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Friday, October 23, 2009

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Iris Ophelia

I wonder if the audience is ready, but the writers and designers are the ones who aren't. After all, it's easy safe to read it, but making and taking criticism well are much much harder.

Shelby Rasmuson

If the review was written in a constructive way and didn't harp on the negative..ie.showed both sides..

Harper Beresford

I believe Celebrity Trollop was critical of items she blogged when she started up this whole fashion blog thing.

However, I do what Alicia does. I blog what I like because there are so many good things out there and people look to me to recommend good things to them.

Additionally, there is the opportunity to criticize things that you may not understand. (A blog that criticizes models comes to mind wherein a bug in the viewer's client rendered things poorly but they attributed that to the model.) You had better have a very good handle on how the creation process works before you dare criticize a creator's work. Few people who don't create don't "get it."

Sesi Ackland

I wouldn't just read negative reviews, I'd lean towards the bloggers who were real with the good and bad in reviews.

We all know that everything isn't always well made and adorable and we've all bought something that does not work and are totally disappointed.

Bloggers are there to show fashionable new items and it would be fantastic if they would give us a heads up about what's not working so well about certain designs as well.


Azia Lunasea

I think the question should really be, "Would content creators support a blogger who had the courage to write critical reviews or would they just be plurked to death?"

Rosemarie Indigo

To me, dressing up my avi, taking pics, editing them, posting them, writing a comment and add slurls takes time, and I am not going to waste it on things I don't like.
There are so many talented and hard working designers around the grid, I don't see why I should waste my time on the ones who aren't.

Miefmupfel Willis

Only a blog including both is a honest blog written by someone you can trust and rely on.

Mine is ignored by many because of this attitude but I can "live" much easier that way.

Whimsy Winx

I think a better question is can the majority of bloggers professionally blog an item that tells the truth without bashing it to the point that kills the designers spirit. One can point out areas that cause concern without being nasty. But as proven by plurks, SecondSecrets, drama blogs, the negative and nasty rules supreme, brings the most attention, and is highly sought after.

Talwyn Mills

As long as the reviews were constructive and accurate and not just for the sake of pouring derision onto the maker of the reviewed items. If your just using a negative review to attack the maker, don't bother.

Sasy Scarborough

Blogging takes hours to do, whether it be one outfit or many, it is harder than many think, and often you are at the mercy of LL and issues.

It is a very far stretch to want to spend that time to show items that are not worthy of sending your readers out to buy, and what you won't tolerate in a design could be something that others don't see as the end of the world, and vice versa.

A lot of bloggers pay such close attention to what is going on in the industry that when an up and coming isn't perfectly executed, they will still give it the kudos it deserves for concept.

Many bloggers build relationships with designers that ends up becoming a lot more than having inventory thrown at you, a lot of the time bloggers will discuss a designs issues, or possible flaws and many designers will then turn around and fix them before they ever reach the store.

I think that it would be a very hard blog to trust in and more of a drama one than anything, designers like anyone make mistakes, it happens often, you see posts about recalling items and having to replace things due to obvious since release flaws, is it fair that that could possibly be blogged about in a negative and mar the reputation of someones business because they missed a layer, or LL glitched alphas ? I don't think so , and it would be too hard for whoever did that kind of blogging to constantly have to retract posts.

Good post as usual Hamlet :)

xoxSasyxox

Otenth Paderborn

Heaven knows I've bought something I saw blogged, and then wished the reviewer had mentioned some flaw or a bit requiring difficult customization before being usable. So I was about to vote yes, when I realized that I wouldn't read a fashion blogger who was always negative, or who was dismissive, arrogant, or defensive.

While I agree with some of Harper Beresford's comment that "You had better have a very good handle on how the creation process works before you dare criticize a creator's work. Few people who don't create don't "get it."", I think it misses an important point about blogging for the average SL user.

I agree that a good fashion blogger will have an understanding of the entire process: inspiration, creation, marketing, delivery, and customer service. This is the very baseline for any writer doing reviews (of any product).

