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Should Amazon Abolish the Negative Vote Altogether?

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In reply to an earlier post on 18 Mar 2010 20:47:29 GMT
LOve your thinking.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Mar 2010 21:04:52 GMT
OEJ says:
MIRC - you said "i've come round to the idea of getting rid of the No vote option - if you don't agree with a review, write a counter review and let people vote for your point of view"

I proposed something similar a year or so back, but the idea was prompted by the eBay Negative Feedback system. As you probably know, you can't leave negative feedback on eBay without explaining why - and the other party has the option to respond to that.

My suggestion was an automatically opening small text-window if someone clicks the unhelpful button, instead of the current 'thanks for your feedback'. In that box, which would have a small character limit, someone finding a review unhelpful (unacceptable more like) would then have to add a short sentence justifying the neg, and their Amazon ID would show in that box. It could be physically very small (poss only visible if the user held the cursor over a link button) but would help in at least two ways - reviewers would get a clearer explanation as to why their reviews are not liked, and spiteful negative voting would be reduced due to the removal of anonymous negging.

This could also work for positive votes too of course, but I think it would probably need to be only an option rather than mandatory.

Posted on 18 Mar 2010 23:00:10 GMT
Danny says:
The eBay feedback system is completely different to the Amazon review system. Indeed, there is a feedback system on Amazon that is pretty much the same as the eBay system. It exists between buyers and sellers, not reviewers and readers of reviews. If somebody felt a review was bad and negged it, but had to leave their id on display, it would open the floodgates for spiteful retaliation from disgruntled reviewers. I am sure it would only be a tiny minority of reviewers, but this forum itself has demonstrated that not every reviewer is of sound mind. Personally I honestly can't see what is wrong with the system as it stands. Its not perfect, but like democracy, it isn't as bad as any of the alternatives.

Posted on 19 Mar 2010 00:28:56 GMT
OEJ says:
Hold my hand up - I am not of sound mind.

Posted on 19 Mar 2010 03:56:22 GMT
Geek Girl says:
I think there are plenty of unhelpful reviews on Amazon and I like having the facility to vote on them if I feel that way about them.

I'm talking about obvious fake or self-promoting reviews, "it arrived on time and was in good condition" reviews, reviews that say that they loved or hated the item but not why, reviews that are only about the reviewer and not the item, reviews that are inadvertently published for the wrong item, reviews that are just an excuse to pontificate on the reviewer's opinion on something tenuously related, reviews that are so badly written that you can't figure out what the hell they are about, reviews that contain blatant spoilers without warning...I could go on and on.

The advantage of the unhelpful vote is that it clearly differentiates the review from one which is helpful. If you couldn't vote it unhelpful, what's to stop the reviewer's mates voting it up in the helpful stakes - with no one to counter that opinion?

I am hopeful that the new changes to the system will make it harder for vindictive unhelpfuls to stick. I don't see the need to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Posted on 19 Mar 2010 06:21:46 GMT
Last edited by the author on 19 Mar 2010 06:28:52 GMT
NeuroSplicer says:
I hear what you are saying GEEK GIRL but the negative vote was available neither to...police the existing reviews nor to express whether one agrees with it or not. It rather offered the possibility to let the reviewer know whether his efforts were or not helpful for you making your purchasing decision.

No offense, but people who think themselves as the AMAZON-Police are a core group of potential trouble. Considering your convictions the absolutely righteous ones - so much that you have the right to act upon them - always foreshadowed abuse.

The new system was a good thing. However, it did throw away a lot of babies with the bathwater: a lot of legitimate positive votes got dismissed for no valid reason.
Erroneously, the new system failed to identify and cancel multiple positive votes from cheating individuals who kept voting for themselves for years.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Mar 2010 07:10:02 GMT
Last edited by the author on 19 Mar 2010 07:18:15 GMT
Geek Girl says:
NeuroSplicer, I don't understand what I wrote that makes you think I want to police reviews or express if I agree with them? I AM talking about reviews that are not helpful for a purchasing decision.

A slanted review that's only trying to persuade me to buy an item is unhelpful to me. I've bought books on the strength of those reviews (often suckered in by references in other reviews of books I've liked, multiple helpful votes and comments agreeing that yes the book IS wonderful) and found them to be a waste of my reading time. An honest review - positive or negative - that's been written with thought IS helpful to me. And I value the right to say whether reviews were helpful to me or not.

