Sunday, July 31, 2011

Deceptive Reviews and Satisfying Explanations

I've been accused of almost everything a writer can be, except that my books are too long.  They're too short, my characters are bland, I write romances than aren't romances (I don't write romances for starters), I stink at plotting, I have no conception of what constitutes proper grammar (or grammer as she put it) and I can't spell worth a tinker's damn.  Ok!  I know I've left a couple other complaints out but the bottom line is that I find it baffling.  Finally yesterday I saw a review that explains why some readers think I can't spell.


***worth'da $ 'cuz it waz gr8***

Since it was a 5 star review for Dream Horse, I'm not complaining.  Still it is a window into the typed word or, communication.

A friend found an article about software that detects deceptive reviews.  Apparently (just as I suspected) humans aren't very good at it.

Here's some of the article

Steven Cherry: Yeah. So this was sort of the most interesting thing about your research, I think. What did it learn about which are the deceptive ads and which are not?
Myle Ott: So in this study we ended up learning a lot of features to indicate whether a review was deceptive or truthful. And one of the interesting things we learned was that deceptive reviews use more verbs, adverbs, and pronouns, whereas truthful reviews generally had more nouns, prepositions, and adjectives. There was one big exception, which was superlative adjectives, words like “best” and “finest,” which are actually more common in deceptive reviews. Fortunately, this actually fits in really nicely with some previous genre identification studies on imaginative versus informative writing. Imaginative writing, meaning any sort of creative or fictional work, typically contains more verbs, adverbs, and pronouns, much like our deceptive reviews did. Similarly, informative writing, meaning mostly nonfiction work, typically contained more nouns, prepositions, and adjectives, much like we found in our truthful reviews.
Steven Cherry: So that’s supported by some earlier research on the difference between fiction and nonfiction in general. Is that right?
Myle Ott: That’s right. So there’s the British National Corpus, which contains roughly 2500 texts that are broken up into either informative or imaginative genres.
Steven Cherry: Myle, you compared your research to other research that distinguished between fact and fiction. But there’s also research specifically on people lying. Did you look at that as well?
Myle Ott: Right. So there’s actually a lot of work in the psychology community about deception; there’s in fact even sort of ongoing debate in the community about whether or not there exists a sort of universal set of deception cues, some sort of surefire way to know whether someone’s lying or not. And there’s all sorts of theories on what this universal set of cues might look like. For example, one important finding called psychological distancing suggests that people try to distance themselves from their lies, and this results in a decreased usage of the first-person singular words like “I,” “me,” and “myself.” Instead, we found an increased usage of first-person singular in our deceptive reviews, which we believe to be either a subconscious or conscious attempt on the part of our deceivers to enhance their own credibility by emphasizing their own presence. 

As they say read it all here When A Reviewer LIES

Unfortunately, they haven't yet gotten to the lying negative reviews yet, but, all you drunk trolls out there, it's coming.  YIPPEE!

My pal Chris can't write with music on.  Instead he goes to the local Shoney's or something and writes with all the dishes clanging and children screaming.  I don't even like to eat under conditions like that let alone write.  I like music.  BUT.   If I can't find the right music that fits the mood, I struggle.  The first half of Mr. Mitnick's Harem was very problematic.  Then I heard something by Alison Krauss and Union Station and it was clear sailing from then on.   I started the new book listening to a range of things but didn't hear anything that fit until this.  (I have no idea what helps me finish the cookbook.)

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