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kvlt_magnus
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2020 1:20 pm
Posts: 1
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 8:49 pm 
 

I have been wanting to say what I am about to say for quite some time, but it has taken me many trials to refine this into a final draft. I feel like it is something that needs to be addressed. I don't know if I am the first person to say something like this, but either way, it doesn't matter. Now, do keep in mind that this is just one man's opinion, and if you disagree, that is fine. I don't expect everybody to share my views.

I am a very big fan of the Metal Archives. I think it is a great website. The things I like about it most are the ability to record your album collection and the ability to post reviews. However, there is one big problem I have with the review system, and that is the fact that it seems like the mod team is wayyyyy too picky when they approve or deny your review.

They have this thing where they want the reviews to have some substance to them, and they don't want thousands of people simply stating that something is "good" or "bad". There is nothing unreasonable about that, it is a perfectly understandable standard to hold.

The problem is that they have unrealistic ideas about what is acceptable. There have been many times that I wrote a decent amount of paragraphs going into details about my opinion on an album is and why that is my opinion, going into specifics about guitars, drums, vocals, etc, and then submit my work that sometimes has taken quite a bit of my to write, only to get it back a few days later with a big, ugly "rejected" in red letters being the first thing I see.

It's always the same story. It says that my review is a "good start" and that I only "explained the music in brief" and that it is not enough to merely say that it is "good or bad". Well, excuse me, but I wasn't aware I merely stated that it was just good or bad! If I'm totally honest with you, I don't it's fair to say that three paragraphs going into specific details about an album were only a good start. I end up having to keep adding more and resubmitting until it finally gets accepted, and so far I've only actually had one review published. Is it possible that I am part of the problem? Yes, it is, and I am more than willing to accept that if it's the case, but I would like to at least have a better explanation about exactly what I can do to improve.

Whatever happened to the whole short, sweet, and to the point thing? Sometimes there actually isn't all that much to say. I think as long as you have three or four paragraphs that go into a reasonable amount of detail about your thoughts, that's good enough. I don't think you should be expected to write a huge essay for every last little album that you thought was decent. And I heavily disagree with the notion that it is simply saying that it is good or bad to write a decent-length review that states exactly what you think and why you think it.

How would you like it if you poured your heart into something only to get it rejected with no good reason being given to you for it not being accepted?

There are probably some details I don't understand. Indeed, I have only been using this site for a little while now, and this could just be something that I need more experience with, but somehow I doubt it. I do also think it's fair to say that some of my reviews that got rejected did deserve it. Maybe I am in the wrong here, but in the end, my only real suggestion is to consider that the rules for reviews are maybe a bit too strict.

I am not happy posting something critical of a website that I am normally a very big fan of, but I feel like not saying what has to be said would make me feel even worse. This is the end of what I have to say, and I really do hope that they consider my words, or at least have a reasonable response as to why the system is the way it is. I probably wouldn't mind it so much if it had a good explanation, but I fail to see how this could have one.

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Derigin
The Mountain Man

Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2006 6:25 am
Posts: 5869
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 9:57 pm 
 

A lot of the time, I'm usually the one who either rejects or accepts reviews. We're not picky, we just have rules and standards we expect reviews contributed to MA to follow. As noted in the rejection email, you should consider posting your review in the feedback thread here, if you don't feel the rejection email you received was sufficient. Generally, it probably doesn't hurt to get feedback anyway, so that you can continue to improve as a reviewer. Another recommendation would be to read the reviews of others on MA - especially from more prolific reviewers - and see how you compare. You can check them out in the stats here, under Top 100 Members > Written Reviews. We don't expect or want all reviewers to act or be the same, but looking at other reviews can give a good sense of what makes a typical, acceptable review.
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billw22
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2020 7:18 pm
Posts: 1
PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2020 3:55 am 
 

Quote:
The problem is that they have unrealistic ideas about what is acceptable. There have been many times that I wrote a decent amount of paragraphs going into details about my opinion on an album is and why that is my opinion, going into specifics about guitars, drums, vocals, etc, and then submit my work that sometimes has taken quite a bit of my to write, only to get it back a few days later with a big, ugly "rejected" in red letters being the first thing I see.

It's always the same story. It says that my review is a "good start" and that I only "explained the music in brief" and that it is not enough to merely say that it is "good or bad". Well, excuse me, but I wasn't aware I merely stated that it was just good or bad! If I'm totally honest with you, I don't it's fair to say that three paragraphs going into specific details about an album were only a good start. I end up having to keep adding more and resubmitting until it finally gets accepted, and so far I've only actually had one review published. Is it possible that I am part of the problem? Yes, it is, and I am more than willing to accept that if it's the case, but I would like to at least have a better explanation about exactly what I can do to improve.

Whatever happened to the whole short, sweet, and to the point thing? Sometimes there actually isn't all that much to say. I think as long as you have three or four paragraphs that go into a reasonable amount of detail about your thoughts, that's good enough. I don't think you should be expected to write a huge essay for every last little album that you thought was decent. And I heavily disagree with the notion that it is simply saying that it is good or bad to write a decent-length review that states exactly what you think and why you think it.

