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Amazon: Authors Can't Review Books 248

In an effort to step up its fight against astroturfers, Amazon has barred authors from reviewing books. It's not simply that authors can't review their own books — they can't review any book in a similar genre to something they've published. "This means that thriller writers are prevented from commenting on works by other authors who write similar books. Critics suggest this system is flawed because many authors are impartial and are experts on novels." British author Joanne Harris had a simpler solution in mind: "To be honest I would just rather Amazon delete all their reviews as it... has caused so much trouble. It is a pity. Originally it was a good idea but it is has become such an issue now. The star rating has become how people view if a book is a success and it has become inherently corrupt." How would you improve the online review system?
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Amazon: Authors Can't Review Books

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  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @04:53PM (#42397867) Homepage Journal

    Slashdot commenters not being able to moderate other's comments in stories they commented in?

    Oh wait....

  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @04:58PM (#42397935)

    Reviews are only valid from people that maintain that as their profession. There is a level of experience that comes with reviewing and editing that can't be achieved casually. Even many professional critics don't have this skills.

    You are obtuse.

    What are your qualifications in making that assessment?

  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @05:25PM (#42398205) Homepage Journal

    Slashdot is the perfect example of how metamoderation and up/down moderation doesn't work. Perfectly good threads never make it to the top, many posts are modded for difference of opinion instead of quality, vendettas are fairly common, posts are arbitrarily punished for anonymity, the moderation selection is so anemic you really can't credit the post for what you would like to, metamoderation suffers most of this, except, well, at a meta level.

    Slashdot is what it is because the posters are of much higher quality, overall, then are easily found elsewhere on the net. It certainly isn't because of the moderation system. I have all that crap turned off, and my Slashdot reading enjoyment is considerably higher because of that.

    Everyone should be able to moderate all the time, and moderation shouldn't be single dimensional. Agree/disagree should be available just as much as good/bad should be, funny/unfunny, etc. I'm interested in the opinions of my fellow readers, but I'm not particularly convinced that they represent some kind of distilled wisdom. And having read many book reviews on Amazon, I *know* that place doesn't represent anyone's distilled wisdom, lol.

    I do review stuff on Amazon. I feel like it's a way I can contribute a bit. I also think the reviews can be useful. But you have to read them with a bit of a jaundiced eye. Sometimes it's clear that the reviewer is really trying to convey their experience; sometimes it's clear (as on slashdot) that they're just pushing an agenda and just about every word they put down is utterly worthless.

    Like most things, caveat emptor.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @05:56PM (#42398507)

    pros: expedient replacement service

    cons: broke when i opened the package with a sledgehammer

    other thoughts: the packing peanuts taste great.

  • by Rincewind42 ( 973462 ) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @11:05AM (#42403711) Homepage

    Aren't Amazon's "most helpful" reviews simply reviews of reviews and thus suffer the exact same issue as you complain about?

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong