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Why You Shouldn't Trust Internet Comments

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the because-they're-internet-comments dept.

The Internet 180

sciencehabit writes "A new study suggests that all the reviews you read on Yelp and Amazon are easily manipulated. It's not that companies are stacking the deck, necessarily, it's that a few positive comments early on can influence future commenters. In fact, when researchers gamed the system on a real news aggregation site, the items received fake positive votes from the researchers were 32% more likely to receive more positive votes compared with a control (abstract). And those comments were no more likely than the control to be down-voted by the next viewer to see them. By the end of the study, positively manipulated comments got an overall boost of about 25%. However, the same did not hold true for negative manipulation. The ratings of comments that got a fake down vote were usually negated by an up vote by the next user to see them."

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Excuse me?! (5, Funny)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44520355)

This comment is IMMENSELY trustworthy!

Re:Excuse me?! (5, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44520397)

Absolutely! Probably the truthiest thing I ever read.

Re:Excuse me?! (4, Informative)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#44520517)

No comment!

Re:Excuse me?! (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44520875)

Can I quote you on that?

Re:Excuse me?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44521673)

No comment!

Yeah, why not? Its actually rather easy. See? I just did.

Re:Excuse me?! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44520431)

I heartily endorse that statement.
By the way, Coca-cola is delicious.

Re:Excuse me?! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44520841)

if you don't like Peps, which is also delicious.

Re:Excuse me?! (4, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#44520831)

A+++++++++ would mod again.

Re:Excuse me?! (4, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44520865)

This comment is IMMENSELY trustworthy!

I have found that 1 + 1 = 3 for very large values of 1.

no citation required, comment speaks for its own veracity

Re:Excuse me?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44520901)

You are a shill!

Survivor bias (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44520393)

Nothing new here, move on...

Re:Survivor bias (2)

Z00L00K (682162) | about a year ago | (#44520573)

After a while you learn which comments to trust and which comments that are there to troll or spam.

Of course - subtle trollings are harder to detect, but they may still contain a grain of truth too.

Re:Survivor bias (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44520867)

That's what they want you to think!
People tend to overestimate their own ability to tell when somebody is lying to them in person, and I'm sure the same is true online. Even though you can sometimes spot really bad shills - or trolls that pretend to be obvious shills - that says little about what subtle manipulations you're oblivious to.
There is no magic watermark in a "real felt" opinion that can't be cynically replicated in a paid one.

Re:Survivor bias (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44521187)

For some things, there is only so much you can do, and just hope that enough comments and reviews will average things out a little. If you are trying to figure out if you will like food at some restaurant, there is going to probably be some risk no matter how good or trustworthy the response you get are. Trying to over-analyze the comments to figure out who is a shill or not won't really help with that much in the end, because of difficulty in telling who is a shill as you said, and biases like the article is about.

What you can attempt to do is look at the problems complained about and see if there is a chance of a pattern. If multiple people complain of bugs at a restaurant, they either have a problem or lying comments. There is only so much bias that can enter into "I saw a cockroach on the table." And while it is difficult to pick out a shill, at least you can filter out the really stupid comments. If someone complains the restaurant didn't have a virgin version of their martini, or that a vacuum cleaner doesn't work very well if you don't put the bag and filter in (both actually complaints I've seen..), you can disregard them. So just sort reviews and comments from low score to high, and look for non-stupid complaints that might be relevant. There is only so much a good review can say in most cases.

Re:Shill posts (1)

hoboroadie (1726896) | about a year ago | (#44520909)

A subtle astroturfing is one thing, but many of the fake postings are pretty hilariously transparent. Good help is hard to find.

Re:Survivor bias (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44521059)

I go by the 5/1 rule: every glowing 5-star review is a shill, and every 1-star rating accompanied by an angry rant is a shill or some crybaby who had an uncharacteristic bad experience. And product reviews in trade publications are always suspect, as they're reviews masquerading as ads.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Survivor bias (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | about a year ago | (#44521235)

That's a shame. I feel most compelled to write reviews on Amazon when I'm either really unhappy or really pleased with a product, so many of them are either 5's or 1's. Perhaps I should just make them all 2's and 4's so they're more believable?

