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Old 10-30-2007, 02:33 PM   #41
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Re: MUD Reviews

So what's happening with player reviews? It's kinda wasted space if we aren't using them.
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Old 10-31-2007, 05:56 AM   #42
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Re: MUD Reviews

Well I guess I didn't post any suggestions here did I.

First of all they might as well be called "comments" not reviews. They need to be linked from the mud's listing i.e. "read comments about this mud", in threaded forum post style layout so easy to just read through the author's comments and only read followups if that comment was a juicy one.

I'm thinking of the way pages are displayed over at php.net, with comments that give you more information about the game. We have vote buttons for rating muds...right.. we dont really need reviews too for that. If you want to find the most popular rp/pk muds, you can just do a search. * But commentary would still be handy for both players and staff.

Speaking of voting, a new review/comment should not bump the mud name onto the front page without moderation -that leads to people posting them for the sake of it. I'm serious, go look at them. "AWESOME MUD!!!!!" etc. It should only be there if its worth reading for someone looking for a mud. Oh, I guess I already said that.

* search should display the highest voted muds first if it doesnt, in order for me to have a valid point
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Old 10-31-2007, 06:33 AM   #43
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Re: MUD Reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazuela View Post
I only read the first post. Infringement on your consumer rights huh? What rights exactly would this website be infringing upon?

I really hope you're kidding. I mean really. You have no "consumer rights" here.

Sorry, I can't add anything else, because I just couldn't get past that.
Wow.. ummm.. when catching up with this thread I seem to have offended a senior poster

I refer you to the evil comment they didnt like

Quote:
Good, Bad, Indifferent, when I come to a MUD site, I should be able to find a review of a game.. to me no review accepted means something to hide, and quite possibly an infingment of my consumer rights :-D
Just going to point out the end of that sentence

Quote:
consumer rights :-D
and just in case you still aint seen it

Quote:
:-D
Glad we got that sorted, the comment was not serious, but I didnt want to insult everyone by actually pointing it out hence the smiley. Ah well.

All said and done, if someone want to review a MUD, the can always add it as a new computer game to CIAO or DOOYOO the consumer review sites. Just would be nice to see them here at the site which actually points us to them.
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Old 10-31-2007, 06:48 AM   #44
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Re: MUD Reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davairus View Post
First of all they might as well be called "comments" not reviews.
What about having both? For example (and this is more of a random thought than a serious proposal):

When you choose to write a review, it opens up a special page which contains several text boxes - for example it might include sections such as "introduction", "atmosphere", "gameplay", "good points", "bad points", "summary", etc. You'd have to fill in every section, and then submit it under a registered username. Perhaps these reviews could even be moderated to a certain extent (either by the mud owner, TMS moderators, or by regular TMS members via an Amazon style "Do you find this review useful Y/N" - depending on what the reviews are supposed to represent).

In particular, I think the separate text boxes would provide a good way of forcing reviewers to format their reviews in a consistent way and cover the different aspects of the mud, while requiring people to cover both good points and bad points should encourage them to write more balanced reviews than most of the current ones.

You could also a "Reviews: #" which is displayed under "Posts: #", with the option to view all reviews by a particular poster. It might also be nice to tie this in with a reputation system (probably not the current one, or mud critics would soon end up with really bad reputations), and factor it into the reviews; once again I'm thinking of something along the lines of Amazon's "Top 100 reviewers".

In addition you could just choose to write a comment, which would work much like the current reviews, except in a forum style so that other people could respond.
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Old 10-31-2007, 07:04 AM   #45
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Re: MUD Reviews

Well if it absolutely has to be reviews too then..

5 fields-
longevity (rate from 1-5)
gameplay 1-5
appeal 1-5
community 1-5
overall 1-5
final field for comments

Then just bung their average category ratings over the top of their comments, and individual comments. Like ratemyprofessor.com that's a great peer review site.
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Old 10-31-2007, 09:00 AM   #46
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Re: MUD Reviews

Yes in a perfect world where love-cakes grow on trees and the rain only falls just after you've left the grove and the fairies give you magic dust that doesn't cause a deviated septum when you snort it...

mud reviews will be fair and worth reading and actually contributory to a website such as this one.

