Entry #166

How to (Properly) Review Content

2017-01-12 04:18:47 by EDM364
Updated

Hey Newgrounds regs, EDM364 here with another help resource I typed up in my spare time -- How to Review Anything, the Right Way -- and I do mean anything, in a constructive manner according to Newgrounds' rules and general good nettiquette. Pay attention, and you might even score some medals along the way.

Now, it may seem common sense, but if you've been around NG any length of time, you've probably seen enough useless reviews to know why proper constructive criticism is important. Still, maybe you're confused about what exactly separates a "useless" review from a "helpful" one, or what your average review is supposed to encompass. Perhaps you're even looking to bolster the number of reviews under your belt without having to worry about lesser quality ones disappearing, or how to write reviews more efficiently without sacrificing quality. Statwhores, I'm looking at you.

Well, whether you're trying to break your first 10k reviews without the hassle or just curious about how to leave proper feedback, this guide is for you. Let's get started.

What are reviews? What's their purpose, and why are they important?

It might seem like a stupid question, but reviews and comments are a staple of any user-created content site. YouTube, SoundCloud, DeviantArt, even Facebook, they all have some form of commenting system, often with comment threads where people go back and forth about things that aren't even remotely related to the actual content they're viewing. YouTube is pretty much a giant cess pool and in general a great example of what happens when you have a large community with little to no rules or guidance regarding what it can or can't talk about in the comments. Just look at this shit.

1726297_148421272631_stupid-youtube-comments-eminem.png

This is why we can't have things -- or rather, why Newgrounds doesn't have a threaded comment system. The General Forum is cancer enough. However, some sites have more direct alternatives; you'll notice DeviantArt has a critique system. This is most similar to what we have here, scored reviews, which are regulated with help from the userbase and a team of moderators. Unlike the scores that rank our content numerically, these are actually the driving force behind the ever-improving body of work we see from the great artists, animators, and music producers endemic to Newgrounds.

Think about it. Would any of us as newcomers have been motivated to keep submitting content if no one ever bothered to say, "Hey bud, your stuff right here is crap, but there's this one thing I like about it that you should keep doing," or vice versa?

Well, this is what a good review does: it tells people what they're getting right, what they're getting wrong, and how to step up to the plate better prepared next time they're making a submission, without the flame wars, verbal garbage, and drama inherent in other communities. This keeps creators motivated and opens up new avenues for fresh and improving content -- because a Newgrounds review isn't an opportunity for people to get brownie points for making asses of themselves; it's an opportunity for the creator to learn something. In fact, this is precisely the reason our site isn't subject to a plague of amusingly accurate Star Trek memes like the sterling example below, and probably what we owe our staying power to.

1726297_148421272632_lj3q3kx.jpg

Accurate af.


So, what separates good reviews from bad? How can I write reviews that won't get deleted?

Let's start off with what a proper review strives to accomplish -- telling the creator what they got right, what they got wrong, and how they could possibly improve, if you know. There's plenty of leeway since each submissionis different, but if you keep that in mind, you and your reviews should be safe.

Just remember your absolute DON'Ts:

  • DON'T write anything that breaks Newgrounds review guidelines
  • DON'T ask about anything unrelated to the author or submission
  • DON'T talk about breaking NG rules. This will get you banned
  • DON'T accuse the submission, author, or reviewers of breaking rules
  • DON'T leave one word reviews. Even a sentence can be meaningful
  • DON'T mass review without offering any useful comments about the work
  • DON'T ask to be scouted or advertise your own work
  • DON'T ask the user to upload something else aside from an update
  • DON'T aim personal attacks at any other users
  • DON'T solicit and just be a douche in general
  • DON'T plagiarize other reviews

Pretty simple. Stay on topic, keep it clean, and make sure your reviews don't look like these:

1726297_148421272561_abusive_review.jpg

1726297_148421272533_ngbbs41b364309c219.jpg

1726297_148421272472_ngbbs56686c72c0598.png

Additionally, if you find on your quest any reviews like this, flag them either useless or abusive -- the latter only if they explicitly break Newgrounds rules, such as in the case of reviews containing personal attacks, accusing anyone of theft or rule breaking. @NekoMika has said that reviews asking to be scouted or soliciting uploads aren't written-in-stone abusive in the guidelines, but she and most review mods will remove them anyway. @RohantheBarbarian's slightly dated Abusive Review Guide goes back and forth on the topic, and you can find more examples of abusive reviews, as well as resources, there. There's also @Hacsev's Abusive Review Quiz, which is a pretty good assessment in identifying helpful, useless, and abusive reviews, and @Psychopath's Whistle Cow Crew.

