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This thread was created because I wanted to talk about a topic that has been bothering me for a really long time now. I want to talk about Reviewers. However, in order to talk about reviewers, I will need to go a step higher and look at the situation from the whole STAR usergroup’s point of view and partially even touch on the topic njt’s proclaimed “Goal of this forum”.
First off, what is the actual problem that is bothering me? In my case, the problem lies within the requirements for the reviewer status. Before I go into the details, there’s something I have to explain beforehand. I’ll be using the term Joint Review (JR for short) a lot in this post, so here’s a small explanation for those who haven’t heard what a JR is before. A Review is divided into several sections and, unlike a standard review, where one person is responsible for all of those sections, in a Joint Review, one person is responsible only for one section. Basically, three sections, three people. That’s the concept.
Okay, we’ve cleared that, let’s move on. As I mentioned, the problem lies in the requirements for the reviewer status. Let’s take a look at those requirements.
As you see, it is not mentioned what type of reviews have to be posted within 2 consecutive months. So I went and asked benelori a question whether 5 Joint Reviews would result in a reviewer status. The answer was straight out “NO”.
One may ask himself why I am going through all this trouble with theoretic discussions about the requirements for a reviewer status, when I already have one myself? Now, this is the breaking point of the story. This is where the problem stops being specifically my own and goes on a MH-wide level.
I will take a long route now, explaining everything, so before I do that, let’s summarize what I already mentioned. There is a new type of reviews called “Joint Reviews” and these Joint Reviews are for some reason not treated the same as normal reviews. (A person does not receive a reviewer status for participating in 5 JRs, remember?)
So, we have these two things pointed out, let’s move on. Joint Reviews do not exist “as is”. The very concept of multiple people working together on one project requires a platform where they can discuss and organize everything. Such a platform was created at the times of the very first Joint Review, and it is called “Reviewer Alliance” (RA for short). Why did I create this Reviewer Alliance? What was the point in making a new type of reviews? The answer is simple.
I wanted to increase the popularity of reviews and reviewers.
The condition of the “R” from the “STAR” usergroups is straight out miserable. Take a look at the numbers. There are 300 Scanlators, 289 translators (116 international translators), 47 artists and 8 reviewers (as of December ‘11). 8 Reviewers! That is the smallest usergroup in MH second only to “News Writers” and “Administrators”. There are more global moderators than there are reviewers!
After all the time and effort it took me to finally join the ranks of the reviewer usergroup, I suddenly find out that it is practically speaking dead. I’m not even mentioning the tiny amount of manga sections that see reviews on a stable weekly basis and the even tinier amount of feedback that these reviews receive compared to the amount of energy that went into writing them. Long story short. The reviewer usergroup was, and still is, dead, and I couldn’t leave things this way. That’s why I created the Reviewer Alliance and made a new type of reviews.
Once again, let’s summarize everything mentioned up until now. The condition of the reviewer usergroup was horrible, and that’s why I created the Reviewer Alliance and Joint Reviews.
The next question is: “How can the RA and the respective JRs help in riving the reviewer usergroup?” Once again, we’re back the theory of Joint Reviews. I already mentioned that there are multiple people working on a Joint Review. This is also the way how I am planning on reviving the reviewer usergroup.
I’ll be using numbers again to illustrate what I mean. Those of you who have read the interviews with blackjack612 or The Underscore may have noticed, that both agree that it takes somewhere around 4 hours to write a review, ± 1 hour. So, in terms of our math analysis, 1 review = 4 hours.
One of the reasons why the reviewer usergroup is in such a miserable condition is precisely because of this math equation. One has to be either genius or a fool to spend 4 hours on a single review. This little aspect automatically crops 90% of all possible reviewers. But as I already said, there are multiple people working on a Joint Review. Let’s just assume that there will be a total of 4 people participating in our test Joint Review. The results are obvious. The necessary time that is required to finish a review is equally divided between all of the 4 participants, what results in a magnificent number of 1 review = 1 hour. The amount of people who are ready to spend one hour a week for a review is significantly higher than those who are ready to spend four times more.
And that’s not everything. Out of the 4 hours it takes somebody to write a standalone review, somewhere around 30 minutes / 1 hour take up the necessary technical aspects like cropping the pictures, proofreading your text, uploading the pictures to an image hosting server, etc. However, in a team of 4 people, only one person is responsible for these tasks, what means that the time the other three people spent on the actual writing can be reduced even further, going as far as 1 review = 45 minutes, and occasionally even 1 review = 30 minutes.
It is not necessary to explain the difference between spending 4 hours on a review and spending 30 minutes. The amount of people who are ready to spend 30 minutes on a review covers practically speaking 99% of MH’s Registered Users, who make more than two posts per week in a chapter discussion thread. Let me rephrase that. With the help of Joint Reviews, I turned nearly every single MH member into a potential reviewer. If someone can make a 3 paragraph post in a thread, he can make it in a review. Simple as that.
