Reviews in Preview

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#1 by yorhel
2020-08-31 at 13:01
< report >It's been well over a decade since this feature was first discussed, so I figured now might finally be a good time to add reviews.

It works pretty much as you'd expect: users can submit reviews of visual novels and other people can comment and vote on reviews. There are two review types: "mini" and "full". Mini reviews work like short recommendation-style comments and allow you to quickly skim through other people's opinions and share your own. Full reviews are more like long-form articles and can offer a deeper dive into the good and bad parts of the visual novel. Review authors can update or delete their reviews at any time.

To avoid total chaos in case I royally screwed this up (wouldn't be the first time!), I've implemented a temporary throttle on the number of reviews that can be submitted. If you suddenly notice a "submit review" button on visual novel pages, it means you've been randomly selected to take part in the beta testing and that will allow you to submit exactly one review. Feel free to participate... or not, your choice. If - more likely - you don't see that button yet: have patience, it'll come eventually. No need to spam that refresh key every minute, this'll take a few days at least.

The goal of this testing period is to find out if the data model is correct and whether we need to add or adjust to the guidelines. If it turns out that we need to make some major changes, it'll be much easier to do so when there's only tens of reviews in the database rather than thousands. When I have sufficient confidence that everything is alright, the testing period ends and everyone will be able to submit reviews at their own pace.

2020-09-06 edit: Everyone can post reviews now.

For those who have been using the list notes feature for mini-reviews: I can automatically convert your notes into mini reviews if you want, just let me know after the testing period is over. If you've posted reviews on the forums or on external blogs/sites, I'm afraid you'll have to do the conversion yourself.

Also keep in mind this feature isn't really complete yet. I still need to figure out where to place a "recent review comments" listing, add some form of integration with lists and searching, add notifications when someone comments on your review and play around with the ranking algorithm. All in due time.

Happy reviewing & reading!Last modified on 2020-09-06 at 06:58
#2 by ninius
2020-08-31 at 13:05
< report >Wow, awesome! Thanks for your work :)
#3 by butterflygrrl
2020-08-31 at 13:26
< report >but... my beautiful list of random titles on the homepage...

(Not a complaint, just a comment that I really do like seeing a list of titles when I swing by which encourages me to investigate what they are, and would hope to be able to have some possibility of still showing that, somehow)
#4 by naiohoras
2020-08-31 at 13:49
< report >great! the fact that you can actually do mini review is awesome because writing a full review is a real pain for me.

I agree with #3, not a priority since I can just click that "random visual novel" on the left menu for random novel, but it's fun to see VN titles there since sometime there are "unique" VN title showing up there.
#5 by chuck
2020-08-31 at 14:19
< report >Can this be optional? I prefer the random list...just saying
#6 by fuukanou
2020-08-31 at 14:39
< report >I'd prefer the random list as well. I don't care about other people's reviews.
#7 by diabloryuzaki
2020-08-31 at 14:44
< report >did we will get like this later

1. what we should do in review and what should not like free writing or formatted review
2. priority to show people review in review list like "most liked review" and "review that are created after finished it or not"
3. can reviewer delete or hidden a comment in their review or should they ask moderator to do this?

actually i see less review with number 2 because it is not very popular when people only want "review with most liked" than "reviewed after finish it and most liked". i hope vndb review feature add this to make vn review can be more accurate to encourage people to read vn more
#8 by kei-tr
2020-08-31 at 14:49
< report >@1 This is just my opinion but shouldn't be there a compulsory option to mark every review as spoilerish or spoiler-free (and maybe minor spoilers as a 3rd option)? And shouldn't it be written as such at top of every review? Nobody likes to be spoiled when reading a review unless you are looking for spoilers specifically (though it might be unwritten rule here that all reviews should be spoiler-free already and I don't know about it, in that case no problem).

Though there are reviews like 90% of it completely spoiler-free and can be read by a person wants to avoid spoilers but only one paragraph or something towards end contains spoilers. I don't know what should be done in such cases.Last modified on 2020-08-31 at 14:51
#9 by beliar
2020-08-31 at 14:52
< report >@8: Everything you have said is already addressed in the review form. There is a checkbox to mark the review as having unhidden spoilers. And minor spoilers in an otherwise spoiler-free review should be hidden behind spoiler tags.
#10 by yorhel
2020-08-31 at 14:59
< report >
my beautiful list of random titles on the homepage
Hah, I should've seen this one coming. I always saw the random VNs listing on the homepage as a placeholder to be replaced with something more useful in the future. But once you add something to a UI, you can't ever remove or change it...

