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Forum: Editors/Reviewers Hangout

Reviewing for the recognition

tyketriker

For a start I'm not going to mention any names, someone else can do that.

I'm presently reading through a story that has three reviews against it. All three reviews have gone overboard on the story and have given a score of triple 10's. However, on reading through the story there are numerous missing words and small errors in the dialogues. So, the following questions arise from my thoughts:

1 Are these 'groupies' who will give good reviews and scores regardless of the actual content?

2 Can any of their other reviews be trusted as being representative of the story?

3 Are they just submitting reviews in order to see their name as a reviewer?

As for the present story, I've sent a message to the 'famous' author and await his reply. Depending on what the reply is, if any, I 'might' be tempted to give the story my review which would not be so rosy.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@tyketriker

I think you're being a bit harsh. It's not trivial to read a story and come up with constructive comments that might help readers make a choice.

I think there are in-built biases towards high scores because reviewers are constrained to be positive, and because they review the stories they like.

Personally I've only ever come across two or three stories I felt would deserve straight 10s, and there are obvious differences in the marking standards used by different reviewers.

Perhaps Lazeez could implement a system to average out the marks given by each reviewer, so someone prone to issuing an abundance of straight tens would have them corrected to eg straight sevens or eights. Or alternatively, perhaps there could be a 'score this review' facility so readers can provide feedback on how accurate they found a review.

AJ

tyketriker

@awnlee jawking

A couple of questions:

Would you give straight 10's for a story containing missing words and/or misplaced words thus spoiling the flow of words/reading?

How would you suggest a reviewer is scored/treated who states that as far as they are concerned anything that a certain author writes is outstanding?

awnlee jawking

@tyketriker

Would you give straight 10's for a story containing missing words and/or misplaced words thus spoiling the flow of words/reading?


I have my own system, allocating a number of stars up to 3 for the stories I read. 3 star ratings are rare. One ongoing story I rate at 3 stars, 'Gateway' by the Blind Man, had a number of typos in the early chapters that readers might have found irritating. So I'm prepared to accept a few lapses if the story and its telling are good enough. Having said that, if I were using SOL's more sensitive review rating system, I'd have to mark down the technical quality - but not by much.

How would you suggest a reviewer is scored/treated who states that as far as they are concerned anything that a certain author writes is outstanding?


While I have my favourite authors, I don't know of any who produce consistently outstanding stories, aside from non-prolific writers like BarBar. I would be very sceptical about a reviewer who claimed that every one of a prolific author's stories was outstanding, and if they hadn't individually reviewed each story and produced strong justification to substantiate that claim, I would mark down the reviewer.

One of the biases in the story scoring system is because some readers rate the author rather than the story. Reviewers ought to be better than that.

AJ

Replies:   tyketriker
Ernest Bywater

Many reviewers say they score go more on how much they enjoyed the story than technical aspects. However, I rarely read reviews, so it doesn't worry me much.

graybyrd

@tyketriker

Would you give straight 10's for a story containing missing words and/or misplaced words thus spoiling the flow of words/reading?


I think from the tone of your post, you've answered your own question.

That said, I try to take a holistic approach. After most of a lifetime as a journalist, editor, corporate flak, and country newspaper publisher, what you call errors we usually called 'glitches and gremlins.' If you've ever encountered the perfect proofreader, an error-free editor, or a flawless grammarian, get out your white robes and prepare for the last days.

Cut a little slack. SOL is an amateur universe; few of us can afford professional copy editing.

So, is it a good story? Well written? Do the phrases 'sing' to you; do you want to see the next screen, the next chapter?

Yes, glitches and gremlins are like pimples and warts on Cinderella's face. Is yours perfect? So back off a bit, take a more generous attitude, and enjoy the story.

tyketriker

@awnlee jawking

Can't really make any comments about 'Gateway' and The Blind Man. ;-)

Perhaps there should be a rating system for the author as well as the story...

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Perhaps Lazeez could implement a system to average out the marks given by each reviewer, so someone prone to issuing an abundance of straight tens would have them corrected to eg straight sevens or eights. Or alternatively, perhaps there could be a 'score this review' facility so readers can provide feedback on how accurate they found a review.

Please! Enough of us already have an issue with the site's 'score adjustments'. I'm not sure it'll satisfy anyone to institute more. Instead, we need to stress to reviews to: "Keep your reviews positive, focusing on stories readers will want to read, but keep the reviews accurate, pointing out story flaws—without including spoilers—potential issues and noting minor editing errors."

Readers want to know what to read, but they also want to know, going in, what a stories weaknesses are so they're equipped and forewarned, rather than getting midway through a 236 chapter story only to discover makes little sense, zipping off into left field mid-stream.

I think readers and authors both will appreciate such honest feedback, especially if they avoid the outright negative reviews. The critiques might somewhat painful, but authors would rather know where the story goes off the track than they'd want to wonder where the story went wrong.

