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dulcinea3
Posts: 4,372
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Role-playing Infestation in Reviews

I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but it seems to be the most 'support-oriented' board.

 

Is B&N planning to do anything about the role-playing games that are going on in the book reviews?  It is very irritating.  If you don't know what I mean, there appears to be a group of semi-literate kids hijacking the reviews to pretend they are cats and horses.  I believe that they move from author to author.  I was looking at some under one author (forget the name) that someone in one of the boards was complaining about, and then I saw that under one of the books, someone said to go to "Jenny Oldfield all results", so I took a look, and all of those books now also show these posts (it appears that they use each book as a 'location', such as apprentices' den, elders' den, etc.), many with today's date.  I've seen these in the past, too, so I believe it has been going on for a while.  I noticed one post that said they had been locked out of the Black Stallion books.  They are all posted anonymously, but is there a way for B&N admin to identify them and perhaps terminate their accounts?  This is ridiculous, and has destroyed the review sections of numerous books and authors.

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Sun_Cat
Posts: 788
Registered: ‎12-03-2011

Re: Role-playing Infestation in Reviews

The review spam has been mentioned many times on various boards here, though not this particular variation. See, for example, here, here, and here.

 

The inescapable conclusion is that B&N simply doesn't care. They do respond, albeit slowly, to flagging specific offenses. But as for tackling the problem with a broader brush, there's no evidence they have any interest in doing so.

 

This seems a fairly dimwitted business decision to me. It should be obvious that by failing to keep the reviews meaningful they're driving potential customers to other sites.

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bklvr896
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Re: Role-playing Infestation in Reviews

I to wish the reviews could be relied on. A review with stars and no write up is useless to me. Nor are reviews that are obviously off topic. But here's the problem as I see it. BN would have to have someone who's sole job was to read the reviews and determine if ted were relevant and within any TOS. theoretically they could block an account, but there's nothing to prevent the person from setting up a new account with a new address. The only hope would be that they would get tired of dealing with it and go somewhere else. I've seen on numerous message boards this issue and blocked users simply sign up under a new user me and continue.
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keriflur
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Re: Role-playing Infestation in Reviews


bklvr896 wrote:
I to wish the reviews could be relied on. A review with stars and no write up is useless to me. Nor are reviews that are obviously off topic. But here's the problem as I see it. BN would have to have someone who's sole job was to read the reviews and determine if ted were relevant and within any TOS. theoretically they could block an account, but there's nothing to prevent the person from setting up a new account with a new address. The only hope would be that they would get tired of dealing with it and go somewhere else. I've seen on numerous message boards this issue and blocked users simply sign up under a new user me and continue.

It's impossible to get rid of it completely, but there are ways to minimize the issues, as there's a lot less of this at Amazon and Goodreads, and at other store sites that allow product reviews.  Initially, yes, I expect it would be difficult, but the first step is to start cleaning up reviews and blocking accounts.  Yeah, they may need to add headcount, but heads are a small investment for the upside potential of having a strong review community.

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Sun_Cat
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Re: Role-playing Infestation in Reviews


bklvr896 wrote:
I to wish the reviews could be relied on. A review with stars and no write up is useless to me. Nor are reviews that are obviously off topic. But here's the problem as I see it. BN would have to have someone who's sole job was to read the reviews and determine if ted were relevant and within any TOS. theoretically they could block an account, but there's nothing to prevent the person from setting up a new account with a new address. The only hope would be that they would get tired of dealing with it and go somewhere else. I've seen on numerous message boards this issue and blocked users simply sign up under a new user me and continue.

I suspect it may be easier than that to block some repeat offenders. My impression is that much of this activity comes from middle schools and high schools where the school's network is configured to block access to chat rooms. B&N could block review-posting activity from those networks by IP address or range of IP addresses.

 

They could also disallow reviews with blank text or nonsense text. It would be hard to filter automatically for off-topic text, but it would be very easy to require a minimum character count and require that a minimum percentage of words are in the English dictionary.

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keriflur
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Re: Role-playing Infestation in Reviews


Sun_Cat wrote:

 

They could also disallow reviews with blank text or nonsense text. It would be hard to filter automatically for off-topic text, but it would be very easy to require a minimum character count and require that a minimum percentage of words are in the English dictionary.


The problem with this is that some people like to give stars without giving text, or want to say things like "Stephen King did it again.  Blew my mind!"  These are both valid reviews.  They're not overwhelmingly helpful, but they're better than nothing, IMO.

 

They could probably block anonymous reviews, requiring users to have an account, and blocking IP addresses could work also.  I wonder what Goodreads does.

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borges
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎08-20-2010
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Re: Role-playing Infestation in Reviews


Sun_Cat wrote:
They could also disallow reviews with blank text

Star ratings without text are useless, and they always seem to be people spamming everything with 1 star. These aren't real ratings, and one of the biggest and easiest thing B&N could do to make the customer ratings useful is to disallow ratings without text.

