Discussion:
Social behavior on Amazon reviews
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Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-06-05 18:11:52 UTC
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I get curious about other people's reactions to books I have reviewed
on Amazon (which includes the ones I post here, and other older ones
I did not post here).

I recently wrote a script to scrape Amazon and show me the books I
have reviewed which have new reviews. That's kind of tangential
to this question, but it did involve me looking at a number of my
older reviews. What I noticed is that the older a review is, the
more likely that it had comments, and sometimes comments on comments.
(And I don't mean just because it had been out there for a long
while -- the comments were usually fairly contemporaneous.)

My working theory is that "discussion" about books has moved to other
fora. I guess it's also possible that people have feedback-fatigue from
every site you interact with on the Internet wanting "just ten minutes
to fill out our feedback survey!" or rate the interaction.

Anyone else see the same pattern in their reviews? Other theories?
--
------
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What's not in Columbia anymore..
Joe Morris
2018-06-06 14:14:54 UTC
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Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
My working theory is that "discussion" about books has moved to other
fora. I guess it's also possible that people have feedback-fatigue from
every site you interact with on the Internet wanting "just ten minutes
to fill out our feedback survey!" or rate the interaction.
The places I usually read/post comments are
* LibraryThing
* GoodReads

But I always assumed Amazon had the *most* reviews. Regardless of
the actual quality, I thought they had quantity, even if the
quantity is made up of "Book arrived quickly and undamaged"
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James Nicoll
2018-06-06 14:26:54 UTC
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Post by Joe Morris
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
My working theory is that "discussion" about books has moved to other
fora. I guess it's also possible that people have feedback-fatigue from
every site you interact with on the Internet wanting "just ten minutes
to fill out our feedback survey!" or rate the interaction.
The places I usually read/post comments are
* LibraryThing
* GoodReads
But I always assumed Amazon had the *most* reviews. Regardless of
the actual quality, I thought they had quantity, even if the
quantity is made up of "Book arrived quickly and undamaged"
Not to mention:

Five stars: best book I ever read! signed Sue Dough Nym
Five stars: best book I ever read! signed A Reader for whom this is the only review
Five stars: best book I ever read! signed the author who forgot to use a different name
zero stars: I enjoyed the story and will buy the next one but 1.99 is too
high a price for an ebook, so I am downrating the novel accordingly.
--
My reviews can be found at http://jamesdavisnicoll.com/
My Dreamwidth at https://james-davis-nicoll.dreamwidth.org/
My patreon is at https://www.patreon.com/jamesdnicoll
D B Davis
2018-06-06 17:13:26 UTC
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Post by James Nicoll
Post by Joe Morris
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
My working theory is that "discussion" about books has moved to other
fora. I guess it's also possible that people have feedback-fatigue from
every site you interact with on the Internet wanting "just ten minutes
to fill out our feedback survey!" or rate the interaction.
The places I usually read/post comments are
* LibraryThing
* GoodReads
But I always assumed Amazon had the *most* reviews. Regardless of
the actual quality, I thought they had quantity, even if the
quantity is made up of "Book arrived quickly and undamaged"
Five stars: best book I ever read! signed Sue Dough Nym
Five stars: best book I ever read! signed A Reader for whom this is the only review
Five stars: best book I ever read! signed the author who forgot to use a different name
zero stars: I enjoyed the story and will buy the next one but 1.99 is too
high a price for an ebook, so I am downrating the novel accordingly.
You mention one of the rare cases where a negative review is useless.
Other than the rare bird who squawks about prices, negative commentary
provides me with the best intelligence about the unknown.
Humans love to criticize. It may start during the "terrible twos"
when toddlers fall in love with the word "no." People prone to stretch
the truth in other areas tend to become brutally honest with their
criticism. Anonymity helps people to not hold back and tell the world
what they really think.
"One man's poison is another mans desert." To find something worthy,
just look for criticism of your desert. If Ayn Rand's your desert look
for the one star that says something along the lines of, "This crap sack
story makes _Atlas Shrugged_ look like a utopia. I hate Ayn Rand. People
who like her are total a**holes. "



