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The Rings of Power and Review Bombing: The Online A-Bomb

Review Bombing is a Problem

Surfing the internet over Labour Day weekend as one does when keeping tabs on the entertainment industry, one news article stuck out like a sore thumb. Forbes, among other outlets, reported that Amazon’s Prime Video opted to temporarily disable user ratings for its new streaming series, The Rings of Power. The option would not be available for 72 hours following the release of new episodes. Amazon, like so many other platforms and creators before it, has come face to face with the reality of review bombing. As such, the company deemed it prudent to protect the reputation of its shiny new creation. 

As if the current status of traditional critics wasn’t complicated already.

What is review bombing? Why does it occur? And, most importantly, is the collective act of review bombing a movie, tv show, or video game so potent at sullying a given product’s reputation as to necessitate countermeasures? Let us discuss the matter as diplomatically as possible. 

These Aren’t REAL Bombs, Are They?

Thankfully no. Society has not tipped over to the point where actual warfare is waged because of the perceived lack of quality about the latest Jurassic World installment. Granted, the nomenclature has a dramatic ring to it. Then again, wherever review bombing is practiced, it’s typically because heavy drama hangs in the air. 

In a nutshell, and as explained by manymany other websites, the act of review bombing is when a group of like-minded online users of a platform (IMDB, YouTube, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, Steam, etc) decide in concert to negatively rate a given product. This drags the overall score down. It can be a movie, like Godzilla vs. Kong’s early experience, a tv show – as is the case with the new Rings of Power -, or video games. It isn’t as simple as intentionally dumping on a given product because its quality is deemed subpar. Battlefield Earth is just terrible. 

Generally, there’s more, let’s say, ideologically motivated subterfuge at play. The driving point here is that the overall score resulting from this practice is no longer a reflection of the public’s opinion of the product’s quality, which is what the score should reflect. It’s influenced by a vocal minority’s disagreement with what it deems as being no more than annoying, if not insulting socio-political brownie points the product strives to earn. 

The Last Jedi
Credit: Disney

A legendary example, one that spawned an impressively thorough Vanity Fair article, was for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The review bombing for that film was heavily inspired by arguments that the filmmakers were more interested in getting politically progressive points across rather than telling a rollicking space operatic adventure. The arguments varied. 

“It’s too obvious that the movie wants to make all the female characters the smartest and coolest ones at the expense of their male counterparts.”

“I’m tired of this Mary Sue wannabe Jedi padawan.”

“Why are the heroes Latino, Asian, and Black?”

“Where’s my Luke Skywalker?”

Etc, etc. 

It made for curious feedback. 

What was of real value and could be used as constructive criticism for the next movie? What was no more than the angry words of stubborn, unreceptive moviegoers who were never going to give the film the time of day because it didn’t fit what they wanted in a Star Wars picture or, worse, went against their values? Values that come off as antiquated compared to mainstream 21st-century Western culture. Sometimes one must call a spade a spade. Kelly Marie Tran didn’t wipe her Instagram because she grew bored by it. 

It Wasn’t Always About Star Wars

The term “review bombing” is relatively recent. No one, or precious few, was using the term maybe even 10 years ago. Despite the loud hoopla surrounding the Last Jedi example highlighted above, the online tactic was more closely associated with video games than movies and tv shows about a decade ago. Furthermore, it wasn’t always explicitly political (not to say that it’s exclusively political these days either).

Mass Effect 3
Credit: Bioware

A well-researched 2019 GameRant article elaborates that platforms like Steam and Metacritic were dealing with such instances as far back as 2012 when the Mass Effect 3 game was released. It appears that the story’s conclusion didn’t sit well with series fans and the latter shared their feelings online emphatically. Interestingly, the developers, Bioware, produced what it called the Extended Cut sometime later which mildly altered the original ending. Bioware was well within its right to do whatever it pleased with its franchise and to respond to the criticism in whatever manner it saw fit. In doing what it did, a new line had been crossed. A big, successful company didn’t just listen to harsh criticism. It acted upon it by altering the original product. The online reviewers and their ill-tempered reception had changed the game, no pun intended. 

There are several examples of how video game developers were verbally pummeled online for a whole variety of reasons. Bethesda was a target in 2015 when it contemplated introducing paid modifications in Elder Scrolls V. Avid gamers surely recall the 2016 episode involving YouTuber PewDiePie and Firewatch developer Campo Santo Games that resulted in the former’s YouTube videos being taken down. 

Die Movie! Die!

It was right around 2016 that review bombing gained prominence with respect to movies. More critically, the nature of the review bombing changed as well. It would be strange if a person railed against a theatre for charging them for a movie ticket. But complain about what one perceives to be politically motivated storytelling decisions, and a new can of worms is opened.

Ghostbusters
Credit: Sony

Ghostbusters from 2016. Yes, that one. Humour is subjective. The same joke will not make 100% of an audience in the millions laugh (full disclosure: the author doesn’t think the movie is very funny. Passable. Nothing special) But what Paul Feig’s movie went through, even before coming out, was something else. One doesn’t need a doctorate to put 2 and 2 together here. How on earth can one have a fully-fledged opinion on a film prior to its release, save a film critic walking out of a press screening, a festival or an advanced screening? Much of the ire was born from the fact that the investigators of paranormal activity were women. That may sound like elementary schoolyard tomfoolery, like when the girls are excluded from the fun of recess dodgeball. But it wasn’t. These people were adults. Functioning people in society. 

From there tactic was repeated for various movies, driven by various complaints, many of which would leave any level-headed person befuddled.

We have already looked back on The Last JediThe Eternals stirred the passions of people who weren’t keen on seeing a gay superhero, and so did this past summer’s LightyearCaptain Marvel received considerable scorn for Brie Larson’s persona and socio-political beliefs. But Brie Larson isn’t the character in the movie. She’s a real person who can do or say whatever she pleases (within legal limits), however brilliant or nails-against-chalkboard grating one thinks she is. Her attitude during the press junket doesn’t mean Captain Marvel is awful. It can be critiqued because playing No Doubt’s I’m Just a Girl during a scene in which the cosmically super-powered protagonist beats the crap out of heavies who don’t stand a chance against her is a bit lazy. 

Review Bombing Brie Larson
Credit: Getty Images

As for The Rings of Power, the comments have ranged from the proposed plot not adhering to Tolkien’s text (which is a bit of an odd knife to stab with given that the showrunners only have Appendices to base the scripts on), to the fact that the author wouldn’t have approved of their being Black Harfoots. “LOTR” features people of different races (Men, Dwarves, Elves) coming together to fight evil, but who knows, maybe Tolkien was the most racist person in human history. The chap has been dead for 49 years so, unfortunately, he isn’t available to settle the dispute. 

Is it fair to argue that, to an extent, these films are pandering to various subsections of their potential viewership? Sure, but how is that a negative per se? It’s Hollywood. It must make money otherwise it ceases to exist. Then none of us get any big, new, shiny American movies. When, since its inception, has Hollywood not pandered to the whims of the public? It’s why any successful film or show gets a sequel. Then a prequel. Then a sidequel. Then a reboot. 

The story might not be interesting, the characters may commit moronic decision-making, and the pace may be slow as molasses, but a movie probably isn’t terrible because a gay co-lead is featured. 

