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Effect of negative votes on ranking

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Showing 1-25 of 391 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 May 2011, 07:58:47 BST
Bacchus says:
I have noticed that a negative vote has a bigger effect on my ranking than two or three positive ones.

Can anyone explain why this should be? Why can't the effect (negative/positve) be equal?

In reply to an earlier post on 12 May 2011, 08:13:56 BST
Damaskcat says:
Only Amazon know the answer to that!

In reply to an earlier post on 12 May 2011, 09:01:48 BST
Last edited by the author on 12 May 2011, 09:03:04 BST
NeuroSplicer says:
Because Amazon thinks the new filters can detect and remove every single negative vote dispensed out of spite or obsession.

However, ask most seasoned reviewers and you will hear a completely different story.
In my case, the new filters removed less than 80% of the thousands bogus negative votes my reviews had received. Moreover, they also fail to detect the small number of negative votes needed to drop the (now all important) Percent Approval.

I strongly believe that since it is impossible to regulate the validity of the negative votes they should be either ignored or (even better!) outright abolished.

Posted on 12 May 2011, 11:55:58 BST
Looking at a product recently, I saw that by Amazon's new ranking 1/1 positive is ranked above 5/6 positive, and 0 votes is ranked above 5/7 positive. Which is odd. I guess it's so new reviews get higher up and have a better chance of being read, thus encouraging more reviews.

Posted on 12 May 2011, 12:04:01 BST
The Truth says:
I agree, the Amazon filters are rubbish. They did their thing once and then have only ever seemed to remove positive votes from my reviews. Useless.

Mark Wallace:
I've noticed this too and it seems a bit stupid. Often, I'll have a review in prime position for a DVD with 6/6 (or whatever) then it'll pick up 1 neg and vanish from the front page altogether only to be replaced by reviews with 1/1 votes. If you ask me, the Amazon system seems to be play into the hands of the rogue voters.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 May 2011, 12:19:35 BST
Last edited by the author on 12 May 2011, 12:38:51 BST
NeuroSplicer says:
Encouraging new reviews is one thing. Discouraging loyal reviewers quite another.
I do understand Amazon's reasoning and their right to go this way.

Having said that, I think that a much more reasonable formula would be a 50% or 60% rule.
That is, a 1/1 or a 3/3 review should never displace a 8/10 review, whereas a 5/5 could.

The existing rules, where a single(!) negative vote can drop your up to then 10/10 review from the spotlight, is currently abused both by Trolls (and I know this by ongoing...personal experience) and for common practice elbowing reasons.

Posted on 12 May 2011, 12:48:15 BST
M. Dowden says:
NeuroSplicer, quite often I have seen that, where one person may only have 2/2 helpful votes, and their review is shown above someone who may have 90/1 helpful votes.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 May 2011, 19:05:00 BST
Last edited by the author on 12 May 2011, 19:07:28 BST
NeuroSplicer says:
Yes, that is what usually happens.
Case in point:
---> Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty (Mac/PC DVD-ROM)

Strangely though, this does not ...always seem to be the case. Here are a couple of examples:

---> Zumba Fitness Wii - Bundle Pack with Belt accessory
---> Portal 2 (PC/Mac DVD)

Posted on 21 May 2011, 10:58:36 BST
Bluebell says:
The distorting effect of negative votes is epitomized by reviews of the book Madeleine. For example, Damaskcat is one of the best book reviewers around but people have voted, I think, positively or negatively for her review (and other reviewers) depending on whether they sympathize with the McCanns or not irrespective of the quality of the reviews. I noticed that because of the rash of negative votes she dropped many places in the ranking. I don't think she cares about this, but it does illustrate a flaw in the ranking system caused by misplaced negative votes.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 May 2011, 15:12:20 BST
Damaskcat says:
Thanks, Bluebell. I have also had at least a dozen negative votes deleted from other reviews by Amazon's anti-campaign software in the last few days and I think more will disappear in due course. I have no intention of deleting that review because it represents my opinion of the book. Gradually the negative votes on the review will stop having so much effect because eventually it will not be a recent review and any votes on it won't carry so much weight. I must admit I was intrigued to see that less than 50 negative votes on one review had caused me to fall nearly 30 places in the rankings!

