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Review & Recommendation Guidelines [Updated May 27]

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#1
Mar 25, 2013 12:40 PM
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As some of you may know, a few months ago the staff put together guidelines for reviews and recommendations on MAL. All staff members have discussed, read through and approved these guidelines.

These guidelines are intended to provide a clearer standard so that writers can contribute better reviews and recommendations, readers are more aware of when a submission should be reported, and moderators can make more consistent judgements. Much of what is written in these guidelines were followed by most of the staff to begin with, it has just never been formally written down. If you would like to write recommendations and reviews for MAL, the staff asks that you read through these guidelines and be aware of them prior to posting.

If there are any questions regarding these guidelines, please post in this thread. If you disagree with something in one of the guidelines, please also post in this thread. However, please keep in mind that you must present solid arguments for us to reconsider these rules.

We hope that these guidelines will help improve reviews and recommendations on MAL, and will help to further communication between users and moderators.

The individual guidelines can be found in the MAL Guidelines & FAQs board. For convenience they are linked here:
- Reviews
- Recommendations

Please note: Previews/early episode commentaries are not reviews and will be removed when reported.

So, I would like to stress this point: If you'd like to write your first impression of a series, or your thoughts as you make your way through, please use the episode discussion threads and/or your blog for this purpose.

Thanks,
MAL Staff

May 27th Update
Modified by Kineta, May 27, 2013 11:12 AM



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#2
Mar 25, 2013 2:37 PM

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Thank you very much for this, let's hope the review and recommendation system can at least improve a bit from here.

Join the MSP Club for an in-depth look at score progressions and other stats of currently airing anime
 
#3
Mar 25, 2013 3:01 PM

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This is great.
Does this mean we can report the reviews that are against the guidelines?
 
#4
Mar 25, 2013 5:56 PM
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Nice work guys. Finally this site will be full of intelligent, quality reviews that won't even shame the best anime reviewers, calling it right now.

Maybe.
 
#5
Mar 25, 2013 6:04 PM

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Glad to see you guys took the initiative and revised the review + rec system. Things were simply out of control.
 
#6
Mar 25, 2013 6:11 PM

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Lol actually I don't know what changed, since I never wrote reviews (except for 2 where I mainly took a look at the tips and guidlines on the "write a review" page, everything else that is stated here in these guidlines were actually a given, at least for me) or made recommendation, but those guidlines look very nice. Especially the thing about those 1 episode reviewsfirst impressions, they are simply annoying and dumb.

So I want to know as well, can we report reviews that are solely based on first or first few episodes? Don't know if that was possible before though, I never cared enough :/

Oh and: nice work!
 
#7
Mar 25, 2013 6:12 PM

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This is good to hear, and I may start writing reviews again.
 
#8
Mar 25, 2013 7:16 PM

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Very helpful/informative guys :3

I just hope that my reviews/recommendations follow these *cringes*
If not, i will happily edit/delete them to follow these guidelines.

Learning and moving forward *nodes*
 
#9
Mar 25, 2013 9:33 PM

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http://myanimelist.net/clubs.php?cid=26244

Looks like this club will be rendered useless...
"Hello, Mr. Wind up Bird."
 
Mar 26, 2013 12:30 AM
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ITS;HAPPENING

Thank you Based Staff.
 
Mar 26, 2013 3:00 AM

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If only they had done this during the airing of SAO xD

"Have you ever encounter a wild beast that guarantees to never bite anyone?" ~ Roronoa Zoro
 
Mar 26, 2013 3:27 AM

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Thank you, this is a good day for MAL!
Stone Ocean adaption when?
 
Mar 26, 2013 3:45 AM

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Oooohhshit. This rule has been finally enforced. After 1, 2, 3, 4, 5...... years! I am glad.

Good job MAL.
 
Mar 26, 2013 3:45 AM

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Thank you very much for addressing the issues regarding reviews. Of course, I am especially pleased to finally see the much needed distinction between a preview and a review being made.
Also, it is nice to see the guidelines being implemented before the spring season starts.
A fine day for MAL, indeed.
 
Mar 26, 2013 5:32 AM

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By the way, is it possible to prominently place a link to the guidelines in the recommendation/review feature so that everyone can notice them once they try to write new ones?
Stone Ocean adaption when?
 
Mar 26, 2013 6:13 AM

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Nidhoeggr said:
By the way, is it possible to prominently place a link to the guidelines in the recommendation/review feature so that everyone can notice them once they try to write new ones?

