Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Noob, Mar 4, 2017.
I honestly find this quite puzzling (why Amazon does that, that is). But thanks!
No idea about fake reviews, but the point of 1 and 2-star reviews was always lost on me.
I personally use the 1 to 10 rating system, since I find it more elegant in spirit. However, even with it, I do my best not to deviate beneath the mark of 7/10, because.
If 10/10 is superb, 9.5/10 nearly superb, 9/10 great, 8.5/10 nearly great, 8/10 very good, 7.5 good, 7 okay, and then you have 6 for average, 5 for dissapointing and what are 1, 2, 3 and 4 supposed to be? Is 2/10 awful? It basically translates into 1-star Amazon/Googreads rating, right?
So every 1-star rating is supposed to represent that someone have found the book to be awful? For me as a person who loves books that's just insulting.
A very important question comes to mind - are there really worthless books out there? I.e. books that would be unenjoyable to the 100% of the readers? I don't think so. There are books which I wouldn't even use as a shelf filler, as not to contamine my favorite books with their awful-ness. But the thing is - I do aknowledge that those books are just awful for me, they might even be an awful all-around read, but those books would still have some target audience, be it small or large, that won't find them atrocious, but awesome instead.
And so if I am to give a 1-star or even 2-star rating to that particular "literary" work, I am more or less commenting on my inability to be respectful toward some people's guilty pleasures, rather than being usefully critiquing a book, because even if I don't like a book, I am still going to give it a 6/10( 3 stars) as to aknowledge the fact that this book was dissapointing for me, whether because of my particular taste or because of my greater experience as a book reader( which makes it harder for any new book I read to impress me), rather than it being a worthless pile of megabytes on Amazon's servers. Or if the story is really that awful... I'd still hesitate to give anything lower that 3/5, because... well, because there is a human being standing behind that book, someone who could do better, and mean and vile reviews would hardly motivate that person to try harder and do better( depending on the person, of course, but mean is mean no matter what).
My point is this - unless a book is insultingly stupid and insulting, both at the same time, I would feel like a moron giving it a 1-star review. And I would feel like a bigger moron taking the opinions of people who give 1-star reviews as something worth listening to. Yes, they probably have some legit concerns listed there, you could find a lot of what is wrong about a book in such kind of reviews, but I prefer to trust a 3-star review with legit concerns, than a 1-star review with legit concerns, because 1-star reviews, in my opinion, reveal more about the reviewer rather than the book being reviewed.
But, of course, that's just me.
I only read the start of your post (sorry - short attention span), but to fully appreciate the 1 star rating, you really need to read Dinosaur Lords!
Wut? You're basically saying here that your reviews are worthless. You'll give a book a 3/5 at minimum (or 7/10)
just because you don't want to be mean to an author or because you're afraid you didn't "get" the book? This approach is not usefully critiquing a book, it's whitewashing.
It's also disrespectful to other readers. Better not leave a review at all if the rating is going to be either 3/5, 4/5 or 5/5. regardless of the quality. By whitewashing it you basically trick other readers into thinking the book is good, whereas it actually isn't.
Furthermore, I think it is even disrespectful to the author. You're an author yourself. Wouldn't you want to know if your output sucked?
The way we review is subjective (just like reviews themselves). You're of course free to use your own system. It just doesn't make logical sense to me whatsoever. But then again, who am I? Might be your approach is more common than I thought. I seriously doubt it though.
I'm looking forward to the day when they invent the Men in Black memory-erase thingamajig. I'll use it on you and make you read Dinosaur Lord again.
That's rather personal approach for a moderator, don't you think? Let me give you a 1/10 for manners, you could take it constructively, but I don't care tbh.
As for my methods of rating books - it's widely used in the review websites I frequent, even here I think, because it's the common sense way of being constructive, but also polite, considerate and abstaining from snobery.
Anything less than 3-star review says "Don't read that book", same as anything below 6/10 or 5/10. How is that useful? A 3-star review with lots of legit concerns says "Be warned, this book isn't perfect, I've found it dissapointed and so might you, but you gotta decide for yourself". A 1-star reviews says "This is an utter crap, useless, the author is a complete hack, burn it, burn it, burn it".
