RFC - Review Shakeup

Any problems with the site? How can we improve KVR?
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Ben [KVR]
Mr KVR
1301 posts since 23 Oct, 2000 from Newport Pagnell, UK
KVR Audio

Post Mon Oct 04, 2004 9:45 am

Review Shakeup

I think the majority of us are in agreement that the user reviews section at KVR is in need of a bit of a shakeup so here are some ideas I've been mulling over; I'd value your input.

Reviews will no longer be tied in to a rating system and ratings for current reviews will be removed! The main problem with the ratings is they are too generic, not everything has (or needs) presets but you still have to choose something for that rating, etc. The real value of the review should be the review's content.

Instead of ratings the reviewer must complete a Pros and Cons boxout, like in an SOS review, and the reviewer must list up to 5 (more/less?) short pros and cons for the product, which should essentially summarize their review.

The current minimum character count for a review is 1000 (recently raised from 500), with a maximum of 5000, I propose raising these to 2000 - 10,0000 to encourage more substantial reviews.

Any KVR member (with more than 10 posts) can post reviews (apart from the product's developer/company employees obviously), although they must declare if they are any of the following (using a drop down selection):
  • A Beta tester for the product
  • A fellow plug-in developer (Programmer (C++/Delphi/etc.))
  • A fellow plug-in developer (Synthedit / Synthmaker / etc.)
  • Affiliated to the developer in some other way
    - Preset designer
    - Distributor
    - Dealer
    - Mum/Dad/Grandad/etc. ;)
    - ?
  • Anything else?
The reviewer must state (using a drop down selection) whether they are reviewing:
  • Full Version (Purchased/Legally acquired - workplace/school/etc.)
  • Full Version (NFR/Promo copy)
  • Demo Version (A dev can choose to disallow reviewing the demo of their products if they want to)
  • Anything else?
Monthly Plug-in Ratings

I will then create a new monthly plug-in ratings section where, for the first 3 weeks of each month, every KVR member will be able to choose their most used / favourite plug-ins in several categories. Rather than just choose instrument, effects or Analogue Synths, compressors, etc. I thought it would be cool to have more interesting categories such as below.

NOTE: These selections will remain editable for the whole three weeks, accessible in your members area so you can change your mind constantly up until the cutoff date each month.
  • Life isn't worth living without... - i.e. Your holy grail that is always the first thing you call up.
  • f**k Me! (New/Updated plug-in that impressed me the most/blew you away)
  • Tried and tested (workhorse / old favourite you love and cherish you keep coming back to)
  • If all else fails - that secret plug-in that just seems to work when you hit a creative brick wall
  • Why won't they update it? i.e. a plug-in that you think is crying out for an update
  • Please port it! Plug-in only available in a format / on an OS you can't use
Can you think of any better ones?
Last edited by Ben [KVR] on Thu May 26, 2005 3:04 pm, edited 3 times in total.

ouroboros
KVRAF
7883 posts since 16 Apr, 2003 from -on the outside looking in

Post Mon Oct 04, 2004 9:56 am

Ben, you do a great job of listening to feedback and tempering your response so that changes to the site are considered and positive. It makes KVR great (that and the flamed threads :D )

You could also add a category of
"This would be awesome if it didn't crash" category, or a
"This synth is bigger than me" and perhaps a
"There are amazing presets" category.

Just a thought with an eye towards helping my favorite place on the Net!
Last edited by ouroboros on Mon Oct 04, 2004 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
..what goes around comes around..

Caleb
KVRAF
4154 posts since 7 Sep, 2001 from Melbourne, Australia

Post Mon Oct 04, 2004 9:59 am

Wow Ben.

You've obviously been really thinking about this and reading the various responses people have had.

I think anything that forces reviews (as much as is possible) to be considered, intelligent exposés on the subject at hand is useful to all.

I think getting rid of the ratings is a WONDERFUL idea.

I also think that having the extra section with the cute titles could probably satisfy the rankers (no - that's not rhyming slang). :D

Good job.

Let's see what everyone thinks I guess.

Caleb
Happiness is the hidden behind the obvious.

nuffink
KVRAF
6519 posts since 13 Mar, 2002 from UK

Post Mon Oct 04, 2004 9:59 am

God wrote:Can you think of any better ones?
  • Suitability for tarnce/curnk out of 5

DevonB
KVRAF
7767 posts since 24 Feb, 2003 from Earth, USA

Post Mon Oct 04, 2004 10:01 am

And a Hall Of Fame for the plugins so we can see how everyone gushed over One Ping Only for 12 months straight? :hihi:

Devon
Simple music philosophy - Those who can, make music. Those who can't, make excuses.
Read my VST reviews at Traxmusic!

CypherOne
KVRAF
7936 posts since 18 Feb, 2003 from out there somewhere

Post Mon Oct 04, 2004 10:02 am

GREAT.

Shit, is it possible to be too easy going...nothing to see here move along...

DevonB
KVRAF
7767 posts since 24 Feb, 2003 from Earth, USA

Post Mon Oct 04, 2004 10:03 am

Seriously, one more category that would be nice is

Most Underrated VST/DX?

Lot of us have favorites that NO ONE talkes about, and it might get some more chatter around some of the more obsure plugins.

Devon
Simple music philosophy - Those who can, make music. Those who can't, make excuses.
Read my VST reviews at Traxmusic!

shamann
KVRAF
12245 posts since 18 Aug, 2003

Post Mon Oct 04, 2004 10:30 am

This looks great, Ben. Should quell the naysayers for at least a week.

I've tried, but I can't think of any further special categories.

Cheers,
Steve

scuzzphut
KVRAF
3718 posts since 17 Apr, 2002 from Scotland

Post Mon Oct 04, 2004 12:27 pm

They all sound like good ideas, Ben.
I've only tended to review when I really liked a plugin. I just find I can't make myself mean spirited enought to go and write a "this thing sucks" review :?

Maybe this method will open the process up and promote a more balanced approach.

I look forward to participating and , hopefully, unearthing some gems I didn't know about through the participation of others.

WhiteNoise
KVRist
192 posts since 4 Nov, 2003 from Philadelphia, PA USA

Post Mon Oct 04, 2004 1:05 pm

I like all these ideas and think this is a good solution. My only objection would be getting rid of the ratings. Is the reasoning that the numbers should go because the categories we have don't always apply? My objection comes from the fact that I usually take the number ratings into account along with the written reviews. I always found the number ratings helpful on Harmony-central to get a good overall feel for what everyone thought about it before reading the individual reviews. I know ratings are gimicky but almost every magazine has them.. Maybe atleast an overal X/10 overall rating would be enough?
David Wallin - White Noise Audio Software
http://www.bleepboxapp.com/
(groove box for iPhone)

http://www.whitenoiseaudio.com/
(VST plugins)

DevonB
KVRAF
7767 posts since 24 Feb, 2003 from Earth, USA

Post Mon Oct 04, 2004 2:49 pm

WhiteNoise wrote: Maybe atleast an overal X/10 overall rating would be enough?
And HOW many flame wars have you seen started because of the rating system? "What??? A 7? Are you insane? It deserves at least a <insert value here>!" ;)

Devon
Simple music philosophy - Those who can, make music. Those who can't, make excuses.
Read my VST reviews at Traxmusic!

shamann
KVRAF
12245 posts since 18 Aug, 2003

Post Mon Oct 04, 2004 3:00 pm

DevonB wrote:
WhiteNoise wrote: Maybe atleast an overal X/10 overall rating would be enough?
And HOW many flame wars have you seen started because of the rating system? "What??? A 7? Are you insane? It deserves at least a <insert value here>!" ;)
It also seems like a lot of ratings don't jive with the review, where they'll point out a series of flaws and then give a 9. It's like movie reviews, where they say that the movie is dull and derivative, but then give it 3 out 4 stars. Sad thing is that more people probably look at the star rating than the actual review, so a bunch of people go see a bad movie thinking 'Well the reviews were good...'

Col.G
KVRist
340 posts since 1 Jan, 2004 from Philly

Post Mon Oct 04, 2004 3:07 pm

DevonB wrote: And HOW many flame wars have you seen started because of the rating system? "What??? A 7? Are you insane? It deserves at least a <insert value here>!" ;)
Devon
It deserves at least a "f**k Me!" :hihi:
Sorry, I had to.
Image
You cant depend on a lot of things
You need a busload of faith to get by.

WhiteNoise
KVRist
192 posts since 4 Nov, 2003 from Philadelphia, PA USA

Post Mon Oct 04, 2004 3:11 pm

Number ratings always will be purely subjective.. so are written reviews for that matter. That's doesn't mean they aren't helpful.

shamann
KVRAF
12245 posts since 18 Aug, 2003

Post Mon Oct 04, 2004 3:25 pm

WhiteNoise wrote:Number ratings always will be purely subjective.. so are written reviews for that matter. That's doesn't mean they aren't helpful.
Agreed, but it's not so much subjectivity as arbitrariness that's the problem. I'd be all for it if reviewers had the critical faculties to actually have a reason for giving stars. Many it seems just pick numbers out of their hats.

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