This would be a good idea. Like how DeviantArt makes you read the standards and guidelines before you post a critique.
 
Mar 26, 2013 7:15 AM

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"Reviews must NOT:

- contain plot specifics beyond those described in the synopsis; everything else is considered a spoiler."

I never read reviews on MAL before watching an anime because almost all positively rated review here contains spoilers, and huge ones, at least 50% of reviews here contains spoiler, people want to write huge walls of text so they add what happens in the anime, and sometimes what they call review is in fact an analysis <.<

A little example from a Shinsekai Yori review :

SPOILED

Mod Edit: Please use spoiler tags.
Modified by Kineta, Apr 7, 2013 2:51 AM
 
Mar 26, 2013 7:31 AM

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good day for "recommendations". so all "Looking for action, comedy, drama and more action? This is the one for you. Along with a whole bandwagon of great characters to love." will be removed?
Do pop-up headlights really endanger pedestrians that much?
 
Mar 26, 2013 12:44 PM
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Thank you everyone for the positive feedback.

@danmari: With "objectively", we mean more unemotionally than without bias. Some users confuse negative reviews with long, emotional rants and this point is mainly aimed at discouraging this.

@Alexx_ & SquChan: Yes, you can report reviews/recommendations against the guidelines.

@Nidhoeggr: Yes, links to these guidelines will be placed on the "Write a Review/Recommendation" pages tomorrow, or at latest, within the week.

@Bananarama_: The latter part of your example is opinion, and if expanded upon, could become a nice recommendation. The first part is merely genre re-stating, which the guidelines now discourage.
Modified by Kineta, Mar 26, 2013 12:48 PM



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Mar 26, 2013 12:49 PM

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I don't think you guys are consistent in terms of deleting certain reviews. A couple of mine were deleted for being "witty and not a review", but there are tons of reviews out there doing the same thing, unfazed.
 
Mar 26, 2013 2:12 PM

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Why, that's great. Hopefully some of these people who are starting reviews have a look at this before posting, so that MAL can avoid the very annoying 1st episode reviews.
 
Mar 26, 2013 6:49 PM

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Smooched said:
I don't think you guys are consistent in terms of deleting certain reviews. A couple of mine were deleted for being "witty and not a review", but there are tons of reviews out there doing the same thing, unfazed.


I belive a big cleanup on both reviews and recommendations is needed in the enxt few weeks. We should all help by reporting reviews that do not fit the guidelines and try to bring back some usefulness to these features by returnign their credibility.

And is it possible to integrate some kind of counter into the current MAL system that keeps track of user reports and issues warnings based on that? I'd like to see a restriction of the ability to review/recommend once a user proves that he is unable to cope with the guidelines.
Modified by Nidhoeggr, Mar 26, 2013 7:00 PM
Stone Ocean adaption when?
 
Mar 26, 2013 7:24 PM

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There's also a simple solution to all the episode 1 reviews and recommendations:
Only enable these features after a series is either finished or reached a sufficient amount of chapters/episodes. Something like 50+ chapters/episodes at the beginning. If the cseries continue to get longer, simply change it to 40%+ of the published content. E.g. WSj series like Bleach or Naruto could only be rated after they reached chapter 50 and as they get longer the starting point for reviews/recs gets pushed as well to (80+ once they reach 200 chapters, 120+ once they reach 300 chapters, etc.).
Stone Ocean adaption when?
 
Mar 26, 2013 9:38 PM
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Instead of one pompous ass writing cookie cutter reviews, we can have hundreds. Hooray
!
 
Mar 27, 2013 6:51 AM
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Nidhoeggr said:
I belive a big cleanup on both reviews and recommendations is needed in the enxt few weeks. We should all help by reporting reviews that do not fit the guidelines and try to bring back some usefulness to these features by returnign their credibility.
Yes, please report bad recs/reviews when you see them. It really does help.
 
Mar 28, 2013 2:28 AM

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eeeeee~ finally this is very nice and a good start i'm glad :D this also encourage members to use the "Episode Discussion" since is useful and not many member use that part. So let's clean just like Chihiro did with that dirty bath tub.
 
Mar 28, 2013 3:48 PM

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moeslasher said:
metamorphius said:
Thank you very much for addressing the issues regarding reviews. Of course, I am especially pleased to finally see the much needed distinction between a preview and a review being made.
Also, it is nice to see the guidelines being implemented before the spring season starts.
A fine day for MAL, indeed.


