Originally Posted by Catlady
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.