Is there a difference? Yes, Could both be useful? Yes. Are both a legit comment on a book? Yes. Are both mainly aimed to be informative for other people, without making the final decision for them? No. One is telling you to be cautious and mindful of your tastes when it comes to this book, the other is telling you the book sucks, period. One is an opinion striving to express some concerns, the other is bashing, even if its mostly true.
The 1 to 10 rating system isn't perfect. But generally people abstain from going lower than 6/10, making 6/10 the "it's dissapointing, but you might find value in it" line. While with the 5-star system, many people would hand 1-star and 2-star reviews like candies, making the whole system quite insulting, lacking continuinity and so forth and so forth.
Are my reviews worthless for following a common sense approach? I don't know. I don't think so. Are you the person who can decide that? Nope, not in a hundred years.
Have in mind however, that this is the last time I am going to pretend that you haven't missed out on your first seven years. Your posts, when you are quoting me, have begun to be suspiciously rude or condescending, I was going along with it for some time now, but it's growing annoying already, and just so we are clear - you are doing the respectfully condescending act quite well, but I am confident in the fact that I am better in it, so don't make me start. I am probably also more versed in right out insulting, and I wouldn't mind going on that rode too, if you don't stop acting like a pig, so there you go.
Why would people not use low scores for a review? If a book is WOK bad, it's WOK bad, and you should just say it. No point calling a rabbit a smeerp.
I realize my post was confrontational, and for that (my tone) I apologize. I could (should) have formulated my reply differently.
My opinion hasn't changed though and I think I have a right to my opinion like everyone else does. I read all your posts here on the forum and more often than not I find things I agree with, but at other times there are things I disagree with and -like any opinion expressed here on the forum- I think I have a right to challenge you on these points.
I don't mind being challenged on my words - it's one of the reasons for the forums to exist. But I don't like it when someone is trying to ridicule them just for the sport of it - I am trying to be respectful toward everyone's opinion, even if I disagree, and if I happen not to be, I'd want someone to tell me, instead of insulting me out of nowhere.
For what it's worth I am sorry that I've over-reacted a bit to your previous post - but it's more a comment on our over-all interactions rather that this one time. I have nothing personal against you( I actually enjoy talking to you, most of the time)and I'd like to keep the things that way, but it takes two for that game, therefore my previous post.
As for my opinion in this thread - I've said my piece, if you don't agree with anything in particular, I'd be happy to know why and such, but it's probably better if we let this discussion unfinished, since it started kind of the wrong way. And it's a too fine a day for forum battles anyway.
Maybe I am misunderstanding your quarrel ... but to me it seems you might possibly be saying the same thing...
to ExTended ... what to you do if you read a book and it turns out to be a bad one?
My assumption from how I read your post is that you ... simply would not bother to post a review for it.
I guess nobody in this discussion would fault you for that.
If, however, you would write a review, but give it a 3-star-rating, that would be very misleading IMO as well and I would fully understand the criticism leveled at you.
Personally, if I think a book is bad I generally don't finish it . . . and therefore don't review it, that wouldn't be fair.
That does mean, however, that when I take the trouble to write a review it will be rare indeed for it to be less than three stars - if it wasn't 3 stars, I wouldn't have finished it!
There are a few exceptions, when I follow recommendations to books that are so bad I feel angry. There was a thing called 'Corpalism' being hyped a couple of years ago. I didn't finish it. Couldn't finish it! It seems to have disappeared. Good!
Then there was 'Nastragull'. Same comment.
But there is an awful lot of other stuff that I have given up on because it just wasn't what I wanted.
Not sure where to go from here . . .
Yeah, but if that's the low mark for books, then I have to give everything at least a 9/10.
I'll note that I rarely give less than 3 stars to a book on Goodreads. That is partially because I respect the time and effort that goes into crafting a book. Even when a book isn't to my tastes, I recognize that it might work for some people. I note this in my review. I don't think it's fair to the author to give a good book a bad rating just because it doesn't suit your tastes.
If a book truly is bad, I won't hesitate to give out a one or two star review, but I run across very few books that fall into that category.