Amazing (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44520405)

What an excellent report. I read this to my Son and he loved it, would recommend to anyone and definitely read again. 5*

Re:Amazing (4, Funny)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year ago | (#44520767)

I agree, and my daughter makes $1500 AT HOME. ****>>>CHECK IT OUT!!!****

Re:Amazing (5, Funny)

KingMotley (944240) | about a year ago | (#44521175)

I know she does. Perhaps you should take away her video cam.

Tell me about it (5, Funny)

finkployd (12902) | about a year ago | (#44520411)

I've been here for over a decade and I STILL have yet to see Natalie Portman naked and petrified, despite all the hype.

Also, I miss OOG The Caveman.

Re:Tell me about it (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | about a year ago | (#44520571)

I haven't even seen a Beowulf cluster, you insensitive clod!

Re:Tell me about it (3, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year ago | (#44520661)

just imagine a beowulf cluster of insensitive clods!

Re:Tell me about it (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44520781)

Better yet: A Beowulf cluster of insensitive sharks using their lasers to melt away the grits from Natalie Portman's back and yelling, "In Soviet Engrish, all our grit are belong to you!"

Re:Tell me about it (2)

Anonymous Codger (96717) | about a year ago | (#44521125)

And reciting Emily Dickinson poems!

Re:Tell me about it (5, Funny)

Noughmad (1044096) | about a year ago | (#44521255)

just imagine a beowulf cluster of insensitive clods!

I think this is the perfect description of Slashdot.

This slashdot thread (4, Funny)

neminem (561346) | about a year ago | (#44520413)

is the best slashdot thread we've seen all week! I love it!

Re:This slashdot thread (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44520457)

Five stars!

OP nailed my sentiments on this thread! I'll recommend it to friends!

Would post again.

Re:This slashdot thread (5, Interesting)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#44520541)

Five stars [xkcd.com] !

Re:This slashdot thread (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year ago | (#44520775)

So true - you can't trust reviews in aggregate. You have to look one-by-one and try to detect the biases.

Re:This slashdot thread (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44520783)

eBay Feedback Generator [thesurrealist.co.uk]

Great article! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44520415)

This is by far the most insightful treatment I've ever read on this important issue. Everyone who does business on the Internet must read this valuable study.

I don't think so... (1)

metrix007 (200091) | about a year ago | (#44520423)

If someone has a bad experience, they will be pissed off and want to leave a bad comment. Often, that is the only recourse for a shitty service offered, or if a refund/exchange is no offered.

If someone has a genuinely good experience, they may be happy and want the product/business to do well, so they will leave a comment to aid in that.

I would think the only influence comes from choosing based on comments, not on leaving comments.

Re:I don't think so... (5, Insightful)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a year ago | (#44520583)

I'd say it's far more complicated then that.

If you have a bad experience and go to the product review and the other reviews are bad, you are apt to write a review confirming what you are reading.

On the other hand if you have a bad experience and all the other product reviews are good you may have a moment of self doubt (did I mess up with the product) which makes you less willing to post a negative review.

Re:I don't think so... (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44520835)

On the other hand if you have a bad experience and all the other product reviews are good you may have a moment of self doubt (did I mess up with the product) which makes you less willing to post a negative review.

What internet have you been hanging out on? From what I've seen, that doesn't stop anyone.

Re:I don't think so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44521115)

Yes it does. It's just that you only see the ones it didn't stop.

Re:I don't think so... (3, Insightful)

JackieBrown (987087) | about a year ago | (#44520713)

I hate to say this, but I find I am more likely to take the time to write a bad review than a good one. (Anger is a great motivator.) I assume others are like this as well so I read the negative reviews in that light.

Also, any review in all caps, good or bad, I automatically discard.

Re:I don't think so... (3, Insightful)

Zordak (123132) | about a year ago | (#44520891)

I hate to say this, but I find I am more likely to take the time to write a bad review than a good one. (Anger is a great motivator.) I assume others are like this as well so I read the negative reviews in that light.

Also, any review in all caps, good or bad, I automatically discard.

That's been my experience, too. Anger motivates you to want to do something, so people lash out on the comment board. People who are satisfied, by definition, aren't really motivated to take any additional steps.

Re:I don't think so... (0)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#44520727)

If somebody got paid to leave a bad comment, they will leave a bad comment.

If somebody got paid to leave a good comment, they will leave a good comment.

I ignore comments from people that I don't know.

Optimism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44520427)

We are all optimistic people at heart.

Re:Optimism (1)

jigawatt (1232228) | about a year ago | (#44520587)

Welcome, American time traveler from December 2008. Sorry to burst your bubble ...