Unfortunately, there are these really pesky little creatures called trolls and gnats and griefers, who for vile and evil intent (I love how vile and evil are comprised of the same four letters as live, don't you?) will post reviews that aren't reviews in the reviews section.

I can't tell you how many times I've taken a gander to the reviews section and seen something like this:

This game is teh awesomesauce on lollerskatez! It has 20 clans!!!!!!11111 and 400 races!!!!!!!!1111 You need to play it it's freeeeeeeeeeee!!!!111111oneoneoneleven!!!1

and this:

This game is teh sux0rz teh imms ban j00 4 ne reason or no reason play my mud instead its teh awesomesauce!!!1111

and this:

I did not ban u 4 ne reason or no reason i ban j00 4 u are teh sux0rz and j00 ch33t and hack mah server!!!111

oh and I especially like these:

Hey I just found this place, glad to be here! You might find -this- site interesting too: viagra.biggerisbetter.com

It's because of any and all of the above that some folks prefer to just not allow reviews on their games, because there is no way to prevent players (and even game admins) from posting ads for the game instead of a review (apparently the vast majority of people who write these things don't know the difference between an ad and a review), or griefers posting JUST to tell everyone about how they were completely innocent, doing nothing wrong, and admin pwiped their account, or spammers on a rampage with viagra ads.

The reviews section on this website reads more like the back pages of a fashion magazine (special offer, free trial just circle #13 on your mail-in card now and SEND!) than actual reviews. I don't blame any admin for not wanting -their- game to be represented in such a way. If Lasher ever decides to do something about that, maybe something like how Mudconnector does it, perhaps there will no longer be a need to reject reviews. But without any moderation or approval system of reviews then the mud admins need to retain the option of simply not allowing THEIR muds to be dragged through the OTHER kind of mud.
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Old 10-31-2007, 10:19 AM   #47
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Re: MUD Reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazuela View Post
I can't tell you how many times I've taken a gander to the reviews section and seen something like this:
Are you serious, Jazuela?
If so, could you please provide us with some links, so we can have some more laughs?

Your 'review' examples are certainly entertaining, but do they really exist?
I can't recall ever seeing anything nearly as sub-par as those. And as far as I've heard, spam adverts get nuked pretty quickly too. In fact, I cannot even recall ever coming across a player who talked like that, but maybe I just play the wrong games?

Sure, the reviews here are usually no literary high-points, and sure, many of them are just fan-boy praise or disgruntled-player flames, but is it really necessary to paint things out as worse than they are?
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Old 10-31-2007, 04:47 PM   #48
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Re: MUD Reviews

There are too many to link. You'd see that for yourself if you actually took 20 seconds to check the reviews section. It's easy, but here are the directions for the "it's too easy for me, please make life more difficult" types:

On the main topmudsites page, left side, there's a menu. Click on the "Reviews" section. It'll open to the most recent 50 reviews. Of those most recent 50 reviews. 20 of them are NOT spam. One of those 20 that I actually read, was not a review of any sort at all, but rather a copy-paste of a mud's website telling readers what the mud's theme was and how many clans, races, skills, etc. it has. Absolutely no review at all, not even so much as a "try this out, it's great!" at the end. One of those 20 was a response to someone else's review, which I couldn't find, discussing something that "he" said and how "he" was just mad because "his" account was banned.

Of those 20 that weren't spam, I did random checks and found 2 to be actual reviews. I checked on 6 more and found them to be rebuttals to people who posted in the reviews section saying they were banned and how the game sucked. I checked on 3 others written (supposedly) by three different people, all in the same week, using the exact same spelling and grammar errors to tell readers to try their mud because it was awesome and we will all love it.

