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Forum: Editors/Reviewers Hangout

Lack of reviews

Jim S
Updated:

A post in another topic mentioned that reviews seemed to be slacking off. That got me curious so I looked. Here are the counts by month this year.

Jan 12
Feb 13
Mar 12
Apr 9
May 7
Jun 4 !!
Jul 11
Aug 13

As of this post, there have been 11 in September. In only 10 days. So maybe the dam has finally broken. Which is good to see if so.

Replies:   chris2015cross
Ross at Play

My suggestion is there should be some way, like authors now have, for reviewers to accumulate enough credit for Premier Membership.
One difference I would see is some number of points from reviews should give membership for one year, while for authors permanent membership is based on the body of work they currently have posted.
How about it, Lazeez?
P.S. I don't know what you should do to maintain quality.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

for authors permanent membership is based on the body of work they currently have posted


Story ratings are a contributory factor in that.

I think there would need to be some comparable system of rating reviews because I don't feel eg a quality assessment of 10 can be meaningful if the review contains a significant number of mistakes.

AJ

Replies:   Jim S
Jim S

@awnlee jawking

eg a quality assessment of 10 can be meaningful if the review contains a significant number of mistakes


Like the review that contains spelling errors bemoaning the spelling errors in the story under review? I remember seeing that once though I can't remember which review.

Crumbly Writer

@Jim S

Like the review that contains spelling errors bemoaning the spelling errors in the story under review? I remember seeing that once though I can't remember which review.

Frankly, given the limited number of reviewers, I wouldn't mind seeing a simple # of reviews payoff, regardless of content. That way, the site would encourage more reviewers to volunteer, while simultaneously encouraging the existing reviewers to boost their output.

Even if you get a couple crap reviews, hopefully they'll learn in time, but there will be more reviews for readers to enjoy, helping build confidence in the review process (i.e. encourage more readers to actively seek out reviews, rather than assuming their favorite stories won't be reviewed).

I'm not sure there's any real downside to that. If there is, Lazeez could simply pull any bad review aside and give them a little 'talking to'.

richardshagrin

More work for Management, having to review reviews. The thrill of having your name (pseudonym) on SOL is all the benefit a reviewer needs. Someday I will tell you about the land of Re, its a longer story than I want to fit in here. But a review is a look at the scenery of Re. And the RePublican party is one of the major political parties of the land of Re, organized to help tavern owners (Publicans) and other businessmen.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@richardshagrin

More work for Management, having to review reviews.


Management doesn't review stories, why would it review reviews? I would envisage something for review readers to answer eg 'Did you find this review useful? Y/N'

AJ

Replies:   Jim S
doctor_wing_nut

@Crumbly Writer

Even if you get a couple crap reviews, hopefully they'll learn in time


I was under the impression that only positive reviews were allowed.

What's the process to be allowed to submit reviews? There must be some oversight in place, I would imagine. I'd like to know more about this.

Replies:   Ross at Play  NC-Retired
Ross at Play

@doctor_wing_nut

I was under the impression that only positive reviews were allowed.

I think negative reviews are not allowed is a better description.

What's the process to be allowed to submit reviews? There must be some oversight in place, I would imagine. I'd like to know more about this.

Send a question to the webmaster. There is a process for approving reviewers. They have the right to choose the process, but I've always found them open about what their policies are.

Jim S

@awnlee jawking

Management doesn't review stories, why would it review reviews?


I think management does review them but lightly, just making sure that it isn't abusive or going too far overboard. I speak from experience as one of my earlier efforts never made it past Lazeez. So there are standards.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Jim S

I meant that management doesn't score reviews. I understood richardshagrin's post to mean that he expected management to score reviews if they were to be scored.

AJ

richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

I'm not sure there's any real downside to that. If there is, Lazeez could simply pull any bad review aside and give them a little 'talking to'.


This is why I thought there would be more work for Management of the Site. First to identify "bad reviews" and then to do the "talking".

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  Jim S
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

This is why I thought there would be more work for Management of the Site. First to identify "bad reviews" and then to do the "talking".

Okay, so it's not necessarily a 'win-win'. But if the site would benefit from more reviews, to help highlight a wider variety of stories (rather than them all ranting about the same top 100 stories), then it's worth investing a little time into promoting it.

I doubt that the site reviews each review. Instead, like most stories, if someone complains, they step in. Given the amount of stories and maintenance required to run the site, that's not unrealistic. Essentially, reviewers agree to the reviewer guidelines, and then they're sent out on their own. Like authors, we may have a few ... problematic reviewers. We'll cope.

Jim S

@richardshagrin

This is why I thought there would be more work for Management of the Site. First to identify "bad reviews" and then to do the "talking".

Help me here. What qualifies as a "bad review"? Disagreement with opinion? Abusive language? Personal attack? The latter two are already judged from what I can tell in that they won't see the light of day. The first is pure judgmental, i.e. whats good for me may not be for you and visa-versa.

That would be something to be avoided. IMHO.

NC-Retired

@doctor_wing_nut

As a volunteer reviewer, why would I waste my time writing a review of a story I did not like?

My reviews are not written to be critical of an author and grammatical oopses, but rather are written and posted to share my enjoyment of some tale.

I provide some insight into why I liked the story and when warranted, my observations of any plot holes or other factors that might detract from other folks enjoying the tale.

