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Subject: rec.music.reviews Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

This article was archived around: 28 Sep 1997 03:37:02 -0400

All FAQs in Directory: music
All FAQs posted in: rec.music.reviews
Source: Usenet Version

Archive-name: music/music-reviews-faq Posting-Frequency: monthly Last-modified: 1996/12/21 Version: 1.07
Frequently Asked Questions: rec.music.reviews (V 1.07) by Al Crawford (awrc@access.digex.net) This isn't strictly speaking a FAQ in the truest sense of the word, since it's rather difficult for readers to ask questions in a group where direct followups aren't permitted. However, it's hoped that this pseudo-FAQ will clear up some of the details regarding exactly what belongs in the newsgroup, and how to go about submitting postings. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Table Of Contents o What is rec.music.reviews? o What can I post to rec.music.reviews? o What can't I post to rec.music.reviews? o What sort of music can I review? o If the variety of music you can review is so open, why is the group moderated? o Is there any special format for reviews? o Why aren't there ever any reviews of my favourite artists? o Can I post a review of my band's new CD? o I just picked up some old vinyl at a garage sale, can I review that? o So how do I post a review? o Why can't I followup to a review? o How long should it take a review to appear? o Are there any archives of old reviews available? --------------------------------------------------------------------------- What is rec.music.reviews? As the name of the newsgroup suggests, rec.music.reviews was created to provide a forum for the distribution of music reviews. This had previously been done in groups such as rec.music.misc, where the occasional informative review tended to get buried under long, involved threads about "Songs With The Word `And' In The Title" and other interesting postings of that ilk. What can I post to rec.music.reviews? Reviews of music! What can't I post to rec.music.reviews? Everything else. More specifically... o Concert/release announcements (try rec.music.info for that) o Promotional material, however informative, masquerading as a real review (try rec.music.promotional for that) o Requests for reviews. o Requests for reviewers (for magazines, to review your CD etc) o Requests for information. o Requests for anything else. o Interviews, unless they have a substantial review content. o Pointers to reviews on the WWW. Why not just post the review so that those who don't have WWW access can read it? o Junk mail, chain letters, and so forth. o Anything else you can think of that isn't a review. Anything falling into any of the above categories will, depending on a number of factors such as how much time I have and what mood I'm in, either be returned to the sender with a polite suggestion as to where it should be posted or vanish forever into the bottomless void of the semi-legendary rec.music.reviews bit bucket. What sort of music can I review? All sorts. There is no restriction at all on the types of music that you can review for rec.music.reviews. Country, classical, techno, folk, rock, pop, world, hip-hop, jazz, experimental - they're all fair game. There's no restriction on whether the music reviewed is live (ie a concert) or pre-recorded either. For the moment, though, I won't accept reviews of musical events where the music is pre-recorded, such as many raves. If the variety of music you can review is so open, why is the group moderated? There are two main reasons for the moderated nature of the group: Lack of noise The moderator screens out inappropriate material such as the periodic outbreaks of chain letters, immigration lawyers and cascades that can pollute other groups, misdirected postings and so forth, thus rendering the group far more readable and ensuring a good signal-noise ratio. Generally any postings of this nature that turn up in my mailbox will vanish into the void, never to be seen again. Quality of reviews Exactly what constitutes a review isn't precisely defined. At one end of the scale we have unsupported opinions masquerading as information, where the writer conveys no information about the music being reviewed other than that he/she loves/hates it. At the other end, we have detailed track by track descriptions of albums, with the music lovingly described and the writer drawing careful attention to the precise reasons why he/she loves/hates the album. As rec.music.reviews moderator, I set a lower threshold on what is or isn't considered acceptable for posting here. Reviews that fall below this line will generally be returned to the poster with suggestions as to how they might go about changing them so that they'll be accepted if resubmitted. Remember that rec.music.reviews isn't like a print magazine - there are no word limits, so you can make the review as long as you want. Reviews of several thousand words in length aren't unknown. Is there any special format for reviews? No, none whatsoever. Many of the more regular posters to the group have developed distinctive reviewing styles, but there are no restrictions on presentation other than that the text be reasonably neatly laid out. Try to ensure that you break lines in a reasonable place (not everybody has a 500 column screen) and that you don't type entirely in capitals, which can be difficult to read. It's also helpful if your review has a reasonably descriptive