“ A site for review writers. „
I first heard about this site a few years ago after I submitted a review on Ciao which didn't go down well with a lot of members. The review writers' forum is as the title suggests a forum dedicated to review writers who regularly post consumer reviews on sites such as dooyoo and ciao.
Although I have visited and browsed through the site, I never post on the site. The site is very cliquey, run and contributed by people who seem to think only they know how consumer review sites should be run. The forum is full of posts criticizing churners for writing reviews that are not up to scratch and general dissatisfaction.
Most of the contributors on the review writers' forum don't seem to realize that for most people submitting a consumer review is just one activity out hundreds of other activities during the day.
Browsing through the posts on review writers' forum, it is full of narrow minded, opinionated and arrogant people. Submit a post that goes against the reviewwritersforum general opinion and it will be met with a patronizing and less than pleasant response.
Overall I simply cannot recommend the review writers' forum. The kind of people who post on the site take consumer reviews too seriously and simply have too much time on their hands.
Despite having been a regular Review writer for a few large sites for almost six years, I never really got into the off-site community aspects. Over the years there have been quite a few different offshoots in their various guises, where regular review writers would gather over a virtual coffee and generally put the review writing world to rights, as well as solve world hunger and other matters.
I first joined www.reviewwritersforum.co.uk about 11 months ago now. The site is run by our very own Rachel (thingywhatsit) who has given up a lot of time and commitment to keep the site running for us so we can have our daily blether. The rest of the admin team are Drewboy who I have met in the flesh in Glasgow for a small glass of real and not virtual wine; and Debbie, another review writer from north of the border, who have been joined by a small number of forum moderators.
The site benefited from a bit of a facelift at some time last year. I forget the details, but I do remember that it used to be a very dark blue place, hence its other nickname FOIB (Forum of Infinite Blueness). Now it has the same light blue of every other forum in cyberspace, but the beauty is it is much easier to read.
Sites like this do have a habit of waxing and waning, but Review Writers Forum has remained relatively buoyant in terms of member contribution. There are currently 365 members, one for every day of the year, although I suspect most are lurkers or inactive. There are around 50 posters who have posted more than 100 times, and could generally be regarded as more active. I am about ninth in the list of active posters with over 1000 posts currently, which could be attributed to the fact I have too much to say on occasion.
So what on earth do people talk about? Well not surprisingly, one of the key areas of discussion is review writing sites themselves. This includes forums for both Ciao and Dooyoo, as well as Trivago (Travel Site) and Helium ("Where Knowledge Matters"). Things can get very heated at times, particularly if subjects such as rating are being discussed, as you would expect with opinionated people. Of course payment and issues, such as site downtime are frequently the topic of conversation, but often people just like to come and have a light banter.
The Helium and Trivago sites are a little different. I am not particularly into the Helium way of things yet, although I have joined, but contributing to Trivago is very complicated compared to ciao and Dooyoo and some regular members have contributed some excellent articles which were invaluable in helping me find my way around. Alas time has got in the way, and I haven't got the time for Trivago very often.
For those that like their reward and survey sites, RWF has a dedicated thread, which is updated with member experience of different types of sites. I don't join too many of these, simply because I cannot keep up with them all but I am amazed at the volume of sites that are available.
The members fun area on RWF is by far the greater area in terms of different activities, and there is probably something for everyone. The Current affairs thread is particularly buoyant and is usually my first port of call when I log in. Anything and everything current/political has been discussed here, and it can get VERY heated at times! I quite like a debate and I enjoy following and taking part in the more contentious threads - quite an insight into how other people think and lead their lives!
There are other threads which I read occasionally, including a "Which" consumer thread, book thead, technical thread and there is a popular games thread - although not one of my own favourites, this seems to get a lot of hits. There are monthly competitions including reviews, (which I have judged once or twice) and monthly Avatar type competitions, although where people find fresh supplies of those is beyond me at times!
The site has been criticised in the past for being (a) too fluffy; or (b) inconsistent moderation. I am not quite sure about the fluffiness aspect, as it can be anything but fluffy at times, depending on who is active on the site and joining in the day's debate. I think it is fair to say that moderation is a particularly difficult task, especially for a site that is ran by part time volunteers and while there may have been incidences that have been questioned in the past, and even things I have personally voiced privately as a concern, as well as challenged publicly on occasion...I think most sites of this type will have challenges and the real key is not to take it too seriously.
Overall it is a fairly active place, and you will find something new every day. I think if I had a general criticism about sites of this nature is that they may at first seem a little daunting to someone new, as the regulars have adapted to styles of communication and banter. I know I always found some of the earlier sites quite cliquey and elusive (whether they were or not). However I have found that Review Writers Forum is a nice little place to debate and discuss both political and review writing matters on those days when you don't want to spend time on the sites themselves.
People love to chat dont they? We are gregarious by nature and where theres a gathering, theres a debate of some kind. This debate can vary in intensity and, depending on which forum you are participating in, the conversation can get cranked up to the point where folks start throwing things or simply remain benign to the point of dulldom. Of course, most interactions will be in the middle somewhere and the best analogy for the online behavioural traits is perhaps going to a pub or bar and choosing who you want to talk to and when. My own experience of forums is mixed. Up until recently, I was a regular contributor to one of the more off-the-wall message boards but kinda got tired with it and Ive flitted in and out of others without ever adopting a particularly high profile. Generally, theyve stood and fallen by the people participating and, to an extent, by the folks acting as moderators and even site owners.
A forum Ive found myself drawn into recently is www.reviewwritersforum.co.uk. The brainchild of Thingywhatsit a.k.a. Rachel, I did ask the site owner what was behind the site and how it came about. Rachels view was I began Review writers forum because there were several running, and after chatterweb folded, none of the existing ones seemed to suit people like me. I wanted a place where people could discuss issues, not people, a friendly site that didn't talk about other members of review sites, and thought the only way of getting what I was looking for was to create it. I had never done anything like this before, though knew there was a need. My first attempts were very basic and failed, though review writers forum, through persistence and care, has worked very well, and welcomes all genuine members of all review sites. The original site was started on Aceboards two years ago although the site in its current state was started in February 2006. RWF seems to have had its share of controversy since its creation. Criticised by some for being fluffy and, at times, overbearing with its censorship on threads, the site has been through some choppy waters. Of course, maybe you would expect this with a discussion forum and it does seem to be par for the course that people get carried away with the anonymity of expressing themselves either about forums or on them. What is for sure is that RWF has overcome its critics and taken on board those observations to make the site better and stronger reflected in its membership which currently numbers 326 registered users.
The site loads quickly but then threaded forums like this have little in the way of images, pictures, GIFs etc and so there is little to slow down loading. The main page is presentable, maintaining its preponderance of blue for which it acquired its unofficial nickname a while ago (FOIB = Forum of Infinite Blueness). Links along the top include home/calendar/ FAQ/Search/memberlist/usergroups/profile/messages and log in/out. The threads themselves include sections on: Forum/Review Site Talk/Members Fun Area and a section at the bottom that lists things like the latest member to join and the number of people online, amongst other things.
The initial forum section is split into threads about All Site Information which includes a home for new members to say hello and a Site Competition section that details on site competitions as well as promotions taking place elsewhere. Theres a regular competition for best avatar, a regular on-site writing competition and even a daily Guess the Star feature which Ive yet to guess correctly!
The Review Site Talk section includes threads about Ciao/Dooyoo/Other Review, Reward and Survey Sites/Which?/Epinions/General Review Site Chatter and Trivago. The threads that debate Ciao and Dooyoo appear to be the most active and often reflect a diversity of opinion that occasionally borders on contentious. However, the tight moderation and no-naming policy means that these threads rarely, if ever, get out of hand.
The Members Fun Area includes sections on Banter and Fun/Technical Questions/Entertainment/Current Affairs/The Arena/All About Books/Word Games/Ebay/Free Stuff Online/18 Plus and Bargain Basement. The current affairs threads reflect debates that are often topical like Should Saddam Hussein hang? and The Princess Diana inquest although my favourite parts of this section are the Entertainment threads which focus on the latest films and TV and the Banter and Fun which include things like members birthdays and an invitation to disclose your blog or personal website address.
The site does feature some ads by Google but these arent particularly intrusive and the links use small text. Joining is simply enough and involves choosing a username and password and, from recollection, if your membership is approved by the site owner, an activation e-mail allows you to log in to the site and start contributing to threads. Membership allows the user to build a personal profile including avatar (an image/GIF that represents your online persona), homepage site address, occupation, gender, birthday and other details such as MSN address etc.
