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Old 12-05-2012, 07:48 PM   #26
Andrew H.
Grand Master of Flowers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crich70 View Post
I think it also accuses the reviewers of being liars. I mean say you and I both write a book a piece and we both like well written fiction in the same genre. But we don't know one another personally. Why can't I give an unbiased review of a book that I bought from you? Just because we both have books available for purchase from Amazon doesn't mean we are indulging in mutual backscratching.
Well, yes, I think the whole point of Amazon doing this is to eliminate a conflict of interest. Which doesn't mean that the reviewers *are* liars, but it does mean that it may be in their interest to lie.

It doesn't matter if they know other authors personally: if an author has reviewed several other authors books, they may feel an obligation to review his books positively. Or an author reviewing a book may be concerned about being too critical about a book lest that author retaliate with a critical review of the first author's book. These incentives don't exist if the person reviewing a book isn't an author.

Quote:
Basically they're saying that an author isn't qualified to review a book that they like just because they are an author.
No, they are not saying that the author isn't qualified. That has no bearing on the issue at all. What they are saying is that the author has a conflict of interest, and because of this conflict the author shouldn't write reviews.

It's like not letting the mayor's son bid on the sidewalk project: the prohibition has nothing to do with his qualifications and everything to do with the conflict of interest. IOW, we can't tell whether the son was chosen because he is the best contractor or because he is the mayor's son, so we bar him from playing.


Quote:
That's like saying my Dr isn't qualified to refer me to a specialist (for specific medical care) just because he is a licensed doctor. If he, as a Dr.) isn't qualified to tell me who the best person in the field is to handle my medical problem, then who is?
Again, it's not about qualifications, it's about conflict of interest.


Quote:
Authors know how to write, they know what a well written piece of writing looks like, so why can't they say so?
Because there is a conflict of interest. We don't know whether they are telling the truth, and they have an incentive to lie.

And of course random authors are no better than readers at knowing what a well written piece of writing looks like: they have no special knowledge that people who have read thousands of books don't have.
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