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 Post subject: Re: Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics - Review by the Author
Post #21 Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 3:57 am 
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daal wrote:
I suggest we resist our impulse to correct this source of irritation and focus instead on what appears to be quite the gap-filler in English go literature.

daal, you know I love you man. But...

I think your attempt to deflect the conversation is heavy-handed and inappropriate.

You are effectively encouraging the outrageous practice of Robert writing his own reviews by saying, "Let Robert be Robert."

<Content deleted. Merry Christmas!>

Again, I think it's great that you like his books, and I look forward to your review. But any thread that starts as an outrageous publicity stunt deserves all the scorn it gets.


Last edited by wineandgolover on Thu Dec 24, 2015 4:53 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post #22 Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 4:25 am 
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wineandgolover wrote:
You are effectively encouraging the outrageous practice of Robert writing his own reviews by saying, "Let Robert be Robert." It is the equivalent of excusing misogyny or racism as just part of somebody's character.


Outrageous practice? Perhaps only you feel that way? I feel Robert writing his own reviews to be perfectly acceptible. You might question his objectivity, but then even third-person reviews are subject to subjectivity and bias. People are free to buy this book and write their own reviews in an effort to mitigate this. It is NOT the equivalent of excusing misogyny or racism. I'm not sure how you arrived at this conclusion.

Does anyone have anything to say about the book itself ?

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Post #23 Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 4:37 am 
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longshanks wrote:
wineandgolover wrote:
You are effectively encouraging the outrageous practice of Robert writing his own reviews by saying, "Let Robert be Robert." It is the equivalent of excusing misogyny or racism as just part of somebody's character.


Outrageous practice? Perhaps only you feel that way? I feel Robert writing his own reviews to be perfectly acceptible. You might question his objectivity, but then even third-person reviews are subject to subjectivity and bias. People are free to buy this book and write their own reviews in an effort to mitigate this. It is NOT the equivalent of excusing misogyny or racism. I'm not sure how you arrived at this conclusion.

Does anyone have anything to say about the book itself?


I really hope the book is great, and sells tons of copies. That is not the issue.

What other author have you ever seen write a self-review? It is pretty much unprecedented, and for a good reason. I think the choice of the word "outrageous" is pretty defensible.

Finally, I was not equating Robert's behavior to misogyny or racism, I was equating daal's "just let it pass" to those who excuse their embarrassing uncle. I deleted that portion of the post, because I don't want to risk offense.

Merry Christmas, all!

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Post #24 Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 5:04 am 
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A few have mentioned objectivity of book reviews by third persons. Which objectivity? Every reviewer makes a decision about what to write or not to write at all. Reviewers often are weaker players than the authors so that reviewers do not often fully appreciate all the contents or properly relate the go theory in a book to all the go theory available in the (English speaking) world. Instead of objectivity, this results in subjective evaluation driven by the limited overall knowledge and invested time of the reviewer. Reviews by third persons are important, but hardly for their degree of objectivity. Instead call it independence from the author's own view. - Reviews by the authors (or other kinds of descriptions) also are important because they (should) have a great knowledge so that they can relate contents to overall knowledge well.

wineandgolover, you can do a web search for non-go books to find self-reviews. Among writers of go books in English, unfortunately self-reviews are the exception. Instead, there often are too short descriptions, and often with a greater level of subjectivity. It is inconsistent to criticise a self-review for its title but not to criticise much more dubious contents in some blurbs. For example, http://www.kiseido.com/master.htm#K79 K79: An Encyclopedia of Go Principles, the author describes "The purpose of this book is to bring together all the strategic and tactical principles of go. The 100 principles [...]". This is extraordinarily false because there are many times more than 100 principles. I wish the author had written a self-review so as to motivate himself to describe his own book more correctly.

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 Post subject: Re: Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics - Review by the Author
Post #25 Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 5:24 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
wineandgolover, you can do a web search for non-go books to find self-reviews.

Hi Robert,

Okay, I tried a few variations on "self-reviewed book" without luck. I found reviews of books by Will Self, self-help book reviews, and several suggestions on how to get third-party reviews of self-published books.

When I tried searching "review by author" I got several hits on "review and author interview" but none suggesting that self-reviews are common.

