Frequently Asked Questions
Why lib.reviews?We believe that the information we use to make decisions -- about what book to read, what place to stay at or what product to buy -- will be of higher quality if we organize it transparently, through an open community. We apply some of the principles pioneered by projects like Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap: an open source codebase, open licensing of all content, and no profit motive.
This also allows us to collaborate with these and other existing projects to collect and organize free and open metadata about businesses, products, and so on.
How do you ensure quality of reviews?At this point, we ask users to jump through the hoop of obtaining an invite code before signing up. This is a straightforward way to control growth and understand who's referring new users to the site, so we can keep an eye on quality as we grow and avoid getting spammed to death early on.
Over time, we have a few ideas for maintaining/increasing quality:
- Teams are a way for users who share an interest to collaborate. You can choose to follow only reviews by a given team, which provides an inherent "quality lens", since each team can come up with its own rules of engagement.
- We may introduce upvotes/downvotes, ways to highlight reviews by users you trust, transparent scoring algorithms, or community conversation tools to identify the best reviews on a given subject.
- We may invite collaborations with groups and individuals who have a track record of applying expertise to a given domain (e.g., car reviews).
How do you detect/prevent paid reviews?There's no way to guarantee that a user hasn't been compensated in some way for a review they write on the Internet. For this reason, we don't absolutely forbid it, but please be aware that research shows even small incentives like product samples tend to bias review outcomes. We do not permit self-promotion, and we require that users disclose conflicts of interest clearly in their review. That means you'll have to point out any form of compensation you expect to receive or have received (including product samples). It is not acceptable for users to write reviews where the reviewer's opinion has been predetermined by a third party offering compensation, and we will block users for doing so.
In general, we want to build a community where users start to get to know each other, meet each other face-to-face, and self-organize to uncover quality issues. Technology as mentioned above is a part of this, but conversation and policy are equally important. We encourage you to join our community mailing list to help us think through these and other issues.
How do I create a version of lib.reviews in my language?We use translatewiki.net as a platform for translation of the user interface. TranslateWiki evolved alongside Wikipedia to support the translation of the user interface of Wikipedia and its sister projects into many languages, and is now used by other open source projects as well. It is itself fully open source.
You can see the progress of different language versions here. If you're new to translatewiki.net, after you sign up, it'll ask you to do 20 small example translations. This is a sort of extended "prove you know what you're doing test"; it takes about 10 minutes. Once your account is approved, visit this page and pick the language you're translating to in the top right corner.
Languages are enabled within a few days once they reach 100% completion. Updates are typically synchronized twice a week.