Can UX design solve review bombing? | by Daley Wilhelm | Feb, 2024


Reviews are meant to be indicative of the quality of a product. I’m looking for a new book to read — is this one worth my time? Is it well-written? Is there any content that I might find objectionable? What do my fellow readers have to say about it?

Amazon’s Goodreads serves as the largest aggregate of book reviews from readers. It is the ideal place to check if a book is indeed a good read. Or it should be, anyway. Recently, the practice of review bombing has made it difficult to discern if a book is bad or just the victim of bad-faith reviewers.

After the latest review bombing controversy on the platform, Goodreads acknowledged the issue and invested in improvements meant to quickly detect violations of community and review guidelines. I argue that some simple additions to the Goodreads review user experience could help to further prevent these review bombing campaigns, because as it is now, it is easy to abuse Goodreads and thus easy to convince readers that books that haven’t even been released are trash.

The Goodreads page for Crown of Starlight currently has a 2.5 star rating.
Most of the reviews now mention Corrain’s actions and reviewer’s disapproval.

Here’s the tea: author Cait Corrain wasn’t confident that her debut book, Crown of Starlight, would stand out. She felt threatened by other titles that would come out around the time her book would, and that her being a white author would somehow affect her appeal. So she created a half dozen sock puppet accounts to litter the books she assumed would outshine her own with one-star reviews and inflate her own book with glowing reviews.

After her actions were exposed by BookTok sleuths, Corrain first attributed the review bombing campaign to an overzealous friend, but ultimately admitted that she was the author of these bad-faith reviews. Crown of Starlight was canceled by Del Rey Books, and Corrain released a statement that she hadn’t been in her right mind when engaging in this behavior.


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