When is a review not a review?


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When is a review not a review?

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lokakuu 5, 2015, 6:59 am

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
Interesting, but not brilliant..................................worth a read, but not a re-read ( )
Flagged as not a review flag 134 other reviews | May 23, 2013 | edit |

Surely this is a review? Why has it been flagged?

Bah humbug!

lokakuu 5, 2015, 7:10 am

It's a review.

lokakuu 5, 2015, 7:21 am

I'm sure it's been (incorrectly) flagged because it's short, and offers little information to others. However it does meet all the minimal criteria LT has for a review and shouldn't have been flagged.

lokakuu 5, 2015, 7:34 am

lokakuu 5, 2015, 8:59 am

This one's been flagged, too, even though it's clearly a review: https://www.librarything.com/work/7223/reviews/38859144

lokakuu 5, 2015, 9:13 am

>5 lilithcat: That one deserves the spoiler flag.

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 5, 2015, 9:22 am

>6 MsMaryAnn:

There is no such thing as a "spoiler flag" on LT, thank god (a/k/a Tim).

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 5, 2015, 9:25 am

I was pleased. I took this as a reminder to check my reviews, as I hadn't done that in some time.

No flags.

Several of my recent reviews have been given thumbs up. That always feels good.

lokakuu 5, 2015, 9:38 am

Hmmm. Never thought to look at my reviews collectively. Seven flags. :(

lokakuu 5, 2015, 11:00 am

Looked at my reviews. Why is this flagged? http://www.librarything.com/review/110208024

lokakuu 5, 2015, 11:03 am

I check mine regularly. I currently have 3 flags. Some people don't like it if you confess that you found a book unreadable and put it down, even though I've seen a lot of posts asking people to explain 1 and 2 star reviews. I decided "you can't please everyone so you got to please yourself."

lokakuu 5, 2015, 11:03 am

>5 lilithcat: an >10 lesmel: counterflagged.

lokakuu 5, 2015, 11:04 am

>10 lesmel: Our posts crossed. Some flagger thinks you have to finish a book in order to review it.

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 5, 2015, 11:07 am

>11 aulsmith:

I would not consider "Couldn't finish" to be a review, either. I have no problem with negative reviews, but that's just not a review. If you give some reasons (as you do for yours), that's fine, but just "DNF"? Nope. But since that doesn't actually apply to any of your flagged reviews, I'm not sure why you think that's the reason?

lokakuu 5, 2015, 11:29 am

>14 lorax: I tend to rewrite reviews after they get flagged, so my impression might be based on the original, which would have been terser.

I do try to give the flaggers the benefit of the doubt and assume they have some definition in their head of "review" that I some how didn't meet. Of course I can only guess, but so far I've come up with:

must have at least x words,
must be at least one full sentence,
reader must have finished the book.

There are also reviews I write in a pre-caffienated state that really are incomprehensible, which I don't mind having flagged, but I wish they'd check back in a month or two and unflag them after I've fixed them

lokakuu 5, 2015, 12:38 pm

As I understand it, there seems to be some limit about number of words for the early reader program. I have seen people mistaking this for a general rule before.

"I couldn't finish (this load of drivel)" seems like a perfectly valid review to me.

lokakuu 5, 2015, 12:45 pm

>16 Nicole_VanK:

I would even say "I couldn't finish this load of drivel" is a review, even by my own standards, but "Did not finish" isn't. (My standards are not LT's, but when flagging I apply LT's standards, not my own. I tend to value complete sentences and statements of opinion, neither of which is required here.)

lokakuu 5, 2015, 12:50 pm

I guess calling something a "load of drivel" is technically a review, in a sense that it's giving an opinion of the book, but as far as my personal "review standards" go, I'd really have trouble calling that one. IMHO a review needs to really say something, even if just a full sentence opinion on why it's a load of drivel. But, I second everything else Lorax said. On LT, LT standards are what counts, and "did not finish" says nothing of the book, it sounds more like a reminder to oneself than an opinion aimed at other people.

lokakuu 5, 2015, 12:55 pm

I'm inclined to say that "Did not finish." generally isn't a review...unless you know a person (like me) finishes almost everything she reads. Then, "did not finish" is a review; but again, you'd have to know me. That's why when I had a bunch of flagged "did not finish" reviews, I deleted the books, reloaded, and added (what I considered) superfluous bits to make the flaggers happy.

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 5, 2015, 1:00 pm

I would say that Did not finish isn't a review, because even people like me who finish 99% of the books they start can get interupted and never get back to the book. Garbage! on the other hand really is a review.

