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Forum: Editors/Reviewers Hangout

Do we need more reviewers?


If you look at the list of Reviewers there are only a handful that are active.
(heck, some like BlackIrish have passed away and there are a LOT who haven't posted a review this decade.)

As I see it, we have a job to do (...and the pay and benefits are GREAT! LOL)... which, to paraphrase the "Review Guideline", is to encourage reads to read the stories and to help authors get better at what they do.

Here's the thing... there are only a few of us who are routinely and actively doing reviews. Those of us who are seem to have pretty much the same damn taste in stories which leaves a LOT of stories which hit our "group squicks" unread and unreviewed.

How do we fix this? Do we review stories that hit our squicks or do we ask Laz to cull the Reviewers List and start drumming for additional/more diverse Reviewers?

Replies:   PotomacBob

Always wondered why it wasn't easy to post a review; I guess the comment section on stories is the modern version of reviews.

I am not a reviewer but wouldn't mind participating.

I've read lots of reviews and I see some reviewers are actually taking their tasks seriously why others are just cheerleaders.

All in all I don't envy Lazeez.



I read every review, and hope to use them to select a story I think I will like. The problem with some of the reviews is that they do not provide a synopsis of the story. All too frequently, the author of that particular story, in writing a "description," did not provide a description, but wrote something like "a funny little story" or "the further adventures of John Paul Jones" or "differs from my usual type of story." I read a lot of stories. Many go unread because the author did not provide an adequate description. Many reviews are likewise. Is there some rule against a reviewer providing an adequate description if the author did not?



synopsis of the story

The longer the story the harder it is to synopsize. Most reviews aren't supposed to retell the story to the review's readers. We are strongly encouraged to review stories we like and not review ones we dislike (then send the author an email.) In my opinion much of the reviewers time should be used reviewing stories that were added to the site years ago. Particularly the ones that just appeared on the front page or are in the process of being posted don't need a review to bring them to the attention of current readers.

Another issue is that giving every story you review a 10 doesn't help separate the very best stories from the pretty good ones, and those from ones worth reading but that are not quite that good. There are enough stories to review that the newest stories may not need reviews until after they have stopped posting on the front page. The ones that are good, or at least interesting, should be distinguished from others that readers should drop everything and read immediately. In that case I can see a review while the story is being posted. Particularly if the author is new to the site. Most of the authors on the top 50 or 100 lists don't need the reviewer to alert readers he has written a new story.

Switch Blayde


they do not provide a synopsis of the story

I had reviews turned off because I was afraid the reviewer would throw in a spoiler.



This is such a big issue for me. especially for really long fics.
Just give me a fucking spoilerfree synopsis!

Replies:   PotomacBob


It doesn't seem to be a problem on dead-tree versions of books. The squibs, I'm sure written for the purpose of attracting readers, tell enough that I can guess whether I'll like the story. I wish all SOL authors were as attentive to advertising their story, though I'll admit sometimes the squib for hard-cover and paperbacks promise more than the book delivers.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde


promise more than the book delivers.

That's called marketing. LOL


Okay, I am probably as guilty as anyone about not giving a synopsis/summary in a review. Mostly I was concerned with giving spoilers.

I have since done some research on writing reviews so that I can improve my own. On writing a summary the best description I found was to a. introduce the main character, b. introduce the main conflict and c. leave the reader with a question either actual or implied.

As a reviewer, I need to be able to write a good summary and the author needs to learn as well to best market their story.

Outline for a review:
A: introduce the book (summary/synopsis goes here)
B: reviewers general impression
C: pros - what the reviewer liked
D: cons - what the reviewer thinks could be better
E: Content warnings (any possibly squicky content)
F: reviewers recommendation (read/skip and who may enjoy the story)

Lately, I have only been reviewing stories where I disagree with the scores. It is mostly a time issue as I don't like to just whip out a review off the cuff. To do a good job of it takes more than 5 minutes.

Replies:   richardshagrin


writing reviews

A. I have found there isn't a strong demand for the reviewer to produce his own synopsis of the book. This area is more likely to produce spoilers than anything else in the review.
B. The opinion of the reviewer seems to me to be best at the end of the review.

C. and D. What you liked and didn't like is most of the review and doesn't have to be separated into different paragraphs.

E. Content warnings on stories reviewed should be relatively infrequent. I don't think every review needs one.

F. Recommendations aren't worth a separate paragraph except for unusual stories.

What usually works for me is to say something about what your scores reflect. Why the plot is a 9 or some other number. Usually if you liked the story the plot number is fairly high, over 6 at least. The Technical score can vary significantly from your overall opinion, this is where recommendations (to the author for proof-readers or editors, or to readers to decide if dialect stories fit their needs) most often fit in the review. Finally the reviewer gets to present his case why the story is a ten, or a six or something in between. If it is lower than a six, perhaps you should have written the author and not posted a review.

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