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Feedback on the "Reviews" portion of the site? - Part Deux

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Feedback on the "Reviews" portion of the site? - Part Deux

Old 02-23-05, 05:11 PM
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Feedback on the "Reviews" portion of the site? - Part Deux

Shamelessly cribbing from the last time I did this:

It's been a while since we had a thread dedicated to the DVD Reviews portion of the site, and quite a bit has changed since then. I'm curious to hear what all of you thinking about DVD Talk's reviews, particularly anything that can be done to make the reviews and the presentation of the reviews more useful. This portion of the site is, after all, intended to benefit its readers, and I want to do whatever I can to ensure that the reviews are indeed beneficial to its audience.

Any comments or suggestions you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
Old 02-24-05, 05:09 PM
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(Bumped)

Come one, come all...here's your chance to get on your soapbox about all things related to the Reviews area and the reviews themselves. Complain, cheer, criticize, praise....we like it all.

BRING IT ON!
Old 02-24-05, 05:41 PM
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Personally, i think the reviews are great. they are detailed, thorough and truly sway my decisions one way or the other on things i buy and rent. this is the first place i go for the reviews and then come all the rest.

one thing i don't like, but it is not that critical is that you guys don't have the latest releases as quickly as I would like to see them. sometimes a Tuesday rolls around and we didn't get a review of the newest or coming release as of yet. i just like to see them prior to buying or renting, especially buying the ones i want. early reviews are great, but they are infrequent. but again, i know that it all depends on when you reviewers get the screeners, so i am not highly critical.

another thing i like on other sites is that each section gets a score...4 out of 5 stars or an A or B on the video, audio, and extras and hen a total...it might be great if you guys put a 'DVD Talk' rating. ie: 'Collector's' or 'Highly Recommend' or something to that affect for each of the DVD review sections.

other than that i think you guys and gals do a great job with all the reviews i like to see!! keep up the great work!!!
Old 02-24-05, 06:31 PM
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This is more just a curiosity question and not necessarily a particular opinion but are any reviewers/reviews encouraged to sugarcoat either the films or releases either by the studios or the site in order to placate anyone?

Very few titles or high profile titles seem to attract really critical opinions on the films/releases on some sites so I often wonder if in order to stay in business with receiving screeners there isn't a tradeoff at some of them.
Old 02-24-05, 06:37 PM
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Absolutely not.

If it seems that way, it's probably just a product of our selection process. When reviewers select titles to review, they're apt to choose titles that they already know they enjoy or admire. However, I've seen lots of very fair, critical reviewing on this site.
Old 02-24-05, 06:54 PM
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i'd wish that reviewers would put the aspect ratio in reviews instead of just saying "the movie is anamorphically enhanced..."
Old 02-24-05, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by scott1598
another thing i like on other sites is that each section gets a score...4 out of 5 stars or an A or B on the video, audio, and extras and hen a total...it might be great if you guys put a 'DVD Talk' rating. ie: 'Collector's' or 'Highly Recommend' or something to that affect for each of the DVD review sections.
You want a star rating for each criteria (which we already do) and then a Recommended/Skip It/Collector's Series/etc. judgement for each criteria as well? That just seem superfluous. I don't think I've ever seen another publication do it that way.
Old 02-24-05, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by abintra
This is more just a curiosity question and not necessarily a particular opinion but are any reviewers/reviews encouraged to sugarcoat either the films or releases either by the studios or the site in order to placate anyone?
Not a chance. The site admin./founder is the only one in contact with the companies about DVDTalk reviews, and the reviewers just pick and choose which titles to review. He doesn't tell us what to say (at least not that I've heard). I've picked some real awful DVDs out of the review pile, and I've relayed their awfulness when I review them, and I've seen all of this site's long-time reviewers do the same. On the same token, I've gotten to review some real outstanding DVDs through DVDTalk....we generally choose what we want to review, so, yeah, we're apt to pick stuff we enjoy (Miyazaki!).

I'm glad the companies aren't too selective about what they send to this site, because some DVDs just get torched by the reviewers.....it's easy to send DVDTalk DVDs they know are going to get good reviews, but it takes gumption to send bad titles on DVDs to a site that won't "say something nice" about everything it reviews.

