If there was to be any debate about anonymous reviews, that is to say, if they were important enough for people to speak of them, the debate would most likely be about the lack of accountability of such reviews. As an anonymous review leaves not link trail behind it for fledging internet detectives (also known as cyber stalkers) it is not possible for an author to trace the comment back to anything worthwhile.
Anonymous reviews also have a reputation of being either extremely critical of the writing, or offensive. For this reason, some authors only allow signed reviews. It is also generally recognized that offensive, anonymous reviews are given anonymously because the potential owner of a fictionpress account does not want to take responsibility for his words. In reality, only a small minority of anonymous reviews are negative, most are actually quite helpful and inspiring.
In order to understand anonymous reviews, we must first look at the types of people who give anonymous reviews. There are only two types of people in this world that can give anonymous reviews – people with fictionpress accounts, and people without fictionpress accounts. Why do people with accounts still review anonymously, you ask? Nipples00 explains:
"Dear Diary, Mood – Apathetic. My life is spiralling downwards. I couldn't get enough money to go to the 'Blood Fed Romance and Suffocate Me Dry' concert. It sucks cause they play some of my favourite songs, like 'Stab My Heart Cause I Love You' and 'Rip Apart My Soul' and of course 'Stab Me Rip Stab Stab.' And it doesn't help that I couldn't get my hair to do that flippy thingy either, like that guy from that band can do. Some days(1) I just feel like writing an anonymous review."
There are also numerous other reasons why a person, regardless of whether they have account ownership or not, might want to leave an anonymous review. The most popular reasons are that:
1. They are mysterious, shifty people who like to keep their true identity in the shadows, invisible to the simple 'net folk… until the day they pounce. Such people are often cat owners (or cat-owned, to be more politically correct).
2. They are unable to sign in, possibly because of chronically laziness or that the house ran out of toilet paper and they had to substitute it with the keyboard.
3. They are so smart that they have forgotten their password, yet again.
4. They are not the sorts of people that would waste time doing something as nerdish as setting up an account that they are probably never going to post in anyway. Besides, signing in was so five minutes ago. And OMG did you hear what she said about me on My Space?
5. They have the computer skills of a beaver and the attention span of a gold fish
6. They do not feel that it would make a difference, anonymous, signed, girl, boy... such things matter not. They are one with the force.
7. They do not feel worthy of a FP account.
The reason why a reviewer gives an anonymous review will largely influence the content of the review.
To give an Anonymous Review, follow the steps below:
1. Go to FP and read a piece of writing. Some people tend to think that the reading is optional. READING IS NOT OPTIONAL.
2. Note your feelings/reaction/response to the work; use these to form coherent sentences in your mind. Save these thoughts for later.
3. After you have finished reading, choose the "Submit a Review" option at the bottom left corner of the page and click "Go".
At this stage, if you are a fictionpress member and you find that you are logged in (i.e. your name appears at the top of the review pop-up box), you need to sign out. Otherwise, you would be submitting a signed review. To sign out, close the pop-up box, scroll up to the top of the FP site and click "Login" on the red toolbar. Then, you will find a "Log Out" option on the left hand side of the page. Click this option. Then, go back to the piece of writing you have read to submit a review (step 3).
Avoid being distracted by the colourful banners and naked ladies with long, long legs.
4. In the pop-up box, there are three things you are required to fill in. Your name, your email (optional), and your review. As you are an Anonymous Reviewer, your name and your address do not have to be true. For example, the author of this chapter may review anonymously as:
Name: SexyMamaHotcakes69 (fake name)
Email: litteboysturnmeon at tastythings dot com (I do not like young boys. They don't taste good. Ok, that sounded wrong. I'll just stop digging this hole. Arg, that also sounded perverted too. I'll just stop writing this now and move on. I am not a paedophile.)
5. Write your review referring to your mental notes from Step 2. You can also choose to use for format from the first chapter summary.
6. After finishing your review, click the "Submit button". Then, close the pop-up window.
In six easy steps, you too can become a proficient Anonymous Reviewer. Use this privilege wisely and in moderation.
(1) A reference to Emo Kid by Adam and Andrew. You'll need to have heard the song and been exposed to emo culture before you get the joke.