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Forum > Pattern Reviews > Encouraging Struggling ReviewersOk, Friends, here' ( Moderated by Deepika)

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Encouraging Struggling ReviewersOk, Friends, here'
How can we offer constructive criticism?
Lisa Laree
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Lisa Laree  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/18/03 11:59 AM

Ok, Friends, here's a challenge...
I'm sure you've noticed a couple of reviews that have been posted lately.  They are the first reviews written by these ladies, and, well, they have gotten 'Not Helpful' ratings.  Perfectly understandable; they don't have a lot of detail or information.  But I feel really bad for the ladies...not everyone can write fluently, even with the template to help, and I'd like to encourage them to improve their skills.  'Not Helpful' seems kind of...cold. ???  I haven't rated or left comments on these reviews yet; I'm still trying to decide what the best approach might be.

Any ideas?  Maybe a rating of 'needs more detail' or something might be good instead of just 'not helpful'...what do you all think?

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Lisa -- so much fabric, so little time!
http://sewrandom.blogspot.com/

Lisa Laree
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Date: 1/18/03 12:02 PM

Arg!  Speaking of needing to improve skills...somehow I pasted my whole first post at the end of the title for the topic.  It was supposed to just say 'Encouraging Struggling Reviewers'.  I don't see any way to edit the name...Deepika, if you get a chance...

Lisa has egg on her face again. ???

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Lisa -- so much fabric, so little time!
http://sewrandom.blogspot.com/

Tini
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Tini
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Date: 1/18/03 1:17 PM

Hi Lisa,

as a lot people around here know, English is not my mothertongue, so I asked a patternreview member to help me with my first review ( THANK YOU AGAIN  ;)  ) and she read the review first and helped me improving my English.
Maybe there are others out there who are willing to do that!

Tini

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GorgeousFabrics
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GorgeousFabrics
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Date: 1/18/03 2:31 PM

Lisa, I felt exactly the same way when I saw some of those posts!  Thank you for bringing this up.  After the uncomfortable posts a while back on the message boards, I don't want people, especially newbies, to think that PR is a snooty kind of site.  

If I find a review not helpful, I try to ask questions of the reviewer that might make it more useful to me.  I don't really like the "not helpful" option on the review rating.  I understand why it's there, but it feels like a passive/agressive way to flame someone.  

Besides, as my mom likes to say, "If you haven't got something nice to say, don't say anything at all."  :D

-Ann

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Date: 1/18/03 2:37 PM

I agree with you girl's, if there is nothing good to say, don't say anything at all.

AnneM
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Date: 1/18/03 2:44 PM

I would suggest asking questions in the comments for the details they left out of the review.  You could even suggest that they answer your question by editing their review and putting the answer there, rather than in a replying comment.  

I just went and looked (I had not seen these recent reviews yet).  At least one is difficult to follow because she has the answers in bold along with the question; it almost looks like she didn't provide any information.  That, I am certain, prompted some of the "not helpful" rating.  And I see that some other comments have been put in to help prompt the new reviewers along.  

If you go back and look at some of the very early reviews, you will see that they are sometimes like this.

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With a great wardrobe that's still in the flat-fabric stage.

Sherril Miller
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Date: 1/18/03 3:22 PM

lI have never rated a pattern review before. I didn't see a need for this option. In fact, I reviewed a pattern a week ago, and I just now went back to it to see how it was rated. Since 211 people have viewed it and only 2 left review ratings, I don't think the the review ratings are statictically accurate anyways! I always just leave comments if the review left me with questions. Most reviewers will respond to comments very quickly. Maybe we should take out that not helpful ratings altogether.

Sherril

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If it's worth sewing, it's worth sewing well;
and if it's worth sewing well, it's worth FITTING FIRST! - TSL

Mel.J
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Mel.J
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Date: 1/18/03 3:47 PM

I quite like the idea of 'more information please' as an option.

I agree it would be disheartening to only get negative rating with no comments.

The rating options are connected to the 'stars', so I always try to use the ratings for reviews I thought were thorough and useful. It's a good feeling to get a star next to your name!

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Mel (Melbourne, Australia)

Lisa Laree
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Date: 1/18/03 3:50 PM

I think I understand why we have the rating system...the little stars by the names do give credibility to the review.  If a reviewer has two or three stars by their name, a reader can pretty well know that this person has a clue.  I have rated the reviews I found to be good and excellent; the ones that were just mediocre (or that really didn't deal with a garment I might make) I didn't rate (there isn't a rating for 'ok' ).  I guess I'm trying to figure out a tactful way of saying, "Thanks for taking the time to review; you could improve this by..."  Ann and Sherrill, I think I agree with you that the 'not helpful' rating itself is 'not helpful' -- it doesn't tell the reviewer what is wrong with the review.  Perhaps there should be a requirement that anyone who leaves a 'not helpful' rating should also leave a comment as to what s/he feels would make the review helpful?

I think I've only seen one review that I would consider 'off topic' -- it wasn't a reveiw at all; just some comments about a pattern that was mentioned in a magazine article.  That appeared to me to be written by someone who didn't really understand what the reviews were.

It would be a shame if new people hesitated to review a pattern because they didn't feel they were competent at expressing themselves and didn't want the 'not helpful' response.

I think I'm going to follow the suggestions ...off to leave some encouraging comments...


(there and back again)
I'm not the only one...you ladies ROCK!  :D

------
Lisa -- so much fabric, so little time!
http://sewrandom.blogspot.com/

Rhonda Noah
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Rhonda Noah
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Date: 1/18/03 4:11 PM

Good topic, as I too feel uneasy telling people their effort is 'unhelpful.'  It just occurred to me that maybe I could write up some helpful hints on writing reviews.  It could maybe be a newsletter article, but maybe Deepika would also be willing to post it as a guideline to click on as a reference, in addition to the template.

For example, I would suggest that people jot down notes as they are sewing the garment/item.  I do this on my  instruction sheets to remind me of things to do differently next time.  Then it's easy to refer back to those notes when writing a review.

But I really do want to support and encourage people to write reviews, and not have anyone with hurt feelings or to become so discouraged that they go away.  What do you all think of an article to discuss/describe what goes into a good review?

Tini's idea of mentoring new reviewers is a good one, too.  I'd be willing to review reviews prior to posting.  I'm sure that others would be willing to help as well.  (So, any new members contemplating your first review, feel free to pm your draft to me.  My suggestions will be tactful; I want to help, not hurt!;)

Maybe I'll pm Deepika tomorrow to get her thoughts on this, if she hasn't already chimed in.

Thanks for bringing this up, Lisa.

------
Life is mostly froth and bubble; two things stand in stone: Kindness in another's troubles, courage in your own.

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