Honestly, what is helpful about a review like these (real examples) and why am I the "Amazon Police" for not thinking them helpful?:
"I NEVER received this item and have emailed you about this. Please find out where it is!!!"
"I was very disappointed in his book. I don't know how it stays on the best seller list. I would be very careful before buying another of his books."
"1.)I have tried numerous times to start this book but feel immediately overwhelmed. It is not drawing me in as I had hoped. 2.) a great read on a long summer journey. I couldn't get enough of the plight of the people. Great stuff." (yes that was one, contradictory review)
"I have not read this book and I am not going to read it. After reading his first book I have concluded that this writer is incapable of writing anything good."
"I have not yet read this book, but I've heard it is very much worth the read."
"Book is thrilling and keeps the reader the whole time. I love it and would recommend it to all adults!"
"This book will evoke every emotion from the reader. I love the author's writing!!!"

Posted on 19 Mar 2010 07:23:09 GMT
Danny says:
Or how about:

"I can't wait for this to be released. I hope its going to be good."

Posted on 19 Mar 2010 08:19:29 GMT
JJG says:
If i feel strongly enough that something is unhelpful, as in, it's the wrong item or pointless review that says nothing, I'll leave a comment as well. That way, hopefully, the author will see the error of their ways and remove it or update it. I have to say it happens rarely, but if it is the wrong item, at least customers will see my comment.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Mar 2010 11:50:45 GMT
i have just had a 2 of 2 positive votes turned into 1 of 2 positive votes for a review i did a while ago, can anyone tell me how this is possible? this was done AFTER the new system came into use, not as a result of the change over. i thought that the votes were impossible to take back.

Posted on 19 Mar 2010 12:57:05 GMT
Danny says:
Presumably somebody who voted positive changed their mind and turned it into a negative.

Posted on 19 Mar 2010 13:02:42 GMT
Last edited by the author on 19 Mar 2010 13:14:57 GMT
Repy to: 'The new system was a good thing. However, it did throw away a lot of babies with the bathwater: a lot of legitimate positive votes got dismissed for no valid reason.'

NeuroSplicer, you say a lot of legitimate votes got thrown out under the new system. My impression is that most of the votes that got thrown out were ones that were part of unusual voting patterns; fan votes and friend votes, in other words. I for one see this as a good thing.
Your problem seems to be that a lot of your positive votes were removed. Well, maybe there was good reason for that. I doubt very much that Amazon just arbitrarily removed chunks of votes from your profile without reason.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Mar 2010 15:16:54 GMT
Last edited by the author on 19 Mar 2010 15:35:01 GMT
NeuroSplicer says:
Not exactly MARK. And let's use my case as an example. I review from Books to Health Care products but my main focus has always been PC Games. Now the PC gaming crowd is not infinite. Especially if one takes into consideration that most of us stick to a small number of genre, my reviews are bound to receive feedback from a limited number of Amazon customers.

Now, once any fellow customer has added a grand total of a very small number of positive votes (I think PUNDIT worked it out to 4), any future positive feedback is discounted as that customer is branded a "Fan". With the new system, pretty soon all specialized reviewers (and from my experience that corresponds to the vast majority of Amazon reviewers who write for pleasure) will run out of people who can vote for them.
And that, apparently, had a retrograde effect as well.

I understand that this measure was implemented to fight the rampant Trolling that plagued in these past years. So now, whenever someone gives a small number of negative votes to anyone, he is branded a "negative Fan"(?) and his feedback is discounted in the future.

With the introduction of the new system I had over 15,000 negative votes removed from my reviews so, obviously, I cannot complain about that! However, since negative votes do not count towards one's ranking, I believe that there should had been a more accommodating limit to positive feedback and not share the same strict limit. Cheating should not be tolerated but legitimate positive votes should not had been removed en mass either.

Any new system of this scope is bound to experience glitches and hiccups.
I like to think that the good people of Amazon would not turn a deaf ear to the feedback and advice offered in threads like this one.

Posted on 19 Mar 2010 15:30:33 GMT
Last edited by the author on 19 Mar 2010 15:34:00 GMT
OEJ says:
All I can say is that the new system may not be perfect, but it's a thousand times better than the old one.

Improvements could still be made, but nothing could be as dramatic as last week's big change. My main niggle, and it's only a small one (but shared by others I think) is that the rating system for each review doesn't reflect helpfulness accurately. Now there are thousands of very brief unrated reviews sitting several pages higher than a comprehensive and informative one with (for example) 24 out of 33, which as a result will hardly ever be seen. Some fine tuning to address that would be welcome, for all of us I should think.

Posted on 19 Mar 2010 15:32:22 GMT
G.I.Forbes says:
I vdo think the negative vote should be cabolished as it is to open to abuse

Posted on 19 Mar 2010 15:54:30 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 25 Mar 2012 04:07:11 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Mar 2010 16:04:49 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 11 Nov 2012 23:11:51 GMT]

Posted on 19 Mar 2010 17:15:12 GMT
Damaskcat says:
I don't actually mind the negative votes - even though I have been hit in the past by various trolls. The new software seems to me to be cutting out the vast majority of the so-called campaigning voting either for or against - which is good. If people genuinely don't think my reviews are helpful then I have no problems with that.

