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Old 09-15-2012, 03:50 AM   #16
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Perhaps more sites should do what Quora does, vote ups by users have the interesting posts at top, downvoted posts you need to click to open, otherwise you never see them.
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Old 09-15-2012, 04:06 AM   #17
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Not a bad idea, but at this point I doubt anything could make me read reviews, whether for books or anything else.
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Old 09-15-2012, 09:16 AM   #18
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Exactly the reason why I never, ever read reviews, except occasionally for the entertainment value. I do at times pay some minimal attention to aggregated review scores, but in the main I only buy books which I know that I want and so the reviews are superfluous to my requirements.
I have literally almost never paid attention to reviews of anything, from books to video games, and I have never been disappointed. I don't want to go into things with preconceived notions, good or bad. The books/games/movies I have almost always walked away from disappointed are the ones where everyone and their mother said it was pants-poopingly great. I can't even begin to count how many 9/10 rated video games I've walked away from without being able to figure out what the hubub was all about. Meanwhile I'm enjoying myself like a pig in mud with something that got a 5/10. I will go back and read reviews to see if my opinion matches up after the fact but I never pay attention to them on the front end.

My own tastes rarely, if ever, steer me wrong. I'm not trying to be a contrarian, I don't go out of my way to be different, I simply don't buy into the "hive mind" of the general populace and I try to go into everything with no expectations either way.


As to the topic, yes, people are getting increasingly aggressive with their ignorance. There's also a whole populace of simple joy killers who want to ruin everybody elses good time or make people who enjoy something feel stupid. The happy people aren't online, they're enjoying their product instead of seething and spewing venom across the interwebs. I don't let it bother me anymore, I simply don't give 2 poops about very many peoples opinions about what I choose to spend my money on.

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Old 09-15-2012, 09:38 AM   #19
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Every book is going to have good and bad reviews. Although bad reviews don't help, a book with only five 5-Star reviews is less likely to get my attention than a book with 45 mixed reviews.
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Old 09-15-2012, 10:45 AM   #20
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welcome to Idiocracy

it's a worldwide phenomenon: the internet gave voice to more morons you could hear in a lifetime. And they do enjoy whining and shouting aloud a lot.

Before now, people were protected from exposure to the ramblings of too many morons...because newspapers and magazines could only employ just so many people.

The only change has been in quantity. Not quality.
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Old 09-15-2012, 12:04 PM   #21
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What is the incentive to post thoughtful and honest reviews? Any time you post a review, it is for the benefit of the people creating and selling the product. You are rarely receiving monetary benefits. You rarely have a sense of responsibility to other consumers. Heck, you can't even count on recognition.

In other words, any intelligent person would just skip writing a review and do something more productive with their time.
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Old 09-15-2012, 12:46 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by BWinmill View Post
What is the incentive to post thoughtful and honest reviews? Any time you post a review, it is for the benefit of the people creating and selling the product. You are rarely receiving monetary benefits. You rarely have a sense of responsibility to other consumers. Heck, you can't even count on recognition.

In other words, any intelligent person would just skip writing a review and do something more productive with their time.
Pretty cynical, don't you think? Why do people post recommendations here, or share their thoughts with friends?

When you really like something, you want others to enjoy it as well, whether it's a book or a product. Or else you want to warn people away from something you dislike.
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Old 09-15-2012, 01:14 PM   #23
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Every book is going to have good and bad reviews. Although bad reviews don't help, a book with only five 5-Star reviews is less likely to get my attention than a book with 45 mixed reviews.
I wouldn't mind good or bad reviews.
Often, for example on IMDB, my personal taste is quite the opposite of the main stream judgment.

But what really did annoy me: I didn't know the book. In the past, I simply would have bought it because of the description.
But, given the increasing number of self published books, one can't rely on the quality measures of the past anymore. In the past, one could assume: The author found a publisher, he did have an editor = the book should have some kind of quality to it. Now, you can't rely on it anymore.
So I made the mistake, to start reading the reviews.

