Due to the increasing number of new topics made by users wondering why their reviews were rejected, the management has decided to make this thread which will to go into greater detail than rejection messages usually do concerning some of the more frequent reasons for rejection. Keep in mind that just because your review may not fit one of these cases doesn't mean it didn't deserve rejection. This thread is not intended to be a "catch all", but rather an FAQ of sorts.BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE:
Be sure to save your review. Right now. Go do it. If you can't even keep track of your own review, don't come crying to us if it's lost in the server and you don't have a copy.
Also, if your review hasn't been accepted or rejected yet, do not complain about it here, or anywhere for that matter.
The review queue sometimes gets very full, and takes time and effort to work through. Most mods have multiple duties (I do forums and the review queue, for example) and there aren't a lot of us to begin with, so don't get impatient. Remember, none of us are paid, we all have lives outside of the internet, so just relax. It's not as if there's a race, and even if there were, reviews show up on the site based on their submission date, not their acceptance date. Now, it does happen sometimes that the email notifications are messed up and don't get sent out, so if it has been a while and you want to make sure your review is still in the queue (which you will want to do anyway before asking about it here), go to "My Reviews" to see its status. If it's written "rejected" in red, click it to see the rejection reason. Anyway, on to the rejections!
If your review was rejected, it was most probably because of one of these reasons:1. Formatting
Oftentimes I won't even read a review before rejecting it if I see it has crappy formatting. We'll return it to you with a note to fix it and resubmit, but it still takes time so you can save everyone some by doing it right the first time around. First of all, the most common problem I see is people putting giant breaks in between their paragraphs. DO NOT DO THAT. Leave only one
empty line between your paragraphs, unless
you're making a big break between sections of a larger review which consists of multiple paragraphs; then, use only two
empty lines. A problem that has thankfully become less common is the dreaded "wall of text" in which no paragraph breaks at all are used. Remember, reviews are meant to be read; if it looks like shit and is hard to read, who is going to want to in the first place?
If you wish to bold/italicize part of your review, keep in mind you must use HTML tags like so: <i>italics</i> and <b>bold</b> rather than brackets  like here on the board.
Also, there's the annoying problem of character encoding, with funny symbols popping up instead of apostrophes, etc. Sometimes mods will let a little of that slide, but if it's all over the place in your review it will probably get rejected. Now, this is an excusable problem but also a fixable one; try changing your character encoding to ISO standard in your browser's tools section (also sometimes under "View"), and if that still doesn't work, just copy the review into the review window and edit the funny characters out manually. It might be a bit tedious, but trust me, far less so than having to read it with "&%$" in place of every apostrophe or quotation mark.2. Spelling and grammar
Yes, we do check your spelling and grammar and yes, we do reject a large number of reviews based on it. Use of a spellchecker should be obvious, but it shouldn't be an excuse to not check it yourself; be sure to proofread your review and check for grammar errors, and also typos or common errors that do not result in incorrect spellings (to vs. too vs. two, of vs. off, there vs. their vs. they're, its vs. it's are some common ones for example). If English is your second language, don't be afraid to ask people for help. If you're in doubt, LOOK IT UP. If you're too lazy to do even that, well, don't expect your "effort" to be appreciated around here.3. Not enough content
That's right, it's not just enough to write a review with good formatting, spelling, and grammar. You have to actually REVIEW the music, and do a decent job. That means describe what's there, draw comparisons to similar music, cite examples that support your overall points. Remember, don't just say "this is AWESOME!!11" or "this stuff sucks balls, don't buy it." Now, we don't expect every review to be professional-quality, but Amazon.com's standards are not ours either. Also, a very important thing to remember is we somewhat grade on a curve.
If you're writing the 20th review for a Metallica album, be advised that our standards will be just a wee bit higher than if you're writing the first review for an unknown demo. We suggest novice reviewers focus on lesser-known albums as a good way of getting used to writing reviews, and only tackling the popular ones once they get pretty good at it. However, there are some things that can affect your chances of getting accepted aside from sheer content. For example, a distinctive tone, voice, or style; if your review is entertaining to read, it will have a better chance of getting accepted. That doesn't necessarily mean humor, though it can. We've seen plenty of reviews try to imitate UltraBoris's or Prozak's styles, but guess what: you're not them. Don't try to inject your reviews with gimmicks, be genuine. All of our best reviewers here on the site are distinct from one another, and that's not because they were imitating someone else. We don't expect everyone to be that good, but effort will be appreciated.
Remember that the structure of your review is also important; track-by-track reviews with a couple of sentences per song are not a good idea. Rambling, "stream of consciousness" reviews are not a good idea. Take some time to think about how you want to present your review; one that progresses logically and smoothly from point to point will read a lot better than one that jumps around randomly.