If you have never used a threaded forum before then by clicking on the thread that takes your fancy, you can read the contributions that other members have made. Replying and contributing to threads is where the fun comes from although there are restrictions such as no naming of other members, no swearing (I f**king think, he he) and being respectful of others which may make some feel limited in their replies. There is also a real time chatroom with a link at the bottom of the main portal which enables MSN style chat in the moment.
Ive posted exactly 262 times since joining which I think was in April last year so Im hardly prolific. I use the site for a number of reasons but the main one would be the bar/pub analogy in that Im comfortable with many of the members. Some I particularly like whilst Ive yet to encounter any troublemakers and I generally use the same threads although I should explore more of the site than I actually use. An example might be the 18+ section which Ive never felt drawn too and I rarely contribute to the debates about Dooyoo and Ciao as I find them somewhat tedious at times although I appreciate that members do enjoy talking about the merits of mentioning food ingredients in reviews and pulling apart the Diamonds and Premium Fund on Ciao and the like and if that rocks your boat then please carry on. After all, forums like this are about the chance to express yourself.
I dont think Ill ever use forums as much as others do, due to the time constraints I have in my life. I choose to write reviews and make the odd contribution to forums but that may be the extent of it in the future. I enjoy RWF and admire Rachels determination in the way she continues to run it having taken on board the criticism encountered in the past. As for suggestions re improvement then thats a tricky one as Im hardly an expert on the technical side of sites like this. I understand that Dooyoo is to include a link to RWF in the New Year which will be a fillip for the site as well as driving more traffic its way. Moderation seems fine, spirit on the site seems good and the threads are generally interesting. Im sure that Rachel will continue to seek to improve the forum because thats the kind of determined lady she is and, if ultimately, sites like this reflect their owners personality then RWF looks like it has a long, successful future ahead of it.
Why not check it out? Maybe sooner or later, everybody will know your name. Cheers.
Thanks for the read and Happy New Year.
Some of you may have noticed over recent weeks a bit of rocknro11 about Dooyoo, I say that loosely as I refer to my username in case anyone was conjuring up an image of gyrating hips. Also many can be forgiven for opening up this review, expecting to read a film review about a man with no name. So what does a few dollars more have to do with Review Writers Forum?
Ive used Dooyoo for quite sometime as a source of reference for consumer opinion and 3 weeks ago I decided I would like to start writing my own reviews. How do you write a good opinionated review was my first thought, so searching on the words review writers uk in google, I found one of the first results listed was a review of reviewwritersforum.co.uk on Dooyoo. As I was going to be posting reviews on Dooyoo I was naturally drawn to this listing. I found 9 reviews, I scrolled to the earliest and read on.
In my opinion the review was written well, being laid out in sections, containing sub headings, which included the good, the bad and the ugly. When I say well written Im not referring to the writers opinion, as one persons opinion on its own is not enough for me to formulate my own opinions. For whatever reason, it may well have been that the writer burst my bubble with reference to Elvis didnt really still work at Macys, I decided to check out for myself what RWF had to offer.
Im pleased to say that when first entering the website, there were no annoying advertising pop-ups and I was free to look around much of the site without having to register first. It wasnt long before I felt this site could be of use, primarily I was interested in the section headed Dooyoo and on inspection I found topics on crowns and guides, Dooyoo rules, payments and frustrations to name but a few. It was enough for me to register.
Registration was both simple and trouble free, there is a registration link just below the RWF logo which is always displayed no matter what page you are looking at. When registering you will be presented with the rules that you will need to abide by once you become a member, nothing out of the ordinary here, 6 points that are really just common sense. You will need to agree to these terms to be able to proceed with registration. The next screen will prompt for you to enter a username, email address and password and you are encouraged to use either your Dooyoo or Ciao username but this is not mandatory.
Registration is not automated you will need to wait for a confirmation email from RWF before your account is activated. My account was activated in less than an hour and I was up and running. I received a welcoming message that also pointed me in the direction of the new members thread, which is where I could introduce myself to the rest of the community.
Navigation of the site is straight forward, finding your way to where all the topics are located took a little getting used to but after a couple of days I was familiar with the layout and could get around with ease. The speed of the site is to be commended, each page loads quickly, the designers have kept to a simple blue on white colour scheme and have not introduced any high-resolution graphics that would in turn affect the load speed of each page. This may to some on first impressions make the site look possibly old fashioned or bland but in my opinion, the speed is worth the sacrifice and although it wont win any presentation awards it is not unpleasant to look at and is extremely functional.
Just below the logo you will find links to a very comprehensive FAQ section, a calendar that lists members birthdays which I think is a really nice touch, a standard search engine to the site, a members list, access to your profile and an alert informing you if you have any unread messages.
The home page of the site comprises of 3 main sections, which are the Forum itself, Review Site Talk and Members Fun Area. There are subheadings below each of these sections that can then be drilled down further to reach the posts themselves.
--- The Forum ---
There are 2 subheadings under this category All Site Information and Competitions.
The former contains information on how to use the site, forum rules, a new members thread and a thread to attach your own picture, so others can put a face to the name. The latter gives details of the current competitions being run as well as the results of previous competitions. There seems to be at least 2 competitions being run at any one time, these are a monthly avatar competition, those of you who dont have a clue as to what an avatar is, as I didnt before I joined this site, its the small picture that accompanies every post you write. This months avatar competition is on heat, no nothing related to dogs, well I havent seen a picture of a Great Dane with a representation of the Eiffel Tower swinging between its legs anyway. You do not have to have an avatar but I must say its a helpful way of instantly recognising who wrote the post. That said as soon as the new monthly avatar competition commences these do change but you will quickly pick up whos who. The second competition is also run monthly and requires the submission of an unpublished review, which will yield the winner a £10 amazon voucher. The rules for the competitions and what the judges look for can also be found in this section.
--- Review Site Talk ---
I consider this to be the heart of the site; you will find 6 sub headings. The first two headings are devoted to Ciao and Dooyoo. Both offer how to use the respective sites, you can post problems and questions and generally debate what ever you want.
Theres a generalised heading named Other Review, Reward and Survey Sites, that is a catch all where you can find information on other sites to write on and find out personal opinion about shopping and survey sites that spring up all over the place.
There is a section called Which, that allows members to share their opinions about anything from software titles to the best online flower suppliers.
There is a section entitled Epinions, Ive never been on this site but it seems to be a smaller version of Dooyoo and Ciao.
Lastly the section finishes with the heading General Review Site Chatter. This is again a generalised area where you will find topics such as do your prefer Ciao or Dooyoo, or what the members feel are the most useful reviews for the public.
--- Members Fun Area ---
This section at present contains 9 sub headings and is a part of the forum you can enter to just have fun. Whether thats just to have a rant, discuss the latest news, play a word game, discuss the latest movie releases or find out information other members have posted re the latest free stuff on line. There is even a section dedicated to Ebay. There is also a hidden section called 18 plus which you will need to request access to, as by default its not available. To my amusement one of the first threads I saw was entitled Free Condoms, why did I only find this after my fourth child was born!
When entering the home page and viewing the headings and sub headings you will notice to the left of each is an envelope symbol, if this envelope is coloured dark blue it indicates new posts have been added since your last visit and pale blue represents no new posts.
Complementing the site is the ability to private message other members, you will of course have to be registered first but if you want to enter into a one to one discussion or simply send a message to another member you dont want the whole community to see, then this offers the perfect solution.
At the very bottom of the home page you will see a whos online box, apart from the obvious of informing you of whos on line, it also lists who the newest registered user is, the total amount of registered users, which as I write this is 198, the total amount of posts added to the site and any users who will be celebrating a birthday in the coming 7 days.
--- Opinion ---
Reading some of the previous reviews, there seems to have been some mixed feelings re this site, especially with regards to moderating. Its early days for me but I can say my experience does not match some of the previous reviews written regarding this subject, this may well of course mean that previous comments have been heeded.
Thus far I have found the forum, informative, helpful and friendly. I was made to feel welcome from the get go. The forum offered me a wealth of information re Dooyoo, that not only helped me to find my feet quickly but offered great advice on how to write a good review, which after all was initially my main reason for joining.
There also seems a healthy amount of debate threads being posted, which is good news for any forum, if you want to rant and put your own views across there is plenty of opportunity to do it here.
