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Customer Discussions > top reviewers discussion forum

Should Amazon Abolish the Negative Vote Altogether?

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Showing 126-150 of 1000 posts in this discussion
Posted on 29 Mar 2010 06:54:35 BDT
Ethereal says:
Why not ask the experts (top reviewers) on this thread - how does one identify the Primary Profile?

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Mar 2010 07:27:42 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Mar 2010 05:46:18 BDT
NeuroSplicer says:
One has to be fast and lucky.

Usually a Troll will post a spiteful comment under a review of yours before starting adding multiple negative votes. Before doing anything else check his Profile - including his WISH LIST. Trolls are as careless as the next person in publicizing their real name or workplace affiliation. Now, use either Google (and add the word amazon to your search) or Amazon's People finder for the same search-words and you have a number of potential candidates.
A Troll will not resist for long before posting under his other Profile under the same thread, only to agree with ...himself.

I identified my Troll this way. It started 2 years ago, with a nasty comment under my review of BIOSHOCK, the very first one posted:

When you see a comment ignoring your review and focusing on your person, you just know a Troll-egg is about to hatch. One with eyes full of green envy.
Pretty soon almost all of my reviews kept receiving spiteful or insulting comments and thousands of negative votes.
That is why you have act fast at the beginning.

Before making them private, Chunky/MarkTwain had the same real name in his (then public) Wish Lists and (before changing it) the same unusual company-related nickname in his Profiles. But that was only confirming what was already obvious. Choice of words, writing style and degree of obsession are just a few of the indicators.
Any two people can agree. But when one of them goes off the crazy-chart, the other is reluctant to follow - unless he is the same person of course.

The reason he does not dare use his Primary Profile to post in these threads is that he would only make his cheating with multiple Profiles more obvious and he would be bound to pick up a number of negative feedback (and dreads to risk his approval percentage he labored so hard to built).
Of course there is always the possibility his Primary Profile to have been banned by the good people at Amazon from posting comments due to his unprovoked attacks to my reviews.

Posted on 29 Mar 2010 07:44:50 BDT
Ethereal says:
It sounds hard work.
Here's a question of my own. (Could be it's already been mentioned or there are guidelines, but I'm too lazy to check.) What makes a top reviewer - the number of reviews, or positive feedback to those reviews?

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Mar 2010 07:55:46 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 Mar 2010 08:12:27 BDT
NeuroSplicer says:
It is a mixed bag. Positive feedback is what counts but the older the review posted the less it counts.

In other words, Amazon has embraced a Darwinian system, where one has to run only to stand still. You have to keep writing the best reviews and they have to keep receiving mostly positive feedback for you to maintain your standing alone - if not advance in the rankings.

Posted on 29 Mar 2010 07:59:14 BDT
Ethereal says:
Again, sounds like hard work. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy reviewing schedule to post the info!

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Mar 2010 08:11:21 BDT
NeuroSplicer says:
It is hard work only if you are not doing it for your own pleasure.
You are always welcome.

Posted on 29 Mar 2010 09:00:35 BDT
Danny says:
Neurosplicer, you really need to learn when somebody is taking the michael.

Mrs Braysher, Neurosplicer basically lumps anybody who disagrees with him into the same bogeyman. He has also stated that I am another person on this "Top Reviewer" forum, because they disagreed with him. Try it yourself if you want. Call him a twonk and sooner or later you will be me, in his eyes at least.

Posted on 29 Mar 2010 16:41:55 BDT
Ethereal says:
Iona Tamsin Stewart: "I like getting positive votes, but they wouldn't mean anything if I'd given them to myself!"
You'd think so, wouldn't you? But regardless of how it affects the Amazon rankings (which I don't know enough about to comment on) it may increase your standing with other people on the forum, so long as nobody realises you'd given them to yourself. Folk are often like sheep - where one goes others will follow, and you only need to look as far as the voting on this thread to see that. A kind of positive reinforcement. It's a theory.
Mark T - I couldn't possibly comment.