As for technical stuff, I've seen this vary from reviewer to reviewer. On the high end, we've got some people who notice EVERYTHING, every little speck, every little shimmer, every little block, every little color that doesn't sit right. Then you've got the lower end (like me) who only notice things when they're really obvious, and get in the way of the film. I'll point out problems when I see them, but I guarantee if I were to hand the same DVD to a more experienced reviewer, they would be able to point out twice as many little flaws. Like edge enhancement.....I feel like a blind man when people point it out to me, and all I can say is "huh?" It has to be really obvious to grab my attention.
Old 02-24-05, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Rypro 525
i'd wish that reviewers would put the aspect ratio in reviews instead of just saying "the movie is anamorphically enhanced..."
I know this is something that I always include, and I know a lot of the other reviewers around here do as well. Most reviews I've read on here do specify the aspect ratio. I certainly have always thought it's better to include the AR. Specificity is always welcome in reviews.
Old 02-24-05, 10:22 PM
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abintra

This is more just a curiosity question and not necessarily a particular opinion but are any reviewers/reviews encouraged to sugarcoat either the films or releases either by the studios or the site in order to placate anyone?

Very few titles or high profile titles seem to attract really critical opinions on the films/releases on some sites so I often wonder if in order to stay in business with receiving screeners there isn't a tradeoff at some of them.
Although others have answered this, I'll add to the pile. I've never once felt any pressure of any kind to say or do anything since I've been a reviewer. Actually "pressure" is too strong a word. It's never been suggested or implied or anything. My reviews are my own words, unedited by others, and my own opinions. In fact, I'd suggest it's impossible for there to be any less outside influence. The only thing I've ever been asked to do is get reviews posted before release dates on big name titles.

On a personal note, since I review mostly television sets, and since I watch everything as it airs anyway, my reviews will typically skew positive. I'm not going to get a TV series "blind" (except when it comes to unaired episodes, but I've usually seen those already too), and I'm not going to request to review something I already know to be crap.

Anyway, this is brought up a lot it seems, and I know I personally wondered myself before I started reviewing, but I cannot overstate how independent our reviews are. If you've ever run into me on the forum, you know I'm the last person to sugarcoat anything, and there's no way in Hell I'd let my name be used for someone else's opinion.

Can I be any more clear?

Now, make with more feedback before I really get long-winded!

das
Old 02-25-05, 12:24 AM
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Since das has given us yet another vague response, allow me to clarify on what's already been posted.

G! has flat out stated that we should NEVER be afraid to state our opinions or worry about relationships with the companies. Just review with an open mind.
Old 02-25-05, 10:30 AM
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I have never once allowed the free use of company jet, villa in Morroco and bank account that Warner Brothers have given me to influence my reviews of their DVDs.
Old 02-25-05, 12:03 PM
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I find the reviews very useful, and often turn to them before making a purchase.

I would like to see more DVDs reviewed. It seems a lot of the new releases of possibly "marginal" movies - like Modern Problems and Ice Pirates for example - don't get reviewed.

I call them "marginal" because they are films people either love and are thrilled to see come to DVD, or think they're garbage and not worth a disc. They also can be difficult to find even though they are brand new releases.
Old 02-25-05, 12:38 PM
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The DVD reviews here are great. They are very helpful for purchases or when I want to read more about a DVD I just watched.

My only minor suggestion:

add the film's running time to the information at the top of the review (after studio, rating, list price, release date)
Old 02-25-05, 12:56 PM
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The extensive collection of reviews here has increasingly made this one of my top sites for reviews. One thing I really like is when more than one reviewer reviews the same DVD. A recent example of that is 'Tae Guk Gi'. That helps smooth out one reviewer's biases.
Old 02-25-05, 01:06 PM
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The reviewers on this site are amongst the most articulate, thorough and affable on the internet. And I thought I was a good writer...these guys are amazing. I implicity trust their opinions and usually will skim through their reviews in order to decide if my valuable time is worth viewing extras or listening to commentaries. The audio/video portions aren't as important to me, personally.

Their pain, while enjoyable, is always my gain.
Old 02-25-05, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Josh Z
You want a star rating for each criteria (which we already do) and then a Recommended/Skip It/Collector's Series/etc. judgement for each criteria as well? That just seem superfluous. I don't think I've ever seen another publication do it that way.
you know Josh, you're right. i barely even notice the star ratings on the side. totally my bad!
Old 02-25-05, 02:57 PM
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This is really nitpicky, but I don't like seeing the "review coming soon" titles in the upper right for weeks at a time. In fact, I'd rather it be another review. I've clicked it many times without thinking, hoping it was a review, and it just took me to the vendor site or whatever.