I have noticed several screen names on RWF that regularly write on Dooyoo, some of which are guides, dont get me wrong its not a site run by Dooyoo guides but it is nice to see the advisors mixing it up with us mere mortals.
On that point I posted a question re adding suggestions on Dooyoo, ten minutes later when I checked there were 2 posts added by different members, hows that for service. One of the replies was from a Dooyoo guide that said they would ask Dooyoo on my behalf. The following day another post was left answering my question. You really cant say fairer than that, having guides present seems to me to be a fast track to Dooyoo to get answers.
The forum seems active as several new posts appear every day and with just shy of 200 members thats pretty good. I would encourage anyone new to review writing to pay this site a visit; you will be surprised just how much you can learn from it. Similarly any established writers who feel they could contribute to this forum Im sure would be made to feel welcome.
Im off to find one of those avatar things, now where was that picture of the Great Dane
Thanks for reading.
Oh I nearly forgot www.reviewwritersforum.co.uk go on give it a try, if you do my birthday is on the 12th September to save you looking!
As a member of a consumer review site sometimes you feel an urge to converse with people online without the constraints attached to your membership. You do not necessarily want to read and rate, you just want to chew the fat with people you have come to know be it opinion site related, or matters of the everyday. This is were sites such as The Review Writers Forum come in to play. I have been using The Review Writers Forum as a stopgap to wile away the time when my enthusiasm for reading consumer reviews wanes.
The Review Writers Forum is essentially a forum for members of opinion sites to debate, chat and congregate, away from the inevitable constrictions of the consumer reviews site. It is a site originally set up by an established opinion site member as a place that aims to be, fun and challenging, that offered members a bit more than just chatting, a place where members did not feel like they were taking part in a huge Let's talk about so and so den of iniquity where people feel unwelcome. Forums are very difficult to police (don't even like the word), and the idea of the forum was to be a place where people from all walks of life, all review sites, could discuss subjects that interested them in a pleasant atmosphere. This is representative in the sites layout.
Nicknamed by many as The Forum Of Infinite Blueness or FOIB, due to the sites predominantly blue background, the site is set out in an easy to follow table of topics to be perused and discussed. These include segments dedicated specifically to the major opinion sites of ciao, dooyoo and epinions. In these threads members can pose questions, moan or rant about everything from overrating to award conspiracies. For those desperate to get away from opinion site debates, there are sections such as Banter and Fun,Entertainment and All About Books were you can chat about your latest read, Doctor Who or even real life stuff! Perhaps, most interesting is the Current Affairs section in which members can discuss anything newsworthy they feel is important. Recent topics discussed include the use of cannabis, child abuse and the NHS. Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list of the threads on offer but as you can see there is plenty to peruse and most people should find something that interest them.
Most sections of the forum can be accessed without registering as a site member but, in order to contribute, registration is required. Fortunately, this is a simple and free process needing a user name, password and email address to activate your account (this can take anything from minutes to hours dependent on whether an Admin member is online). Once registered there are more options available to you as a member than as a browser. These include a private messaging system to chat to members on site one to one, the ability for your online status to remain hidden (handy if you want to browse without being PM'd) and a choice of avatar (picture next to your postings).
The Review Writers Forum is a site that navigates quickly and has an easy to use, one-click menu system for accessing, replying and quoting threads. It is a site that has little if any downtime and navigates quickly. Despite the much mocked overwhelmingly blue appearance, fonts are clean and crisp and large enough to be easy on the eye. However, the site does have a lot of sections which although well segmented can make the site a little cluttered in its attempt to be all encompassing.
As a forum Review Writers has a lot to offer and is evolving interesting areas including a games thread and monthly writing competition. Unfortunately, despite the owners efforts this a site with some problems. The primary problem as I see it being the over-enforcement of site rules specifically the no-naming and no off-topic postings policy. Although the policy does state, no naming it is a grey area on site that has been constantly debated since the sites creation. I know as a former moderator I was often uncomfortable trying to moderate under these rules. Even the most innocuous postings, including fictional characters were to be moderated and even the most indirect or most positive naming was to be treated with suspicion and moderated. This rule was so stringent at times that I found myself breaking it unknowingly at times making moderating it an impossible task!
Similarly, The Review Writers Forum seems to have a serious aversion to anything deemed to be an off topic posting. In my opinion a thread often meanders around a point only to return to it further down. Occasionally a thread can veer wildly off topic. However, a simple back on topic comment from a moderator is usually sufficient and if nobody is complaining about the postings then why does it have to be a problem? The Admin at The Review Writers Forum obviously disagree with me on this and often remove, without warning swathes of posting considered off-topic. Along with the removal of naming posts it is a surprise there are many threads left intact!
You see the problem is in the enforcement of the rules. Yes we understand there is a no naming policy and it should were possible be adhered to BUT, mistakes will happen, innocuous and harmless naming should not be treated with scorn and the moderators and members should be treated with respect and a modicum of common sense applied. I understand that there is a large and varied active membership. I understand that there are a number of outspoken members which leads to heated debate. However, not admitting that you have been cack-handed in your moderation and editing and refusing to employ a common sense approach is only going to cause a loss of the membership the site owners claim to value. Removing threads while you decide whether they are suitable is not showing respecting your membership and neither is deactivating members without warning as you see them as causing trouble
All in all this site is well laid-out with an established, active and varied membership that suffers from heavy handed editing by its Admin. In their defence they are trying to establish clearer guidelines as to what they deem acceptable but without the consideration for its members a site such as this requires this will all be for nought. Furthermore, unless they relax their no naming policy I cannot recommend it and would point you to more consistent, less stringent alternatives that are more about freedom of speech than censorship.
The review writers forum is a forum started by quite a popular member of both review sites, ciao and dooyoo.
Thingywhatsit or Rachel, as she is also known- set up the forum in the hope to bring members together to have a laugh, make new friends and basically just create a happy, easy going web space for members of all review sites. But can a forum ever be completely happy? And does the website provide harmless fun or is it just another boring site that people sign up to and never take part? Well, as someone who frequents the site daily, here is my view on Thingywhatsits online forum.
*** The Layout ***
When the site first loads you are greeted with a rather plain looking site, though it does contain a nice little logo with a cartoon picture of what I presume to be as Rachel. Its a fun logo with Rachel holding out a drink, toasting the fact that you have come to the site. I think this is very fitting to Rachels welcoming character and it goes really well on the site.
Below the logo you can see links to an FAQ, a calendar of posts, a search section, an option to either login or register, and a link to get back to the home page. Although the writing for these links is quite small, they are written in blue and are against a white background so they stand out quite well, without being in your face. This is good news for me because Ive visited some sites that I have wanted to join, and I havent for the life of me been able to find the link to sign in/register. So I do like the clearly visible links.
The colour scheme runs the same throughout the site, with it being mainly white and two different shades of blue. The main forum page is on the first page that loads up which is handy. It doesnt mess around, it is a forum after all and that is what loads up first, no fancy homepage or anything, just a simple forum with selections for different topics. Now on one hand people could argue that there should be a few different pages and although it is a forum, there should be other stuff there too such as an about me page or an introduction before you get to the forum. I personally feel it might be a good idea to have that but on the other hand I do like the fact that it is what it states in its title a forum and nothing more or less.
So although a little plain, the site shows you all the information you need to know, as well as providing clear links that are easy to navigate through.
*** The Content ***
The actual topics themselves on the forum are quite varied. The main categories are:
All Site Information Click on this category and it will take you to a page with forum rules, how to use the site, a newsletter sign up thread, a welcome thread and general information about new things to the forum and competitions that may be running.
Ciao A place to chat about everything related to Ciao
Dooyoo A place to chat about everything to do with Dooyoo
Other Review, Reward and Survey sites A good Place to find out about some other sites you may not have heard of.
Epinions All things to do with the site Epinions
General Review Site Chatter A place to compare, ask questions and discuss all things to do with review sites.
Banter and Fun A place where members can talk about whatever they want to, related or not related to review sites.
Entertainment A place to talk about what you have seen on TV, or anything to do with the entertainment business.
The Arena My favourite section A place to play online games against other members. New games are posted all the time so there is always a variety to choose from.
All About Books The title speaks for itself really. This is a good place to share your views on recent books you have read or you can find out some info on books you have been interested in reading.
Ebay A place to discuss Ebay. Have you had any bad experiences? Have you got any tips on how to sell things on eBay? If so this is the place to let it all out.