I am trying to learn not to finish the garbage books.

lokakuu 5, 2015, 2:01 pm

Afaic, review means opinion, and "did not finish" is not an opinion. "Did not finish because horrible writing" etc, is an opinion/review.

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 5, 2015, 2:10 pm

>21 .Monkey.:

Yeah, that's why I make a distinction between my own standards and LT's; by my standards review has to include opinion, but LT is pretty clear that "review" here doesn't. (A plot summary, for instance, counts.) Honestly, the way I've made my peace with this is by telling myself there are two different things, a "review" and an "LT-review". LT-reviews include reviews and several other things.

lokakuu 5, 2015, 2:14 pm

Hahaha, yeah, it will never not frustrate me what Tim's standards are, but, oh well, there's nothing I can do about that aside of trying to ignore it! XD

lokakuu 6, 2015, 8:20 am

I agree that "did not finish" is not informative as a review. I put that in comments.

However, I would say "couldn't finish," "couldn't get past chapter 1," "Gave up before p. 20," "Lost the thread early on and gave up," "Did a light skim after p. 20 to see if it picked up" are all reviews.

I know a lot of you like a lot more information, but I think these short comments give people like >20 MarthaJeanne: permission to stop reading a book, without either of us having to spend more effort on the process than the book is worth.

lokakuu 6, 2015, 8:28 am

I still argue that a full sentence saying "Quit reading because..." gives someone far more "permission" than simply knowing one random person put the book down. Why did you put it down? Maybe what bothered you is something I am quite fond of. Maybe I can overlook something that you can't stand. And so forth. That is why that is not a review at all, afaic. It tells nothing, which is the entire purpose of a review.

lokakuu 7, 2015, 9:02 am

Part of why different people like different kinds of reviews is what they use them for themselves.

I almost never read reviews before reading a book. I rely on word of mouth, covers, blurbs, jacket copy, table of contents and author's reputation to select books. I only read reviews when I'm done with a book to see if I missed anything; or if I'm thinking of bailing and am looking for a reason to keep on or ditch it.

Also, I don't generally think of the people on LT as random people. I know a lot of your tastes by now. If MarthaJeanne abandons a theology book, that's good enough for me. Even if I don't know them from Talk I can glance at the items we share on their profile page and get a sense of how much we have in common.

I do try to write a "because" especially for academic or newer non-fiction books that I think are a waste of time or need to be read in the context of other books, but sometimes I just don't think the book is worth my time to say much about it.

lokakuu 7, 2015, 10:40 am

Abandon a theology book? Me? When?

lokakuu 9, 2015, 4:15 am

I've flagged this one - https://www.librarything.com/work/3383/reviews/109667699 perhaps over zealously? It consists of nothing but a quote from the book, which I think doesn't quite meet LT criteria? I'm happy to retract the flag based on the discussion here!

lokakuu 9, 2015, 7:37 am

lokakuu 9, 2015, 10:39 am

Eh, I don't think a quote of that length is long enough to be red-flag problematic. Definitely not a LT-review, though.

lokakuu 19, 2015, 7:07 pm

Can anyone see why this review deserved a red flag? I quite liked it myself. I wouldn't know how I'd feel If I'd been given this book to read by my boss. https://www.librarything.com/work/3249036/reviews/110196932

lokakuu 19, 2015, 9:20 pm

>32 wifilibrarian:

No idea. Whether someone liked it or didn't like it is irrelevant. Red flags are for TOS violations, such as copying a review from someone else. ("Abuse of terms of service" includes violations such as spam reviews and posting copyrighted material without permission.") I don't see anything remotely resembling that in the review.

lokakuu 20, 2015, 2:04 am

>33 lilithcat: I didn't think it qualified as spam so I brought it here. I suspect the person who flagged took offense at a negative review of a book they liked. Sorry for getting into motives for an incorrect flag.

joulukuu 30, 2015, 9:52 am

OK is this a review?

I don't get it.

If it is, please counterflag https://www.librarything.com/work/35538/reviews

joulukuu 30, 2015, 9:56 am

Eh I don't get anything valuable from it other than you might be dumb, which of course I know you're not, but if you were an LT stranger it would be different. For me a review has to give me a value - good, bad, indifferent, but it has to be there. Why didn't you get it? That would help. Otherwise it's pretty useless as a review to me.

joulukuu 30, 2015, 10:34 am

>35 MarthaJeanne:

Yes, it's a review. But I see the flags are gone.

joulukuu 30, 2015, 11:04 am

Thank you.