Now, why is the distinction between useless and abusive so important? Useless reviews can and do get the chop, but flagging a review that simply reads "shit" the same as you would a review that says "you are shit" is an error. One is a useless review, and the other is a personal attack. If you see more than one single-word review by the same person that just says "shit", then these fall under the "don't make tons of crappy reviews just to up your stats" rule, and you can flag them abusive.

There are some exceptions to the general rule, such as instances when reviews containing long strings of gibberish are actually level exports from games like Punk-o-matic 2. For the purposes of this guide though, just don't write useless and abusive reviews. It's not worth it.

If you have questions about reviews, you can send a PM to review mods such as @Malachy, @NekoMika, and @Exedor, too.

Now, that we've covered what not to do, your absolute DOs:

  • DO always pay attention to the submission in its entirety
  • DO try to give feedback to the best of your ability
  • DO talk about what the author got right
  • DO talk about what the author got wrong, and try not to be a dick about it
  • DO offer advice and alternative methods and improvements, if you have any

Basically, the less humorous version of @JujubeLock's How Not to Write Abusive Reviews.

Since there were fewer images of helpful reviews than I'd hoped for, I figure I'll just rip some that I personally found helpful. Note that you don't have to know a lot of terminology to leave a good review, but it does help!

1726297_148421172463_Helpfulreview1.png
1726297_148421175781_helpfulreview2.png

1726297_148421177821_helpfulreview3.png

Not all helpful reviews have to be long or detailed, of course, but the more detailed, naturally, the more helpful and constructive. Sometimes, there isn't much to say about a short animation, simple art piece, or tiny loop, though, and even something as simple as "Decent but could really use more detail" is about as good of a comment as you can leave behind. No shame.

That's about all there is when it comes to leaving good reviews. I'm sure you're wondering by now when my next book comes out, and I really need to get back to writing on things for this masterpost of resources. See ya!


Closing footnote, if you're mentioned here, I probably used your content as a resource in this guide-slash-filibuster. Special thanks to @Psychopath, @RohantheBarbarian, @Hacsev, @Tekcos, @splap, @Asandir, @JujubeLock, @TaintedLogic, @Daydream-Anatomy, @CyberDevil, @NekoMika, @Malachy, @Exedor, and many others for your contributions in making Newgrounds great!
 


Comments

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NekoMikaNekoMika

2017-01-12 05:00:32

Asking users to scout them or asking others to upload music they did NOT make are abusive reviews, I will remove those types of reviews on the spot. :)

Otherwise very well written guideline~

Could also note if one feels unsure of if a review is abusive, then can PM review mods such as me, @Malachy, or @Exedor

For example, on games where you could export a level code such as:
http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/550038
http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/444282
or other various games, reviews containing long strings of gibberish looking coding are NOT abusive. :)

EDM364 responds:

Done and added!


ExedorExedor

2017-01-12 05:19:11

I will provide helpful advice to anyone who asks. For $5.
I remove large strings of level code when that's the only substance in the review. And charge $5.
Asking to be scouted gets your request and/or review deleted. ...$5.
@NekoMika owes me ...$3.28.

EDM364 responds:

Hahah, how much money you made to date? xD


CyberdevilCyberdevil

2017-01-12 05:45:44

Course you gotta choose one of my reviews with a typo in it. XD Hope I don't have more of those than I think I do hmm, maybe I'll start re-reading a bit more after this. Do appreciate the mention! And good guide, albeit with a bit much don'ts and few do's. I assume lots of users just aren't very good at formulating constructive critique, even if they know it's better. Hopefully they won't be discouraged from writing at all, since even short and positive (but non-constructive) comments are better than none. Maybe the process behind writing a good review could be something to delve into too? Like how to use the sandwich method, or focus on the work; not the person, etcetc...

Don't think anybody actually writes more than one single-word review saying something like 'shit' to up their stats btw. If that is their purpose, it'd make sense for them to spam positive reviews instead, but regardless, tons of crappy reviews are of course no good. I feel like the guidelines could be phrased better on that one point. Maybe once upon a time all the 'shit' reviews really were for that purpose. Feels like users aren't as concerned about their counts now as they used to be overall.

Anyway: good read! Thanks for making these educationaries.

EDM364 responds:

Actually, if you think there's some stuff that could be rephrased or added to the guide, drop it here and I'll make an edit. I'm naturally a wordy person but a decent editor, so determining what to squeeze in/out isn't hard for me. Figuring out concise phrasing on the other hand is!