As you can see, there are quite a lot of topics available to chat on, so there really is something for everyone. I have especially found the review site sections helpful when I have been stuck on something such as suggesting a topic, or if the site has been playing up a little and I need to know if it is just me who is having problems.
Another handy thing that is provided is a private messages section. This loads up a separate page when you click on it. Obviously you have to be a member to receive private messages, and once you have joined they really are useful, as it is the only private section in which you can post messages to any member you choose.
*** My Overall Opinion ***
I do like this site and as I have said, I visit it daily. I especially like to go on the arena section every day to try and beat as many scores as I can. I am extremely competitive and hate to lose things. One particular member keeps beating all my scores and she is annoying me in the nicest way possible lol. It is a good way to release stress if youve had a bad day and there are quite a few games in there now with new ones being added every other day.
There are always the odd one or two people who like to spoil things for everybody else and Rachels forum has been a victim to these people on a couple of occasions. Overall though the site is a somewhat friendly place to be and my only concern is that it needs more members participation.
Currently boasting some 174 members, the forum gets roughly around fifteen people, if that, participating frequently. More people need to start joining in to make this site as good as it can be. I would love to compete against more people in the arena and it would be good to see more member input on topics in the banter and fun section. Rachel encourages friendly debate which the site does tend to have a lot of. The members that do participate are all different and have very different perspectives. This leads to entertaining, funny at times, debate and at times it does tend to get a little heated. If that does happen then I always just go into the arena and ignore whatever is going on. That makes the experience a lot better for me if I dont get too involved.
I do think this site has the potential to be really successful and I congratulate Rachel on running the site mainly by herself. She has put a lot of effort in to make a good little community for members to hang around in and I feel the site definitely deserves more members participation. So if you are a member and you dont participate as much as you could please make a little more effort. It really is fun once you get in to it and its always nice to meet new people. Also if you arent a member I would seriously consider joining.
All in all Id say Rachel has achieved what she set out to do but please people we need more members!
Review Writers Forum for those of you that do not know, is a rendezvous for both dooyoo and Ciaoers. Epinion members also have a topic but with only 24 posts, it does not play a big part. However, dooyoo and ciao do take up a huge chunk of the site.
There are obviously rules on the site but to be honest they are just common knowledge, with the main ones being not naming or hinting so members cannot be discriminated against, or just remembering not to be racist or threatening. This is the same on all forums really-so everyone can get along. I have been warned once, which I will explain in a while, but alls it shows it that you will get chances and you will not get thrown out for one comment.
They are drewboy, sirg0508 and Thingywhatsit, who most of you will know from this site and as far as i can tell, they do an excellent job, not only looking after the site, but being friendly at the same time. According to the FAQ on the site, an Admin has a level of control over the board, and can ban users, create moderators and have full moderator capabilities in all forums.
I have not had any troubles with these either, with all of them being friendly. If you have a worry or concern, Private Message (PM) them and theyll answer back in no time at all, or if they want to ask you something, it will always be in a friendly manner. I myself PM them quite a lot and they are friendly.
Now, I was naughty and broke a rule before-I hinted at a person on dooyoo that I was complaining about on a thread (without realising) and in return, got a PM warning me in a very nice tone, just saying that I wasnt meant to hint. No worries or no grudge, just a friendly warning which I thought was reasonable. I reckon youll only get thrown off the site if youre a constant problem.
Then there are the moderators who add threads and check posts. For E.g. the Arena, the moderators have to add games ad delete unpopular games. Since the site is always thriving with posts, I can only assume they do a good job. These can lock and unlock posts, and split and merge posts in their section and edit posts to prevent people going off topic.
There is the site information which is self-explanatory and explains the rules which are a vital read for newbies, but doesnt exactly add to the site.
Site Competition-This is a far better topic because it is fun. Here holds the threads which tell you about competitions. Join fast and youll be able to enter this months ones-Short Story Competition and Pet review. They obviously change monthly but are extremely fun and a challenge. My generally long reviews had to be limited due to the 950 word limit, so not only does it provide a challenge, but is fun because after the draw is up, you can post it to earn money.
If you win, youll even get an Amazon voucher which makes it even more worthwhile due to a decent prize to aim for. I will enter this monthly if it the subject appeals to me.
Review Site Talk-You can talk about dooyoo, ciao, other review sites, Epinions, or review sites in general. All these threads are under a different topic and all having many threads. Under the Review sites, threads will vary from Guide information to crowns. Many topics are about your opinion-such as what makes a good review or complaints on what makes a bad review or writer-such as how often you should write. It is really interesting to read different opinions and see what people think and the varied opinions. Some of these progress into arguments but they are mainly just friendly debates to ask why people think this or why people would like that and it makes you realise, it takes a very good review to please everyone! However, it does give you useful advice on how to make your reviews better and it honestly has helped me to half the size of my reviews (which I thought were too long). Although the threads vary, they basically run along the same format.
General Review Site Talk-There isnt as many threads on here but this generally consists of threads that are to do with all review sites and information. One of these is general chatter and others talk about payment methods. Basically, except for the odd thread that could be put in both the dooyoo and ciao thread, they mainly compare the sites, or talk about rules. Although this is an interesting read, I do not post here that much because it doesnt appeal to me, but I do find it fun to stick up for dooyoo.
~Members Fun Area~
This has nothing to do with reviews at all and it just general chatter about certain subjects-a lot of them, which appeals to a wide range. The thread Banter and Fun, where you post anything funny-such as controversial posters and signs, or fun websites is very addictive. I spend a lot of my time here, not posting new threads, but reading and replying to funny subjects and sites. The threads are about nothing really though, which is not a complaint, but just a statement since this is so fun. I will tell you two of these, which I find excellent. South Park Avatar s a thread with a link to a site in which you can create yourself as a South Park character and show it off to anyone on the site-which makes you wonder why everyone draws their character stoned? Then there is a thread with a link in which you draw a house and answer questions which reveals your personality. This is uncannily accurate too and you also get to show off your drawings. If you find something funny, just add it for a response and some fun. What makes it so good if that theres no restrictions on what to post (except the obvious rules-nothing racist or threatening or sexual) and some people really do find some funny places.
I cant say much since Im 15, but there is an 18+ area too. Sounds fun to me but I cant enter as they didnt believe my comment Im um 23 Oh well-the rest of you can have fun there.
In the rest of the Members Fun Area, you can ask technical questions, talk about TV, eBay, or just anything in the news. This can be extremely interesting. Obviously most of these topics are only good if you are on eBay, or watch the popular shows, but they are fun none-the-less. You can express opinions on shows, or advertise your eBay shop and it has quite a few posts so Im guessing people like it.
One of my favourites though is Word Games in which there are just fun word games such as change a letter where youre given a word and the next person changes a letter and it goes on, or my favourite-the Meh-gah thread in which one person says Meh and the next says gah. Its so pointless but surprisingly addictive. There are far more games though which require you to think and I laugh out loud at many of these games.
Something totally different though is The Arena which a lot of people spend time on. This is just general competition on internet games. I just post a game (or others), and then there is a competition which goes onto see who can get the highest score-and then at the end of the week, or updated when a higher score is given, you get the thrill of knowing you are best. It is so great because of the official bragging rights of the winner-keep it to a minimum please. What makes this so good is that a lot of these games are extremely addictive.
~Advantages & Disadvantage (singular) ~
I dont need to explain the obvious advantages which are the fun of the threads, which make you laugh and provide you with some relevant information, but I do need to explain the members. Generally, the members are extremely friendly and helpful. If you have a technical problem-just start a thread in the appropriate category and you will find a helpful member in no time at all-just as if you need advice on reviews, you will also get it in no time. If you start a thread you will get advice, which you want, of which will probably turn into a mini-debate between a few members (mostly on topic) which is fun to follow because of the varied opinions.
The only disadvantage I can think of is some of the members. Most of them will help out but I do think that criticism can go too far. Some people ask for advice and it then turns to a debate-which can gradually progress into an argument of what is right. However, if you feel you do not want criticism, just do not reply to your topic so you cant get nagged at. Alternatively, just be a bit more careful on what you write to make sure it cant get you in trouble. Me? Well, I can just ignore it because I dont think they mean it. Sure, I got annoyed when it happened the once but who cares? After a re-read I just thought that the people criticising me didnt mean anything by it and were just trying to help, not annoy me so I carry on writing on Review Writers Forum as normal because of this. Unless someone makes a threatening comment or a really critical comment, I would urge you to wonder if the criticism was meant because it most probably wasnt-or the Admins would probably catch it out.
