Website Reviews Forum


This is a suggestion and a complaint regarding the Website Reviews Forum. It is mainly regarding the reviews of Websites that are posted in reply to the original posters’ request for feedback. I’ll show an example of one particular Website Review thread below, but this is only an example, this thread isn’t about the example thread that I’ll talk about below. The example is just a perfect example.

My “beef” with the reviews that are given is that they don’t meet the Website Review Guidelines in the thread Read These Guidelines Before Posting. According to the Website Review Guidelines:

Reviews must be of an acceptable length. Advisors will discount reviews that they deem to be unacceptably short based on length or content. As a rough guide, we suggest that your review should be at least two paragraphs and should offer suggestions specific to the site rather than just offering general praise.

This guideline / rule certainly isn’t being enforced. An example of such reviews that don’t meet this guideline / rule can be seen directly below from the thread entitled Hotels in Bath Website Review Please, which is from August 2009 however, there are replies to it from just a few days ago. Here are some of them:

[QUOTE=accelerator;4356041]Very true lol.


[QUOTE=RobFPP;4359356]It is very simple my friend!! Keep working on it & you will get good results!!!
BTW the Background you used doesnt help to grab the users attention!
Good luck my friend!![/QUOTE]

Now, if you like, I can provide more examples from other threads. It isn’t just this particular one. I could give a fairly detailed comment on each of these “Reviews” as well which would turn out to be more text than their reply. Seriously…Read them reviews…Are they reviews? They don’t have enough detail in them to be even considered as a contribution to the thread, at least in my opinion.

Members are always complaining about how many fluff posts there are that don’t contribute to the thread hardly, or not at all. I’m one of them members that complain because it’s really getting on my nerves now seeing these fluff posts. I wouldn’t want them reviews in any of my Website Review threads. Not because I can’t take constructive criticism, I can. But It would just infuriate me that member would think that their review helps me to create a better Website. It doesn’t.

Consider looking at what other reviewers have said. If you feel that the reviews for somebody’s site are quite thorough and helpful, you might consider reviewing a site that hasn’t received as many helpful reviews.

Another quote from the Website Review Guidelines. Clearly members haven’t read this thread or this point. I am fine with people making a reply to a thread to emphasize what someone else has already said but when they repeat what someone else has said without anything to add to it, even a sentence or two…Really, I think the original poster would figure out what the other reviewer was trying to say. People who design Websites aren’t simpletons.

Now, that was my complaint-y bit. My suggestion is that if the moderators have a discussion on how much time they have, and if they do have enough time, implement a post moderation queue for reviewers as well as the member who is posting a new thread for a Website to be reviewed. If the moderators come to the conclusion that they don’t have enough spare moderation time to go through a few threads then perhaps you could create a new moderation group with limited moderation priviledges just for the Website Review forum. These “Website Review Moderators” (couldn’t think of a better name, the title isn’t important really) can then have the ability to see the moderation queue for this forum only and decide whether a review is of a good enough standard / high enough quality that it would benefit the original poster to improve their Website. There could be a selection process by the current staff to decide who they would ask to be in this group, they could have an application process for the group, or a special / private invite whereby the member invited would simply have their user priviledges changed rather than being in a new group.

This is a terribly long post. Do you want me to type out the benefits of such a system for this forum only? You guys know how much this would cut down on fluff posts like the ones quoted above. I don’t know if thats enough to convince you guys (the staff and moderators) to consider this idea or discuss it privately, if it isn’t, tell me, I’ve got more in me! :stuck_out_tongue:

-Breathes and relaxes- I do hope you consider this. Just take a look at a few of the threads and their “Reviews” and you’ll understand my annoyance with such “Reviews”.

Andrew Cooper

I’m not a moderator anymore, but I’ll chip in my SEK .20’s worth.

While I was a Design Team Advisor and, later, Team Leader, I spent a lot of time on the moderation queue. I was quite strict on the ‘acceptable length’ requirement and often rejected requests from new members who’d just written ‘keep up the good work’ three times. In fact, this was so common that I kept the rejection message template in my Opera Notes panel for quick and easy access!