Replies:   awnlee jawking  maroon
Crumbly Writer

@tyketriker

Would you give straight 10's for a story containing missing words and/or misplaced words thus spoiling the flow of words/reading?

You've got to decide whether you're reviewing the story, or the typing and editing. For promising newbies, that's an unfair comparison—since they haven't yet developed the skills to finely polish a work.

Readers are more often interested in the story than in the choice (or quality) or words used. Thus a good story deserves raves, even if it contains several errors. However, if an established author with several editors had abundant errors, then it's worth pointing that out to readers—but even then, I wouldn't pan a story simply because the author had an off day.

Many authors are writing through illnesses, traumas or pain. They may still have something to offer. A better approach would be list provide a list of errors and offer it up to the author before posting the review, potentially adding a tagline to the review: "Author seems uninterested in correcting multiple repeated mistakes" if they're unreceptive to suggestions, as that's vital for readers to know.

Crumbly Writer

@graybyrd

Yes, glitches and gremlins are like pimples and warts on Cinderella's face. Is yours perfect? So back off a bit, take a more generous attitude, and enjoy the story.

Excellent phrasing. Which illustrates the point. You should review the story rather than the typos, but I'd still include cautions at the end of the review where you critique an author's weaknesses such an unbelievable plotlines, fragmented stories (i.e. that travel all over the place before eventually returning to the story proper) and their 'quality control'. Readers are interested in those details, but it's not what attracts them to a story in the first place, and downgrading a story rating because you, personally, are frustrated by grammar mistakes is a disservice to everyone.

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

Of the stories on the first page of Reviews, 90% have an 'Appeal' rating of 9 or 10. A quick skim through the subsequent pages suggests this percentage is rising.

Do you take heed of the ratings supplied by the reviewers?

AJ

maroon

@Crumbly Writer

I was going to make a similar comment about adjusting reviewer scores. If a reviewer's 10/10/10 got knocked down to 7's because they always give a 10, they'll just lower their average by looking for other stories they could give 6's to.

Grant
Updated:

@graybyrd

Yes, glitches and gremlins are like pimples and warts on Cinderella's face. Is yours perfect? So back off a bit, take a more generous attitude, and enjoy the story.

Why cut someone some slack on the technical quality?
If they don't get picked up for the errors they make, then why bother improving?

If the plot is only so-so, then grade it a 5, but if you still really enjoyed the story then give it a 8-10 for that Appeal.
If you can't recall any errors, then give it a 10 for Technical quality, If there are a few, then a 9, If there are quite a few, or the ones that are there significantly impact reading of the story then give them a 5.
Give each category the rating it deserves.

Ernest Bywater

@Grant

Why cut someone some slack on the technical quality?


A lot would depend on the actual errors and how frequent. I know when I read a story I sometimes miss errors because they're so minor, and sometimes I spot a small error and then forget about it within half a page. That may be what's happening. not being a reviewer, I've no idea how it really works.

Dominions Son

@Grant

Why cut someone some slack on the technical quality?


I've found typos and homonym/synonym errors in dead tree books from major publishers.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@Dominions Son

Why cut someone some slack on the technical quality?

I've found typos and homonym/synonym errors in dead tree books from major publishers.
Ok.
And?

As I mentioned in my original post, if you don't notice any errors, it's worth a 10. If there are a few, or quite a few but they don't put you out of the story to any great degree then give them a 8 or 9, with even lower scores for more errors/greater impact on readability.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
graybyrd
Updated:

@Grant


Why cut someone some slack on the technical quality?

If they don't get picked up for the errors they make, then why bother improving?


For the simple reason -- and it should be obvious -- that SOL is not a professional publishing house and the review and scoring standards should reflect that fact.

Another valid point is that virtually every work posted on SOL is a 'first draft' and should be held to a less stringent standard.

Notice I say 'less stringent' and not expecting 'professional' standards.

People normally don't respond well to harsh criticism, which the tone of this thread initiated. So feedback of a helpful, encouraging nature will be much more effective in helping an amateur author improve their work. And I'd really like to say that 'gremlins and glitches' -- the typos and misspellings and homonyms and grammar errors we pounce upon like a hawk on a duckling -- they are the very SMALLEST part of the skill of crafting a well-told tale.

So, goddammit, lighten up, already.

I am and have been a professional. If I were to score, review, and judge most SOL stories as strictly and harshly as has been suggested here, damned few would rate above a "3". The average would be down around "1" or "2". And the "story review" would suggest they smash their computer, snap their pens and pencils, and donate their copy of Microsoft Word to Goodwill Enterprises.

Or, take a year and learn to write.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@graybyrd

For the simple reason -- and it should be obvious -- that SOL is not a professional publishing house and the review and scoring standards should reflect that fact.

The review and the scores should reflect the quality of the story.
Since the reviewers aren't professionals either, there's going the be plenty of leeway there already.

