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Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: John Wick on July 17, 2001, 11:34:00 AM
Check this out. Two reviews of MISTS OF AVALON (I won't tell you what I thought of it because it's really not that important, is it?)

http://www.culturevulture.net/Television/MistsofAvalon.htm

and

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2001/07/13/DD230637.DTL

Go read them both, and tell me if these two people saw the same film.

Here's the point:

There's nothing in the world that says you have to like everything. You don't. People see things differently, appreciate different things. How can anybody - I don't care who they are - tell you whether you should or shouldn't buy something based on their own perceptions?

There you go. My rant for the day. Check out the reviews, come back and tell me what you think. I'll be here, drinking my herbal tea, trying to sort out why people NEED other people to tell them how to think.


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Jared A. Sorensen on July 17, 2001, 11:43:00 AM
Reviews are about awareness -- "This product is bad, don't waste your time or money!" or "Hey, check this out...it's really good!"  And you have to judge the review (an opinion) based on the credentials of the reviewer.

Just think, John m'boy...without your review I would have never seen The 13th Warrior, right?


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Valamir on July 17, 2001, 12:00:00 PM
Wow John.  I don't think I could possibly disagree with you more.  These reviews did exactly what they were supposed to do...although the first was far more complete.

Sure it had a negative bias, but so what.  As a reader of reviews I am plenty smart enough to 1) identify the bias, and 2) decide whether it is a bias I share.  I find reviews where the reviewers bias is obvious to often be MORE useful than ones attempting to be objective.  When the bias is obvious its much easier to filter out.  When its carefully masked under the guise of objectivity filtering becomes more difficult.

These reviews (particularly the first one, as the second was clearly a fluff piece) told me exactly what I needed to know about the mini series.  Production value will be less than extraordinary but better than your usual made for TV fare.  The movie sticks to the book mostly but chooses to emphasize sections which translate better to TV (like battles) and deemphasize sections which don't translate as well (like long expositions on the nature of religion and truth)...also not surprising given the producer.

In short the review says this:

If you are an anal retentive nit picky Mists of Avalon fanatic you are likely to be very disappointed in the movie.

If on the other hand you are (like me) someone who found the Mists of Avalon book to pale by comparison to Le Morte than you probably won't be to bothered if the movie is a pale comparison of Mists.

In other words...it confirmed for me that it will be worth my time to watch.  That is all a review is for.
As


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Valamir on July 17, 2001, 12:01:00 PM


[ This Message was edited by: Valamir on 2001-07-18 09:52 ]


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: John Wick on July 17, 2001, 12:43:00 PM
Quote

On 2001-07-17 15:43, Jared A. Sorensen wrote:
Reviews are about awareness -- "This product is bad, don't waste your time or money!" or "Hey, check this out...it's really good!"  And you have to judge the review (an opinion) based on the credentials of the reviewer.


Problem is... I don't _know_ either of those people. I don't accept advice from anybody I don't know personally. How in the world can I take the advice of people I don't know?

Quote
Just think, John m'boy...without your review I would have never seen The 13th Warrior, right?


Ah, but there are other movies I've seen that I WON'T recommend you watch because I think I know your taste in films.

Besides, a “recommendation” is different than a “review.” That’s why we have two different words for them. :wink:

Take care,
John

[/quote]


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: John Wick on July 17, 2001, 12:55:00 PM
Quote

These reviews (particularly the first one, as the second was clearly a fluff piece) told me exactly what I needed to know about the mini series.  Production value will be less than extraordinary but better than your usual made for TV fare.


Go back and read the reviews again. They actually disagree on the production values. I think they were pretty cheesy, but that's my opinion.

Quote
The movie sticks to the book mostly but chooses to emphasize sections which translate better to TV (like battles) and deemphasize sections which don't translate as well (like long expositions on the nature of religion and truth)...also not surprising given the producer.


Again, that's the reviewer's opinion. I got sick and tired of hearing people say GOHD-dess (really forced and unnatural) every ten seconds. Lots of anti-Christianity, pro-pagan. One of the last things Morgaine says is "Let us not let our guilt drag us down like the priests want..." or something like that. The whole thing reeked (to me) of a "Dammit, My Religion Is Valid!" propaganda piece.

But then again, you may have seen things differently... which is my point. :wink:

Also, the movie didn't just accentuate the events of the book differently, it out-and-out changed them. I didn't even recognize the first half hour of the movie, turned to The Wife and said, "Gee. They could have saved a few bucks by not buying the rights to call this thing Mists of Avalon." Only in the second hour did the movie begin to look like the book.

Quote
In short the review says this:

If you are an anal retentive nit picky Mists of Avalon fanatic you are likely to be very disappointed in the movie.

If on the other hand you are (like me) someone who found the Mists of Avalon book to pale by comparison to Le Morte than you probably won't be to bothered if the movie is a pale comparison of Mists.


Actually, I rather liked EXCALIBUR much more than both the movie and the book version of Mists.

Does that make it a better film? Who knows and who cares? Mists of Avalon is an important book in a lot of people's libraries. Not mine. It doesn't belong in my library. But that doesn't mean it doesn't belong in yours.

The reviewers both use very definitive statements. They completely disagree with the casting of Vivienne. I don't mind that at all. What I DO mind is the way they use the language. Go look at what they say. One says, "She's the best woman for this role," and the other says, "She's the worst woman for this role." Who CARES what they think? I'm sure there are people out there who HATED Jack Whatshisname as Wolverine. I thought he was great.