Once again, it is necessary to sum up what has been said so far. With the help of Joint Reviews it became possible to not only revive the reviewer usergroup, but theoretically make it even the BIGGEST USERGROUP IN MH… if it wouldn’t be for the reviewer status requirements.
There’s still another topic I want to mention before switching back to my original problem, I mentioned in the beginning of this post. Now that I created an instrument with the potential to revolutionize the reviewer usergroup, I started using it. As some of you may have noticed, a Bakuman 168 JR was published not so long ago, and if you’ll look at my sig right now, you’ll notice a link to another Bleach Joint Review. On top of that, if you will visit the proofing area of the manga review section, you will notice additional review threads for series like Fairy Tail and D.Gray-Man.
Steadily, my goal of having every manga section see a review on a stable weekly/monthly basis, is coming closer and closer, but unfortunately there are more obstacles than I thought. Aside from the obvious organizational problems which occur from having to organize 5 individual reviewer teams all through one thread (which in the end, is only a trial to myself, whether I can or cannot pull this off), the biggest problem is something outside my reach.
Once again, to explain this, I need to go a step higher and look at the fundamental aspects of every organization. As you all know, in order to keep any organization/community/forum alive, the most important aspect is to keep the members interested. Let’s take MH for example. If the people who are posting in the various manga section threads would suddenly stop due to lack of interest, MH would be a place visited only by scanlators, proofreaders, translators and search engine robots.
So, in order for any organization to survive, their members have to be interested. They need enthusiasm. MH achieved that by using usergroups. A bold username looks cool, it makes you stand out from the crowd, and everyone wants it. But in exchange for a bold username, you first have to proof you are worthy of it. It’s simple. It’s effective. It’s working. That’s all there is to it.
We are steadily progressing to the end of this whole review-sized stream of consciousness, so try staying alive the next 5-10 minutes, we should finish by then. Once again, time for a summary. In order for an organization to be alive and active, its members need enthusiasm.
Now, I have my Reviewer Alliance and I have a two-digit number of newcomer reviewers full of enthusiasm who want to write reviews. But there are two problems. First, their enthusiasm will run out veeeeeeery quick if they won’t receive any kind of recognition and feedback anytime soon. And second, writing reviews is not the only thing they want. Although I still have only a respectively small number of newcomer-reviewers in the RA, I already received a couple of PMs asking me whether they will receive a reviewer status for participating in my project.
Can you blame them for asking that? I can’t. And I won’t. I’ve experienced everything they are experiencing right now. But what am I supposed to tell them? “Sorry, bro, you see, even though you practically speaking do fulfill the requirements for a reviewer status, unfortunately you will not receive it. The most I can offer you, is working your ass off and hoping that someone will remember your name at credits section at the end of a review.”
Before anyone accuses me of throwing big words, without any argumentation. I already mentioned that there are multiple types of reviews. The Joint Review I am talking about in this whole story is a type of a chapter review. But there are also manga reviews. If a person does 5 manga reviews, then he will get a reviewer status. This is a fact.
Now we’re back at our math auditorium. The average word count of a manga review is 800 words ± 100 words. The average word count of a Joint Review is 3000 words ± 500 words. If we equally split up those 3000 words between 4 people, we get a total of 750 per person. So, if someone writes 5 manga reviews, 800 words each, he will get the status, but if he participates in 5 JRs writing 750 words each time, he won’t. Excuse me, but that doesn’t make sense.
Another possible argument is the 4th point of the reviewer requirements, which states that “reviews must take a critical stance or provide an opinion.” Aside the fact, that it is a lot easier not to provide an opinion in a manga review, I don’t see how this can possibly apply to a Joint Review. Predictions, a priori require an opinion of the current events in the series, otherwise it would be impossible to make them. The impressions section is the epitome of a critical stance, and the Analysis cannot be written without an opinion either. A Joint Review cannot exist without a “critical stance or an opinion”. So if a Joint Review was posted, than that means it automatically fulfilled the 4th point of the reviewer requirements.
Looking back at what I wrote so far. A Joint Review does not differ from a standard standalone review. Hence it has to be considered the same, which also means that participating in 5 JRs results in a reviewer status.
This is the point where I can more or less finally stop. A small overall summary of what’s written here, plus a list of suggestions and I’m finished. But as some of you remember, I mentioned at the very beginning of this post that I would touch on the topic of njt’s “Goal of this forum”. But since it is only an additional argument to the whole story I am going to include it at the very end in a postscriptum. I’ll finish things here first.
The “overall summary”. Throughout the last year the reviewer usergroup has been in a miserable condition with only 8 members. With the help of Joint Reviews and the Reviewer Alliance it became possible to drastically change everything. However, due to staff’s position that a JR does not equal a standalone review, the majority of all possible new reviewers have once again lost their enthusiasm. (What’s the point in writing reviews when there’s no chance of getting a status?)