That's just the most recent 50. 30 out of 50 were spambots. ALL of the spambots were written for either of two muds. So out of 50 most recent posts, 20 of them were at least SOMETHING about the muds they were theoretically supposed to be reviews for. Thirty had nothing to do with muds at all. Of the 20 that were mud-related, the majority of the ones I actually read weren't reviews at all.

There are over 1500 reviews available for viewing. If you want to do some random checks on each set of 50, feel free. The first 50 was convincing enough.
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Old 10-31-2007, 05:18 PM   #49
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Re: MUD Reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazuela View Post
T
Of those 20 that weren't spam, I did random checks and found 2 to be actual reviews. I checked on 6 more and found them to be rebuttals to people who posted in the reviews section saying they were banned and how the game sucked. I checked on 3 others written (supposedly) by three different people, all in the same week, using the exact same spelling and grammar errors to tell readers to try their mud because it was awesome and we will all love it.
Not to imply that the reviews are high quality editorials, but the first few pages are the worst to take a sample from and not representative of the overall list. Those are from when the spambots took over/broke the review system in the first place. I actually thought I'd gone back and edited those out, guess not.

Addressing the area of spam, however reviews are done they will definitely require a forum account to post and moderator approval before they are actually listed. Overall I'd say we've been quite successful at keeping spammers off the forums. Occasionally some get through, but they are reported and removed quickly, so not concerned about the "get ur viagra here!!!!" type spam when reviews reopen.
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Old 10-31-2007, 06:28 PM   #50
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Re: MUD Reviews

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Originally Posted by Jazuela View Post
There are too many to link. You'd see that for yourself if you actually took 20 seconds to check the reviews section. It's easy, but here are the directions for the "it's too easy for me, please make life more difficult" types:
Thanks for your kind directions, but, as I already have stated, I don't doubt that that a majority of the reviews are poorly written, and either flames or ads. It's also quite possible that the spambots have taken over lately, I haven't really checked that section after the reviews were turned off.

What I reacted to was the Twink spelling and '!!!!111111oneoneoneleven!!!1' in your 'examples'. I just don't believe that people would express themselves like that in a review, unless it was meant as a parody. Which is why I asked for a link.
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Old 10-31-2007, 06:44 PM   #51
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Re: MUD Reviews

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Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
Addressing the area of spam, however reviews are done they will definitely require a forum account to post and moderator approval before they are actually listed. Overall I'd say we've been quite successful at keeping spammers off the forums. Occasionally some get through, but they are reported and removed quickly, so not concerned about the "get ur viagra here!!!!" type spam when reviews reopen.
Agreed. For some reason, people use "Reviews can be spammed, and not all reviews are good reviews!" while commenting on forums that can be spammed, and contain posts which are not particularly helpful.

Pre-approval of reviews will filter 100% of the spam, and some lesser percentage (I'm assuming moderation will err on the side of allowing voices to be heard) of the least useful kinds of reviews. Assuming the moderators don't object to occasionally reading the reviews and clicking the yes/no buttons, why all the concern about spam?
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Old 10-31-2007, 10:53 PM   #52
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Re: MUD Reviews

My big concern about the spam, is that when I read the reviews, I'm not looking for any specific game. I am looking specifically at the latest reviews, period. And if the latest 50 reviews are mostly spam, then I'm wading through spam in an attempt to find what I was actually looking for. Now granted in this specific situation I mentioned in my last post, there were two muds that were on that list of 50, which received 30 total "spam reviews" about some medication (I don't recall it being viagra, actually). So it's easy to just not click on any review of either of those two games. But, what if ONE of those reviews, was actually a review? Then I would have completely missed it a review, in the reviews section of a mudlisting service, because I assumed incorrectly that it was not, in fact, a review, based on the evidence of THIRTY SPAMS IN A SINGLE DAY, half of which were listed for that mud.