~Extra Site Information~
Found at www.reviewwritersforum.co.uk
It has many additional features that enhance your experience, as stated.
Private Messages-Like an e-mail system within the site, you just send a private message to people so they can read. It sounds simple and is on a lot of forums but it is very useful if you want to question something someone has said (to find more information) or ask the Admins something important.
Calendar- This reminds you of events such as competitions and even birthdays. You can put your birthday onto your profile. It is useful for site competitions really, and the birthdays are just a bonus (there is a weeks warning-so it could be useful if you know someone on the site).
Search-It lets you search through Review Writers Forum. It is useful if you want to add a thread of game etc. but dont want to search through seven pages of posts. There are a lot of them.
With so little complaints and so many positive points I have to say my overall experience on the site is definitely positive. There are 162 members (after this review I am expecting 170), and that means you are going to get loads of helpful advice from a lot of members. Sure, you might get some criticism but I doubt it is too serious and you should just let it fly over your head and carry on writing because if you take that attitude, you wont have any problems anyway. Alls you have to do is be careful what to post-just make sure you do not name or hint and youll be fine.
The site is even easy to navigate around. At the top it tells you if you have a PM, and shows links to the calendar and then going down the page in a row are categories such as dooyoo, which you click on to get to the posts. The site itself is even good to the eye with a light blue colour which is easy to the eye and laid back.
I recommend this site since Thingywhatsit, Sirg0508 and drewboy do an excellent job. I have yet to see an offensive remark and occasionally come across a friendly message saying Edited-you know the rules which proved they do their job right. This does not mean you can keep posting offensive remarks though, because youll get caught. New features include a little button by each comment so you can report any review to the admin that you think is offensive-so you wont get away with it.
I look forward to reading more comments on this site and entering the competitions since they are a fantastic idea and add to the fun of the site. Since users are encouraged to use their dooyoo (or ciao) name as well, youll met some familiar friendly faces to chat with. If you want you can even post pics of yourself on the site, in your profile or under banter and fu, bringing members of the dooyoo community closer together. It isnt for everyone but if you like a good opinion, give it a go.
With all the stuff thats been said over the last few weeks about the reviewwritersforum I thought it might be useful to reveal a darker side of the website. Ive been trying to do this by way of comments on the reviews that people are writing but Dooyoo has removed these comments at the request of certain individuals. Seems they dont want the truth to be told. Id like to add that for everything I talk about below I have evidence to back myself up in the form of MSN Messenger history files. Of course these could be faked but the people that have been around during my membership of the website may finally be able to put two and two together and see why at times I was behaving erratically and so out of character.
I joined the reviewwritersforum back at the tail end of 2005 at the request of the owner of the website, a well-known reviewer on both the Dooyoo and ciao sites. At that time I had only written a few reviews and didnt even know there were forums out there for review writers let alone think about joining one. As a result I was rather flattered by this approach.
I was told that people are asked to join on an invitation only basis and that made me feel even more special. At that time, the website was hosted by a different company than today however this review is relevant to both versions of the forum as I was a member on the first and remained so during the transition to the second and for a few weeks thereafter.
When I joined, the site was split into various discussion topics, e.g. ciao, Dooyoo, Epinions, Current Affairs, Fun and Banter and a few other topics. Under each topic were what are called discussion threads. These threads can be started by any member and once started, can be added to by any other member. Obviously each thread needs to talk about the topic that it was under but for those people, or one person :) that was unable to remain on topic, a further Off-Topic heading was created specifically for him :). The site itself is overseen by a team of moderators and the administrators one of whom is the owner herself. When I first joined I didnt know many of the people there but this changed over time. Within a few weeks I was posting and replying and generally joining in as I became more and more comfortable with the very friendly people there. During this time, I learnt a lot about ciao and Dooyoo and I would like to think I made quite a few friends too and for that period of time I shall be forever grateful to the members of the forum because some of those people I still consider to be friends even now.
At some point during my membership someone started a thread that listed their MSN or Yahoo email addresses and everyone promptly gave their details. Very soon the people who had been communicating with each other via message threads and guest books on ciao and non-review related comments on Dooyoo were now also communicating directly with each other in real-time conversations using MSN Messenger or Yahoo Chat. Very soon I was having regular conversations with the owner of the forum and we discussed all sorts of stuff and generally became what I naively thought were good friends. I say naively because things didnt turn out that great in the end and looking back over what subsequently happened I see now how I was manipulated almost right from the start.
You see the problem I have is not with the forum. Its members are generally good people, even the chap who sells soap might be a good bloke but Ill never know now because of the things I was told during one of my many online conversations with the owner. We now have too much history between us for us to ever figure out the truth about each other. The problem is with the owner of the forum. Her behind the scenes manipulation of facts mean that you can never be certain of the truth; you can never be certain whether the truth that youve been told is the same truth that is being told to other people that she no doubt is also having private conversations with.
Im sure those of you that love reality TV are itching for some specifics and this review will probably end up being a reality review with the forum being the online equivalent of Big Brother. Indeed one of the threads on the original forum ended up being an online Big Brother event where people were put into an online house and systematically evicted. That was in the good old days before it all went pear-shaped pear-shaped for me that is. I hope the remaining members are still having a great time. Mind you this review may also end up been seen as me washing my dirty laundry in public. What the hell lets go for it because people need to know what they are letting themselves in for if they get too close to the owner of the forum. So here are some specifics:
Chap who sells soap vs forum owner Part 1
One of the first things the owner told me was that the chap who sells soap (though he didnt sell soap at the time) hounded her on ciao. He didnt believe any of the stuff that she wrote in reviews on ciao and he constantly harassed her and essentially bullied her online. She wasnt the first person he picked on. Apparently he once managed to find the work place details of another reviewer and called up to see if that person actually worked there! Apparently he eventually got booted off ciao but was now on Dooyoo getting up to his old tricks again.
Now why would I be told about this? Well I happened to be told about this a short time after I mentioned in one of our online conversations how I hated bullies. Whether its bullies at school or in the workplace, I just cant stand them and I will always try to stand up for anyone who is not able to stand up for him or herself. Whilst telling me all about the chap who sells soap, the owner of the website put herself across as a tormented person who was despised by a group of review writers and this chap happened to be part of that group. I was told that all she wanted to do was to write reviews and that other people were out to get her. Well this was like a red flag to a bull. So from that day, the man who sold soap was marked. Im ashamed to say that I promptly went on to stand up for the owner of the forum purely on uncorroborated evidence. By standing up I mean I used every opportunity to make a disparaging remark about him or his reviews in the same way that I was told he made remarks about the owner of the website; an eye for an eye as it were.
The other forum vs forum owner
Later I was told that there was another forum out there. A rival to hers called opinionators. However this other forum consisted of the rest of the group that the man who sells soap belongs to. I was told that every now and again this group would get one of their members to join her forum purely to cause trouble. I asked her why she let them join in the first place and she said that the forum was open to all and that in order to appear impartial she had to let anyone who wanted to join her site access to that site. Now in hindsight this seems odd.
When I first joined I was told it was via invitation only but now Im being told that anyone could join. So why was I approached in the first place. Why was I made to feel special or part of a select few - hand picked to join the forum? I believe it was to make me susceptible to the owners charms. I would be less likely to question her stories or her motives later on. Anyway, I was given names of about 5 or 6 forum members who were there as she put it to cause trouble and indeed reading the posts and replies on the forum it did seem as if these people had some kind of agenda to undermine at every opportunity the efforts of the owner of the forum. The implication was clear in one of our conversations. Lay into those people in the same way that they lay into the owner of the website. Of course me being the gullible idiot that I am, I did precisely that. It worked too; the number of posts that subtlety attacked the owner of the forum decreased markedly.
Dooyoo vs forum owner
Dooyoo keep rejecting her requests to be a guide. Why?
Because Dooyoo guides are selected by existing guides and the existing guides all hate her.
Established member of CIAO vs forum owner
There is an unofficial competition to see who gets a gold coloured spot on ciao first. The forum owner is winning but the other people who dont like her are deliberately downrating her old reviews so that another member can over take her in terms of community points and get the gold coloured dot first.