How would you like it if you poured your heart into something only to get it rejected with no good reason being given to you for it not being accepted?

There are probably some details I don't understand. Indeed, I have only been using this site for a little while now, and this could just be something that I need more experience with, but somehow I doubt it. I do also think it's fair to say that some of my reviews that got rejected did deserve it. Maybe I am in the wrong here, but in the end, my only real suggestion is to consider that the rules for reviews are maybe a bit too strict.

I am not happy posting something critical of a website that I am normally a very big fan of, but I feel like not saying what has to be said would make me feel even worse. This is the end of what I have to say, and I really do hope that they consider my words, or at least have a reasonable response as to why the system is the way it is. I probably wouldn't mind it so much if it had a good explanation, but I fail to see how this could have one.


Also remember that any review is your personal thoughts therefore it could always be a little bit over the top or unrealistic
and that’s even if you write 10+ paragraphs
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terrr
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2020 11:44 am
Posts: 10
Location: Turkey
PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2020 1:06 pm 
 

kvlt_magnus wrote:
How would you like it if you poured your heart into something only to get it rejected with no good reason being given to you for it not being accepted?

I've read your only review so far. The mods were probably right to reject your review if it was like that one.

From your review:
"Paul's growls are perfect, and his clean vocals are on point. ("this thing is good") He does a great job conveying the meaning, and he sounds just about perfect (nicely explaining why it's good here.)" <- This is good, since you state something is good and explain why so, even if rather poorly and briefly.

"I love the guitar sound throughout the album, and it's got a great beat to most of the songs." <- You state the guitarwork throughout the album is good, but why? A good continuation would be "The riffs are brutal, yet melodic, and add to the overall meaningfullness found throughout the album. The tone is very crunchy, and fits the music as well."

A ten paragraph review going "wow, this is cool!" and "wow, that is cool!" without going any further in depth would be worse than a three paragraph review going "this is good," then going over why the said thing is good in high detail and objectivity.

However I will admit that the mods probably have a bias for more seasoned reviewers. For an example, Orbitball's reviews never tell you why anything is good, and are overall worse than even your rather poor review, yet they're all accepted for whatever reason.

Perhaps check in to review feedback workshop sometime and the more seasoned fellas there can give better constructive criticism on your reviews. And best of luck getting that review through.

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orphy
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu May 06, 2004 11:24 pm
Posts: 232
Location: Edmonton, Canada
PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2020 4:00 pm 
 

Hey dude, I read your review of the November's Doom album. After reading it, I learned you're a black metal fan, and that you really like the November's Doom album, but I don't really know what the record sounds like, outside of the fact that there are both clean and growled vocals. You mentioned the vocals sound great, and the guitars are good, and the bass fills in stuff, but if I wasn't already familiar with that record, I wouldn't be gaining any insight about it based of what you wrote. Furthermore, you have a handful of paragraphs that are two sentences or less. Granted, not every point in a review needs a ton of detail (such as the artwork, but it is nice to acknowledge notable artwork). Finally, your last paragraph in the review isn't necessary - it is understood that a review is someone's opinion, and you don't need to state that people don't need to agree with you.

If you're going to say an album is great, tell us WHY. Talk about the parts that give you goosebumps! Do they have some eerie melodies in a few songs? Talk about it, and cite a couple parts in various tracks that do that. Is there a particular lyric or two that really gets you? Tell us about it! Don't just allude to it briefly and move on. You can't just say an instrument is good without describing what it's doing or at least drawing some sort of comparison to something else.

I see you're pretty young, and that's great to see you're wanting to talk about music that excites you. As some others mentioned in this thread, just read some reviews of other users for examples. You don't need to write 1000+ words, but you need to put some real detail in outside of just mentioning that a certain instrument sounds great. In the case of the ND review, you're giving it 100%, so you should really convey WHY it's a cut above other death/doom records.
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Spider_X
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2006 1:48 pm
Posts: 175
PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 7:16 pm 
 

terrr wrote:
kvlt_magnus wrote:
How would you like it if you poured your heart into something only to get it rejected with no good reason being given to you for it not being accepted?

Perhaps check in to review feedback workshop sometime and the more seasoned fellas there can give better constructive criticism on your reviews. And best of luck getting that review through.


This. This part right here being said, is what helped me immensely! I've been with M-A since 2006, amd only started writing reviews in 2017.

My first ever review was for Asylum. Accepted immediately. So, I thought I was doing pretty good. Then, I started having problems with my next two entries... Chiral, and then with Hermóðr.

I, as you, you say pour your heart and soul into a review when writing one. And, time and again with these two reviews kept on being rejected. I eventually got my Chiral review accepted, by my own. But, then with Hermóðr, it was just a no-go. I was so crushed. I was then advised about the Review Workshop , and to ask for help there. I did.

And, oh boy did I ever get quite a bit of criticism! But, going by everyone's advice, I put forth into my review, which turned out to be so damn good, that after I had shared it with band member Rafn (of Hermóðr) he said that he loved my review so much that he read it 3 times in a row. That I wrote it really well, and really captured the essence of the album as a whole.

