#1
I want to talk about the way reviews are structured for a minute.

Having the reviews split up into sections with individual scores for each section is great for gear reviews, concerts, DVDs, etc, but it is extremely limiting for album reviews.

On one hand, it provides a good skeleton for inexperienced writers to organize their thoughts in a coherent way.

On the other hand, every time I write a review for UG I feel like I'm back in high school where the professors make you write your essays according to a formula. Some kids couldn't write papers at all, so the teacher would require everyone to write with a "topic 1 - point 1 - supporting reason 1, supporting reason 2 - point 2, etc" structure. It required little thought to put together, as it was more of a fill-in-the-blank exercise than writing an essay.

Any time I would try to break from this simplistic structure, I would lose credit. And yet, when I got to college, everyone who was using that minimal structure would make minimal grades.

Having that "sound - lyrics - overall" setup for album reviews is incredibly restrictive and I think a lot of UG writers are held back because of it. I mean, albums aren't written like that, why should reviews be? Most other major music sites on the internet (absolutepunk, allmusic, pitchfork, sputnik, NME, rolling stone, rocksound) don't write reviews like that either.

I'm not proposing to get rid of it, because I think some writers do need it.

What I propose is that UG gives reviewers the option to review albums in freeform. One of the reasons why I haven't written in so long is because I can't fit the square peg of what I want to say into the round hole that UG gives me.

Also, I think the numerical rating system has to be changed somehow as well. You can say a lot more with words than with numbers, and I feel like numbers are abused. Fanboys will rate everything with 9s and 10s and not say anything at all with their reviews, and too many people vote on albums without actually having heard them. It's silly. An unpopular artist will get tons of 1 votes from people who won't even bother to listen to the album just because of the fact that they aren't liked.

So, UG should have two ways to write the reviews.

The old way:
  • Predetermined structure
  • Individual scores for each category


Benefits include helping people write and helping users get a quick glimpse of how the album stacks up. The cons are that the individual scores for each category are always abused and based on that, many people choose to ignore the review in general.

The new way:
  • Free writing, not bound by boxes or categories
  • One aggregate score for the entire album


The cons are that the users will actually have to read the reviews to get a clearer idea of what the album is really good for, but then again, that really isn't a bad thing. It's actually a good thing. It will also require the writers to be more in depth to justify their overall score of the album. But they'll have the room for that since they won't be bound by those little boxes.
#3
Spell checking is a good idea. I would also like to see a bit more quality control. Some of the reviews that get put up are just awful. Here is a screenshot from a recent review that I found to be particularly bad:



The review is 4 run-on sentences that really tell nothing about the album other than that the reviewer likes it. It barely even makes any sense. I feel like somebody should check the reviews to make sure that something useless like that doesn't get put up. And as you can see, it appears that I'm not the only one satisfied with that review.
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#4
I remember the quality control used to be a lot more strict back in the day. I've had a few reviews denied in the past (many years ago) because they were the superficial glowy fanboy reviews, but they were still better than that example above.
#5
Quote by jetfuel495
I remember the quality control used to be a lot more strict back in the day. I've had a few reviews denied in the past (many years ago) because they were the superficial glowy fanboy reviews, but they were still better than that example above.


I wish my two shit, glowy fanboy reviews didn't make it through.

Yeah, I would support free from reviews and all around higher standards.
#8
There should be some way of getting rid of bad reviews, like if the reviews are found to be "unhelpful" by a large number of people, perhaps they could be hidden or at least put to the bottom? Actually, having ways of sorting reviews (by both the score of the album and the score of the review it self) so that it would be easier to find a negative review or positive review, and that way you can avoid bad reviews, like the one I used as an example.
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#10
Quote by jetfuel495
The reviews are already sorted, with recent and Team reviews at the top, and the rest are ordered based on helpfulness. I think.


No, I mean like you should be able to sort it yourself, like when you're on a site buying music stuff, you know? And while it is already sorted by helpfulness to an extent, it's sorted in a weird way. Is it perhaps sorted manually? Because while it's consistent in votes with 100% helpfulness, it's not particularly consistent with less than 100%. And being able to filter out all of the reviews with 0/0 for helpfulness would be nice.
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#12
Maybe the reviews should only be posted by UG members. So if you were unregistered, you couldn't post reviews. Most of the crappiest reviews are by unregistered guys.
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#13
I asked about this in 2007 and the response was that revamping the reviews structure would mean changing all of the thousands of reviews already published on the site, which would be massively complicated.

It would be good to hear an official up-to-date stance on this!
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#14
Quote by duncang
I asked about this in 2007 and the response was that revamping the reviews structure would mean changing all of the thousands of reviews already published on the site, which would be massively complicated.

It would be good to hear an official up-to-date stance on this!


I don't mean to bump this again but couldn't they just keep those in the reviews archive the way they are and the new reviews will follow the new format? I understand that could be confusing at first but in the long run it would be worth it.
#15
Quote by duncang
I asked about this in 2007 and the response was that revamping the reviews structure would mean changing all of the thousands of reviews already published on the site, which would be massively complicated.

It would be good to hear an official up-to-date stance on this!
But if they implemented it as a new optional feature (you could choose whether to use the old style or new style when you're submitting your review), then older reviews wouldn't have to be changed, and there would still be new reviews being written with the old format.
#16
I don't even know who's in charge of reviews anymore. So many people have left the office recently and I have no idea what's going on. With this in mind, I doubt any response is forthcoming, at least for a while. It took a long time and a lot of pushing in the CC areas in order to get some quality control on the articles, and it lasted all of two weeks before it got much, much worse.
#18
Quote by jetfuel495
Two months and not a word of response.

I just want the freedom to write an open-ended album review for this site. The structure here is one of the main reasons why I haven't written here in almost a year.

Well I nominated this guy for worst reviewer:



That'll get their attention!
#19
Those top 5 album choices really do paint a stereotypical 14 year old just getting into rock/metal picture.