Before Mapraider, one of the things that annoyed me about map review sites was that you had to apply to become an official reviewer. Those applications typically required you to write some sample reviews and mail them off to some über-reviewer or a clique of mapping gods for peer review, where you would either be accepted or denied.
I wanted Mapraider to have an open review system — some place where anyone could go and write a review of a map without having to prove that they were as 1337 (elite) as the rest of the gang. That review system is in the site, unfettered, unmoderated and completely open. Even the rating that the reviewer gives is shown prominently, regardless of whether it eventually gets moderated fair or not.
What I failed to realize at the time was that for every good map reviewer and writer, there are hundreds of others who aren't quite so eloquent and/or do not understand what a map review is. I completely missed the reasoning behind all of those other sites requiring trial-by-fire initiation for staff reviewers — to simply weed out those individuals who would be better suited to reading reviews rather than writing them.
It sounds a bit harsh, but so are the consequences of the completely open review system. I've seen multiple instances of harsh criticisms because of some of the poorly constructed reviews by members, directed both at the reviewer and at the site itself. And yes, in many cases those criticisms were justified. I myself have removed numerous reviews from the system to keep it from appearing worse — my personal "favorite" being the few reviews where members have simply typed one short sentence and copy/pasting it a dozen times or so to make up the text of their "review."
And then there's maps like this one that receive a raving review:
So Mapraider.com v2.0 no longer has a built-in review writing system. That doesn't mean that members can't write their own reviews though. They'll simply have to host them somewhere else and have the author add a link from the map's page.
At first, this decision was a bit painful, but removing the review system allowed the site to become more solidly focused on what its intended purpose is — to become the ultimate map catalog.
Comments Ported From Original Blog:
At 8:26 PM, Anonymous said…
Probably for the best that this happens. I've been annoyed by pretty much 90% of the reviews since all of them contain a large degree of fanboism or lack of eloquence. The real question is if there actually will be a review system at all, for the so-called trialed by fire reviewers who establish themselves, much like those at other popular level depository sites.
At 11:07 PM, John said…
I've actually thought about that at a very basic level and what it might mean — someone has to orchestrate it, and I don't have enough free time to do so. What about staff to assist? Admin staff, unless they're getting paid a salary, also won't always have time to do it regularly enough. And then there's the realistic fact that most reviewers will probably start with a bang and slowly dwindle away.
There's a lot to consider, but I think that if there's really a demand for reviews, we'll figure something out :)
At 3:40 AM, SaKa said…
There are lots of other sites that offer good reviews. I think it's a good choice to steer away from MR user made reviews. In the current site it's already possible to link to an external review in the map page of a specific map. Just stick to that.