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• "Why did you only rate my op as <insert rating that's not VH or higher here>?"
OK, let me see… You just about covered the basics, albeit with a bit of panache. On the other hand, you spent more time telling me how long the Mars Bar was than how it tasted. Length is not a something I understand in chocolate bar reviews. It's not a hard concept to grab, is it? Food review... taste. Film… how you enjoyed it. Computer thingy… how it performed over time. It's the personal opinion bits regarding your enjoyment/satisfaction that sets these things apart from a list of facts, you know.
Of course, that's only one minor irritation. As a nerd, what gets me more are those people who write overly technical reviews for you, the general public, and expect you to rate them highly despite the fact they might as well be written in Swahili for all you can understand them. (Oh, and you people who rate these as VH… don't think I haven't noticed that either.)
That's not solely the domain of nerds, either. You only have to look at film "critics" and various writers of electronics opinions to see it spread from the computer world across the rest of opinionating.
• "What can I add to my op to make it VH?"
Listen up, Einstein. What makes you think there's something missing? There couldn't possibly be 1500 words too many, could there? 2200 words for crap Elizabeth Shue teen "comedy" 'Adventures in Babysitting' is just a touch of overkill. Tell you what. If you reduce it by at least half to something a bit more concise and easier to read, I'll re-rate for you. Maybe. What's this? You're telling me that the Arnie vs. alien film, 'Predator', is set in the jungle to mirror man's secret yearning to return to a simpler life? Funny that, I thought it was a Arnie fighting a huge fricking alien monster thing. Less is more and all that. Long opinions do not necessarily mean high ratings.
The upshot of it all is that you're not meant to cram every last piece of information into the opinion ("opinion"). Why not simply concentrate on the aspects of the product that are important to you? Of course, you won't get 100% VHs, but the ratings aren't everything. The important thing is to help those who come to your reviews, and the best thing you can do is tell people the things that you are capable of telling them, due to experience. Think about it the next time you're reading an opinion on, say, a DVD player – do you need a list of specifications? Probably not. Did you understand all of it (referring back to saying number one)? Hopefully, you did.
Don't write about what you think people want to know – write about what YOU would want to know. Your opinions will improve for it, too.
• "Rate all my ops cos I'm nearly changing colour!" • "Go and read all <member's> ops 'cos they're nearly changing colour!"
Asking people to read your ops cos you're changing colour is bad for many reasons. Touting for reads is rude and, I believe, against Ciao's rules. Yes, yes. Naughty Ciao member! But I have not yet finished! When people rate you in order to get you to change colour, they give you the best rates possible, even if your opinions aren't worthy of them. Why? It's because VH ratings are worth more in terms of CPs than H ratings are. That means that your opinions are not rated according to usefulness and it is unfair to the other members of the site who are rated honestly, isn't it?
The people who rate are just as bad as the people who ask.
• "Thanks for reading"
You know what? I was just so going to leave a message in your GB saying "Thanks for writing". I am sure it's probably not doing THAT much harm (if at all), but it still makes your work look unprofessional (by the way, you spell it 'DEFINITELY' for future reference) and I kinda think it makes the author look quite needy. That's only my opinion, though. "But Stephen King does it!" Perhaps he does, but I bet it's not tagged onto the end of whatever novel or short story he's written. More than likely, it's at the very front of the book, just like your own "About Me". You could put it there, couldn't you?
• "Welcome to my CoT"
Well, thank you kind sir or madam. What did I do to deserve such an honour, seeing as you haven't read any of my opinions before? Oh, I do have this funny story though. Last week, I met this new person. She's into footy and beer and stuff and has a wicked sense of humour. Well, a few days ago, I called her and when she answered the phone, I said "Hey! Welcome to my circle of friends!" You know what? She thinks I'm insane and hasn't talked to me since… Go figure.
• "Congratulations on turning colour!"
Yes, because rating those extra 100 opinions and leaving 150 inadequate and useless comments is a real milestone to celebrate the change between your dot colour yesterday and that dot colour today. Let us not overlook the fact that your friends probably went through your back catalogue and probably over-rated everything you ever posted.
• "I know this is off-topic/shite/nonsensical, but I haven't rated cos I don't want you to lose CPs"
Spineless idiot. Why not rate properly? OK, so the person gets a negative CP score when you do that, but do you think they're going to be offended by your honesty? Yes? No? Perhaps? How many people will you offend with your dishonesty? At least one person. Me. If you're not even going to rate properly, why bother taking part in a peer review driven consumer information site anyway? What's that? You think this is a community? Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
• "It's only a website"
OK, so you might think it's only a website and you treat it like a waste of your time. However, loads of other people use it as a serious hobby and that one statement belittles those people, I think. I am sure some people take it too seriously, but there are always people who will take things too seriously: football, Eastenders, crochet etc. I've no desire to get married, but I don't run around saying "It's only a marriage" every time someone takes the long walk or I find myself chatting up married women in the bar. Next time you are thinking about saying it, please reconsider.
• "I don't have time to join <Opinion site related message board>"
Ah, this one is quite funny. It’s usually uttered by those people who spend 12 hours a day on the site, reading and rating every single opinion that is posted. Of course, it is their loss, but do they realise it? Not only are the satellite sites fun to be part of, but in my opinion, offer a better 'community' than Ciao. Additionally, opinion site related information is freely available to all and questions can be asked and answered. In addition, they're the sort of place where you don't need a lot of time – you can browse as you please on topics that interest you (just as you should do on Ciao). So, in reality, the "lack of time" argument holds about as much water as my sieve.