Posted on 29 Mar 2010 17:31:37 BDT
Danny says:
Mrs Braysher, the voting on this thread is a bit of a paradox really. If you post saying "I think the concept of negative voting is fine as it stands and some of you really need to stop taking this so seriously and get a thicker skin", you will get a negative vote.

Now, presumably, the person who left you a negative vote disagrees with you, meaning they think that negative votes are wrong. But they don't think they are wrong, otherwise they wouldn't be using them against you. But if they don't think they are wrong, why are they voting against you?


Posted on 29 Mar 2010 17:53:20 BDT
Ethereal says:
A conundrum indeed, and while we're all discussing the matter Amazon are no doubt rubbing their hands in glee (the publicity and sales potential which someone else mentioned a while back).

Posted on 30 Mar 2010 22:21:35 BDT
Dan says:
I liked the old system. Watching both mine and Neurosplicer's RPG reviews shoot around with multiple negative and positive marks was fun. It was like watching fixed machine driven horse racing at the fair. For a victim of negative marks he always bounced back to the top of the pile with multiple positive marks as well. His marking pattern stuck out more than anybodies under computer games. When I lost 30 negative marks and 60 positive marks on one RPG review with the new system I thought wow what are people doing with their lives? That is nothing though, certain people had several thousand positive votes removed. It needed changing as it was no longer useful to readers.
However I like the new negative mark system because it gives me a hint that something in the review may not be right or something about the reviewer may not be right. A hint to look closer or check another review without taking that one review at face value. Positive marks would have not showed up the cheating that was going on as easily either. The negative system also counters the people who post reviews as quickly as possible without really trying the new item. They do this to get the positive votes and without the negative voting when others have had a chance to try an item the reviewer wouldn't get found out. The honest reviewers should have the occasional mass negative voted review in their repertoire. They are bound to disagree with popular opinion on some item and it shows a likelihood of not just trying to please an audience with their reviews. I know friends who go straight to the low scoring reviews as they like to see what is the worst that could happen. These reviews are usually negatively rated but that doesn't stop them being useful to some, some being the word here maybe these reviews should be filtered to the bottom of the pile as most do not like reading about the worst that could happen for a review. Positive only voting hides too much. I'd rather have a warts and all system.
Of course if a reviewer had something to hide, or if they only cared about how high up they were on the reviewer ranking, or as it would make abusing the system easier from the reviewers POV I can see why some would want negative marks removed.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Mar 2010 23:00:11 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Mar 2010 23:04:52 BDT
NeuroSplicer says:
We either both seem to have our fans and foes (some more obsessed than others) or, in his frenzy to bring my reviews down my personal Troll dispensed positive and negative votes left and right. He is incapable of writing a review worth its keyboard taps so that is the only way he knew how to get some infantile satisfaction.

Now that the new system put an end to the worst cases of Trolling (no vetting system can totally abolish Trolls any more than laws can totally prevent vandalism) the existence of the negative vote is obsolete.

The best reviews will acquire the most votes so there would be no ranking issue.
The negative vote is nothing but a tool to keep Trolls occupied at our expense - but also keep them at Amazon.

Posted on 31 Mar 2010 08:36:06 BDT
Danny says:
You are like a child in a playground covering their eyes thinking "I can't see you so you can't see me!!!".

End the charade. Just drop it. Nobody will think any worse of you as a result. Be free...

Or not. It matters not in the grand scale of things.

"Now that the new system put an end to the worst cases of Trolling (no vetting system can totally abolish Trolls any more than laws can totally prevent vandalism) the existence of the negative vote is obsolete. "

I hope in your claimed role as a scientist you use better logic than you used in that statement, as I am sure most people would draw the opposite conclusion.

Posted on 31 Mar 2010 08:44:11 BDT
Damaskcat says:
I can't see the point of getting rid of the negative vote option myself - especially since the mass use of negative and positive votes has pretty well been eliminated by the new system.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Mar 2010 08:55:26 BDT
Last edited by the author on 31 Mar 2010 10:10:35 BDT
NeuroSplicer says:
Mark/Chunky, if you truly work for IBM I hope they pay you more than a pound a year - because that seems to be the worth of your observation skills.
Now, try reading the last phrase of my last post you decided you can be ironic about.

