Ratings: Judgment of usefulness vs. signaling of personal approval

Cynical reminder: Remember: Review ratings are not a usefulness indicator, but a popularity contest.

Occasionally I am being reminded of the frequent misuse (deliberate confusion) of usefulness votes for reviews as approval votes. While negative reviews can garner lots of approval, they won’t if what you say hurts the egoes of fanboys. They have an unhealthy attachment to the product or service in question (let’s just talk computer games here, since this is inspired by Steam), and that means there is a dependency that they themselves, deep within, are not happy about. This is usually the fact that they are willing to tolerate lots of crap, to accept not being respected. This of course is something they really don’t like to admit, so when you criticize a lack of respect from a game design or game business, you will unpleasantly remind the fanboys of their weakness and unhappiness, of their state of denial. It’s not intended, but that’s the effect it will have, and that’s why some justified and elaborate reviews might still get loads of downvotes. Usually without comment, in the case of actually somewhat smarter (and/or more fearful) fanboys who understand that any communication could give away what they are trying to hide. This at least helps with self-awareness. The ones that add a stupid comment to the downvote, fully revealing their motivations, are actually the fools. There’s relatively little hope for them, although this state still provides its own opportunities for eventual enlightenment. The path towards the light might lead through the deepest dorkness.

Among all the possible combinations of up- or downvote and no or stupid or elaborate comments that you agree or disagree with, the most valuable is the elaborate negative critique that you agree with, since it provides an important external viewpoint that makes you see what you couldn’t see on your own and helps you to improve your perceptions and judgments.

Stupid negative critique is still more useful to you than downvotes without comment, since that makes it easy to identify it as useless. So to all critics: Feel free to speak your mind. I’d like to get to know you and understand your reasoning. 😉
Stupid positive critique has its use, too, since it helps to identify baseless praise, which could become a big problem for you, and you should be able to imagine why.

Additional thought: Cases of downrated reviews about technical issues with a game could also be triggering pure egotism of the likes of ‘It worked fine on my system; you’re stupid.’

Steam reviews’ “funny” tag: another corporupt approach

Just yesterday I thought of making a humorous remark as a review for a game, since I’m an entertainer at heart. At that point I also (again) had the thought that it might make sense to have more rating buttons than just for “Was this review helpful?”, because people tend to confuse whether it’s of use to them or whether they can confirm it’s an accurate review.

And then, today, I noticed that there is now a “Funny” button under reviews.

They are taking all the fun out of fun by trying to cram it into a system.
As someone on Reddit pointed out so well: “It’s not going to be funny if you know it’s going to be funny.” Another one pointed out that now people will try to be funny because of the systematization of it, because it’s being rewarded, which is as corrupted as people faking emotions on Youtube videos in order to get more advertising revenue. It takes the spirit out of it.

–> Corporuption

The whole point was that joke reviews and such are an occasional spontaneous phenomenon outside of the norm, fueled by passion, not cold calculating strategy. Only grumpies will take issue with this little bit of chaos in our order-sickened world, and even if your review got tons of negative ratings from said grumpies because it was for the LOLs, you could find comfort in the passion that made you do it.

And now they’ve built a ghetto for comedians.

Especially after my recent World of Warcraft 10 day trial and realization that this kind of control-freak corporate mindset (which is shared by many equally-minded users) has continued to spread there, I am so sick of this crap!

For reasons that even with these words can not be accurately shed light on, I am now even less motivated to write Steam game reviews than I already was.

This might make people resort to less funny/entertaining acts of chaos again.