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Writing reviews

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  • Writing reviews

    Writing book (or other) reviews can be tough. I've talked with I don't know how many people that insist they know what they feel about a book (or whatever), but don't feel their opinion matters enough, or don't feel their writing skills are up to it.

    To that I say: baloney

    The whole idea of user reviews (as opposed to professional reviewer reviews) is to share the point of view from a relevant bias (I also don't know how many times I've heard "I don't know if I can be unbiased").

    In our case, that bias is basically "how does this book (software, hardware, whatever) work for photo restoration and retouching?" This bias is exactly what makes these reviews useful.

    My own approach to reviewing is embarrassingly simple:
    • Did I learn anything?
    • Does it have particular relevance to photo restoration and retouching?
    • Did I enjoy reading it?
    • Is it worth the investment?

    I don't speak for a community, I speak for myself, and that's the beauty of user reviews. They're not some abstract theoretical judgement, but real hands-on opinion from people we know, so we can also add to whatever is contained in the review our personal relationship with the reviewer.

    As for the writing skills part, we deal in a specific medium here. I'm certainly not going to judge the value of a review based on the mastery (or lack) of an entirely different medium. A messy, inelegant but honest opinion is, to me, far more useful than the most erudite and flowing prose from someone not in the trenches with me.

    If worse comes to worse, if asked (and only if asked) I'll dust off my journalism degree and give a hand
    Learn by teaching
    Take responsibility for learning

  • #2
    I guess some revision of this is needed since we have a new review system now.

    Length of your review isn't paramount. The primary thing is to convey your primary reaction, good or bad. Did it help you? Was it worth the investment? Were you impressed or disappointed? And most of all, is it of real use to retouchers, or more aimed at some other market?

    Actually, the little star ratings take care of those now

    So all you need to do is come up with a few more sentences, and you're done

    I guess asking for paragraph after paragraph of in-depth analysis was asking a bit much. Our new system is built on the concept that a few short reviews from different people are worth more than one person's lengthy review.
    Learn by teaching
    Take responsibility for learning


    • #3
      Hi Doug. I used to be a moderator in a CompuServe forum, and the Holiday season (December and beginning of January) was the time of year when posting would drop and it was impossible to get much going. Eventually I just stopped trying to increase anything during this season, because it was the most frustrating time to try.


      • #4
        Actually, last week was our 4th best week for posting, ever. But I do know what you're saying.

        I've never understood why everything non-shopping-related grinds to a standstill during the holiday season. Probably just because it can.
        Learn by teaching
        Take responsibility for learning


        • #5
          >>Actually, last week was our 4th best week for posting <<

          In that case, is it too late to retract what I said. :-)


          • #6
            is it too late to retract what I said. -- Andrew
            Don't worry, no one's around to notice.


            • #7
              Nobody's watching? Don't be so sure!

              Santa is ALWAYS watching!