That so about sums everything up. Now onto my suggestions. For starters, I think that the Manga Reviews Banner needs to be re-established and shown from time to time, instead of displaying the various featured manga banners 24/7. Aside from changing the requirements for the reviewer status, everything else can be roughly summarized as “Advertisement” from the staff’s POV. All those announcements, front page news, interviews (!) not only for reviewers but for the whole STAR community, and the most important aspect – Feedback. A review is only a “true review” when it has feedback. And on the primary stage, when a section only begins to see weekly/monthly reviews I believe it should be the respective moderator’s job to keep the review alive. If people start commenting on a review, they will become interested in becoming a reviewer themselves sooner or later. That’s pretty much all.
OBVIOUSLY it is you guys who decide whether to make any changes to the current reviewer requirements and whether to apply any of the suggestions I mentioned. All I wanted to do is finally speak out my mind on this matter, because I would’ve eventually done it either way in the various threads all over MH, and I thought that concentrating it all in one place would be the best idea.
Okay, I said everything I wanted, I hope that it had some positive effect. Somewhere. Somehow. >_>
Last edited by alphabeta; March 05, 2012 at 01:40 PM.
What's so important and special about a status anyway?Quote:
Sorry but my personal theory is that someone does something because they like it, not for "status" or recognition. Joint reviews are not the same as a solo review, you know that. Why would a person be acknowledged a reviewer for only making one or two paragraphs where he only addresses the art, or the plot direction or the characters, and therefore put him on the same level as someone who make an in-depth analysis of all the aspects in a manga by himself? Only fair thing I see is to have a sub-usergroup called "Hobby Reviewer" or "Joint Reviewer" but that's not worth the trouble.
Again, this is just my personal thoughts. I like the idea of joint reviews and I think it's a nice way for new people to start reviewing (collaborating with experienced ones) but after that they need to do solo reviews to receive the status itself.
They're not really writing reviews, they're writing a part of a review.Quote:
But with status-asking, one would be missing the basic point of the reviews, it is not about status, it is about contributing to the community, that is what people also do with creating threads, starting up discussions and you do not see them asking for status? And no one is asking a reviewer to do a review if he does not want to, reviewers and members spend their free time here, no one gets paid for doing anything here. If one finds it hard to do it, one will not do it, simple as that.
Last edited by Josef K.; March 06, 2012 at 05:30 AM. Reason: fixed some words
A person cannot constantly contribute and contribute and contribute without any break and not receive anything in return. The first review runs on enthusiasm. The second also. The third partly. If by the fourth of fifth review a reviewer has not received anything in return, be that feedback, a status, or thanks/likes, that reviewer will stop writing reviews. That's it.
I agree that participating in a JR and writing a whole review is not the same, but people who participate in a JR are reviewers. As I already mentioned the word count is pretty much the same and the other requirements for a reviewer status are also fulfilled.
I don't see why a reviewer who reviews the "art, or the plot direction or the characters" all at once should be treated differently than someone who reviews the art in one JR, the plot direction in a second JR and the characters in a third. In the end they both can review the same thing. The only difference is that a standalone-reviewer writes a bigger amount than a "Joint Reviewer".
You don't distuingish between artists who make only manga colorizations and artists who make manga colorizations, original art, banners and signatures, do you?
Recognition = Reviewer Status. Simple as that.
To make everything clear. We can leave all this reviewer status theory for later. All I want to know wether you guys are going to give a person with 5 joint reviews a reviewer status or not?
Who can answer me this question in the first place?
The current minimum requirement for earning Reviewer status is more than reasonable and comparable to the amount of work required to earn entry into the other member usergroups. We will not be adjusting the requirements to account for joint reviews. The minimum requirement will remain five complete, individually written reviews in two months, with two reviews a month required to maintain reviewer status. We appreciate all that joint reviews have contributed to the site, we also appreciate those that have been introduced to writing manga reviews through writing a portion of a joint review. We hope that those who enjoy writing reviews will begin writing reviews of their own, expressing their opinion in full as individual, not just as part of a group.
The purpose of having usergroups is to identify those who contribute above and beyond the standards and norms of posting at a forum. Inclusion in a usergroup is based on contributing time intensive activities whether that is translating, cleaning, editing, typesetting, or contributing fan art. User generated reviews were given a usergroup because the process is time intensive, writing a review is a lot of work and Mangahelpers hopes to distinguish those who take the time to regularly complete reviews. To earn a place as a reviewer we ask that the time and effort put into writing reviews remain comparable to that needed to join the translator, scanlator, or artist usergroup.
Last edited by Kaiten; March 06, 2012 at 12:10 PM.
Obtaining it is done by doing something you enjoy, if you really are discouraged by doing it by the time you reach your 3rd, 4th, or 5th review, then you're doing it for the wrong reasons. A bold username is not a reward for what you do, it's recognition for what you do in this community. There's a difference.
Last edited by xi0; March 08, 2012 at 04:53 PM.