Maybe I should just add another row of boxes, would also solve the problem of finding space for the recent comments listing. But then I do need another placeholder-like box...

1. what we should do in review and what should not like free writing or formatted review
Free-form.

priority to show people review in review list like "most liked review"
Yes, votes are taken into account with ordering. Note that the voting button explicitely asks: "Was this review helpful", i.e. not whether you liked it. Obviously people will vote whatever, but hopefully it'll work out.

"review that are created after finished it or not"
Hmmm there's no field to indicate completion status, and lists aren't too reliable for that (not everyone uses that feature). Not entirely sure we need it, either, as that info can usually be inferred from the review.

3. can reviewer delete or hidden a comment in their review or should they ask moderator to do this?
Just like the forums. No and yes.

a compulsory option to mark every review as spoilerish or spoiler-free
That option exists.
#11 by kei-tr
2020-08-31 at 15:00
< report >@9,10 Oh, its cool if it is already covered, I wouldn't know it since I can't see review form yet. But I didn't see any clear indication at reviews itself if it contains unmarked spoilers or not. (something like at very top in big and bold letters "This review contains spoilers")Last modified on 2020-08-31 at 15:05
#12 by 3i1
2020-08-31 at 15:01
< report >Yorhel, may I request that you move full reviews to their own mainbox div class on the visual novel pages?
#13 by beliar
2020-08-31 at 15:05
< report >@11: This simply means none of the current reviews should contain unmarked spoilers. You would see a warning if the review was flagged as spoilerous.
#14 by yorhel
2020-08-31 at 15:18
< report >
Yorhel, may I request that you move full reviews to their own mainbox div class on the visual novel pages?
You mean, on the main page instead of hidden behind a tab? I did consider that and may still give it a try, but the problem is that VN pages are already getting way too long. Need to find a good way to cram a useful overview of the reviews into a tiny bit of space...
#15 by mdzz
2020-08-31 at 15:25
< report >Nice! I appreciate this addition.
#16 by hex
2020-08-31 at 15:33
< report >A great addition to vndb and I cant wait to see all the reviews in the future.

Also I like how the current reviews are listed on the homepage, it will make it real easy to look at new ones.
#17 by vdz
2020-08-31 at 15:38
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Alternatively,
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Yorhel, what are the plans for preventing meme reviews like those on Steam from becoming dominant? You say that hopefully the helpfulness voting will work out, but Steam was struggling with this for some time as people kept upvoting meme reviews instead. They've since added a 'this review is funny' button which indicates meme reviews to the system and reduces upvotes which makes it much less of a problem, but they're still common on Steam. Will this be solved by moderation (review-banning of meme reviewers)? If it'll be done via moderation, what about reviews that are half-memes, half-serious (e.g. "( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) "Good" puzzle game, but too short." on a Prison Princess review on Steam)?

Note that the voting button explicitely asks: "Was this review helpful", i.e. not whether you liked it.

That's also the intent behind Reddit's upvote system, but in practice upvotes indicate more whether people agreed with a comment than whether or not it contributed to discussion (with unpopular insightful comments getting downvoted to the bottom and worthless "I agree" posts getting upvoted to the top).Last modified on 2020-08-31 at 15:45
#18 by mrkew
2020-08-31 at 15:47
< report >Rest in peace random VN list, you've been very helpful for finding stuff for the backlog.
Reviews are great too, but I can see it filled with translated novels or even worse with oelvn, which is useless to me.
#19 by mushrooms4free
2020-08-31 at 15:49
< report >@14 I would say putting reviews behind a tab makes more sense because people that want to read them can just go there and people who don't even want to see them can avoid them easily. Plus, a review tab might draw attention to the other tabs, which might be helpful. Also VN pages are at a comfortable length rn imo, adding a review tab might make them too long, especially for VNs with lots of releases.
#20 by yorhel
2020-08-31 at 16:19
< report >
what are the plans for preventing meme reviews like those on Steam from becoming dominant?
See what happens and react. First is to make sure that the intention behind voting is clear enough. I've put thumbs up/down there for familiarity, but turning that into a yes/no button might make it even clearer that it's answering the question and not a "like". If that doesn't work, there's the "funny" option of steam we can try. If that doesn't work, moderate. The goal is for reviews to be useful and if they aren't I'll work on fixing that. I rarely (never?) see meme reviews on AniDB or Goodreads. Not sure if and how they moderate, but I'm hopeful we can get there as well.
#21 by vortexoblivion
2020-08-31 at 18:19
< report >Thanks for this nice feature! :)
#22 by vninfohata
2020-08-31 at 20:18
< report >Yorhel has the best interests of the community in mind. Now he just has to implement giving localization credits and I'm the happiest man that walks this earth. It has been on priority list for a while.
#23 by eacil
2020-08-31 at 22:47
< report >We need a way to see what we voted on (the bold btw is barely visible in case you want to use that; I propose bold and underlining). In the review list but also in the two tabs (and other places where the thumbs will be displayed).
I said you should prevent users to mass-downvote directly on the tab but it was before we had two separate tabs. As we can read mini-reviews in full, forcing us to open the mini-reviews to vote on them became useless imo. Of course, it is still relevant to the full reviews.