We readers, whether paid or free members, are extremely fortunate to be able to enjoy the work of many really outstanding authors. We are all aware that some have went on to publish on other venues where their work might sell. But even if they have deleted their stories here, at least we have had the opportunity for a look-see.

As far as oversight... I just submitted my review of Zalezac's latest, and before I could finish finding this thread and typing this reply it was posted to the site - maybe 10-15 minutes. I'm sure Lazeez looked it over, saw nothing bad, and sent it out.

Send Lazeez a private message if you'd like to volunteer to be put on the reviewers list.

Replies:   Jim S
Jim S

@NC-Retired

There are reasons for giving negative reviews and that is, in your opinion, the story sucks. Regardless of rating.

The converse is also true. Some story rated 6 that you feel should be an 8. Of course, the onus is on the reviewer to justify his view.

The thing I stay away from is reviewing a story of a type I don't like. Say scat for instance. But it's not likely since I won't read one with that tag anyhow. But you get my point.

Replies:   NC-Retired
NC-Retired
Updated:

@Jim S


There are reasons for giving negative reviews and that is, in your opinion, the story sucks. Regardless of rating.


I guess we're gonna disagree on this. Were I getting paid as a 'professional' then maybe I'd take the time to write a critical review. But I reiterate, why should I waste my time writing a review for a story I did not like?

Your second point...

Some story rated 6 that you feel should be an 8.


I really like Howard Faxon's work. (https://storiesonline.net/a/Howard_Faxon) He has a special way of looking at the world that I find refreshing and unique. His body of work here on SOL (123 stories) is, IMO, severely underrated when taken as the entire whole. An uptick of 1 to 1.5 on 50% of his stories would not be out of line. And yes, there are some that deserve their lower ratings.

So when I read and like a story of his (or any other author) that's underrated IMO, I'll write a review that will hopefully help bring it to the attention of folks that might not normally give it a second glance.

Replies:   Jim S  Crumbly Writer
Jim S

@NC-Retired

But I reiterate, why should I waste my time writing a review for a story I did not like?

Because you're altruistic and want to warn unwary readers away from stories that are unjustly high rated maybe?

Replies:   NC-Retired
NC-Retired

@Jim S

Because you're altruistic and want to warn unwary readers away from stories that are unjustly high rated maybe?


Well, you've got me pegged. ;-) On Amazon I wrote a scathing review of a Custler book that I had PAID for. I checked last evening and 90% of the review raters there found it insightful and helpful. Several left comments that they passed the book by because of my (and other negative) review.

Here... There's a difference that I can't quite peg, that I feel no compulsion to write a bad review.

We've got a story description, (usually) rating points on what others thought of the tale. We've got tags for content and a general heading of story type.

So... as you mentioned earlier, using the tools provided I just do not read anything that is not attractive to me.

Regardless of who the author is, the score for the story needs to be greater than ~7 for me to give it a second glance. That cutoff tells me that it's not perfect but not so bad as to rate a lower score.

Story types. Pure stroke = nope. I gave those type stories up when I realized that most descriptions are nothing more than tab a into slot a, p or m. And really, how many different ways are there to describe a sexual act?

Besides, I can't think of more than a handful of folks that can write a sex scene and make it worthy of my time reading it. Stories that have many paragraphs of sex but might have some other redeeming value that has my interest might get a skim over the sex so that I can locate the next episode of plot.

But... knowing that I'm a bit jaded and the fact that SOL is a sex stories site, I do not down tick this sort of work as I'm confident that it appeals to other folks... different strokes and all that.

So where does this all leave us? Right where we began, I'll skip writing a critical review here on SOL of an amateur author and focus on those that I get off of other commercial sites where the audience pays money. And yes, I am discounting my yearly membership fee here as I see it as supporting the entire site and not just buying a single book. Cheers.

richardshagrin

@NC-Retired

how many different ways are there to describe a sexual act?


One of the reasons BDSM stories tend to be longer than other stroke stories is that there are so many ways to tie the girl up that leave orifices available. And A, P, M are not the only ones when sadism and masochism are involved. Eyes, ears, nostrils, throat (don't need to go through the mouth for that one, if you have a knife or scalpel), navel (sailors like naval maneuvers), urethra, cervix, armpits (hey, a pit is a hole), the holes in the nipples (human cows or girls with pierced nipples), holes in the clit (more piercing), toes and fingers, or between them and there may be more (freckles, hair follicles, skin pores) we don't have to require large openings to manufacture holes. Needles, skewers, screws, dildos, baseball bats and beads, lots of rope and chain, the methods and parts used in BDSM are if not infinite, much larger than just plain "much sex." Not to mention a wide variety of whips, canes, paddles, and other striking examples. There is so much to BDSM they use D and S twice. (Discipline and Domination for D, Submission and Sadism for S.)

Now it is a squick for lots of people, particularly if you do it right.

Replies:   NC-Retired
NC-Retired

@richardshagrin

Now it is a squick for lots of people,


And that may be a factor in why stories with BDSM content seem to achieve lower scores. Dunno, just speculating.

robberhands

@NC-Retired

...I realized that most descriptions are nothing more than tab a into slot a, p or m. And really, how many different ways are there to describe a sexual act?

