I've received a few emails over the last week or so regarding this, so I thought would do a post explaining what is happening.
As regulars will know, Travelfish members are able to post reviews on the pages for specific guesthouses and hotels etc. The idea was to allow others to post their experiences -- good and bad -- in order to give other Travelfish readers a broader range of opinions on a place rather than relying just on the opinion of the Travelfish researcher who wrote the place up.
In the past, comments have been largely unmoderated. Once a member has added a certain number of reviews, they all begin to appear with no input from us. For the most part, this has worked well. Occasionally we've had to remove or edit posts, but mostly the system has run itself satisfactorily.
However, as Travelfish has increased in popularity, so have the volume of reviews, and so have the number of reviews that have required direct intervention from us.
So, we've decided to switch to a pre-moderated system. What this means is that no new accommodation review will appear on the site until it has been manually checked by either myself or a couple of others (if you'd like to give us a hand in this regard, please post in the thread below and I'll be in touch.).
This means there will be a delay in reviews appearing. We're aiming to have them turned around very quickly, but depending on how busy we are with other things, approval may take some time -- and not all reviews will be approved.
We plan to send the new system live in a couple of week's time. It will definitely be up and running by the end of the month.
So what is a good review?
Simply put a good review is one that will help others decide if the place in question is for them or not. A one line review saying "this place rules" or "this place sux" isn't as useful as one that explains why it rules or sux.
It's really no different to meeting somebody just arrived at the train station and being asked "where did you stay and how was it" -- what would you tell them?
So what is a less good review?
Less good reviews may not make the cut. Reasons reviews may not be approved include:
Spam - doesn't need further explanation
Rant - if you've just had a really bad time at Joe's Lodge and have posted the same rant on every accommodation review site you can find, we probably won't run it.
Too short - Very short reviews. For example "I loved it here." won't get a run -- not because we don't believe you, but because you didn't tell us why you loved it. The idea behind the reviews it that they're helpful to others -- the more information you write in the review, the more helpful it is to others.
lawyers - Any review that we deem is likely to result in lawyers sending us nasty letters probably won't make the cut. Your anonymous - we're not.
closed - If a property closes down, or is removed from Travelfish for some other reason, the reviews for that property are automatically deleted.
other - a catchall for anything I haven't thought of in the above!
Don't take the above to mean we're canning most of the reviews -- far from it. Once the new system is up and running, any review you post from then on that gets canned will be marked with one of the above in the Member Centre so you'll know why.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) I joined Travelfish last week and posted a review, but it hasn't appeared. What gives?
Post some more reviews on other places you stayed at. Members will have no reviews approved until they've reviewed a few places. You stayed at more than one place during your vacation didn't you?
2) I'm the owner of a place, can I post a rebuttal or a thankyou?
Yes of course, but please identify yourself as the owner, be polite and don't get into slanging matches.
3) I posted a negative review and you deleted it. Why?
We run a lot of negative reviews. We don't run reviews that may result in lawyers sending us nasty letters. You're welcome to post something negative but bear in mind you're doing it behind a cloak of anonymity -- that's a cloak we don't have!
4) What does "This is a Travelfish recommended reviewer" mean?
While all Travelfish members are equal, some are more active than others. Some are very active on the forum, others on the reviews section. When a member reaches a certain threshold of activity we note them as a "recommended reviewer" -- this suggests they're got perhaps quite a bit of experience in the region and you may find their contributions especially informative. Reviews by "recommended reviewers appear before those of everyone else. (Note we're still rolling this out, so please don't be offended if you're not on the recommended list right now!)
5) Why can't I add photos to the review?
Because I haven't had time to code it in yet! We do have plans to allow member submitted pics in the future.
So that's about the story. If you've more questions or suggestions regarding this, please let me know in the thread below.
"You stayed at more than one place during your vacation didn't you?"
Yeah - but half of them aren't listed on this site and most of them don't deserve much in the way of praise or blame. The place I stayed for 6 days at was great though and that's the only lodging I care much to talk about.
Plus - I accidentally gave Phu Quoc a bunch of 5's when I though that was the top mark --- And I haven't been able to change that --- can you fix that.
You can change the ratings in the Member Centre. Log in, go to Member Centre and you'll see any reviews you've made listed there. Click on one to edit it and you can change the ratings to adjust to out of ten.
The new policy sounds reasonable, Somtam.
You mentioned possibly needing help sorting through reviews. Can this be accomplished from a remote location? (Remote from you, I mean.....as in, from USA, where I am writing from.) I can lend a bit of a hand, so let me know how that might happen.
@caseyprich - that error has been fixed -- thanks to you and exacto for pointing it out.
@Archmichael @mattocmd - thanks a lot -- will be in touch once I've finished writing the editing stuff.
Much appreciated all