Chap who sells soap vs forum owner Part 2
The chap who sells soap eventually joined the second incarnation of the review writers forum. The forum owner was really worried about this given her past experience of him. At this point I got into a bit of a spat with the admins and moderators of the forum regarding rules about naming.
Naming is a term used on the forum to describe a post that is too specific. Specific in terms of identifying an individual or in terms of identifying a specific review. I happened to post a thread that the admins decided was too specific in terms of indirectly identifying a review that Id recently written. I was told that it was too easy to figure out which review I was talking about. The chap that sells soap made a complaint about this and it was upheld by the admins. This seemed odd to me. On the one hand the forum had all sorts of threads that indirectly referred to reviews just as my thread had done yet no one had complained about those yet as soon as my thread went up it was removed because the chap who sells soap had complained about it. To be fair he may have been right, but then why was no one complaining about the other threads? I went around the forum and made a note of the URLs of all posts where it was obvious which review a person was talking about. In an MSN conversation with the forum owner I pasted links to about 6 thread on her forum that indirectly referred to reviews on Dooyoo in exactly the same way that mine had. I still have those links in my MSN Message history. The forum owner said she had no choice but to remove my post. When I asked whether the other posts would be removed she said shed look into it but weeks later they were still there (Id left by then). It seemed to me that over the weeks and months that Id been on the forum, the forum owner had accepted that I would stand up for her against the group of trouble makers but when it came to a point where I needed her support in return, she decided not to. That was when I realised how Id been a complete mug and that was when I decided to leave the forum.
Youve probably spotted a common theme here. The owner of the forum is convinced that everyone is out to get her. Is always her verses someone else. Its always her the weak vulnerable person being attacked by big bullies or groups of bullies.
As a forum the website is pretty good. The individual members are what make it a success. Even the moderators when they do their job right are good people. The problems start when you get too close to the owner of the forum. When you start exchanging private messages and engaging in real time chats over the Internet, thats when you realise that within the forum there is also an undercurrent of tension between members. These are the members who are pitted against each other so that eventually one of them leaves. Hopefully the one that leaves is the one the owner of the forum wanted to leave.
At one point I decided to leave the forum. Forum members can delete themselves if they wish and a request goes to the admins who will then arrange for your account to be deleted. I did this a few months before I finally did leave and one of the admins immediately got back to me and instead of asking me why? she asked is it because of xxxx. If so we can remove him. Before I managed to send off a reply saying that I wanted to leave for my own reasons I discovered that xxxx had been deleted from the forum. In that example you can see how the owner of the forum already had her sights set on a particular person to be removed but lacked the excuse to do so. She used me in order to get xxxx removed. Why did they want him removed? Simply because one of their rules was that forum members have to join with a username that is identical to that used on Dooyoo or ciao and this person used his real name. He was a bit of a rebel in that sense but as far as I could see, that was the only thing that hed done to annoy the owner of the forum, and they used my message requesting that I be deleted as an excuse to delete him instead. No doubt they told him that hed been removed for causing me some kind of offence.
So there you go if youve managed to stay awake this far.
All (well almost all) my dirty laundry out in the public.
Having written this I actually feel a lot better now. Better out than in as they say :)
Of course the owner of the forum and/or the chap that sells soap previously the worst of enemies and now the best of mates may manage to find something in my review that breaks Dooyoo rules and ask for it to be removed in the same way theyve done with my recent comments. If so then the truth will remain unknown and people will continue to join unaware of what they may be letting themselves in for and people will continue to think of me as a mean sod who likes to have a verbal argument with complete strangers for no reason whatsoever.
I've already read a few comments kind of apologising for a U or SU rate. For the record, I didn't write this for the rates. I wrote it because its a story that needs to be told.
I would urge everyone regardless of whether or not they think of me as a friend to rate this review according to the dooyoo guidelines. Heck I get the 3p anyway :)
The review writers forum, known as FOIB2 amongst other opinion forums (Forum Of Infinite Blueness, its predecessor.) is a place where people from here and Ciao get together and discuss, moan, whinge, debate, play and jolly well do whatever they jolly well want you know?
I have held back from writing this as I wanted to make sure I could base my conclusions on both experience and knowledge rather than feelings, so I have been interactive on the site for a few months now and am probably one of the most prolific posters, wind up merchants, argumentative and topical members, if I do say so myself and I do.
At review writers you get to do whatever you jolly well want (did I mention that earlier?) you can ignore the current debates and play word games or arcade games depending. You can join the 18 plus section which tells naughty jokes, not racial ones though as you get your hands slapped for that! You can find free items through the free samples section and drink pink lemonade whilst watching the daisies grow, la la la la.
That is the sweet and nice side of RWF, friendly and fun, mellow and lackadaisical, whatever turns you on really. Me, I prefer to debate and discuss current affairs, argue the merits of long reviews and crush small beetles between my fingertips, so I tend to hang around the Dooyoo, Ciao and Current affairs sections and involve myself with anything that looks half interesting regardless of whether it regards me or not. Yes, I am a cantankerous old bar-steward and I dont care, its what makes debate fun rather than talking about what colour ribbons to put into your poodles fur.
You see, rumour has it that RWF is a fluffy place and not somewhere to have a point of view that is in any way controversial or gasp against the grain and to a point, it is but no where near as bad as when I first joined. Once people realise that you can discuss in a strong way without lowering yourself to personal slating and flaming (not the Burger King version) the discussions seemed to have moved up a couple of gears and we do have quite a few good debates. One was about whether you believe in God or not and ran for longer than most of the debates I have been involved with on other sites. True, a few people took it down a peg or two and had the odd personal dig, but you get that in school playgrounds and fragile ego opinionaters are not much different to school kids at times, accept it, its more fun if you do.
They have competitions now and again although my donation of a gift box worth £20 was turned down as some of the admin thought it would force people to buy from my website, a decision I found uncontrollably hilarious and ludicrously funny, but again, I am bitter and twisted at best. You can win Amazon vouchers and stuff, nothing major but for free, it beats collecting dead flies from the window ledge. I am not going to go into detail about the things you can do really, it makes sense to go there and look yourself or rate this NU and go back to filling your bath with water in case they put a stand pipe in the village square next week, I dont really care.
The good points of RWF are that the debating is actually getting better and people are starting to grow into good thread posters rather than the usual How much did you get from the premium fund? shitty little self-promotion style topics. Big brother has just started and that thread will go on and on despite the odd halfwit trying to spoil it and I am sure now that a few seasoned veterans are taking part in the debates, they will flourish and make it so much more appealing to people who enjoy a good old chinwag between tea breaks.
The bad side is that some people can not differentiate between a discussion and an argument and tend to have hissy fits and toys out the pram every time you disagree with them. A couple have left sadly, shame as it makes you feel that they must live a sheltered life and hide away from decision making and confrontation unless they have a big mate with them. One person had their membership cancelled for racial remarks which I thought was a good decision by the admin team and set an example for all to see. The dark side also like to shout bully when more than one person disagrees with them which again stinks of not wanting to accept a situation or admitting they may not be right. One person who loved to insult people and intimidate on review sites actually left because he said people were bullying HIM! LMAO.
Well, most of the whingers have either left or accepted that debate is healthy and thankfully the site has not suffered but rather grown and is quickly becoming the place to be seen, like the chic café where everyone drinks espresso and smokes cigarettes through those long holders and chats about gothic art.
My final thoughts are that RWF has to be taken seriously now and is incorporating change and growing daily. Rachel, the site owner, has come around to thinking that there is a growing need for people to chat about things other than who is what coloured dot, and is making this place into a creditable site in my view, thats as close to a compliment as she will get though, for now.
Time will tell if RWF becomes this years opinionaters, ciaochat or whatever, you will just have to join in and make your own mind up, if you have one that is. ;o)
Reviewwritersforum.co.uk was created in 2005 for review writers from primarily Dooyoo and Ciao as a meeting place where members can talk about their use of both sites. The intention was to make a place that was accessible for members of these sites, other review writers and fans of the written word to come and chat, discuss, debate, enter competitions and above all have fun.
##THE MAIN PAGE##
When you first log onto the site you are faced with a kind of block effect front page. This shows you all the different areas you can access.
The first section is for All site information and this is for anything to do with the site itself. There are threads for photos, new members to introduce themselves and forum rules to name but a few. Underneath this is a section for competitions. Each month there are various competitions set by the site for the members to enter. They involve writing (obviously) and this month the subject was to write a review about a game - (board, card or computer). There was a £15 Amazon voucher as a prize. There is also a short story competition running with a £10 prize.