Like The Rock says: IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOU THINK!

I didn't like either the book or the movie. That doesn't make it an invalid or valid work. For some people, it's the most important book they've ever read in their life. And that makes it sacred. Don't go pissing in other peoples' holy water.

Endnote: One of the worst forms of argument is appeal to authority. A review is nothing more than that. What's worse, it's an appeal to YOURSELF. And there's nothing more arrogant than that.

Take care,
John

[ This Message was edited by: John Wick on 2001-07-17 16:56 ]


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Damocles on July 17, 2001, 01:14:00 PM
Quote

On 2001-07-17 16:43, John Wick wrote:

Problem is... I don't _know_ either of those people. I don't accept advice from anybody I don't know personally. How in the world can I take the advice of people I don't know?


Well, I don't know about you, but here is how it works for me: I read the review and judge it the way I would anything else. If there are internal contradictions or mistakes about stuff I know about, the reviewer loses credibility in my eyes. If he talks about other works he likes and which I disliked I conclude he has probably different tastes so I take that into account. Etcetera. Stuff like that. Then, it may happen that I watch some movies (or whatever) that he  has reviewed and I kind of get a grip on whether he has a clue and if his taste is close to mine or how it differs.
With rpgs, for example, if Kenneth Hite recommends something then, for me, it's at least worth to take a closer look in the store at it, check out the website, and maybe some other reviews.
I guess this is all kind of obvious, but, well, you asked.


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Valamir on July 18, 2001, 05:52:00 AM
Thats exactly what I do Damocles.  There are some movie reviewers that I can pretty much bet that I'll like a movie if they say it sucks.  Or if a reviewer says its the best movie since "X" and I know I like (or don't like) X that goes a long way to filling in what I need to know about the reviewer.

But in the end, it doesn't really matter if the reviews are always right (often times I think I'll like something from the review...like the Mummy Returns...and it turns out mediocre).

What matters is that without reviews I'm going in blind...flip a coin 50/50 as to whether it was time/money well spent.  If by reading reviews I can shift the odds to 60/40 or 70/30, I can save an awful lot of time and money in the long run...even if any particular individual review got it "wrong".



Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: JSDiamond on July 19, 2001, 09:48:00 AM
Well, I think most of us weigh the facts (read: 'opinions') contained in any review.  The problem is, as I see it, the wholesale selling of some half-wit's sh*t opinion masquerading as credible journalism.  Anyone can build a webpage; a site; a zine.  But an editorial is not a review.

Although I differ on the actual manner in which one should go about reviewing games, I like Brian Gleichman's (?) almost architectural framework for doing so.  Though I regard Ron Edward's policy of playing the game for a few sessions as invaluable for being able to report 'from the trenches' if you will.

The point of who is doing the review might help too.  But even one's best friend may not like all of the same things, so why should the reviewer.

So, what it comes down to, I believe, is integrity, honesty, and a professional 'aloofness' from the trappings of commanding gamers' attention.    

Jeff
 


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on July 19, 2001, 10:33:00 AM
Quote

On 2001-07-17 15:34, John Wick wrote:
Here's the point:

There's nothing in the world that says you have to like everything. You don't. People see things differently, appreciate different things. How can anybody - I don't care who they are - tell you whether you should or shouldn't buy something based on their own perceptions?


*sigh*

Wick rants about reviews AGAIN.

I've heard most of this before.  I'll bet most of us have.  In the world of not understanding things I just can't help but wonder why.

My big problem with the rant is he's essentially saying "Reviews are useless.  Stop writing them.  Stop reading them.  Just go see the movie [or play the game or read the book, etc.] for yourself."

As if reviews will cease to be read or written because he says so, I don't care if his arguement is for what's wrong with reviews is sound or not.

The fact is, people like to try before they buy.  They want to know if they'll like something before they invest time and/or money into it.  It doesn't matter if it's they're friends giving them a personally taylored recommendation or logging onto Ebert's web page.  The idea is to ask someone what they thought about something to attempt to judge if it's something they'd enjoy themselves.

Quote

I'll be here, drinking my herbal tea, trying to sort out why people NEED other people to tell them how to think.


It's not so much about people needing to tell other people what they think (although it is in there.  Otherwise you wouldn't have told us what you think about reviews, would you?)  It's more about people ASKING for other people's opinions.  You can read anything you want into that from sheep mentality to lack of person conviction to whatever.

Fact is, Roger Ebert would not be able to make money telling people what he thinks if there wasn't a market for such a thing.

Personally, I'd like to see you put the energy and passion you've shown for this rant/crusade/discussion into a game, John.  It'd kick ass for sure if you did.


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: greyorm on July 19, 2001, 10:10:00 PM
Ok, so John says "your opinion doesn't matter" but then he goes into a long exposition about the horrors of advocacy and the faithlessness of the reproduction...


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Gordon C. Landis on July 19, 2001, 11:04:00 PM
OK, I'll jump in - fitting way to end a LONG day at work:
Quote

On 2001-07-17 15:34, John Wick wrote:
How can anybody - I don't care who they are - tell you whether you should or shouldn't buy something based on their own perceptions?

