What? Reviews on MyAnimeList? Hah!

My Panel - MyAnimeList.net 2013-08-11 12-24-56

Today, I awoke at 8:34 AM.

Like any prepubescent 20’s shota living the hikki lifestyle, the first ritual on my morning agenda is to stroll toward my PC and check my messages—with however half-awake, half-assed stupor I must compel my body to move forward. In an especially hungover state this morning (as a consequence of partying hardy the last night), I was just barely successful in limping myself over to that blinding white screen. Then I see the following in IRC.

irc

Wait. Wait. 23 downvotes…on the same night? I open that fire and brimstone link more publicly known as MyAnimeList, click on “My Reviews“, and shit, there they are. Every one of my reviews is massacred to death by at least 23 downvotes each. My not simple doubled in total votes within a single night, from a lovely 23/26 (88.5%) to a pitiful 23/48 (47.9%). All my reviews are dethroned from their top status, now obscured to death among the ranks of the inanely hidden “More Reviews” link.

Honestly, I don’t know how to feel. Endless amounts of frustration come to mind, but I also can’t stop laughing at my despair. To see so much of my hard work effortlessly come to its demise is…scary, yet at the same time, absurdly hilarious.

I don’t know what or who caused this, but it doesn’t make too much of a difference. I’ve noticed clear vote bombing on all my reviews ever since I posted a negative Aku no Hana one; 4-5 downvotes on all my reviews each night was not uncommon. However, never have I experienced or seen anyone else experience being raped by 23 flaccid internetmen in one night. Bravo anon. You’ve stolen my internet gym clothes. Now you just need a webmaster to catch you, blackmail you to do dirty dirty things, have me fall in love with you, and then you’ll be your esteemed Kasuga.

There is certainly one lesson I’ve learned from being so violated. I will never post a review on MAL again. The likelihood of its design flaws ever getting fixed is, well, nil. I can’t fathom why a single-minded user should have the ability to register 22 more accounts and mine my profile like that. Oppositely, there’s no preventing users from registering dozens of accounts to inflate their ratios (and hence their egos) to always be the top review. What’s the point in trying to contribute to an old cog machine that doesn’t want help?

Yes MAL, fuck you.

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28 comments

  1. Sidenote: To present clear evidence that I’m not just throwing a hissy fit from fake personal accounts, here is the most recent My Reviews screencap from today (8/11/13), for reference.

    [*] not simple: 23/48 (47.9%)
    [*] Aku no Hana: 33/90 (36.6%)
    [*] Ghost in the Shell: Arise – Border:1 Ghost Pain: 23/69 (33.3%)
    [*] Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita Specials: 32/77 (41.5%)
    [*] Sasami-san@Ganbaranai: 108/212 (50.9%)
    [*] Nekomonogatari: Kuro: 133/257 (51.7%)

    Here’s a cached My Reviews screencap on 8/2/13, taken from here. Maybe if 23 downvotes weren’t added so exactly, I wouldn’t be laughing so much. I so wish I took a screenshot yesterday instead of having to rely on an older cache page.

    [*] not simple: 22/25 (88%)
    [*] Aku no Hana: 33/77 (42.8%)
    [*] Ghost in the Shell: Arise – Border:1 Ghost Pain: 23/53 (43.3%)
    [*] Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita Specials: 29/60 (48.3%)
    [*] Sasami-san@Ganbaranai: 105/193 (54.4%)
    [*] Nekomonogatari: Kuro: 129/240 (53.7%)

    Here are cached pages displaying my reviews’ ratios at the lastest date I could find prior to my Aku no Hana review on 7/4/13. There is a clear indication of vote bombing ever since I posted my Aku no Hana one. Notice just how much the percentages drop, particularly on reviews that didn’t have as many votes beforehand, c.f., the Jinrui specials and Arise reviews.

    [*] Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita Specials (6/30/13): 22/34 (64.7%)
    [*] Sasami-san@Ganbaranai (5/9/13): 79/132 (59.8%)
    [*] Nekomonogatari: Kuro (6/3/13): 111/202 (54.9%)

  2. drgonzo7 · · Reply

    You know who could just talk to the Administrators on MAL about this and start taking things more seriously about stopping people from making new accounts.

    1. Unfortunately, lpf talked to Kineta about this, but as expected, there’s nothing non-server admins can do about it. It’s a design flaw inherent with how the server runs and stores information, let alone whether or not administrators or moderators can even trace back votes to an IP or an account.