What the Platforms Did About it

This is where things get dicey. For one, does review bombing carry enough sway for action to be taken against it? The question is not as easy to answer as it sounds. One needs to consider how many people have utilized a given platform’s rating system, how many negative ratings there are vis-à-vis the positive ones, what the comments sections read like, and, above all else, do the ratings, however torrid, prevent a movie from earning money at the box office or a streaming show from racking up a boast-worthy number of hours viewed?

Amazon announced that the first two episodes of ROP had 25 million viewers. Who watched all 2 hours and who watched 10 minutes, we don’t know. That said, Amazon isn’t in the habit of revealing viewer numbers like that, so to do so suggests they’re happy for now. 

And yet they disallowed user ratings for 3 days. Something about the forcefulness and the (relative) efficiency of review bombing convinced the company to temporarily shield itself. At the time of this writing, its Rotten Tomatoes score is quite hideous. 39% is a steep hill to climb. Do only 4 out of 10 people think the show is even passable? Perhaps, but it’s difficult to say. 

In any event, several companies have acted. Netflix doesn’t allow star ratings anymore. Rotten Tomatoes don’t allow any ratings for yet unreleased films. Epic Games concocted an altered version of the five-star system to try and weed out outlandishly ideologically motivated negative reviews. One extrapolates that as influential as these companies are and as nice as it is to earn Scrooge McDuck profits, not being eviscerated online for reasons at best tangentially related to the quality of their products offers peace of mind. 

Amidst Horror, Helpfulness

If that wasn’t nuanced enough for the reader’s taste, consider this. There are arguments to be made, and that have been made, that user feedback is still terrifically useful. Deleting online feedback, or outright avoiding the possibility of providing feedback runs the risk of the artists, the creators, operating in a vacuum. 

Believe it or not, there are academic studies about this. On the one hand, it has been scientifically observed that in some circumstances review bombing brings out extremist passions on both sides of the aisle. That can happen even if the original intent of the bombing group wasn’t so that a forceful, equally passionate opposing side would arise in the comments section. Sooner or later, no one is really talking about the game, film, or tv show anymore. 

The King's Request
A still of The King’s Request (credit: Physiology With Dr Christian)

On the flip side, as Professors Christian Moro and James Birt of Australia’s Bond University explain, online feedback in this day and age is a remarkable tool for developers (in a video game context) to ameliorate their product before it goes out for wider release. They worked on an educational game called The King’s Request and put it on Steam. Yes, some reviews were needlessly negative, but other comments were astute and helped guide the programmers to make a better game in the long run. When prepping a video game, get feedback on a video game platform. Go figure. 

No thumbs down on YouTube makes it harder to discern if a video is worth watching or not, regardless of how embarrassing the 2016 Ghostbusters trailer turmoil was.  

While the academically based examples above pertained to video games, the fact is regular people still consider movie and tv show ratings, just as some still base viewing choices on what earned an Academy Award or an Emmy. Some people don’t, of course. But some do. 

Make Up Your Own Dang Mind

It goes without saying that the simplest, truest form of knowing whether a product satisfies one’s interest or not is by giving it a try. There are many people who don’t give a fiddler’s flute about what the consensus says about a Michael Bay Transformers movie. They want to see if the next one is just as…good… as the last one? Anyways. Individuals who are up for conversation, or any type of moderately deeper reflection can compare what they think about a movie with what the online ratings indicate. They hold value. 

Review Bombing The Rings of Power
Credit: Amazon Studios

The final say about how dangerous, harmful, or inconsequential review bombing is, depends on who’s noticing it. Any person with minimal intelligence can ponder about a movie sporting a 50%, or 2.5/5 rating. Half the people like this movie and the other half don’t. Am I in the mood today to take that 50/50 chance or not? It’s not complicated. 

As for the studios and game developers, it is, understandably, a different story. They work tirelessly to put out what they hopefully believe is a good product. It must be frustrating to witness a relatively small but somehow annoyingly efficient group drag the overall rating down for reasons beyond how good or not the film is. Reputations must preserve their lustre. As such, some of them decide to control the feedback options with forcefulness. As previously argued, that can have some negative effects. By shutting up the haters, the people who depend on ratings are kept in the dark. There is also the matter of people who didn’t care for the movie for perfectly legitimate reasons not having a platform to express themselves. 

When it gets to that point, the review bombers have A-bombed everyone, including themselves. 

-Edgar Chaput

Written By

A native of Montréal, Québec, Edgar Chaput has written and podcasted about pop culture since 2011. At first a blogger, then a contributor to Tilt's previous iteration (Sound on Sight), he now helps cover tv and film on a weekly basis. In addition to enjoying the Hollywood of yesteryear and martial arts movies, he is a devoted James Bond fan. English, French, and decent at faking Spanish, don't hesitate to poke him on Twitter (https://twitter.com/double_oh_Pop), Facebook or Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/edchap14/).

62 Comments

62 Comments

  1. Alex from Carlisle

    September 10, 2022 at 9:53 am

    Not mentioned by this liberal author is the 10/10 review bombing from the other side. Positive scores for The Rings of Power went up from 460 to 557 in less than a minute today, which speaks of either bots or organised brigading.

    Why so many on the left are so determined to protect Tolkien’s hyper conservative creation is another question entirely. Maybe they just reaaally like the tokenism in the cast?

    • Edgar Chaput

      September 10, 2022 at 10:01 am

      To be fair, that’s why I included the section about the academic observations of video game user rating platforms. What you’re saying is precisely what was observed in those circles. The conversations in the comments sections were no longer about the quality of the games themselves but were driven by ideological slants on both sides. I felt it important to bring that up and provide at least one example that not only what you’re saying is true, but that it’s been observed and studied academically.

      The basis of the article was “Rings of Power” because that’s what’s new and making headlines. I also wanted to make it clear that certain games, shows, and films are disliked for perfectly sensible reasons (hence my little stab at “Captain Marvel” and what I personally think is a really lazy and stupid use of music). The concerted effort of review bombing takes the conversation away from the more, let’s say, artistically driven reasons why people would talk about a product in the first place, hence my conclusion about everyone getting shut up when companies turn off the option to leave ratings and comments.

      You have my word, at no point during the writing process was I thinking about any sort of wonderful political statement I was hoping to make.

      • Billy

        September 15, 2022 at 10:29 pm

        I want to start this comment with this statement… I appreciate this article. While I can see your bias, it is apparent that you did try to at least look at another perspective a little bit, which is quite rare these days, so thank you.

        That being said, I have 2 things that I think are flaws in the argument. The first one is this: to say that review bombing is just the acts of a “minority” is a bit silly, and following it up with saying that Hollywood is pandering to the “majority” so that makes everything okay is making the same silly statement in reverse. The reviews, while prehaps a bit skewed, are generally how people feel. Companies that remove the ability to rate do so because the aren’t pandering to a majority, they a pandering to an ideology, and one that apparently doesn’t sit well with many people. If they in fact were pandering to a majority, review bombing wouldn’t be an issue (or at least not near as big of one).

        Second issue is saying that reviews are not valid if the review is based on ideology or personal values. If a movie doesn’t sit well with someone’s personal values then, unsurprisingly, they aren’t going to like it. I don’t like pineapple on pizza, and I’m willing to not order it and speak out against it without having to try every restaurant’s rendition of it. Like it or not, agree or disagree, someone’s personal taste and personal values will always influence their rating. What review bombing shows is that people don’t like what is being put out, and the creators refuse to listen. At least the creators of Mass Effect actually tried to fix the issue, instead of just blaming people for not liking it.