 

The state of reviews/ratings on B&N is one of the main reasons why I do all my browsing on Amazon. Though to be fair, there are more than enough annoyances with the B&N website to go around. It's not all about the reviews.

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keriflur
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Re: Role-playing Infestation in Reviews


borges wrote:

Sun_Cat wrote:
They could also disallow reviews with blank text

Star ratings without text are useless, and they always seem to be people spamming everything with 1 star. These aren't real ratings, and one of the biggest and easiest thing B&N could do to make the customer ratings useful is to disallow ratings without text.


Useless, to you, maybe.  I don't find them useless.  Who's to say whether a person meant a rating or not?  I've left a number of one star ratings and I meant every one of them.

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Htom_Serveaux
Posts: 145
Registered: ‎03-13-2010
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Re: Role-playing Infestation in Reviews


borges wrote:

Star ratings without text are useless, and they always seem to be people spamming everything with 1 star. These aren't real ratings, and one of the biggest and easiest thing B&N could do to make the customer ratings useful is to disallow ratings without text.

 

Actually, B&N seem to be the cause of some if not most of the "no text" reviews.  I recently finished a short story on my nook e-reader and was impressed enough to want to leave a review.  Doing so through the nook's "rate this book" selection, however, let me put in a star rating but then, to my surprise, did not ask for any additional text.  My rating for the story simply appeared later as a "no text" rating.

 

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Sun_Cat
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Re: Role-playing Infestation in Reviews


keriflur wrote:

borges wrote:

Sun_Cat wrote:
They could also disallow reviews with blank text

Star ratings without text are useless, and they always seem to be people spamming everything with 1 star. These aren't real ratings, and one of the biggest and easiest thing B&N could do to make the customer ratings useful is to disallow ratings without text.


Useless, to you, maybe.  I don't find them useless.  Who's to say whether a person meant a rating or not?  I've left a number of one star ratings and I meant every one of them.


I have to agree with borges on this one. I don't mind a very short review as long as it sheds some light on the reason for the rating. But an empty review just leaves me wondering about the rater's intention.

 

It's a very different situation on Goodreads, where we're encouraged to rate everything on our lists in order to take advantage of site features, and reviews are entirely optional. There's no good reason for anyone to game the ratings system on Goodreads (though I'm sure there are some bad reasons). Not the case here. And here's my trump card: Amazon doesn't permit rating without a review. :catlol:

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keriflur
Posts: 6,169
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: Role-playing Infestation in Reviews


Sun_Cat wrote:

 

It's a very different situation on Goodreads, where we're encouraged to rate everything on our lists in order to take advantage of site features, and reviews are entirely optional. There's no good reason for anyone to game the ratings system on Goodreads (though I'm sure there are some bad reasons). Not the case here. And here's my trump card: Amazon doesn't permit rating without a review. :catlol:


There's never a good reason to game ratings, tho a lot of people seem to think otherwise.

 

There is a LOT of ratings gaming on both Amazon and Goodreads, and all of it comes with words, LOL.  Most of the words are "Hi, I'm {insert sockpuppet name here}, and I'm of no relation at all to the author, in fact I've never even met them, and I think this book is the BEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN."  Then those are followed by a bunch of one-star reviews that say "All the five star reviews are written by sock puppets.  I haven't read it, but I'm going to tell you anyway: DON'T BUY THIS BOOK. IT'S BAD."

 

There've been a number of authors, just since January, that have admitted to encouraging friends, family, and fans to post "good" reviews and to like "good" reviews on Amazon and other sites to drive down the "bad" reviews.

 

I'm more inclined to believe starred reviews w/o text are from someone too lazy to write a review, or with nothing to say besides "I loved/hated this book".  When someone's really trying to manipulate you, they're going to use words.

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doggygirl
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎06-18-2012

Re: Role-playing Infestation in Reviews

Absolutely 100% agree that it's dreadfully annoying to see these stupid role-play posts on the review boards. I tried following the process set in place for customer service to bring this to their attention and got the corporate run around ..."thank you for bringing this to our attention...we're sorry for the incovenience...blah blah blah". It is quite clear this complaint is very far down on the priority list.

But it seems to me that these kids are taking advantage of the immediate posting on the review boards to role play, so if B&N simply put an automatic 72 hour waiting period on any reviews written then this might stop the instant gratification and drive them elsewhere. I don't know much about computer programming, but I would think that adding a timer to the review process to hold back reviews from posting for a certain amount of time would be easily and cheaply done without having staff comb through each review.

Also, I read in another thread on the same topic that it's occurring while kids are seated at school computers and supposed to be studying. These school computers block most known social networking sites, so the little devils have figured out that B&N innocuously passes through the schools' filters AND has an instant posting board feature that works perfectly for role play....duh...BONUS! Can't fault 'em for their resourcefulness...The fact that B&N doesn't care about the integrity and purpose of their website is the real problem here.