I'll give you a minute...No? Need some more time?...Ahhh, see it now?

Ata boy.

Now, care to speculate on why Amazon set up this forum once the negative vote got a lot harder to abuse?

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Mar 2010 09:11:45 BDT
SusieH says:
Yes, good idea - sometimes people are simply too lazy to think for themselves - and if they see a 0 out of 1, then will not want to give a positive link

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Mar 2010 09:13:37 BDT
SusieH says:
Excellent idea Pundit. Definitely think some negative votes are to do with having a different set of values from the reviewer, rather than commenting on the review itself!

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Mar 2010 16:44:00 BDT
Frustrated envy? I think that's overdoing it a bit. I criticise books if I feel they deserve it, in the knowlede that the authors will probably surive quite nicely in any case, and I might just help other people whether or not to read a book. I often read reviews of a book I'm not sure about, and if they agree with my view that, say. the book isn't worth bothering with, then I may let it go. Which means, of course, that I go on to another book, so reading time isn't wasted, and another author makes a sell.

Posted on 31 Mar 2010 22:11:51 BDT
O E J says:
Surely the majority of people who post reviews here want them to be read, voted for, and commented on? I've read loads of posts such as 'I do this just for fun' but I wonder if their displayed casualness hides a secret competitiveness that lies within most of us. And almost everyone starts out doing it for fun/something to do, but as their rank climbs they start to take more interest in that competitive side of things. It's nothing to feel ashamed of, or feel the need to deny - competitiveness is a good thing and, ideally, leads to better reviewing standards overall. Most of the rubbish 'reviews' are from first-timers or very occasional posters.

Reviews matter. Good reviews matter more. I'm reading a book at the moment that I bought in direct response to a competitive reviewer's recommendation and I'm very glad I trusted her judgement. And if negative votes were to be removed - a large pecentage of which, even under the new system, are still undeserved - we would see the better, longer reviews come closer to the top of their individual pecking orders and get seen by the people they deserve to be seen by. Under the new system, thousands of short, useless reviews are positioned higher than 'proper' reviews simply due to the fact that an unvoted-for review gets higher placement than (for example) a thorough review with a rating of 12 out of 16 (whatever). As a result, most surfers only see the poor reviews, expect more of the same on the following pages and don't delve further. The new system is deeply flawed; I liked it at first, and it's still better than the old one, but it unfairly punishes what I consider to be proper reviews (some get negged just because they're long, and people can't be bothered to read them) and blesses unranked reviews (0 out of 0) many of which took less than a minute to compose.

Under the old system, even a 0 out of 1 rating was better than no rating at all. It implied that the review was at least read and passed judgement on; under the new system quickie one-liners that get no rating at all are positioned higher, in effect hiding better reviews on lower pages.

Posted on 31 Mar 2010 23:52:10 BDT
I think the removal of negative voting would be a huge problem as reviews that express a controversial opinion very strongly without thought tend to get lots of votes, both negative and positive. If only the positive ones were counted, the most extreme reviews would often go above reasonable reviews that attract less votes, but have a higher approval percentage.

Posted on 1 Apr 2010 08:12:03 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 Apr 2010 11:44:04 BDT
NeuroSplicer says:
If you think controversial reviews get too many positive votes, try posting an pro-atheism review on a religious book (and vice-versa!) or a negative review for any major classic rock band CD.

No, posting controversial review has always been like poking a hornets nest: unless you are ready to get stung, drop the stick.

When the negative vote eventually gets abolished, Amazon may loose a handful of Trolls as customers but it will gain a great larger number of new customers who will come for the far better reviews. Amazon became what it is today, the No.1 online retailer, because the reviews we write - otherwise it would still be an online bookstore the size of, say, Barnes & Noble.