Another valid point is that virtually every work posted on SOL is a 'first draft' and should be held to a less stringent standard.

If someone posts a first draft without any editing done on it, I would expect the reviewer to point that out and mark it accordingly.
If it's good, it's good; if not, it's not.

People normally don't respond well to harsh criticism, which the tone of this thread initiated.

You're the only one that's suggested anything about harsh criticism.
The other posts and my responses were mostly about the grading of Plot, Quality & Appeal, not the actual written review itself.
The Plot and Appeal scores are very much subjective, Appeal entirely so. The Quality rating will depend very much on the reviewer's own education levels.

So feedback of a helpful, encouraging nature will be much more effective in helping an amateur author improve their work. And I'd really like to say that 'gremlins and glitches' -- the typos and misspellings and homonyms and grammar errors we pounce upon like a hawk on a duckling -- they are the very SMALLEST part of the skill of crafting a well-told tale.

It doesn't matter how good the plot or characters are if all those typos, spelling errors & wrong word choices make the story unreadable.
The written review is the reviewer's own opinion on the story. It's not about comparing it to a classic piece of literature, nor a modern day best seller, nor something a pre-schooler has come up with. How they choose to describe the story is entirely up the them. And the Appeal to reader score will reflect that. The score for Plot should be much less subjective, and the Quality score should reflect accurately on the impact the spelling etc has on the story.

So, goddammit, lighten up, already.

Hey, you're the one coming on all hot & heavy.

I am and have been a professional. If I were to score, review, and judge most SOL stories as strictly and harshly as has been suggested here, damned few would rate above a "3". The average would be down around "1" or "2". And the "story review" would suggest they smash their computer, snap their pens and pencils, and donate their copy of Microsoft Word to Goodwill Enterprises.

What are you going on about?
I suggest you re-read the thread.
Other than yourself it has mostly been about the scoring reviewers give for Plot, Quality & Appeal.
Then I suggest that you might want to read some of the more highly rated & reviewed stories because many of those ones would rate up there with published works, for Plot and Quality. Appeal to reader is of course purely subjective, not only for stories here, but for ones published on paper.
You considering the majority of stories here being a 1 or 2 if considered professionally only shows your harshness when judging the work of others.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@graybyrd

Cut a little slack. SOL is an amateur universe; few of us can afford professional copy editing.


Some authors are clearly beginners, and I'm prepared to cut them a lot of slack. For example, take 'Silver Wings Upon His Chest' by Anotherp08. It's not my favourite genre and the technical quality is ... cough, cough. But it's an engaging story which handles tension well and I'd rate its appeal well above its technical quality.

On the other hand, there's a story I won't name by a semi-professional author ie it's also for sale as an e-book. It's definitely not a first draft because of its editor credits, but its technical quality is equally ... cough, cough.

My inclination would be to review the latter more viscerally than the former, yet I'm not sure that would help potential readers.

AJ

awnlee jawking

@maroon

I think I was aiming at the wrong target there. But I do have a suggestion, based on a shopping site I visited recently. Give each review a yes/no option for readers to vote on whether they found the review useful.

Hopefully that wouldn't discourage reviewers, but would make them ask why readers didn't think their verdict was constructive.

AJ

Ava G

@Grant

Why cut someone some slack on the technical quality?
If they don't get picked up for the errors they make, then why bother improving?


What if the errors are intentional?

For example, they could come in the diary of a semiliterate Civil War soldier, and posted as counterpoint to a much more literate 21st century person - perhaps the diary's discoverer.

In that case, the difficulty in reading would be an integral part of the story.

Replies:   Grant
sejintenej
Updated:

Some author / editor combinations are better than others. A good story may merit a ten BUT I have seen stories with errors on almost every page (17 lines for me). I omit possible US spelling here. Such a frequency is just too much to keep the full score.

I am rereading a Universe of perhaps a dozen stories. Events in the second story involve a man who doesn't get out of V A hospital until the next story and where the events occur from his different perspective in about the seventh story many years later. Indeed the two MCs don't meet until perhaps chapter 5

The individual stories (multiple chapters) are good have virtually no typos etc. But the entire universe is a time wise mess. No names - he or she is mentioned here sometimes and with respect.

Last Friday I read the latest chapter in a saga but, hold on, I read this chapter last week. No comment in the blog and the previous week's chapter seems different.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
richardshagrin

I do some reviewing but that doesn't mean my way is the highway. I try to review stories I think other SOL readers would enjoy. I try not to give every story I review a ten, that score is for stories that blow me away. An average story on SOL is a six, like a C in highschool. Management adjusts scores voters for the story give so a six is an average score. I interpret seven as a B. A good story. Eight is the equivalent of an A. Nines are A Plus. Tens are very rare. Some tags tend to reduce the score given by readers, squicks and other unpopular story elements. There are excellent stories by Rache/Rachel Ross and her other pen names (like God of Porn) with scores in the fives, or even lower. If I were to review some of them based on the quality of the writing, and I would only review them if I thought readers would enjoy reading them, they would be at least sevens, and mostly eights or higher. If they had zombies or vampires my scores would be lower, I don't care for those kinds of stories, and mostly don't read them.