In reply to an earlier post on 21 May 2011, 15:13:57 BST
Good for you :)

In reply to an earlier post on 21 May 2011, 20:39:58 BST
Sad really that the neg button exists at all, I think. I'm not really sure that there are very many justified uses of it - perhaps only, if FACTS (as opposed to opinions) are wrong eg 'this laptop has 4 USB ports' when it actually only has 2 - and even then, adding that info on a comment might be more useful, the poster might have made a typo; or with reviews which are obviously unhelpful because they aren't about the product at all 'it never arrived' ; or are not reviews by any stretch of the imagination 'I bought this for my brother as its the kind of thing he likes' . Certainly, none of the above could be HELPFUL, but even BAD reviews like 'I loved this, its brill!' might be helpful to a prospective purchase who just wants to see 'do a lot of people like this?'

In the main, it really does seem as if that neg button reveals much more about the hidden neggers than it does about the review itself, or the reviewer, as most reviews I'd bother to read, to help me decide whether to buy something or not, seem to be useful, well written etc etc - whether they are a 1 star or a 5 star or anything in between, as a well-written review is one which gives a reason for its rating. I've rated some reviews as 'positive' despite the fact they may give a very different rating from a rating I would give for that item - because that review has made me think a little more about the product itself or my own opinions.

Well done Damask for just reviewing your opinion of a book, and ignoring the popularity of that opinion. It would certainly be a great shame if the neg vote splatter gun effect resulted in an unofficial censorship because reviewers didn't want to take a sudden ranking plummet. But I fear that is JUST what the mass neggers do achieve. Someone recently made a comment on another forum to the effect that knowing that certain products WILL attract neggers had made them slightly wonder whether to review such a product. I admire your refusal to compromise your reviewing.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 May 2011, 08:02:00 BST
Molly Brown says:
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In reply to an earlier post on 22 May 2011, 08:15:31 BST
Ethereal says:
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Posted on 22 May 2011, 08:57:47 BST
Actually Jalna, I wasn't even considering the 'washing' debate - which i don't have any feelings about at all. Its more that people may feel there's no point in reviewing a hot item, because the item itself will attract a hornet's nest of neggers. I don't personally understand the concept of 'unhelpful' where there is a genuine review, as if someone expresses a point of view which makes the reader question or think about their own POV, that's very helpful. A review of a product which said 'it broke after I'd used it for a week' is as helpful as a detailed technical review as both provide information which will help with a buying decision. A book or CD review about a genre/band/author I'm not interested in, raving about said book/band/genre and giving reasons why is also a helpful review, as it helps me to identify 'blimey I don't think I'll buy that then because .....

I'm not really interested in anyone else's ranking and find the monitoring of other people's ranking odd. But the prevalence of spite voting does **** me off, just as any spitefulness also p*sses me off, as it seems so pointless. Clearly Damaskcat's 'neg attack' has more to do with people disagreeing with her opinion than troll activity, but as such negs cause reviews to sink, it also causes the controversial POV to sink. I quite like reading conflicting viewpoints!

Posted on 22 May 2011, 09:11:05 BST
Bluebell says:
I agree with Lady Fancifull. I've never seen the point of negative votes. A review that doesn't add to the sum total of my knowledge is neutral not unhelpful. I can't recall ever clicking the unhelpful button: I just vote for those that are helpful.
What I find "negative" about the unhelpful option is that it discourages one from posting a review about, say, a controversial book (as we see with the Madeleine book) or one where I didn't like a book by an author that has a fan following where, irrespective of the quality of a review, if it's less than glowing, would attract a rash of negative votes.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 May 2011, 09:30:17 BST
I use it only for the most obvious of unhelpful reviews - when people use it to rate the seller or the packaging. In general, the overall standard of reviews has improved a lot, though.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 May 2011, 10:31:38 BST
Last edited by the author on 22 May 2011, 10:32:32 BST
Damaskcat says:
I've found it to be a very interesting experience actually. Yes it's pushed me down the ranks but I'm sure the furore about this book will die down though it may reappear when the paperback is released or when anything is released about the case in the press.

I've found it reassuring as well in that I haven't felt the slightest desire to delete the review. I had wondered before this whether my ranking meant too much to me but I'm pleased that I was right in saying that it doesn't matter to me - or it matters less than being able to express my opinion of a book. Provided I keep reviewing I shall climb the ranks again anyway though it may take a while! It is also interesting that it has not had the same effect on my Classic rank - showing the new ranking is far more volatile.

