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Jan/Feb Poll - What Area Should Focus on Most in 2006?

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I always enjoy reading a well written review of a given product, preferably shareware products. Kudos to shareware authors and reviewers!

Hi everybody, my first post here
(and a late entry to the poll)

I'd like to see more reviews (although that was a tough choice), especially file managers (there are *so* many, tough to try them all thoroughly).
I like the concept to have an in-depth representation of one program (the one "pick" or "winner") while giving an additional overview of the pros and cons of the competitors. I can't remember having seen that combination elsewhere.
But I have some gripes with the reviews, which I wanted to express for some time:
You should be very cautious regarding the quality of the review. The two reviews here that I was most interested in over the last time was e-mail clients and archivers, and both reviews were very interesting to read. But both of the reviews had major flaws: First, both added major entries afterwards, which should have been there in the first place. And they had other major shortcomings: The mail clients review lacked a closer look at IMAP, which I find very important, and it's hard to find a good client for (esp. now that Mulberry's gone). And the archivers review was heavily biased towards RAR creation, a format that (in its newer variant) is strictly proprietary and by definition cannot be created by another archiver. This could only give one winner, WinRAR.
So reviews should give a better overview of all the competition from the start and the major funtionality to be expected from the competitors.
Otherwise, I appreciate the work of the reviewers very much and still think they did a great job (oh, and don't forget to add the name of the reviewer).


welcome to the site alxwz.
i think your points are both well taken.

im guessing that zaine would say of the archive review that winrar would not have won if it was defficient in any of the non-rar features- it's only because winrar excels at everything plus has rar format that allowed it to win.  however i share your much less optimistic take on the rar format, and i would agree that from my perspective i would not give it the weight had i been writing the review myself.  but then everyone has their differences in views of what's important..

regarding the email reviews - it's so hard to avoid missing some programs, there are just so many in every category, but you're right, we need to do more of a group effort to make sure the reviews have covered all the programs before they go live.  the problem here is similar to the problem with IMAP, which is simply that the reviews take a huge amount of effort and time and the reviewer isn't always an expert in all areas.  again i think if we try to make the reviews more of a group effort we can try to fill in some of these gaps.

one thing we are starting to do which will make things a little easier is top focusing so much on one winner - but trying to focus more broadly on the top tier of programs and the pros and cons of those and who they would appeal to, which should make it a little easier to keep the reviews up to date.

I'm not so sure it would be of any advantage to do more of a standard "comparative" review instead of focussing on the winner. This format is what makes these reviews kind of special.

Yes, this is prone to be controversial, and fans of some programs (actually, I'm partially biased towards Squeez as an archiver, which was reason behind some of my remarks) might take it personally. But maybe both the range of programs reviewed and the relevant featureset for a review should be discussed more thoroughly among members before making a review public.

Having said that, maybe it's not adequate for me as a perfect newbie to this round to give advice about what discussion was and will be among members before these and future reviews. :-)

the *intention* of our reviews will not change - to help readers determine which program is best for them.  many reviews seem to just look at one program and say, it's good, great, bad, or look at a few programs and say here they are.

our reviews will continue to be written as an effort to help people figure out which program is BEST, and whether they should make a purchase or use a free program.

however, i think we are going to be less doctrinaire about picking only a SINGLE winner when there is a top tier of close candidates.  if there are a few which are top tier candidates which different users might have different preferences for, we are going to try to reflect this, rather than trying too hard to pick a single winner.


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