Posted on 19 Mar 2010 17:48:13 GMT
Danny says:
Wow Neurosplicer, you have been busy washing your reviews. Last week you had lost 14500 negs and had a 75% positive. Now its 15000 and 80% positive. So you've removed over 500 negative votes yourself by deleting and reposting reviews. Now, thats all within Amazon's own rules, but don't claim Amazon deleted them for you, because they didn't.

This is what you said:

Over the past 16 months this person has been using throwaway Amazon Profiles and managed to pile over 14,500(!) negative votes onto my reviews. As a result, with the introduction of the new ranking system my approval rating skyrocketed from ...43% to 75%. So the improvement over the past system is evident. But there is also a lot of need for fine-tuning.


If you just stuck to the truth then I'm fairly certain you wouldn't get such a negative response with your reviews. To imagine that all your negatives were from a single troll is quite frankly ludicrous. You got negative votes because people didn't agree with you. Obviously there was trolling going on too, but there was also a heck of a lot of positive vote padding going on by yourself. 9000+ positive votes removed was not down solely to fan voting. Do me a favour!

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Mar 2010 18:07:37 GMT
Last edited by the author on 7 Apr 2010 19:40:05 BDT
NeuroSplicer says:
And your real profile, chunky, went from No.8 to No.4 during the same week. What were you ..."washing" (?), mate?
(By the way, why don't you dare make an appearance with your real Profile in these threads? After all, this is the "Top Reviewers Forum", is it not? Strap on a pair and face your accusers like a man!)

We both know that the great majority of all those thousands of negative votes Amazon removed originated from the same person. So, to save you the trouble, your "outrage" fools no one.

How you did it? Well, you work as an internet consultant so setting up multiple Profiles all over the country or hiding behind a number of proxies should not troubled you too much. Not when it meant feeding your envious obsession.

Were you stuffing your own ballot-box at the same time? I do not care, that is between you and Amazon.
If they do not care who slithers amongst their top-10 reviewers, why should I?

I can understand your frustration now that your trolling days are over.
And I can only imagine the terror even the idea of Amazon abolishing the negative vote brings to you.
Without any reviews to deface, how are you ever going to feel better about yourself?
But try to get over it.

Pick up a hobby. Maybe knitting?

Posted on 19 Mar 2010 18:28:16 GMT
Danny says:
I don't care how many people you accuse me of being. The more the merrier. But if you seriously think anybody would set up multiple ids all over the country just to give you negative votes you are seriously deluding yourself.

And if this Chunky fellow had been stuffing his ballot box, as you put it, those votes would have been removed in the purge. But they weren't. If he was indeed capable of fooling the new system in that manner, then it would apply to both positive and negative results.

But carry on being nasty. Carry on trolling. Ultimately it is your life you are wasting, nobody elses.

Posted on 19 Mar 2010 18:32:35 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 11 Nov 2012 23:12:36 GMT]

Posted on 20 Mar 2010 14:31:27 GMT
OEJ says:
If NeuroSplicer's experience is anything to go by, there's a case for abolishing the negative vote. I don't know for certain who was behind it, but it's obvious that someone with an unhealthy obsession was responsible for that unbelievable mass-negging. His average neg vote per review was almost 42, so when you multiply that by 350 (his number of reviews just before the change) you get an idea of the illness behind the obsession.

At least troll-negging will be a lot more difficult now, so we can only assume that most negative votes will be genuine - from people who actually read a review and found it unhelpful.

Posted on 20 Mar 2010 15:33:24 GMT
Danny says:
I can see why bulk voting has resulted in Amazon's changes, but surely that has solved the problem with regards to these campaigns, which were presumably done with the aid of a script, I would imagine. I find it extremely hard to believe that anybody would set up a network of PCs around the country just to neg somebody on Amazon.

Simply put, the problem has already been solved.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Mar 2010 16:11:39 GMT
Last edited by the author on 20 Mar 2010 16:15:22 GMT
Mondoro says:
J J Graber, I think the requirement to leave a comment for a negative is important: as I said in an earlier post, reviewers should not be afraid of someone disagreeing with them, though I think they are due the courtesy of being told why, rather than simply being anonymously slated.

I agree that some reviews have one or other of the faults listed in earlier posts on this thread, in which case the negative comment expaining why might be a useful corrective as well as doing some justice to the product that has been badly/inappropriately/ or whatever reviewed.
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