I'm not sure that the purpose of a review has to be to be useful to every viewer. It's certainly useful to me to know that I couldn't figure the book out. It would even be useful to me to know that others also had this problem.

tammikuu 5, 2016, 9:56 pm

>36 Bookmarque: do you have to be dumb to admit you don't get something? I think we pretend we do get things much more than we'd like to admit. >38 MarthaJeanne: of course, it'd be good to learn more about why you didn't get it, but that's your prerogative.

tammikuu 6, 2016, 9:55 am

>39 wifilibrarian:

do you have to be dumb to admit you don't get something?

Absolutely not! You do have to not be incredibly insecure and/or arrogant.

tammikuu 6, 2016, 11:00 am

I always say that the only dumb questions are the ones that aren't asked. And wasn't it Socrates who supposedly said that the wise man is the one who admits that there are things which he does not know?

toukokuu 4, 2016, 5:37 pm

The author of Female 22 disagrees with tags that another member has added, so he has "reviewed" the book:

"As the author of this book I disagree with the tag "Young Adult" permitted by Library Thing. If you are a parent you should not allow your children to read it. If you are a young adult, you should not tell your parents about reading this book.

Library Thing will be held responsible for any legal action which arises due to what I the author consider to be miscategorisation of my book (if they disagree with this then they should contact me at dhwbooks@virginmedia.com).

Library Thing have been requested to remove all reference to my book from their database as it is my belief that the listing contravenes the data protection act."


toukokuu 4, 2016, 5:48 pm

Interesting question.

If you are a parent you should not allow your children to read it. If you are a young adult, you should not tell your parents about reading this book.

I'm not so sure that this doesn't constitute a review.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 4, 2016, 5:56 pm

I think it is a better review than some I've seen, even if the author doesn't seem to understand how LT works.

I wonder if the book features a young adult? Then the YA tag would be applicable even if it's not a book meant for young adults.

toukokuu 5, 2016, 9:34 am

The author not only doesn't understand how LT works, he/she doesn't understand how the law works.

Library Thing will be held responsible for any legal action which arises due to what I the author consider to be miscategorisation of my book (if they disagree with this then they should contact me at dhwbooks@virginmedia.com).


toukokuu 5, 2016, 9:47 am

Oh, that guy. He's been bothering Lorannen, I hope that it's just dire legal threats and not actually gotten personal.

toukokuu 5, 2016, 10:05 am

>42 2wonderY: and others

It just looks like marketing crap to me.

As someone who has done a little compliance in his time I fail to see how a bibliographic record can be considered personal data wrt the Data Protection Act.

toukokuu 5, 2016, 10:42 am

Maybe he doesn't want his book listed in library and booksellers' databases either.

toukokuu 11, 2016, 7:38 am

Author member has posted reviews of her books - the reviews are collected from readers not members of LT:


Her publisher has done the same thing for a couple of their other publications:


Muokkaaja: toukokuu 11, 2016, 7:45 am

>49 2wonderY: I'm guessing these fall foul of the 'copyrighted material' ToS? As they aren't the members own work.

toukokuu 11, 2016, 8:08 am

>50 klarusu: That's how I see it. A member review isn't supposed to be someone else's opinion.

toukokuu 11, 2016, 8:17 am

49-51. Several of these reviews are associated with "Miss Lynn," and listed on the author's website as being by MissLynn_1944 on LibraryThing, with the same review dates. The user MissLynn_1944 has been removed. I wonder why. Maybe that was a sock? Or a paid reviewer? This is all really old, though, from 2012.

Some of the other reviews the author has posted are from paid review services, which are prohibited here. So for various reasons I think most or all of these reviews qualify for the red flag.

toukokuu 11, 2016, 8:34 am

I came upon them because the author has just established another profile


has rated, but not reviewed her books.

toukokuu 11, 2016, 8:45 am

I'm pretty sure you aren't allowed to double rate your books by establishing more than one profile. I'm not sure if that's in the current version of the TOS, but there used to be something about not stacking reviews/ratings in your favor. This seems like something worth bringing Lorannen or other staff in on.

toukokuu 11, 2016, 9:24 am

>54 rsterling: Certainly sock puppet.

"Do not set up "shell" or "sock puppet" accounts for any purpose whatsover."

syyskuu 2, 2016, 9:40 am

Are these reviews?

"Do not recall"
Maybe it's like "do not recall (this book to your memory ... it will haunt you)", haha.

"What informs our decisions? Do we know why we do what we do?"

syyskuu 2, 2016, 9:55 am

>56 omargosh: - I'd say no and yes respectively.