I've often read this or some similar statement and always wonder if the people who make it are aware of the irony. My girlfriend uses it too sometimes and I cry every time she does.

Replies:   NC-Retired
awnlee jawking

@NC-Retired

Well, you've got me pegged.


Dude, you can't say that on a sex story site ;)

AJ

Replies:   NC-Retired
NC-Retired

@robberhands

I've often read this or some similar statement and always wonder if the people who make it are aware of the irony.


Apparently not. Please elucidate.

NC-Retired

@awnlee jawking

Dude, you can't say that on a sex story site ;)


Why not? Some folks might like it. Just sayin.

Crumbly Writer

@NC-Retired

There are reasons for giving negative reviews and that is, in your opinion, the story sucks. Regardless of rating.

I guess we're gonna disagree on this. Were I getting paid as a 'professional' then maybe I'd take the time to write a critical review. But I reiterate, why should I waste my time writing a review for a story I did not like?

There's a big difference between writing a negative review and a purely glowing one. I prefer reviews that point out stories worth reading, but I also prefer when they alert me to issues with the story itself (i.e. poor grammar really interrupts the story flow), or 'could really stand to work on his dialogues'.

Those aren't 'negative reviews', they're simply telling readers what to expect when they read the story, and reviews should include both. It's fine to have a flawed story, as long as the story works overall.

Replies:   Jim S
Jim S

@Crumbly Writer

Those aren't 'negative reviews', they're simply telling readers what to expect when they read the story, and reviews should include both. It's fine to have a flawed story, as long as the story works overall

What he said.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Jim S

Those aren't 'negative reviews', they're simply telling readers what to expect when they read the story, and reviews should include both. It's fine to have a flawed story, as long as the story works overall

What he said.

I've long had an issue with 'book giveaways' where readers offer to write reviews for review copies of upcoming books. The problem is, if they're not crazy about the book, they simply don't do anything at all with it.

I'd much rather that someone wrote about the outstanding issues in a story, contrasting it with what works well, rather than ignoring a book entirely simply because it's 'complicated'.

Hell, I write complicated books, and I realize, going in, that some aspects of the book will work while others won't. My "Great Death" series worked well with men, but I couldn't find a single woman who didn't have major issues with it (over it's portraying children exposed to death as wanting to be 'viewed as adults'). Noting that in a review wouldn't hurt, it merely alerts readers about what to expect, and might even boost interest, as readers review the book to see what the controversy is.

We need to get past this 'positive'/'negative' idea we have about reviews, and simply review the story for all it's issues, good and bad.

Replies:   Jim S
Jim S

@Crumbly Writer

We need to get past this 'positive'/'negative' idea we have about reviews, and simply review the story for all it's issues, good and bad.

I thought that's what a review is suppose to accomplish, at least since my critical writing course waaaay back in college. That's what I try to accomplish here. May not always succeed but that is my intent.

Crumbly Writer

@Jim S

I thought that's what a review is suppose to accomplish, at least since my critical writing course waaaay back in college. That's what I try to accomplish here. May not always succeed but that is my intent.

Sorry, the discussion keeps getting sidetracked into the 'management doesn't want us to write anything negative, so I only write nice reviews', so I was trying to get people/reviews to focus on the bigger issues, writing reviews, rather than trying to appease everyone they think might be upset if they don't write glowing reviews.

Ross at Play

@Jim S

I thought that's what a review is suppose to accomplish, at least since my critical writing course waaaay back in college. That's what I try to accomplish here. May not always succeed but that is my intent.

There appears to be a perception by some that management "will not accept negative reviews". I'm not sure that is true. I thought the guideline was reviewers should not review stories they know they will dislike, especially those which may include their squicks.
What has your experience been?
Would any other reviewers care to answer that question?
Has it been your experience that you may express your disappointment, and why, with stories you chose to read and review with an expectation you would enjoy them?

Replies:   NC-Retired
NC-Retired

@Ross at Play

Would any other reviewers care to answer that question?


Copied & pasted from Guidelines for Reviewers


Reviews on the site are means of encouraging readers to read the stories, and to help authors get better at what they do. So if a review is meant to simply drive the author away from writing then it won't be published on the site. So if you don't like the story and can't finish reading it because it is horribly bad in your opinion, then simply don't review it. Better send a private email message to the author.

That does not mean you cannot criticise the story, but make it constructive criticism, not destructive one.

Don't review stories that are on your list of squicks, what's the point? If you hate the story going into it then the review will be bad of course.

Reviews that are all negative will be rejected.
Numeric Ratings are:
Story Plot:
How good is the story's plot is.
Story Quality:
Grammar, spelling, properly constructed sentences and such things are judged here. If a story is well polished and well written this rating should be high. On the other hand if the story contains spelling, grammatical errors and stuff like that the quality rating should be lower.
Appeal to Reviewer:
This is purely personal. How much did you personally like the story.

If you don't like to use numerical ratings, you don't have to. Simply leave the menu at 'N/A' (not applicable).

Replies:   Ross at Play  paliden
Ross at Play

@NC-Retired

Copied & pasted from Guidelines for Reviewers

Thank you for pointing out those guidelines.
The site policy is as I thought: negative reviews are allowed, but destructive intentions are not. :-)

richardshagrin

Reviewers need to think twice about using a 5, and have to have a really good reason to use 4 or below, unless they want to lose their reviewer licence.