And I think the review threads would get a lot more traffic if they were posted in the main DVDTalk section instead of separately.
Old 02-26-05, 11:53 PM
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What I'd like to know is how the reviewers feel about this forum and how they view the feedback they get. Would they rather do without it?
Old 02-27-05, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by eXcentris
What I'd like to know is how the reviewers feel about this forum and how they view the feedback they get. Would they rather do without it?
Actually, it was our idea (Adam's mostly, I think).
Old 02-27-05, 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by eXcentris
What I'd like to know is how the reviewers feel about this forum and how they view the feedback they get. Would they rather do without it?
We love this forum.

I can only speak for myself, but I write down the names of all the people who leave "constructive" feedback..

Old 02-27-05, 09:41 AM
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I really like this forum too. The "that review sucked" doesn't help much but the ones where someone lists the things that they liked or disliked about a review are really useful.
Old 02-27-05, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by eXcentris
What I'd like to know is how the reviewers feel about this forum and how they view the feedback they get. Would they rather do without it?
Constructive criticism is always appreciated, but, like John said, the rants that are solely about personal opinions really don't endear us to the forum feedback. Readers often feel (and I stress the term "feel") that anything negative said about some movie they like needs to become a personal quest they need to rectify. Reviews are opinions and all are subject to personal taste; trust me, I've run afoul of a few hotheads in my time.

Otherwise, I agree with Jim that it's nice when multiple people review the same DVD and with Altimus, when he asks for more reviews of "marginal" movies but there are only a few dozen reviewers writing at any given time and 200+ mainstream titles released a week (and a similar amount of porn). On top of that, whatever the big title movie of the week is on sale seems to get huge amounts of attention in terms of readers while the more obscure titles get a passing glance by many of you.

Otherwise, the variety of reviews and reviewing style have long appealed to me. While I may not always agree with John's anime tastes, I like seeing what he has to say about a title and if I want to read about obscure information regarding a title, there are several reviewers that are very thorough with the background material (far more so than I care to be most of the time). In short, there's something for everyone here and emailed feedback is always appreciated too.

Thanks for everyone taking the time to participate here!

Last edited by Houstondon; 02-27-05 at 04:02 PM.
Old 02-27-05, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Houstondon
Constructive criticism is always appreciated, but, like John said, the rants that are solely about personal opinions really don't endear us to the forum feedback. Readers often feel (and I stress the term "feel") that anything negative said about some movie they like needs to become a personal quest they need to rectify. Reviews are opinions and all are subject to personal taste; trust me, I've run afoul of a few hotheads in my time.
This is more what I expected and I believe that the "we love this forum" type of replies are well... politically correct ones.

As a reviewer myself I would not have the will, desire, time, or patience to deal with it. Positive feedback is nice but it is my experience that 90% of the time, when people write, it's to whine and complain. So you guys have to be commended for your patience and tolerance because if it were me, I'd just keep using the generic "you don't like my review, piss off and go read another one." reply.
Old 02-27-05, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by eXcentris
This is more what I expected and I believe that the "we love this forum" type of replies are well... politically correct ones.

As a reviewer myself I would not have the will, desire, time, or patience to deal with it. Positive feedback is nice but it is my experience that 90% of the time, when people write, it's to whine and complain. So you guys have to be commended for your patience and tolerance because if it were me, I'd just keep using the generic "you don't like my review, piss off and go read another one." reply.
I've reviewed at a lot of places online (mostly porn though) and have no problems with telling it like I see it (some of my associates are too polite in the forums at times) but sometimes feedback, any kind of feedback, can go a long way to telling us that someone is out there reading (which makes it a lot easier to write). One thing I miss that I received more of at other websites is the feedback given by the companies themselves. I still get some of it but the ones that simply hate what myself or one of my friends writes gets screened and the most common thing a company will do is take us off their screener list (so if you wonder why titles from a particular porn company aren't reviewed any more, the most likely reason is that they wanted favorable reviews that are so easily bought elsewhere...). In the long run, it's better that we don't get the company hate mail since that could well taint our immediate perceptions of other titles they offer but the curiousity factor sometimes pops up.

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