    • Andy Ace

      September 15, 2022 at 1:07 pm

      Why do you care?

      Its just a show. So what if people are review bombing?

      • Edgar Chaput

        September 15, 2022 at 1:42 pm

        I care about it because ultimately a lot of people who depend on user ratings to choose what they might watch tonight don’t have that option anymore if it is revoked. The review bombing is annoying, but isn’t much more than that. The issue (which I highlight in the latter section of the arctic) is the when companies react the way they do, then even the people who had perfectly legitimate reasons for disliking something can’t express themselves.

        I PERSONALLY don’t care if something I enjoy gets review bombed. I like what I like and don’t like what I don’t like. THAT, I agree, doesn’t matter.

  2. Why we lose

    September 11, 2022 at 12:37 pm

    It’s not all that complicated. Ghostbusters 2016, lotr new version , transformers and a ton of games stink. They all stink. Its lazy remakes for money grabs. My issue is call these products different. If lotr called it something like middle earth or whatever it’s less about being true to an original author. It still stinks but at least you are not lying to the public that you are trying to keep thing to the original vales.

    • Jake

      September 14, 2022 at 5:10 pm

      The show does deserve criticism for it’s poor writing. They spent a ton of money on beautiful CGI and costumes, but somehow the writing is poorer than GoT season 8.
      Also, it can be difficult how much of the negative press is “review bombing” and how much is fair criticism. And it goes both ways. Amazon who owns IMDB is controlling reviews to ensure a “realistic” score of around 6,7. Although it would (and should) be lower.

      • Alex

        September 15, 2022 at 6:18 pm

        Pardon me, but did you seriously just said “beautiful costumes”? You mean synthetic fabric with metallic colored print pretending to be armor? Rubber/plastic cuirasses with no additional armor and no padding? Those are just two example. They didn’t even consult an enthusiast, let alone an expert. And that after the masterpieces that were crafted for Peter Jackson movies, which were from every point of view perfectly functional, but also distinct for every culture and beautiful.

  3. Why we lose

    September 11, 2022 at 12:44 pm

    values. Lies btw the 25 million number is not even remotely correct. The number presented by 3rd party ratings is about 3.8 million that watched the show entirely. While I do not think 3.8 is right, I do not believe the ridiculous 25. Its probably closer to 5. Less than the big bang theory in its hay day of around 9. It probably had 20m lookie lous who saw its garbage and gave up.

    • Edgar Chaput

      September 11, 2022 at 8:27 pm

      Is Samba TV where the 3.8M is coming from? It’s my understanding Samba TV only tabulates US households. Amazon said the 25M was global. Amazon also didn’t reveal how many minutes were viewed, which I allude to in the article. Could be 5 minutes, could have been the entirety of both premiere episodes. We don’t know.

      I’m looking around and can’t spot the 3.8M. The closest I get to is Samba TV’s numbers, but again that’s only US.

      Could you share a link? I’m trying to get to the bottom of this.

      • Volourn

        September 14, 2022 at 8:43 pm

        I believe the 3.8 samba numbers is for HOTD. Samba had ROP at 1.8 which us less than half. I think it’s funny that HOTD largely got attacked the same way, but it is cruising with fan reviews. My opinion is that actual racists, sexists that rate these things super low are minimal. Thry have no real influence. They gave up slamming nu GOT because it actually turned out better than they thought, or the positive people vastly outnumbered them. Plus, outside of a few missteps, HBO handled it all perfectly and let the rock stand on its own… something Amazon can’t fo with ROP, because quality else it’s not good and everyone involved knows its not good hence them hiding behind the crying if ‘racism’ and ‘sexism’ which is just a form of not taking responsibility for a perceived poor product. Hence the censorship. HBO didn’t feel the need to rely on censorship. Amazon did Nough said. Too many companies ate quick to bash the very customers they want or need when convenient. This reminds of GB 2016 and the newest Charlie’s Angel’s who bashed (white) men, claimed the movies didn’t that audience to succeed, then cried when their films bombed. Also, FYI, the accusation that GB 2016 failed because it had female leads is dilly nu GB had female leads including the main protagonist. Nobody cares. Diversity us nice, but quality needs to come first. Showhorning certain groups into roles just because is bad. It’s bad when whitewashed bad the other way. When HW trashes a whole section of their fantasy they doom themselves. And it’s not just white men bashing shows like ROP or films like GB2016, many women loath that film because the pandering, hatefulness and unfunniess was on full display. ROP seems incompetent.

        FYI, If Amazon wants to make a legit fantasy TV dhow with black elves and darker skinned dwarves they can do that. Make a D&D one. Heck, wanna use a popular book series? Do the Drizzit Do’Urden Saga. That has a black elf protagonist who is LOVED by white fantasy fans. And, the first 3 novels stars 99% black elves. But, I bet SJWs cheering on dark skinned elves would loathe it. Lol

      • Richard

        September 15, 2022 at 2:30 am

        What a obidient little woke dog you are. A garbage movie/series getting low score is NOT “review bombing”. Rong of wokeness get lowscore because its an abomination. The dialogs are garbage and on the lvl of “yes it is, no it isnt, yes it is, no it isnt”. The most annoying and irritating character is not even a colored one btw, its Guyladriel the Karen, her character is just incredibly hollow and bad. They didnt even tried to hide that they made a Karen from her, we even get the infamous “i want to speak to the manager” line right in the first episode. The costumes are below low quality, even on one of their thumbnail photo the Karen of Numenor is wearing a cheap printed shirt instead of an actual scale armor or a replica of it. 1 whole billion dollar and it was not enough for proper writer nor proper costumes? You really think an extremely low quality garbage like this get 0-2 scores only from trolls? Open your entitled eyes little doggy. This show is pure garbage from every single aspect of it. I saw better CGI in Eragon than here ffs. This garbage of a show is just how amazon take their sht on Tolkien’s life work after Taco Bell and a full box of laxatives. Thats what Ring of Power is. Blackwashing is literally the least of the problem with this crap and was barely mentioned by those who gave low score

        • Synonymous

          September 16, 2022 at 8:11 pm

          Why you little anti-woke drones have to all talk in the same boring anti-woke YouTube slang? I swear, you all seem to be crafted at the same factory or something like that.

    • Anonymous

      September 14, 2022 at 5:30 am

      I think this article misses the point to be frank.
      Sure, there might be racist people hating on a black dwarf. But most of the criticism I have heard, and I am on board with it, is that she does not look like a Tolkien dwarf. Not BC of her skin colour, but BC of her lack of beard. Even in the hobbit movies, we saw a dwarfen woman for a split second and she had a beard. Not the biggest, but she had one, whole the current version in the new series doesn’t.
      People don’t like it when you a) do sth to earn brownie points and make profit while not agreeing with it (including a black woman BC Amazon said so instead of her being the best choice). And yes, Amazon has a book on how to be inclusive, and you have to follow these guidelines.
      And b), not being faithful to the source material at all. Females dwarves have beards, according to Tolkien. Therefore, a series that profits from his ideas should at least be faithful to the world he build.

      If you wanna be inclusive that’s fine, as long as you aren’t doing it to fill some quota. And just stay faithful to the thing you make money off of, instead of being a soulless cash grab.