If you want to make a third row to keep the random list, you can have three boxes: new full reviews, new short reviews and new comments. Please insert it in second position.

Edit: is it possible to convert forum threads into reviews given that the OP is basically your review and if there are comments they are all related to your review? I don't want to have forum/review duplicates.Last modified on 2020-09-01 at 01:04
#24 by myopius
2020-09-01 at 01:58
< report >The review system looks cool. Awesome work!

Yes, votes are taken into account with ordering. Note that the voting button explicitely asks: "Was this review helpful", i.e. not whether you liked it. Obviously people will vote whatever, but hopefully it'll work out.
Good call. MangaUpdates uses the word "useful" (which is like helpful) and based on what I've seen, people do vote that way. On the other hand, another site I know has a review system where they use the word "like" and the reviews that are upvoted mostly quickly are those with just a few short sentences to cleverly describe how much of a badass the male lead is. So I think the word you use will absolutely make a difference.

The other potential problem to watch out for has to do with whether new reviews are prominent/visible so they can be voted on... otherwise the earliest reviews just receive more and more votes and always stay "on top". In MU's case, they default sort from newest to oldest, so there's no problem; in another site's case, new reviews briefly float at the top, but older reviews are still voted on much more; in yet another site's case, they stupidly made the reviews tab always sort from highest score to lowest score, so it's entrenched with day 1 reviews.

About scores: from a philosophical perspective, I've always thought that sites should move away from associating scores with reviews. This issue has been somewhat debated among game journalists and members of the gaming community for years. For example, to me a 7.5 means I loved a VN. But it's possible people would dislike my review because they look at the number and think it's "wrong". Perhaps there could be a way to omit my score when I post a review.

Oh, and I love the concept of mini reviews versus full reviews. To me, that feels like a natural split. Let me share a few of my thoughts on the virtues of different types of reviews, in case they're of interest.

"Mini reviews" sound to me like they would be suited for recommendation-esque reviews. A lot of informative posts in the /jp/ thread are like this. They sum up
- how a person feels after they finished the VN
- how the person would describe the core appeal of a VN (what type of person would play this VN, and whether that person would consider this VN worthwhile compared to similar VNs)
- notable positives/best parts of the VN, major negatives/drawbacks/problems of the VN
They're typically short and simple, and don't talk about any specifics of the plot or route structure unnecessarily. Their purposes is to help other smart/experienced people make a decision on whether to play this VN, and are relatively dry in tone.

Whereas "full reviews" sound to me like what I've seen in a lot of wordpress blogs. Lengthy article-like posts that describe the plot comprehensively. Useful when I know a lot about a VN already, and I don't mind light spoilers, because I want to have an in-depth look at a VN. For example, if I dropped a VN and wanted to be convinced to pick it back up. Or if I read the PC version and don't plan to play the expanded/console version, so I just want to know whether it improves on the true route. And of course, people who don't mind spoilers will like this type of review most, because it's full of information. Sometimes these kinds of reviews are actually written more for the sake of others who've finished the VN that for those who have yet to play it.
#25 by silvercover
2020-09-01 at 02:05
< report >btw would we be able to write both a mini and full review? il probably be mostly doing mini reviews but I might also want to make a full one at the same time, and there's others out there I imagine that would like to be able to do a small review/impression at first before making a more in depth review.