There are a few other reviewers who share my A, B, C approach, so I am not alone in my madness. But tens for appeal is a rational approach for reviewers who want to recommend a story to review readers. I admit it may make it harder for the reader to figure out which tens are really much better than other stories, but every reviewer brings his or her own opinions to the table. One possible approach is to look at other stories the reviewer has reviewed and see if you can figure out what the reviewer likes from how he has scored other stories. If you strongly disagree with the reviewer's approach, don't read his or her reviews, or take them with a grain or two of salt.

Crumbly Writer

@Grant

Why cut someone some slack on the technical quality?
If they don't get picked up for the errors they make, then why bother improving?

If you think that, then by all means, contact the author directly, as otherwise they're unlikely to ever glance at your review. However, you don't write reviews for authors, instead you write them to help readers pick stories to read. Thus there's little sense dumping on a decent story, just because a novice author is struggling with the craft, or their editor is ill.

Instead, you highlight the strengths of the story (why readers should take note of it, and then caution the readers on the glitches, typos, poor punctuation or overuse of established tropes.

Your job as a review isn't to hold anyone accountable, you job is to help readers evaluate stories, rather than giving them a grade on their basic skills.

Few readers care that much whether an author uses a serial comma or not, so grading them harshly on your own pet peeve is disingenuous.

Crumbly Writer

@Grant

As I mentioned in my original post, if you don't notice any errors, it's worth a 10. If there are a few, or quite a few but they don't put you out of the story to any great degree then give them a 8 or 9, with even lower scores for more errors/greater impact on readability.

If you're so eager to flunk someone's honest effort, then go back to school and get a $18,000 job harassing students. But you're deciding a few errors overrides anything else in the story isn't giving your readers a fair shake, it merely points out your own flaws as a human being (i.e. you're too focused on the moss on one tree to ever see the expanse of the forest surrounding you).

Replies:   awnlee jawking  Grant
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

I don't understand. Reviewers are supposed to mark the technical quality. What purpose does that mark serve if they're only allowed to give 10s?

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Grant

It doesn't matter how good the plot or characters are if all those typos, spelling errors & wrong word choices make the story unreadable.

It may make the story "unreadable" for you, but you're assuming that everyone has your same standards. For someone looking for a few hours of distraction, for free, then you're placing an awfully heavy load on "technical achievement". Especially if you can make a note of it at the end of the review, rather than trashing a story just because the author doesn't have more experience with self-editing.

Please, if you ever write anything, then please tell me so I can trash you as thoroughly as you're proposing here. (Yes, I know you claim you've never "trashed" anyone, but your attitude shows you're searching for flaws, rather than complete stories, and few of us can produce flaw-free prose.)

Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

I am rereading a Universe of perhaps a dozen stories. Events in the second story involve a man who doesn't get out of V A hospital until the next story and where the events occur from his different perspective in about the seventh story many years later. Indeed the two MCs don't meet until perhaps chapter 5

Significant plot holes are an entirely different matter than typos or improper (to you) punctuation use.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

I don't understand. Reviewers are supposed to mark the technical quality. What purpose does that mark serve if they're only allowed to give 10s?

Sigh! No where did I ever suggest giving any ten scores, let alone handy them out like lollypops. However, the purpose of a review isn't to pass judgement on a story's 'technical' merits, it's to highlight stories worth reading.

As I've said, I'd definitely flag major or even relatively minor issues with the story, but I wouldn't downgrade a story because of it. Instead, I'd make a note of them so readers can decide for themselves whether it's worth the trade off.

A review that essentially says: 'Great story, with a few issues' is vastly different than staying "Don't even bother with the story because the author couldn't punctuate his way out of paper bag".

Grant

@Ava G

What if the errors are intentional?

For example, they could come in the diary of a semiliterate Civil War soldier, and posted as counterpoint to a much more literate 21st century person - perhaps the diary's discoverer.

In that case, the difficulty in reading would be an integral part of the story.

Such as when people spell for dialect in dialogue. In which case it's not an error.
Of course then that would depend on whether the reviewer interprets the mis-spelling as being part of the story or as errors.

Grant

@Crumbly Writer

For someone that writes as much as you do, you are a very poor reader. Please read what i have written, and don't try to find hidden meanings or assume hidden agendas.
Take it at face value.

However, you don't write reviews for authors, instead you write them to help readers pick stories to read. Thus there's little sense dumping on a decent story, just because a novice author is struggling with the craft, or their editor is ill.

