5E What do you specifically want out of reviewers?
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  1. #1

    What do you specifically want out of reviewers?

    I rarely read any reviews of anything because I never feel like I get anything out of them. Pretty much the only time I've ever really felt like I enjoyed a review was Matt Colville's take on Volo's Guide. Most reviewers seem to have very little in the way of method or structure to their critiques and just do off-the-cuff types of reviews. Thoughts, feelings, impressions, etc. I'm not one to latch onto personalities or celebrities so generally find little value in hearing those, essentially, opinions.

    So I'm wondering what people who actually like to read/watch/listen to reviews, specifically like, look for or get out of reviews and which reviewers they prefer and why they prefer them.

  2. #2
    For me personally, I want reviews that are quantitative and analytical. Like you, I typically have little tolerance for poorly constructed initial impressions or general responses. I want to know what the thing in question is, what is sets out to do, how it accomplishes (or fails) at this, the price point, production values, efficiency, and so on and so forth. The less bias in the review the better, and while I know there's someone just itching to tell me that bias can't ever be removed entirely, it can certainly be minimized and that's something I look for in product reviews.

    I'm also pretty big on disclosure, if I suspect or find out that a reviewer has or had unannounced ties to the maker of the product in question I typically discard their feedback entirely.
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  3. #3
    If I read campaign reviews, I'm mostly interested in how easy the campaign is to DM.
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Dualazi View Post
    For me personally, I want reviews that are quantitative and analytical. Like you, I typically have little tolerance for poorly constructed initial impressions or general responses. I want to know what the thing in question is, what is sets out to do, how it accomplishes (or fails) at this, the price point, production values, efficiency, and so on and so forth. The less bias in the review the better, and while I know there's someone just itching to tell me that bias can't ever be removed entirely, it can certainly be minimized and that's something I look for in product reviews.

    I'm also pretty big on disclosure, if I suspect or find out that a reviewer has or had unannounced ties to the maker of the product in question I typically discard their feedback entirely.
    See, I want bias, personal opinions, feelings and all that - the whole lot. For me, I'll choose a reviewer based on whether their tastes are similar to my own. How do I know they are? I'll checkout what they were reviewing for myself and compare my thoughts and feelings with their review. If they are not, no worries, loads of folks out there reviewing.

    If their tastes are in keeping with my own then great, I have someone who likes what I like to read/scout out the good stuff for me. Much like a friend's opinion, one that we respect.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Gardens & Goblins View Post
    See, I want bias, personal opinions, feelings and all that - the whole lot. For me, I'll choose a reviewer based on whether their tastes are similar to my own. How do I know they are? I'll checkout what they were reviewing for myself and compare my thoughts and feelings with their review. If they are not, no worries, loads of folks out there reviewing.

    If their tastes are in keeping with my own then great, I have someone who likes what I like to read/scout out the good stuff for me. Much like a friend's opinion, one that we respect.
    This is only really a valid strategy if you are looking to curate a long-term reviewer that will recommend future products to you, which is valid of course, but it's not nearly as applicable in the broad sense. You say you'll check out what they're reviewing, but that basically means buying or consuming that piece of media, yes? If so, then you could easily get burned by a bad recommendation, and then have to repeat the process with the next reviewer until you find one in your personal vein. Plus, then you have to hope that that person reviews future products your interested in, or else that personal compatibility is wasted.

    A lot of this is driven from the fact that I typically am pretty good at knowing what I'll enjoy in a given medium, so my desire is typically to find the best of those categories rather than have critics or reviewers be a gateway into new products.

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    Reviewing something well is a really difficult thing to do. Its also important to note that reviews are subjective opinion pieces by definition, especially when it comes to art forms like books and games, and they shouldnt hide from that fact. The best reviewers will always be the ones you agree with.

    Reviews I'm not so keen on are those which just describe what's in the book. I can get that from a contents page. I appreciate a reviewer's personal opinion about the actual content.
    Last edited by Morrus; Monday, 6th November, 2017 at 02:04 PM.
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  7. #7
    I want my reviewer to get right to it. I don't need your history in the hobby, profiles of your group, or a witty anecdote as a lead-in.

  8. #8
    Well, for the most part? I want to hear about practical implications. In the case of a game book review, I want to hear about what each section of the book covers. Then, I want to hear about how this could apply to a game. Details are important; that's a big way of knowing that you're actually engaged in the material instead of just putting down words.

    I also want it to be critical. Its easy to hear a glowing review about how something is awesome by cherry picking the best parts. I want to hear about the bad as well as the good. In today's society, with the way reviews work? Looking at the good just makes you feel like they're either paid to say nice things, or that something is off. You learn as much from the negative reviews as the positive.

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    I think people read reviews for different reasons. I often read/listen to reviews of movies *after* I've seen them, which I suspect is a different reason to when I read them beforehand.

    This is all complete speculation, but my hunch is that folks read reviews for these reasons:

    1. Beforehand. To get information about a potential purchase. I suspect in this particular instance that can be fairly rare -- I think most people already know if they're going to get Xanathar or not.
    2. Afterwards. To validate one's own purchase (I've been guilty of that!) -- I'll listen to reviews of things I enjoyed; I don't listen to reviews of things I didn't like, so I suspect that this is why I do that.
    3. Excitement. When excited about a product, some folk (such as me!) will often consume all reports -- even, in the case of TV or movies, to the point of spoiling it. I know far too much about Star Wars VIII! I think that may be the largest group in this community when it comes to things like Xanathar.

    I suspect, although I don't know, that people read reviews on a technical device such as a phone or a computer for reason 1 more than they do a book or a movie. But that may just be me projecting my own behaviour.
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    I think that @Morrus in his last post listed some good reasons people read reviews. But as he alluded to in his comment regarding technical devices, people also read reviews differently depending on the type of thing being reviewed as well as the source of the review.

    For example, I enjoy reading literary and film criticism (reviews) in some sources even of books or movies I will never watch, because those can be an art form in and of themselves. I read it not for the interest in the subject, necessarily (although that might come) but for the skills of the writer/reviewer/critic.

    Another type of review is one that focuses on "technical" merit. This is best when looking at consumer products, technical products, automobiles, etc. How much memory does it have? How much horsepower? Does it get the same gas mileage as advertised? What is the fit & finish of the reviewed product? And so on.

    As a general rule, however, I have reached the age when I look for reviews/criticism in the following circumstances-

    1. To confirm a purchase. This happens most often with movies, but would be applicable with something like Xanthar's (which I have already pre-purchased). I have already decided to purchase something, but I look at a few reviews to make sure that there isn't something terrible about it, or that reviewers don't hate it. For movies, this is often the difference (for me) between seeing something in a theater (good reviews) and waiting for it (mediocre to bad reviews).

    2. To find something new. Whether it's music, a book, a TV series to binge, a film, or whatever, I often find those through reviews. Either because I stumble across one on a website and think to myself, "Self, that sounds like something I would enjoy," or, in some circumstances, I'll just quickly check an aggregate review site.

    Of course, like most people, I also do (3) that Morrus mentioned. When I am excited by a product, I like to check the reviews to make sure that everyone else is just as excited as I am!
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