Manipulation (5, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#44520429)

What's interesting about the study is:

1) The manipulation was a single positive or negative vote applied at random immediately when the article went live.
2) People would tend to correct false negatives, but amplify false positives.

Re:Manipulation (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | about a year ago | (#44520595)

In other words, people tend to post review where there already are reviews. It's as though we were social animals.

Re:Manipulation (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#44520633)

It's not about a review site.

Re:Manipulation (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | about a year ago | (#44521221)

Ok, in this instance it was votes. I would say this is only a minor difference, the herd mentality still shows.

Re:Manipulation (4, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#44520647)

My mistake, it's not even articles, it's just Reddit comments.

Re:Manipulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44520751)

What's interesting about the study is:

1) The manipulation was a single positive or negative vote applied at random immediately when the article went live.
2) People would tend to correct false negatives, but amplify false positives.

I would speculate (without any research to back this up) that it stems from the tendency to view "threadcrappers" or "serial downmodders" negatively and therefore to give a strong preference to countering their influence. Threadcrappers started it, threadcrapper-haters are keeping it going. And the world keeps turning, somehow, with such injustice permeating even the most esteemed of Amazon reviews or Reddit submissions.

Re:Manipulation (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#44521015)

People would rather risk encountering low quality information, than risk losing high-quality information.

Re:Manipulation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44521283)

This is easy to see on Slashdot. It is easy for an incorrect comment to be modded up, but as soon as someone posts a thorough post showing the comment is completely wrong, it is much rarer to see that comment get modded down instead of staying the same or modded up. But if something good gets modded down, and a reply points this out, it reasonably often gets pulled back up. And this is in regards to some of the more dry factual, less ideological topics that come up, where you can have a comment that is flat out, unquestionably wrong as opposed to a difference of opinion.

Yeah maybe subtle differences but not important. (5, Interesting)

captaindomon (870655) | about a year ago | (#44520473)

I trust the article that there may be subtle changes in future comments due to past comments. However, there is still a very valid difference between a 5-star item with 2,000 comments and a 1-star item with three or four comments, and that is good enough for me.

Re:Yeah maybe subtle differences but not important (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#44520615)

It's not even comments. The paper refers to "upvotes" which makes it pretty clear that the study took place on Reddit and involved incrementing/decrementing the score when an article went live, by a single point.

A+++++ (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44520477)

Would comment again.

Re:A+++++ (1)

OakDragon (885217) | about a year ago | (#44520557)

Insightful +1
They all mod
They love me
On Slashdot.

(apologies to Weird Al)

Well sure (5, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | about a year ago | (#44520509)

My hypothesis:

1) Products with positive comments are more likely to be purchased.
2) People identify themselves by their choices, and no one wants to make a bad choice. Ergo, almost by definition, any choice people make is "the right one". At the very least, people are predisposed to liking what they spent money on.

Remember; When discussing all things retail, it's not how good the product is, but how well it satisfied the need. At least half the time, that need is largely imaginary.

Sure, I could RTFA, but this is more fun.

Re:Well sure (2)

c0d3g33k (102699) | about a year ago | (#44521033)

I agree with point 1, though it is really just stating the obvious, so isn't saying much.

I'd have to disagree with point 2. It could, perhaps, apply to products whose enjoyment is primarily a matter of taste or the response they elicit from other people, such as fashionable clothing. I can imagine situations where a poorly researched impulse purchase of an expensive item like an automobile could lead to self-deluding rationalization to justify the purchase. I'll grant you that. For more functional items (eg. a phone/tablet case, a vacuum cleaner, an umbrella), though, I would expect the frustration of a product that doesn't work as advertised would outweigh the perceived loss of face caused by a bad purchase. From what I've observed, people are quite willing to submit critical reviews for any number of reasons, from warning off potential buyers, 'punishing' the manufacturer/vendor for poor product or service, contradicting other reviewers or just indulging in a nit-picky dissection of the product. There doesn't seem to be much evidence they are ashamed of a bad choice.

Re:Well sure (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | about a year ago | (#44521139)

I'd suggest it's a behavior that's related to cost. The more something cost, perhaps even the more of a luxury item it is, the more likely someone is to be biased.

ethics problems (3, Insightful)

doom (14564) | about a year ago | (#44520555)

I'm always glad to hear about research like this myself, but this has severe ethics problems. You don't con people to show how easy it is to con the people. I know that rationalization is popular with some segment of you "hackers" out there, but whenever social scientists do this, they end up getting hasled about it.

