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Forum Features & How-to FAQ A list of Tip and tricks on how to better use talkFestool.

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Old 08-08-2008, 07:56 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,079
Default Tips for writing a Review

Please do not consider this to be a official policy on how we expect to see reviews written. As you shall come to realize, this forum doesn't believe in "dictating" what a member must or must not do. It is a merely a guideline to help members start writing reviews. If you have another style of writing reviews, feel free to use it.

A review is an article in which a writer tests a product, then tells you how well it works and whether he or she had problems getting it to function properly. It should answer two questions: "Is this product useful for our members?" and "Does this product live up to its manufacturer's claims? It must be fair, but in the end it is an opinion, based on the reviewer's hands-on experience with a product.

Read the documentation. You need to understand everything the product promises to do, not just use the features that appeal to you personally. You don't want to put yourself in the position of reporting that an application lacks a feature, only to have someone respond, "It's documented right there on page 12!" This doesn't mean you have to use all the features for the review, just be familiar with them.

A common mistake is to copy the feature list. If you must provide a long list of features, create a separate chart with checkboxes (please read about using the bbcode List). Otherwise, write only about the features that are worth knowing about because they're exceptionally good, poorly implemented, or simply unique and interesting.

Even short reviews will be more successful if they have a firm structure. Here's a plan for a simple review:
  • Brief introduction to describe the product, how it looks, accessories that come with it, and a picture of the product and perhaps of the accessories.
  • Main body of the review, describe what the product does, and how it works. How was the packaging of the product? While you can show your opinion of the features here, the underlying intent is to describe "what it promises." Does it do as promised, and how well does it do it? Perhaps a picture or two showing it in action.

    Then, go into detail about what you like, and what you dislike. While it's common for reviewers to switch back-and-forth between the likes and dislikes, readers usually expect to read the likes first and then go into the dislikes. Now is a good time to compare to other products if you so desire. Again, some pictures pointing out the details of like and dislikes.

    Adding some humor and/or personal experiences here will help to break up the technical nature of the review and keep the readers interest.

  • Summarize your overall opinion of the product, with a strong conclusion. Remind the reader of the outstanding feature of the product and your opinion of it.
Remember to write in shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs than you would for a print publication. Reading extended prose on a computer screen is not easy. You will keep your reader's attention by 'chunking' your information.

When you write, keep in mind the King's advice to Alice in Wonderland: Start at the beginning. Go on until you reach the end. And then stop. In other words, don't let it drag on and become too long.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 08-09-2008, 02:07 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,079

Oooops, forgot something already.

It helps to open a text editor, web browser, blank e-mail, or anything to write down your thoughts. Afterwards you can organize the thoughts and add more. With a text editor you check spelling and possibly grammar.

I find it handy to keep the document open for 24 hours so I can add more or edit as I think it. After sleeping on it, seems like I always find something I want to write differently or add.

Using bbcode, pre-format everything. Pictures, smilies, lists, links, etc...

After you can think of nothing else to change, you can copy the whole document and paste it into your post. Upload the pictures if necessary and you're done.
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