Also, finally, if you're hurting for content, remember these three things: describe, compare, cite examples. Most reviews can use more of at least one of them. The first two help convey what the music sounds like, the third is good for that too, as well as backing up your overall valuation of the music ("the riffs are really bad, like the one that begins track 1" is much better than just saying "the riffs are really bad"). This does NOT mean you should describe every note the band plays, or that you should list every single band that sounds like them, but try to give a person a good idea of what they're getting into; the highlights, not a second-by-second commentary or a comprehensive family tree.4. The album you've reviewed is ineligible
Now, this one is fairly simple. We do not allow reviews to be put up for albums that aren't released yet but are listed on the site, because oftentimes bands will release unfinished or pre-production versions of tracks, and there's no guarantee what you're hearing on the internet is the final version until it's actually officially released. Also, if you're reviewing something that clearly isn't the final version of the album (a promo, for example) we will also reject that even after an album's been released. Reviewing MP3 rips of official albums is allowed, even encouraged with some of those rare albums out there (no one should have to shell out $100 just to review some obscure NWOBHM single). However, please
make sure what you have is a respectable rip, at least 192 kbps, and if it's a vinyl rip that you understand that any pops or skips aren't actually a part of what you're supposed to be reviewing (obvious, but it has to be said).5. Plagiarism
Do not plagiarize reviews. I'll say it again: DO NOT PLAGIARIZE REVIEWS.
We have some very observant mods and many more observant users, so whether you're stealing a review from an internet or print source, we'll find out. If you are the author of a review that has appeared elsewhere, it's OK if you submit it here, but be warned that you may be asked for some proof that you are who you say you are. Remember that plagiarism isn't just copying an entire review; lifting a passage or even a sentence can be considered plagiarism if you don't give your source credit, and even if your review was accepted, plagiarism will often come to light later and action will be taken accordingly (as in one notable case). Also, recently we have been forced to take action in the case of blatant re-wording of existing reviews, where the reviewer essentially took certain well-known reviews and rearranged the wording with an occasional original word of his own thrown in as filler. A tip: if you're using someone else's review as a guide for anything more specific than general structure, that's probably a bad idea. We aren't going to ban you for borrowing a simple term or phrase, but anything more than a sentence is too much, and even a sentence can be enough. This is also a no-tolerance policy; you plagiarize, you get no second chances. You get banned, all your reviews are deleted. In short: we don't fuck around with this, it's not worth it to try and get away with it.6. Factual errors
In case people were wondering, reviews are rarely rejected based on factual errors. We fully support reviewers' rights to their own opinions, as long as those opinions are expressed in an intelligent way, and it takes some really
blatant mistakes to get a review rejected (calling Iron Maiden black metal, for example). Now, most of the time reviews with these kinds of errors are also lacking in other respects, so they're almost never the sole basis for rejection.7. Trolling
This is a fairly new one, but unfortunately certain reviews have necessitated occasional rejection on this ground. Essentially, we feel a "trolling review" is a review written with the express purpose of enraging, pissing off, and/or slandering a band and its fans, with little to no actual quality review content present. Don't get me wrong, we definitely give reviews the right to express their negative opinions, we don't force everyone to "play nice". It's just that there's a line between a very negative review written reasonably and one written as a mere exercise in colorful insults. This is definitely a point we deal with on a case-by-case basis, and if your review has a lot of actual content, with actual description, examples, and comparisons, then it will probably be accepted no matter what. But if you consider "this sounds like a dog turd playing the banjo underwater during a Celine Dion concert" a substitute for actual description, you're either trolling or need your head checked. Don't let your enthusiasm to convey how terrible you feel an album is go beyond the realm of reason.
Finally, once again, SAVE YOUR REVIEW ON YOUR COMPUTER BEFORE SUBMISSION
. I can't stress this enough. Even if your review is perfect in every way, it sometimes happens that it will fall into some strange angle of the internet and disappear. Now, once it's been submitted or saved as a draft, even if it's deleted or lost, it can often be recovered. Still, backing up your reviews somewhere else isn't a bad idea, either.
A frequent whine: "This other review is of equal or lesser quality than mine, and it was accepted! Mods should accept mine, based on my self-centered view on consistency!" Well, you're half-right; if you are correct and this other review is as bad as yours, we'll gladly enforce consistency, but by deleting it rather than accepting your review. Post it in Oven Fodder
Any further questions on these subjects can be directed to this thread, but remember that providing a copy of your review along with your question will save everyone time; usually it's obvious why a review was rejected immediately. However, keep in mind that this is NOT The Review Feedback Workshop
; go there for detailed advice on how to fix your review, once the specific problem has been identified.