews limits the number of stories, but that negative reviews don't really aid readers. Instead of focusing on crappy stories (even if you vehemently disagree with glowing reviews/ratings), it's better for everyone if you highlight the better stories. Bad stories are, as a whole, better off being forgotten rather than memorialized.

@Grant

If a story is crap, and the author read it through to the end, and they feel the need to review it, then they should state that it is crap.

That's they key. Reviews aren't written by readers, they're instead written by specially appointed reviewers, who are there to promote the site, not to express their own opinions.

Everyone is welcome to express their opinions, either by voting or by responding directly to the author, however 1-bombing tends to chase away minority representation on the site (if you ain't part of the majority of older white straight men on the site, you ain't welcome here is the message many receive from the site). Reviews are expected to serve a broader purpose, to highlight the best or the more underrated stories that readers may have missed.

That said, readers also expect more from reviews in that they expect them to be honest. That means you acknowledge what an author does well, and point out their weaknesses, irregardless of the score you give a story. Readers want to learn something about the story instead of just whether the individual reviewer liked it or not. If the story squicks you because of something that happened to your mother when you were young, then skip the review. If the author wrote a decent story but has issues writing certain scenes, then let readers know before they invest the time in reading the story so they'll know upfront what to expect.

richardshagrin
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I am not saying this is the one best way, its just why I go through already published older stories by looking at all authors whose name begins with a pretty much random letter, like A or F. I try to find one that has not been reviewed before, or was reviewed say 10 years ago or more. It needs to be a story I liked, I won't try to pull attention to a slightly better than average story unless it appeals to me a lot. There are gems in the 38,000 older stories that didn't make the top 50 lists that some readers might like to look at, and maybe look at other stories by the same author or in universes created by that author. I don't always do only that, but I think that's really what reviewers are for. I suspect reviewers who mostly review newly posted stories disagree. Are there other, even better selection criteria? None of us can write reviews unless we first read a story and decide it should be reviewed. How we select those stories is something worth discussing, I hope.

awnlee jawking

@richardshagrin


The problem with all reviews being nines and tens is its hard to praise the really exceptional stories enough.


Does that remind people of the old scoring system?

AJ

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

How old is the old scoring system? Was it one to five stars, like on Fine Stories?

I'd like to advocate others rate stories 6 is a C, 7 is a B, and 8 is an A. If you think a story is an A Plus, rate it a nine. Tens should be rare. And ones should be as rare as tens. Normal curves have as many scores below the median as above it. Fives are not a failing grade, just below average. And some of the stories that get scores below six are interesting and downgraded by many voters because of content choices, like MM or Scat or other squicks. Rache lived with it, other authors can if they want to. And they do the site a service, unless we want every story to be a Post Apocalypse or Do-Over, or something about a cheating wife.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

And they do the site a service, unless we want every story to be a Post Apocalypse or Do-Over, or something about a cheating wife.

Or a story about someone who travels back from a Post-Apocalyptic period to cheat on his wife. 'D

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@Crumbly Writer

Or a story about someone who travels back from a Post-Apocalyptic period to cheat on his wife. 'D


With a harem, of course.

bb

(Public service announcement: fighting grade inflation is a losing battle.)

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