I cannot recommend the Review Workshop highly enough!
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Spider_X
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2006 1:48 pm
Posts: 175
PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 7:32 pm 
 

Also, if I may add... just read your review, and my thoughts on it.

This part right here, the last 2 paragraphs are not at all needed. They both stick out very sorely.
"If you don't want to listen to the entire album, the tracks I recommend the most are the title track (The Pale Haunt Departure), Autumn Reflection, The Dead Leaf Echo, and Through a Child's Eyes.

The single and only reason I give it 100% is that I honestly can find no problems with it. In the end, however, it is up to you to decide what you like. I hope you take my words into consideration, but everybody is entitled to their own opinion, and if you don't like it it is your choice. Not everybody has the same beliefs when it comes to what is good and what isn't, and it would be hypocritical of me to expect you to like something just because I say I like it."

We all know that all reviews written, are of the author's opinion. So, saying all this isn't even necessary, as that is just a given fact. ;)

Also, "If you don't want to listen to the entire album, the tracks I recommend the most are the title track (The Pale Haunt Departure), Autumn Reflection, The Dead Leaf Echo, and Through a Child's Eyes." <<<When you say this, makes me kind of feel I just don't even want to bother with even listening to the whole album.
That being said, what I do, I don't say stuff like that in my reviews, but while track-by-track reviews are not looked well upon, I do highlight a few tracks, 3 to 4 usually that moved me the most on the album, and try to go into a bit of detail as to explaining better {why} that is. Unless I'm missing something, you're not really going into hardly much album detail as a whole, and not really wanting me to go and listen to this album, based on just your review. Add more passion and maybe just a bit of flair to your writing. You def have a good, promising start, and I am by no means a perfect review writer, as I am still learning as I go, but, you def have promise, and your writing does in fact show that you really care about the album you're reviewing, you just got to make it stand out and demand it to be read!

This is just my advice, trying to want to help you out some, cause I def have been where you are. :)
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gasmask_colostomy
Metalhead

Joined: Thu May 27, 2010 5:38 am
Posts: 1174
Location: Behind the wall of fire v.2
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 8:50 am 
 

kvlt_magnus wrote:
The problem is that they have unrealistic ideas about what is acceptable. There have been many times that I wrote a decent amount of paragraphs going into details about my opinion on an album is and why that is my opinion, going into specifics about guitars, drums, vocals, etc, and then submit my work that sometimes has taken quite a bit of my to write, only to get it back a few days later with a big, ugly "rejected" in red letters being the first thing I see.

Man, I understand this so well. About 10 years ago, when I was first starting to review, I got REJECTED emails back many a time. I know how that hurts. Initially my thought was, "Fuck those guys, they don't know what they're talking about!" But because I was determined to get the review on the website, I waited a few days (to let myself cool down) and then tried to rewrite parts of the review according to the suggestions. Usually, after one or two tries I got them accepted, and 10 years later I've written quite a lot of reviews.

Looking back, what I lacked the first time I was trying to write reviews on MA was reading experience. I didn't write many reviews for a few years but read a lot from guys like hells_unicorn, Twisted_Psychology, Empyreal. There are plenty of other good reviewers, but those guys have been writing solid stuff for a long time. Generally speaking, they didn't preach their points, they didn't make a checklist of positive and negative parts of the album, and they described the music very carefully, usually putting it in context.

After I read a good review, I know what the album sounds like and whether I will like it, but the reviewer hasn't told me that I'll like it. When I write that kind of review, I have to concentrate much more to what I'm listening to and find the connections to other artists I've heard before or little features that catch my attention. Compare "the drumming is awesome all the way through the record" with "there's a killer drum fill in 'X Song' that generates perfect momentum for the half-speed breakdown that follows it". If you really love the music you're listening to, you'll want to find things like that too and write about them.
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Sean16
Moody Tabulator of Torn Hymens

Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 11:03 am
Posts: 349
Location: France
PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2021 11:36 am 
 

Review system is fine as it is now. Standards have increased with time, which may seem unfair to a new reviewer reading reviews dating back to the early days of the site, but I want to read reviews which actually tell me about the music, and this is simply one of the best places on the Internet for this. Also, as a non-native English speaker, I really appreciate that the mods are not too picky about one's particular grasp of the language - as long as the review is still understandable, obviously.

I will join the previous posters to encourage you to post in the Reviews Feedback Workshop - though it isn't as busy as it used to be, reviewers are always happy to share a few tips. So-called "seasoned" reviewers do not pretend to be all that good, but at least they know how to get their writings accepted on the site... or at least I hope so ;)
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Bad at Life
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2021 8:47 pm
Posts: 18
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2021 1:58 pm 
 

I used to review albums here all the time under a different name. Unfortunately, after about a decade of inactivity I seem to have lost my touch with the reviewing process, as both my reviews I have submitted have been rejected. Hell, my new band was rejected at first. Strict policies and procedures for sure, and I'm kind of an idiot, so I will go back to releasing albums and leave the writing up to others.

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