Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Rotten Tomatoes Adds Verification to Combat Trolls

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I am still waiting for that blue police box to take me on a star trek to a galaxy far, far away. Until then I will have to content myself with fantasy and sci-fi adventures from books, movies, and TV shows.

Rotten Tomatoes has made another change in an effort to prevent trolls from “review bombing” a movie that they don’t like on general principle and that often they have not even seen. Rotten Tomatoes is now adding verified ratings to its audience score system. As they explain on their website:

“Rotten Tomatoes now features an Audience Score made up of ratings from users we’ve confirmed bought tickets to the movie – we’re calling them “Verified Ratings.” We’re also tagging written reviews from users we can confirm purchased tickets to a movie as “Verified” reviews.”

However, for those who want to see a score based on both verified and non-verified ratings that will also be available by choosing a “More Info” option.

Reviews in the Audience Reviews section will also be marked as verified when it is confirmed that the reviewer bought a ticket. Currently, only Fandango is used to verify ticket purchases but AMC Theaters, Regal Cinemas, and Cinemark have also signed up to participate in the verification program.

This is Rotten Tomatoes latest effort to prevent trolls from bashing a movie. Earlier this year they took away users’ ability to review a movie before its theatrical release. Many felt that this was in response to the actions of trolls prior to the release of Captain Marvel, although Rotten Tomatoes has said that the change had in fact been “a long time coming.” Many fans took issue with actress Brie Larson and some of her comments, starting a campaign to boycott the movie and posting negative comments on the Rotten Tomatoes site before the movie came out. “Expressing that you don’t want to see a movie is not a review,” said Paul Yanover, President of Fandango which owns the site. He had stated that while some adjustments were aimed at “noise reduction” when high profile movies attracted trolls with agendas, overall the changes were part of a long-term strategy. They also modified the “Want to See” report on the site.

Black Panther, The Last Jedi, Ghostbusters, and Solo: A Star Wars Story were also previous victims of “review bombing.” Without the change, it is quite likely that the upcoming The Rise of Skywalker would have also suffered from bad reviews from people who never saw the movie.

Tastes vary. Opinions vary. Not everyone likes everything. Hopefully, the changes made will at least help to ensure that criticism expressed will come from people who have actually seen the film in question.

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