I assure you that this involves a huge amount of work for the moderators. Adding even more to that queue will not be a welcome proposition – unless they can get another five moderators or so. It’s tedious work, and it won’t make you popular. Getting yelled at for doing your job, time after time after time, also takes its toll. Especially when you have to be courteous in your replies, even if the other person is an absolute tit!

I don’t have any insight into the moderation process since I stepped down, and I don’t visit the Website Reviews forum, so I can’t say whether or not things have changed recently. Moderators are individuals, though, and even if there are guidelines, people still interpret them differently. And moderators are unpaid volunteers, who try to do their thankless job while pursuing their regular careers to put food on the table. Some days you have less time to spend on this stuff than others.

I’m not entirely convinced that moderating the responses the way you suggest would be necessary. But there could be improvements to the moderation queue software that might make the moderators’ job easier. Stock rejection messages for the most common reasons, for instance.

Heh, I figured because this was mainly aimed at moderators and staff and it would directly affect them that it would be a topic they’d discuss privately rather than have the community chip in and ask for crazy things from the moderators and staff. But your SEK .20’s worth is more than welcomed as is any others members!

Thank you! :smiley: You were a great moderator and still are a fantastic member! Love ya Tommy :wink: [In the ‘the community loves the hard work of the forum mods’ kind of way lol.]

I understand too well. I’ve been a moderator too and had this experience and I know how you felt and how the other moderators feel. Under-appreciated by the community, it takes a significant amount of time which is annoying when members should have read the rules already and obedy them ¬_¬, and of course the absolute cranks who should just be banned straight away for idiocy.

Is getting another 5 moderators a huge deal? Would it be a bad thing? Or just having an extra 5 people or so to moderate the queue for the Web Reviews forum? Not that the moderators who moderate this forum don’t do a good job, but, well, the fluff posts speak for themselves, or maybe members just aren’t reporting! :eek: :nono:

Either way, or another improved process - as long as we cut out these silly fluff posts that don’t contribute anything and just clutter the thread up to another page that isn’t necessary to have!

Thanks for the input though Tommy! :slight_smile:

Andrew Cooper

Not all short reviews are “fluff”. Some are just… bad reviews. They’re not incoherent or irrelevant, just not useful to the webmaster.

The stuff you’re quoting are the requirements to post a review REQUEST. There’s no “if your review is too short, we’ll remove it” rule. It’s “if your review is too short, we won’t count it towards the 3 you need to ask for your own reviews”.

As for getting 5 more moderators just for this, we need 5 more moderators just to monitor the forums for spam. Right now there’s only one moderator online, for instance… and I see some spam in the “unanswered threads” list I need to go clean up.

Thanks for the kind words, Andrew! :slight_smile:

It’s up to SitePoint to decide how many moderators they want. Since mods have to have a certain amount of privileges (‘power’), you want to make sure that your mods are the ‘right’ sort of people, i.e., not the sort who will abuse those powers. The fewer you have, the less the risk of accidentally hiring a trigger-happy megalomaniac. :slight_smile:

Moderation entails several different tasks. Some of them are ‘high profile’ and some are tedious and repetitive. Just like police officers sometimes arrest dangerous bank robbers after a spectacular shoot-out, as well as dealing with passed-out alcoholics covered in vomit in back alleys.

Some moderators are very keen to apprehend the bank robbers, but turn a blind eye to the drunks in the alleys. As a Team Leader I had access to moderation statistics, so I know what I’m talking about. There are enormous differences between moderators when it comes to how much effort they put in, and in what areas.

The mods we have right now should be quite enough to handle the load, unless the number of requests have increased a lot since I quit. But that requires everyone to do their share of the work. Adding more mods won’t help, if they’re the sort that rather wait for bank robbers than deal with drunks. :slight_smile:

Deleting fluff posts in the review forums is not entirely straightforward. In most of the other forums, it’s fairly clear what’s fluff and what’s not. But a review is mainly about opinions and feelings.