Replies:   NC-Retired
NC-Retired

@richardshagrin

Reviewers need to think twice about using a 5, and have to have a really good reason to use 4 or below, unless they want to lose their reviewer licence.


Pray tell, where is this policy documented?

Jim S
Updated:


Reviewers need to think twice about using a 5, and have to have a really good reason to use 4 or below, unless they want to lose their reviewer licence.


Richard,

I don't believe such a policy exists. If you click on the "Review" link on the top bar of the Main Page, a list of almost 3,000 reviews are displayed sorted in descending order by date. One of the fields in the list are the three scores assigned by the reviewer. While the vast majority garner a 7-10 evaluation, there are a bunch of 4s, 5s and even 3s. I even found a couple of 2s once.

My own list (32 so far) contain both a 4 and a 5. And I'm still writing them. So, given this data, I don't believe such a policy exists.

FYI

Replies:   richardshagrin
paliden

@NC-Retired

Copied & pasted from Guidelines for Reviewers

Where are they located?

Replies:   NC-Retired
NC-Retired

@paliden

Where are they located?


At the very top of my home page https://storiesonline.net/home.php are the clickable links.

Dunno fer sure, but I suspect that if you're not on the authorized reviewer list that you can't see them.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@NC-Retired

@paliden
Where are they (Guidelines for Reviewers) located?
@saquestor
At the very top of my home page https://storiesonline.net/home.php are the clickable links.
Dunno fer sure, but I suspect that if you're not on the authorized reviewer list that you can't see them.

I have a comment for Lazeez.
Is it true that the Guidelines for Reviewers are only available to those already approved as reviewers?
If so, I suggest they are moved to somewhere where all readers can access them.
Potential reviewers not knowing what they're getting themselves into may be contributing to the current dearth of reviewers, especially as there seems to be a lot of misinformation floating around about what the site's policy on discouraging "overly negative" reviews really means.

richardshagrin

@Jim S

I don't believe such a policy exists.

"Reviews that are all negative will be rejected." In my opinion a 5 is the equivalent of a D grade--poor but passing. Below 5 is a failure--an E or F grade. My opinion (again) is that reviews that leave a story with 4 or lower in any category is a negative review. Perhaps my opinion is not the position of Management, I developed it myself, and I have tried hard not to give very many 5 reviews. One of the easy ways to discourage writers from posting on SOL is to have their stories treated harshly. As a reviewer I feel my job is to find stories readers will enjoy, not to warn readers not to read particular stories. Am I guilty of an occasional 5? Unfortunately, yes, but if I had it to do over I wouldn't.

richardshagrin

More thoughts: Probably the best reviewer on this site, and also who did many, many reviews before she was here, is Celeste. I notice she did 79 reviews, oddly enough I have done 79, but otherwise I don't think the quality of my reviews come close to her. She gave a 4 and a 2, so my theory a reviewer puts his or her reviewer credential at risk for low opinions is not correct. On the other hand, if you could write reviews like Celeste, probably any errors you made would be overlooked too. Her reviews tend to be from early in the site's history, perhaps the guidance for reviewers was not yet in place. I recommend all reviewers to examine her reviews and see what a master (mistress?) can do.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@richardshagrin

Although not a reviewer myself, I took your advice and read a few of Celeste's reviews. Sadly I've to say, I feel none the wiser now. What makes Celeste's reviews outstanding; or more generally, how does a good review look like?

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@robberhands

What makes Celeste's reviews outstanding; or more generally, how does a good review look like?


Entertaining to read, informative, and identify stories the reader probably would like to read, assuming the appeal to reviewer is at least moderately high.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@richardshagrin

I've never based my decision to read a story on a review; I've never even looked at a review before I read the story. However, sometimes I read a review after I read the story, out of interest whether the reviewer shared my personal view of the story in question or not.

That's what reviews mean to me, the personal opinion of one reader about a particular story and it's dependant on his personal preferences. Since I usually don't know the reviewer, his opinion is of rather limited value to me. It would only change if I'd read many of a particular reviewer's assessments and notice we have the same taste.

That's why I asked how a 'good review' looks like, I may miss something which could change my opinion.

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Ross at Play

Is it true that the Guidelines for Reviewers are only available to those already approved as reviewers?


Yes.

If so, I suggest they are moved to somewhere where all readers can access them.


No need.

Potential reviewers not knowing what they're getting themselves into may be contributing to the current dearth of reviewers, especially as there seems to be a lot of misinformation floating around about what the site's policy on discouraging "overly negative" reviews really means.


The dearth of reviewers and reviews isn't related to the lack of information. Reviewing is hard and few are willing to put in the work to do it. Even the most prolific reviewers get tired eventually and many give up after a review or two.

The 'overly negative' reviews that are forbidden in the guidelines are of the type 'terrible story, idiot author, stay away from story and author'.

At the beginning, I received many of those reviews. They are totally unhelpful, so I've forbidden them.

The thing about an old and now large site like SOL is that there are literally tens of thousands of stories. No human would ever hope to read all of them. As of today, there is more than 4GB of plain text on the site without counting any entry or chapter that is less than 1KB. That's more than a lifetime's worth of reading. Even just skimming the story descriptions it's nearly impossible to go through all 40,000+ stories.