The first seems to be I don't remember anything about this, which is flaggable, whereas the 2nd could well be a summary of the book, and probably just about scrapes in as a vague LT style review.

syyskuu 2, 2016, 10:33 am

>56 omargosh:
Do not recall
. . . if I read this book.
. . . to whom I lent this book.
. . . where I left this book.
. . . anything about this book.

Not a review in my opinion. I agree with reading_fox about the second as well. It passes for a review on LT, just not a good review.

syyskuu 6, 2016, 9:57 am

>56 omargosh:

Seconded. The first is not a review even by LT standards; the second is.

syyskuu 6, 2016, 11:52 am

>59 lorax:

Even by the standards of Tim's "No." review?

syyskuu 6, 2016, 3:13 pm

>60 cpg: Yes. "No" is, potentially, expressing an opinion on the book, whereas "do not recall" says absolutely nothing.

syyskuu 6, 2016, 3:50 pm

>60 cpg:

What .Monkey. said. Also, as far as I'm concerned "No." is a review only by fiat because Tim says it is.

syyskuu 6, 2016, 6:37 pm

>61 .Monkey.:

"Do not recall" is potentially expressing an opinion about the book. "Thinking this book is worth getting from the library even though all copies are currently checked out? Do not recall! It's not worth it."

>62 lorax:

So it's by fiat, but any theory of what the rules are has to take it into account.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 7, 2016, 9:28 am

>63 cpg:

Sure. My theory that takes that one into account is "If Tim wrote the review, it's a review."

syyskuu 7, 2016, 10:18 am

>63 cpg: Yes, but also look at >58 Taphophile13: in the fact that it could be a lot of things and hard to determine exactly what the writer meant. I agree with others who say "Do Not Recall" is not a review.

syyskuu 12, 2016, 9:57 am

So after reading this thread I thought I would check my reviews, and I see that three of them are flagged, incorrectly, in my understanding of LT terms. However, I'm not sure how to give a link to the exact review?

The most questionable review IMO is for Mere Christianity, in which I only said, "A very persuasive book." Short, but considering there were over 100 other fine reviews of the book, I felt that leaving my short opinion was sufficient for my purposes. It is perhaps not helpful in that it doesn't say why, etc. but then I never put myself forward as a professional reviewer. It does express my opinion of this book.

The second is for The Red Knight of Germany. The first sentence says that I did not finish the book, but the rest explains in detail why I did not.

The third, I was trying for a bit of honest humor, exposing my true feelings as a child about a children's book, A Apple Pie. There is no reason whatsoever I can imagine for this flag.

syyskuu 12, 2016, 10:04 am

To help MrsLee out...

https://www.librarything.com/work/1595966/reviews/14095006 - For Mere Christianity (Which has quite a few reviews that are valid but marked as not.)

https://www.librarything.com/work/2040871/reviews/23222248 -- The Red Knight of Germany

https://www.librarything.com/work/94415/reviews/13966424 -- for A Apple Pie

syyskuu 12, 2016, 10:38 am

>67 gilroy: Thanks!

syyskuu 12, 2016, 11:01 am

>66 MrsLee: All OK now.

syyskuu 12, 2016, 8:57 pm

>69 MarthaJeanne: Thank you!

>67 gilroy: So, the link one should post is to the review page for the work? Got it.

syyskuu 13, 2016, 12:57 am

It's easy to find such reviews by going to the profile, clicking on the reviews link and sorting by votes.

syyskuu 13, 2016, 6:02 am

>70 MrsLee: When you find a review that needs to be looked at, you should see a symbol beside the name and date that will give you the permanent link to that specific review.

joulukuu 19, 2016, 1:10 pm


Okay, so I was working on my own review for this book and stumbled across this flagged issue. Anyone know why? If it's valid, can we counter?


Muokkaaja: joulukuu 19, 2016, 2:02 pm

>73 gilroy: I would guess it's TOS flagged for "posting copyrighted material without permission" since they posted a portion of the book blurb. Wait. I'm looking at the wrong, review I think. Looks like the other review -- the one you linked to was counter-flagged already. :)

joulukuu 20, 2016, 8:14 am

>73 gilroy: - Definite TOS violation, given that it's copied from http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-385-50583-3

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 20, 2016, 8:28 am

>73 gilroy:, >74 lesmel:, >75 Noisy:

amyseerey apparently makes a habit of copying reviews from elsewhere. On some of "her" reviews, she identifies the source. On others, like Skipping Christmas, she does not.


joulukuu 20, 2016, 9:04 am

>76 lilithcat: I think you can put that in the past tense, as all books and reviews were entered in March 2007.

joulukuu 20, 2016, 9:11 am

>76 lilithcat: Good to know. I wasn't sure.