I'm open minded if you have a search suggestion that makes the case that self-reviews are kosher.

Merry Christmas!

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 Post subject: Re: Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics - Review by the Author
Post #26 Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 5:41 am 
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Robert, if you'd just change your practice of self reviewing semantically to a practice of announcing and clarifying your books, you'd get comments about the book, its contents and your rationale of what's included and what's not, instead of these unfortunate meta discussions about whether or not it is acceptable for someone to review his own books.

Any author would quickly adapt and get the irritation out of the way, but you seem to find it more important to be right about your choice of words and ways of communicating, than to pass your message to the widest possible audience by removing the noise.

We have a perfect example here of the difference between being intelligent and being smart. Be smart, call your self reviews "announcements and clarifications" instead, and don't waste any more energy in convincing people that reviewing your own books is a just cause, even if it's just a semantic meta discussion.


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 Post subject: Re: Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics - Review by the Author
Post #27 Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 6:34 am 
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wineandgolover wrote:
daal wrote:
I suggest we resist our impulse to correct this source of irritation and focus instead on what appears to be quite the gap-filler in English go literature.

daal, you know I love you man. But...

I think your attempt to deflect the conversation is heavy-handed and inappropriate.

You are effectively encouraging the outrageous practice of Robert writing his own reviews by saying, "Let Robert be Robert."

<Content deleted. Merry Christmas!>

Again, I think it's great that you like his books, and I look forward to your review. But any thread that starts as an outrageous publicity stunt deserves all the scorn it gets.


I don't see it as a publicity stunt, unless you think Robert is purposefully utilizing the the old adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity. On the contrary, I think it is legitimate that he wants as many people as possible to know about his book and to buy it. The fact that he insists on such a groan-worthy title does make him seem akin to the embarrassing uncle you allude to, but aside from rankling otherwise sympathetic readers, he is not doing anyone other than himself any harm, so it does seem fitting on Christmas to let it slide.

BTW, I am not going to review it. Although it looks interesting, based on Robert's description, I think the contents are too difficult for me. Perhaps you would be a better candidate?

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 Post subject: Re: Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics - Review by the Author
Post #28 Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:05 am 
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Knotwilg, the second closest title is "Description". For many years, many go players have explained that good English style relies on accurate choice of words. "Review by the author" is more accurate that "Description" because I use the same method for my reviews of other go books and my own books. So if I change the title to "Description", my use of this less accurate choice of words is the responsibility of everybody insisting that "Review by the author" would be inappropriate.

Does everybody who complains about "Review by the author" as the title want only a change of the title? Or do a few want to also restrict my freedom of speech by changing the contents of such descriptive texts? If so, I rather prefer to hold up the basic human right of freedom of speech than bow to intolerance, which must not rule the world.

Regardless of the title, the contents is a self-review. Therefore, I think such texts carrying the title "Description" still belong to the Go Book Reviews forum. I do not mind, it might as well be in the Go Book forum. I just want to place threads in the forum considered appropriate by the administrators.

BTW, I have spent almost 2 days on writing this particular self-review to be sure that every statement is correct. Who else spends that much time when writing reviews of go books?

Why do I feel a need to write self-reviews? Because there are by far too few reviews of go books, and often delayed by too many years. Please everybody do write reviews!

***

daal, if your real world rank (German?) is 5k, you won't be able to solve most problems, you can learn from more than half of the theory and examples but you might prefer to wait reading this book until you will be a bit stronger and gain more confidence.

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 Post subject: Re: Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics - Review by the Author
Post #29 Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 9:11 am 
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Dear Robert,

I am afraid that you are unaware of a very decisive aspect.

In YOUR understanding, the text that YOU have supertitled with "review by the author" explains what YOU think (or are absolutely sure about) the book IS.

But please note that YOU are the book's AUTHOR.

However, in the understanding of the (potential) READERS that YOU want to get interested in YOUR book (and finally to buy it), the text that YOU (as the AUTHOR) have written explains what YOU think the book SHOULD BE. I.e. this text clarifies YOUR motivation, and YOUR intentions, for writing YOUR book.

