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HWA Requests Amazon Review Reviews

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Philip Overby, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    I think this is an interesting topic and has been a sticking point for writers for a while. While I don't necessarily agree that Amazon should police all reviews, I do think some moderation would be helpful. I especially dislike reviews that complain about a price point. I don't see how that has anything to do with the content of the book. That's just me though.

    Authors Call On Amazon to Review Reviews Process - Writer's Circle

    Thoughts? Has anyone ever had these kind of reviews happen to them?
  2. cupiscent

    cupiscent Sage

    I don't think policing expression on the internet is ever very successful. Even if Amazon changed their acceptable review rules, people who wanted to vote-down a particular book would find ways to do it within the guidelines. To my mind, the whole point of a review is that other people can read the content and decide for themselves if it's a useful comment. I am just as capable of seeing that a review is infantile, or incomplete, or unrelated to the book content as the author is. (Editing to note: I do agree that reviews that contain enjoyment-ruining spoilers might be an issue, but that can be handled separately - flag as spoiler? And on the other hand, I'm somewhat of the opinion that if a piece of media can be ruined by spoilers, it can't have that much inherent merit in the first place. After all, what about re-reading?)

    And, to be honest, I'm leery of giving authors any sort of powers to remove reviews that they don't like, and too many of those suggested criteria are very subjective. It seems to undermine the entire point of the system.

    What does concern me is the power that these ratings have in an environment where Amazon is so important to an independent author's livelihood. But that's a separate issue.
    Feo Takahari likes this.
  3. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    I agree with you on the spoilers especially. I actually think it's best Amazon doesn't mess with the system at all. It's been working so far. I think you're right in that most readers are going to ignore these silly reviews that have no substance. But I think one thing that seems relatively minor is the whole star rating. Despite what some say, I do think people put stock in star ratings. If someone gives a book 1 Star based on its pricing, that seems strange to me. But I guess it makes sense in a way if you're reviewing the product as a whole. Like if your buy a Kindle version of Lord of the Rings and the formatting is all screwy, you may complain about the pricing because there were problems with the product itself. So at first I agreed that getting rid of pricing reviews sounded good, but now it kind of makes sense to me.

    I also think that allowing writers to remove reviews they don't like is certainly dangerous on multiple levels.

    It made me think about Youtube videos though. There are videos that disable comments or the like bar or whatever. Creators of videos can delete comments they don't like. I don't know the etiquette for that, but I would say most Youtubers probably don't delete negative comments because it may make them look too sensitive or something. It's more for spammy content or anything abusive.

    I think I'm leaning more towards the idea that messing with the reviews would be bad. But I think spoiler ridden reviews should maybe be moderated in some capacity.
  4. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    Let me guess . . . Anne Rice is leading the charge?


    On the one hand, "author should be sodomized" is clearly going too far. On the other, I'd prefer not to side with Miss "interrogating the text from the wrong perspective." Looking at the list of requests, "includes negative personal remarks about the author" looks particularly rife for abuse if a reviewer wants to, say, discuss how the author's religious or political views impact the portrayal of religion or politics in the text.

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