Originally Posted by Andrew H.
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.
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.
Again, it's not about qualifications, it's about conflict of interest.
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.
Well I can say I disagree with you on several points. If just being an author invalidates your ability to write an impartial review of a book by another author then we are in trouble. That would be like saying that if someone is of German descent that they are a Nazi or if they have Irish ancestry they're an alcoholic (I have both German and Irish ancestry) both of which are nonsense. Writer's are also readers, in fact they were probably readers long before they wrote the 1st word of their own contributions to literature. While there may be some bias (everyone has their own likes and dislikes in reading material) that same bias exists in the mind of every reader, published author or not. Granted not all authors are created equal as far as knowing what others will like or dislike they still know how best to structure a book, define characters etc. because they had to learn that while trying to get their own work published. Of course right or wrong it's moot by now as Amazon has done it. I don't think it's fair though to penalize everyone for the actions of the few who fake reviews or whatever.