They can't.  Some people find listening to what they say helpful in making up their own minds, though.  It's admittedly tricky - the reviewers have a bias, you have a bias, you can fall into all kinds of traps (using what someone else said to reduce your personal "risk" in liking/disliking something, falling into a herd mentality, etc.) and . . . well, it's tricky.  But not useless, neccesarily.
Quote

I'll be here, drinking my herbal tea, trying to sort out why people NEED other people to tell them how to think.

Again, they don't.  NEED someone to tell them how to think.  Well, some people might, or at least they're convinced they do . . . but I digress.  The point is, some people LIKE reading what other people think, and using that to help them make their own decisions.

John, what's so hard to understand about that?  If you're just arguing "beware reviews - they may not be all that you think they are!", I'm with ya.  That doesn't make 'em next to useless, though - just tricky and problematic, like so much else in life.

There, I've said my piece.  Now anyone who cares can "review" it :wink:

Gordon C. Landis
 


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: John Wick on July 20, 2001, 11:35:00 AM
Quote

On 2001-07-20 02:10, greyorm wrote:
Ok, so John says "your opinion doesn't matter" but then he goes into a long exposition about the horrors of advocacy and the faithlessness of the reproduction...


That was the whole point of it. MY opinion on the validity or non-validity of the MoA movie is just as irrelevant as the two reviewers' opinion.

MY OPINION DOESN'T MATTER.

Watch the thing yourself, and make up your own mind.

The reason I picked those two reviews in particular was their incredible divergence. I'm not sure those two people didn't watch two entirely different films.

Look, here's my beef with the whole thing in crystal clear terms.

Reviews piss me off. Even complimentary ones. Why? Because a review is the ultimate "appeal to authority" argument, and the authority is the reviewer himself.

"Listen to me. I know what is bad and what is good. I'm an expert because I tell you I am."

Most reviews make blatant claims without any kind of support.

"The art is bad." (subjective; you mean "I don't like the art.")

"The writing is bad." (subjective; you mean "I don't like the writing.")

Seldom, if ever, do reviewers back up their claims. They make the claim, then move on to another point.

Ron's Orkworld review is very kind and says a whole bunch of nice things about me and my orks. But he also says, "Orks are not hypocrites," and I have NO CLUE where he got that from. And I'm the Author!

But that's what Ron took away from the book. Is it right for me to tell Ron "Look buddy, you're wrong about orks. They ARE hypocrites and you just got your head up your butt." No, it's not. What Ron carried away from the book is his own. Books, movies and all other media are communication. What you get out of Mists of Avalon and what I get out of it are two entirely different signals. At the very least, reviewers can acknowledge that. At the very least, reviewers can write a review with that knowledge in the front of their heads when they write.

Anyway, chew on that while I go to lunch. See ya! :smile:


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: greyorm on July 20, 2001, 09:09:00 PM
Quote

Most reviews make blatant claims without any kind of support.

There used to be a rant somewhere (here?  GO?  don't recall) about a review of Sorcerer, one which was removed by a forum administrator for unknown reasons, wherein I said more-or-less the same thing as the above about reviews and reviewers.  So I'm with you on that count.
I just found it a tad ironic to state, in a thread you started on the relative worthlessness of opionions, your opinions. [grin]


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: John Wick on July 27, 2001, 01:15:00 PM
Quote

On 2001-07-21 01:09, greyorm wrote:
Quote

Most reviews make blatant claims without any kind of support.

I just found it a tad ironic to state, in a thread you started on the relative worthlessness of opionions, your opinions. [grin]


A thread on the relative worthlessness of unsupported opinions (as the quote above suggests).

Let's use a food analogy.

I love spicy food. I eat peppers right out of the jar. I always get the spiciest curries, always order Tobasco sauce at restraunts and am currently munching on cauliflower that's been pickled in pepper sauce.

I love spicy food a lot.

Now, if I were to give you a review of an Indian restraunt by saying "It wasn't too spicy" and you've never had Indian food before, you'd be very surprised stepping out of that restraunt, probably saying something like, "That Wick doesn't know what he's talking about! It's spicy as hell!"

I said, "It wasn't spicy."
What I should have said was, "It isn't spicy to me."

When a reviewer writes his review, it's important to give the reader a sense of context. All too often, I see reviews of... oh let's say the AMBER DICELESS RPG:

"The rules are too vauge."

Well, obviously, considering the type of play that game invokes. Duh.

To the person who wrote that review, I have to ask:

1) What other games do you play?
2) Have you ever played a diceless game before?
3) Are you familiar with Zelazny's Amber books?
4) Did you play the game, or are you just making a judgement based on your reading.

"Capsule reviews" (those written by people who just read the book and haven't actually played it) are USELESS. Especially those who make any kind of comments about the game system. 7th Sea's game system MUST BE PLAYED. You can't just look it at, YOU MUST PLAY IT TO UNDERSTAND HOW IT WORKS. Every review of 7th Sea that said, "I didn't playtest the rules, but they looked _______" just made me quiver.

All too often, reviewers make absolutely no qualifying statements at all. They don't talk about how they play, what games they play, what they like to play, what they've played lately or any other kind of statement.

And that is someone who is not on my schedule. Life is too short, and they're wasting my time.


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: John Wick on July 27, 2001, 02:04:00 PM
Quote
This should be understood by any reader of a review. Or anyone taking advice from a guy about spicy food for that matter. The reviewer is not the only one saddled with responsibility, the reader is as well.