      • Edgar Chaput

        September 14, 2022 at 8:17 am

        Thanks for the reply. I’ll be honest, I have not heard the complaint that the new LOTR show is lacking because the female Dwarf didn’t have a beard. There may very well be some who are saying that (you being one such example), but it’s certainly not what’s come up consistently. There are certain adaptation decisions that are mysterious, like the absence of the giant squid at the end of Watchmen. Producers and showrunners believe something won’t play well. So be it.

        Your points are well taken, but I would add the following (and it’s not in repost to your comment, more a general statement): how do we know what really happens during the casting process? Who is being willfully ignorant by arguing that they 1000% just hired the best actor and who is being discriminatory by arguing that they 1000% hired based on inclusivity? It’s a fine line. I’ve had personal conversations along those lines with people and stopped myself to think “You know what, we really don’t know. We weren’t there.”

        All the same, fair points.

        • LorfPrettyBeard

          September 16, 2022 at 3:27 pm

          RoP isn’t LotR because the dwarf doesn’t have a beard. And that’s only one of it’s lore failings. A a generic fantasy show it’s around 6-7, as LotR it’s not more than a 3.

      • Dan

        September 15, 2022 at 6:15 pm

        All feels very-thinly veiled commentary to appear to present all sides, while still hammering through an undeniable ‘liberal’ view that reduces and undermines all criticism to the extremes, while not addressing anything people are actually saying is a problem with these shows. Saying ‘a little bit lazy’ about the choice of song for Ms Marvel and then saying nothing about the lack of a character arc, weak story, pretty average acting and just a general lack of entertainment that you can’t get 100 other places is very disingenuous. I don’t really get down with any Marvel for the last few years (it’s all pretty rinse and repeat), Ghost Busters 2016 was a terrible piece of content (for the same reasons above) and Rings Of Power is showing similar tendencies. Boring/pace issues, Galadriel is perfect and can only do perfect things/despite all the men doing their best to stop her being perfect, very weak script on all fronts, mainly the elves but the Numenorians aren’t looking better (Dwarve scenes in Ep 2 were good) and it just feels like generic fantasy with Tolkien’s name but none of the writing and depth that made that great. As for your article, I consider this type of media part of the wider problem. Trying to appear to present a well rounded argument, while barely touching on key issues mentioned above (10/10 reviews only please) and still, however subtly, pushing through the message of more extreme, bigoted ‘review bombers’ being the problem… it’s divisive, misleading and sadly becoming just as commonplace and uninteresting as the crap screenwriting you seem so eager not to touch on in your article. Boring!

        Now ‘fan baiting’ is a new one that I heard today. And I’m assuming this pretty average article has generated some decent comments and clicks for you/this platform and if you’re licking your lips at the number of comments, then again, just contributing to the problem Edgar!

        • Edgar Chaput

          September 15, 2022 at 7:23 pm

          We can dance the dance all night about Captain Marvel. The point wasn’t to start reviewing that film. It was to point out that more legitimate criticisms can be aimed at it. You think the use of the No Doubt song is awful, I think it’s a bit lazy. We’re not going to get anywhere talking about the values of Captain Marvel. It wasn’t even the point. I could have said that Captain Marvel is utter tosh and someone would have come along to call me an idiot for that. Whatever.

          I brought up the examples of the academic observations to prove that the existence of bigoted comments, which obviously don’t represent the majority of comments (I think we can both agree on that, yes?), is arguably an insufficient reason to do away with user ratings and comments sections altogether. I’d rather there be a comments section, run the risk of a few base criticisms getting published, but at least let everyone have their say.

          I don’t see how concluding on that note means I’m contributing to the problem. By all means, feel free to elaborate.

    • Wes

      September 16, 2022 at 5:37 pm

      Good article, but I think you glossed over the part where they’re taking beloved things, then just changing it to be unrecognizable and selling it as the same thing as the original. It just doesn’t work, they need to write their own stories, not retcon, race swap and regender to fit their message. It’s just annoying. LOTR has black people in it btw, they were just too lazy to write them in so race swapped some elves and dwarves instead. Imagine if they made the king of wakanda a white dude, it matters.

  4. Nick

    September 12, 2022 at 1:43 pm

    Oh yes, when the outcome isn’t the one you desired, it’s always the “vocal minority”. And then you proceed to feel vindicated in the censorship and marginalization of this alleged minority of people. This is what tyranny actually looks like.

    • Edgar Chaput

      September 12, 2022 at 9:35 pm

      Who is the “you” when you write “…then you proceed to feel vindicated…”? I’m not sure I understand the comment or who you’re referring to, or what sort of vindication the “you’ is supposed to feel.

      If anything I conclude the article by stating when these platforms shut down the option for user ratings and comments, then no one can have a say, which isn’t the best option.

  5. Brenner Pieszak

    September 13, 2022 at 11:36 am

    Cringed through half of the article until I couldn’t anymore.

    We get it, ur a lib. Sick dude

    • Edgar Chaput

      September 13, 2022 at 12:46 pm

      Please continue reading. The further the article goes, the more I try to delve into nuances of the good and bad of having user ratings and comments sections.

      • Josh

        September 15, 2022 at 4:05 am

        There was too much nonsense in the first half, I couldn’t fit more in. Notice you have no support in the comments? Your article is nonsense and people are calling you out. It is the substance of the content that we have a problem with. You miss the point of the criticism made to the show making your content difficult to take seriously. You are the one who’s out of touch.

    • Mahender

      September 14, 2022 at 6:52 am

      What a load of contrived canadian crap. You’re liberal woke article where everyone is meant to be special and wonderful gives no one the credit for thinking and reviewing this film is a load of woke crap. You even threw racism in to the mix which is typical and unsurprising.

      Do your job better mate

  6. Backcountry164

    September 13, 2022 at 3:32 pm

    What a load of bunk. As usual the BS 10 star reviews get ignored even though the result is the same.
    But let’s just be brutally honest shall we. Is anyone really dumb enough to believe sites like imdb (owned by Amazon) or Rotten Tomatoes (owned by Warner Brothers) are legitimate places to go for honest reviews?? No. No one is that dumb so the end result is completely moot. Those sites are as worthless as this one. Everyone’s been bought and paid for, if not directly than with access. Shutting down reviews and comments on such sites is meaningless when you can’t even trust the site. Never minding the people posting there.
    The MSM is dead. Find a youtuber or blogger whose opinions jive with your own and who has nothing to gain or lose. Get your info from places like that. The sooner people start to ignore the shills the sooner they’ll be out of business and out of the way…

    • Edgar Chaput

      September 13, 2022 at 9:40 pm

      To be fair, I think it’s an oversimplification to imply that everyone has been bought and paid for. I’ll say this much: since coming back to writing (I was away from this site for a few years) I quickly came to learn, among other things, that big companies and studios (this may not always apply to smaller players in the industry) just want media outlets to talk about their products. More specifically, giving a poor review to a Disney film or a WB film does not mean that said media outlet will be shut out of early access later on. In fact, Tilt Magazine has been pretty harsh on MCU films and shows as of late yet Disney still sees it to allow us to see their stuff for coverage. In that respect, I can’t agree that it’s as black and white as you argue. I’ve seen the proof from this very website.

      I’m not entirely certain what the argument is when you write that no one is dumb enough to take reviews on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes seriously. Which reviews? Critics, users, or both? Why? If DC films get trashed (and several have) and yet Rotten Tomatoes is owned by WB, I’m not sure what the argument is supposed to be getting. Moreover, a site like Rotten Tomatoes compiles reviews from all sorts of media outlets and tallies up how many read negative, how many read as positive, and comes up with a percentage score/fresh vs rotten score. The reviewers themselves don’t write for Rotten Tomatoes specifically.

