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Compliments on Lunch

Kudos given on Lunch reviews and lists.

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Thanks for the Compliment

  • Nov 25, 2009
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As many around Lunch.com know, before I came here I used to review primarily on Amazon.com.  From time to time my reviews would show up elsewhere.  Yet when reviewing on Amazon there was something seriously wrong with its voting system.  And over the years it began to get worse.  So we'll start things off with an anecdote of how Amazon's voting system seems to be far worse than it used to be.  Or rather, how the community began to go out of control and how Amazon made a couple of missteps along the way.

I joined Amazon in the year 2000 or so.  When I began I was a terrible reviewer.  I deserved every negative vote I ever got.  I improved, and it was a good thing that I did.  Yet as time went on, and as Amazon's community became larger, the voting started to get out of hand.  If you haven't been to Amazon when a review is done with and you're at the bottom of it, you'll see a question: "Was this review helpful?" or something like that.  You can vote "yes" or "no".  Problem is, the voting community of Amazon can be tough... and other times they never really vote on the review but rather they vote on whether or not they agree or disagree with the reviewer.

Since coming to Lunch the difference between the voting on Amazon and the voting on Lunch is quite big and obvious.  When Amazon went to their new system was when things got to be awful.  Amazon now has "Fan Votes."  Unfortunately, it's a system that hasn't really been quite that well explained.  Amazon is rather vague on whether or not fan votes count or not.  Some believe that if fans vote on your reviews then eventually their votes won't count.  It's hard to understand why, or what exactly was Amazon's intent with doing this.  One thing that became clear, however, was that acquiring positive votes for your reviews became harder somehow. 

Anyone can hop on Amazon and start voting--even if they're not reviewing.  When posting a new review you might find the negatives shoot up while the positives don't.  Another thing that's hard to swallow on Amazon is that sometimes the people voting can be like lemmings.  If someone sees the "0 of 3 People Found the Following Review Helpful," the next person who votes on it is apt to vote in the same manner.  It can sometimes feel like you're getting no recognition for your work.  Even if your review happens to be well written.  Let's not get mixed up, however.  Sometimes people really shouldn't get a helpful vote.  When you post a review that reads, "dis is teh kewest ting evar!" or something akin to what you'd find in an lolcatz book... your review probably really isn't helpful.  And sometimes people go against the grain and write terrible reviews.  So I won't say there are not bad reviews on Amazon.  The place is flooded with them.  But the ones that are good--and there are many good reviews--don't always get recognition for their work.  In part because negative voting campaigns run rampant.

What makes Lunch's compliment system so nice is that you can find recognition for your reviews even when someone votes you down.  You can give any review three thumbs up or one thumb down.  You WILL find reviews on Lunch that are in the negatives on helpful votes, but unlike Amazon you won't find people who feel pressured into voting something down because everyone else does.  In short, Lunch's compliment system seems to really make people focus on the helpfulness of a review rather than focusing on whether they or not they agree or disagree.  You can vote on whether or not it's Remarkably Helpful, Very Helpful or just plain helpful.  Sure, you might find something on Lunch that's less than helpful, but no one's credibility is destroyed based on the votes of a review.  What's better is that you can only vote on a review ONCE... but you're also able to change your vote should something arise.  So say you're pissed off because someone wrote a review criticizing your favorite movie.  Perhaps you'll be overwrought with emotion and vote negatively.  Later, however you just might rethink it.  You might even come to the conclusion that even though you disagree that doesn't necessarily make the review, you know, bad... or any less helpful.  So you can always change your vote.  This doesn't happen often but you can do it.

What's best about the compliment system however (besides positive reinforcement) is that it really DOES make people focus on the helpfulness factor of a review.  You can't for example, give a review a negative three score.  In a way that's a little hard to explain you're actually being forced to weigh the content of the review based almost entirely on the fact that you can give three different levels of helpfulness... but only one level of unhelpfulness.  This also works in a way because now you won't find too many people giving a non-helpful vote just because they don't agree.  I've got a few single thumbs up and lots of two thumbs up but I've gotten multitudes of three thumbs.  It helps me know that perhaps I'm doing something right (or it could mean people are being really really nice... your choice).  It works as feedback for other users as well, but it at least keeps them from feeling like they've been insulted for their opinions.  Yet in some ways it does force people to show some kind of respect.  You don't have to agree... and if you're looking for a debate or argument the compliment system on Lunch drives home that those things need to stay out of the review and that they're meant for the comments section or private messages.  But it also means that even if you disagree you'll find yourself thinking, "A thumbs down just isn't enough..."  People will see it, but what's the point if a a +3 negates that?