I agree. Unfortunately (for you and me), not everyone else does. That old cliche about "people believe something because it's in print" isn't an old cliche for nothing.

> "Capsule reviews" (those written by people who just read
> the book and haven't actually played it) are USELESS.

Quote
Strong disagreement from me.

Indeed, I consider reviews from players of games to be less informed in many respects. I do agree that they do have their advantages in certain areas although few reviewers who do playtest actually take advantage of them.


Here's a good example of what I was just talking about.
You told me you disagreed with that statement, then didn't tell me why.

I don't mind that you disagree with me (I'm not alwaysright, just almost always), but I'd like to know why.

Otherwise, I just assume you're wrong. :wink:

Quote
IME, the least useful comments come from those who are most familiar with the rules.


Why?
WHY? WHY? WHY?
Don't just say it and hope "It's my opinion" covers your ass, 'cause it don't.
Opinions are like underarm persperation. Both make you stinky. It's not unless you back those opinions up do they matter. Otherwise, you're just another guy on the internet with an opinion.


Quote
I know this information about the people who's reviews I read. Why don't you?


I do know it.
And it's why I don't read reviews. :wink:

Take care,
John

Roger Ebert gave 3 stars to MEMENTO and 3.5 stars to ATLANTIS. One of these movies is the most original, innovative and brilliantly scripted movies of the year. The other was made by the company that signs his paycheck. You figure out which is which.


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: John Wick on July 27, 2001, 02:34:00 PM
Quote
Roger Ebert gave 3 stars to MEMENTO and 3.5 stars to ATLANTIS. One of these movies is the most original, innovative and brilliantly scripted movies of the year. The other was made by the company that signs his paycheck. You figure out which is which.


I just wanted to point out one last thing. Yes, this is a bit ranty, so skip it if it pisses you off. That's your right, after all. To not read everything in the world. It's also your right to not like everything you read. Believe it or not.

A bit of research shows Roger Ebert -- the Most Respected Movie Critic in the World -- rated these films as inferior to ATLANTIS (which got 3.5 stars, remember):

FIGHT CLUB (3 stars)
THE SIXTH SENSE (3 stars)
THE USUAL SUSPECTS (1.5 stars)

However, some recent Disney films got these scores from Mr. Ebert:

EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE (3 stars)
POCAHONTAS (3 stars)
HERCULES (3.5 stars)
HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (4 stars)

He also lists Citizen Kane (in his own words, "arguably the greatest movie ever made") at... get ready for it:

4 stars.

That's right, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME and CITIZEN KANE both get 4 STARS.

This from the Most Respected Movie Critic in the World.

He can go screw himself with his weekly Disney check.

(For those who don't know, Mr. Ebert's show is owned by Beuena Vista entertainment.)

Roger Ebert's thumb is THE MOST DECISIVE FACTOR for Americans. It literally can mean the difference between a blockbuster and a blow-out. LITERALLY.

WHY DO YOU THINK DISNEY OWNS THE FAT MAN???

He gave FIGHT CLUB a scathing review (one that does not match his 3 stars above), and at the Oscars, he had the BALLS to tell Edward Norton he was sad FIGHT CLUB didn't get nominated for more awards.

Norton was on his game. "But Roger, you gave it thumbs down."

The Fat Man replied, "Oh, but I liked the first act."

Norton replied, "It doesn't matter what you liked, Roger. You gave it a thumbs down."

Millions and millions of Americans listen to what The Fat Man says and base their movie going experience on whether he likes a film or doesn't. Like gladiators in Ancient Rome, the life of a film is balanced on which direction Emperor Ebert sticks his thumb.

Is this true of RPG reviews?

You bet your printer bill it is.

I've heard people ON THIS VERY WEBSITE say it: "I will buy or not buy a game based on what Ken Hite says."

Bad Pod Person You.

This is the bottom line on my hatred of reviews:

Check the book out yourself. Don't let anyone else tell you about the quality of the book. It doesn't matter how much you respect the other person's opinion or taste: SEE IT FOR YOURSELF.

Everything I've ever said about reviews comes down to the above paragraph. It's my one and only and final point.

And with that, I'm back to killing Lord Davenport. Thanks for listening... to my opinion. :wink:

Take care,
John


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Gordon C. Landis on July 27, 2001, 04:30:00 PM
Ah-ha!

It's not that The Wick hates reviews - The Wick hates that there are too many gamers who let themselves be influenced by lousy reviews, or by the lousy parts of mediocre reviews, or even by the mediocre parts of a good review.

The Wick hates mediocrity, hates herd mentality.  An over-reliance on the contentless "I like/don't like" of a less-than-masterful review being a key symptom of these things . . . he hates that.

OK John, that I can understand.  You do realize that if someone is AWARE of all these issues with reviews, they can still extract some value?  (Though I'd second you in reminding folks to STAY aware, as it is all too easy to take the easy "I guess he didn't like it, I won't bother then"

I'd suggest that most people who respond to your review rants fit in this category - they know about the flaws of reviews, take 'em into account, and thus are astounded by the ferocity of your "crusade".  Unfortunately, the people you really need to reach . . . may well be unreachable.  

Or perhaps you hope to get the REVIEWERS to do better, and thus deny these folks the bad diet of flawed information they seem to crave?  Seems like I've seen you say as much . . .  