So, with such a huge number of stories, discoverability becomes an issue. How do you put the older stories in front of new readers?

I use top lists, random story display, authors' favorites etc... Reviews are part of the effort to bring stories to people's attention. There is no point in a reviewing system that keeps readers away from stories.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

Reviews are part of the effort to bring stories to people's attention. There is no point in a reviewing system that keeps readers away from stories.

Thank you for the response.

I accept that reviews can only be one of the tools to help stories stand out from the crowd.
I appreciate you must sometimes seek to walk a fine line between reviews that are informative to potential readers, yet not discouraging to amateur authors who are doing their best. To the extent they exist, I think the current system is working well and I would like to see more of them. :-)
The point I wanted to make, which I do not want to debate, is IMHO there could be more information made available to those thinking about becoming reviewers, in particular to clarify, as you just did here, the nature of reviews that would not be accepted.

awnlee jawking

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

The thing about an old and now large site like SOL is that there are literally tens of thousands of stories. No human would ever hope to read all of them.


A couple of times recently, I've noticed reviewers reviewing a whole series or an author's whole output under the guise of reviewing a single story title.

Might the problem of volume be addressed by formally enabling this type of multi-review? I'm not sure how it could work, and it would probably entail a large amount of work for admin, so if anyone has suggestions please chime in.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

A couple of times recently, I've noticed reviewers reviewing a whole series or an author's whole output under the guise of reviewing a single story title.

Several reviews have expressed a reluctance to write more than a single review dedicated to a single author, given the vast amount of authors receiving no reviews, so I'm guessing what you're seeing are reviewers modifying their existing reviews to include their other stories (rather than writing a separate review).

I had one mention recently he planned to modify his review of one story to include the whole two book series when it posts, which shows the thinking process.

Ernest Bywater

-but w/o the guidelines, howinell would I know the boundaries?


I'm not an reviewer, but my understanding is those who are interested in being one apply to be listed and Lazeez contacts them with all the guidelines etc, and once approved they have access to all that info. If they don't want to apply, or aren't approved, why would they need the info?

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

If they don't want to apply, or aren't approved, why would they need the info?

As has already been noted: only giving the guidelines means the volunteers are already committed, sight unseen. Listing the guidelines upfront, you're more likely to get more volunteers, as they're evaluating whether to commit or not.

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

Lazeez, "No need." is remarkably uninformative.


Hey Denny.

The guidelines are basically that 'no terrible idiot stay away' reviews. So I didn't see a need to make them public.

Here is the exact text:

Reviews on the site are means of encouraging readers to read the stories, and to help authors get better at what they do. So if a review is meant to simply drive the author away from writing then it won't be published on the site. So if you don't like the story and can't finish reading it because it is horribly bad in your opinion, then simply don't review it. Better send a private email message to the author.

That does not mean you cannot criticise the story, but make it constructive criticism, not destructive one.

Don't review stories that are on your list of squicks, what's the point? If you hate the story going into it then the review will be bad of course.

Reviews that are all negative will be rejected.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
NC-Retired

Copied & pasted from Guidelines for Reviewers


Search for that phrase earlier in this thread and you have 100% of the reviewer guidelines.

There is a bit more about the process of submitting a review, but that's just practical step 1, step 2 and etc.

So... if y'all care, the guidelines are already publically posted.

Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

my understanding is those who are interested in being (a reviewer) apply to be listed and Lazeez contacts them with all the guidelines etc, and once approved they have access to all that info.

It is your 'understanding' rather than something you can look up.

I do not understand why there is not a 'Reviewer FAQ' link when the 'Review' option in the main menu is selected - although the only thing I can see that it would need is a one-line response to the question, 'What is the process for becoming a reviewer?'

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Ross at Play

although the only thing I can see that it would need is a one-line response to the question, 'What is the process for becoming a reviewer?'


Click on help and search for reviewer.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

Click on help and search for reviewer.

Yet again! I make a constructive suggestion only to have you explain it has already been done. :-)

Crumbly Writer

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

Lazeez, "No need." is remarkably uninformative.

Here is the exact text:

I agree, that brief of a guideline isn't necessary.

chris2015cross

@Jim S

I haven't found anywhere where one could sign up to be a reviewer on this Web site.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@chris2015cross

I haven't found anywhere where one could sign up to be a reviewer on this Web site.

Click on Help, Item 12 under General-
https://storiesonline.net/h/34/how-can-i-submit-reviews-for-stories

Derek Smith

@Jim S

I agree, reviewers must edit their work carefully, they will have little or no credibility, if their reviews are not well written.

If a story is not worth scores of 7 or above, I don't think it deserves a review. As an editor and reviewer, I want to help and encourage, rather than denigrate. If a story looks as though it was written by a semi-literate ten year old, I am not going to write a review telling everyone how awful it is. The score should do that and I have no wish to waste my time with a tale that I do not enjoy reading.

Derek Smith

Replies:   Jim S  doctor_wing_nut
Jim S

@Derek Smith

Derek Smith

Derek,
You make a good point; I just happen to disagree with it.

What is accomplished by letting the score dictate whether you review it or not? Why review a story at all then, whether it's good or bad? I mean, what's the point? To me, a good review points out the good as well as the bad, whether you assess the story as a 10 or a 4.