subject line. No subject line or a subject line that reads "A Review" won't get your article rejected, but it's certainly preferable that you include an informative subject line Why aren't there ever any reviews of my favourite artists? Probably because nobody has ever tried to post any. There's a hard core of regular reviewers in the group, all of whom have distinctive tastes and they review releases that interest them but might not interest you. For some reason it's often the case that reviews of major releases don't appear here. This isn't due to any sort of bias on the part of the moderator, it's simply because no reviews of the album are ever received. However, if no review appears for an album you're interested in, and you go ahead and take the plunge by buying the album anyway, why not review it for the benefit of less reckless souls? Can I post a review of my band's new CD? That depends on who wrote the review. Posting a self-written review of your own release would be frowned upon, since it's likely that you wouldn't be the world's most objective reviewer, but if your release has been reviewed elsewhere by somebody else, and you have obtained permission from them to reproduce their review, that's fine. If you want to post a self-written review, you'd probably be better off reclassifying it as a very descriptive release announcement and submitting it to rec.music.info. The above also applies to agencies trying to promote an artist by posting promotional blurb that looks like reviews. This is a definite no-no, since rec.music.promotional exists for exactly this purpose. I just picked up some old vinyl at a garage sale, can I review that? Sure. There's no restriction that reviews have to be of new releases. Feel free to write a review of a release that's 6 months, 6 years or even 60 years old, there might well be someone out there who has been contemplating buying it and would appreciate your review. It's advisable though not essential that reviews of older material give some indication as to year of release and availability though. So how do I post a review? You can post a review in the regular fashion from within your newsreader. It will automatically be mailed to the moderator, who will check it, probably approve it and then post it to the newsgroup. If you're having trouble doing this, you can mail the article directly to reviews@access.digex.net where it will be posted in due course. I have no problems in principle with crossposting articles to other newsgroups, such as rec.music.industrial, rec.music.country or alt.music.alternative. In fact I'd positively encourage posters to do this rather than post several copies of their review if it's relevant to several different groups, but I'd appreciate the addition of a reminder somewhere in your posting if one of the groups you want your review crossposted to is also moderated - I wouldn't want to step on another moderator's toes. Why can't I followup to a review? You can - but it won't appear in rec.music.reviews. Generally followups are redirected to rec.music.misc, but if you feel that is inappropriate for a particular review, you can set the Followup-To: line in the normal way. Please note that following up to a review and deliberately changing the Newsgroups line to include rec.music.reviews will result in your followup being sent to me for approval. This in turn will result in the prompt and total incineration of your followup. How long should it take a review to appear? I will generally post it within a day or so of receiving it, but it might conceivably take a few days to propagate back to your site. Please wait at least a week before contacting me if you suspect a review has gone missing en route to me. How long will the review remain available for? This depends on the site you're reading news at. Some sites may expire articles after just two days, others after two weeks. A few sites may even keep articles for a month or more. The rec.music.reviews moderator has no control over how long your review will remain readable at a particular site. Are there any archives of old reviews available? The main archive site for old reviews is ftp.uwp.edu. Reviews can be found in the appropriate /pub/music/reviews/a-z directories. This site is generally very busy, so please try to connect at off-peak times. There are also other "private" archives around, maintained by the reviewers themselves. A short list of those that I know about follows. If you contribute reviews to rec.music.reviews and archive them, please let me know and I'll add you to the list. Charles Isbell's Hip Hop Resources http://www.ai.mit.edu/~isbell/home_hiphop.html Glenn McDonald's The War Against Silence http://www.furia.com/twas Ram Samudrala's Reviews http://www.ram.org/music/music.html Michael Zwirn's Kibbutz Music Reviews http://public.carleton.edu/~alm_zwirnm/kibbutz.html Al's Review Archive http://www.access.digex.net/~awrc/review There's also an excellent index of Internet music review resources on Yahoo at http://www.yahoo.com/Entertainment/Music/Reviews. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- If you've got any questions that you think should be added to the FAQ, please mail them to me and I'll see about putting them in. A hypertext version of this FAQ is available on the World Wide Web at URL http://www.access.digex.net/~awrc/rmr/ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Al Crawford / awrc@access.digex.net Reviews Despot / reviews@access.digex.net