Good idea, because there are people who will respond well to improved information.  But . . . those folks who don'tare just going to find another stupid basis to make their decisions on.  They'll ask the GDW rep at their game store which RPG to buy.  They'll read that Orkworld "sucks" in some random post and believe it.

I mean, I'm all for "raising the bar", but you gotta realize, not everyone wants to jump . . .

And this is now WAY too long.

Gordon C. Landis


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Valamir on July 28, 2001, 09:07:00 AM
Well said Gordon.

The intelligent reader can use even crappy reviews as a tool.  The moronic reader is...well...a moron.

Don't blame the review, blame the moron who can't think for himself.



Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: John Wick on July 28, 2001, 10:19:00 AM
Quote

On 2001-07-27 20:30, Gordon C. Landis wrote:
It's not that The Wick hates reviews - The Wick hates that there are too many gamers who let themselves be influenced by lousy reviews, or by the lousy parts of mediocre reviews, or even by the mediocre parts of a good review.

I mean, I'm all for "raising the bar", but you gotta realize, not everyone wants to jump . . .


As others have noted: well said.

Quote
And this is now WAY too long.


Again, I agree.

Thanks for the conversation, folks! Now go over to that Wicked Press forum and say something! :smile:




Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Supplanter on July 28, 2001, 11:04:00 AM
Quote
Check the book out yourself. Don't let anyone else tell you about the quality of the book. It doesn't matter how much you respect the other person's opinion or taste: SEE IT FOR YOURSELF.

Everything I've ever said about reviews comes down to the above paragraph. It's my one and only and final point.


It's not a very compelling point. I suspect you've noticed that the world is full of games, books and movies. Plus annoying responsibilities that cut into one's game, book and movie time. You can't see every one of them for yourself. You may not even know a given game, book or movie exists except for the review. You have to make a preselection based on something, and reviews, used the way Brian and others discuss, are a perfectly valid form of attention triage.

Best,


Jim


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Theory of X on August 10, 2001, 10:58:00 PM
John, ease off the caffeine.

Take it to the extreme...why do we need any information?
My goodness, a bit cynical.

I like reviews. I like seeing others views on subjects, and how they compare vs. mine. I like thinking.

Granted, most reviewers don't make the grade, but then again most people in life don't either.

After reading a few of your posts, I am starting to think you take yourself to seriously, and have some serious issues.

You remind me of a couple of old bandmates I once had...they were angry at the world because no one 'fucking got it'. Everyone's music sucked...sellout bullshit, and whatnot.

People try as hard as they can. Not every grows up in a family environment that promotes free thinking.

Cuddle with the opponents, my man, nuture them. Stop kicking them in the teeth.

I'ld rather read  one thousand shitty reviews than one more post by a bitter under achiever.


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: greyorm on August 11, 2001, 07:56:00 AM
Quote

I'ld rather read  one thousand shitty reviews than one more post by a bitter under achiever.

*cough*
You realize that if you are saying -- and I'm not entirely certain that you aren't meaning the above as "in general" rather than personally directed -- John Wick is an underachiever, well...um...

I wish *I a comparable list to the man's list of gaming credits.

BTW, John, now that I understand more where you're coming from, I agree.  This is me reading your reasonsing: *nod*nod*nod*  And all that is exactly why I don't read movie reviews, and roll my eyes at the ones I do glance at.


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Theory of X on August 11, 2001, 09:34:00 PM
Maybe I slipped off the edge a bit, or maybe I didn't.

I don't know him from Jack, so to speak.

I've been skimming many RPG for the last year, and have seen one too many posts from his pen that really offer nothing constructive and are often simply chirps such as:

"That's plain silly."

or

"What's the point."

I have nothing to drawn on about his personality other than his scribbles. Maybe I'm the bad guy, and maybe I'm not.  All I can honestly say is that I have read gazillions of posts in the past year, and when I see his name, I come to expect a stupid remark.

Nail me to the cross, but I callz um as I seez um.


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Ian O'Rourke on August 12, 2001, 01:33:00 AM
I don't take any reviews seriously, as I don't see the point in them. I know people who positively hate the games, movies or books I like and would slate them. I know people who would give them positive reviews.

So what's the point? Just check it out for yourself - it's the only way to be sure. Don't let others deside for you? You don't check something out on the strength of a review? Then that's exactly what you've done.

I find it hard to understand the importance some people place on their ability or fact they write reviews. It's like they get off on being able to make their opinions known. It's an ego thing. It's like that aintitcoolnews.com thing? Who does he think he is - just some fat geek sat in a chair feeding his ego.

It's like a religion to some people.

Since it's not something I hold as overly important in the world - I would think that though.

An addion: The only good thing about reviews is when it makes someone aware a product exists. You can do that though without feeling the need to 'wax lyrical' about your opinion on the product and feed your ego :smile:
_________________
Ian O'Rourke
www.fandomlife.net
The e-zine of SciFi media, and Fandom Culture.

[ This Message was edited by: Ian O'Rourke on 2001-08-12 05:36 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Ian O'Rourke on 2001-08-12 05:43 ]


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Theory of X on August 14, 2001, 11:01:00 PM
http://trio.rpg.net/news+reviews/reviews/rev_2765.html

I didn't write this, but thought you would enjoy:

(This is a review of The Official John Wick Review Policy, which was included as part of a Gaming Outpost interview which can be located at: http://www.gamingoutpost.com/features/interviews/john_wick.shtml. You might want to go there before you read this -- or after. Then again, you might not.)