Thanks for checking out the guide!


NekoMikaNekoMika

2017-01-12 10:10:11

Sorry Exedor, I owe nothing, meow. :)

EDM364 responds:

Busted!

Just logging on. If there's something I missed, lemme know


PinkScissorsMediaPinkScissorsMedia

2017-01-12 10:38:41

Well worded and formatted! Thank you for this. This should be goddamn everywhere. Also, when I saw my friend Daydream Anatomy in the good examples of constructive reviews, I felt so proud. <3

EDM364 responds:

Thank you! Feel free to share anywhere you like, check out that masterpost, and use my resources any way you feel like so long as you provide a link to what you used. I'm gonna start making audios of these so people who don't like to read don't have to, and maybe turn them into YouTube videos too. Who knows. But thanks for the read :)


JK-FlipFlopJK-FlipFlop

2017-01-12 10:52:48

Very well thought out and helpful review guide. I actually do try to do all of these DOs and never any of the DON'Ts. I'm not a statwhore, though, so I only leave reviews for the purpose of helping people.
IMO one of the worst reviewers I've ever seen is here:
http://all-ears.newgrounds.com almost all useless, some are borderline abusive.

EDM364 responds:

Yeah, the problem isn't old, helpful users who know the drill already. It's mostly statwhores and new people coming to the site treating the review as a comment box to say "gr8" and leave, or insult the work or the author


TaintedLogicTaintedLogic

2017-01-12 13:22:55

Thanks so much for the shout-out! I deeply appreciate the effort you've put into showing people how to make helpful content and support our community. :)

EDM364 responds:

Thank you! And thanks for leaving such helpful, thoughtful reviews!


King-DuckfordKing-Duckford

2017-01-12 20:20:19

Newgrounds started to go down the path of decline when Wade "Worse Than Hitler" Fulp began to cater to the little pansie ass little kids and manchildren who have the minds of little children and began to take all funny and constructive reviews and get rid of them because they upset the little faggots who've grown up with their little participation trophies and only want to be showered with praise, get angry when they don't get the vote ratings they THINK they deserve, and they use it as a weapon against anyone who doesn't suck them off and give them those things. The worthless little kids took over the site thereafter, and now look at what we've got. Newgrounds is a heap of trash nobody visits anymore, because now its a daycare for special snowflakes.

Surprise: abusive reviews are the only thing that straighten up egotistical artists into accepting their are flaws in their work, and more importantly, they destroy bad members of the community and chase them out. Hardball BBS posters and harsh reviewers kept this place clean and cutting edge; now that its the other way around, the faggots runt he place, right into the ground. Nobody gets real critique because they are afraid of Wade's Nazi squad of basement dwelling power wielders coming to delete them and punish accounts. Tattle tail pansy ass's now basically run the forums and everything else and basically destroy all funny and relevant content. This place is a running joke now.

Newgrounds was actually relevant when it was hardcore, NOW LOOK AT IT. Youtube, which is run by little kids, IS LESS RESTRICTIVE AND MORE HARD CORE. That says it right there, folks. You can get away with more on family friendly Youtube then "cutting edge" "uncensored" "breaking ground" Newgrounds. It went from being int he league of StyleProject and Rotten to the most kiddie friendly baby poopsie wussy faggoty ass and Andy over regulated and moderated place on the internet. What a joke.

So, if harsh reviews keep the internet clean, fight cancer, and make the web a better place, then I'll support them. We have enough "protection" of all the faggots who should go back to their hugboxes and cry.

EDM364 responds:

There's a difference between a duly harsh review and "FUK U FAGGOT EAT DIKS AND DIE", or half the drivel you see in YT comments. The reason YT is big isn't because their slapdash, piece of shit community is great. It's because Google bought them and locked them down into their monetization process, generating big bucks. Ever since, the place has been a shithole, and they've done everything in their power to try and reduce us to the same level of scum, including blacklisting Newgrounds on AdSense. By all means though, if you think leaving up trash "reviews" like "asdfasdf;ljsad;l", "Kill yourself", and "you're a dickless cunt" is going to save Newgrounds, hats off to you. That's the stupidest fucking thing I've ever heard. This is the same kind of logic that leads to adhominem debates like the one between Hillary and Trump we had to sit through live qualifying as newsworthy TV, the same shit that keeps kids killing themselves in school and thinking it's cool to call each other sluts, whores, and niggers, etc., and punch babies because it's fun to make them cry.