      I don’t want to put words into your mouth. You may very well be trying to make a cogent argument but I’m not seeing it. Feel free to elaborate.

      A final point. We (and I include myself) should try as best we can to avoid slippery slopes of, for example, being convinced that review bombing/anti-review bombing is happening when we personally hold the opposite view. For instance, I’m not doing myself any favours if I’m convinced a James Bond film is being review bombed because its scores aren’t as high as I’d like them to be and I’m a massive Bond fan. The opposite holds true. No Time to Die scores are “far too high” but that can’t be accurate because you shouldn’t kill James Bond or whatever.

      My fear is that we’re allowing ouserlves to indulge in that sort of behaviour, where even the stance of “it was review bombed!” or “the score is obviously too high! Come on!” just so happen to correspond with our personal and opposing dislike or adoration for a film or tv show. I feel that these days there is a whiff of that in the air.

  7. Sky guy

    September 13, 2022 at 6:32 pm

    Wild, how can you not see the pattern here. Amy Schumers special on Netflix gets down voted to hell cause it was garbage. What happens…netflix removes the rating system. Every joe biden white house video on YouTube gets down voted to hell….what happens? They remove the ability to see the thumbs up or down ratio. Amazon puts out a woke piece of trash completely throwing out Tolkiens legacy….they literally remove the ability to rate the show on a site which sole purpose is to show reviews…..I mean it’s pretty obvious this is agenda driven woke culture being proven time and time again it stinks.

    • Edgar Chaput

      September 13, 2022 at 10:01 pm

      I’m not sure how it is that I don’t see the pattern. The reason for the inclusion of the section that highlights two separate academic observations was to prove the point that ultimately, keeping user ratings and comments sections is more beneficial. Sift through the less savoury comments and one will find perfectly fine praise and legitimate gripes. By removing that option no gets to have their say, neither the ones who just want to bash, nor the people who have honest, cogent criticisms about why a movie isn’t very good.

      In fact, that’s one of the reasons why I pointed out the somewhat contradictory logic of Amazon gleefully showing off admittedly impressive viewing numbers yet simultaneously disallowing user ratings for 72 hours. From there I go into the academic side of things to show that ultimately the ratings and comments are still useful. I even say, word for word, that these companies want to protect the lustre of their brand. It’s fairly obvious. Completely agree. With all due respect, it feels like you skipped some parts of the article.

    • Patrick

      September 16, 2022 at 7:16 am

      A genuine question to everyone who thinks things like Rings of Power, The Last Jedi, Ghostbusters etc are “objectively” bad, how do you explain overwhelmingly positive professional critic responses?

      Is it because they have an agenda? Is it because they’re all terrible at their job?

      I’m not saying that critics opinions are law, but if things like The Last Jedi and Rings of Power really are as bad as people say, why are professional critics singing their praises? There must be a reason, and I can’t think of one other than “they actually have merit”.

  8. N

    September 14, 2022 at 4:03 am

    I don’t think you should include steam in this pile, for it has some seperate issues that are not comparable to movies.

    When you buy a game, for 60$, you rarely ever buy a finished product. More often than not it’s not even close to a finished product (with basically all big releases having these issues).

    I don’t necessarily believe that to be a problem, because a large part of this 60$ will be used to fix the game, or expand the content. There’s certain promises (roadmaps) which make the game worth buying.

    Sometimes game developers break these promises, and just abandon a game.

    Maybe you want to leave a negative review to warn potential buyers that the product they are considering to buy is in an unfinished state, and never will be finished either as the development is abandoned.

    If you do this, around the same time as others, steam will censor all the negative reviews. It completely discards a fair warning to customers, because showing the rating from people believing that they would not leave the game in a bad state lead to higher sales.

    Some bad nonsensical reviews need to be moderated or removed, but removing all bad reviews is censorship. And that is something everyone should be afraid of.

    • Edgar Chaput

      September 14, 2022 at 8:28 am

      Thanks for the comment.

      The inclusion of Steam was for some historical context. I tried to make as clear as possible that the nature of the review bombing that started on video game platforms evolved into something else when movies and tv shows became the target. I felt it prudent to give some background as to where it is perceived that the act of review bombing began even though the reasons for doing it differ in the case of games. That’s why I added the line about it making not much sense to complain to a movie theatre for charging someone to buy a ticket.

  9. greg

    September 14, 2022 at 8:11 am

    i don’t think is woke agenda or this kind of bulllshit. is just that rn the whole industry works in a way that every products need to be watchable for everyone on the face of earth so e erything is just becoming dull n lazy.

    the problems w ROP or ghostbuster is that the writing/directong is awfull (and you just need to google writers name to understeand why) and

    moreover every product now need do respect this multicultural american washing because they’re affraid to be not inclusive enough for american press. and if you try to poit out that the show is shit is of course because you hate women, or black people. but the show IS shit.it tries so hard to be ne new GoT wout even understanding why GOT worked or what was the point in tolkiens narrative.

    • Edgar Chaput

      September 14, 2022 at 8:24 am

      There is a part of me that wonders about the challenges of casting massive shows or movies like this.

      These projects are often filmed in the Western world, where simply live many people from various walks of life and backgrounds live. Hypothetically speaking, could it be argued that casting people of different backgrounds simply facilitates the process? It’s a numbers game. The higher the number of people of varying ethnicities living in an area, the higher the odds that some of them will be actors, for instance. Instead of spending an ungodly amount of time casting people from specific a ethnicity (and casting everyone in ROP is surely long enough to begin with), they hire good actors who also happen to be non-white.

      I’m just spitballing here, mind you.

      • Josh

        September 15, 2022 at 4:17 am

        Well, if the final product was actually good I might agree. But it’s boring and doesn’t jive with the original beloved content so we don’t like it. Ultimately the show is not good and does a poor job of entertaining the people who are most interested in the content.

      • Chad

        September 15, 2022 at 9:34 am

        Good article, man. The cognitive dissonance going on in the comments is frankly hilarious. They may whine about Disa not having a beard (she has a subtle one on the sides of her face. You weren’t looking properly) and the writing being subpar, but the truth is this is a thin veneer of excuses covering a deep-seated hatred — and in some cases, self-hatred — of racism, misogyny and bigotry in general. These kind of psychological ideologies take a lifetime to overcome, and it’s frankly depressing because most of these people would rather die than admit it.

        I do find the timing of review-bombing coming into vogue very interesting. 2016 is the year Donald Trump got elected, emboldening bigots both in real life and online to attack and harass anyone who doesn’t fit their image of a perfect Aryan. Including stories with fantasy orcs and goblins…

        And before y’all come after me for being an Amazon shill… I pirate all the big names. These corporations don’t deserve a single cent and they can go choke on my popsicle. Peace.

  10. Your article sucks

    September 14, 2022 at 8:04 pm

    There is no such thing as review bombing, Lazy, uninspired, cash grabby, badly written TV and cinema….now that’s something we’ve seen a lot lately. And people get the blame for pointing it out. You’re a joke for trying to cover for the big companies.