That's why it's a concern. Because mud admins who -do- want their games reviewed, will NOT have the reviews read, if people trying to read them are hit with dozens of spams instead of reviews. Readers will simply assume those games have no actual reviews, and not bother looking for any.
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Old 10-31-2007, 10:55 PM   #53
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Re: MUD Reviews

Oh and Molly, that was me, making fun of people who don't know what a review IS, and insist on posting in the reviews section as if it was their own personal forum or soapbox to post flames or respond to flames or send messages to their buddies or tell us all about how much we need to enlarge our collective penii.
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Old 10-31-2007, 11:43 PM   #54
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Re: MUD Reviews

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Originally Posted by Valg View Post
Pre-approval of reviews will filter 100% of the spam, and some lesser percentage (I'm assuming moderation will err on the side of allowing voices to be heard) of the least useful kinds of reviews. Assuming the moderators don't object to occasionally reading the reviews and clicking the yes/no buttons, why all the concern about spam?
Pre-approval by whom though? I mean, who has time to read a review and know if it is quantitative or qualitative or pertinant to that particular mud. Are you saying that specific standards would be set? What standards? Where do you draw the line at flame vs. criticism? And more importantly who sets that line? The moderators who they themselves are tied to specific games?

I personally don't mind a flame or two if they spell my name right.
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Old 11-01-2007, 08:47 AM   #55
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Re: MUD Reviews

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Originally Posted by Newworlds View Post
Pre-approval by whom though? I mean, who has time to read a review and know if it is quantitative or qualitative or pertinant to that particular mud. Are you saying that specific standards would be set? What standards? Where do you draw the line at flame vs. criticism? And more importantly who sets that line? The moderators who they themselves are tied to specific games?

I personally don't mind a flame or two if they spell my name right.
I assume that the Review section would have a set of moderators, just like the boards do, (though not necessarily the same persons). That, together with the condition of a valid e-mail address, should take care of the spam, and probably considerably lower the number of submitted reviews too. A system, where each review entry triggers an automated e-mail response, with a code that has to be confirmed by the sender before it even gets to the validating stage, would probably be best. If posting a review needs a bit of afterthought and effort, it should hopefully raise the overall quality a bit on the entries. And it's not so easy and fun to troll, if you are not totally anonymous any more.

The required minimum standard would be published in advance on the webpage. Personally I think the standard should not be too detailed, but that's up to the Site owner to decide. I also don't think that negative reviews should be filtered out, as long as there is the option for the Mudowner to respond to them. Negative reviews can sometimes be very informative, and let's face it - not all Muds are good games. It's also usually very enlightening to see how a negative review is handled by the Admin.

As for the Review moderators, we cannot really expect people, who have enough interest in and knowledge of Text Muds to take on a job like this, to not also have some vested interest in at least one Mud. However, I don't think we need to worry overly much about potential bias among the moderators, as long as no decisions are taken by a single person. There should be at least 2 out of 3 moderators agreeing in a decision to delete a review, and in dubious cases Lasher could have final say. Probably the moderators should also not be allowed to take part in decisions about reviews for their own Muds. I think they should definitely not get access to the ip addresses of the posters, to avoid in-game repercussions for a negative review.

Finally I belong to the group who thinks that no listed games should have the option to turn off reviews, but I expect that to be a controversial question, since the ones most opposed to reviews also seem to be the largest sponsors of the site.
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Old 11-01-2007, 11:37 AM   #56
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Re: MUD Reviews

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Finally I belong to the group who thinks that no listed games should have the option to turn off reviews, but I expect that to be a controversial question, since the ones most opposed to reviews also seem to be the largest sponsors of the site.
Whatever we do or don't do with reviews will have nothing to do with who is a sponsor and who isn't. The income this site generates could triple overnight by simply accepting more of those spammy "Wow Gold / Other game Gold / Arcade Site / etc ads" that I turn away almost daily and replacing the center sponsorship banner with rotating affiliate links. Those that pay per impression vs per click/action would do particularly well as TMS is high impression low action/stickiness. Now that I think about it, the forum was designed with the idea that non-registered users would see Adsense ads - partly as a nag to sign up and partly because they would generate at least some click-through. 5 months later they havent even been turned on.