I won't even bother commenting on this... (1)

Alejux (2800513) | about a year ago | (#44520589)

No one would believe it anyway after this article.

Perception vs actual rating (5, Insightful)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44520591)

When I check reviews, one of the first things I do is check the negative reviews. Why? Because half the one-stars are often jackasses with no clue what product and/or service they were buying. Other times, knowledgable and otherwise reasonable people have found the service or product being rated to be inadequate in some significant way.

And then I look for high ratings to see if they are reviewing the product in a reasonable manner. From there, I make my own decisions regarding the validity of both sides.

Anyone who decides just based on the stars/review-based numbers is a fool.

Re:Perception vs actual rating (2)

quintessentialk (926161) | about a year ago | (#44520965)

I'll admit I'm tempted to look at overall number of stars, and assume a 4 star place is better than a 2 star place. But I usually end up looking more closely (because ALL the restaurants in an area will be suspiciously highly rated) at the negative reviews. Like you, I try to judge the relevance of the complaint. For example, if the worst thing that anyone has to say about a restaurant is that service is a little slow on Saturday nights and that they had trouble seating your party of 10 without a reservation, that's probably a good restaurant. Complaints about food quality, bathroom sanitation, etc. are much more noteworthy.

Re:Perception vs actual rating (1)

DutchUncle (826473) | about a year ago | (#44520971)

Agreed - In similar vein, I have seen one-star reviews of restaurants stating that 'the line/wait was too long", meaning they never even *tried* the place;

Re:Perception vs actual rating (1)

Deflagro (187160) | about a year ago | (#44521003)

I do that exact same thing. Most of the "HUGE ISSUES ZOMG" are either some preference that didn't meet personal expectations or just plain 'ol PEBKAC. I also take note of the volume of reviews too. If 5000 people rank a product 4 stars, that's a lot of use cases to check out. If a bunch of people report the same failure, it points out commonality and such.

I am kind of OCD about making important purchases though :P

Re:Perception vs actual rating (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44521093)

The rule on biographies is take the worst that (his) friends say and combine with the best that (his) enemies have to say, and integrate...
Similar to combining diverse news sources to correct for bias. Usually, subtle language clues expose the fakery.

Re:Perception vs actual rating (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44521131)

Anyone who decides just based on the stars/review-based numbers is a fool.

Well, your comment is at "4, Insightful" right now, so I guess you're right.

Re:Perception vs actual rating (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44521683)

On this, sir, we agree!

FANTASTIC (1)

puddingebola (2036796) | about a year ago | (#44520667)

Probably one of the best stories EVAR posted in the history of Slashdot, superb! 5/5 stars! My friends and I all read the story at work, then we ordered Chinese Food. The food arrived SOOPER early and was delicious. The Orange Beef and Sweet and Sour Chicken were DELICIOUS! I should know, I own the restaurant I'm posting this for on Yelp!

Pressured by vendors (4, Interesting)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about a year ago | (#44520673)

My wife has posted negative reviews on a certain vendor's website (from real product experience, not trolling) when a product she bought was unsatisfactory.
This elicited an immediate email from customer service offering various deals to bribe/entice her to change or withdraw the review. Companies are free to do what they wish on their website but that still struck me as disingenuous.

Re:Pressured by vendors (1)

stewsters (1406737) | about a year ago | (#44520711)

Hey, at least your wife didnt buy a GoPro [petapixel.com] and try to review it.

Re:Pressured by vendors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44521367)

Did you read the update on the story you linked to or are you purposefully misrepresenting the situation with misinformation?

The letter that was posted next to the review on DigitalRev was not sent in response to the review. Obviously, we welcome editorial reviews of our products. This letter was sent because DigitalRev is not an authorized reseller of GoPro products and they were using images and had incorrect branding and representation of our product in their online commerce store. As part of our program â" we ask merchants who are selling our product to use authorized images. That is why DigitalRev was contacted. But â" our letter did not clearly communicate this and that is something we will correct.