    • Moon

      September 16, 2022 at 5:27 am

      There is review bombing. Last of us 2 game faced it, the last jedi and captain marvel movies faced it,the witcher tv show also faced it. but haters can suck their d**k. all of those games and movies and shows did good business at the end.as much as u people want to deny,the truth is review bombing a thing now and it is hurting good products too

  11. Much Aware of the Woke Propaganda

    September 14, 2022 at 11:21 pm

    If it feels woke, it must be woke. Stop shoving it down our throats.

  12. Ed Ross

    September 15, 2022 at 1:21 am

    The whole boogieman of “review bombing” is just a conspiracy theory keeping people in the elite bubble safe from confronting the uncomfortable opinions of the rest of us. The more incurious creators get about broad public buy-in, the more they shrink their own relevance.

  13. anonimuss

    September 15, 2022 at 2:41 am

    Didn’t know a multibilliondollar corporation needed you to cover for them and their badly received product. The simplest explanation is always the truth. The product sucks. Could not give less of a damn about some fantasy author and his ridiculous books. I care about saying Amazon sucks, and their series sucks. I would not even pirate this joke of a show. This whole thing is tax writeoff. nothin more.,

  14. Tomas

    September 15, 2022 at 3:55 am

    Review bombing isnt a problem.
    What you think of a show is entirely subjective.
    There is no such thing as a “fake rating” unless its bots.
    Whats a problem is Amazon and Disney etc manipulation the numbers.
    Deleting bad reviews, hiding bad reviews, suspending ratings, buying ratings, bribing access media etc etc.

    You seriously think that LotR Rings of Prime is LITERALLY the best thing 52% of EVERYONE has ever seen? Cuz thats was the IMDB Score last I checked… 52% TEN STAR(!) ratings.
    IMDB is owned by Amazon.
    Compared to Metacritic where the score was like 1.5 out of 10.

    Fakking over established lore and bastardizing beloved, classic stories in order to push political agendas is a problem, it piases people off.
    People going to you rating and giving it the lowest possible score is the result.
    Its a completely legit Response.

    No one gives a Fakk if you make black mermaids, people give a Fakk that ARIEL is now black… Cuz shes not supposed to be and its done in order to rewrite history and “colonize”, if you want, culture.
    If you made a white Blade or Shaft, you would have the EXACT same Response from the exact same people.

    Review bombing isnt a problem, contemporaty politics ruining classic stories is.
    Dont Fakk with established characters.

  15. Tom

    September 15, 2022 at 7:20 am

    Mr. Chaput,

    I have carefully read your article as well as your replies here in the comments and I am satisfied that you are arguing in good faith.

    In turn, I have a couple of points I would like to engage with you on.

    Review bombing is not done “in concert” in any kind of large scale, at least not in a two way capacity.

    Influencers will express opinions, or report on a trend, and oftentimes that is more than sufficient for individuals to then go out and down vote, comment, or otherwise engage with the product. There is not actually a group conspiracy going on, except in small isolated systems.

    The Last Jedi. You brought it up. The quality of the film is objectively very poor. Even people of low intelligence understood that something was horribly wrong, but lacked the ability to articulate it. So they latched onto the wokeness in an attempt to explain this, and the other side predictably used this to brand all criticism as racist and invalid.

    You yourself only focus on this, but it’s a strawman. It’s not real.

    Rey is a Mary Sue. She’s utterly unstoppable from day 1 and has no arc.

    Finn also had no arc and no purpose, as the actor himself has admitted.

    Holdo was such a poor leader that she got the entire resistance killed. But the story itself is so biased it doesn’t even realize this, and instead makes Poe out to be the asshole for questioning her.

    None of the jokes land, Canto Bight was a pointless side quest, Rose Tico stopped Finn from fulfilling his arc in the most idiotic way possible, you really watched all of that and just went yup everyone who doesn’t like this is racist?

    The fundamental issue is this: if diversity is so important, and so valuable, why can’t any minorities come up with their own characters and worlds? Why do they exclusively take white characters and appropriate them?

    You can’t defeat racism by being even more racist. If it’s wrong for a white actor to play Moses, then it’s wrong for a black actor to play Henry the 5th. The fact that there is backlash for one and fierce defense of the other shows that the entire argument is hypocritical and will only serve to reinforce the negative attitudes that exist.

    The ideal solution is to write compelling new characters and then let the best actors perform them, but it doesn’t seem Hollywood had any interest in that.

    • Edgar Chaput

      September 15, 2022 at 9:40 am

      Thanks for the comment.

      The only thing I can take exception with in your reply is the notion of any film or tv show being objectively bad or good. Art in of itself is a subjective thing (as much big movies like Star Wars are a commercial endeavour, as movies they are still an art form). I don’t love Last Jedi. It has some good, it has some bad, but I couldn’t bring myself to counter someone who claims to love it that they’re “wrong.” I can’t do it with someone who likes those Transformers movies.

      You listed the reasons why you think Last Jedi is bad (and we share coming ground on some of them). But that’s what they are: the reasons YOU think the film is bad.

      As for the lack of new characters, I reckon that has more to do with Hollywood’s general aversion to creativity. Why create something new and original that might not make money when you can redo something that has a proven track record?

  16. Troy Tempest

    September 15, 2022 at 7:44 am

    It’s not review bombing, it’s down to canon destruction, agenda pushing, retconing, race and or gender swapping so studios can push “the message”. The number one problem is crap writing. Period. Bad pacing, bad direction just make it worse. It’s all about the writing. I’m sick of laziness and a total lack of original thoughts being passed off as quality. Wo betide if you have legitimate complaints as you are immediately branded toxi/troll/racist/sexist/homophobic. When studios pander to perceived or real minorities at the expense of excellence in writing, you are now not allowed to say anything. What you should concern yourself with is the fan baiting done by studios. There is a great video about studio fan baiting on Midnights Edge, watch it and I’d be very interested in your views

    • Edgar Chaput

      September 15, 2022 at 9:48 am

      I think the writing that goes into a character can be good or bad independently of the casting of said character. A Caucasian actor may be cast in a role that’s terribly written just as a Black actor can be cast in a role that’s brilliantly written. Vice versa too. In neither did the actors write the role.

      ROP is taking its time setting up its pawns, arguably too much time (I even suggest as much in my review of the third 3. I say something like “Well, I’m guessing we’ve introduced everyone by now, almost 50% of the first season is done!”). The decision to lay as much groundwork as this first season is being perceived as bad writing and bad pacing, among other things. Fingers crossed the remaining 5 episodes will deliver on all the set up.

  17. Joseph Spurgeon

    September 15, 2022 at 9:02 am

    Thank you for your article. I appreciated how you attempted to be nuanced in your observations. I’d like to push back on one thing. You assume that the people who are “review bombing” are both organized and don’t have legitimate opinions. I wrote a review of ROP that I’m sure would be swallowed up as a review bomb and yet was my serious reaction to watching the show. I’m not a racist but watching the show the inclusion of different ethnicities in awkward ways kept taking me out of the show and into modern America. For example, the hobbit group is supposed to be one small tribe of a larger group. How is this small tribe so incredibly diverse? How was a black mother having such pasty white children? The writers of the show did not bother to consider the worldview of the author of the material. They didn’t bother to consider that each species reflects its own ethic distinction from the others. They could have easily cast black or Asian people as another tribe or species. But imposing our multiculturalism onto each of the groups in the show is jarring. It removes you from the world Tolkien created.
    Then add in that the writers of this show don’t understand female dignity and strength. Tolkien was no feminist but he loved femininity. Galadriel is a woman of femininity. The show makes her into a man with long hair and breasts. Her ninja moves were silly. The men around her seem incredibly weak. She goes off to war while Elrond stays home.

