Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bad Review

It was bound to happen and it did.  Knowledge Illuminates got a bad review, but its not a bad thing at all.  I've been involved with writing on and off since the mid 80's and had my share of both good and bad reviews and some I wasn't sure which they were.  Brendan Falconer over at the Knights of the Black Banner blog (love the name of his blog) did a review of Knowledge Illuminates.  He gave is a D, but please take a moment to go read if you're interested.

Like I said in the comments I'm sort of surprised it took so long for someone to do a negative review on Knowledge Illuminates.  We gamers are not short on opinions.  But sometimes we do try to encourage one another without pointing out the faults.  I know I am guilty of this.  I'm used to taking criticism from all my other writing experiences and I don't take it personally.  Most people liked my adventure and I'm sure there are more than a few like Brendan did not like it.

 A bad reviewer is one that bases his opinion on hearsay, doesn't do his homework or makes comments that aren't related to the product he is reviewing.  When I see one of those I just ignore it because its not based on anything.  It's just an idiot ranting.

Brendan's review was based on the material he's purchased and read.  His faults were based on what was in and not in the adventure.  And for that I respect his honesty and appreciate him taking the time to review.  And I see his points.  I may not agree with all of them, but most of them I do.

I think negative reviews of a product should be a good thing as long as its done well, doesn't get personal and its based on the actually product.  I think we all do this when we searching out a new product on Amazon, I know I've done it recently when I was buying a new printer.  I read all the one star reviews before I read any of the others.  Some of the comments were just dumb of course, but the one star reviewers who took the time to explain why they didn't like it was more enlightening than all the five star rah rahs.  Of course you want to see a bunch of 5 star reviews for anything you buy, but I almost guarantee you learn more from the one star.

I want to thank Brendan again for taking the time to review Knowledge Illuminates and like I told him I hope he likes my next offering better, if I can ever get it out.  His review is on my Knowledge Illuminates page with all the rest.  I think its just as important, if not more important than the others.


  1. Yeah, nice job posting this. It's great that you're being objective. And you handled the criticism very well. :)

  2. Nice. I like your openess. I think it shows the ability to improve.

  3. Ah, bad reviews...they're like badges of honor (well, Purple Hearts anyway). Just struggle on, man...

    (and actually, other than the "D" score, it wasn't a terrible review. It actually piqued my interest in the one-shot)

    : )

  4. Good or bad, the review needed more details.

  5. Don't worry.

    I served as a book review editor for a while and read more average-to-poor reviews than good ones.

    The best thing to do is have conviction for what you are doing and bash on. We never actually finish written work, we just bring it as far as we can for as long as we can and then we abandon it.

  6. It's great to see that you would post this. It's nice to see an attitude like yours.

  7. Say the word and he's done (said in best Godfather voice), Sorry about the review but your right, in the world of RPGs opinions are like certain body parts.. I did have to agree with what you said about Amazon. I recently bought my son a electronic DJ turntable and I read all the reviews, good and bad.

  8. Don't kill me Dave, don't kill me!

    Plus, as JB says, it was only a D, which isn't exactly a one star review...

    But yes, I appreciate that Tim has taken this first negative review in stride.

  9. Brendan.. I read the review and I thought you were fair and Tim is a good sport :)

  10. More than anything, I'm impressed by your attitude, Tim. So many of us (yes, myself included sometimes) tend to come unstrung when our hard work is criticized in any way.

  11. Seems like a fair review. Your response is also fair (and not defensive, which is even better). This is how criticism is supposed to work. That's how the hobby as a whole improves.

  12. I think it speaks well of any creator who can take negative feedback well, whether he agrees with it or not.

    Whether the OSR has reached its peak or is still growing, I do feel that there is a tendency to "go soft" on some releases because we know the writer or just feel like we ought to embrace everything involved for the betterment of the hobby, obviously a bias to avoid.

    To be sure, Knowledge Illuminates is a very long way from being the worst OSR-related product I've read, and Tim would surely have laughed at my crappy review if I had said it was.