Thank you,
--
Don
Richard Hershberger
2018-06-13 15:36:55 UTC
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Post by D B Davis
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Joe Morris
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
My working theory is that "discussion" about books has moved to other
fora. I guess it's also possible that people have feedback-fatigue from
every site you interact with on the Internet wanting "just ten minutes
to fill out our feedback survey!" or rate the interaction.
The places I usually read/post comments are
* LibraryThing
* GoodReads
But I always assumed Amazon had the *most* reviews. Regardless of
the actual quality, I thought they had quantity, even if the
quantity is made up of "Book arrived quickly and undamaged"
Five stars: best book I ever read! signed Sue Dough Nym
Five stars: best book I ever read! signed A Reader for whom this is the only review
Five stars: best book I ever read! signed the author who forgot to use a different name
zero stars: I enjoyed the story and will buy the next one but 1.99 is too
high a price for an ebook, so I am downrating the novel accordingly.
You mention one of the rare cases where a negative review is useless.
"Zero stars: The book arrived a week late and the dust jacket was torn."
Post by D B Davis
Other than the rare bird who squawks about prices, negative commentary
provides me with the best intelligence about the unknown.
Humans love to criticize. It may start during the "terrible twos"
when toddlers fall in love with the word "no." People prone to stretch
the truth in other areas tend to become brutally honest with their
criticism. Anonymity helps people to not hold back and tell the world
what they really think.
"One man's poison is another mans desert." To find something worthy,
just look for criticism of your desert. If Ayn Rand's your desert look
for the one star that says something along the lines of, "This crap sack
story makes _Atlas Shrugged_ look like a utopia. I hate Ayn Rand. People
who like her are total a**holes. "
I mostly ignore reader reviews for fiction. De gustibus and all that, some random reader's response to the book is unlikely to correlate strongly with mine.

Non-fiction is a different matter. There, some small fraction of reader reviews are useful. Fortunately, they are actually pretty easy to spot. First off, they are longish. A short review doesn't tell me if the reviewer knows what he is talking about. In a long review it usually becomes pretty clear whether the reviewer knows his stuff or is bullshitting. And yes negative reviews are more likely to be useful, for the reasons you state. Finding something substantive to say about a good book is harder (and less fun) than enumerating the flaws of a bad one.

Richard R. Hershberger
Ahasuerus
2018-06-13 16:23:08 UTC
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Post by Richard Hershberger
Post by D B Davis
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Joe Morris
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
My working theory is that "discussion" about books has moved to other
fora. I guess it's also possible that people have feedback-fatigue from
every site you interact with on the Internet wanting "just ten minutes
to fill out our feedback survey!" or rate the interaction.
The places I usually read/post comments are
* LibraryThing
* GoodReads
But I always assumed Amazon had the *most* reviews. Regardless of
the actual quality, I thought they had quantity, even if the
quantity is made up of "Book arrived quickly and undamaged"
Five stars: best book I ever read! signed Sue Dough Nym
Five stars: best book I ever read! signed A Reader for whom this is the only review
Five stars: best book I ever read! signed the author who forgot to use a different name
zero stars: I enjoyed the story and will buy the next one but 1.99 is too
high a price for an ebook, so I am downrating the novel accordingly.
You mention one of the rare cases where a negative review is useless.
"Zero stars: The book arrived a week late and the dust jacket was torn."
[snip]

A recent favorite: "Had the book come from any "lesser" author, I would
have settled for 3 stars. But coming from Williamson it was such a
let-down I can only give it 1 star." (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003P9XJVA)

(I can certainly understand where the reviewer is coming from, but it
further dilutes the "star" system.)
puppetsock
2018-06-06 14:40:57 UTC
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On Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at 2:11:55 PM UTC-4, Ted Nolan <tednolan> wrote:
[snips]
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
I recently wrote a script to scrape Amazon and show me the books I
have reviewed which have new reviews.
[snip]

Um... Did you wash your hands after?
Gene Wirchenko
2018-06-07 05:15:33 UTC
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On 5 Jun 2018 18:11:52 GMT, ***@loft.tnolan.com (Ted Nolan <tednolan>)
wrote:

[snip]
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Anyone else see the same pattern in their reviews? Other theories?
I do not like sites asking me to sign up. Like I need another id
and password. Unless I am quite certain that I will be there a lot, I
do not bother.

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko
puppetsock
2018-06-13 14:48:48 UTC
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Post by puppetsock
[snip]
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Anyone else see the same pattern in their reviews? Other theories?
I do not like sites asking me to sign up. Like I need another id
and password. Unless I am quite certain that I will be there a lot, I
do not bother.
Since the site here is Amazon, this raises some questions.
Why are you there? It's not primarily a social site, it's
primarily a business. So, if you've not bought the book,
why do you think you should be involved in the discussion?
And if you've bought the book somewhere else, why not
go review it on that web site? And if you have bought the
book from Amazon, how do you get it shipped if you don't
sign up with your accurate info?
Kevrob
2018-06-13 18:53:53 UTC
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Post by puppetsock
Post by puppetsock
[snip]
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Anyone else see the same pattern in their reviews? Other theories?
I do not like sites asking me to sign up. Like I need another id
and password. Unless I am quite certain that I will be there a lot, I
do not bother.
Since the site here is Amazon, this raises some questions.
Why are you there? It's not primarily a social site, it's
primarily a business. So, if you've not bought the book,
why do you think you should be involved in the discussion?
And if you've bought the book somewhere else, why not
go review it on that web site? And if you have bought the
book from Amazon, how do you get it shipped if you don't
sign up with your accurate info?
I notice Amazon bought Goodreads a while back.