And why would someone want to read a story, no matter how great the plot or characters, if it's unreadable?
If the errors are numerous, but you're still able to enjoy the story then fine, score the Quality low and the Plot and Appeal highly. If there are only a few errors, but they significantly impact on the enjoyment of the story then score the Quality highly and the Appeal low.
How is accurately and honestly scoring the Quality low- when it is low- dumping or trashing or harrasment or flunking an Author? Seriously?

Your job as a review isn't to hold anyone accountable, you job is to help readers evaluate stories, rather than giving them a grade on their basic skills.

If the reviewer isn't meant to grade their skills, why then is there a score for Quality?
And i know i would be very unimpressed if i went to read a story that had high scores for Quality yet i'm unable to get through the first pages due to all the errors. Being accurate & honest in the score for Quality is necessary.
If someone goes in to a story knowing that the Quality isn't all that great then they can't complain about the Quality as they were forewarned, and if they don't have high expectations then the issues won't impact their enjoyment of the story as much as they would have.

Few readers care that much whether an author uses a serial comma or not, so grading them harshly on your own pet peeve is disingenuous.

And people can always check out other reviews by a particular reviewer & determine if they agree with their scores. Or maybe they can read the written part of the review, and see what it is the reviewer based their scores on?
I've seen stories with high scores for Quality, yet i found unreadable. Others marked down for Quality, yet i found the quality to be quite good.
Reviews are the opinion of the reviewer. And any scores they give will also be based on their opinions, and level of education. Just as the score readers give a story are.

If you're so eager to flunk someone's honest effort, then go back to school and get a $18,000 job harassing students.

Interesting that you consider teachers trying to teach students harassing them. I guess you'd rather let them express themselves but not correct their mistakes as that might discourage them? Of course it would make it easier for people in the future to be able to read what it they produce if their mistakes were corrected early on.

But you're deciding a few errors overrides anything else in the story isn't giving your readers a fair shake

Once again, you need to read what i post, not what you think i'm posting.
I'll say it again, because the previous times i've said it appear to have been ignored or mis-interpreted.
If a story has quite a few errors, but they don't significantly impact on the reading of the story, then score lower for the Quality but up for the Appeal. If there are only a few errors, but they significantly impact on the reading of the story, then score up for the Quality, but down on the Appeal.
Notice nothing at all being mentioned about the written part of the review.

How is honestly and accurately scoring the Quality of a story dumping on or trashing a story? Seriously?
If in the written part of the review (which hasn't been what i've been commenting on, i've been commenting on the Scores in the review but you keep bringing the written part in to it for some reason) they continually harp on about the spelling, formatting etc errors then that's dumping or trashing or harassment or flunking them. But just giving a score that accurately reflects the Quality? Seriously.

Sigh! No where did I ever suggest giving any ten scores, let alone handy them out like lollypops. However, the purpose of a review isn't to pass judgement on a story's 'technical' merits, it's to highlight stories worth reading.

Did you read what you typed there?
You say it's "not to pass judgement on it's technical merits, but to highlight stories worth reading." Yet one of the scores is for Quality. Another for Personal appeal.
Poor technical merits can adversely impact the Appeal. If there are quite a few errors, but it doesn't impact the Appeal, then you score it appropriately. The written part of the review allows the reviewer to say why they scored the way they did- be it use of the serial comma or the fact that it might have been written by someone for whom English is a second or 3rd language. If the Quality is good overall, but there are issues that significantly impact the enjoyment of the story, then score the Quality & Appeal appropriately.

it merely points out your own flaws as a human being

An you, not reading what I type but what you think I I've typed shows one of you flaws as a human being.
I've repeated myself many times in this post in the hope you'd catch one.
Once more for luck.

If there are quite a few errors in the story, but it doesn't affect greatly the readability or enjoyment, then score down on the Quality, but up on the Appeal. If there are only a few errors in the story, but they do impact on the readability, then score up on the Quality, but down on the Appeal.
See, once again, no mention of the written part of the review (till now).

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Grant

An you, not reading what I type but what you think I I've typed shows one of you flaws as a human being.
I've repeated myself many times in this post in the hope you'd catch one.
Once more for luck.

Alas, not being a regular reader of reviews, I mistakenly assumed Lazeez had changed the 'multiple scores' for reviews when he eliminated them in the story scoring. I assumed there was only a single score, and you were deciding how must the typos which bothered you affected the overall story.

tyketriker

After reading all the comments/replies on this subject I would like to propose two things:

1 Remove the numerical scoring system and just leave them as written reviews.

2 Reviews can only be made after the completion of a story. How can one carry out a review of a story after, say, a couple of chapters when that story then lasts over fifty chapters.

Replies:   madnige  Crumbly Writer
madnige
Updated:

@tyketriker

Problems:


1 Remove the numerical scoring system and just leave them as written reviews.


The problem there is that while roughly 1% of readers give a score, only roughly 1% of that number do a review - so reader guidance will be very thin on the ground. The 'old' scoring system (which I never saw) apparently had the same three-element format as reviews have, but was simplified because readers weren't using it properly.