For the blog's readers, however, if they are assumed to be average SL users, they won't be creators, they are customers. They shouldn't be expected to "get it" in order to make use of a product for which they have paid. And refering to a blogger as "daring" to criticize simply reinforces the importance of Azia Lunasea's question.

Chestnut Rau

The reason I don't read most fashion blogs is they are little more than "Buy this thing my very good friend (famous fashion designer)just dropped on me. Its so cute. It comes in pretty colors - buy the fat pack!! :) :) :) "

I wish more fashion bloggers would actually write reviews. I want to know about the quality of the textures, the construction of the garment, and I really want to know *why* they like the product. If there are minor flaws by all means please tell me that before I spend my lindens.

Positive is all well and good but how about including some actual review in the review?

Freyja Nemeth

A blog focused on negative reviews would not be something I'd want to support by reading it. A blog that primarily focuses on positive reviews, but doesn't shy away from pointing out problems ... I think there are those that do already, but a bit more wouldn't hurt.

In general, I prefer to see things blogged that the blogger is primarily positive about. For a post to be focused on the negative, I think it has to be a case of someone going out of their way to act badly in such a manner that you feel you want to warn other customers.

I also think its important to consider who the creator of something is when you criticize it. I wouldn't place the same demands on the 1st skin from a designer as I would on the 10th skin from a designer.

On a related note, I do wish (but I know its time consuming) that designers would offer demos for everything. I prefer being able to point to a demo over having to be the one who guarantees the quality to a potential buyer through my review.

Rickie

Absolutely! This is something that really would possible help the designer and me as a consumer of the paper doll fashions. I wouldn't buy something in the real world that looked bad, or poor workmanship.

I think it would be refreshing to here the 'bad' side of a design as well as the good.

Ran Garrigus

Just dittoing my partner Freyja Nemeth. I feel exactly the same. A blog solely focused on negative reviews would be uninteresting to me.

A blog that's even-handed and features both bad and good is more to my taste. A reviewer who rites the perspective of someone helping consumers _and_ designers navigate their way to the good as opposed to railing at them to stay away from the bad seems a more positive approach.

Cajsa Lilliehook

You're asking the wrong question. It doesn't take any courage to read negative reviews. It would take guts to write negative reviews under one's avatar name. Of course it can be done with skill and tact. I know many bloggers and I have made small critiques of items we like overall, but wish had this or that improvement. That is done my many bloggers and is not rare, but done tactfully so designers don't get defensive.

On the other hand, I don't want to wear something that sucks...so why would I want to blog it. Half or more of the readers only look at the pictures, so reviewing something that sucks will be seen as positive by them..

Alicia Chenaux

LOL, Hamlet! You took my bad mood post! :)

Just for the record, I didn't mean that the review would be completely negative. There are many things that we've all been asked to blog that have bad seams or stretched out hems, or sculpties that just aren't QUITE right. But I know many bloggers who focus so hard on "fixing" their pictures so these do not show up as badly, it's a bit disappointing to get the actual product and it doesn't look nearly as good. I think an actual REVIEW of the item would be good in most cases. There are very very few actual review blogs anymore - mostly just blogs that say "Look how pretty I am with this pretty thing someone gave me!"

Nalates Urriah

I like positive blogs that distinguish between factual and opinion and preference. A positive blog is not all sunshine and happy happy. Pointing out problems and flaws along with the good can still be positive. I want some information I can use. Something that allows me to make better decisions or understand a thing or issue.

I think the negative sites are the ones that get into the drama of preferences, the subjective, empirical, and personalities as if they were fact. Especially if the writer does not realize it.

So far my favorite blog writer is http://gwynethllewelyn.net/ My most often read blog is NWN which I look at 2 or 3 times a day.

Jales

I've been thinking about this since we all discussed it earlier and I would love to offer a more journalistic stance. Not negatively, but honesty. The problem is some designers want it to be a business but when you treat it like one, it becomes personal, and that means personal attacks on the blogger. I think maybe we should have standards, as bloggers, that are used to measure a design by. Then we'd at least have some backing as a group to say "see, you're not the only one, it's not about YOU". I just don't want to highlight the fact that its no mod and therefore only good for small av's and then find myself banned because I cost someone sales for being honest.