The next section is headed Review Site Talk and there are separate headers for Dooyoo, Ciao, Other Review, reward and survey sites, Epinions and General Review Site Chatter. As I am only really active on Dooyoo I tend to stick to that thread and I will talk in a little more detail about the threads from this header later.
Lastly you have a Members Fun Area section. There is allsorts on this bit, from Word Games to Current Affairs chatter. Other sections within this heading include Free Stuff Online where members post links to get freebies from other sites and a games thread to play against other members to arrive at an overall weekly winner!
OK, as this is posted on Dooyoo and this is the bit I enter the most I will tell you a little about the action and atmosphere within this area of the site.
When you click on the Dooyoo heading it will bring up all the threads that have been started under Dooyoo. Anyone can start a thread and anyone can read and respond to threads other members have created. They all have titles and most seem to be pretty self explanatory so you can get a good idea of what the topic will be about from the title.
I have personally used this forum to ask questions of all sorts about Dooyoo practices and how to go about things. I have asked about what other members think should be included in a good review and other helpful (to me) topics about Dooyoo. I have found that there are actually quite a few guides knocking about on here and along with non-guide opinions you get some really good advice and help coming back from your topics. This also gets everyone talking because as I am sure you know, not everyone will agree with another members opinion so this will often open up a really good debate, with passionate writings from a lot of people. Whilst some of it is just for fun, you will get some really good useful comments too.
I have found that after starting a thread for one question, once this has been answered the replies will actually take the original question of into a totally new direction and this is great as you can see where your initial question has taken the discussion.
In terms of helpfulness in regard to actually writing reviews and technical areas of Dooyoo such as proposing subjects or products I have not been let down with the answers I have received. They have been useful, informative, friendly and easily offered by other members.
In terms of friendliness and atmosphere on this site I have been made to feel very welcome and the other members have been really friendly. This has helped to settle me in and I have found myself returning to the site quite a few times every day to see if there are any new posts. This is easy to see as a little orange colour square appears before the title on the thread to show there has been a new post since you last looked.
I actually find the whole site very easy to navigate and get round. The set up process is extremely easy as well. To open an account, members are asked to use their Dooyoo name, and this is so that everyone knows who everyone is. Simple but effective. Signing up and registering is relatively fast, although you do have to wait for a confirmation email before being able to post on the site. Logging in and logging off is simple as well and members can have the choice of whether they want to sign up for the fortnightly newsletters in the all site information section.
Once you have registered you can select an avatar, which in case you are none the wiser like I was when I joined is a small picture that will appear next to all of your posts. This can either been chosen from the gallery on site and there are some lovely ones, or downloaded from your computer or another site. This means you can have a picture of yourself on there or any other photo/picture you chose. I have Keifer Sutherland in a 24 pose at the moment cos he is gorgeous but you chop and change whenever you like. There is also a monthly avatar competition, this month the subject being human flaws, so you can see there is always loads of things to enter and talk about.
I havent entered any competitions this month as I was finding my feet and getting to know other members, but I will definitely be trying my hand in May. If I won a £15 Amazon voucher from writing a previously unpublished review on this site, it is the equivalent of getting 500 reads on Dooyoo! Then you can always publish it after the competition closes! You might even get a crown! LOL
##MY OVERALL OPINION##
I have been a member on here now since the beginning of April and have already had lots of helpful and friendly advice. I didnt think it would be as addictive when I first joined but now I find every time I log onto to Dooyoo, I follow it up with a log on to this site.
I am enjoying being part of this forum. The responses are usually quick to come in and this makes it interesting and a good pace for debate and discussion. I have been on other chat and discussion sites where some one answers once a day, so it just loses my interest as it takes so long for a discussion to happen, but on here the answers are thick and fast usually and you can have almost a full blown written conversation in the space of an hour on here.
I would love to see other members of Dooyoo over there as there are no guest books on Dooyoo to be bale to chat other members if you fancy it so this is the perfect place to find new friends and chat to people about their ideas, their reviews, their suggestions and maybe help them out with their questions. I know a lot of people love the guestbooks over on ciao and anyone on Dooyoo who would like the opportunity to chat to others would do a lot worse than joining up here.
Thanks for reading.
Aren't we, the 'opinionating community,' a navel gazing bunch? Not only do we write reviews and opinions, but we also write about writing reviews and opinions - both here on site, and on various community message boards. Here I am - I've reviewed items costing a few pence (Tic-Tacs, Tango), items costing a few pounds (books, movies) to things costing thousands (TVs, cars). I have also reviewed websites - both review websites and others (humanclock, scamorama)..
The point is, like many folks around here, I am opinionated, and keen to take my views and my version of the 'community' to a more (perhaps) informal level. I therefore have joined, and am reasonably active in, several messaging boards and forums (fora?), including Tooyoo, Opinionators, and the one on which I plan to write now, Thingywhatsit's forum - http://93733.aceboard.net/(though it seems likely it will move sometime in the near future - this will likely change the look as described below, but not the atmosphere and membership) - known semi-officially as The Review Writers Forum (yes, I know there should be an apostrophe after the 's' in 'writers', but that's how it shows on the site) and rather unofficially as FOIB (Forum of Infinite Blueness - I coined that because the colour scheme is very, very blue).
The Basics - Just the Facts
When I joined the forum, it was by invitation only, and on the condition that you used your Ciao username as your username on FOIB. The 'invitation only' condition may well have been lifted (I'm sure Rachel aka Thingywhatsit could confirm this), and there are now those people who use their Dooyoo or Epinions names, but it is still frowned upon to use any kind of name that differs in any way from one's Ciao or Dooyoo name. This request/requirement is in place to encourage 'openness' and, I assume, to attempt to prevent the hijacking of the board by either board spammers/bots or folks who join to cause 'trouble' (more on that later).
As mentioned earlier, the board is a painful electric blue (I understand that the board host doesn't give any options to change that), and so difficult to visit during working hours. The title of the board is at the top in a blue flowery font. Underneath is an advertisement, and then below that, in a blue box is the 'administrators welcome message' - usually in all capitals, sometimes long, sometimes short. Today it is advertising this 'months' (missing apostrophe again) competition on film (you can win a £10 Amazon voucher if you enter - you need to submit a new, unpublished op about travel to Rachel - she then places it on the judges forum, and the op is judged anonymously), and a reminder to vote in the site information topic. The vote is to decide whether and where to move the board.
Below the site announcements currently sits a row of snowflakes, and then below that are the topics, split into "The Forum", "Review Site Talk", "Survey Sites and Other Review Sites", "Have a Blether on Us", "Online and Computer Stuff", "Everything Else", and "Private Messages" (the last you can only see if you are logged on, and some of the sub-topics under the main headings are only visible to members, and others are only visible to members that request access (for example, the 18+ forum residing under "Everything Else.")
In common with many boards (at least the ones with which I am familiar) there are subtopics under the main headings), and the list of sub-sub topics (i.e. threads) can be accessed by clicking on the topic tile. You can also read the most recent posting in any thread by clicking the link under 'last post.'
Again, in common with many boards, you can private message the board's members. Unlike most boards, you can also send a 'fast message,' which appears as a pop-up. It is limited to (I think) 250ish characters, and these are not saved - you read and reply straight away. If you don't reply straightaway, you are likely to forget what it was you were replying to, and what it was you were talking about.
The 'Feel' - conversations & membership
There really does seem to be a board for any type of person. If you just want to drop in and say 'hi', there's Tooyoo (or GBs on Ciao). If you want a (sometimes) intellectual, (often) heated, (variably) intelligent discussion about opinion sites and related topics, there's Opinionators. If you want plain strangeness, there's Weirdlist (which I sadly can't get into). If you want a warm, fuzzy place, where everyone knows your (user)name and conflict is discouraged, companionship and conformity is encouraged, there is FOIB.
Understand me, although my description above sounds disparaging, it really isn't. The warm fluffy atmosphere is clearly what some folks are after - after all, people basically want to be liked, approved of and accepted. FOIB is a place to relax, not a place to be stimulated. As well as threads on Ciao, Dooyoo and Epinions, there is also 'Banter Between Members' - this includes a thread entitlted "Mr Roy's Off Topic Thread". Mr Roy is a member who likes banter, and so frequently throws in asides bringing other topics off topic. Rather than censor the member, or moderate him, the Powers That Be have created a thread where back-and-forths caused by Mr Roy's musing can be saved, replied to, and enjoyed (by folks who like that kind of thing). That way, the original thread is (in theory) returned to topic, yet the contributions made by one member are also valued and saved.
