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That elusive MH rating
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zorrothepiking Original Post: Feb 20 '07,  12:53 pm (Updated: Feb 20 '07,  12:55 pm)           Reply
Reviews written: 59
Member since: Nov 13, 2006

Post: 111063
That elusive MH rating

I took a swing at earning an MH rating on a recent review and was unable to do so. I feel like I'm still in a learning process in my music review writing, as each new review gives me a chance to tweak and enhance my content and style. I know the EqiFAQs list this:

Most Helpful: The review stands out from other reviews of the same product as the best. This rating is only available to Advisors and Category Leads, and should only be used when more than one review is available for a specific product.

As it states, however, these are only guidelines and actual rating is left up the rater. I have been looking for Music Reviews that have received MH ratings and also looking back over my old reviews to see what I can continue to improve upon. Here are a couple questions:

What criteria seem to be common for assigning an MH? I've seen MH's given on first reviews multiple times. The MH's I've seen also seem to be very heavy (In my opinion) on 'tidbits' about the production and band, band history, historical context, etc. Is it possible to write a Most Helpful reivew on an album that is only focussed on the album?

Second, can anyone suggest some authors that I might read to get some examples? The only MHs I've found were from one author, and I do not enjoy his style or wish to emulate it. I'm hoping that there are additional authors that write spectacular music reviews whom I could read to get ideas.

Any insight here would be great. Thanks!

     
zorrothepiking Posted: Feb 20 '07,  12:57 pm           Reply
Reviews written: 59
Member since: Nov 13, 2006

Post: 111064
RE: That elusive MH rating

To clarify, I like the style I've developed and am not looking to completely overhaul it to match someone else's in an attempt to get a MH or two. I'm hoping there are things that I've been excluding or perhaps minor stylistic issues that are a hindrance. I love writing music reviews and just want to continue to develop.

     
bob_tomato Posted: Feb 21 '07,  10:49 am           Reply
Reviews written: 286
Member since: Nov 17, 2002

moderator in Musical Equipment
Post: 111260
RE: That elusive MH rating

Interesting approach - trying to craft an MH review... not that there's anything wrong with that :)

First, I will state for the record that, in principle, I am against rating a first and solitary review as Most Helpful. By definition, there is nothing to compare the review against, and therefore it cannot be given the label of "most". Technically, it already has top placement since it's by itself; it IS the Most Helpful review, no matter what rate it has earned.

That being said, there are those rare times when a first review is so well written that a member might feel inclined to give it an MH. That's OK, but I have also seen this abused in some categories - there was a group of Advisors in a category MH-ing each other left and right for some time in the past couple years. That is the sort of abusive behavior that should not be happening.

Next post - about writing an MH review...

     
bob_tomato Posted: Feb 21 '07,  11:12 am (Updated: Feb 21 '07,  11:15 am)           Reply
Reviews written: 286
Member since: Nov 17, 2002

moderator in Musical Equipment
Post: 111261
RE: That elusive MH rating

Crafting a Most Helpful Music Review:

Rule #1. Don't try.
Just do your best to write a good review in your own style, do it as best as you can, and an MH may happen for you in time.

The MH rates I've given have been to reviews that grab my attention, keep it the whole way through, teach me something, convince me one way or another about the product, do all this with a balanced flow that is easy to read, and not feel overlong (NO - I'm not talking about word count; I don't do word counts - I'm saying that reading the review doesn't feel long and drawn out to me).

Notice that there is nothing in what I've said so far that is definable, like "Talk about the songs and the music", "Discuss the sound of the band", or "give some historical context". Those things are good, they're pretty much expected of music reviews, and to whatever extent a writer provides them does affect my rate to some extent. But simply giving MORE or ALL of those sorts of definable things isn't the way to earn an MH with me...

In my experience, earning an MH can have more to do with how your review resonates with me than with how well it is written, what detailed content it might contain, or how cleverly it is organized and presented. All those things are definitely important for any review, but remember that we're talking about the ONE review that deserves to be shown at the top of the heap, and on Epinions' front page as well.

I'm looking for something that is so good, I WANT it to be seen first. It's a review that I am proud to show to anyone who stumbles upon Epinions - this is an example of the best we have to offer.

     
zorrothepiking Posted: Feb 21 '07,  11:49 am           Reply
Reviews written: 59
Member since: Nov 13, 2006

Post: 111275
RE: That elusive MH rating

Great advice all around. I definitely appreciate the insight. I do see evidence that some reviews earn a MH, not because they are spectacularly written, but because they "resonate" with the rater. Whether it is because of similar opinions or a layout to their particular taste, I see one reviewer earn MHs with every music review, which is an impressive rating record.

One thing that I think would help me write better music reviews (towards an MH or not) would be returning to a more personal review. I have moved into a somewhat impersonal music review style, focusing to facts instead of what the album means to me. I've been trying to correct that with the last couple reviews and I hope to continue the trend. It sounds like what you are saying, then, is to focus on writing the best reviews I can, regardless of rating. If I connect with some advisors and earn some MHs, great. If not, my reviews will still benefit from the purposed improvement.

     
bob_tomato Posted: Feb 21 '07,  1:52 pm           Reply
Reviews written: 286
Member since: Nov 17, 2002

moderator in Musical Equipment
Post: 111324
RE: That elusive MH rating

Quote: zorrothepiking
It sounds like what you are saying, then, is to focus on writing the best reviews I can, regardless of rating. If I connect with some advisors and earn some MHs, great. If not, my reviews will still benefit from the purposed improvement.


Yes, that is what I'm saying.

One thing to pay attention to as well - the comments of Music Advisors you are coming to trust and understand. There is often good advice to be had in the suggestions they make; the trap that some new writers fall into, however, is that they elevate this advice to Rules That Must Be Followed.

That's one of the misconceptions that I have to address constantly with some members - they take things far too literally, and somehow miss that what we want them to do is to simply consider the advice they are given, weigh it against their personal style, and then act as they feel is best.
     
pvreditor Posted: Dec 11 '07,  1:54 pm           Reply
Reviews written: 427
Member since: May 31, 2002

moderator in Musical Equipment, Home & Garden, Cars
Post: 163866
RE: That elusive MH rating

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