John Wick's Review Policy sucks.

What else can I say? The very idea of Wick dictating the policies people will be using to review his own material is nauseating. He seems to think that his opinion has some sort of relevance to the rest of us. I just didn't like it.

And you won't like it either. I guarantee it.

Not that that matters, because if you're reading this you're a brain dead asshole. Didn't you read Rules #5 and #6? What part of "never read reviews" didn't you get? This is clearly being written by someone who has no idea of the blood, sweat, and tears that makes up the creative process (as if that somehow has some relevance to the merits of a product; as if the Cleveland Browns should have been in the Superbowl because they really, really wanted to be good and worked really, really hard). And I definitely have a personal agenda to condemn the product in question, considering that I am -- by default -- on those evil reviewers. I violated Rule #7 ("never write a review") right off the bat, so why are you paying any attention to me?

Of course -- don't blink now! -- Wick has definitely written reviews before (some of which can be found in his columns right here on RPGNet) -- so he's a hypocrite. I can't testify with absolute certainty that he has ever read a review -- but I suspect so, which makes him a hypocrite twice over. And if he hasn't, then he's speaking from ignorance.

Which just makes him an idiot.

Which brings us to Rule #9: "Before you buy a book, read a few pages first." A good point. Feel free to go check out the policy itself before continuing. I'll wait.

Dum de dum. Ho de do. Dum dee-dee.

...

Ho, ho, ho!

...

You're back? Great.

You may have realized that I'm not showing much restraint here. Initially I was worried about this, but then I realized that: (1) According to Wick there is no such thing as an objective review. (2) He was going to be "pissed off" about a negative "slam"/review no matter what it said. I'd feel sorry that I was causing him so much mental anguish, but if he's stop putting together diatribes like this then it wouldn't be necessary for others to tear them to pieces.

We'll have to skip Rule #10 because this isn't a roleplaying game we're reviewing.

And we'll have to skip Rule #11 because Wick is repeating himself.

Which brings us to Rule #12, in which Wick reviews Pendragon, Over the Edge, Ars Magica, Conspiracy X, Call of Cthulu, Champions, Twilight: 2000, Delta Green, the James Bond RPG, and Brave New World. See Rule #7 and draw some conclusions about Wick.

Then go back and read Rules #5 and #6, in which Wick bizarrely tells you that you shouldn't even be reading this Official John Wick Review Policy.

Oh well, I was ignoring him anyway. On to Rule #13!

"Rule #13: If you've never gone through the grueling process of writing, designing, developing and publishing a roleplaying game, you don't have the knowledge necessary to properly critique one."

First off, if a bridge collapses the first time someone walks on it you don't need to be an engineering major to figure out that there was something wrong with the bridge. Second, I find it truly bizarre that you need all that expertise to be qualified -- in Wick's opinions -- to critique them (for example, why are only self-publishers allowed?). Finally, this whole thing leads to the oddity where it's all right to critique a game, but you shouldn't review it.

Rule #14 tells us that we have the right to express our opinions and the right to not express our opinions. Quite right. Rule #14.5 tells us that if we choose to "disregard these rights" (by both expressing and not expressing our opinion? by half expressing our opinion? what?) "anything you say can and will be used against you".

Ah, poetic justice.

Rule #15 tells us that you need to defend your opinions -- you need to justify them. Again, quite right. Pity Wick never seems to follow his own advice. Despite Rule #16: "All of the above rules apply to everyone. Including me."


Style: 2 (Needs Work)
Substance: 1 (I Wasted My Money)


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Theory of X on August 14, 2001, 11:47:00 PM
I really had no clue that the RPG community and Mr. Wick had such a bad relationship. I assure you that all of my opinions came from personal experience, and up until the last few minutes, was uneducated about Mr. Wicks 'reputation'.

I do not wish to turn this thread into a bash Wick thread. It merely saddens me when a member of this community demands respect and uses little tact. I'll leave it at that. Over and out. 10-4 good buddy.


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Jared A. Sorensen on August 15, 2001, 10:10:00 AM
Iiieeee...

Mouth breathers with access to computers who happen to play RPGs (maybe?) <> a community.



Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: John Wick on August 15, 2001, 01:30:00 PM
Quote

On 2001-08-15 03:47, Theory of X wrote:
I really had no clue that the RPG community and Mr. Wick had such a bad relationship.


Is that everyone in the community or just a few loud mouths? I can never tell.

Quote
I assure you that all of my opinions came from personal experience, and up until the last few minutes, was uneducated about Mr. Wicks 'reputation'.


Which reputation? I got a few of them.
There's the "God damn, John Wick is a great GM/player" reputation.
Then there's the "God damn, John Wick's won a helluva lot of Origins Awards" reputation.
Then there's the "God damn, at Gen-Con last year, 300 people showed up to hear John Wick tell a story" reputation.
Then there's the "God damn, John Wick thinks people should think for themselves and not rely on others' opinions" reputation.
And then there's the "God damn, John Wick isn't afraid to speak his mind" reputation.
And then there's the "God damn, John Wick hates reviewers" reputation.

