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Review rant

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Myopic Rhino


My books have received a number of reviews, mostly good, some bad. I don't really have a problem with most of the bad ones, as long as the person has actually read the book and has legitimate criticism. But occasionally people will write reviews that are basically just "this book sucks", which aren't really useful to anyone*. This happened with a string of reviews on Amazon for OpenGL Game Programming, and now it's happened with the latest Amazon review of Beginning OpenGL Game Programming. The review, which is accompanied by the lowest rating, states:
As a professional developer, I was curious and flipped through this booka at a Barnes and Nobles. I normally would not take the time out of my day to write a review, however, I feel this is a waste of money, as most books on game programming.
The main thing that bothers me about this review is that Amazon greenlighted it. The reviewer states that he didn't actually read the book, and provides no explaination of why he considers it a waste of money. Why does Amazon allow reviews like this to waste space and waste the time of potential buyers?

As a technical author, I'd like to make a request of anyone reading this. If you read a book you like and that you think others would benefit from, take a moment to review it *somewhere*. Say what specifically you liked about it, and if there are things that could have been better, mention them as well. If you didn't like the book and you want to review it, be fair. Realize that you may not have been in the target audience for the book.

Oh, and if you have an Amazon account and agree with me about the uselessness of this review, you may want to use the "report this" link under the review to see if we can get them to remove it.

* - btw, the "this book rocks" type of reviews aren't really any better. As an author, I'd like to know what people liked about it, and I'm sure potential buyers would like to know as well.
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Basically, your book is being "blamed" for all of the crappy books that have been written over the last few years, and the scarcity of resources for any programmer above the level of total newbie.

My Cybiko book was similarly "blamed" for the failure of Cybiko as a device and company.

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Feh, don't talk to me about books. I've got three books sitting at my feet that are begging for reviews. I'm still six weeks behind on reviews.

OTOH, I've got three product reviews ready. I'll email you about 'em.

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i think amazon's reviews should read as such:

good review -

u r !teh suck!!!11!one

bad review -

u r teh suck!!!11one

..thats basically what they do with lots of books to.

If it makes you feel any better, i really liked your book, it is informative but not overly so.

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Again, my rant's really directed at Amazon. I know for a fact that they moderate reviews, so I don't understand why they approve reviews that provide no useful information. Lots of people use the reviews on Amazon to make buying decisions. There are lots of reviews on Amazon that are genuinely useful; I spend a lot of time making sure that the reviews I write will help people make buying decisions, and I know John does as well. But reviews like this one waste peoples' time, and I think they reflect badly on Amazon.

Thanks for the comments about my book(s), but I'm not trolling for compliments. I've got a pretty solid understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each book, and I honestly like well-thought-out criticism at least as much as any praise.

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TANS is right. It's hard to find non-newbie gamedev books, but when I look out in the store the whole bloody thing is packed solid with "Game Development for Teens", "Game Development for Foetuses", "Game Development Starter Kit", "OMGWTF Make Your Own Game In Two Days And Get Free Hookers While You Are At It".

There need to be more books like Game Programming Gems, and for a lot cheaper.

I did like your book, though.. considering I was a newbie to OpenGL when I read it. I was surprised to see SDL rarely mentioned as it's such a robust solution, and the fonts section was pretty light on content.

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Well, I'm a big fan of Beginning OpenGl game programming. I wrote a review and tried to emphasize what I liked about the book, but I admit it does kind of look like a *this book rocks* review.

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Again, my rant's really directed at Amazon. I know for a fact that they moderate reviews, so I don't understand why they approve reviews that provide no useful information.

Probably not a good answer, but a thought nonetheless...

Who (at Amazon) actually goes and reviews the reviews? I've done my share of dull jobs - and if there are people at Amazon who spend most of their day clicking "accept" or "decline" at a load of reviews I'd get bored very very quickly [smile].

Maybe said employee's let more through than they should for the simple reason they're done caring for the day?


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I've logged in and reported it [smile]. I also took the step of clicking no (this review was not helpful). It's now 0/18 found this review helpful so I think people that read it will be on the same page as you. Hmm, same 'page' [lol]

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Same as Rhaal here. Reported and marked as not helpful. I have your OpenGL Game Programming book, but I haven't read it yet. I have a chapter of Special Effects Game Programming in DirectX to get through, then I'll be right on it. Then I can hopefully provide some constructive criticism [smile]

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I've been reading "Game Testing All In One" of which you were the Technical Editor, Dave. While "Game Testing AIO" is a good book, there are a number of defects in the content (e.g., duplicate screenshots, errors in spelling and grammar) — mostly minor issues. I'd classify the book as a Seventh Sigma publication. I discover at least 2-3 errors per chapter so that's not too shabby.

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