Posted on 22 May 2011, 10:41:59 BST
It still seems odd that people vote 'unhelpful' when a view is expressed contrary to their own. I tend to think they are betraying the fact that their thinking is 'anyone who disagrees with my POV is unhelpful' Welcome to a monomaniac, solipsistic world. Whatever happened to freedom of thought and speech? There's a book I've recently read, which most of us don't think is very good, by a well-respected author. And there have been some good reviews to express why the readers have reservations. But there are a small handful of people who think it's brilliant, and have cogently expressed why. Sadly, all those 5 star reviews have garnered negs. So petty!

Posted on 22 May 2011, 11:22:15 BST
Molly Brown says:
The ironic thing in all of this, with the system as it is, Amazon are promoting negative reviews to the front pages, when surely there business is to actually SELL the thing!!! It would be bad if they only promoted positive reviews for products, but they seem to have gone completely the other way in this particular instance. So, who really loses by their own system?

Posted on 22 May 2011, 13:35:37 BST
Unless of course the 'majority view' of a product is a 5 star, and any less than positive reviews get consigned to the outer depths. That certainly happens with some books, where, an author you have never heard of (generally a first time author) inexplicably has overnight 8 or 10 reviews, heavily positively voted on, with it being the ONLY review the said reviewer has ever written. Its obvious these reviews are from friends/family/the publisher. And every less than glowing review which appears, by presumably a real reader, instantly attracts the same 8 or 10 negative votes as the original glowing reviews attracted.

Not really sure what the answer to all this is. Any system is going to attract manipulation and skulduggery from those who have a mindset which sees nothing wrong in m+s! I know some have suggested getting rid of rankings altogether. Though I can see that rankings exert a certain lure, encouraging reviewers to write more and better reviews, keeping us on the Amazon site......and buying more, which must be why Az introduced reviewing in the first place

Posted on 22 May 2011, 15:31:59 BST
O E J says:
I'm still chuckling at the thought of many hours' wasted time by my pathological Listmania negger over the past year or so. Amazon have dumped voting data on lists, and while you might think I'd be disappointed (I had just under 4000 helpful votes), the truth is that I'm really pleased! Over the past year I've been 'given' well over 500 negs on lists, but before all that spite started, I used to get about 12 a year. All that time wasted for.......nothing. And it never counted for anything even before the removal - ranking unaffected anyway. What sad little people there are. Must be out of work to have such time to waste.

So, thank you for doing that Amazon. Next step: remove the negative vote option on reviews. It just creates more problems than benefits. That's why I still consider myself a Top 50 Reviewer under the Classic system, the algorithm for which takes little or no notice of negatives at all. And I know when a review is unhelpful or not. If I posted a truly UNhelpful review, I'd remove it.

It's all about personality, or should I say the assumed personality of the reviewer. Some reviewers piss other people off, it could be for just a one-off remark in a forum from a year or two back, a difference of opinion, but a viral dislike/hatred festers which in a few isolated cases leads to the victim being stalked every day of the week, 24/7. On another (non-Amazon) forum, one individual targets and pours scorn on every post I make because the two football teams we support are local enemies - even though I live 200 miles away. Some around here will know I'm one of those who has been stalked and continues to be, many will wonder what the hell I'm waffling on about. But the good news (for me in particular) is that I care a lot less about all this than I used to. I don't review much these days, and of course one of the impacts that has had is that I spend a lot less money on Amazon products (esp books) than I used to. It's a microscopic loss for Amazon of course, but I bet I'm not alone; a lot of people get the reviewing bug and it soon turns into a chore and in some cases an actually unpleasant experience. If you think that sounds daft, I assure you there are others who have given up reviewing for similar reasons. It goes from novelty to fun to hobby to millstone. Of course for every reviewer who 'retires' at least two will take his or her place, so Amazon don't care just as long as there's traffic and lots of money's being spent. The reviewing community is an ever evolving mass and its collective personality has soured in recent times, it has become a much nastier place to exchange and discuss opinions than it used to be - say, five years ago for example. Quantity has won over quality, you could say.

Posted on 22 May 2011, 15:49:27 BST
Bluebell says:
Dear One-Eyed Jack
Can you explain how dropping the "unhelpful" option would lead to problems?
I'm sorry that you've become disenchanted with reviewing as I used to value your reviews when your moniker was Pundit. I can sympathise. I gave up Vine revewing as I found the disproportionate and rapid negging disheartening.

Posted on 22 May 2011, 16:19:26 BST
O E J says:
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In reply to an earlier post on 22 May 2011, 19:08:15 BST
Last edited by the author on 22 May 2011, 21:33:52 BST
NeuroSplicer says:
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