Over in the Cerulean Haven of the Emotionally and Intellectually Dispossessed, there’s a thread that refers to Merb as “The Shill Board.” While I imagine there is shilling going on here, there are other factors which are even more injurious to the credibility of our little community.
The purpose of reviews, to my mind, is to entertain, to enlighten, and to improve service. Undermining the effectiveness of the board are factors that question the credibility of reviews and the tendency of certain sanctimonious Knights of the Keyboard to attack vociferously any review that is in any way critical of one of the fair girls who work in our city. Ironically, the negative review is often, as it was yesterday, the review that works the most for good.
I call to mind two reviewers, of varying literary quality, whose reviews are of zero value for their lack of critical balance. The first, now departed, a gentleman for whom, he claimed, the ladies were always crazin’, graded the girls on a scale that ran from 9.5-10. The lack of critical balance rendered his entertaining and well written reviews worthless. Another reviewer, ironically the first to jump on me yesterday for my review, is the master of hyperbole, his reviews so unbalanced in their mellifluous praise of whomever he happens to be reviewing, that his praise must necessarily be discarded for their lack of critical objectivity. For me to take any value from a review, I must consider the source and the source must show some critical balance to what he writes.
I was privy yesterday to a conversation between two persons each with a direct connection to a local agency. It was their sense that negative reviews provide more valuable information to them than the positive and that it is the duty of the hobbyist to post negative reviews when appropriate. Yesterday’s events provided an object lesson.
Here’s a brief capsule of what happened for those who weren’t following. I had a date this past Friday night with a young woman who captivated me the moment she entered my home. Over the ensuing hour, she distinctly failed to perform services that were within the range of those advertised by her employer, leaving me both angry and frustrated. Off she went, me still captivated by her and wondering why she was not able to perform or chose not to. My experience with working girls is extensive enough for me to know that it had nothing to do with me. I sent off a PM to the agency informing them that I'd just had what I referred to as "one of the most disappointing" sessions I'd ever experienced. And over breakfast with a friend the following morning, we agreed that my responsibility as a member of this board was to write her up. So I did.
While the Knights of the Keyboard got their bowels all in an uproar, Mike at Chloe's Playground, the agency in question, turned his attention to customer service and defusing the problem. He spoke with the young woman, heard the story from her perspective and got back to me with what I deemed a satisfactory response, satisfactory to the extent that I chose to see her again last night. The upshot from the posting of the negative review was a) a regular client's dissatisfaction was well addressed and his future business retained, b) a young woman learned a lesson about professionalism in her difficult but well-paying job and that there are times when one should simply take the night off if one isn’t up to the tase. And she was rewarded with a new regular client, and c) Mike, calm under fire, reacted quickly and appropriately further establishing his reputation for customer service. Everyone winds up happy, except the Knights of the Keyboard.
In summary, for Merb to retain its credibility, we need balance in reviews and we need each reviewer to show balance. I'm not suggesting that every less than fully satisfactory session warrants a negative review as certainly there are questions of appeal and chemistry, but there are certain times when it is not only warranted but is the client's responsibility. And I'd further suggest that negative reviews be posted in as constructive a fashion as possible, withholding anger. Finally, to the Knights of the Keyboard, when reading a negative review, first stick your thumbs up your ass so as to provide a disincentive to jump to quickly on the reviews author as, in doing so, you do this community a disservice.