I wonder how many members there know that?

They also bought this one, and merged the two.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelfari

If I had the aptitude, I'd start another social site
for readers and wait for the buyout.

Kevin R
Lynn McGuire
2018-06-13 19:14:21 UTC
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Post by Kevrob
Post by puppetsock
Post by puppetsock
[snip]
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Anyone else see the same pattern in their reviews? Other theories?
I do not like sites asking me to sign up. Like I need another id
and password. Unless I am quite certain that I will be there a lot, I
do not bother.
Since the site here is Amazon, this raises some questions.
Why are you there? It's not primarily a social site, it's
primarily a business. So, if you've not bought the book,
why do you think you should be involved in the discussion?
And if you've bought the book somewhere else, why not
go review it on that web site? And if you have bought the
book from Amazon, how do you get it shipped if you don't
sign up with your accurate info?
I notice Amazon bought Goodreads a while back.
I wonder how many members there know that?
They also bought this one, and merged the two.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelfari
If I had the aptitude, I'd start another social site
for readers and wait for the buyout.
Kevin R
I had no idea that Big River bought Goodreads. That is a little
disappointing. I hope the owners got quite a bit of green.

Lynn
Ahasuerus
2018-06-13 20:58:19 UTC
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Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Kevrob
Post by puppetsock
Post by puppetsock
[snip]
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Anyone else see the same pattern in their reviews? Other theories?
I do not like sites asking me to sign up. Like I need another id
and password. Unless I am quite certain that I will be there a lot, I
do not bother.
Since the site here is Amazon, this raises some questions.
Why are you there? It's not primarily a social site, it's
primarily a business. So, if you've not bought the book,
why do you think you should be involved in the discussion?
And if you've bought the book somewhere else, why not
go review it on that web site? And if you have bought the
book from Amazon, how do you get it shipped if you don't
sign up with your accurate info?
I notice Amazon bought Goodreads a while back.
I wonder how many members there know that? [snip]
There were many discussions at the time of the acquisition.
Post by Lynn McGuire
I had no idea that Big River bought Goodreads. That is a little
disappointing. I hope the owners got quite a bit of green.
According to "reports", it was around $150 million -- see
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/29/amazon-goodreads-how-much_n_2981092.html
Robert Carnegie
2018-06-13 21:47:25 UTC
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Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Kevrob
Post by puppetsock
Post by puppetsock
[snip]
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Anyone else see the same pattern in their reviews? Other theories?
I do not like sites asking me to sign up. Like I need another id
and password. Unless I am quite certain that I will be there a lot, I
do not bother.
Since the site here is Amazon, this raises some questions.
Why are you there? It's not primarily a social site, it's
primarily a business. So, if you've not bought the book,
why do you think you should be involved in the discussion?
And if you've bought the book somewhere else, why not
go review it on that web site? And if you have bought the
book from Amazon, how do you get it shipped if you don't
sign up with your accurate info?
I notice Amazon bought Goodreads a while back.
I wonder how many members there know that?
They also bought this one, and merged the two.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelfari
If I had the aptitude, I'd start another social site
for readers and wait for the buyout.
Kevin R
I had no idea that Big River bought Goodreads. That is a little
disappointing. I hope the owners got quite a bit of green.
Lynn
I had no idea - today - that "Big River" was a reference
to "Wonder Woman, for instance".
Kevrob
2018-06-14 01:45:08 UTC
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Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Lynn McGuire
I had no idea that Big River bought Goodreads. That is a little
disappointing. I hope the owners got quite a bit of green.
Lynn
I had no idea - today - that "Big River" was a reference
to "Wonder Woman, for instance".
When I first saw Lynn using that, I thought it was a
Mark Twain reference...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_River_(musical)

....so Mississippi.

Amazon would be "longest river."

I always liked Roger Miller.

Kevin R
Lynn McGuire
2018-06-14 02:29:26 UTC
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Post by Kevrob
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Lynn McGuire
I had no idea that Big River bought Goodreads. That is a little
disappointing. I hope the owners got quite a bit of green.
Lynn
I had no idea - today - that "Big River" was a reference
to "Wonder Woman, for instance".
When I first saw Lynn using that, I thought it was a
Mark Twain reference...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_River_(musical)
....so Mississippi.
Amazon would be "longest river."
I always liked Roger Miller.
Kevin R
I stole Big River for Amazon from somebody on here.

Lynn

l***@usa.com
2018-06-12 21:34:10 UTC
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Yep, "become a member" is a high cost, requiring the opening of a hard-copy file.
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