But: There haven't been "good or bad" reviews. Most of them simply haven't been reviews at all, but statements about price and such.
And not even about the price for this specific book.
But general statements, why one should pay for books anyway. Or why eBooks aren't for free. Or why a book, that's already one year old, still should be paid for and such.
Not helpful at all, nothing of a "review" about it.
And I simply came to despise the attitude behind most of those statements.

So, to me it's not about "good or bad" review.
It's about: Why do so many people bother to give nonsense statements about "evil corporates", "greedy Google" and things like that...

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Old 09-15-2012, 01:25 PM   #24
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What is the incentive to post thoughtful and honest reviews? Any time you post a review, it is for the benefit of the people creating and selling the product. You are rarely receiving monetary benefits. You rarely have a sense of responsibility to other consumers. Heck, you can't even count on recognition.

In other words, any intelligent person would just skip writing a review and do something more productive with their time.
I agree. In the past, I never would have bothered about reviews. Neither reading them, nor writing them.

But, in my opinion, because of the increasing number of self published books, the portion of low quality books for example did increase drastically over the last year or so.
In the past, publishers and editors did guarantee at least some kind of minimum quality. That's history now. Anyone can publish their books.
I don't care that much about the 10 Euro, I might invest in a low quality book. But I care about the overall quality of my collection. I even started, permanently deleting some titles I couldn't stand.

So, actually I started to sometimes read reviews, when I haven't heard of the author before.
And then I don't mind "bad" reviews. No better review, than learning about inconsistencies in the storyline or bad writing or other details like that.
But I simply don't see any sense, in seeing discussed the pricing structures for eBooks or the publishing business per se in a book review...

And personally, I don't see much difference whether I write or read a book review or whether I discuss features of a new tablet here on Mobileread. To the expert, it can be fun sharing his expertise. To the Newbie, it can be helpful for the buying decision. Why shouldn't both, reader and writer, both benefit from their discussions?
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Old 09-15-2012, 01:40 PM   #25
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Some good points that the review should be about the book, not the price or the format. But, for some people, the reviews are the only way they can make a point about pricing problems such as an ebook being priced higher than the paperback version.

Reviews are so subjective as to be nearly useless. I and my brother both read science fiction. He likes Jack L Chalker, and I am not a fan. I love Roger Zelazny's Amber series but my brother finds it just ok. Who's right? Me of course! Just kidding. The difference is a matter of taste.

I do sometimes look at aggregate reviews of a product, software program or app before I buy or download it as I do find that somewhat useful.

I don't think we were better off when professional reviewers were all we could read in newspapers and magazines because critics were notoriously wrong. Many times, a movie that critics panned became box office blockbusters. Critics often had an elitism or snobbery about books, feeling they should have some deep literary value - an approach that was useless in my favourite genres of science fiction and fantasy.
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Old 09-15-2012, 01:44 PM   #26
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So, to me it's not about "good or bad" review.
It's about: Why do so many people bother to give nonsense statements about "evil corporates", "greedy Google" and things like that...
I often wonder about the amount of complaints about ebook prices in general. It's not like most people need a bank loan to buy one.

Maybe it is because they are not percieved as a physical item. Still I pay for cable, power, internet services etc. without receiving a physical item either.

Perhaps it is new readers who have never bought physical books and think they should be rewarded for reading rather than actually paying to read. Some may not even be aware that they can borrow the ebook or pbook from a library.

I would like ebooks to be cheaper, but then I would like everything to be cheaper.

