What to do with a family member's biased review on IFDB?

Hi all!
I could really use some advice. :grimacing:

I’ve just come back to IF websites after a brief absence and was checking on everything, when I saw that my dad created an IFDB account and rated my game!

To be clear, he was not involved with the game’s development in any way, and didn’t even know about it until I shared the links with my family and friends after the comp opened.
But obviously there’s a bias there, and although I didn’t see any rules explicitly forbidding something like this, I imagine it might not be considered OK?

It’s my bad, too, because he recently mentioned he was interested in judging IFComp entries and leaving ratings everywhere he could, and at the time I didn’t think to question it…

What makes me worry more is that instead of just leaving a rating, he chose to review the game, but only wrote a few words (so it’s not a very helpful review).

Before getting in touch with him, I’d love to have a bit of input from folks here, since I’m totally new to IFDB and have no idea what’s considered appropriate.
If I asked him to remove the unhelpful review and leave only the rating, would that be all right?
Or would it be safer to just remove the rating altogether since we’re related? (In that case, should I warn my friends to avoid rating my game too?)

Thanks in advance!!


Hey, that’s pretty cool that your dad is supporting you like that!

I am just a rando – we do have folks who help run IFDB so I’d definitely defer to their thoughts (I think at least @dfabulich and @mathbrush?) But from my perspective:

First, IFDB is a pretty open environment; beta testers are allowed to rate and review games, for example, and I’ve never seen anyone think that was inappropriate – it’s the nature of a preference-aggregating system that folks with potentially super personal takes will weigh in, and that’s OK. Heck, given the nature of the current IF community, many folks are at least kind of online-friends with each other, so if that kind of thing were grounds for recusal there’d be a lot fewer ratings and reviews, which would be bad all around!

If there were a coordinated campaign to like flood a game with ratings, that can an issue, but if your dad played the game and liked it – and especially if he wrote a review explaining why he did – that seems totally fine to me. I might encourage him to expand the review a little bit if it doesn’t seem super helpful, and/or add a note to mention the family connection, but I don’t think any of that would be required by any means, just potentially nice things to do.

For the Comp, it’s also cool for friends and family to review games, and actually that’s often a good way to get the word out and expose more people to IF! I think the best practice is to just emphasize to them the rule that they have to play at least 5 games and rate them all honestly to be a judge.


(Edit: Mike was first and I agree with what he said!)

I think the most important rule on ifdb is to avoid vote manipulation, especially in groups, or voting in bad faith.

My son wrote a game when he was five, and I think five or six of my students made accounts to review it and give it five stars, then never interacted with ifdb again. I discussed it with the other mods and we ended up removing all of those reviews because they were in bad faith and part of a coordinated effort.

One review from your dad doesn’t sound so bad, since it’s not a concerted effort and since he probably does really think you did a good job.

If it makes you feel more comfortable, he (or one of the mods like me) can mark the review as “do not apply to this games average” as a checkbox when you edit it. That lets the review stay there to show his support but doesn’t affect the game itself. Very short reviews aren’t helpful but that doesn’t necessarily mean “must be deleted”.

As for friends, if you had a whole group hop on at once and rate it five stars and ignore all other games, that would seem to me like a problem. If they looked into IF and rated a variety of games and based their ratings of yours, that would be fine, though.

(Edit: all this just my point of view as one mode, the group as a whole might come to different conclusions if it became a problem which doesn’t seem likely)


@DeusIrae @mathbrush

Thank you so much for your feedback! That’s all very reassuring, and I feel like I have a much better grasp of sharing/rating etiquette now. :blush:
I’m definitely thankful for his support and I’m glad to hear that it’s OK for his review to stay up for now.

I would love for it to be marked as “do not apply to this game’s average” though, to be on the safe side!
I’m not sure when he’ll get around to checking the checkbox as he’s preparing for a big trip right now, but I’ll definitely direct him to do so as soon as he can.
(Or if a mod doesn’t mind doing it, that would be super appreciated! Here’s a link to the review just in case)

I’ll also ask him to add a few details if possible, as the body currently only says “Good job”… :joy:

Thanks again for all the info!
(And I’ve noted the edit about the verdict being subject to change – if it becomes an issue down the line, I fully accept any decision made by the team!)


I changed it to “don’t add this rating”, so the review is just cosmetic now. He can express his love and support to the best of his capability without unduly influencing anything.

I wish my parents tried my games! I got my dad to beta test a game a week ago and that’s the first time anyone in my family has played one of my games. Glad you’re getting some happy results with yours!


Yay, that’s perfect! Thank you!

Wishing you success in having your family try more of your games; it’s neat that your dad agreed to test one!

I was pleasantly surprised that both my parents played Dysfluent, as I expected similar issues. Maybe its educational nature and choice-based format helped make it more approachable?

The feedback from my mom was very interesting as her only point of reference is mobile games (for example, she would have liked the “Start” button to be in the middle of the page!)


Your honesty is refreshing.


Awwwwwww! :grin: That’s sweet.


My review of @Ally’s dad:

:star::star::star::star::star: Excellent effort, highly recommended


Sounds very nice, honestly


Hahaha, I made sure to pass on the 5-star review – he was delighted to get one of his own!
He’s definitely a great dad. :heart: