Reviewer Stage-Fright

2 Conversations

Many people feel that Peer Review isn't the place for them. They feel they don't have the patience to put up with people submitting rubbish, they feel that they are under-educated for reviewing, their grasp of language isn't fantastic...anything. It could just be that they find reviewing boring. That's okay, it's not for everyone. However if you don't review in the forums because you don't want to look stupid, then this is the article for you.

Peer Review is full of all sorts of people. There are 'the usual crew' who mainly consist of scouts and die-hard
reviewers; there are newbies who are just finding their way around h2g2
and feel that Peer Review is as good a place as any to start; there are
people who regularly submit their own pieces and feel they should give
something back; there is everyone else who pops in and out of Peer Review and comments on a whim. The variety can be huge.

Every Single Reviewer Has The Same Right As

No comments are 'better' than others in any of the review forums. Scouts
have no better authority on any given subject than your average Joe. Sub-editors and scouts are more likely to be knowledgable about Guide-ML and the
House Rules however... but they aren't
always right.

If you are an English teacher, then obviously your comments about
punctuation, grammar and spelling are probably going to be more accurate
than someone who usually writes free-form poetry. But that doesn't mean
that everything is caught, and that no correction should be called into

If you are a dermatologist, your comments in an entry on skin-care have a certain backing... but comments about personal experiences, questions about the entry, and other options are just as valid. Not being an expert in a certain field certainly doesn't limit what you can comment on.

Not every comment needs to be terribly educated and cultured. Praise is always appreciated, if you enjoyed the entry say so!

Nice one, although of course I know nothing about the

However, if you think the entry is complete and utter rubbish... there is a different approach.

In the early days of Peer Review, there was a monster called The Sin Bin where entries could be chucked if people thought they were
rubbish. This is no longer an option (some people feel this is a bad thing and has neutralised the edge in Peer Review) so saying that an entry is complete cack has become a slightly more delicate thing. There's no need to set out to hurt the author's feelings. However there's also no need to coddle them in cotton wool.

  • If they are new and have submitted something random, firmly direct them
    to: The Writing Guidelines and tell them that if they have any questions to ask. Then explain politely how they can remove their entry from the forum.

  • If what they have written is just badly written, boring, factually
    inaccurate, and generally a bad thing... then say so, but constructively. Don't say 'This doesn't have...', say 'This needs...'

    Admittedly this can occassionally result in posts such as:

    You probably need to check:

    Your spelling and grammar

    Flipping between tenses

    The lack of information

    Writing in full sentences

    Usage of the 1st person.

It is NEVER correct to post something like the following:

this is load of sh*t. Y the hell do U bother riting? Wot a boring load of sh*t this shud go in the bin!

You'll find yourself with very few friends if you review like this.

  • You haven't said what needs improving

  • You haven't taken the trouble to write properly yourself, how can you
    expect other people to?

  • You've called the entry any number of mean and rude things

Having said all these things, here are a few examples of posts in Peer Review, to give you an idea of the variety that can be found.

From a Scout to a Newbie Who Has Writen a Poor Entry:
Welcome to Peer Review! First of all it would be a good idea if you take a quick look at the Writing
and then make sure your entry fits in with those. I can see that you have tried to write in the original Hitchhiker's Guide
format and, whilst this is admirable, unfortunately the Edited Guide has
rather gone forward from that. Because we don't cover culture, parties etc on other planets it means we have more time to research the things on our own planet. If you look around, especially at the h2 FrontPage, then you'll find lots of examples of
Edited Entries to base yourself on.
From a Frequent Reviewer: I think a combimation of humour and facts works well in most Entries, but I think yours could do with being a bit more factual, and a few more practical suggestions...
From a New Reviewer: I think it was informative and entertaining. I liked it. I said that already; but I did!
Critism Mid-thread: Regardless of the people who are saying they
like it the way it is, I REALLY feel that those things are important. It's no good if some people like it and others don't. I'm DEFINITELY in your target audience but currently I still feel isolated by the entry.
From Someone With No Knowledge: Nice one, although of course I know nothing about the subject!

You can see the different ways people have posted, you can see how they vary widely in information, praise and knowledge. So don't be afraid to be heard in the review forums. Get stuck in, nobody will bite you, get nasty, or completely walk all over your comments. Remember
Everyone has an equal standing in every review forum

The places you can test your new-found lack of inhibitions about
commenting are:

Good luck!


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