I agree with your point, but don't see what can be done about it other than flagging bad reviews when possible. Complaining about the complainers seldom has much effect, although I sometimes do it anyway

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Old 09-15-2012, 02:05 PM   #27
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I often wonder about the amount of complaints about ebook prices in general. It's not like most people need a bank loan to buy one.
In times like this, I more and more often think I'm getting old (or already am)

I remember the (golden) times, when a game on Commodore 64 ca. 1984 did cost 100 German Marks = 50 Euro!
So I only can shake my head in astonishment, when I read about an iPhone game: "For such a high price, I would have expected more". The "high" price in that case being 4 Euro!
Of course, lots of games or apps on iOS and Android aren't even worth the 79 cent, they may cost. But considering 4 Euro much?
My only explanation: Such statements have to come from teens, who never have experienced the prices, "seniors" such as me (44 years old) have experienced:
Notebooks costing 4.000 Euros.
eBook readers costing 600 Euros.
Games costing 40+ Euros.
If one did pay 15 Euro for a CD 25 years ago, 10 Euro for the very same album in iTunes are fine.
If one never did experience this but only compares "Piratebay = 0" vs. "iTunes = 10 Euro" this seems to be an entirely different perspective than mine.
My attitude being quite the opposite: "Wow. Everything is getting cheaper and cheaper. How can they even build a tablet for 200 Euro".

And: I've been working for quite a few hardware manufacturers, for example Xerox. So I'm fine with adequate pricing for quality products, as those eventually pay my bills. Whereas the attitude "all should be for free" only leads to bankruptcy:

In Germany, there's even a political party, their main slogan being "all public transportation should be for free". Sounds nice and of course they have their fans. But, from a certain age on, one probably starts asking questions such as "and who's going to bare the costs"?...

Last edited by mgmueller; 09-15-2012 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 09-15-2012, 02:11 PM   #28
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...Reviews are so subjective as to be nearly useless. I and my brother both read science fiction. He likes Jack L Chalker, and I am not a fan. I love Roger Zelazny's Amber series but my brother finds it just ok. Who's right? Me of course! Just kidding. The difference is a matter of taste.

I do sometimes look at aggregate reviews of a product, software program or app before I buy or download it as I do find that somewhat useful.
...
Of course reviews are subjective.
For hardware, one can bring some objectivity to the table about specs.
For a book or a movie, it's all about personal taste.
(Maybe productions value and stuff, but even this is critical)...

So, like you, I rather rely on the avaerage rating, than a single review.
But if the average says "2 out of 5 stars, from 30 reviews in total", the 20 people giving 1 star because "eBooks should be free" or "why should I rent a movie from Google? I can buy a used DVD for the same amount" totally ruin the statistics of course.
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Old 09-15-2012, 02:32 PM   #29
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Pretty cynical, don't you think? Why do people post recommendations here, or share their thoughts with friends?

When you really like something, you want others to enjoy it as well, whether it's a book or a product. Or else you want to warn people away from something you dislike.
Cynical, yes. Yet it is, in my opinion, true for many sources of reviews.

Places like forums (e.g. MR) are somewhat different though. Unlike a lot of sites that host reviews, we know each other in some sense -- even if it is just the reputation that we have built for ourselves on the forum. I would suggest that means we are more willing to provide reviews, to help each other out, and provide legitimate reviews, because we are more accountable for our actions.

The dynamics in other places is different though. Sites where people come and go do not provide the same sense of responsibility to a larger community of people, so people who have an agenda (promoting a product, venting about a bad buy) have much louder voices. I am not saying that is true of all of them, but it certainly seems to be true of most of them.
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Old 09-15-2012, 02:53 PM   #30
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Some good points that the review should be about the book, not the price or the format. But, for some people, the reviews are the only way they can make a point about pricing problems such as an ebook being priced higher than the paperback version.
Correction. It's the only way they can make a point about pricing problems where their words will appear "in lights," so to speak.

There are plenty of ways to voice displeasure at perceived pricing injustices. Ways that make even more logical sense (not to mention having a better chance of landing on the desk of someone who might actually be able to do something about it) than putting it in a review on a site that has (had) no control over the pricing. The problem is... those more productive/appropriate ways of complaining aren't nearly as cathartic as publicly blasting "The Man" in a public forum where millions of people, who already agree with you, can read your impassioned—albeit misdirected—words.
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