2 Reviews can only be made after the completion of a story. How can one carry out a review of a story after, say, a couple of chapters when that story then lasts over fifty chapters.


Reviews can presently be made before a story has completed posting, but obviously they are less relevant. Scores are adjusted as posting progresses and readers award new scores so giving a reasonable idea of the popularity of an in-progress story; without them, you'd have to look at downloads only to get the popularity for an in-progress story
ETA: The biggest problems I can see with forcing a review-only evaluation is that
a: It forces the users to think - a big no-no in user interface design
b: Readers will not use the reviews to select stories - it's easy to glance at a numeric score, but actually reading a review requires effort possibly similar to reading the story itself
c: It's pretty ridiculous to use or even have a review for some of the flash-sized pieces and poems

I had thought of a different scoring scheme which addresses some of the most serious shortcomings of the present scheme (requiring a reader to make a subjective choice involving thinking, the score inflation that the present score adjustment calculation addresses, authors complaining about scores not matching their own calculations due to not understanding the score adjustment, and 'fanbois' and 'unibombers') where readers were offered only a liked/disliked scoring option, but the score applied by a reader vote was modified by how they typically score stories, and a multichapter story which gets fewer downloads of later chapters than early ones gets a downtick in the score - multiposting stories could also look at how the vote distribution changes with updates. It could be run in parallel with the present scheme (using a threshold or two; high scores=like, low=dislike, middle=didn't vote) and kept hidden to allow it to be calibrated against the current scheme (or even just evaluated), until ready for prime time. A chunk of work, but Lazeez might decide it's worth doing to reduce the bitching about scores.

tyketriker

@madnige

Just before anyone else jumps in let me clarify.

I'm talking just about reviews and the part of the reviews that has a score system. I am NOT talking about the scoring system that readers can input against each story.

Replies:   Grant  madnige
Grant

@tyketriker

I'm talking just about reviews and the part of the reviews that has a score system.

And removing or changing it wouldn't make things better, only worse.

madnige
Updated:

@tyketriker

I am NOT talking about the scoring system that readers can input against each story.

- but you said:

Remove the numerical scoring system


Ah, you mean the review-only three-element scores - that pretty much invalidates my reply above. I was going to say it doesn't matter to me either way, but on refection it might be useful to reduce the reviews with little meat, which consist largely of 'this is my scoring scheme' (as if there is always exactly one excellent story per month).

ETA: In case you didn't follow that, I've changed from 'But...' to 'I agree'

PS, from your nym, do you perchance ride a motor-tricycle and hail from Yorkshire?

Replies:   tyketriker
Ernest Bywater

@madnige

Reviews can presently be made before a story has completed posting, but obviously they are less relevant.


Also, there are some cases where a review is given a sneak preview of the completed story.

tyketriker
Updated:

@madnige


PS, from your nym, do you perchance ride a motor-tricycle and hail from Yorkshire?


Alas, no longer. The last trike was sold a couple of years ago. Just watching the tour de Yorkshire at the moment. ;-) God's Own County

PS. And, before anyone asks, I'm not willing to proofread any Yorkshire dialect. :-)

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@tyketriker

PS. And, before anyone asks, I'm not willing to proofread any Yorkshire dialect. :-)


Tha' no care, du tha?

Replies:   tyketriker
tyketriker

@Ernest Bywater

Tha' no care, du tha?


Is that Scottish or outback aussie ;-)

Ernest Bywater

@tyketriker


Is that Scottish or outback aussie ;-)


My father came out here from Huddersfield while still a tyke, but he could still put on the accent when he wanted to. And that's about as close as i can get to it from memory - he passed on about 20 years ago.

Crumbly Writer

@tyketriker

After reading all the comments/replies on this subject I would like to propose two things:

1 Remove the numerical scoring system and just leave them as written reviews.

2 Reviews can only be made after the completion of a story. How can one carry out a review of a story after, say, a couple of chapters when that story then lasts over fifty chapters.

I'd modify your proposal slightly:

1 Modify the Review scoring to make it more consistent with scoring across SOL, so readers know what to expect (after all, if readers don't understand 'technical' scoring on a story, why should they understand it in a review?).

2 Reviews are allowable for a continuing story (after all, how many 80+ stories do we have, and reviews are intended to call attention to stories worth following), however, the reviews should be periodically updated as the story unfolds, or at the very least, revised when the story is finally finished.

3 If #2 isn't possible, say if the reviewer dies before the story finishes, then the reviewer should leave a note saying "Review never completed due to an unexpected plot twist." 'D

Replies:   tyketriker
Crumbly Writer

@tyketriker

Is that Scottish or outback aussie ;-)

No, it's Ernest offering to take care of editing any Yorkshire dialect stories for you. ;)

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

No, it's Ernest offering to take care of editing any Yorkshire dialect stories for you. ;)


Ya wish. It was me pointing out some of us have been exposed to it.