I'll happily give a book a 1 star rating if I took no enjoyment from reading it. That's the whole point of a rating system, surely, it's a reflection of your opinion on whether a book is to your tastes or not?
I'm sorry, but automatically giving a book a minimum 2 or 3 star rating just because a lot of effort went into writing it, is ridiculous. It completely makes any sort of rating system completely pointless, unless it was some sort of PC scoring system where everything is 'good', just varying degrees of 'good'. You know, the kind of thing they do in primary schools so as to not upset the intellectually challenged children, or the 'larger' ones on sports day.
Are the two sides of the pendulum exactly the same then? In the 5-star rating system, say 5 is excellent, 4 very good, 3 average, then 2 is very bad and 1 is abysmal, right?
Seriously, how often do you guys end up reading books that are bad or abysmal? If I've made myselfd to finish a book - it's probably at least average. It might be dissapointing, boring, uninspiring, but it was just good enough to get by. It would be an insult to myself to rate that book beneath 3 stars - it would mean I have had nothing better to do with my time than reading a 1-star book. If I consider the book to be dissapointing, but not without virtues, I'd give it a 3-stars and list my concerns in the review. It's pretty obvious whether you've liked the book or not, by the things you write - if the only way for someone to express his displeasure with a book is by giving it a 1-star rating, then that's a very sad story indeed.
My problem isn't with how many stars you give a book. Whether you give 0 or 10 or 20. The problem is, at least the way I understand it, what those stars imply. 5 is for highly recommending. 4 is for you'll probably like it. 3 is for "read on your own risk". And then comes 2 and 1, both screaming "stay away from the book, it bites". I read a lot - not as much as some people, but much more than many. Still - the cases in which I encounter a truly abysmal book is like under 5%. Will I go out of my way to review that book? Probably not. Why?
Gald you've asked. I am active member of one of the better paid Kindle courses and its FB group. We talk everything publishing there, I roam more in my capacity as a FB ads expert, but still - I am a writer in the making. We have two very simple and important rules - 1. don't be a dick 2. don't leave a fellow writer a review under 5 stars.
Why? Because writing is a business. Small business - maybe. One man business - yup. But still a business. Someone have put hours and hours into writing the thing, then he or his publishers have put thousands of dollars into making this book available to the readers. We writers have to accept and respect that fact about one another.
As a reader - I don't leave 1 and 2 star reviews either. As I've said - they scream "Don't buy that book". Now - I am an opinionated person. But even I don't presume to judge a book so profoundly as to scare people off from it. I might write a review where I go on about in how many ways the book is average - a 3-star review, and then its the reader's decision on whether to go and buy the book. But 1-star reviews... they try to make the decision for the readers - it's wrong, and childish and kind of snobby.
You might feel comfortable giving 1-star reviews. That's OK, because it has nothing to do with me. But your 1-star reviews have consequences for the authors and the books. Much more so than a grumpy 3-star review. They also affect the writer's lives in small ways. And don't come up with the argument how they help authors to grow. No one is growing from negative and petty 1-star reviews - the absolutely same words in a 1-star review could be 10 times more useful and better received by an author if they were in a 3-star review instead.
On another note - I don't find anything wrong in giving reviews from 3+ stars only. Why? Because when I log into a review website( specialised in reviweing a genre, not selling books that is, i.e. similar to this one) - I am rarely giving much attention to books with 3 stars. I read the 9.5 rating series, then the 9 rating series, then the 8 rating series. I rarely go with book which have under 7.5 ratings, and almost never with books which have under 6. Someone could produce a calculator now and explain to me how 6.8 ratings aren't possible without 1, 2, 3 and 4 ratings, but he would be wrong. If a book is 6.5 - it's 6.5 for a reason and the majority of the people would rate it accordingly. And if this isn't enough to tell you it might suck - well, how would making it 1/10 change that?
3-stars as a bottom line rating would never be a problem, when the good stuff is rated at 4 and 5 stars at average. Better books would always have better average rating than shittier books, no matter on the rating system. But some people's rating habbits are downright rude and stupid( in my opinion) and bring in nothing to the table. This does not render the 1-star and 2-star ratings useless, it would make them more meaningful. Because people wouldn't be warned to skip a book based on someone's ego or ability to find 3 typos in a 350 000 book.