As Knotwilg already tried to explain: Just change the supertitle (so that it matches the potential READERS expectations), and everything is fine. Not writing in the third person is a marginal side-effect only (but it would be better to do without).

+ + + + + + + + + +

Just to give you another hint:

I learned Go at a time when the English books were full of Japanese terms, so I am very familiar with these.

During several years of my engagement with writing a few books for the SmartGo library, I had to painfully learn, and finally to accept that
-- capitalisation of Go terms looks extremly ugly in native eyes,
-- the readers of today are not sooo familiar with Japanese terms,
-- the readers of today accept only a few Japanese terms that have become an integral part of their language.

Over a few decades, I was used to capitalise Japanese terms (no problem at all in German), so I hope that you can understand how difficult it is for me now DURING the ENTIRE period of writing a new book not to use the Shift-key.

In tsume-go, sagari (= descent) very often plays a decisive role. I thought that it would make sense to use this Japanese term to highlight the importance of this type of move. But I was asked to use "descent", instead, for the reasoning mentioned above.

You are in a far better position than mine:
Editing the title of your texts will take only seconds. And will be no burden over months.

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 Post subject: Re: Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics - Review by the Author
Post #30 Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 9:58 am 
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I really don't get what all the fuss is about.

The implication is that the author's view is non-objective. Well, so is a third person's.

What I WOULD think is a problem, is the author posting a review to their own book under a pseudonym or not stating clearly it's a review by the author in the title. Neither of these apply.

Any reasonable person is able to adjust their opinion based on these facts.

Are we arguing over semantics here?

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Post #31 Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 10:00 am 
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wineandgolover wrote:
But any thread that starts as an outrageous publicity stunt deserves all the scorn it gets.


I beg to differ about this thread. Robert is no publicity hound.

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Post #32 Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 10:12 am 
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longshanks wrote:
Are we arguing over semantics here?


It is semantics, but when I see a line from the author like this one...
Quote:
Since the author has learnt much while exploring and writing the contents, in his opinion, this is the first English theory book also specifically written for dan players


I can't help but laugh a little bit by the wording in third person.


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 Post subject: Re: Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics - Review by the Author
Post #33 Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 10:29 am 
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oren wrote:

It is semantics, but when I see a line from the author like this one...
Quote:
Since the author has learnt much while exploring and writing the contents, in his opinion, this is the first English theory book also specifically written for dan players


I can't help but laugh a little bit by the wording in third person.


Why?

Shouldn't Go players be MORE interested in the fact that this is a first in the English language? Or disproving this assertion?

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 Post subject: Re: Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics - Review by the Author
Post #34 Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 11:21 am 
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Bill Spight wrote:
wineandgolover wrote:
But any thread that starts as an outrageous publicity stunt deserves all the scorn it gets.


I beg to differ about this thread. Robert is no publicity hound.

Really? Why post this new thread if not for marketing or public relations purposes?

Would you prefer me to replace "publicity stunt" with "laughably-titled self-promotion" in my post? That might be more accurate descriptor.

But to defend my characterization, I don't have an issue with self-promotion. Other than the self back-patting and odd title, I don't think anybody raised any issues with Robert's post. But, that title raised people's hackles, and created the stunt-like aspect IMHO. A non-controversial title might have yielded just a few thanks, compliments, and inquiries. But the controversy has kept the thread going two pages, with more likely to come.

Whatever, it's all cool. I truly hope the book is a game-changer and very successful. Merry Christmas!

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Post #35 Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 11:25 am 
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The contention is not simply about semantics, nor about objectivity. I think we can all agree that there will always be a bias, no matter whether it is the author remarking on their own book or an independent reviewer. At the heart of the contention is that a review should be done by someone other than the author. It is this independence that is important when stating that one is writing a review. Anything written by the author will be seen as further describing their work or promoting it. Ideally, the review is done by someone who engages the work and is able to locate it in the wider body of literature to which the book belongs.

