Friday Slide: On Dissent

At some point in the last couple weeks, Slide To Play turned a corner.

You know how I know? It’s not our traffic, although it’s been growing rather explosively since January. It’s not the fact that all of our advertising slots filled up in the space of about ten days. Nor is the fact that Apple has been featuring our podcast alongside some much, much bigger names.

The real tipoff is that people are starting to get pissed off at our reviews.

This may not sound so great on the face of things’”nobody likes being called ‘a joke of a site’ or ‘complete n00bs and idiots’–but in fact, I view it as a tremendously positive development. Most obviously, it means that our exposure is growing to the point that readers that disagree with our reviews actually feel compelled to respond. If nobody cares about our opinion enough to bother contradicting us publicly (and vehemently!), it means one of two things: either nobody’s reading our reviews… or they’re telling everyone exactly what they want to hear, meaning they provide no new information and are effectively worthless. In either case, we’re not helping anybody; we’ve failed.

To expand on that second point, we have a job to do here, and it’s not to be liked, or even to be popular’”it’s to be absolutely, unfailingly honest. We strive for objectivity in all of our reviews, starting with the facts. If we should screw those up (it happens to the best of us), we’re going to admit our mistakes and correct them. But facts and details can be spun any which way one chooses, so at the end of the day, we’re providing an opinion. If we attempt to soft-pedal or temper it, or somehow equivocate and split the difference, we’re doing our readers a disservice. In part, that is why we use a four-bin scoring system’”I’ve always found three-star reviews to be something of a cop-out. Is that a recommendation or not? You may not agree with our 2/3 split on a particular game, but you will sure as hell know where we stand.

And so, if you don’t agree with one of our reviews, or notice that we’ve missed something important, please do use that comment form, or post in our Forums! STP is a community, as well as a venue for our journalism, and we put those tools there for a reason. We value your (courteous) dissent and open debate, and your fellow readers will too.