Why are bad reviews so popular?

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Why are bad reviews so popular?

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1Jenson_AKA_DL
marraskuu 14, 2008, 4:09pm

Have you ever noticed that reviews trashing books tend to be more popular than positive reviews? I've been noticing this trend quite a bit on LT. I'm always interested in the "hot reviews" on the home page and the ones that seem to stay the longest are, for the most part, bad reviews of popular books. When my reviews are sorted by thumbs every one that shows up in my books reviewed by other LTers are all negative reviews.

Even one of my more negative reviews, I've only done a few negatives, is second on my list of thumbed up reviews.

Any thoughts or theories?

2The_Kat_Cache
Muokkaaja: marraskuu 14, 2008, 4:15pm

Some ideas:

1. Bad reviews tend to be more informative.
2. Bad reviews tend to be funnier.
3. Bad reviews of popular books tend to stand out.
4. If a book's very popular and you share that person's negative evaluation of the book, there's a sense of solidarity.

3CarlosMcRey
marraskuu 14, 2008, 4:22pm

Well, whether you consider it a good thing or a bad thing, a lot of people get pleasure out of snarkiness, so there is that. And it's much easier for a reviewer to be colorful/entertaining when they're taking the piss out of a book. Trying to describe why a work is a transcendent piece of writing is much more difficult and generally less fun to read.

I think there's also the fact that they are negative reviews of popular books. If you've read a book that everyone else is raving about and found it disappointing, you're probably going to feel a little frustration. Sometimes it's difficult to articulate what you find disappointing in a book, and when everyone else seems to like it, it's easy to feel as if maybe you're just not getting something. So when you read a review that really pulls that work to pieces, not only do you feel like someone else shares your opinion, but they often manage to verbalize/conceptualize frustrations that you couldn't quite put your finger on. Or at least that's my experience.

4Caramellunacy
marraskuu 14, 2008, 4:56pm

Admittedly, I've seen negative reviews of popular books stay up there for a long time, but I couldn't even look at the hot reviews for months because it seemed like every review up there was a squee-fest about Breaking Dawn, so I haven't really been struck by a wave of negativity. (Not to say that you're wrong, just that I haven't really noticed.)

First off, they're reviews of popular books, so more people are going to be looking at and have opinions on those than on something more obscure. Personally, I usually find negative reviews (though not necessarily those that have made it onto the hot reviews page) to be more informative and more interesting than positive reviews because especially in the case of popular books that everyone else seems to love, the reviewer is often trying to come to terms with just why he or she didn't like it. That makes for much more interesting reading to me than - omg! This book changed my life, it was so good...

So I'm often more likely to thumbs-up a negative review - provided it doesn't strike me as mean...

(and I think CarlosMcRey hit on some really good points as well)