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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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  • Karma Whoring. (Score:5, Informative)

    by tempest69 ( 572798 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @04:51PM (#42397835) Journal
    You have a system that reviews the reviewers, allowing for weighted values of reviews. Not that slashdot users would have heard of mod points or metamoderating.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @04:54PM (#42397877)

    Obligatory xkcd []

  • Re:What's next? (Score:4, Informative)

    by obarel ( 670863 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @05:14PM (#42398129)

    It's not the same. When someone reviews a book, you can assume that they've actually read a few pages (or at least the summary at the back). That would be a very dangerous assumption on Slashdot.

    Usually the sequence is:
    1. Quick keyword search on the title
    2. Find a comment near the top that is somewhat related to the anger you feel about the keywords you found in the title
    3. Post your rant as a response to the comment
    4. Check if there are any links to interesting videos in the summary
    5. Defend your opinion, starting with "I haven't actually RTFA, but..."
    6. Feel smug

    On Amazon it's slightly different (but maybe not by much).

  • by HairyNevus ( 992803 ) <> on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @06:29PM (#42398775)
    It depends; what people are looking for in a review is relative. For example, this Netflix review [] has basically nothing in terms of analysis and criticism, but a 100% helpfulness rating. And I defy anyone who is looking at possibly watching Nat'l Lampoon's Barely Legal to say that review didn't hit the nail on the head in terms of what they wanted to know. But, no professional reviewer/critic would ever in their right mind write such a thing.

One man's constant is another man's variable. -- A.J. Perlis