It should also be noted you can look at whether or not peoples reviews are thought provoking, fun to read or well organized.  At first glance those things seem miniscule, but I've found that people actually pay attention to that stuff as well.  I've received plenty of Three Thumbs up in all categories, but the categories of Thought Provoking, Fun to Read and Well Organized are slightly lower.  Because people are paying attention to those too.  No one pretends that an awesomely well written review means it's automatically organized.  Though you're less likely to get a Thumbs Down there, you'll probably find yourself getting a lot of varied responses.

There have been several discussions on Amazon about how to counter negative voting campaigns and negative voting trolls.  The most common solution is to get ride of the "No" vote all together.  A better solution, I think, would be implimenting Lunch's compliment system.  

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July 07, 2011
Generally, Amazon readers have given me a 77% positive voting grade. Occasionally, someone renders an unkind remark on a review. Nevertheless, the wide majority of people who rate reviews do a very good job. The transition to Lunch was a bit different. Lunch voters seem to gravitate toward pop culture and away from mainline culture, scientific, literature and global current events.
February 06, 2012
Hey, it's been a while since I really dropped back here, but I saw your comment and I'm only responding now because I had a similar conversation with someone on the site not too long.  The fact that Lunch does tend to gravitate more toward that particular spot (it is definitely apparent in the "Hot Topics" and the reviews that are featured).  I actually went back to Amazon.com and things have gotten better for me there.  On the whole Amazon customers actually seem to rank my reviews at 92%... which was actually up from the 88% I was at when I left.  So I figured there's little harm in reviewing there.  I still find some negative campaigns that go on there, but not quite as much.
February 07, 2012
Amazon is a good forum. I wish that the readers would read and rate the scientific reviews more often. A few readers are highly opinionated; however, overall the readership is appreciative.
November 28, 2010
Great review and I'm sure you've noticed we took it to heart along with a lot of other Lunchers' input (no mas thumb down!). I've heard this same thing from most of the Amazon reviewers that came over here and it made me not want to leave here ;p Why go someplace that your hard work isn't recognized or given feedback? Thanks for another excellent write-up!
November 03, 2010
Excellent review, Sean. I've been reviewing on Amazon since 2003. I'm also a member of Amazon Vine. I found that once that program started, things started to get really nasty over on Amazon. Some of the forums can be brutal, and folks here on Lunch just seem to get along with each other a whole lot more than those on Amazon. It's almost as if Amazon reviewers (and not Amazon.com itself) see reviewing as a competition whereas here on Lunch, it's more like a bunch of different people from different backgrounds giving differeing opinions with little to no ill intent meant towards differing opinions. I'm going to continue to post reviews on Amazon, but I find myself spending a lot more time on Lunch each and every day. Once again, great review!
September 25, 2010
Sean, w/ 1200 reviews at Amazon, and a Top 300 rank, I agree. I posted to you and this discussion way down at Scotman's quick tip, so please check that out down this page.
November 26, 2009
Nice break down, Sean! I am in total agreement except for the fact that amaozn should adopt the voting system here because this site is too awesome!! They'll have to pay copyright to the site, LOL! Yes I do like the voting system here compared to the ones in amazon, but in all actuality, it isn't too much amazon's fault but more on the people who go around there. I still can't understand why someone would go to the trouble of manipulating votes in a website, I have no idea why. I guess that's their deal. I've had my eye on this data point for awhile, and you beat me to it LOL!
November 25, 2009
Very well put Sean! That is also one of the reasons I love Lunch, the voting system just makes sense and I when I read a review it really makes me think of its helpfulness and if it is thought provoking, fun to read, and well organized. Your review is a great compliment to the Reviews on Lunch reviews as well! Thanks :)
November 25, 2009
You're welcome :P  And thanks for sharing, Sean!  I'm not a super active Amazon member, so it's interesting to read a comparison of the two sites' compliment system from someone who once was.  I really like how Lunch's compliments are based on several factors and not just "helpfulness", which, as you pointed out, can be interpreted by others to mean whether they agree with the reviewer's point of view or not.  Furthermore, I feel that having the system that we have encourages members to write reviews that are helpful, though provoking, fun to read and well organized, cuz the last thing I'd want to read is a large chunk of un-helpfulness :P
November 25, 2009
Amazon's voting system is... well... not so good in the slightest.  A lot of people get caught up in whether or not they agree or disagree but unfortunately Amazon hasn't exactly made a way to offset negative voting campaigns.  They found a way to limit people giving too much positive feedback but never did anything about negative trolling.  I'm sure someone out there will complain that Lunch has too much of a positive atmosphere... but I'd rather take that then getting these negative votes but not knowing what I'm doing wrong.
November 25, 2009
I've heard about people complaining about Amazon's newest rating system. Honestly, I don't see why some people place so much emphasis on ratings. Don't get me wrong, I'll take a compliment any day (!) and I'll give them out when I feel it is due since they're definitely nice perks, but I just don't understand how some people can get their feathers so ruffled over something like this, to the point where they're trolling to increase their own votes or decrease someone else's.

