7. stu 2014.

Bookish Problems #13 - Negative Reviews and One Star Ratings

Today, we are talking about writing negative reviews and rating books with one star. 
Well, as many of you are aware, negative review can bring you: a) a lot of likes on Goodreads or b) a lot of trouble in the form of an angry author or c) a lot of attention or d) you just don't care about any of those things. 

      We are all individuals, so not every book will appeal to all readers. Even Tanja and I, no matter how in most of the cases we agree about books we both read, have our differences and from time to time we stumble upon something we rate differently. And that is absolutely fine! Everyone has a right to like or don't like his/hers recent read. I do feel sad when I see that someone hated the book that is one of my favorites, but understand why not. I appreciate when bloggers write thoughtful negative review. Sometimes it makes me think about things that never before have crossed my mind - like certain character traits, repetitive archetypes of the genre, cliches that I realize are not that good (but I still enjoy reading them).

Do we learn something from negative reviews or are we acting like Gossip Girls of the bookish community and just enjoy all the drama?  

      This is something that was bugging me after I wrote one negative, ranty review a while ago and, more lately, after everything that happened with notorious Kathleen Hale. I have never gotten so many likes for 5 stars review on Goodreads as I did for that negative one - in such a short period of time. And comments from people who are not even friends with me. I had to delete few of them because they were too mean. Not mean towards me or review, but author and her book. Truth to be told, I wasn't politest person in that review also, but I was so annoyed with some things and I just had to put it off my chest.

      That got me thinking, so I spent few days going trough one star (even some 2 stars) reviews. They have a lot of likes. A lot. Comments also. It's like being back in high school when two of my classmates realized that they were going out with the same guy and all hell broke loose. Whole school was buzzing about it for days, even teachers were gossiping and girls pulled into it our whole class making us to pick a side. Drama worthy of Selena and Blair.

Why do readers like so much negative and ranty reviews? Are we so eager to see someone fail (even if it's author)? Do we all have our inner "gossip girl"? Or is it simply in flawed human nature to be petty and gossiping creature? 

       I am not free of those sins - I do read rants and quite enjoy them if they are witty and funny. I write those kind of reviews. Not often as some other readers, but still. That is why I made a resolution to try to be more respectful in my future reviews - all of them, but especially negative ones.

Our fellow bookworms and bloggers, 
what is your opinion about ranting? Do you write negative reviews? Do you have a lot of one star ratings? 

21 komentar:

  1. I honestly don't write a lot of one star reviews mostly because they are hard but even the two star ratings can be hard. I do try to always be polite and respectful because it is someone's work and they did put time and effort into it and just because I didn't like it, doesn't mean someone else might not fall in love with it.

    I don't think I have ever ranted in a review but I have read reviews with rantings in them from others but I honestly try to avoid them. I want an honest review no matter if it is a one star rating or a five star rating but I don't want to ever read someone bashing someone else's work, there really isn't a reason for it other than to be mean and that is just sad. :(

    I think we can rant respectfully while still getting our thoughts and feelings across and out there.

    It doe make me sad to see a favorite book of mine get a low rating from someone else but like you, it can also open my eyes to something I might have missed or not thought of in that way so I do still like reading them even if I do wish they would have liked it more.

    I don't know, this is such a sensitive topic or authors and reviewers.

  2. I don't mind rating books 1 or 2 stars if I think they deserve it, but I always try to be respectful in my reviews. Sometimes I can find it nearly impossible and my ranting snarky side wants to take over, I try to hold her in check though.

    I like reading nagative ranting reviews but again if the reviewer is outright being rude and disrespectful to the author, I think that's wrong. I think you can write a funny negative review without being rude and that's what I like to read.

    Also I find when I dislike a book I'm more likely to go through goodreads to find reviewers that felt the same way and like their reviews. Than when I like a book.

    Great discussion and post! =)

  3. Really interesting discussion Glass, I noticed those negative, snarky reviews get a lot of likes and people fueling the fire too. I guess it's something like watching an interesting drama unfold and laughing at other people's expense, but at the end of the day I don't really support that mentality and prefer to spread positivity and those who are respectful with their reviews.

  4. I don't write ranty reviews, and honestly, I don't really read them either. I feel like a lot of these happen on goodreads, and while I have an account, I'm not on there a lot. So I tend to miss most of the "drama." haha I don't know why people like negative reviews better. Maybe they just feel like they can say more? I don't like writing negative reviews; I tend to just focus on the good AND the bad if need be.

  5. I'm always anxious when I post a "bad" review because we don't know how people will feel and well I'm sure like everyone else I don't want the drama. But I do it. I won't lie because I didn't like a book. I think it's the most important thing. For now I didn't have any problems and I hope it will stay like that. But I don't rate low on purpose, it's just my feeling. It made me sad but it's like that. I try to really explain why.