AMAZON ABOLISH THE NEGATIVE VOTE. Bring back all those highly creative reviewers that got fed up with the Trolls and left. Don't be fooled by the Troll's multiple Profiles, they are not but a handful. They are just gumming up the ratings.

Posted on 1 Apr 2010 08:47:00 BDT
Danny says:
Dodging Neurosplicer's dummy as it leaves his crib in a graceful arc, I have to agree with Pundit that the 0 out of 0 reviews get too much prominence. Surely reviews with any positive feedback should be rated higher than nothing whatsoever. Or how about a 50% cutoff? So 3 out of 6 would be rated higher than 0 out of 0, but 2 out of 6 would be lower. Newer reviews are not buried. All a buyer has to do is click on the sort by Newest link, to see them in all their glory.

Abolishing negative votes is completely impractical though, as it implies that all reviews are written well by reviewers of a sound mind and judgement. I think we all know that thats not the case. People should be allowed to disagree.

Posted on 1 Apr 2010 11:32:40 BDT
O E J says:
AFAIK this argument doesn't exist on IMDB. Correct me if I'm wrong (I don't use it that often) but while reviewers get masses of negative votes, it appears to matter less because there's no ranking system as there is on Amazon. I think reviews appear on a random basis, so anyone's review can be a 'feature' regardless of the feedback. I doubt that Amazon would ever do this though because I'm pretty sure they like what they've created (the ranking system) as among other things it keeps us coming back to forums like this to argue about it! And that keeps the traffic flowing.

I think I might have said a few days ago that I support any move to abolish the neg vote, and while I still do, I can also recognise the impracticalities in doing that, most of which have been raised by others here. But doing nothing at all for several years (the most likely outcome) would be frustrating; there seems to have been, overall, a positive reaction to the idea of 'justification' of negative votes - by way of a pop-up comment panel that must be filled in for the neg vote to register - partly because the comments would display the ID of the poster. And only genuine buying customers would be able to vote in that way, thus making temporary throwaway accounts useless and redundant.

In the end, all I would like to see is a more democratically fair system, one that recognises and rewards effort more realistically than the present one. I don't think any major root-and-branch changes are necessary, more likely a 'tweaking' of the new algorithmic software in such a way that getting feedback in quantity - good or bad - features more prominently than very brief non-reviews and any that receive no feedback/votes at all.

Ideally, in the field of fiction book reviewing, I wish there was some way of raising to prominence those reviews that mention what I regard as the key areas of critique: a spoiler-free synopsis, the quality of prose, the creation and development of characters, and the appeal of the story itself. It's irritating (to me) that in many cases negative votes are cast for being too thorough - I know a computer can't filter this kind of thing out, but hundreds of reviewers take their hobby seriously and put a lot of effort into their reviews. It's a farce that such comprehensive reviews can be pushed down into obscurity in favour of one liners such as 'I gave this to my sister for Christmas and she was really pleased with it'.

Posted on 1 Apr 2010 11:46:47 BDT
JJG says:
Going back to people negging long reviews, there was a discussion on this on the fiction forum (should be on page 7 of the discussions and is called Why such long reviews?), there seemed to be a split of opinion on how long reviews should be (bare in mind these are people who read and don't necessarily write reviews), some thought about the 300 word mark was right, others not. The main thrust of the discussion was to do with spoilers in reviews, but there were a few telling comments to do with other aspects of reviewing, that some reviewers here might find of interest.

Pundit and Mark Twain are right, it seems nonsensical that a review with at least some helpful votes is relegated to a lower spot than one without a single vote either way. Especially because those new reviews already have a spot on the side bar, where with a catchy enough title they should have no problem getting attention from a casual viewer.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Apr 2010 12:23:13 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 Apr 2010 13:02:01 BDT
O E J says:
Re that last point, JJG, I am sure that a large number of people press the button (pos or neg) based on the title of a review and nothing else. Coming up with a 'clever' review title often backfires. People don't like it.
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