The 00ber Elitist´s have finally succeeded.....
Now we can fight against SHIT TASTE and Entropy

We couldn't have done it without Inferno Cop, Madoka and others whose names we may not ever know, but who have sacrificed themselves for higher standards and betterment of MAL.
 
Mar 28, 2013 5:31 PM
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Smooched said:
I don't think you guys are consistent in terms of deleting certain reviews. A couple of mine were deleted for being "witty and not a review", but there are tons of reviews out there doing the same thing, unfazed.


This is not supposed to happen. I'd be interested in seeing a review you wrote that you felt was wrongfully deleted. Please PM me the text when you get a minute.
 
Mar 28, 2013 9:57 PM

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I'm really glad that there will be policies against those bad "reviews" that are just commentary on the first episodes when a new season starts. Every single one I've read is all just stuff the person should have posted in the episode discussion thread.
 
Mar 29, 2013 4:54 AM

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I'm kind of confused with writing a good recommendation. I'm not good at writing things like reviews and essays, so I tried my best to write ones (that's why I don't write reviews anymore because I'm not good at writing and got deleted because of bad one). Though I know that I have some recommendations that are kind of "forced", especially with the more recent ones, to get to even numbers of recommendations.

I kind of corrected some of them to be better, but I'm not sure if they are ok or not.
I Two Syaorans from Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE and TRC!!!
 
Mar 29, 2013 11:04 AM

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When I went to report reviews only written with 2 lines.I saw notice like Only report spam or bad reviews and downvote that type of review.Is this line going to change or I can't report review written in 2 sentences.
 
Mar 29, 2013 3:57 PM
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So i can report a review that has been made just after 1-2 episodes have been aired?
 
Mar 30, 2013 12:31 AM

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shiranui51 said:
"Reviews must NOT:

- contain plot specifics beyond those described in the synopsis; everything else is considered a spoiler."

I never read reviews on MAL before watching an anime because almost all positively rated review here contains spoilers, and huge ones, at least 50% of reviews here contains spoiler, people want to write huge walls of text so they add what happens in the anime, and sometimes what they call review is in fact an analysis <.<

A little example from a Shinsekai Yori review :

SPOILED


Ironic, then, that you just did the same exact thing you are complaining about in your post (which I do agree with, otherwise). Except even worse, since no one reading this thread would have any idea that a series spoiler might occur in a MAL meta-discussion.

I think the general idea everyone should try to keep in mind is to be thoughtful when posting, whatever the topic might be.

Mod Edit: Spoiler tags added.
Modified by Kineta, Apr 7, 2013 2:52 AM
 
Mar 30, 2013 2:31 AM

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2_Steps_Ahead said:
When I went to report reviews only written with 2 lines.I saw notice like Only report spam or bad reviews and downvote that type of review.Is this line going to change or I can't report review written in 2 sentences.

You can report any review that violates the guidelines regardless of length.
 
Mar 30, 2013 6:11 AM

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Kineta said:
So, I would like to stress this point: If you'd like to write your first impression of a series, or your thoughts as you make your way through, please use the episode discussion threads and/or your blog for this purpose.

Finally, THANK YOU!
 
Mar 30, 2013 1:23 PM

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I think this is actually really good news overall. Getting rid of the 2 sentence reviews and the worthless ones written the first day the show aired will do alot for making the review system more useful. The whole objectivity element though concerns me a bit as I think it leaves too much grey area. As stated in a previous post, reviews are not objective. If you don't have an opinion, why bother writing one? People also have different styles, not everyone writes or gets their point in the same way. I don't think the review system should be striving for professional looking reviews like you would see in a magazine or on a news site (like ANN for instance). I think users should be encouraged to write, even if they are not particularly good at it as that is the only way they will get better at it. Though obviously I wholly agree that some basic spell-checking and attention to sentence structure and punctuation should be followed, regardless how bad a writer you are you can at least do that.
 
Mar 31, 2013 6:56 AM

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Listed under examples of bad recommendations is "Both about student-teacher relationship. The differences are the art style and that Katekyo is about a private teacher while Nee, Sensei is about school teacher."