  6. Whether good or bad, I'm going to share my opinion of a book I've read. In the past I've written some ranty negative reviews but the ranting in my opinion was justified because the books were truly awful and probably should've never seen the light of day in the first place. However, those seem to be few and far between. I don't believe in neutering ones opinion just to avoid backlash for it.Case in point, I've seen people on twitter talk about a book and share what they really thought but then you read the review and it's almost like they are apologizing to the author for hating it and they seemed to hold back just so that they themselves avoid backlash from other fans who might stumble across it. I think that is silly. If it's bad, it's bad. Nobody should feel bad for feeling that way. Anyway, that's just my two cents.

  7. This is a wonderful discussion post! I've noticed it too--negative reviews get more comments and likes and and in general more popular. I for one am not a fan of writing negative reviews and only occasionally write one when I feel like I have a ton to say. If I don't I usually don't write a review. What happens when I have a ton to say? I get ranty. And when I rant I end up being funny and purposely try to soften each blow I give the book (although I undoubtedly would have decided said book deserves it) BUT still. I think when people write negative reviews they tend to show more of their character and that gets people interested. Also, people get a lot more opinionated when they see a negative reviews because then they want to talk it out in the comments. Great discussion post! Really got me thinking!

  8. I have noticed this trend as well, Tanja and it makes me sad. I may be the exception, but I enjoy reading positive reviews more than negative ones. Sure I enjoy negative reviews too, but only from my close blogger friends. There are some people who take their negative reviews too far. It's sad that people love negative reviews more than positive ones. I told this to a friend recently, but most of my negative reviews have much more likes than my positive ones, which makes me rather sad because I put more effort into the positive ones and I want everyone to read the books. I mean just look at any GR's page for a book. I can guarantee you that there's always going to be a negative review at the top with tons of dramatic gifs and cussing and what not. It's a shame that the community thrives on negativity. That's not what the world should be about.
    Of course, I'm probably in the minority when I say this.

  9. I used to love goodreads but I am not on there much anymore because I can't stand the drama. I think everyone likes those one star reviews because they like jumping on the bandwagon and being part of the cool crowd. Who knows why it has become so popular to dis books, but it has. I rarely read those ranty reviews with all the gifs because I have no patience for them and they aren't thoughtful. I appreciate constructive criticism in my reviews and those reviewers aren't constructive. I hope the trend changes, but as of right too many people like getting caught up in the drama so I don't think it will be going away anytime soon.

  10. This is a great topic!! I prefer a review be super honest and real...even if it is a bit ranty. I've been known to be ranty myself but I think if you aren't malicious about it then it's all okay. I think there needs to be a happy medium, you know? However, there are blogs I know of that sing the absolute highest praise of every book they read and that's impossible. You can't love everything all the time. And sometimes there are books that are a waste of time. The same thing goes for a movie review or even restaurant reviews. Again, if the reviewer is always ranty then that's a problem and the same thing can be said of the 5 star reviews all the time...just give it to me real, the GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY. Anyway, great thought-provoking post! :)

  11. I am not sure what draws people to see them..are they looking for humor or over the top. I do notice even books with a solid rating ..have those few one or two star reviews right at the top with the most likes.Fantastic topic!

  12. Really interesting topic! I do write one-star reviews, and don't mind doing that at all because my review policy is to always write my thoughts honestly. So when I totally disliked a book, I say so. Just like you I also noticed that these negative reviews get more views and comments than any others. I don't really get why, to be honest. Maybe because we like to criticize others? Personally, I tend to skip the very ranty reviews, those which say that the book is the worst ever, that the author can't write, etc., etc. because most of the time they aren't constructive. I don't mind critical review and one star ratings (as I said, I write some too), because you can't love every single book you read, but I prefer the review to be less ranting, with less funny gifs of upset people, and more arguments about why this particular reader didn't like the book so that I can see if the points they found negative also are things I don't like to find in a book.

  13. You're definitely right about this one. I have much more likes on my ranty reviews then on my positive ones. I don't write much of them, because if I don't like a book, I probably won't make myself finish it and I'd DNF it and I don't write a review for the books I DNF, but sometimes I do, but it's not because I like to write or read ranty reviews, but because I think I should have a say about that book no matter if I liked it or not.

  14. I agree with you, I have seen it too. For me, sometimes I will like a negative review if I am just happy that someone else agrees with me, if I have felt like I am the only person who doesn't like whatever book it is.

    I think in most cases, I learn a lot from reading a quality negative review. In fact, I just read a review the other day about a DNF book, but the thing that didn't work for that blogger actually made me want to read the book MORE! So it can happen.

    But yes, I will fully admit to letting the snark out a bit when doing a negative review. I think my reasons are twofold: First, it's kind of fun to be a little silly, and I try to never EVER be hurtful, or mention the author in any way really. The second reason is, adding a little sarcasm or snark helps make the review feel a little more detailed without having to actually say MORE bad stuff about the book. In fact, sometimes I feel that a mildly snarky gif or something is actually better than me ranting about the book.