    My criticism of the show isn’t a review bomb but my sincere opinion. Many will simply respond with well you are racist and sexist. But that’s just a way to try and shut my opinion down. My individual opinion doesn’t mean much I know. But I am the type of person this show should have been a no brained to attract. I saw all the Jackson movies in the theater (some a few times). I purchased all the extended editions. I even purchased the soundtracks.
    Reading the review bombs I find that I’m far from being the only person like this.

    Perhaps these companies could learn from the reviews. Maybe they could think through why many people don’t like the woke agenda.

    In short, not all so called review bonnets are trolls. Some are just dissatisfied fans who don’t like the woke agenda.

    • Edgar Chaput

      September 15, 2022 at 9:33 am

      Thanks for the comment. We could have conversations all night and day regarding about the in-world plausibility of the Harfoots featuring several ethnicities despite being a small, close-knit community. Maybe their ongoing migration has something to do with that? I seem to recall in episode 3 (last week) Largo saying something to his wife like “When I lost so and so I was sad but then I found you”. Maybe he had kids before marrying her? Then again I may be misinterpreting the line.

      I think we can all agree that writing or saying out loud “you’re just a racist or a sexist” is lazy. That’s why I hinted in the article that some people can and do have constructive criticism to share. No one should feel obligated to enjoy something just because it’s packaged with a veneer or modern touches.

      • Kazik

        September 15, 2022 at 3:01 pm

        First for clarification: i didn’t watch this new LOTR yet, so i will not post my opinion on series with 1 exception later.

        I can see that you try to be somewhat objective with topic, but you are missing one side of that as well.

        While there may me in fact be something like bombing to small extent, Amazon response is overkill. They remove not only troll reviews, they remove every grade they don’t like whether it have any arguments or not. After all like you said, they invested money and they want it back so they won’t accept anything below 5/10. This look much like reverse bombing to me.

        For situation with GB 2016, new SW trylogy, (and here is my exception) LOTR and many new series/films: often viewers (me included) just don’t want to see gender/race swapped characters and/or minority casted clearly only to fit “woke” criteria. Like black elves which completely don’t fit any of Tolkien’s race descriptions. Or Ray being so powerful Jedi without any training, that she achieve something that in SW lore is basically a myth and at same time invalidate whole character development of one of most important characters in six movies before (literally Anakin went darkside because he wasn’t able to heal his loved one, And yet Ray and Ben heal and resurrect people out of blue).
        Or whole new SW trylogy, want to be so inclusive, and people are called racist for pointing out weird casting choices, yet ALL important characters are humans in universum FULL of different races and species.

        If we write what we think about it, we are called racist/mysoginist/homophobic.
        But if we don’t say that we dont like it, how producers should know that in our opinion is bad to forsake quality for inclusion?

        Don’t get me wrong.
        I have nothing against black actors in movies or as main role. I have nothing against minorities,strong female characters. I have nothing against LGBT characters.
        Just do it properly.

        You want black elves? I would love to see some stories from forgotten realms, or maybe create some independent story where we don’t have clear depiction of this race.

        Female Jedi? Just give her some backstory, don’t make invalidate whole story and every character before her.
        (Ahsoka say hello)

        You want nice homosexual or trans character? Maybe just not in kid show?

        Look how beloved are Jackie Chan’s or Eddie Murphy’s movies.

        Also you say that bombing is often result of vocal minority and make movie/game/show score not valid source of information, but isn’t source of all that woke trend and drama coming with it exactly that? Pleasing a Vocal minority?
        Or removing all negative score, resulting from bombing or not, don’t this make score not valid and trustworthy source of information about movie?
        Movies and games are form of art, and reception of art differ between people, but doesn’t that mean we should also accept bad opinions about this art? (And i mean not only as fan of piece of art but also as it author)

        And last reflection:
        You say that best way to check if movies or serial suit out taste is to give it a try, but this is not free art excibition. Not only we need to pay to give it a try, but also while doing so we are pumping up view count, and thus even if we don’t like it in the end, we help in making it a hit.

        • Edgar Chaput

          September 15, 2022 at 5:50 pm

          Thanks for the comments. Very interesting stuff.

          I think you and I are a hair away from agreeing on many things, but we miss each other like ships in a fog a night.

          I don’t disagree that the Amazon’s response was overkill. I hint as much with my conclusion in which I question the value in closing off user rating and comments sections. People stil depend on those aggregates to determine what they feel like watching.

          As to the race and gender swapping for the sake of it, I believe it’s a case by case basis. GB 2016 is pretty obvious, but that doesn’t mean the film couldn’t have been good (not only do I admit that I don’t think the film is all that special but my comments pertained more to the pre-release negativity). It didn’t end up being great, so that didn’t help.

          Stuff like LOTR prequels and SW sequels…god know what the casting process is like. To start saying things like they’re doing it to satisfy a woke mob is a big generalization. Who knows, maybe they are. MAYBE. We’re not present when they cast these things, to say nothing of the fact that in 2022 in North American and Europe where a lot of these projects hire their casts, there are more visible minorities than before. It could just be a case of avoiding headaches by only looking for specific ethnicities. Hire the good actors, irrespective of ethnic background. The fact is we don’t really know. We don’t even know if the counter point I’m making is factually accurate either!

          Also, I don’t believe I’m making the point that the presence of review bombing makes those aggregated user ratings less valuable. I’m more concerned with when those options are taken away. People still use them to gage what’s “good” or “worth watching.” I believe they are valuable.

          Finally, the argument about making up one’s own mind by truing something applies to a billion things. Want to try a new beverage? you’ll probably have to buy a can or a glass. Heard a restaurant is great? You’ll probably have to order a meal there. Apparently a new television show is brilliant? You need to sign up for cable or try a streaming service.
          Yes, there are exceptions to the point I’m making, just as there are exceptions to everything in life, but by and large, if you want to give something a shot, you’ll have to cough up at least a few pennies. And even then, sign up for a free trial.

  18. Alex

    September 15, 2022 at 1:16 pm

    Soo first up when something has a 4/10 rating it doesnt mean that 4 out of 10 found it passabel but rather that the collective as a whole found it to be that score meaning barely passseble.
    You dont give something a 10 for being just ok, and some of my favourite old movies have ratings of 6 or below.
    When it comes to actors opening their mouth well like it or not they are ambassadors for that show and well if you go to a customer and throw verbal mud at them good chances are they will never buy anything from you ever again.
    Allso modern media are very quick these days to blame it on trolls but if you actually look at the comments there are usually alot of lengthy reviews with reasonable justification but its all just review bombing.
    In the case of Lotr well if you take a beloved authors work and then again throw mud at the man who honestly lived in another era before you even have anything to justify that with yourself, then its an uphill battle to start with as opposed to something like the sonic movie.

    • Edgar Chaput

      September 15, 2022 at 1:35 pm

      The very argument you put forth about finding well-reasoned criticisms is why I included the entire section about the two academic examples. Ultimately comments sections and user ratings still hold value despite the presence of less useful or mature arguments.

      That’s also why I end the article on an ambiguous note: so big companies want to protect themselves from negative reviews they deem inappropriate. In doing so, nobody gets a chance to have their say, which isn’t necessarily better than full on censorship.