I dont know if I am alone on this but personally I'd find such a recommendation useful. Sometimes when looking through recommendations I'd rather not read anything lengthy, so a recommendation like that which lists a prominent similarity and slight differences is perfect for me. If I want to know more I'd click the recommended anime, read its reviews/synopsis and draw my own similarities or maybe check the recommendation of another user if thats available. So I'd rather such a recommendation not be listed as an example of bad. Just my 2 cents.
 
Apr 1, 2013 1:39 AM

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This is great, I was getting sick of seeing those first impressions clogging up the reviews of every anime that is airing.

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

 
Apr 1, 2013 4:52 AM

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Hallelujah, we finally have standards!!

Been waiting for this change for a long long time. Now can we fix the "review helpful/not helpful" system to just a "helpful" option. And rotate reviews so that it's not just the most popular ones that get seen?

PS I have to admit I'm guilty of writing spoilers and typing CAPS LOCK stuff in my reviews. Will sincerely try to reform.
 
Apr 2, 2013 12:20 AM

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Seems like my thread won't be that useful anymore. You still stalking it Kineta?

Edit: Forgot to put my reactions.
I'm happy to see mods working hard! Do you guys have any plans to implement that new review system soon? Haven't heard about it in months.
Modified by Niyawa, Apr 2, 2013 10:57 AM
 
Apr 2, 2013 4:57 AM

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This is a wonderful thing.
I have my own anime blog. It's called Anime Viking. Hope you'll you read it!

 
Apr 2, 2013 6:59 AM
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Reviews must NOT:
- contain plot specifics beyond those described in the synopsis; everything else is considered a spoiler.


It's good to keep away spoilers and I really think it is a great idea to put a rule like this but I wonder if stick with only the information provided on the synopsis would be a good idea I know I'm not the only one who noticed it but a few anime (probably less than 10%) have a two line synopses or don't even give the general idea about the show which should be the synopsis finality lucky it's less than 10% of the total anime data base but on those few case any kind of review would be considered spoiler, wouldn't it?
That is why I think some of the synopses should be re-written I think if anyone who finds one of those synopses should report and submit a better one that at least gives a general idea about what the show is it's mostly with older anime though it may take forever to find all since it's not that many to begin with.
 
Apr 4, 2013 7:18 PM

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Xinil said:
Smooched said:
I don't think you guys are consistent in terms of deleting certain reviews. A couple of mine were deleted for being "witty and not a review", but there are tons of reviews out there doing the same thing, unfazed.


This is not supposed to happen. I'd be interested in seeing a review you wrote that you felt was wrongfully deleted. Please PM me the text when you get a minute.


I don't keep copies of them.
 
Apr 5, 2013 4:08 AM

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How long does it takes for MAL team to get review/rec removed?

Reported some a while back but it's still there.
 
Apr 5, 2013 11:05 AM

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I already started to see the changes on other's people reviews, thankfully, not on my mine. I am glad the changes were made since I really couldn't bare to see a paragraph or two reviews, however I am concerned with the degree of the change in the reviews, I hope I won't encounter abuse of power ^^
 
Apr 6, 2013 12:55 PM

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I find all this sad.

Where to begin?...

I guess, in this case- at the ending is best.

I'm on the internet looking at a list of... lets just say '6' new anime I may be interested in watching. Of course I'm not going to watch them all, so I bring up Google, type in the name, and MAL is in the top 10 hits. Of course, MAL will only give me the synopsis, genre, etc.- because me getting information on what _actually_was_executed_ in that episode is nothing MAL wants me to have easy access to. MAL has to 'protect me' from other users 'first impressions'.
No, seriously. I WANT them.
No?
Ok.

Congratulations.
You have made the internet 'better' by not allowing useful information to be easily shared. Apparently it is more 'important' for some random anime studio to have their work taken 'in context' and 'reviewed fairly', than it is for me to get a thumbnail of information based on what they partially accomplished. No, i can't have more info relevant to my finding what I like or avoiding what I don't even though users want to share it.
Thanks for that.

First, you make up your own definitions of what stuff is:
"early episode commentaries are not reviews"
Ok- whatever.
but as an aside you just arbitrarily decided that no anime writers are not capable of investing viewer interest in the first episode (which is actually true in some cases). Yes, I understand that 'more episodes' will come, and that in most cases a story will build and grow- but that had nothing to do with 'looking back' on what you actually saw in episode one. (or 1-3, or 1-120 in a 300 episode saga, right?)