Re:Pressured by vendors (3, Interesting)

neminem (561346) | about a year ago | (#44520863)

I actually have no problem with that - if done right. If the response was "I'll give you free stuff, but only if you remove your review", then yes, that is super sketchy. But a lot of times it's more just "I'm sorry that happened. Would you like to give us another shot on us? It was probably a fluke." And that is exactly what customer service *should* be like. If you go back and it was a fluke, then you change your review, and everyone's happy. If you go back and it happens again, then that company clearly needs to pay their other departments as much as their customer service department, but I'd still rather that than a response of "tough luck, go away."

Re:Pressured by vendors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44521089)

I got this on Ebay once, but it wasn't bribes but threats to change mine. Was a real pleasant experience.

Re:Pressured by vendors (4, Interesting)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year ago | (#44521107)

This is the way companies work these days.

Have a problem with a product? Don't navigate through dozens of useless pages on a support site, don't wait for an hour trying to get through to their helpdesk; post a complaint on twitter, wait a few minutes and they will contact you.

I wish this was a joke, but this is honestly how I deal with some companies nowadays.

You all joke... (4, Insightful)

barlevg (2111272) | about a year ago | (#44520731)

But how much less likely are you to down-mod a score-5 tweet than a score-1? And how much more likely are you to read-and-upvote a red firehose submission than an indigo?

typo (1)

barlevg (2111272) | about a year ago | (#44520749)

that should have said "comment" not "tweet."

Re:typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44521455)

If you're talking about Slashdot comments, I'm pretty sure people are infinitely more likely to downmod a +5 comment than a -1 comment, as the latter will happen 0% of the time.

A+++ Would do business with again (1)

tekrat (242117) | about a year ago | (#44520739)

Isn't this *everyone's* rating on eBay, and yet eBay is 99% populated by crooks at this point?

You reading this APK? (2)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year ago | (#44520759)

Your hosts file comments are not trustworthy.

The following comment is a lie. (1)

BlindRobin (768267) | about a year ago | (#44520769)

The subject of this comment is true.

Re:The following comment is a lie. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44521301)

But the body of the comment is false.

I only read negative comments (2)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#44520795)

There is no value in positive comments.
If you're considering to buy something, you want to know where it fails, not where it succeeds.

Moreover I personally would never leave a positive comment. If it works as advertised, life can go on as normal. If it doesn't, then I leave a comment.

Re:I only read negative comments (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | about a year ago | (#44520881)

Yeah, but then every product out there ends up looking like garbage.

Re:I only read negative comments (4, Insightful)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#44521183)

I'll leave positive comments, normally when I receive outstanding customer service. People should be recognized when they do good work, and far too often management doesn't bother unless they have input from outside. I'll also ask to speak to their supervisor if the situation warrants it, and let them know if someone has done something outstanding.

Re:I only read negative comments (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | about a year ago | (#44521285)

There is no value in positive comments

Of course there is. Thoughtful positive comments that describe the hands-on experience of using a product and how well the advertised features are implemented can be extremely useful. There are plenty of product categories where all the top products function well, but have different strengths/weaknesses/usage_patterns/quirks. Detailed positive reviews are quite valuable because they provide details not offered by the advertising/product description - these details help the purchaser choose the product best suited for them.

Negative reviews only provide information on which products to avoid - non-vacuous positive reviews (or balanced critical reviews) provide information on which product is best suited for you.

Re:I only read negative comments (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#44521577)

We're talking about Amazon-type reviews here, no fully-fledged detailed reviews.

Not surprising (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#44520805)

To use an example from /., it's not at all uncommon to see a comment go completely unnoticed from moderators for an hour, and then get a +1 from somebody, and within 30 minutes have gone from Score:1 or Score:2 to Score:5.

Bandwagon effects are quite well-known. After all, all your friends are paying attention to them! It seems to be a useful psychological reaction: If all your friends and family are jumping off the bridge, chances are you will too on the theory that they probably have a good reason to do so.

Re:Not surprising (4, Insightful)

c0d3g33k (102699) | about a year ago | (#44521513)

Or maybe they just weren't visible to the moderators until a few upvotes brought them above the viewing threshold. Once visible, comments that happen to be genuinely insightful, informative etc, would get more upvotes because they deserve it. You don't have to invoke bandwagon effects to describe what you observe. Also, when I have moderator points, I tend to upvote good comments that *don't* have a high score because they are worth drawing attention to. Wasting moderator points on a "me too" upvote of a +5 comment is a poor use of the privilege. In my view, the purpose of moderation isn't to "skew" the discussion to reinforce the echo chamber., Rather moderation should improve the overall signal/noise ratio so threshold settings are actually meaningful.