      Believe me, I’m being as honest as I can here and I am NOT picking on you specifically, but I feel like I’ve responded the same thing a handful of times already about the sections of my article where I try to bring a level of nuance. I’m getting very similar comments again and again and again as if I didn’t even try to to balance out the pros and the cons.

  19. Bart

    September 15, 2022 at 1:24 pm

    Purhabs there is a reason for people to write this kind of bad reviews. I just have seen the Peter Jackson trilogy, didn’t read the books. But what i have seen from trailers, teasers and parts of the show, all the athentcety of the show is gone, it is for sure not about the story, the images are nice, not great, you don’t have the feeling they have put their heart into the story, as a matter a fact i have compared the films and screenshots of the serie side by side, i prefer the look of the original. They (Amazon) give me no reason to see the serie, it is not compelling. It doesn’t ingage the viewer so in fact i think it is not review bombing, but honest opinions of normal people. The show is just not convincing. I get they want to be in the right, considering what is at stake, besides a lot of money, one advice, next time hire competent writers and a cast that fits the story. It will help. Kind regards

  20. Grasamo

    September 15, 2022 at 3:34 pm

    What the author does here is say only certain views are valid. Anything else is racist. Same ole same ole liberal BS. Could it be that we are just tired of “woke” Hollywood trying to convince of political narratives we don’t agree with?

    Every movie, prime video, Netflix show being made these days tries to force feed an agenda on us. It seems every lead in a show now has to be a gay, non-white female who hates conservative people of faith. As a result, their shows are failing and rightly so. They aren’t trying to make content people want. They are trying to convince people that the content being made is what they want. That doesn’t work. Hollywood deserves to fail, and I won’t shed a tear if it does.

    If you don’t align with the liberal woke agenda, you’re automatically a hateful racist who hates clean drinking water, pushes grandma off a cliff, and has no compassion. I resent that. I vote with my wallet. If my wife wasn’t addicted to TV, I’d cancel all of it. It’s not fit to watch. I will NOT BE BRAINWASHED.

    • Edgar Chaput

      September 15, 2022 at 5:53 pm

      Please re-read, at a minimum, the final section of the article. I specify, black text on white background, that there are people who have strong criticisms of films and tv shows and that when a big company like Amazon turns off user ratings, then no one, whether they are in fact bigoted or have smart, erudite reservations, gets to say anything at all.

      I make that very, very clear in my conclusion. Please-re-read.

  21. Josh

    September 15, 2022 at 5:53 pm

    While I don’t disagree that user reviews in general and review bombing in particular are often a cesspool of bad takes, in my experience the success or failure of a review bombing campaign is almost entirely driven by the prevailing opinion on the quality of the product. While yes everything is subjective, in the case where the consensus reaches above apathy a solely politically motivated review campaign will wither into impotence. Furthermore even the most degenerate review campaign is still consumer information, you make the argument that the best way to know if you like something is to try it for yourself which fails in two ways 1) it is simply impossible to watch everything you have to choose how to allocate your valuable resources this is why reviews exist. 2) your experience with whatever initial portion you engage with may not be representative of the entire product. In a world where we might have to rely on reviews to determine what we consume next I would argue that as long as the lowest common denominator isn’t assigned to the average consumer any amount of critical thinking applied to analyzing a given products reviews can easily revel the truth, if anything this is an indictment of arbitrary number ratings which have always been skewed even in ideal circumstances. You mention the vocal minority several times but this is a fallacy the people who post reviews are in the minority of consumers already, if scores are going up or down this simply means the group of people who think the score should move in a direction out weigh the people who disagree. The power of trolls while slightly greater than their actual number is relatively fixed what actually matters at the end of the day is neutral consumers otherwise we would see every project with progressive leaning similarly dragged down which simply isn’t the case.

    • Edgar Chaput

      September 15, 2022 at 6:03 pm

      Thanks for the comments.

      I don’t dispute the validity of reviews. Heck, I write reviews!

      My point was that certain people depend on the user ratings to determine what they shall watch (further to both your and my points). When review bombing scares the platforms that produce content to the point that they withdraw the option for user ratings, that doesn’t help a lot of people.

      We agree that the people who most reviews are a minority amongst the general pop culture consumers, as are the people who actually pay attention to user ratings or even type in theirs. Most people want to watch something with a star attached or a popular intellectual property. They don’t really care about the comments section. Two minorities, therefore, one existing within the other

      I still thought the subject made for interesting discussion, which appears to be proven correct given the article is fast approaching 50 comments in just a few days,

  22. Hatuletoh

    September 15, 2022 at 5:54 pm

    If “review bombing” actually is a thing, and that’s very much debatable in this era of media companies being as transparent as the Soviet Politboro, then it’s an entirely natural reaction to what has recently been called “fan baiting,” i.e., framing all criticism of a show as being motivated by racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., a particularly insulting and incendiary form of strawman attack. This is demonstrated by the simple fact that good shows don’t get “review bombed”: the very successful “House of the Dragon” added black Targaryens to the cast, “RRR” is wildly popular despite white people being portrayed as comically villainous in it, and the trailer for “Wakanda Forever” has been met with a generally positive response. Audiences love Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Gal Gadot as Wonderwoman, they lamented that the “Black Widow” film didn’t do justice to a beloved character, and the loudest critics of the “She Hulk” TV show have been the fans who have been reading her comic books for 40 years. One might almost conclude that studios could avoiding having their shows “review bombed” by, firstly, writing good shows; and secondly, by not dishonestly framing all criticism of low-quality dreck as being motivated by the audience’s personal prejudices. One more thing: most people now understand that reviews by “professional critics” are to some extent influenced by the critics’ desire to not anger studios and lose the preferential treatment they enjoy. Some “review bombers” may see themselves as a…”necessary redress,” let’s say, to the dishonest positive reviews professional critics consistently give to undeserving films and TV shows.

  23. One of the goyim

    September 15, 2022 at 9:40 pm

    All the 1/10 reviews are fake. All the 10/10 reviews are legit. This is common knowledge.

  24. Troy

    September 16, 2022 at 7:04 pm

    Rings of Power is not being review bombed it’s actually that bad due to writing regardless of casting. Each episode is worst then the previous one. Amazon did the same thing to Wheel of Time. Amazon already caught paying for positive reviews from influencers. The show looks amazing but that is expected with the budget…but they could not hire good writers, directors or editors?

  25. Jorge Lizaso

    September 16, 2022 at 8:07 pm

    So, if someone doesn’t like the show or something about it and wants to somehow express this. He or she has to shut up, because if not you’re a troll, a hater or you’re doing review bombing?
    Where’s the freedom of speech?
    A corporation launches a content from a beloved franchise, doing whatever they want with the story and we have to just accept it cause they’re the owners of the “product”? If tomorrow for example pornhub buys the Star Wars franchise and starts doing porn movies with the Star Wars logo and the crawling yellow text, we will have to accept, and don’t express our opinions on the matter cause if not we’re trolls, haters or whatever? Come on.

  26. Synonymous

    September 16, 2022 at 8:18 pm

    What really sickens me is how there clearly is a racist, mysoginist and homophobic motivation behind some of the review bombing and those “reviews” are undermining the validity of those negative reviews that actually put some effort in elaborating a solid argument for not liking the movie/series/videogame other than parroting the tired and repetitive anti-woke slang.

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