      1. drgonzo7 · ·

        That is unfortunate. But for me, I couldn’t care less if my reviews were vote bombed. I’ll still post reviews even if all of my reviews get the same treatment as you. Maybe it’s because less people hate my tastes more than yours. :3

      2. Good luck! Receiving ratio feedback from MAL is a really finicky thing, and it takes a lot of iron will to see your reviews get pummeled without ever an explanation why. It’s not something I can stand anymore, but I certainly applaud those who can tough it out and prevent MAL’s review quality from literal death.

  3. mahoganycow · · Reply

    23? That’s…really quite absurd. I’ve been noticeably downvote spammed in the past, but never more than 6 or 7 downvotes in that period of time. Hell, I’ve never even gotten 23 total votes in one day. That’s some kind of fierce negative attention you’ve attracted.

    It’s scary how easy it seems to be to do this, too. TOR or a proxy list + a couple of hours of misspent youth = dozens of troll accounts. I’m not sure how everything is scripted serverside, but if the system can attribute votes to users it should be incredibly easy (so easy that it makes the computer science major in me weep) to note 23 downvotes in a short period of time and determine that the accounts associated with the votes are bullshit. It’s not a very tactful attack, and if MAL’s staff isn’t equipped to deal with it or recognize that it’s a problem…oh well, it’s their site that’s being crapped on, too. The very nature of the review system should have made it obvious from the beginning that it’d be a problem, and it’s not all that difficult to think of some possible countermeasures.

    I’m mad for you. I can see why you’d be discouraged, and frankly I don’t blame you for not wanting to put another review up there. From my own point of view, I just couldn’t do that even if I got hit with this titanic amount of shit, for various reasons. If I don’t speak my piece in some kind of composed manner, even if nobody sees it, I’ll just make sentences in my head and never, ever stop. Not to mention that I have zero respect for people who aren’t even capable of doing something as basic as putting their complaints into words, and it’s just really hard to care about their votes or cater to their desires, even incidentally.

    1. 23. Isn’t that ludicrously high number so funny? That someone has and manages 23 different MAL accounts (and emails) is simply hilarious.

      Exactly. What makes this absurd is just how something like this can skim by without so much as an inconvenience being made on the admin or developer’s part. I only know even basic programming and I feel I could already script something as simple as that. It’s such a blatantly obvious flaw from the get-go that you have to wonder why they didn’t prevent this since MAL’s inception. What makes this worse is that it’s even easier than requiring a proxy per account. At least on my end, I’ve never heard of any votebombing accounts ever be punished before, or any votes ever be redacted before.

      I’ve made do with the system for a while now, but I’ve grown increasingly intolerant with it as time passes. It just doesn’t make sense that one should discipline themselves toward this kind of behavior when it shouldn’t occur in the first place. ITT: #internetbullying :(

    2. Well, in fact, you don’t even need proxies. The administrators can check an IP’s accounts and vice versa (which is how a few offenders -were- taken care of indeed), but they have nothing that alerts them of abuses.

      MAL is disheartening. Effort and talent are far from consistently rewarded and encouraged, and in fact quite often discouraged on the whim on select individuals. I have been a target as well for nearly as long as I’ve been a reviewer, and surely if I did earn front page spots when I deserved it I would have written more.

      So we’ll keep bugging Kineta with it so she gets Xinil to do something. The poor Kineta never asked for this, but hey– neither did us. :(

  4. Damn man, I know just how frustrating it is to see one’s reviews get vote bombed, especially when you’ve put a ton of effort into supporting your stance and being as fair as possible. I basically had the same thing happen to me when I reviewed Madoka Magica and gave it a 6/10. Now, I almost feel weary of writing any review with a less than favourable opinion, because I do not want my other reviews to slide off the front pages into obscurity. It’s truly disgusting that MAL still hasn’t taken the proper measures to prevent the system from being abused. What’s even more disheartening is that the culture on that site almost prohibits opinions that do not agree with the greater majority, as those reviews will be pushed to the bottom of the pile by nothing more than blind fanboyism. Whatever happened to freedom of speech?

    While It’s unfortunate that MAL will lose another great reviewer (I’m talking about you, so no need to be modest :3), I’m hoping that this won’t dissuade you entirely from continuing to write.

    1. O-Oh, gee thanks. I’ve enjoyed using MAL reviews as a writing outlet, and also for meeting new people through comments on your profile. There’s not many places else where you can post in-depth opinions and allow plenty of room for discussion.