And some stories rated 8 are really 5 or 6s (or lower); conversely, some 5 or 6s are horribly underrated. Lazeez's rating system is subject of much discussion at times, but is really hampered by a cadre of morons (read: trolls) that abuse the internet's anonymity to mess with it, penalizing good authors and/or rewarding bad ones. A good reviewer should attempt to balance such, uh, imbalances. IMHO.

I'll give an example without revealing the story. There is an a story in progress that I started reading as the author's intro indicated it might be a story that I like. Rating is not exceptional, but isn't bad either. Well, while the story has a rather interesting premise, the writing really sucks. I mean really, really, really sucks. Just about every mistake an author can make, is made. It's almost as if the author did it on purpose as a weird attempt at humor. While I'm not going to review it, to me, those type of stories are the ones tailor made for a review if for no other reason than to warn off readers expecting a modicum of quality given it's rating.

My two centavos, FWIW.

awnlee jawking

@Jim S

While I'm not going to review it


I think you just did, only without naming it :(

AJ

Replies:   Jim S
doctor_wing_nut

@Derek Smith

If a story is not worth scores of 7 or above, I don't think it deserves a review.


We've already discussed, several times, how wildly inaccurate scoring is on the site. If you can rely on scoring to choose which stories to read, more power to you.

I have considered writing reviews several times, but if all we want are positive, attaboy-type reviews, I think I'll pass. There is, in fact, such a thing as constructive criticism - at least there used to be such.

I agree, reviewers must edit their work carefully, they will have little or no credibility, if their reviews are not well written.


If only we lived in a world where the same standards were applied to 'authors'.

robberhands

@doctor_wing_nut

If only we lived in a world where the same standards were applied to 'authors'.

Then you should relish the knowledge that we live in that world. To everything written and published the same standards are applied - the standards of its readers. The more readers, the more standards.

Did you expect everyone would share your personal view on standards?

Ernest Bywater

@doctor_wing_nut

We've already discussed, several times, how wildly inaccurate scoring is on the site.


The scoring is as accurate as the readers want it to be. There are many who claim it's inaccurate because they want extremely definitive accounts and results where everyone scores a story the same way - which ain't never gunna happen.

There's a process that applies to every story on the site, so everything comes out relative to each other regardless of what anyone thinks.

The only thing to know about the scoring worth knowing is it's a collective comment by the readers on how much they liked the story on a graded scale - end of story on scores. That's all it is, and all it does, and there's no point expecting anything else from it because each reader brings their own personal judgement as to what makes a good story.

robberhands

@Ernest Bywater

The only thing to know about the scoring worth knowing is it's a collective comment by the readers on how much they liked the story on a graded scale - end of story on scores.

I agree, but I think it's worth to mention that merely about ten percent of the readers vote on a story; so the majority 'collective comment' seems to be 'no comment'.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@robberhands

I agree, but I think it's worth to mention that merely about ten percent of the readers vote on a story; so the majority 'collective comment' seems to be 'no comment'.


Not making a vote is still scoring the story because the readers are making a statement about not scoring.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ernest Bywater


Not making a vote is still scoring the story because the readers are making a statement about not scoring.

'No comment' is a statement, isn't it?

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

The only thing to know about the scoring worth knowing is it's a collective comment by the readers on how much they liked the story on a graded scale


No, that's not the only thing. Many readers automatically award a 10 to a story by an author they've liked in the past, and supposedly some readers award 10 to every story they read as a thank you to the author.

Whether the readers actually like a story is only one of a number of criteria they use.

AJ

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Jim S

@awnlee jawking

I think you just did, only without naming it :(

Picky, picky, picky. Can't get away with imprecise wording around you, can I? OK, AJ. I'm not going to formally review it. The reason should be obvious from my informal review [;}] -- the review would never get past Lazeez given how I feel about the story.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Jim S

the review would never get past Lazeez

I think, and its only an opinion, a properly phrased criticism, praising good points and suggesting corrections for bad points would pass Management review. On the other hand, almost all reviewers only have 24 hours a day (except days when daylight savings changes and they have 23 or 25) and use about a third of that time for sleep. My time is valuable enough I prefer not to review stories I don't like.

The reason most reviews are written are to point out good stories to others worth reading or (less frequently) to suggest to authors how to improve their stories. Usually a separate email to the author would do a better job than trying to humiliate them with a review, assuming Lazeez would let one be posted.

The function of reviews is not to warn readers away. The site needs all the readers and authors we can get. Some new readers will, eventually become premier members and help the site remain in business. If there are no authors, or very few, the number of new stories will be reduced which will affect the number of new and old members. The fate of ASSTR is one I hope this site will always avoid.

Replies:   Jim S  PotomacBob
Jim S

@richardshagrin

Richard,
You and I see the function of reviews differently. Sometimes the function of a review is to praise good work. Those are the easy ones. Other times it is to denigrate really bad work. Neither one has to be personal and, in fact, shouldn't be. As long as the focus is one the writing and not the person doing it, it will likely pass Lazeez's screen.

What I was implying in my post is that I'm too close to this one to remain objective and I would likely end up savaging the author. When I feel like that, I tend to relieve Lazeez from the necessity of deep-sixing the review by never letting it see the light of day. Nor dark of night for that matter.

The function of reviews is not to warn readers away.

