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How should you write a review?

by dragonchild (Archbishop)
on Sep 05, 2001 at 22:55 UTC ( #110390=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Perl black book

Prior to saying anything at all, I will say that I had not heard of this book and will be checking it out next time I'm at a bookstore with a copy.

I will say that I voted this node down upon my initial reading of it primarily because the review, I felt, was very poorly done. I couldn't care less if someone said "Book A is better than Book B" ... so long as they backed it up in terms I can relate to.

Before any of that, however, I would refer kommesel to a spellchecker and a grammar book. If you're going to take the effort to write a usable review, at least make it something I can read.

I tried the Camel book, but being new to UNIX and to Perl, I couldn't understand the explanations, which were refrenced to something quiet obvious (not to me).

Fair enough. A lot of people have this objection with the Camel book. (Though, my question is now why didn't you look at the Llama book?)

I bought the Black Book, and found it to be very complete and easy to understand.

Examples? Complete how? What does it have over Camel? Where is Camel lacking?

The system guys in the company where I work, said that it contains more information on Perl than any other book they've seen.

Again, I don't care about the system guys where you work. I care about your experiences with the book. Did you read it all? What did you learn from it? Would you recommend it for a novice? Expert? Guru? Should this be on Larry Wall's or Damian Conway's or merlyn's shelf?

Yes, you told me about a resource you feel is excellent. Now, in a readable fashion, tell me why it's excellent. Sell me the book. Rave about it. Make me leave work right now and go buy it because my afternoon will be that much more productive.

Update: Fixed spelling/grammar errors that Sifmole kindly pointed out. ("refrenced" was quoted verbatim.)

------
We are the carpenters and bricklayers of the Information Age.

Vote paco for President!


Comment on How should you write a review?
Re: How should you write a review?
by Sifmole (Chaplain) on Sep 06, 2001 at 01:11 UTC
    Personally I don't think this place gets enough reviews... and you kicking in the teeth of someone who did bother to contribute isn't really going to help the situation.

    At least the individual bothered to write something. Perhaps, they didn't have the time to write a long detailed review but wanted to let others know about something they found.

    As for your rant about the system guys, I believe the individual was probably using them as support that programmer types he knew liked the book as well. Perfectly, reasonable information to add I think, since the writer identified themselves as a non-programmer.

    Examples? Complete how? What does it have over Camel? Where is Camel lacking?
    Did you bother to read what you quoted? The writer stated that they found the Camel book referenced (take note of that spelling, you might want to remember it when you are hacking people about their spelling and grammer. ) too much Unix in the explanations. As for "complete" -- well "complete" is a pretty good word if you felt the book contained all you were looking to find and didn't have time to redundantly list all of the features.

    Sell me the book. Rave about it.
    I disagree, tell me about the book. "Raving" tends to imply a lack of objectivity.

    On to glass houses....
    Before any of that, however, I would refer kommesel to a spellchecker and a grammar book. If you're going to take the effort to write a usable review, at least make it something I can read.

    • refrenced is not a word, perhaps you meant referenced? A spell checker would have caught that.
    • reccomend is not a word, perhaps you meant recommend? A spell checker would have caught that.
    • I couldn't care less if someone said that "Book A, grammar says you should remove the "that". A grammar checker would have caught that.
    So what don't you just hop down of that high-horse of yours and give the writer a break. Did you really add anything to the monestary with this message? The writer of the review added more than you did.

    We need to encourage sharing, not kick people in the teeth on their first posting. The posting could have been better, and we have most positively seen better written reviews; However, your response is written even more poorly from a stand point of adding anything to the monestary.

    Spelling and Grammar checker free

      I stand corrected with the spelling. (I still don't know how to spell reccomend, frankly.) I'm not going to argue on the grammar, either.

      However, your reply seems to indicate that you feel information, regardless of presentation and/or content, is worthwhile. My feeling is this: if you're going to present information to me, please have the decency to actually give me usable information in a format that I can understand it in.

      We have all taken classes where the textbook(s) were completely unreadable. Math and science classes are notorious for this, though certainly not the sole offenders. No-one would ever say that there was no information in those textbooks, but did you learn more from that or from a textbook that presented its information clearly, succinctly, and excited you to go learn more?

      This is one reason why the O'Reilly books are so popular - their presentation gives information out in easy doses that are fun to read. Had I learned Perl from a book similar to the one I learned Pascal from, I wouldn't be nearly as excited to use the language as I am today.

      Reviews should be the same. I would encourage kommesel to rewrite his review. If written well, I will gladly ++ it. In fact, I'll ++ any well-written, thought-out review, even if I disagree with the reviewer's conclusions. A node that's just slapped together and makes me work unnecessarily for the information it contains is not adding anything to the monastery. In fact, it's detracting from the overall quality of the monastery. A well-written review of Curious George or The Cat in the Hat does contribute. It gives a good example of a review, even if the node's information doesn't contribute to the collective knowledge of Perl.

      ------
      We are the carpenters and bricklayers of the Information Age.

      Vote paco for President!

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