      However, reviewing on MAL is just too restrictive. It (for example) forces you to skimp on any negatives whenever you write about a title you genuinely don’t find a “10/10”. Either you’re forced to pander in such little but affecting ways (I’m ashamed of my Arise review because of this; it’s way too positive), or you be prepared to get awful ratios. That, or you severely limit yourself to only positive reviews (but then where’s my freedom as a writer?). These ratios in and of themselves shouldn’t matter to reviewers, but with the current design format, if you’re not one of the top two reviews, your readership is all but lost; you’re buried in a sea of mediocre reviews because of a hivemind opinion.

      Well, in any case, masterful and appropriately cherished reviews like this make me glad I’m no longer a part of the system.

      1. drgonzo7 · ·

        To be fair, MAL is strictly just a website for people to organize lists for people who can’t keep up what they have or have not seen. The reviews are just strictly an afterthought. I mean you’re not going to see the reviews and expect The Washington Post style of writing, more like Pitchfork Media than anything else. The only reason why people like reviews such as the one you linked is because people feel like they have no time to read a long worded review.

      2. Well, it’s not a matter of formalism in reviews. It’s about whether their words actually mean anything. (So yes, maybe the Pitchfork comparison really is fitting, hehe) The reason people like the review such as the one I linked is because of projection, for one thing. Let’s also not forget that voting is a purely reactionary procedure. “I laughed, I cried… but they ruined the ending” YES I AGREE, HERE’S YOUR UPBOAT

  5. Jesus Christ · · Reply

    QQ

    1. Unfortunately I’m incapable of crying. Or at least, that’s what the Clannad fans of the world tell me. ;_;

      1. Normally I do8;7n21#&t read post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to check out and do it! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thank you, quite nice article.

  6. Suddenly having second thoughts on posting the negative Aku no Hana review I have in the works. God damn it, I finally get inspired to write something and then this happens.

    1. Yeah, it’s a bit of a shame. I find what’s best is to only post positive reviews if you don’t want to get hit by all the major design flaws in MAL. Catering to the masses—whether it be something as simple as not posting negative reviews, or inflating all your review scores—is one of the several criteria you gotta abide by in order to live sanely under the system. Well, that’s assuming MAL ever comes back online, that is, hehe.

      1. It’s funny you mention this. I get a lot of people who argue against the fact that the design is flawed because they think of you and me as a bunch of “crybabies.” That we can’t handle criticism at all, as if we can’t figure out that our reviews are actually bad regardless of how well-written it is. Ignoring the fact that most people don’t vote based on how well-written it is, as they try to put in this whole thing as just assumptions on our parts even though it is quite obvious through rational thinking.

      2. Oh yes, the classic ad hominem. “Your arguments can’t be right by the clear fact that you must be stupid.” ;_; If only a cute 2D girl could make me a sandwich for every fallacy I hear..

      3. Had a funny little idea just now. I think I’ll write the review, give it a 10, but review it as a 3. I highly suspect that most people won’t even notice and will just vote based on the score.

      4. That would work depending on how subtle you are with your complaints; if it’s long enough, you could always go semi-positive on the intro and conclusion, and then totally contradict your writing by laughing at Aku no Hana midparagraph. Also use big words, ridiculously dense sentence structures, and constantly refer to literature. Or write a poem. I hear everyone loves guys from 2079.

      5. I’m thinking maybe along the lines of writing about a paragraph of the clichéd, substance-devoid praise that starts basically every front page review, and after that saying that everything I just wrote was a lie to test whether or not anybody actually reads the review, explaining this whole fiasco as the exact reason. Then writing my actual review.

  7. This is a comment on my MAL profile. I feel it should be included here because I could see how one might have interpreted my post like that. (It didn’t help that I was spazzing out a lot when I wrote the post.)


    1. What comment Nil-sama?

      1. Oh never mind there it is… Damn you WordPress for not putting a delete button! Hasukashii~

      2. Never fear, for nil is here! But I won’t actually delete it. You know, for the lulz.

      3. Uguu~ You big meanie! ;_____;

  8. I’m honestly sick of the site. Especially due to the reviews and how they are managed because there are reviews that have been up for over a year that say nothing but spam, but other serious reviewers are getting their comments taken down. It’s sickening. I’ve personally been a victim of this because I got my reviews taken down for “dropping it before the half way point” when I completed the series. Why they suddenly decide to enforce these rules now, I don’t know. Other than reviews, the site is just a list.

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