How To Read Reviews

posted Apr 06, 2002

There's an art to reading reviews. But it's easy to learn. Three simple rules:

  1. Ignore all positive opinions. (Listen only to statements of fact.)
  2. Ignore flames. Watch for the reviewer with an ulterior motive. (My personal canonical example, a movie reviewer reviewing the movie they would have written, not the one they saw.)
  3. The most importent thing to look at is the negative comments, esp. as compared against the positive. Are some people complaining that the software is hard to learn, while others rave about the power? Are there people upset at a movie for being too happy, but you like happy endings? Don't just look at the fact that there are negative reviews, see if you like or dislike their reasons.

Really, that's all there is to it. It's easy for me to tell what movies I'll like. It's fairly easy for me to tell about books now, too. Another "obvious in hindsight" observation. (I oughta make a category for that.)


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