Monday, December 31, 2012

Amazon Book Reviews Deleted in a Purge Aimed at Manipulation

…from the annals of e-reviewing, self-promotion, gaming book sales on Amazon…debate simmers on blogs & Amazon…prompting our caveat to readers, writers and their (too) helpful family, friends, fans and supportive writing circles...

Feriss, by Drew Kelly, NYT
Giving raves to family members is no longer acceptable. Neither is writers’ reviewing other writers. But showering five stars on a book you admittedly have not read is fine.

After several well-publicized cases involving writers buying or manipulating their reviews, Amazon is cracking down. Writers say thousands of reviews have been deleted from the shopping site in recent months.

Is a review merely a gesture of enthusiasm or should it be held to a higher standard? Should writers be allowed to pass judgment on peers the way they have always done offline or are they competitors whose reviews should be banned? Does a groundswell of raves for a new book mean anything if the author is soliciting the comments?

Timothy Ferriss marshaled his social media followers for favorable reviews of “The 4-Hour Chef.” Harriet Klausner now has over 25,000 reviews on Amazon. “You ever read a Harlequin romance?” she said. “You can finish it in one hour.”

Read the rest of Amazon Book Reviews Deleted in a Purge Aimed at Manipulation - NYTimes.comReaders also shared their thoughts on this article. Read All Comments (391)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

6 blog design tips for non-designers

…definitely CLW fodder. I should cross post it to the New Faculty Majority blog too (filed under wishful thinking). Tag it #readability, #webwriting & #genres (this last would make a passable CLW post too…let me count the genres I write thee). 

I don’t do a lot of B2B (blogger-to-blogger) posts here, but I was trying to read a blog post the other day (about something I really wanted to learn about) and the design of the blog made it absolutely painful to read! So I thought maybe I’d take my experience as a web designer and write a little post with a few tips that’ll help make anyone’s blog more comfortable to read.

Blogger Cassie lays out 6 easy design tips with visual examples: left justify always, link color matters, use headers, watch line lengths, short paragraphs, skip serif for body text. But if you love something. keep it ~ it's your blog. Now read the rest of 6 blog design tips for non-designers

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Grammar & Syntax Make #MOOC Debut

…here's an online writing course worth taking a look at…
…in Course Taught by Stanford Scientist on Coursera
Here\'s a really bad sentence: \"This paper provides a review of the basic tenets of cancer biology study design, using as examples studies that illustrate the methodologic challenges or that demonstrate successful solutions to the difficulties inherent in biological research.\"
Kristin Sainani - epidemiologist, statistician and writer - teaches scientists not to write like that. She does it in a classroom at Stanford\'s School of Medicine, and, since late September, she does it online
1213 Grammar and Syntax Make Their MOOC Debut in Course Taught by Stanford Scientist
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