Letting an anime go a full 12 (or whatever) episodes has nothing at all to do with:
- 'slice of life' anime
- quality of voice acting
- quality of animation
- type of art style used
- anime tone

Historically, over all episodes, anime unlikely to change:
-unmotivated/stupid main character
- ridiculous premise/plot
- lack of or over-abundance of fan service
- lack of attention to detail/nonsensical plot execution

You can call these 'impressions' if you want to- but they are core aspects of any anime- and people actually choose/avoid anime based on these (and other) points.

Look, let's be hones here. The review scoring system... well, to be nice- it could use some work. Everyone knows that 'helpful/not helpful' seems to be read more as 'agree/don't agree'- which is not at all the point- (is it?)

This might be a cue to actually develop a _good_ review system, so moderation is unnecessary because the system will actually 'correct' itself with user interaction. Of course, as mentioned above, you could just disable allowing posting reviews 'till you're ready.' and none of this would matter- but you'd still be 'not providing' information based on 'the dream of a complete series', in defiance of 'the reality of people who want info now.'

I go into more detail on my blog as to why this is a bad idea:
http://myanimelist.net/blog.php?eid=726993

Now, don't get me wrong- I do think accurate and objective (and fully informed) reviews are a good thing- but this doesn't have to be an 'either/or' thing where denying _all_ feedback is preferable to actually allowing users to inform each other. You want to call them 'impressions', and auto-delete them after a month? Fine. Do that- but allow SOME sharing of information. I would say 'that's why you're here'- but clearly you think otherwise- and I'm sure not in a position to tell you what you think this resource is here for- just what I & (probably) thousands of users would like to _use_ this resource for.

Giving people more reasons to use this site is a good thing, isn't it?
If you aren't watching Zetsuen no Tempest (Civilization Blaster), you should be. Brilliant writing with legit plot twists.

Just finished blog entry 'Japanese Authors Take Heed' Series (JATH)! Entry 03: Proactive Villains, Reactionary Heroes'.
 
Apr 6, 2013 9:13 PM

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I just want to say I just cracked up when I received a message saying one of my recommendations from 6 years ago was removed for "not meeting the Guidelines". I agree, it was a pretty vague recommendation of "Comedy with young girls that all seem to like the main character." So I figured I'd go write a better one that better described the two similarity's. When I got to the show's page I was curious to see the recommendations from other users...sure enough they where all as unhelpful as mine. What I don't understand is how you MODs remove recommendations (either based on how many reports it gets or what) but don't seem to look through the rest of the recs while on that particular anime's page. I feel like I should just go flag every rec from 2007 now.
 
Apr 7, 2013 12:18 AM

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bloggbigg said:
Giving people more reasons to use this site is a good thing, isn't it?

You seem to have missed the point.

While I'm not against your argument that giving people information so they can chose if they should or not watch a show, it doesn't change the fact that it's not supposed to happen in the review section when a show just aired. That's not a review, just first impressions. I'm not sure why it's so hard to check the episode discussion where everyone comments their thoughts on the show.
 
Apr 7, 2013 12:20 AM

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bloggbigg said:
[Retarded shit that literally makes no sense.]


You're asking for episode summaries and first impressions - both of which are available in an easily found link on the same page you'd get from searching for reviews on google, but more importantly; both of which are not fucking reviews.
 
Apr 7, 2013 3:42 AM

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Niyawa said:
You seem to have missed the point.

(sigh)
Niyawa said:

While I'm not against your argument that giving people information so they can chose if they should or not watch a show, it doesn't change the fact that it's not supposed to happen in the review section when a show just aired.

I love how people love to 'win' arguments by making their own 'facts'. Yes I know it's 'not supposed to happen'- I just think there are reasons why the concept should be given consideration.
Niyawa said:
That's not a review, just first impressions.

Actually, I covered that. Believe what you want- then look up the word 'review' so you can see what the rest of the world mistakenly thinks.
Niyawa said:

I'm not sure why it's so hard to check the episode discussion where everyone comments their thoughts on the show.

I probably a similar reason as to why 'improper' reviews aren't allowed to be pushed down for later weeding out by the peer ranking system. Or maybe because if you want a site feature to be popular, you want it to be at a glance & easy to use.
If you aren't watching Zetsuen no Tempest (Civilization Blaster), you should be. Brilliant writing with legit plot twists.

Just finished blog entry 'Japanese Authors Take Heed' Series (JATH)! Entry 03: Proactive Villains, Reactionary Heroes'.
 
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