The members are, I'd think, predominately Ciao (as opposed to Dooyoo members), though of course there is crossover, and there are active FOIB contributors who are solely or primarily Dooyoo members. The membership is also largely 'exclusively' FOIB based - whilst there has been some crossover between (say) Opinionators and FOIB, the worldview and motivations of the members of each board seem to be so different that they are often incompatible.
The administration (Thingywhatsit/Rachel and Sirg1006/Debbie, I think) is welcoming and friendly. Whilst it appears that they (and, I understand, especially Rachel) are not particularly technically adept, they are trying hard, and are actively trying to improve the functionality of the board, and the atmosphere (in their opinion, of course) of the discussion areas. They regularly canvass opinion regarding proposed changes, and do try to take suggestions seriously, and, when they can, act on them. This sometimes does lead to problems, since sometimes the suggestions are contradictory and so they cannot possibly please everyone all the time. But they try.
The members are by and large friendly (perhaps even to a fault). They are generally non- argumentative and non-confrontational. All sections of the opinionating community are welcomed - from novices still honing their writing skills to seasoned opinion writers who are generally known, sometimes respected and often liked. The seasoned members are free with advice and encouragement, and open their doors to all levels of skill (in writing and discussing) and try to create a friendly, warm atmosphere. So-called 'naming and shaming' is actively discouraged, and back-biting and bitchiness are kept away from the site.
The Bad - or the downside of the good
As mentioned, the level of intellectual rigour, writing ability and debating skills/desire vary. Serious debate is often frowned upon, and looked upon as 'confrontational'. The threads are often mutual back-slapping fests: "I agree", "yeah, there must be a conspiracy", "what's your favourite op on Ciao" etc. (Again, please remember that this atmosphere suits some people, and is disagreeable to others).
The spelling and grammar can be...um...creative at times (this can make posts and threads difficult to read and follow), and large, moving, overly cute avatars and signatures seem to be the order of the day (indeed, there is even an avatar competition). Kittens and rabbits seem to be favourite themes for avatars.
Those issues above are simply a matter of taste - some people prefer a place for serious debate, others a 'bitch-fest', and still others a warm and pleasant place to visit in their spare time. However, there is an issue that I see as a real problem, and indeed is one that discourages some members of the review writing community from joining, and so actually reduces the inclusiveness of the site that the administrators have worked so hard to foster.
A few weeks ago, there actually was a serious (and seriously interesting) debate on the definition of Ciao abuse. A few people (including myself) were accused of creating conflict, denigrating or insulting the intellectual ability of other members, and scaring some members away from the 'conversation.' Speaking for myself, I can honestly say that at no time did I name-call, accuse other members of stupidity or anything else. Some members (who, it should be noted, are also members of other forums) disagreed with a few members. I stated my case (I thought) clearly and politely (if, at times, heatedly). I was told by the administration that I (and a few other folks involved in the thread) was 'scaring' other members away from the 'discussion'.
Thing was, the thread was a stimulating and interesting debate - not a mutual back-scratch fest. I (along with a few other folks) was defending a viewpoint, and using language and rhetoric to do so. I was not being personally offensive to any other member in any recognised definition of the term. I was initially informed that there had been a complaint. That another member had found my 'posting offensive'. Specifically, the complainant had found my comment: "I won't be silenced simply so that [other members] can feel comfortable ... (replying) without fear of correction [of facts] or disagreement" offensive. (Yes, I did say that).
To be fair on the administration, I subsequently received a message inviting me to "Feel free to post and don't be restrained by anyone". However, this does demonstrate the problem I mentioned above - the admin are trying so hard to please everyone, they risk satisfying no-one.
There is also the issue of accuracy. People make mistakes, and form opinions based on inaccuracies (I mean, there are people in the world who still believe the moon-landing was a hoax, and Elvis is working in Macy's). However, because of the reluctance to engage in debate, and to risk offending ANYONE, some theories are presented as fact, and discussed as fact. When someone points out that there is no basis in fact, people will say 'well, I have a right to my opinion'. As an example, during the recent investigation into clicking cartels on Dooyoo, quite a few FOIB members were (as it turned out) temporarily blocked. They were understandably upset - and there is no problem with that. Some were bitter, and most were sympathetic with the blocked members. Again, no problem. But then a 'theory' started spreading like wildfire that Dooyoo had blocked all these members in order to avoid paying out, because Dooyoo supposedly had financial difficulties (this was, apparently, because they pay out for not useful ratings). That was patent nonsense - but people believed it, and discussed it as if it were gospel fact. That's not even an opinion that people have a 'right' to - it was a fallacy, and a dangerous one.
The Ugly (and probably the temporary)
At the moment, the site is ugly. It is electric blue, and really does look unprofessional. No I do realise that it ISN'T professional, and nor is it meant to be. But nevertheless, compare the look of the current host: http://93733.aceboard.net/ with (what will truly be an improvement) the likely replacement http://reviewwritersforum.editboard.com/index.htm. The new site is still blue, but it resembles other similar forums in look, and so should be easier to navigate.
BUGS - The current site has lots of bugs. I won't delve into these in too much detail, as it does seem that the site is going to move. The move should correct some or all of these. But in the interests of completeness, and to give an idea of the feel of the site, I will mention these.
·# A problem with newsletter delivery (it seems that some folks who wantrf to unsubscribe from the newsletter are struggling to do so - this may have been fixed).
·# I find I have to constantly refresh the site to update the little envelope icons that indicate whether a thread has been read (just going into read the thread doesn't do it - I have to read the thread, come out of the thread, and then refresh).
The Conclusion (or, the Readers' Digest Condensed Version of this Review)
The Review Writers Forum is one of several places members of Ciao, Dooyoo and other review sites (though primarily Ciao) can go to make friends, discuss both review and non-review oriented topics, have fun, and get information (gossip is a universal - it is present on all these types of sites). It is a warm and friendly place, with a cross section of personalities, skills, talent, desires and motivations. Having said that, as might be expected within any semi-private club, the members tend to have similar requirements from such a site - in this case a warm fuzzy fluffy place to visit.
The administration actively tries to improve the site - both its functionality and its atmosphere (by 'improve', I mean if you like warm fuzzy). They take on board advice, and encourage suggestions for improvement. They care about the opinions, feelings and good will of the site's members.
There is a lack of meaningful debate. It seems to me that this is by the choice of its most active members. To me, this is unfortunate, and it seems to be at least partly as a result of the desire of the administration to please everyone. Therefore, eventually, those people who enjoy a good debate leave for other pastures, since debate is actively discouraged, and confrontation seems to be a dirty word.
The site is ugly and bug-riddled, but this does look set to change, possibly any day now. It remains to be seen if the administration have the technical ability, or will receive the support from the host or other folks who are technically inclined, to run the site technically efficiently (now there's an awkward sentence). I should point out here I've never run a board, so have absolutely no idea what is involved, and how much expertise it takes.
So, my recommendation is...difficult. I visit FOIB. I sometimes post. I've been involved in some fluffy stuff, and some debates. I have argued vehemently, and been castigated for it...but have had the reprimand rescinded. However, it's not my primary message board site. It is TOO fluffy, and often (in my opinion) dull as a result. There are site games (Big Brother, would you believe), and that suits some. It doesn't suit me. I tend to restrict my visits to the Ciao and Dooyoo discussions (not exclusively, but mainly), and contribute when I actually have something to say. I find that long posts are largely ignored, and debate is unwanted. The way I see it, if we all agreed on everything, there would be a haggis shortage, and life would be dull.
I am about to make a gross generalisation, and I exaggerate slightly for illustration. But I have noticed a trend. I think I can often guess which Ciao members would prefer FOIB to the other message sites out there. I suspect that folks who read all the poetry in the café, who feel Dooyoo is poorer for its lack of Guest Books, who feel the community is the most important aspect of Ciao will probably enjoy FOIB over its 'competitors'. Those who stick to product ops (probably not candy bars), who feel that overrating is rife, and believe (not always correctly or justified) that they have a personal and sacred duty to improve the standards of rating and writing on the sites would probably prefer other message boards. That doesn't necessarily make one site right or wrong, or one 'faction' is better than the other. But I know which I prefer.
I wish that there were an 'it depends' option on the 'recommended' button below.