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Re: Re: Re: Perl black book

by mirod (Canon)
on Sep 05, 2001 at 22:29 UTC ( #110384=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Quality of Reviews on PM
in thread Perl black book

IMRDO (In My Respectfully Differing Opinion ;--) you can _hope_ that people will write proper reviews, but there is not much you can really do to improve what they write.

Especially the "factual" stuff. I can get the author bio and the number of pages from Think Geek or Amazon or my local bookstore. I don't care about the number of illustrations in a book, I'd rather the review writer spend more time telling me what he thought about the book than counting pictures! ;--)

What is really interesting in a book review is whether the reviewer thinks the book is helpful, technically accurate and generally enjoyable. All of which are quite non-factual. And besides it is quite hard for a reviewer to judge both the helpfulness of a book (it has to be someone who needs to learn whats in the book) and its technical accuracy (in which case it helps if the reviewer knows a lot more than whats in the book).

So a review that tells me who the reviewer is and then what he thought about the book is just fine. Other posters with different background can then comment and help the reader get the complete picture.

At least this review showed us a book that I am sure few people here knew.

And now back to some factual information: the book is 1400 pages, paperback, pretty thin paper I've been told, although I don't have the figures here, it was first published in August 1999, it looks like the current edition is still the 1rst (actually an important info, 1rst editions have more typos and errors than subsequent ones, plus publishers usually only prints a second edition if they've sold all of the first one), but there seems to be another one named the "CD-ROM edition" out there, it's listed price is $49.99 but its street price is around $35-$40. Is that enough non-biased info?

Man, I don't think I've ever known so much about a book I will never buy!

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Quality book reviews (Re: Perl black book)
by tye (Sage) on Sep 05, 2001 at 22:53 UTC

    For what I consider good in a book review see any by footpad. (:

            - tye (but my friends call me "Tye")
Re: Re: Re: Re: Perl black book
by Masem (Monsignor) on Sep 05, 2001 at 23:00 UTC
    Certainly one can argue that facts for a book or module can be found elsewhere, but I think that the addition of this information is necessary for completion, as some of my examples indicate. Other examples: the reviewer claims that this book packs everything one needs to know about perl into it; I'd question that claim if the book is less than 100 pages long. alternatively, if a reviewer claims that the book is lacking and yet is 1000 pages long, I'd again question the reviewer.

    Of course, as you state, there's no way to control the quality of reviews here on PM; we can only use the voting system to let reviewers know if it was acceptable or not. In my case, I don't plan to downgrade any reviews unless they are completely baseless ("The Camel book is completely worthless because I say so!"), and upgrade those that I find useful, but I'll take a neutral stance on reviews that seem so-so.

    Dr. Michael K. Neylon - || "You've left the lens cap of your mind on again, Pinky" - The Brain
    It's not what you know, but knowing how to find it if you don't know that's important

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