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Post #36 Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 3:01 pm 
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A review is a dialogue with the author. An analogy from Go may be useful here, with the person writing the review akin to your opponent across the board. You may play a game against yourself, and that will have merits, but what you saw as a living group will not be refuted by yourself. You need another person who will enter into dialogue with you and who will bring different ideas and help you refine your own. You cannot be both the actor and the audience. I would not be satisfied with just a change in the title. I think the entire aim of the original post is to engage in a type of 'self-review' that I don't think is possible or advisable. The argument that it is a restriction of freedom of speech is weak. That would be similar to saying that a critique of a stone that you placed is restricting your freedom on the Go board. You are free to play anywhere on the board, but the question would be whether your move is a good one and whether it helps achieve your overall aim.

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Post #37 Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 3:26 pm 
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My goodness! What a lively discussion :-)

My comment earlier in this thread was mostly a joke, but since this seems to be an interesting topic to people here, I'll give my take on the situation.

1. I reviewed Robert's book on reading awhile ago. It was a good book - unique, too. Based on the review/description/whatever here, this one is probably a good book, too.

2. Robert's method of reviewing, while unconventional, is systematic. If you look at his other book reviews of books by different authors, he uses the same style. So while these books show only Robert's opinion, you can compare any given "self-review" to his other reviews to get an understanding of what to expect from the book.

3. That being said, when Robert uses very positive language about his work in the third person, it comes across as arrogant. That's probably what sets people off.

So I would say that Robert's reviews are useful, informative, valuable, but also arrogantly expressed.

I am willing to live with reading an arrogant writing style, if it means that I can get an informative and useful review.

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Post #38 Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 6:00 pm 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
Or do a few want to also restrict my freedom of speech by changing the contents of such descriptive texts? If so, I rather prefer to hold up the basic human right of freedom of speech than bow to intolerance, which must not rule the world.


You continue arguing with people who are trying to explain why a self review putts off most people, especially those who are not acquainted with your style, which I assume is the majority of your targeted audience.

Quote:
Regardless of the title, the contents is a self-review.


Fair enough. The point is that even a sincere self review is considered pointless and awkward by most people.


Quote:
BTW, I have spent almost 2 days on writing this particular self-review to be sure that every statement is correct. Who else spends that much time when writing reviews of go books?


I'm sure you did your utmost best to make sure every statement be correct. The point is that this is your objective, while most people couldn't care less if a self review is correct or not. It is pointless and awkward. Pointless, because whatever you review as positive, is a kind of tautology, and whatever you consider to be negative, seems like a missed opportunity to improve the book. Awkward ... well look at the reactions here.

It would be very different if instead of a self review, you'd publish something like a story of the conception of the book. Where did it go easy, where did you have to research a lot, where have you been frustrated by not reaching the kind of quality you aspire ... A lot of this kind of stuff is present in your self review, but if told as a story, it would not come across as awkward as a self review, which remains a failed attempt to impersonate a reader who takes a position different than the author's.

Quote:
Why do I feel a need to write self-reviews? Because there are by far too few reviews of go books, and often delayed by too many years. Please everybody do write reviews!


The problem of too few reviews is not solved by authors self reviewing their books. I'd add "much like too few sales are not solved by the author buying some copies" if it weren't for my dislike of analogies to prove a point.

Good luch with your book. If I ever come across a copy (by buying one for example) I'll surely review it.

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Post #39 Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 7:12 pm 
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Is writing a self-review for one's own book inhabitual? Definitely. But why wouldn't it be acceptable and ethical? It is definitely publicity, but the author is perfectly transparent about it, so I don't see how this can even remotely be called a "stunt" or "outrageous" (which I find borderline insulting, althought I'm not a native english speaker).

I for one welcome some variety in the writing style I read. I would personally never write in the third person as the author does in this review, but can't we put our presuppositions aside and accept a few quirks of language? Telling the author we find his writing choices weird is okay, but after he persisted in his opinions, we should either give up or go away, not try to argue and make him conform to what we see as the good way of writing or doing things.

To quote Kirby, "Who cares?".

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Post #40 Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 7:50 pm 
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Let's put it this way. If multiple people tell you that you are XXXX and you say "I am not XXXX' then you probalby are XXXX. If you say, "thank you I will try not to be XXXX" then you may still be XXXX but the chances are that you will soon stop being XXXX and will become more acceptable to more people.

(Substitute whatever adjective you want for XXXX.)

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