Obviously I don't share this view. That is one of the reasons that I volunteered to be a reviewer.

Capt. Zapp

@doctor_wing_nut

There is, in fact, such a thing as constructive criticism - at least there used to be such.


Unfortunately, it is not considered 'politically correct' and left with 'common sense'.

awnlee jawking

@robberhands

'No comment' is a statement, isn't it?


Can the same be inferred about 'No review'?

AJ

Capt. Zapp

@awnlee jawking

some readers award 10 to every story they read


If I enjoy the story enough to make it all the way through to the end, I usually give a vote of 8, 9, or 10. I have voted stories much lower because of the ending.

A movie I enjoyed the first time I saw it was 'Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry'. At least I did until the end. Hated the "Hey Mister! Ain't nothing gonna stop us!" and then they crash into a train. Totally ruined it for me and I haven't watched it since.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin
Updated:

@Capt. Zapp


a vote of 8, 9, or 10.


For me, an 8 is an A, a 9 is an A+, a 10 is very rare. If readers give every story they vote for a 10 they don't discriminate the absolute best from good or very good. And the score shouldn't be based on the author but on the story. I agree there are authors whose stories are generally better than stories by others, but even then, the great authors have stories that are better than their average, and sadly, some worse that that. In my opinion Robert A. Heinlein was a great author. Some of his stories are not tens.

sejintenej

@richardshagrin

For me, an 8 is an A, a 9 is an A+, a 10 is very rare.

Surely a 10 should be impossible because the reader realises that, however good the present story is, there may be an even better one in coming years. This has always nagged at me

Ross at Play

@sejintenej

Surely a 10 should be impossible ... there may be an even better one in coming years.

That wasn't a problem for Nadia Comăneci in 1976 despite the fact that later gymnasts were better, performing moves she was not capable of doing.

helmut_meukel

@sejintenej

Surely a 10 should be impossible because the reader realises that, however good the present story is, there may be an even better one in coming years. This has always nagged at me


Hmmm,
how about there never comes a better story? Then you you would have rated the alltimes best story only a 9. Dosn't this nag at you?

If my understanding of the scoring system is correct, then you can score the same story multible times, your new score replaces your previous score.

So if in future years you'll find the ultimate story, you can just go back to the one or the few stories you rated a 10 and score this or these stories again with a 9.
The 10 you gave years back was correct until now, so you shouldn't have bad feelings about your scoring back then.

HM.

Replies:   Ross at Play  sejintenej
helmut_meukel
Updated:

@richardshagrin


In my opinion Robert A. Heinlein was a great author. Some of his stories are not tens.


I second your opinion.

However my judgement about the ranking of his stories changed over the years. I was 17 when I first read a german translation of Podkayne of Mars, now I'm 70 and my taste in stories – I won't say it improved – it changed over the years.

After the death of some of my favorite authors I started rereading their earlier works and in a few cases I couldn't understand why I had cherished those stories when I first read them decades ago.

HM.

Ross at Play

@helmut_meukel

alltimes

FYI. Yet another of the anomalies in English is that there are a few prefixes which - according to dictionaries - buck the trend of common expressions transitioning from two words into a single word, sometimes via a hyphenated form.
I routinely use hyphens with any expressions containing 'all-', 'self-', 'vice-', and '-elect'. For BrE (but not AmE) I do so with 'non-' too.

Replies:   helmut_meukel
helmut_meukel

@Ross at Play

Thanks. I really appreciate your posting.

For me that's the problem with reading stories of authors who don't care about spelling and grammar.
How to judge if what I read is correct?
If I read it often enough I'll finally use it too.

HM.

Ross at Play

@helmut_meukel

Thanks. I really appreciate your posting.

You're welcome. It's just another of those things which has no logical explanation. :(

Derek Smith

@Jim S

Good morning Jim,

I agree with much of what you have said and I really did prefer the old scoring system, which disappeared a few years ago. I was an engineer, IMO scoring with a number or percentage is logical and simple. Deciding whether a story is good, very good or incredible is a bit 'liberal arts' for my taste.

However, I like to write a positive review, which will encourage people to read and enjoy the tale as well as encouraging the author to provide me with further entertainment. If criticism is appropriate, I would rather use the feedback to author route. No one likes being told off in public.☺ I think that this also addresses Dr. Wing Nut's comments.

DS

awnlee jawking

@helmut_meukel

In that case I'll be ultra-pedantic and suggest it should be 'all-time' rather than 'alltimes'. At least, that's what the dictionary on my desk says.

AJ

Replies:   helmut_meukel
helmut_meukel

@awnlee jawking

Thank you.

In addition to the trouble – for me because my native tongue is German – created by native english speaking authors not bothered by grammar and spelling, I've to deal with Denglisch in german media and especially ads.
There people create english sounding words, e.g. 'Handy'.
An American would call it a cell phone, in GB it's called a mobile phone, but in Germany it's a Handy.

HM.

Geek of Ages

@helmut_meukel

These days, a lot of people just call it a phone.

robberhands

@helmut_meukel

In addition to the trouble – for me because my native tongue is German – created by native english speaking authors not bothered by grammar and spelling, I've to deal with Denglisch in german media and especially ads.