Replies:   tyketriker  sejintenej
tyketriker

@Ernest Bywater

Ya wish. It was me pointing out some of us have been exposed to it.


Reminds me of when my teens I was visiting a farmer friend in Upper Wharfedale. We met an old man who rebuilt the dry stone walls and the farmer had to translate for me. When I mentioned afterwards that I didn't understand one word, the farmer pointed out that he lived there and he could barely understand the man. This man could look at a wall and tell you who had built it or repaired it for up to four hundred years before. He could also repair a wall such that you wouldn't see any repair.

tyketriker

@Crumbly Writer

1 Why have a scoring system? Why not just the descriptive dialog of the review.

2 Who monitors for updates?

3 Even the Internet doesn't reach that far.

Replies:   Grant  Crumbly Writer
Grant
Updated:

@tyketriker

1 Why have a scoring system? Why not just the descriptive dialog of the review.

Because the scores make it easy at a glance to see what the reviewer thought of the story.
The written part lets you see what they based those judgments on.

EDIT-
I guess the reason I like the scores is that on the few reviews i've read where what was written didn't really match up with the scores, I found the scores a more accurate indicator.

Replies:   graybyrd
graybyrd

@Grant

where what was written didn't really match up with the scores, I found the scores a more accurate indicator.


Or, vice versa?

sejintenej
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

.For translation you might need a 'nordmann'. My soninlaw got posted there and brought down a Yorkshire -English dictionary. On random pair of pages one third of the words were mis-pronounced English but I found all the rest had the same English translations as my Norwegian dictionary. Not surprising given the Viking invasions of that area. The main street in York is called .Kirkgate. (Kirke is a church, Gate is a street). Lots of other northcountry words have similar background - fell (hill) from fjell for example

Replies:   tyketriker
tyketriker

@sejintenej

True, even in these days you have places like Troller's Gill and local folklore about Nordic trolls that live in there.

This thread is starting to sound like an authors cooperative in an epic tale through time about Yorkshire.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@tyketriker

I'm glad you left the s out of tyske otherwise you would be leftover from the Hanseatic traders. ;-)

Crumbly Writer

@tyketriker

1 Why have a scoring system? Why not just the descriptive dialog of the review.

2 Who monitors for updates?

3 Even the Internet doesn't reach that far.

#1 I'm not arguing against scores, just suggesting they'd be easier to interpret if they were consistent across the SOL universe. Again, if readers can't grasp what 'technical details' is in a story posting, why would they in a review.

#2 The reviewer. I'm suggesting it's the responsibility of anyone reviewing an 'ongoing story' that they'll need to update it if the story changes substantially, at the risk of looking bad if the story tanks later on.

#3 was a joke, not a requirement.

Replies:   tyketriker
tyketriker

@Crumbly Writer

#2 The reviewer. I'm suggesting it's the responsibility of anyone reviewing an 'ongoing story' that they'll need to update it if the story changes substantially, at the risk of looking bad if the story tanks later on.


I've actually sent a message to a reviewer who submitted their review around chapter 5 of a story that's now approaching 70 chapters asking if they were going to update their review at the end of the story. Result = no reply.

#3 was a joke, not a requirement.

My reply due to Yorkshire humour. I understand that the underlying problem is the range of Wi-Fi at the moment. ;-)

PotomacBob

@graybyrd

Yaaay Graybird! If the storytelling is great, I can and do overlook the glitches.

PotomacBob

@maroon

If I were a reviewer (I'm not, because I can't write), and I gave a story a 10, only to see a machine change the score I gave it, I'd simply stop reviewing. If a machine wants to change the score, let the machine do the reviewing.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@PotomacBob

I'm not, because I can't write


Balderdash! Your forum posts are well written and make good points. IMO you'd make a good reviewer.

AJ

sejintenej

Going back to the first post here I had a quick random look at a reviewer - sorry manddscott but you fell out of the hat.
He or she gives an excellent introduction to how and why he/she gives specific scores. Looking at a random review his / her reasons were clearly laid out. Incidentally he seems to allow one perhaps two spelling errors per chapter before penalising. A good review example.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@sejintenej

Incidentally he seems to allow one perhaps two spelling errors per chapter before penalising. A good review example.

Incidentally? I stopped reading the reviews on SoL when I noticed how many of them focus on grammar and spelling and how little they otherwise have to say about the stories they reviewed.

richardshagrin

@robberhands

how many of them focus on grammar and spelling

One of the three review scores is Technical Quality. If that isn't about grammar and spelling, what is it about? The other scores are for Plot and Appeal. I suppose a grammar Nazi reviewer could comment on grammar when discussing Appeal, but I think they would be wrong. Most reviews have at least one sentence about each of the scores. If any score is low, perhaps more than one is needed to explain why the reviewer feels that way, or to warn potential readers if there might be an issue for some readers. The ones with high scores for Technical don't seem to focus on grammar and spelling, at least the ones I have read don't. In fact most reviews are mostly about Plot and Appeal.