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Sun_Cat
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Re: Role-playing Infestation in Reviews


doggygirl wrote:

 

I don't know much about computer programming, but I would think that adding a timer to the review process to hold back reviews from posting for a certain amount of time would be easily and cheaply done...


I am a programmer who specializes in web applications, and I can assure you that you're absolutely right about this. It's an excellent suggestion to stop kids from abusing the system, and it would be relatively simple and easy to implement.

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paigenic6
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Registered: ‎06-16-2010
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Re: Role-playing Infestation in Reviews

I see so much of this. It is so irritating. I end up flagging them, not that it will do much good. I personally think bn should have a system similar to youtube. If enough people flag a comment it is hidden, but I think bn shouldn't just hide the comment, they should remove it.

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Silvermoonstar
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Re: Role-playing Infestation in Reviews

Um, hi. I rp Silvermoonstar.. Well, us kids enjoy rpg.. Its fun.. We meet friends and those kids who dot have a lot of friends at school can be a total different person on rp. Rp life is so kch better than rl.. We use rpto get away from rl for awhile.. We can be the real us and not get judged for it.. We can be who we want to be.. We're like a big huge family. Yes theres evil cats and good cats but we all are like a family.. I've been rpg for maybe 2-3 years now.. Rpg makes me feel good.. I can talk to my friends i've made about how i feel and they cant be mean about it or tell anyone because we dont know eachother in rl.. Rpg is good, it may be annoying but we enjoy it.. Maybe you could give it a chance, and join. See how much fun it is.. Im not saying i support nook sex and gross things like that, but i support rp..
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Ya_Ya
Posts: 3,334
Registered: ‎09-29-2010

Re: Role-playing Infestation in Reviews


Silvermoonstar wrote:
Rpg is good, it may be annoying but we enjoy it.. Maybe you could give it a chance, and join. See how much fun it is.. 

Please tell me you don't think the place you choose to rpg is appropriate?

 

Book review space is for, well, book reviews.

 

If you want to rpg, create a proboards forum for it and have at it.

 

Quit wasting other people's time, though.  And please have some respect for the authors of the books sold by B&N.  Go somewhere else to play your games.

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keriflur
Posts: 6,169
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: Role-playing Infestation in Reviews

[ Edited ]

Silvermoonstar wrote:
Um, hi. I rp Silvermoonstar.. Well, us kids enjoy rpg.. Its fun.. We meet friends and those kids who dot have a lot of friends at school can be a total different person on rp. Rp life is so kch better than rl.. We use rpto get away from rl for awhile.. We can be the real us and not get judged for it.. We can be who we want to be.. We're like a big huge family. Yes theres evil cats and good cats but we all are like a family.. I've been rpg for maybe 2-3 years now.. Rpg makes me feel good.. I can talk to my friends i've made about how i feel and they cant be mean about it or tell anyone because we dont know eachother in rl.. Rpg is good, it may be annoying but we enjoy it.. Maybe you could give it a chance, and join. See how much fun it is.. Im not saying i support nook sex and gross things like that, but i support rp..

Wow, I didn't know you ENJOYED it.  Well then, by all means, keep going. As long as you ENJOY it, who cares about the authors whose careers you hurt?  They'll feed their families some other way.

Maybe if you weren't playing RPGs all the time, you could learn to spell and use proper punctuation.

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NineWest
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Re: Role-playing Infestation in Reviews

I think if you are going to complain then you should deal with it.Talking about this problem  with other people who have experienced the same thing is not exactly going to accomplish anything.

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Pen12
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Re: Role-playing Infestation in Reviews

@NineWest: From reading the posts on this thread I see that people are talking about how to accomplish fixing this issue so the goal isn't simply to complain.  Perhaps you should reread the entire thread.  The reviews are supposed to be just that, reviews not these little games.  If those people really want to role play then I imagine that there are plenty of forums and websites where they can go do that.  We shouldn't have to deal with it at all because the role players are the ones misusing the system and ruining the ratings system.  Also you are just complaining about people supposedly complaining; therefore, you are doing the exact same thing you are saying others are doing.  Follow your own advise and don't talk about it unless you have suggestions or experiences dealing with this to share. 

 

I suggest that everyone continue to flag the reviews.  Yes, the response, if any, is very slow, but at least some of these useless and irrelevant posts get taken down.  It's better than nothing, in my opinion.  I also suggest that where it asks if a review is helpful to click on "no."  This way the reviews get moved to the end and it will be easier to find the book reviews.

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customer0
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Re: Role-playing Infestation in Reviews

I use to ONLY purchase from barnes and noble. However, I have found other sites due to the role-playing reviews. I just don't have time to look up real reviews at another site then come back to barnes & noble to purchase.