    I agree though that comments and reviews that are downright mean and vicious just to be awful are NOT okay. This is such an awesome discussion, I love to read about what everyone thinks about this!

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

  15. I think 1 star reviews are useful : when I want to buy a book, I like to know why people didn't like them in case we have the same dislikes. I have already published a few, but once an author contacted me and asked to withdraw my review from Goodreads. Since I was very new at this, I did it on GR but not on my blog - after all, it's my blog ! I wouldn't do that any more. When you're an author, you have to know that your books can't please everyone, it's only human :) As long as people say why and not just simply rant, what's wrong with that. And people have the right to rant too !

  16. First off Glass, like always, this is such an interesting and thoughtful post. I loved reading every bit of it.

    I totally understand your point. Most of the time, when I'm not really liking or understanding a book, I go to the book's Goodreads page and read a few reviews. Turns out that the negative reviews DO have more likes than the positive ones. I don't have a concrete answer to why that is, but maybe it's just human nature to put someone down.

    If a negative review is thoroughly justified and meticulously put down, I go ahead and like it myself. Whether I've read the book or not- and whatever rating I've given in case of the former- doesn't matter to me. I appreciate good justification and writing.

    As for writing negative reviews myself, I try my best to write as in detial as possible why I didn't like the book. Most of the times, it's just because the book didn't hold my attention or else it's somethign about the characters, story, etc. What I do is, I don't hesitate to say I didn't like a book. My reviews are my honest opinions and whether anyone takes them seriosuly or not, I always say what I readlly think. I don't want to decieve anyone. Fortunately, I've never been in trouble for negative reviews I've written even for books sent directly by the authors who even want a link to the same once it's up.

    I hardly remember giving any book only one star. I usually give many twos, but oh well, a one doesn't hurt once in a while. Besides, it depends completely on the book. So yeah, that's that.

    I hope I was helpful and all I'll say is- don't hesitate to say what you really think of some book. And you're anyway doing a fabulous job with your reviews, so you've nothing to worry about!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

  17. I totally agree with you, Tanja. It seems these ranty reviews get loads of attention and there are reviewers that seem to pick up books for the express purpose of hating on them. It has to be that or they just really, REALLY suck at being able to chose a book they like. I don't ever consider those ranty, over the top reviews when I'm choosing a book to read. If they hate everything how can I trust their opinion? Negative reviews with constructive criticism done without being mean spirited hold much more weight for me. AND, sometimes those negative reviews, even if they are 1 star, will make me WANT to read a book. Things that tick off one reader may appeal to another. For example, I love neatly wrapped up endings so if that was a huge negative for a reader that doesn't turn me away from the read at all. It's a bonus for me!

    No, I do not care for the drama surrounding Kathleen Hale. Her behavior was very bizarre, and bordering on stalking, however I don't agree with all these reviewers just giving her book a 1 star rating when they've never laid eyes on the book. And I don't agree with liking those reviews. The book should be rated on its merits, not on the author's behavior. Shelf the book on some "I won't ever read" type shelf if you must, but I don't agree with rating it when you never opened it up. My opinion and I'm sure some would disagree.

    I try and write my negative reviews respectfully and detail what didn't work without being mean. And I usually say, "this is my opinion, yours may differ."

  18. Ooops, sorry I meant, Glass!! :)

  19. I love reading negative reviews if they are wittty and honest but if they are over the top, like critically analyzing every single thing that the character or characters did is a NO for me, I mean "Can't they just enjoy every thing about the book without questioning every single thing?" or if they bash the author that's a BIG NO for me.

    I also love writing negative reviews but as much as possible I try to soften the blow.

  20. When I Like a negative review, I think it's not so much that I'm gleeful that a book sucked (and I think it's important to remember that negative reviews should be about the book, not the author, failing in some way), but more in solidarity since it can be scary to express negative opinions. When I like a friend's negative review of a book that also seemed off to me, it's a way that I can support them in case things do get all drama llama or whatever I guess. I definitely don't feel like "likes" on negative reviews are necessarily because of spiteful reasons is what I'm getting at I guess ;-)

  21. I think that because our blog is our own little pieces of internet we should have the freedom to say whatever we want to on it - including rants! It's a shame that people like to hate something, but isn't hating a trend nowadays? I mean, how many people dislike Kristen Stewart and make fun of her emotionless expressions (I am a big fan of hers actually, :D) Just because it is a trend? I also write negative reviews, but I try to be as un-ranty as possible, and that;s because I don't rant often xD I think the only book I have read that is rant worthy was Wuthering Heights, which I really disliked! So yes, try to be calm, but then again we all have things we like and don't like.

    People, authors included, must respect others opinions.



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