Replies:   robberhands
Argon

It is the choice of each author whether to allow reviews of their stories or not. It is the choice of each reader to consult the reviews or not. Bottom line: if you find reviews helpful, allow them or use them. If not, don't!
Personally, I blocked reviews of my entries over ten years ago because of the inflationary use of triple-10s by some of the reviewers. Also, reviews reflect the opinion of a single person whose competence is not established to any degree (much like small town newspaper critics). I mean no offence here, but the only hurdle for a reviewer is to apply for it. It is much like being registered as a Reverend in the US. I rather rely on the crowd intelligence reflected in the scores. Of course, popular genres are favoured in the scores, but then again, aren't they favoured in the reviews as well?
As for spelling and syntax errors, I still cringe when I look at the original files of my early stories. Yet, my two oldest stories carried and still carry the highest scores. Readers are strange beasts. They may like a story for completely unfathomable reasons. You may think that you understand what they want and like, but you never will.

robberhands
Updated:

@richardshagrin

One of the three review scores is Technical Quality. If that isn't about grammar and spelling, what is it about?

If the technical quality of a story is defined by grammar and orthography it doesn't deserve a score. If grammar and spelling are shit, just say so. If the story is barely readable, warn the readers. Otherwise, it's not worth mentioning.

Choice of words, sentence flow, style (showing vs telling for example), point of view; those are things I'd expect to be discussed regarding the technical quality of a story, not missing commas and spelling mistakes.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

Incidentally? I stopped reading the reviews on SoL when I noticed how many of them focus on grammar and spelling and how little they otherwise have to say about the stories they reviewed.

I'd react the same. While it's important to know, upfront, how many problems an author has with grammar and spelling issues, I'd rather read about the quality of the writing, rather than how the reviewing disagrees with their blind acceptance of a particular style guide. Go ahead and make note of an author's weaknesses, but concentrate on the story, not the pedantic details no one cares about!

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

Choice of words, sentence flow, style (showing vs telling for example), point of view; those are things I'd expect to be discussed regarding the technical quality of a story, not missing commas and spelling mistakes.

No reader reads a review to be told the obvious (ex: "This author can't spell worth shit!"). Instead, they're looking for information about the story, why it's worth reading and what you can get from the story. Focusing on the nitty gritty details of grammar is pointless. It helps no one, as it's obvious from the get go. Why focus on the obvious encountered in the very first sentence. Tell me about the entire story, whether it's consistent, engaging, tells a coherent story. While I'd appreciate warnings, the main focus should be on story content, and 'technical appeal' should focus on writing quality, not spelling or grammatical quality.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@Crumbly Writer

No reader reads a review to be told the obvious (ex: "This author can't spell worth shit!").

If you haven't read the tory, how is it going to be obvious? Commenting that a story is or isn't readable isn't being pedantic.
The fact is if the person can't spell, make use of reasonable length sentences and paragraphs then most people aren't going to expend the effort required trying to read it, no matter how good the story itself might be.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Grant

If you haven't read the tory, how is it going to be obvious? Commenting that a story is or isn't readable isn't being pedantic.

If an author can't spell or doesn't understand basic grammar, it'll be obvious in the basic story description and in the very first paragraphs. What I'm afraid of, in reviews that focus on grammar, is that the reviewer fill ONLY focus on style choices, rather than the actual grammar, and then it becomes a war between the reviewer and whichever author he targets at the time.

I'd rather pick my own battles, thank you, rather than having anonymous reviewers fight their own personal battles on my time! Just tell me if the story is any good or not, point out the good and the bad, but don't lecture me about something beyond my control as a reader.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@Crumbly Writer

If an author can't spell or doesn't understand basic grammar, it'll be obvious in the basic story description and in the very first paragraphs.

That isn't always the case.

What I'm afraid of, in reviews that focus on grammar, is that the reviewer fill ONLY focus on style choices, rather than the actual grammar, and then it becomes a war between the reviewer and whichever author he targets at the time.

I have yet to come across a review like that.
Of all the ones I've checked out, where mention has been made of the spelling or grammar (either good or bad), they've also made mention of the story itself- plot, characters etc.
Although I recently came across a review where the reviewer marked Technical Quality based on the technology in the story, not the technical quality of the story itself.

I'd rather pick my own battles, thank you, rather than having anonymous reviewers fight their own personal battles on my time! Just tell me if the story is any good or not, point out the good and the bad, but don't lecture me about something beyond my control as a reader.

I've yet to find an anonymous reviewer here, and as a reader I like to know why a reviewer likes or dislikes a story. If it's because of the grammar & spelling then I want to know that, and why they have the opinion they do.

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