Just tell me where I stand and I'll give you what you want. But if you want to make it personal, then I'm only going to blog the things I like and it'll continue being all fluff, no substance.

Arcadia Codesmith

I've read reviews that are structured along the lines of, "This is something I really like. This is what I like about it. These are some minor flaws that bug me. This is what I'd do to fix them." That's the sort of balanced feedback that I trust as a consumer, and I find invaluable as a creator.

Trilby Button

I agree with Sasy and Chesnut. Not all fashion blogs/bloggers have the same purpose. I'm on the blogging staff for a shopping sim, so part of my job as one of their fashion bloggers (as opposed to posting on a personal fashion blog) is to announce new releases and showcase specific products from creators (who aren't my friends and who rarely drop gifts). For the most part, my posts are all positive, because I don't feel like it's appropriate to offer much criticism given the context. This can be tough, because sometimes the products do have problems, but I try and make the best of it (just as I would when, as a virtual consumer, I buy something disappointing) -- I stay true to my own style and try to use the well-made part of an outfit in combination with other pieces. If I say something negative, I'll try and say two positive things. I enjoy balanced reviews on other blogs and get very bored reading the posts that do nothing but gush. I would definitely read a fashion blog that pointed out flaws, if only to broaden my own eye as far as what to watch for and my awareness of things that can be improved upon (ex. who is doing X or Y really well?). If the drama was kept to a minimum, I think such a blog would be helpful to the market.

coco

NO! Just feed me those "Fabulous" Lies!:)

AnnOtooleInSL

Swirly does a great job with the "Swirly Style" of review. :P

If you want to write a critical review then you will probably have to use a fictitious alias to do so or suffer endless griefing and anti competitive behavior. We don't have law, courts, judges, lawyers, police, or other self serve means of equalization in SL as we do in real life that tends to make people behave in civil manners. Also it is becoming more commonplace for people to be successfully sued irl for posting less than flattering commentary about someone.

Criticize at your own peril.

What if all dozen of those blogs all praising the same latest template fashion spectacular is actually all the same rl person writing them all under different aliases? A lot of times it certainly looks like the same person (probably the designer) wrote the article and provided all the pictures.

Praise those bloggers that really do put in that extra effort to make excellent pictures and do a thorough review. They are rare. Why should they blog something they would not personally wear? Not to mention there are rules about blog reviews now so the blogger is required to state whether they were compensated for the review and yes being given the product is being compensated. None do because the "It can't happen to me" attitude will prevail until the first one falls and gets fined. A precious few bloggers don't accept "donations" of any kind and go buy what they review out of their own pocket.

Most people are simply making their own blogs to post their own release announcements anyway.

The bad part about all this blogging stuff is that there is no long term memory in the blogosphere. If you saw something a couple of weeks ago and want to go find it then good luck finding that article. We need a blog reader with fav capabilities I guess.

Hamlet Au

"it is becoming more commonplace for people to be successfully sued irl for posting less than flattering commentary about someone"

I'm not sure "commonplace" is the right word, the actual instances are still few and far between, but you're right that it does happen. Perhaps the most relevant one here is when Rosemary Port, a RL fashionista, created an anonymous blog to trash Liskula Cohen, another RL fashionista. Cohen got a court order to force Blogger to reveal Port's RL name. However, I believe that happened because Port's blog was potentially libelous, i.e. she called Cohen a "ho", i.e. a prostitute. More here:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/08/25/new.york.model.blogger/index.html

However, blog criticism that is non-libelous and fair-minded, I've never seen any successful lawsuits associated with those.

Scylla Rhiadra

I think that it is important for me that ANYONE whose work I read demonstrate that they are objective and critical -- critical meaning "thoughtful" rather than merely "negative." This certainly applies to fashion bloggers. But the principle should extend further than merely commenting on the quality and aesthetic appeal of the pieces being reviewed. Wouldn't it be refreshing and valuable to have more bloggers with a deeper theoretical understanding of the larger aesthetic, social, and cultural contexts of fashion?