And Maark - you are free to give WoK 0 stars if you feel like it. However, ask yourself one very important question. Could you do better? The answer is no. If you could - we would've been putting your books at top 1 in the over-all site ratings. Don't despair - I cannot do as well as Brandon Sanderson either. The difference is - I don't presume to scare people of WoK with 1-star ratings. When I don't like a book - I give it a 3-star review with information about why would someone read it and why someone would want to skip it. Then it's the reader's choice, as it should be. If the reader of my review needs of me to be rude in order to grasp my point, then he can go... and read some other review.
Am I right? I don't know - from where I stand, I am. And knowing that what goes around comes around - I feel quite fine.
EDIT: When I say I give 3-stars at minimum, it's actually 5/10. So there you go.
You're far too kind to others, sir. An appointment with the Black King and his Chronicle is in order, I think.
@ExTended - it's rare for me to rate something as bad/abysmal (1/2) purely because I don't read much that I can count as bad. There are books that fall within the 3 range (I prefer a scale of 10 because that way if a terrible book like WOK can have SOME redeeming quality I can at least bump it up by one notch rather than start using decimals). If a book is bad enough that I feel I need to warn people 'don't waste your time with this', I'll not hesitate to review accordingly. If I went to a shoddy, unclean restaurant and had a crap meal that gave me food poisoning, I wouldn't give it an average review just because it was a small business. The very notion is giving me a headache, frankly.
I'll add authors should expect that they'll get 1 star reviews. It's part and parcel of the occupation. I would rather someone absolutely tore me apart in an honest 1 star review than a tame, held-back 3 star that doesn't give me that person's honest take on my work. My proofreaders have been very positive about what I write, but they're target audience for my style. When it actually gets out there, that's when the real punishment begins. Good thing I'm a masochist.
I disagree with that. If a book is so bad, that I angrily throw it into a corner after 50 pages, then I will happily write a scathing review on the assumption that it likely will not get any better in the remaining pages. But I would mention that it was so bad I did not finish it.
Case in point: Larry Correia's "Monster Hunters, Inc."
I strongly disagree with that idea, based on my personal work experiences in the area of "Customer relationship management", one part of which is complains/feedback.
You may write your heart out with suggestions and feedback, but as long as you click "3 stars" in the end, the recipient will read this as "OK, he bitched around a lot, but he still found it more or less ok, so I was not doing anything wrong" ... and routinely ignore it. Giving a 1 star review points out the review as "something is amiss here" ... and alerts potential fellow readers.
As a matter of fact, whenever I try to make up my mind about whether to buy something or not, I specifically search for 1-star-reviews and read them thoroughly, to understand whether they were just written by someody who likes to bitch and moan (these I ignore) or whether there might truly be issues with the product or service in question. I normally find those reviews much more illustrative and helpful than the typical "Bought it yesterday, and it's great" 5-star reviews.
I agree with that part of your answer!
However, I strongly question that you need to be able to write a great book in order to appreciate a great book over a not-so-great one.
I remember hearing - decades ago - the supposed statement of a theater critic to an irate actor leveling the same criticism at him (but unfortunately could not find it again to give here as reference) which went similar to "Dear sir, I do not need to be able to lay an egg in order to be able to judge whether my breakfast egg is well done or not"
I thought people give star or grade reviews as readers, not as writers. That they don't need to think whether or not they could do write better. That's an unreasonable position if you ask me.
Following the same logic, you couldn't grade any product with 1 star because you can't make it better. 1 star hotel? Forget about it, what do you know about running hotels. 1 star restaurant? Are you out of your mind. You can't even cook eggs right.
When you break it down, it's just silliness.
The fact is however, that Maark is a writer. He doesn't frequent the forum only in his capacity of being a fantasy reader, but also as a fantasy writer. So it's only natural that someone who reads his remarks toward WoK might ask "So how are you doing, compared to this "hack" you constantly bash?"
If I frequent a forum about food as a food fan - that's one thing. If I frequent it as a food fan and a professional chef and I am bashing other chefs, that's another thing.
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