Yes, you could look at the length of the review, but two constructive sentences might be much more valuable than five paragraphs of generic babble.

I don’t think it’s necessary to remove the fluffy posts from review threads, as such. But it’s vital that those posts do not count towards allowing the poster to submit his or her own review request!

The review forums are about members helping other members. If you don’t want to help others (by taking a good look at their sites and writing a constructive critique), you shouldn’t expect to receive help from them either.

Aside from the length and content of review posts, one factor I used to look at when deciding whether to accept or decline a review request was the interval between the person’s reviews. Sometimes a person would have written the required three reviews and the amount of text was clearly acceptable … but the posts were submitted only two or three minutes apart. How much of a review can you do in two minutes – especially when you spend 1:30 typing it up …

Although I don’t belong to the Design Team, I have moderated the Website Reviews forum when I had the time to do so (basically, because I know that it is tedious and we’re all busy people and every little helps). In general, moderation does take time but I agree with you, Andrew, those examples are not good reviews and, in my opinion, they’re fluff.

Regarding recruiting staff, SitePoint knows and there are some names but there is a process. First they have to accept, secondly they have to be mentors so they get use to the system and then they’ll have the power to moderate.

Reviews and Critiques and SEO seem to get more fluff than any other area of the forum and that’s saying a lot because it seems that the more we do to discourage fluffers and spammers, the more we have :smiley:

On the other hand, it is true that people don’t report. Only very few members like AutisticCuckoo who were part of the staff and understands how important this is, and a few more who understand how it helps and its importance.

At least as far as making a review count towards the 3 required to get your own site reviewed, I’d be a bit surprised if there wasn’t a set of options or just pure code that could put a few things in place:

For just that section:
-plain old counting of text. In just about any context I can’t post less than 10 characters, even when I really, really, really need to add " : ) " to a thread. The reviews section could have a higher-than-normal setting, like approx 2 paragraphs consisting of at least two sentences. That’s still not a whole lot to demand, but would easily stop

Thanks LOL great site

and the like.

-possibly anything shorter not only doesn’t count towards the poster’s own count of 3 reviews, but maybe also doesn’t count towards total posts in any way, like General Chat? How many of the fluffiest “reviews” weren’t from people trying to get their own site reviewed, but were just going after some general post count?

These two things, if they could be implemented into the forum software itself, could save hooman mods a lot of easy ones, and reduce the queue.
…Did you know that’s maybe the only word in Engrish that has 5 letters and you can remove all but the first and it’s still stated the same? Lawlz.

Thanks Stomme. I do like the ideas :smiley:

Hmm, I understand regarding the moderation and the recruitment of more staff scenario that Tommy pointed out. I guess whatever we do, we won’t get rid of spam or or fluff posts. I’m really all that bothered about it being added to their post count even if it was one full stop. I mean, that’s a silly example but the point I’m trying to make is that post count shouldn’t matter, as they say it isn’t quantity it’s the quality.

What I want to do is go through the Website Review forum threads and have a read on what the OP said, then see some reviews (good ones that are helpful to both the OP and the reader) and then go have a look at the site myself and then, if I have anything to contribute, then post a review myself. But I don’t want to have to scroll through at least a pages worth of fluff comments / feedback spread over two or more pages. It’s just ridiculous.

Perhaps I’m just slightly too militant on this issue! :shifty:

Stomme, I really like your idea, maybe the SitePoint admins could enable such a feature for the Website Reviews forum to help cut down on fluff posts and reduce the workload on the mods, as you said. Your suggestion doesn’t put anymore workload on the moderators, it takes the workload off and also makes the Website Reviews forum a much better placed too. Surely such a feature can’t be too hard to implement?

Andrew Cooper

I don’t know, Andrew. To be honest, we propose and since we don’t do any programming job (obviously) and we don’t install the plug-ins, I don’t know how hard it would be to implement. What I do know is that they listen and, if they can, they do it.