Saturday, January 23, 2010 review updates

Yesterday on the Elecraft reflector Aptos head honcho Eric posted a request for people to submit new reviews of Elecraft products at eHam as "some of the eHam review categories are getting stale." Since he had helpfully provided a link to the K3 review category I took a look and sure enough since my updated review of November 24, 2009 there had been only three new reviews prior to Eric's call to action, and two of those had given less than a 5/5 rating.

I looked back through the reviews and was dismayed to find that my lengthy and not entirely complimentary review of September 18 in which I gave the K3 4/5 had been deleted. At first I suspected something sinister was going on. However my attention was eventually drawn to the review guidelines which state: "Multiple reviews of the same product by one person unfairly skews the product ratings. If you submit more than one review for the same product your older reviews will be removed. If you want the content of your older reviews to be in your updated review then you are responsible for cutting and pasting your old review content into your new review."

But doesn't always do what it states. For example, two fulsome reviews of the K3 by AD4C are present, one on September 5, 2009 and one on November 26, 2008. Finding these helped restore my belief in my sanity, because I was sure that I had seen others post updates to earlier reviews that were still present on the site.

It's a pity that doesn't make this policy clearer - for example, by warning you when you are about to post a review that it will cause the removal of an earlier one - and that it doesn't apply it consistently. Otherwise one might be forgiven for jumping to the conclusion that skewing of the results is acceptable if the direction is favourable towards an advertiser.


Jay Dighsx said...

I think it's silly they delete your old review. If they've got the programing ability to see you posted an review before and nuke it, why update your old review with a link at the start of it to the new review. (and let me tell you and I'm sure you know this, it's not to tricky to update a database record) What they are forgetting is you can learn a lot from someones negative and then positive review. For example I've read reviews where someone will say “I couldn't get X to work and thought it was a pile of garbage, 1 star.... until I figured out I was doing something wrong, 4 stars”

Also just a personal commentary on If it weren't for the review section on that site I'd vote to shut it down. It seems like every article or question posted there ends up being some mud slinging/name calling grudgefest. I used to have a membership there but let it lapse because I couldn't stand the nastiness that seemed to lurk there.

All this review stuff reminds me of a poster I saw that said “It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others"

Jay aka KD8EUR

Unknown said...

I had a reply from NA4M. Apparently removal of duplicate reviews is a manual process, therefore a bit hit and miss. I wouldn't have thought it was rocket science to make the database take care of that, as you say.

geoiii said...


I do not know if you have contacted our reviews manager regarding your issues but I am sure that he would be more than willing to help and/or explain what is going on.

You are also welcome to post into our "Site Talk" forum with any issues you have with eHam polices or web site operational issues.

It is true - the duplicate review detection and removal is all manual.

You are also correct about it not being rocket science to make the database / programing take care o f it.

I think that we should do a better job through programming it so that we warn the user about duplicate reviews or for that matter our code should be detecting duplicate reviews. For various reasons the code that runs has had very little work done on it since it was created over 10 years ago.

We have been (finally) working on the code that drives the eham site. Our first major change has been to the forums code. We have a beta site up for that software now

We have just started to work on the reviews area code (just in the past few days) and it is on our list to deal with things like duplicate reviews and how to deal with them and how to detect them.

I am hopeful we can make the site better in many ways. If you have any suggestions or input please let me/us hear from you.



Unknown said...

Hi George. Yes, it was your reviews manager who told me the duplicate removal is a manual process. As someone who maintains a couple of ham websites myself I know it is easier to suggest a feature than to implement it. It certainly would be cool if, when submitting an updated review, the system could warn you and offer to load the previous review so you could edit it. Good luck with the update.

G4ZLP said...

eHam also prevents good reviews from being added.
I asked a selection of previous customers to consider leaving a review on eHam and I have several customers lately inform me that they have submitted perfectly good and honest reviews and that they have not been published, no reason provided. eHam skew their own ratings as they please to suit themsleves and their advertsiers.