As a reviewer, do you prefer free form writing or using the new template?

Adriana Ravenlust Adriana Ravenlust
I just tried my hand at using the template and while it prompted me to include information I might otherwise have forgotten and I didn't have to trim it for length, it was much more difficult. I had to chop up my thoughts to fit the sections as opposed to how they flow in my mind and I also felt that some things I wanted to include didn't feel like their fit in any place. For whatever reason, I had trouble writing my summary as well. I could feel myself squelching my personal style as I wrote. It's just not for me, I think.
Answers (public voting - your screen name will appear in the results):
I prefer free form reviews
Juliettia , Adriana Ravenlust , Epiphora , Miss Cinnamon , Mamastoys , Ariane , LikeSunshineDust , Alan & Michele , Darling Dove , Chou Wang , Britni TheVadgeWig , Gunsmoke , EffinSara , CaptainBunnyKilla , Sinyc
15  (27%)
I prefer using the template
Femme Mystique , Squirtie , Victoria , Danzig ate your mother , LilyLust , Tuesday , Snappy , MuffysPinguLove , El-Jaro , Apirka
10  (18%)
I like them both equally
Backseat Boohoo , Purple Foxglove , NuMe , Sleeping Dreamer , Naughty Student , Sammi , Angel deSanguine , Valyn , Liz2 , Ciao. , spicywife , tim1724 , Sir , Rayne Millaray , Mrs. Sparks , J's Alley , Gary , Kdlips , kroucena , ellejay , Silverdrop , sunkissedJess
22  (40%)
I dislike them both equally
I'm a llama
Carrie Ann , LicentiouslyYours , Pumpkin Lady , Red , imp , Luscious Lily , Liz , Dragon
8  (15%)
Total votes: 55
Poll is closed
06/20/2009
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Juliettia Juliettia
I'm a llama! Honestly though I prefer the free form writing styles, as bad as mine may be. Simply for the reasons you expressed. I tried to use the extended template and found that I couldn't get a flow due to having to chop my thoughts up.
06/20/2009
Miss Cinnamon Miss Cinnamon
I tried to write a review using the new template recently, but after a few minutes I gave up and went back to writing free form. It's not that I don't like the new template--I do. I was working with limited time (summer classes = lots of extra studying) and the format's new to me, so maybe if I have more time I'll try harder next chance I get. I often start out my review with a brief intro, and the new format doesn't really give the space to do that.

I see the template as something useful for new reviewers to use as a guideline, really. It feels awkward for me to write my review in small pieces, almost as if it is out of its natural order. Victoria said that soon all description reviews will be required to be in the new format, which makes me somewhat nervous. It's not that I * can't * do a review with the new format, it just feels weird, I guess? Maybe it'll get better with time.

I hope none of this comes across as ingratitude about the hard work put into developing the template! I think it's great, and I am certain that it will boost the overall usefulness of reviews on the site. It just takes some getting used to.
06/20/2009
Adriana Ravenlust Adriana Ravenlust
Quote:
Originally posted by Miss Cinnamon
I tried to write a review using the new template recently, but after a few minutes I gave up and went back to writing free form. It's not that I don't like the new template--I do. I was working with limited time (summer classes = lots of ... More
I agree that it will take time to get used to. I'm sure practice makes perfect. It's just not for me and I think all the EF staff can appreciate that.
06/20/2009
Epiphora Epiphora
Agreed. Some stuff just overlaps in my head, especially Material/Texture with Design/Shape/Size. Use and Performance also seem awfully similar.

It could be a good idea for some reviewers and some reviews, but right now I find it too limiting and choppy.
06/20/2009
Adriana Ravenlust Adriana Ravenlust
Quote:
Originally posted by Epiphora
Agreed. Some stuff just overlaps in my head, especially Material/Texture with Design/Shape/Size. Use and Performance also seem awfully similar.

It could be a good idea for some reviewers and some reviews, but right now I find it too limiting ... More
My issue was with Material and Care.
06/20/2009
Backseat Boohoo Backseat Boohoo
It would really depend on what I was writing about. For vibrators and dildos, I would rather not use a template to keep a "flow," as others have said. But for things like lubricant and condoms, which tend to be shorter and more concise, a template is nice.

