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Tuesday, June 19, 2007
More on TiS2's Reviews
Posted: 3:08:00 AM 0 comments
I had a chance to take a more in depth review of the reviewing system at TiS2. I must say that so far I'm pretty impressed.

First of all, you can review any song you like at any time. Or you can have the site build a queue for you, sort of like the old Trax in Space did. That means that casual reviewers can swoop down on songs they want to comment on, and reviewing machines can work through the queue, giving the artists that deserve feedback the most the reviews they deserve.

The queue system itself I touched on a bit in my last post. The BalancedReview System supposedly gives artists a way to have their song prioritized in the review queue. The review page has a tips section that gives some suggestions on how to increase your priority.

  • Review other people's music

  • Expand your network of friends

  • Participate on the site

Generally, activity is rewarded. I have no idea as to what activity has what weight on the priority system, but I would imagine that reviewing is going to give the most weight. Don't quote me on that.

It's a system that was started on the old Trax in Space with the Reviewer Incentive Program I came up with, and glad to see implemented here. OSMusic and Cute Trance Girls (they call themselves CTG Music now, whatever, they're still Cute Trance Girls to me *g*), also have a rewards system, so it's clear that those in charge of the community now get that dead weight shouldn't get reviews while active members come home empty handed. Given some of the comments I see at CTG, though, it still hasn't sunk in to some of the reviewers and musicians. But that's another topic for another time...

Anyway, I asked Saurin about whether or not there is a Reviewer Overseeing Committee. There is, in fact, none planned. According to him, there will be a reputation system that self-polices. He didn't go into details, but I will be very interested in seeing how that pans out. I personally believe that quality reviewers can and should be taught by those already with the know how when it comes to reviews, which leaves OSMusic as the only site that does this currently. This could be asking for trouble, depending on how well the system does or doesn't filter out the crap reviewers, something I think we'll only see once the full beta begins.

Just like the old TiS, the artist has the option to select a skill level of beginner, intermediate, or expert. Also like TiS, you get the option to select a summary review, which is just a grade and a box, or a detailed review, with many grades and a box. Ratings are now on the scale of 1 to 5.

The big difference from the old system here are the categories of the standard review. Right now, there are eight different sections to review:

  • Overall

  • Creativity

  • Artistic License

  • Arrangement

  • Vocals

  • Does it work as a piece of music

  • Sound Quality - This was not there when I checked the section tonight, but I did request it to be added

  • Comment to the artist(s)

It is interesting to note that the comment to the artist is private: only the artist gets to see that section. All other sections are public.

The artist has the option to add a comment to the reviewer for each section, and not just for the whole review. But perhaps the most impressive feature is that when the artist is requesting a review, they can choose which of those eight sections they want feedback on. So, if the song doesn't have vocals, or the artist doesn't care if the reviewer thinks their song was creative or not, they can simply deselect the appropriate sections, and the reviewer will not be able to review and rate that section.

This system does create an interesting problem. What if the reviewer is doing a standard review on a song where the artist has not requested a review for it? Well, right now all the sections exist, but I did add the suggestion that the reviewer be able to select what sections they want to review on the song, as opposed to it being a free for all.

Another important point is the fact that songs can only show up in the reviewer's queue if the artist requests a review. If they do not request a review, the only way they can get a review is by someone who visits the song page and spontaneously does a review on it. This has the advantage of shortening the queue to artists who really want to have a review on the song, allowing the juggernaut of reviewing machines to skip over songs where the artist failed to request a review. The disadvantage, obviously, is that if the artist forgets to request a review, they don't get a review. Unless, again, somebody randomly swoops down on the song and spontaneously reviews it. You get the point.

Overall, this has got to be the most complex reviewing system I've seen yet, but at the same time it gives the artist the flexibility they need to get the feedback they want. Casual reviewers can review what they want, while the reviewing machines can happily plow through the queue without fearing that people who deserve reviews aren't going to get them. This system has the potential to be very, very useful, to both artists who like complex feedback, to those who just want to share their music with others.

Speaking of music sharing, oh my, the options are awesome. In fact, I think I'm going to need a whole new post to talk about that, and I will do that tomorrow.

Just a note on beta keys. I have suggested to Saurin to fix a couple more of the major issues that exist before flooding the world with beta keys. I would anticipate by the end of this week, beta keys will be freely handed out, or perhaps even not needed by then. We shall see, and I'll keep everyone updated on this, because I know a ton of people are waiting to get in on this.



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