I've got a few of them. I won't mention the "God damn, John Wick is a tornado in bed" reputation. You don't need to know that one. :smile:

Quote
I do not wish to turn this thread into a bash Wick thread.


Then don't. :wink:

Quote
It merely saddens me when a member of this community demands respect and uses little tact.


I agree completely.
And, for the record, I don't think I've ever asked for respect. I've just said my peace and left it at that. You agree, that's fine. You disagree, that's fine, too.

(Did I just turn this into a "Let's bash Mr. X" thread? I can never tell.) :smile:

Carpe deum,
John

Live like nobody's looking.
- The Tao of Zen Nihilism, a Self-Hurt Book


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Theory of X on August 16, 2001, 12:12:00 AM
Well, John, you sure do speak your mind.

Sometimes silence speaks volumes. You have that right too.

Do you mingle with other members of our race, or merely chat with multiple mirror reflections? Your spew might make others do the little publicity dance that you like to see, but it gives you a D- in humanity.

Tact. I have spoken my mind, and that will piss you off, because I should have gotten your permission first? Is that correct?

Go back to hiding under your cynical sarcasm. Wait...is it ok if you go back?

[ This Message was edited by: Theory of X on 2001-08-16 04:14 ]


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Theory of X on August 16, 2001, 12:33:00 AM
Jared:

More or less, you're probably correct on what online communities are. Mouth breathing mammals.

My main point is that 48 hours ago, I really only recognized Mr. Wick from a few posts I had read. They tend to stick in your mind...take that for what it is worth.

Yesterday I stumbled across a splattering of old posts in which I watched Wick do battle royal with a group of mouth-breathing humans. These humans, by the way, bond and form friendships in almost a communal way. I really didn't realize that he had such a history (I have to pick an choose my words...haven't received my email back from Wick with his approval of my post).

I guess the more I read from him, the more I dislike the man. You can dislike me for that, but I really don't want to dislike anyone...but he tends to push me in the direction of anger. If he didn't come off as an arrogant arse...oops...Wick flame post starting...off to bed.

10-4.

---Steven William Shaw



[ This Message was edited by: Theory of X on 2001-08-17 05:44 ]


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: John Wick on August 16, 2001, 10:06:00 AM
The innevitable pattern:

1) Wick posts an opinion not directed at anyone in particular.

2) Someone gets pissed off because Wick spoke his mind and writes a scathing personal attack.

3) Wick says, "It's okay if you disagree with me, but don't go making personal attacks, okay?"

4) That Someone Else says, "John Wick's an arrogant ass because he thinks only his opinion counts! Everyone's got a right to express their opinion!"

5) Wick shakes his head and walks away saying, "But that's all I was doing in the first place..."

C'est la vie.

Now that this has become a Wick Bash, I'll be leaving it alone.


Take care,
John

(I may be an arrogant ass, but at least I don't put a 3"x3" picture of myself at the end of my posts...)



[ This Message was edited by: John Wick on 2001-08-16 14:11 ]


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Theory of X on August 17, 2001, 01:40:00 AM
A wise person once told me:

"it's not what you say, it's how you say it."

Tact.

John, maybe you should look behind you as you walk...a trail of shit follows. Take that as a personal attack, or merely an observation. I call it an observation. Your words have a stong tendency to piss people off. Why do you think that is?

As i've stated before, I have been a reader of RPG boards for some time. During this time, only one name could make me stand up and say: "I wonder what this arse has to say now." One person John, out of thousands of posters. One. Do you think it was jealousy over your success? No. Hell, until 48 hours ago I didn't even know you had anything in print. I must be ignorant? Yes. I've been a closet designer, and could have really cared less about studying the industry, and sucking up trivial knowledge about a game buried at the bottom of my local RPG store's bookshelf (which is where Orkworld is). Having a book in print doesn't mean shit to me. You can call it success if it makes you feel better.

Keep sprinkling your words with sarcasm and arrogance, and pretend that the 'knee-jerking' that occurs stems from the fact that the audience is filled with asses.

At least I don't have to go to my company picnic and overhear someone say: "I've been gone for 3 months, does everyone still hate John Wick?" (a quote from a RPG.net post)

Paint me as a monkey-boy, or a 5 IQ gimp. Paint me anyway you want, and fill it with structured babbling. I do not mind. Just don't paint me as a cold-hearted John Wick 'type'.

Someday I hope you attempt to contribute instead of deconstruct. Approach ideas and polish them. Analyze them. Wonder why people think the way they do. If you keep discounting the emotion that drives a poster's thought, you are discounting your market, and yourself.

Carry on, big John Wick. Keep being 'the Wick'.

Thanks and have a wonderful day.


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Clinton R. Nixon on August 17, 2001, 04:32:00 AM
I can't believe that in one week, I have two GREAT examples of how not to act on the Forge.

It's 5:30 am for me, and I'm not coherent yet, but: if you have a problem with anyone on the Forge, real or imagined, take it offline. We really don't need that here.

Specifically in this example: if someone, including Theory of X here wants to vehemently argue John's point about reviews being useless, go for it! I encourage spirited debate.

If Theory of X, or anyone else, wants to make an attack on John Wick, me, or anyone else - they can take their business elsewhere. That sounds strong, and is meant to be. I want any random person to click on any thread on this board and find quality. This last page or so of discussion is not quality, and should have never happened.


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: A.Neill on August 17, 2001, 05:15:00 AM
I agree.

I think this old argument is worth rehashing, but the vehemence is a bit much.

Sheesh, vive la difference and all that.

Personally, while I can see where John is coming from, I just don't have the time to seek out and look at every game I'm slightly interested in. I do, however, have the time to have a furtive look at the odd review and I trust myself enough to be able to critically evaluate the review. Thus rather than looking at the product directly, I look through a subjectively obfuscated window (or two) instead. Not ideal I'm sure - but there you have it.

Philosophically, I think sometimes we do take advice from people we don't know/trust all the time. If we had to constantly re-evaluate the work of others all the time I don't think I'd ever get to work in the morning. Hey, maybe I'm on to something there......

:smile:

Queensbery rules guys, keep it above the belt!

TTFN

Alan.

[ This Message was edited by: Nuredin on 2001-08-17 09:17 ]


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: peteramthor on August 17, 2001, 05:17:00 AM
On 2001-08-15 03:47, Theory of X wrote:
I really had no clue that the RPG community and Mr. Wick had such a bad relationship.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 


Is that everyone in the community or just a few loud mouths? I can never tell.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It always seems to be a few.  Of course few being a relative term.  A few at one place is almost everyone there a few at another is a scant percentage of those there.

Personally I feel its a few here and a few there and most of them don't have much else to do.  I also consider the fan following you have at cons especially among the L5R folks and those who like your games.  

The RPG community is a lot broader than just those who frequent forums and game sites.  Thats one thing I have noticed is that a lot of those who spend all that time online forget about all the rest and only see those that are also online.

Well there are my two cents.  Later.



Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: joshua neff on August 17, 2001, 05:26:00 AM
As someone with no official role in this forum, I'm with Clinton. Seeing this kind of personal attack on the forum distresses me. Of course there should be healthy debate. But lets keep personal attacks out of it, eh? Sure, John can be opinionated. This puts him in the bracket of "Pretty Much Everyone On The Internet". & they
re just his opinions. I don't find John to be at all "deconstructive" as opposed to "constructive", in this or any other argument. & if people can't discuss this topic in a reasonable fashion, maybe they should just let it go.

But no personal attacks.

Please.


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Michael T. Richter on August 17, 2001, 07:35:00 AM
Quote
How can anybody - I don't care who they are - tell you whether you should or shouldn't buy something based on their own perceptions?


That negative review of 7th Sea still have you down?  Geeze, Wick!  Get over it already!

Here's a hard fact you're apparently unable to grasp: I have a finite amount of time and money.  (The two are often interchangeable.)  Watching a movie sucks out two hours of my life.  Two hours that could be spent doing something which profits me or which I enjoy (or both) if it turns out I hate the movie.  Similar economies of money and time apply to buying books or RPGs.

Sometimes I have the time and/or money to take the chance.  Lately, for example, I've had quite a bit of free time and have been willing to risk going to movies that suck on the outside chance they're good.  Sometimes, however, I don't.  So reviews -- especially well-written ones -- help me filtre things out.  In the two hours that I waste in a bad movie I could have read HUNDREDS of reviews of DOZENS of movies....

You don't like reviews.  Fine.  Waste your money (and, more importantly, your time) on things you don't enjoy.  I'd rather risk missing out the occasional few-and-far-between gem than risk wasting my time on the all-too-common crap that is out there.

Reviews are a filtering tool.  Nothing more, nothing less.  And your getting a bad review on your game isn't an excuse to go ranting against reviews for the next century.


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Michael T. Richter on August 17, 2001, 07:40:00 AM
Quote

On 2001-07-27 17:15, John Wick wrote:
I said, "It wasn't spicy."
What I should have said was, "It isn't spicy to me."

When a reviewer writes his review, it's important to give the reader a sense of context. All too often, I see reviews of... oh let's say the AMBER DICELESS RPG:

"The rules are too vauge."

Well, obviously, considering the type of play that game invokes. Duh.


If you can't insert the appropriate "in my opinion" and "to me" and so forth in a review, you're pathetic as a reader.

A review is an opinion piece.  Period.  End of sentence.  If you can't cope with opinion pieces, just stop reading.


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: Michael T. Richter on August 17, 2001, 07:45:00 AM
Quote

On 2001-07-27 18:34, John Wick wrote:
Check the book out yourself. Don't let anyone else tell you about the quality of the book. It doesn't matter how much you respect the other person's opinion or taste: SEE IT FOR YOURSELF.


I have 30,000 pages worth of material on my "must read now" stack.  I have about 100,000 pages worth of material on my "should read before I die" stack.

Where, precisely, do you intend me to get the time to read EVERYTHING that crosses my path on the off chance that I find a gem in the rough?  Do you have some secret to immortality that you're willing to share with me?


Title: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless
Post by: peteramthor on August 17, 2001, 07:53:00 AM
Hmmmm.... somebody who just joined today and used info about a bad 7th Sea review off of the discussion of this arguement over at rpg.net (the fact that there is a discussion on this discussion is pretty sad in itself)  Sounds like somebody just got bored and wanted to fan the flames a little.

>A review is an opinion piece. Period. End of sentence. If you can't cope with opinion pieces, just stop reading.

If you can't cope with Wicks opinion just stop reading.  Well since you can't obviously do that considering you came over here signed on the forums just to get into this arguement.