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  1. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Reviewing Forum?

    Discussion in 'Support & Feedback' started by Cogito, Sep 4, 2007.

    It seems to be a growing topic on the site: How to go about reviewing someone's writing.

    What do you think about adding a forum dedicated to this topic under Writing Issues? We already have a few threads and posts in the Review Room and elsewhere, but reviewing is not simply a mechanical process. It is every bit as creative a process as writing is; indeed, good self-reviewing skill is an essential adjunct to writing.

    Instead of treating reviewing as a checklist, I believe there is a lot of room to develop reviewing styles, so each reviewer can explore ways to home in on the most critical focus to improve a given piece of writing.

    It is not intuitive. Weaselword has correctly pointed out that newcomers often don't know where to begin. The same is true for many veterans of the site as well.

    I see a parallel between the relationship of reviewing to writing and the relationship between software testing and software development. In both cases, they are complementary skills that begin with taking a different mindset. In software testing, the mindset is that you are there to find and remove defects in the software, that a successful test is one which finds a defect. In reviewing, the successful review is one which reveals a weakness in conveying the author's vision to the reader, and suggests ways to improve the communication.

    There is no shortage of books and other resources on writing styles. But the resources on reviewing are much scarcer. I believe we can offer something truly unique here by building a reviewing resource, and a pool of expertise in that area.

    Opinions?
     
  2. Scavenger
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    Scavenger Senior Member

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    I think it's an excellent idea, though I worry about its limitations. My sense is that there'd be a flurry of activity in it for a while, and then everyone would say, "Well, that's all there is to say on that," and wander off to play games and whatnot.

    However, I have been here less than a month, and as such hardly feel that I have an accurate grasp of the inner dynamic of the forum. Therefore, the above may be entirely disregardable.

    Also, one of my pet peeves is when people give one-line reviews, or even paragraph long reviews that do nothing but gush (or rant) about how amaizng (or horrible) a piece of work is. Were we to create this forum, we might have a chance of somewhat rectifying that particular situation, though I don't know how effective it would be on those people who already don't care. It might help the people who already attempt to leave substansiative (sp, sorry) reviews, but my experience is that the one-liners generally aren't interested in improving their reviews any.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The expression, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." comes to mind.

    I don't think we'll eliminate the one-liners. But reviewing is an opportunity to improve, just as much as writing is. Those who cheat themselves out of it are the ones who lose out.
     
  4. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    It's not a bad idea... I kind of like it. However, I'm not sure that there'd be much actual participation in it - that's my only reservation.

    I'm curious as to other's thoughts on it.
     
  5. Raven
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    Raven Banned

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    Actiually i disagree i think Cogito is right. And its worth a go.
     
  6. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that this is a absolutely wonderfl idea and you have my full support and co-operation Cogito. If there is anything I can do to help just let me know.
     
  7. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    I love this idea, though i agree to LpSpider, this may not attract enough participation. However, it's definitely worth a go and I'd be the second (after Torana lol) to join in.
     
  8. bicker
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    bicker Senior Member

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    Since you have to review people's work to beable to post your own, one line reviews will become more common.
     
  9. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    All we can do is encourage people to be more thorough with reviews.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    We have already seen that. I don't believe more rules will do much to prevent that. But education will help, so people better understand the purpose of reviews, and how reviewing benefits the reviewer as well.
     
  11. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well I can honestly say that since I have become a reviewer and been spending time giving constructive feedback when I can, my poetry has certainly improved.

    Reviewing helps so much when it comes to writing. When I first joined here my poetry was pretty basic and very very cliche. Now I am learning new things and how to change my usual style and I think that everyone will benefit from learning to review as it helps when it comes time to editing your own work.
     
  12. Raven
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    Raven Banned

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    Well I too have adapted from others advice. I think its a much needed forum.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    What I have envisioned to start off is to collect reviewing advice from all over the Review rooms and summarizing it in a stickied Recommendations thread. Then I have a few ideas for discussion threads based on recent questions and experience, such as "How to get started", "What if it's the worst writing you've seen?" (on remaining constructive when you'd rather pretend you never saw it), and "How much is too much?" (on keeping the review to a quantity that the author can absorb without feeling overwhelmed).

    I am sure that plenty of ideas will come up as people really dive into reviewing and begin getting creative with it.
     
  14. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    It sounds great Cogito and I look forward to it.
     
  15. Eóin
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    Eóin Member

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    This looks good. I am sometimes stumped by how small a review I can do.
     

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