where the writers are
Responsible Reviewing, Part 2

After the discussion in the comments on Monday's post about reviews, I decided to carry it one step further. Since there does seem to be a lot of abuse of the review system, I went to both the Barnes & Noble and Amazon sites to see what they said about leaving reviews.

Barnes & Noble (where there's still a lengthy discussion of sick cats on my Danger in Deer Ridge page) does seem to be trying to guide reviewers as to what's appropriate. This is from their site:

What to include in your review:

Please focus on the title's content. Your review will be most helpful to others if you include the reasons why you either liked or disliked the title. Hold your readers' full attention by limiting your review to 500 words or less.

What to exclude from your review:
Don't ruin the ending for others, and please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the title page. If you see any errors in the information on the title page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:
HTML tags
Profanity, obscenities, or vulgarities
Comments that defame anyone
Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
Comments focusing on the author
Comments that may ruin the ending for others
Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Then, if you want to flag a review as inappropriate, you'll get the following choices to click:

Inappropriate or abusive language
Off-topic content
Spam, private or commercial solicitation
Suspected underage user
Terms of Use Violation
Suspected copyright infringement

But what happens when you flag a review? Who knows? I flagged the ones on my book, and as of yesterday, they're still there. 

Amazon, on the other hand, is much less detailed. There's a button by the reviews that says: Report this content as inappropriate on the site

Clicking it will take you to the following message:
If you find this content inappropriate and think it should be removed from the Amazon.com site, let us know by clicking the button below. This information will be sent to Amazon.com and we will take appropriate action.

What their idea of "appropriate action" is, and how long it takes to get it implemented is another question entirely. Nor do they say who "we" is. (are?)