The opposite practice can be troubling too; two totally different things but dictionary translations equalize them. Take what the Americans call coffee for instance, it has absolutely no resemblance to the hot refreshing drink you and I would call a 'Kaffee' in German.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@helmut_meukel

There people create English sounding words, e.g. 'handy'.

I tried to guess what 'a handy' could be after reading that.
What is something made or done with a hand that is usually achieved some other way?
The most logical meaning I could think of was a hand job. :-)

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

The most logical meaning I could think of was a hand job. :-)


You GIRL you!

The 'set to vibrate' facility is there for a reason!

AJ

robberhands

@Ross at Play

The most logical meaning I could think of was a hand job. :-)

That's a handy assumption.

Ross at Play

@robberhands

Take what the Americans call coffee

Do not ever come to South-East Asia if you think American "coffee" is an abomination!
In Indonesia, when you order kopi they dissolve in hot water a pre-mixed packet with roughly equal proportions of instant coffee, milk powder, and sugar. :(
Ironically, Indonesia is also the home of (one of) the most expensive coffees in the world, Kopi Luwak. The coffee cherries are eaten by civets (rodents that look similar to ferrets), their droppings are collected, and the coffee beans are extracted. Enzymes in the civet's digestive tract alter the taste of coffee made from those beans.
In Indonesia the coffee tastes like shit, but the shit makes a superb cup of coffee. :-)

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

when you order kopi they dissolve in hot water a pre-mixed packet with roughly equal proportions of instant coffee, milk powder, and sugar


So they don't get their kopiright ;)

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

So they don't get their kopiright ;)

Yeah. They attempt to copy but it comes out very wrong.

richardshagrin

"Right" has at least two opposites. So is it copy-left or copy-wrong? And for the homonym challenged, what about copy-rite. For example, is a second marriage a copy rite?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
sejintenej

@helmut_meukel

So if in future years you'll find the ultimate story, you can just go back to the one or the few stories you rated a 10 and score this or these stories again with a 9.

The 10 you gave years back was correct until now, so you shouldn't have bad feelings about your scoring back then.

Fine in theory but can you remember to which stories you gave a ten many years ago or alternatively, because nothing better has shown up which stories given 9 should be re-scored ten? I can't even remember what I did a week ago

sejintenej

@helmut_meukel

An American would call it a cell phone, in GB it's called a mobile phone, but in Germany it's a Handy

and in Brazilian Portuguese it's a portable

Replies:   AmigaClone
sejintenej

@helmut_meukel

In addition to the trouble – for me because my native tongue is German – created by native english speaking authors not bothered by grammar and spelling, I've to deal with Denglisch in german media and especially ads.

I think the vast majority of languages incorporate some English - even the French who have a whole crowd of Immortals whose job is to preserve the French language.
You moan about English - your problem is that there are different grammar rules in every country which notionally speaks English with the notable exception of the US - they seem to have different rules in each state, city, town and village. I had problems with the impossibility of Frankfurter Deutsch versus plat versus Schwartswald versus.... and they all say that radioanzager deutsch is rubbish (apologies for speeeeling)

Romance languages are much easier - to me.

AmigaClone

@sejintenej

Brazilian Portuguese it's a portable


I remember that at least the part of Brazil I lived in 21+ years ago, cell phones were called "telefone celular" or just "celular".

AmigaClone

@sejintenej

I think the vast majority of languages incorporate some English


Granted some of those "English" words themselves come or are derived form terms in other languages. The word telephone for example is derived from two Greek terms that together mean far talker.

richardshagrin

@sejintenej

Romance languages are much easier


Everybody likes romance. Lots of peoples didn't care for Rome. When I took Latin in High School, I didn't care much for it. Is Latin a Romance language?

Replies:   AmigaClone
PotomacBob

@richardshagrin

I am a premier member. I am a reader - not a writer. I've been tempted to write a review of some stories - but always changed my mind because I'm not a writer. Not even a review writer. I've tried sending friendly messages to authors pointing out factual errors they have made. I never criticize the writing. Most authors did not acknowledge my note; the ones who did were hostile. So, I've stopped even pointing out mistakes. I find that a defensible reaction. After all, they provided me with a story for which they get no recompense. I should be grateful. If I cannot be, I remain silent.

AmigaClone

@richardshagrin

All Romance languages come from Vulgar Latin. Depending on the location, there might have been some secondary influences in their development to their modern day form.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@AmigaClone

Vulgar

Vulgar | Definition of Vulgar by Merriam-Webster
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vulgar
coarse, vulgar, gross, obscene, ribald mean offensive to good taste or morals. coarse implies roughness, rudeness, or crudeness of spirit, behavior, or language. ⟨found the coarse humor of coworkers offensive⟩ vulgar often implies boorishness or ill-breeding.

Might fit right in on SOL. Stories should be obscene and not heard.

Replies:   JohnBobMead  AmigaClone
JohnBobMead

@richardshagrin

Stories should be obscene and not heard.


I fail to see how they could be silent if properly obscene; yes, some folks _do_ have silent sex, but that _never_ happens in porn.

Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

is a second marriage a copy rite?


only if it's to the twin of the first wife.

AmigaClone

@richardshagrin

Vulgar | Definition of Vulgar by Merriam-Webster


There are a few other definitions of Vulgar that you did not mention including of or relating to the common people.

BTW, the term "Vulgar Latin" has it's own entry in several version of that dictionary.

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