In SL, as in RL, the fashion industry wields an enormous influence on taste, social interaction, and even behaviours. And, as in RL, the images that SL fashion designers present to us impact upon the way in which we view ourselves and others. We have seen in RL the way in which the fashion industry has influenced attitudes towards environmentalism, gender, and body image.

The fashionistas here do not, of course, possess the same degree of influence, but the pervasive appeal of certain "looks" in SL, with regard not merely to clothes, but also to skins and body shapes, demonstrates the kind of impact that they do have.

I'd trade every breathlessly enthusiastic fashion blog we have for one that takes a truly intelligent, critical, and broad view of ALL aspects of fashion in SL.

Chestnut Rau

/me stands and applauds Scylla

Vine Pichot

I think it's important to note that the responses in the comments on this post (and, I assume, the results of the poll, though it's not loading for me) are likely to be somewhat slanted. NWN's readership is composed largely of hardcore SL users, who tend to be content creators and businesspeople, not casual ones, who tend to buy more than they create. Whiiiich means that, compared to the general SL population, a disproportionate number of the people posting here flinch to their very souls at the idea of a bad review.

This isn't a shameful reaction. When you make something, you're baring a bit of your soul. Nobody wants to hear that their soul has inconsistent shading and some kind of weird transparency artifacts on the shoulders.

But, see, if you're a businessperson artist trying to improve her or his work, you kind of have to get used to hearing it. Nobody expects, like, Roger Ebert or Kirkus Reviews to come out with nothing but soppy positive reviews. Nobody expects Engadget to carefully ignore the existence of that new iPhone that catches fire three calls out of five and says stuff about your mom. In fact, nobody even expects these people to maintain a "mostly positive" attitude, as many of the commenters before me seem to be suggesting. The fact that we know a reviewer is going to warn us off of something bad is what gives his or her positive reviews their legitimacy.

So when some casual SL user, someone who's not already deeply indoctrinated into SL fashion culture, shows up at one of these fashion review blogs and sees these long streams of superlatives and sparkly screenshots, they're not going to take it seriously. If you're a content creator, then when that person sees your work there, they don't really *see* your work. There's so much grease on there that their eyes slide right by it.

I'm seeing content creators here and in Ms. Chenaux's post who appear to be opposed to any purely negative review, at all, ever. Let me ask something of those of you saying that - have you ever complained that SL art or business isn't taken seriously by outsiders? If you have, I think you need to examine your priorities.

The all-positive-all-the-time blogs serve a purpose for content creators and other SL businesspeople. People burn out fast without positive feedback; very few artists can create entirely in a vacuum, and a fair number of those end up creating things that are compelling only to themselves. I assume that a lot of these blogs are probably only meant to be seen by a dozen people or so, and that's fine. They build communities, and that's a good thing.

But it's also purely a social thing - meaning that it's not about art and it's not about business. If you say "I'm an SL artist/businessperson and I don't believe in negative reviews," what you're also saying is, "I don't want to be an artist/businessperson in the way most people understand it."

And there's nothing wrong with it if you don't. There really isn't. But if you believe strongly in your work, and you believe there are other people out there who would want to buy it if they knew about it - then you *want* there to be working in a culture where negative reviews are okay. Because even if you're the best there is, if there's no real criticism, then no one in the world is ever going to be able to pick your stuff out of the piles and piles of sorta-good and mediocre that are getting the same positive reviews as yours.

Again, it all depends on what you want. But there's a general rule of the internet that SL can't escape: if it exists, somebody's going to complain about it. Even if you don't have serious goals for what you're doing in SL, be prepared for the day that somebody looks at it and says your soul's sticking out of your head at a funny angle.

(Disclosure: I've written several less-than-positive posts about SL products and sims.)

Arcadia Codesmith

On a side note -- any caveman with a pelt and a sharp rock can make clothes, and any caveman with a vocabulary and an attitude can critique them. The idea that the fashion industry, real or virtual, has any significant impact outside its own insular sphere is a conceit peculiar to the fashion industry.

Vivienne Graves

@Harper Beresford: Celebrity Trollop didn't 'start up this whole fashion blog thing' (the Linden Lifestyles blog was there first, as were I'm sure a few others).

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