I also think they may help newbies figure out what kind of information should be included in the review.
06/20/2009
Adriana Ravenlust Adriana Ravenlust
Quote:
Originally posted by Backseat Boohoo
It would really depend on what I was writing about. For vibrators and dildos, I would rather not use a template to keep a "flow," as others have said. But for things like lubricant and condoms, which tend to be shorter and more concise, a ... More
I think that's a good point about lube and condoms.
06/20/2009
Purple Foxglove Purple Foxglove
I can see how a template can make locating information faster and easier for someone who knows what info they want out of the review, but I think free form allows for a more story-like flow. *shrug* To each his/her own.
06/20/2009
Epiphora Epiphora
Yeah, I bet it would be good for lube reviews. I do have a hard time with those.
06/21/2009
Carrie Ann Carrie Ann
I like them both.

I like the idea of the sections so I can look at what I want to look at (as a reader) without having to skim stuff I already know or am not concerned with.

I like that it really lets folks who may not write thorough reviews know what they *should* be writing and including.

I like them for descriptive reviews that are supposed to be more of a description and don't suffer as much as a normal review if they're a bit dry.

Using it, as I did recently, was difficult for me. We get into a routine, as reviewers, of doing things in a certain order or style and deviating from that style challenged me a lot. However I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to have to do things differently than our normal style. Sometimes a routine or style makes the reviews routine and predictable.

Anyhow...
I like both, think both serve a purpose and that it would be good for us all to use both -- to deviate from our norm -- at least occasionally.

But mostly I'm just a llama.
06/21/2009
Adriana Ravenlust Adriana Ravenlust
Quote:
Originally posted by Carrie Ann
I like them both.

I like the idea of the sections so I can look at what I want to look at (as a reader) without having to skim stuff I already know or am not concerned with.

I like that it really lets folks who may not write thorough ... More
I totally thought of you when adding that option. For reals.


I'd like to comment on this but.. I'm making another poll so I won't.
06/21/2009
Pumpkin Lady Pumpkin Lady
Yeah I'm definitely more of a llama than anything else.

But personally I don't think I'll be using the new template, I'd feel restricted. Maybe it's a good idea though, I'm kind of a crazy writer sometimes.
06/21/2009
LicentiouslyYours LicentiouslyYours
I answered the other poll first, but it's the same here too.
I like both options for different things.
As a reviewer, I suspect I will use the templates when I want to maintain a more objective tone and free form when I feel the need to be subjective.

For someone who is just starting out and not sure what to say or simply ignorant of what sorts of things they should cover, I think the templates are fabulous.

So, I guess I like them both equally for now, but mostly I just wanted to in the llama club with Carrie Ann.
06/21/2009
Carrie Ann Carrie Ann
Quote:
Originally posted by Adriana Ravenlust
I totally thought of you when adding that option. For reals.


I'd like to comment on this but.. I'm making another poll so I won't.


I love silly poll answers.

And llama is one of the funnest words to look at. Those to l's. Awesome.

And is it funnest? Or most fun? I think it was most fun when I was in school back in the days of aquanet and puffy bangs but, I dunno, man. My spell check thinks funnest is ok so...
06/21/2009
Carrie Ann Carrie Ann
Quote:
Originally posted by LicentiouslyYours
I answered the other poll first, but it's the same here too.
I like both options for different things.
As a reviewer, I suspect I will use the templates when I want to maintain a more objective tone and free form when I feel the need to be ... More
Go llamas!
06/21/2009
Adriana Ravenlust Adriana Ravenlust
Quote:
Originally posted by Carrie Ann


I love silly poll answers.

And llama is one of the funnest words to look at. Those to l's. Awesome.

And is it funnest? Or most fun? I think it was most fun when I was in school back in the days of aquanet and puffy bangs ... More
Well technically, it's one of the more fun.
06/21/2009
Sammi Sammi
I was going to say "Yikes!" on the minimum words in a few sections, but I see that's characters .

It's interesting putting info I'd usually put at the start under a personal section, but so far the template doesn't seem that bad to use.
06/22/2009
Mamastoys Mamastoys
I wanted to give the new templates a try before I decided or made any opinions. Well, I just tried it and I felt like I was repeating myself. I couldn't get any flow going and finally just went back to the free flow one. I couldn't copy and paste what I had written so by the time I decided to write in the free flow, I was so frustrated that I know this review is one of the worst ones I've written.
I think the templates are great but I just couldn't get it going with this review. I'll probably try again with another review.
The templates will probably be great for new reviewers so that they include all the key components..
Just my thoughts...
06/22/2009
Luscious Lily Luscious Lily
I tried to write a review using one of the templates, and while I just couldn't get my writing groove on (this time!) with the format, they made GREAT outlining tools. I always outline my reviews before I write them, and this helped me make sure I wasn't missing anything. I'm going to keep trying though! Gosh darn it, I will manage to get a review written in template format eventually.
06/22/2009
Red Red
I've never really felt challenged with regards to what to write about and how much - but if I was NEW to the programme, then hells yeah, I would adore it. I think it's a really great way to help someone make sure they hit all the critical info without going on and on about one tiny point about the product.

Also, the save function is great. I write offline in openoffice, but I love having options, particularly if I'm not near MY computer.
06/22/2009
Sammi Sammi
Having done 3 with the template now (1 descriptive, 2 regular), I'll weigh in.

These are good for descriptive reviews, I think. It's a good way to make sure all of the information is included, albeit in a different order than I typically use.

For the regular reviews, I don't think they're bad either. It was useful particularly for the lube, but it seemed fine for the other review as well. Some of the information doesn't seem to flow as well, but that'll just take getting used to.

I love the save function for each section!
06/22/2009
Adriana Ravenlust Adriana Ravenlust
Quote:
Originally posted by Red
I've never really felt challenged with regards to what to write about and how much - but if I was NEW to the programme, then hells yeah, I would adore it. I think it's a really great way to help someone make sure they hit all the critical ... More
I wish that saving didn't refresh the page because then I have to scroll back down every time and with remembering things to add and such, it got REALLY annoying.
06/22/2009
Mamastoys Mamastoys
I'm sure with the descriptive reviews, the templates would be good to use. However, since I don't write descriptive reviews, I've not been able to apply it. I'm going to keep trying though and will probably change my mind and really like it once I get used to it...just not there yet.
06/23/2009
imp imp
They both have their uses and most definitely a good writer's aid for those new to the review process, I prefer free writing but the templates do come in handy for a little bit of mind mapping beforehand. For description reviews they are a great guideline to help keep objectivity when writing.
06/23/2009
Mamastoys Mamastoys
I change my mind everyday! I used the templates on a lube review and really liked it for that one. Maybe it's the different items that help me decided..I need to write some more to see what happens with them... )
06/24/2009
Liz2 Liz2
I believe there is a use for both, my concern is that all the template reviews could end up sounding the same.
07/10/2009
Ciao. Ciao.
I just tried out the template for the first time and I think both of the types of reviews are equally useful. The template lends itself to being a bit more detailed but a bit more clinical, while the free-form review is better for a more personal review that has more narrative than specific description. Depending on what I'm reviewing I'm sure I'll use both, though I'd probably say the best reviews I've read mix detail and narrative perfectly and probably would have to be free-form in nature!
07/10/2009
Alan & Michele Alan & Michele
We feel exactly as Adriana does about this.
Writing for both Alan & I is sort of a free-flowing thought process, so having to chop that up into pre-arranged sections really hinders things badly and hurts our reviews. The first and only review we wrote using the template (which hasn't been published yet) sucks a bit because it came out sounding dry and robotic, and we left some things out because they just didn't seem to fit with the structure of the template.
07/10/2009
spicywife spicywife
Quote:
Originally posted by Alan & Michele
We feel exactly as Adriana does about this.
Writing for both Alan & I is sort of a free-flowing thought process, so having to chop that up into pre-arranged sections really hinders things badly and hurts our reviews. The first and only review ... More
I noticed that when I wrote a review with that template. For my next review I'm going to try the basic template again.

I kept forgetting what I put in the other sections and also I would try to write "free form" and found that I would put something in a section that wasn't applicable to that section..

I like the idea of section formatting but.. I'm not sure if I will keep using it...
07/10/2009
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Total posts: 52
Unique posters: 33