My solution (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | about a year ago | (#44520857)

That's why I go straight for the bad reviews and see what people are actually saying about the product.

+1, an excellent article. (1)

edibobb (113989) | about a year ago | (#44520883)

(Just checking its validity)

Companies have whole fake blogging departments (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#44520945)

I won't say who, but a few years ago I had a temporary SQL admin contract with a very large company. I remember the day they hired a good 20+ people who's job it was to do nothing but post fake reviews and make fake blog posts all day long. The called it "Professional Blogging". I've been disgusted by the lack of ethics and misguided moral compass of companies before, but to actually see something like that go down really shocked and disgusted me to my core.

Lies? On the internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44520949)

Especilly true of Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44520961)

Especilly true of Slashdot
Especilly true of Slashdot
Especilly true of Slashdot

Ethics (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year ago | (#44521019)

Assuming the researched posted fake reviews real businesses and products, isn't there an ethic issue with this research.

I wouldn't like to be the owner of an otherwise good restaurant that ended up getting lots of bad reviews just because some researchers' coin flip decided my restaurant should get bad reviews for their research.

It just seems a tad unethical to try and randomly ruin businesses for a research paper.

Perhaps we should do some research on what happens when you randomly bankrupt researchers.

Critical Reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44521151)

Back in the old days, before the Internet turned 'reading' into 'scanning' and the average attention span dropped to 6 seconds, there was this concept called 'critical reading'.

The basic premise is that you have to read the content of a written work to see WHAT they say, not just the overall tone or summation.

For instance, I was reading a review of a restaurant this morning, and most of the reviews were positive except for 1 '1 Start' rating. Upon reading the content of the '1 star review' I find that the guy is upset because he was not allowed to charge less than $3.50 on his credit card. Nothing about the food, service, etc... Well that isn't relevant to me, so I can ignore that review.

I read another review of a restaurant where most of the reviews were positive, but there was 1 '1 Star rating'. Upon reading the comments, I find that the restaurant serves sodas in the can (and charges for them by the can) and that the reviewer's children were served canned peaches with their breakfast. This IS relevant to me, as I have no intention of eating at a restaurant that serves fruit out of a can, particularly with the prices listed in their menu. I can open cans all by myself thanks.

It's like with game reviews. Even a game that gets a 7 might be something I might want to play depending on the particular aspects of the game. Maybe the reasons it got a 7 are problems I can deal with because something else about the game is appealing.

And yet I fully realize that very few people, if anyone, will actually read this post, so I will close with a summation so that the vast majority will have something to scan and absorb without having to actually use their brains.

SUMMATION: LEARN TO THINK YOU SHEEP PEOPLE!

What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44521153)

I thought you couldn't put anything on the Internet that isn't true....

Re:What? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44521195)

That's true, any untruth is but an illusion.

I now find drinking Monster and Rock Star have given me godly powers

people are misguided (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44521181)

that is because people do not understand the 5 star system. The "ok" is the 3 stars, 4 and 5 are for exceptionally good, but a staggering amount of people think that 5 is the "ok", exceptional do not get any more than five and they only keep subtracting from 5, instead of having a median an add and subtract. The trouble is, if you do it that way, you blur the line between "ok" and "exceptional", putting the "ok" at the level of exceptional.

This Comment Is A Lie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44521275)

and it cannot be trusted!

setting the tone works on /. (3, Informative)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#44521511)

I've certainly noticed that when I am one of the first to post on a Slashdot story, it tends to set the tone for many comments to follow. This was perhaps most noticeable when I pointed out all the BS in a certain anti-patent propaganda story. Commenters did some critical thinking and mostly agreed the story was a load of BS. It's apparent from other similar stories that without someone setting the tone, Slashdot readers generally revel in anti-patent propaganda, expanding it beyond the already BS claims in TFA of the day.

leasthelpful (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about a year ago | (#44521521)

I only trust Amazon product comments if they are vetted and posted to http://leasthelpful.com/ [leasthelpful.com]

Awesome (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#44521557)

A++++ wuld read again

And probably will when it gets duped in three days time.

I had to retract one + because of a missing word in the summary:

In fact, when researchers gamed the system on a real news aggregation site, the items that received fake positive votes from the researchers were 32% more likely to receive more positive votes compared with a control

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