There's calling an egotistical moron out on their shitty content, and then there's making an ass of yourself. The sooner you accept that being able to call someone a faggot doesn't make you any more hardcore than the SJWs you're impersonating right now, the better.


GuidodinhoGuidodinho

2017-01-13 07:56:40

Nice to see a little domestic anouncement here on how to make/keep it nice here. Though trolls are gonna be trolls, we always gonna keep that shit as long as there is internet. But for the people with the will to have a shared good time here, this is handy.

Though I don't agree with your argument on newgrounds' comment system. Even if there would be no idiots on NG's comment section, I still prefer this one over the system youtube has.
Having it like this makes the author have the last word, wich I think is valid, cause the comment section is for comments aimed at the author of a post, not a big discussion place for anyone to blabber around.
Also, if you have one place to say your saying with more text (opposed to a lot of things to say with little text on youtube) it forces you more to think and put your thoughts together in one place.

And even with the trolls, I still see better reviews here than on youtube Even if I don't care for the content, I sometimes still can get a good little read out of the comments here there. Though it sometimes can get a little hard to find a good read from time to time: like a lot of Shadman's fans, either there are just to many idiot following his stuff, or the ones with something to say are just being too quiet...

EDM364 responds:

Yeah, you bring up a good point. And porn in general is just a good place to find useless, shit reviews, or spam. The types of people who actually have critique to share are few and far between. Glad you enjoyed the read.


King-DuckfordKing-Duckford

2017-01-13 14:03:13

That's where your wrong kiddo. Flame posts are the fires that cleanse the soul of the internet. Without them, it becomes like the overgrown forest, unhealthy, full of deadfall, ready for a forest fire, or in Newground's case, just an overgrown patch of trash. The fires in both the forest and the internet clear things out, make them better, they are a natural and healthy part of both. You can't get rid of it without making less of each.

Sometimes the reviews like "GO KILL URSELF FAGOT" actually do shock shitposters and younger posters into maturing a little, taking things a bit more seriously, and making them accept that their half assed work isn't good enough and they really need to strive harder before flooding the place full of trailers and garbage. Sometimes gently saying "I think You may have some potential, keep at it" isn't enough, or is read by narcissists as "You are great, just keep accepting your low quality trash as great and keep doing it over and over again, in fact, try less next time".

You cannot shut down the flames without consequence. And Newgrounds is seeing that right now.

EDM364 responds:

So, instead of "This flash is a piece of shit", you're advocating "you're a piece of shit, go die". Things like this are why the world is fucked, lol.


PsychopathPsychopath

2017-01-13 15:22:43

"Perhaps you're even looking to bolster the number of reviews under your belt without having to worry about lesser quality ones disappearing, or how to write reviews more efficiently without sacrificing quality. Statwhores, I'm looking at you."

Ericho is the "best" example of the sort of behavior, by the way.

EDM364 responds:

Ericho, DoctorStrongbad, XwaynecoltX, although Strongbad's reviews aren't too bad.


daetjdaetj

2017-01-13 15:47:18

thx for the tips

EDM364 responds:

Welcome!


CANDYdisturberCANDYdisturber

2017-01-14 00:48:54

"Would any of us as newcomers have been motivated to keep submitting content if no one ever bothered to say, "Hey bud, your stuff right here is crap, but there's this one thing I like about it that you should keep doing," or vice versa?"

This; a hundred times this. That's why I always try my hardest to leave the most positive/helpful review I can, whether I enjoyed the content or not. Everyone needs just a little encouragement every once in a while, though people should know that they're not going to be the best thing ever right out of the gate. Slash the ego, and build from the foundation.

A lot of my older reviews were pretty garbage though, I will admit. Slowly starting to become more active on the site and I'm seeing a lot of what you talked about in your guideline. Great read, really brings light to the subject.

EDM364 responds:

I won't say my reviews are the greatest really -- actually, they're pretty short and to the point, and sometimes a little curt, depending on if something seems intentionally shitty. I just see a lot of absolutely useless reviews like "food", "amazing", "shit", or "why even try". Some people also break the rules by saying something is stolen, asking to be scouted, or etc. in their reviews, which is a no-no. Glad to see like-minded people are out there though. Gives me hope in the community. :)


EDM364EDM364

2017-02-13 06:07:42

@BronxBrother, it looks like you need to read this.


JujubeLockJujubeLock

2017-07-14 22:05:47

Good to know I'm still internet famous

EDM364 responds:

Hey, you're alive! <3