Please consider archiving all/some of your reviews to IF

I like this a lot, but my problem is I sometimes feel iffy reviewing games I competed against. I really don’t like giving out stars in this case. So I think it’s OK just to write a review without a rating. In case anyone was wondering. I also think it’s ok to just give out stars, too.

Also as an author I sometimes worry, what if I decide to change my review? I think we’re all erring on the side of encouragement here, but there is a definite critcism vs supportiveness angle. I suppose a disclaimer would mostly work.

Note that authors can also embargo reviews til the 17th. So if you don’t want to forget, you don’t have to.

Edited to clean stuff up. JMac, let me know if I’m going over the line, but I hope I’ve avoided specifics well enough.

@Andrew Yes, there’s no way I’ll add stars to reviews if I post any. And I agree, authors writing reviews should definitely use the embargo option to avoid breaking comp rules.

I like IFDB as a review platform. It’s a better way to engage the audience and perhaps provoke (hopefully constructive) discussion about particular games. I’ve long pondered cross-posting reviews to both the blog and IFDB, and I’m definitely open to doing that if I thought a particular view suited both venues.

But I have an inexplicable reluctance about publishing my stuff in multiple places. I wrote a pretty thorough review of a Star Trek tie-in novel for a Christian entertainment website, and I started a draft on my blog to announce/link to the review, but I never got around to posting it. I liked that review so much that I put it in my portfolio for my new media degree program, but I just didn’t feel like it was for the blog. I’d have a similar reluctance about posting all my Comp reviews written for my blog on the IFDB, even if doing so would be good for their preservation. I’d feel like I’d have to consider it on a case-by-case basis. But anyways, I always make things too complicated. [emote]:)[/emote]

No, that makes sense, Bainespal. Something’s just belong in one place. I looked at Zarf’s old IFComp reviews, and those seem much better on their own rather than as part of IFDB, especially since they refer to each other so much.

Also, games that have at least 10 reviews actually will potentially show up in top50-top100 lists. My comp game from last year got at least that, but none of them are on IFDB.

If you’re confident your blog isn’t going anywhere you can add an external link to the IFDB listing instead of copying the whole review.

And of course … on#Reviews is a great place for blog links.

I am very much pro the idea (put your comp reviews on IFDB) in theory, and have advocated for it in the past, and also acted on it myself to an extent. You’ll find a good number of my past reviews of IFComp games, which were originally in a blog, on IFDB. For instance this link … FComp+2012 is to 25 reviews of IFComp 2012 games.

You can tag each review you add to IFDB with the comp it came from to make it easy to find by tag-searching – or, if readers go to your reviewer page, they can then click the tag with the name of the competition to open all those reviews at once.

Having said all that, in practice I’ve found porting reviews from a blog to IFDB pretty hard.

Considering IFDB in a vaccum, it’s a little hard to write for in the first place because of its demand for ‘spoiler’ tags. That partly dictates how you write and structure a review that will go on there. And IFDB is also eternal-leaning. Most blogs are contemporary-leaning.

On your own blog, you determine what kind of review you’re writing and for whom, and can establish rules about that. And these rules then determine the way you write there. In the case of the majority of IFComp blogs, the reviews are written with a target audience of people playing those games during the comp. Even just a few months later and with that context gone, they can already start to read like old weekly magazine articles.

In most cases, just copy-pasting your blog review into IFDB will give a weird-feeling result. Even if you frame it with an intro saying ‘I originally posted this in my blog for IFComp yada yada’ (which is the easiest way to frame it as an artefact) you will likely need to re-edit, for spoilers if nothing else.

I reassess each review editing-wise as I move it to IFDB, and re-edit as necessary. And it’s been a lot of work.


What Wade said. When I review for my blog I tend to do a lot of things – from anti-spoiler structuring to external links to illustrations – that would be hard to transfer to IFDB. Besides, some of them run a lot longer than the typical IFDB review. So I don’t have the time/stamina to reedit everything on the blog for IFDB suitability. And if I did, I slightly feel like I’d be spamming the database.

That said, I can see the argument for adding external links. I realize that doesn’t address the issue that the website might go down, but my blog at least is hosted by wordpress proper rather than in some other location where I’m paying for server maintenance, so I think it’s stable(ish) in the short term.

In the longer term, hm. Is it worth talking about archiving strategies for IF related blogs? Like, I could see an argument for keeping some of that on the IF Archive if we were able to agree a good format in which to do it. And, ideally, some way of scraping it that didn’t involve a lot of by-hand work, but that must exist.

Someone could set up a script to pull down and store the Planet-IF RSS feed. That’s not complete, though, obviously.

The Archive is oriented around storage rather than browsability, so format doesn’t matter much. If anybody wants to upload a text file with a bazillion reviews concatenated, that’s fine, I think. Or HTML, or Markdown, or whatever. Or a .zip file containing reviews as separate files.

To make life easier, include your name, the event, and the year in the filename.

The Internet Archive will most likely archive most of the blogs. Not that they couldn’t also be archived in the IF Archive if someone wanted to.

Reviews are nice, but ratings too are very useful for people looking for IFComp games to play. So please consider adding ratings to the IFDB for the games you have played. It only takes a few clicks. The IFDB uses a 1–5 star rating systems, so you can just halve your official IFComp ratings and then round up or down.

Here’s the list of the IFComp 2015 games sorted by current IFDB average ratings. I think it gives a nice indication of what the final results will be (at least it corresponds pretty well with my ratings [emote]:)[/emote]). But the number of ratings vary, and a couple of games currently have only one rating, while one game has ten ratings.