I personally turned off reviews as a MUD owner because there was zero moderation, zero chance to add feedback that would "stick" with the review, no expiration of old reviews and no requirement to have played the MUD in question for more than a microsecond (not that there's any way to police this last one). We had more good reviews than bad, but in both cases very little actual information or content that would be useful to a reader.

Some of our discussions on here address some of these points and as the site owner I think we can do a pretty decent job of creating a review system. As a MUD owner, I'm still not convinced, and the first time a "XXXXX MUD SUCKS ASS D))DZ!!!" review is turned down due to editorial standards that also happens to be a MUD owned by a sponsor, there will be a barrage of quotes just like the one about 15 lines up to deal with.
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Old 11-01-2007, 03:11 PM   #57
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Re: MUD Reviews

My two cents on how to get decent (or at least qualified reviews) is to require the reviewer to use the character name from the Mud they review plus a valid email and/or registration.

Some might balk at the required name because they feel that they should not have to divulge themselves. Here are some reasons why they should:

1. Credibility that the person actually played the game.
2. Ability to gauge how long the person played (Most if not all muds have timers).
3. Whether a good or bad review, the staff on the mud can see what angle the player is coming from, why they reviewed like they did, and in many cases have a better clarity to make modifications if the review was critical.

If a person posted the character they played and were required to give a valid email or log on I'm thinking this would reduce the amount of wacky reviews. If it were my decision I would require the character name for validation and require registration to write a review.
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Old 11-02-2007, 01:18 PM   #58
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Re: MUD Reviews

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That rather reminds me of the (now long defunct) Game Commandos mud review site - I recall hearing that they received a great deal of hatemail in response to their reviews. I got a fair taste of it myself just auditing muds for TMC, and that's done mostly anonymously...you'd have to have really thick skin to create public reviews.
The fellow that ran Game Commandos went to work for us actually (and still does). He confirms the reception of that hatemail! The trouble in the end is that reviewing a MUD properly requires far more than just a few hours or even a week of play. Much of the content/game systems is often not accessible until you're a well-established character, which can take many months. (For instance, no reviewer who has played for a week is going to ever see any of our political systems except from a distance. Similarly, no week-long player is ever going to be a ship's captain or experience what it's like to be in the Divine Order of a God. )

--matt
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Old 11-03-2007, 04:06 PM   #59
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Re: MUD Reviews

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Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
For instance, no reviewer who has played for a week is going to ever see any of our political systems except from a distance. Similarly, no week-long player is ever going to be a ship's captain or experience what it's like to be in the Divine Order of a God.
A week-long player gets enough impression on what the game is about to give a glimpse to the game for others. While your assessment is correct, a weeker or 10 hours player reviews aren't totally worthless, as they can give information what it's like to be a green newbie in that particular game. For example, the newbie will see whether the area descriptions are properly written and other things. Also, the review brings things he was hoping from the game and whether or not his impression of the game met the expectations, which can help in guiding the decisions of the like-minded people. MUD players in general are of above average intelligence and many of us can read between the lines of a review.
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Old 11-03-2007, 05:20 PM   #60
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Re: MUD Reviews

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Originally Posted by DurNominator View Post
A week-long player gets enough impression on what the game is about to give a glimpse to the game for others. While your assessment is correct, a weeker or 10 hours player reviews aren't totally worthless, as they can give information what it's like to be a green newbie in that particular game. For example, the newbie will see whether the area descriptions are properly written and other things. Also, the review brings things he was hoping from the game and whether or not his impression of the game met the expectations, which can help in guiding the decisions of the like-minded people. MUD players in general are of above average intelligence and many of us can read between the lines of a review.
I think most people who read reviews aren't really expecting to read about the newbie experience. While I agree that someone's first impression is developed in 10 hours of gameplay (which isn't unimportant), I'd hardly call that a "review" of the game. Why not call it what it is, "first impressions".

If I were reading a review, finding out that the area descriptions are properly written and what newbies can expect are low on my priority list. Sure, it's not superfluous information and I wouldn't discount reading about it, but to me a "review" should be more indepth than that.
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