joulukuu 20, 2016, 9:26 am

This is not a review:

1: It tell absolutely nothing about the story line.
2: It is just an opinion-saying nothing what the book is about.
3: There is no information about the book.
4: "Interesting", What is interesting?
5: Summarize the book. Use the plotline to help. Plotline
consists of six points: background, conflict, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Summarize the first three points, and then other students can read the book to find out how it ends.

joulukuu 20, 2016, 9:34 am

>79 nldowney: Actually, a basic commentary on the book in a single word is allowed here.

joulukuu 20, 2016, 9:52 am

>79 nldowney: No idea what review you are talking about, but opinion is more important than synopsis to a review.

joulukuu 20, 2016, 9:54 am

We will never all agree on what constitutes a review. Arguments have been boiling up on and off for years. For me though, I need opinion more than anything. Analysis too if the reader is up to it. The description/summary/plot I can get elsewhere.

joulukuu 20, 2016, 10:00 am

>82 Bookmarque:

It doesn't matter whether or not we agree on what is a review, only that we understand LT's definition.

LT defines something that is allowed to be in the "Review" field on LT. For the sake of convenience, that is referred to as a "review", but for flagging purposes it would make no differnece if it were called a "smeerp". Much of what is allowed to be in that field is not a review by my own standards, but that doesn't matter. (It took me a long time to reconcile myself to that fact.) Think about "LT-review" rather than "review" if it helps; it does for me. For me, LT-reviews are a superset of what I consider to be reviews. For others - for people posting "TBR" and "n" in the review field - it may be the opposite, but that doesn't matter either. Things that are LT-reviews cannot be flagged, regardless of whether you or I or anyone else other than Tim consider them to be reviews. Things that are not LT-reviews can be blue-flagged, regardless of whether you or I or anyone else other than Tim consider them to be reviews.

joulukuu 20, 2016, 10:04 am

I get that, Lorax. It is an interesting line that has to be walked, but the final cut of what's ok is flawed in my opinion. If the review field was private, I could see 'no' counting. But since it's a shared field and one that shows up in LT's customer installations (sold to libraries, etc) I think that's a silly stance to take since 'no' is essentially meaningless because it can mean many things. Usefulness to the catalog as a whole takes priority when you make it public and shared (and sold). "TBR" has use for the person whose catalog it belongs to, but not to anyone else looking for info about the book itself and the reading experiences of others.

joulukuu 22, 2016, 6:44 am

>84 Bookmarque: I think this is important. Use of reviews as a selling point for LTFL is certainly something that should be borne in mind when making a judgement. There's a level of sophistication in the algorithm over what to make available via LTFL (which I seem to remember includes something like '> 25 words' and no links). So, very short reviews aren't going to get beyond LT.

joulukuu 22, 2016, 7:33 am

Ah, that's right, so I guess they'll just have to put up with plot regurgitation disguised as a review. Better than TBR though.

joulukuu 30, 2016, 7:30 am


Speaking of reviews being improperly flagged, I have a group on this page that are valid reviews, but people have flagged as abuse or not reviews. Could use some counter flags...

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 15, 2019, 9:00 am

>87 gilroy: And now we have that feature. Hoorah!

I came across it when I read this review of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice but apparently authored by Anna Quindlen, who apparently wrote an introduction to one edition:

"OMG! I couldn't stand this book. It was horrible! I couldn't visualize a darn thing."

That had been flagged, incorrectly IMHO, as "Abuse of terms of service", which I don't see at all. I suspect that the flagger reacted to a counter-intuitive misquote of the title/author entries and had a knee-jerk reaction. I've read Austen in the past and not got on with her. I've also seen misattributed works because of the book entry, especially audio books where the work is listed as authored by the voice performer.

I assume that the counterflag only serves to start some sort of positive/negative tally rather than give the opportunity for counterflaggers to add comments. I shall be interested to see how this works.

(Cross-posting to 'Counterflag please')

heinäkuu 15, 2019, 12:40 pm

As stated at the cross post:

We have had the counter flag feature for a very long time.

The member who wrote the review catalogued the book as being by Anne Quindlen, but the review is not a quote from her introduction. It is no longer flagged.

heinäkuu 15, 2019, 4:28 pm

>89 MarthaJeanne: Thanks. I've been having a bit of a Homer Simpson day today.

heinäkuu 16, 2019, 4:36 pm

>90 RobertDay: I appreciated your post. It inspired a search for members who only post non-reviews (such as a number or person's name without explanation). While I'm not sure what to do with the list, building it up kept me from boredom during yesterday's errands.