And I'm with ya on that.  Furthermore, I'd rather be in a diplomatic environment where even if people disagree, they're mature and respectful enough to agree to disagree than start a flame war of some sort.
November 25, 2009
Yeah.  Ranking isn't really important on Amazon.  Although I was already having problems with Amazon before that.  I just felt like the newer system was a little unfair to those who were writing good reviews.  It feels like people hopped on Amazon ready to start bashing and trolling much of the time.  But then again... I typically reviewed video games there.  Which was kind of like walking into a bar where everyone is holding a broken beer bottle ready to fight anyway.  I was concerned with what they did more so with the voting than anything.  But I have to admit a lot of that came from the community more so than not.  Amazon just never did anything to bring focus... or at least to promote any sort of respect.  I might've been okay with the changes if the community hadn't been so bad to deal with too...
November 26, 2009
The porblem is, amazon used the friend/fan system as an excuse to manipulate the spotlights. I know they don't like 2 star spotlights and this just helps them hide those reviews. I guess they were responding to the ones who manipulated with the system by having their students, family and friends create dummy accounts to boost their votes. Sad, but it is true. I wouldn't mind them shaving the votes as long as they also implemented the 'fan system' against troll voters. Trolls have the power in that site these days. I'm quitting amazon next month, and will probably just review asian movies occasionally that were given me for free by other retailers who sell in amazon.
November 26, 2009
I've thought about leaving Amazon for good.  I don't post reviews there anymore, but I've thought about deleting my account.  I just have problems taking my work down from a place I've spent nearly ten years putting stuff on.  So it's like... I don't review there anymore but I'd like to maintain some kind of legacy.
November 27, 2009
I think it best to leave the reviews there, just so other customers can have some assistance in deciding which products are for them. By 2010, I'll just review here as I've already posted several reviews that I don't plan on posting anywhere else. I still occasionally shop in amazon, so I can't delete my account there.
November 28, 2009
I stopped posting there.  So I'll leave what I have up at least.  I actually don't mind shopping there.
About the reviewer
Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #7
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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To compliment the helpfulness of a review.  Click on the thumb icons on the bottom of a review to rate it as "not helpful" (one thumb down), "helpful" (one thumb up), "very helpful" (two thumbs up), or if it's amazing, "remarkably helpful" (three thumbs up). The idea here is to focus on rating reviews based on the usefulness to the community, and not on whether you agree or disagree with the opinion. The ratings your reviews receive go towards your Top Contributor ranking too. Knowing that your reviews are rated according to helpfulness inspires the community to create better, more thoughtful content.

Furthermore, you can compliment a review as "thought-provoking" (light bulb icon), "fun to read" (happy face icon), or "well-organized" (pencil icon). You can also give more than one compliment to an outstanding review. Keep compliments in mind when writing reviews, since the compliments you receive will also factor into your Top Contributor ranking. To see the community opinion of a review, at the top right corner of the review is a count of people who found the review helpful, thought-provoking, fun to read, and well-organized.
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