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Archive-name: music/music-reviews-faq
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 1996/12/21
Version: 1.07

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
	   Frequently Asked Questions: (V 1.07)
		    Al Crawford (

This isn't strictly speaking a FAQ in the truest sense of the word, since
it's rather difficult for readers to ask questions in a group where direct
followups aren't permitted. However, it's hoped that this pseudo-FAQ will
clear up some of the details regarding exactly what belongs in the
newsgroup, and how to go about submitting postings.


			     Table Of Contents

 o What is
 o What can I post to
 o What can't I post to
 o What sort of music can I review?
 o If the variety of music you can review is so open, why is the group
 o Is there any special format for reviews?
 o Why aren't there ever any reviews of my favourite artists?
 o Can I post a review of my band's new CD?
 o I just picked up some old vinyl at a garage sale, can I review that?
 o So how do I post a review?
 o Why can't I followup to a review?
 o How long should it take a review to appear?
 o Are there any archives of old reviews available?


What is

   As the name of the newsgroup suggests, was created to
   provide a forum for the distribution of music reviews. This had
   previously been done in groups such as, where the
   occasional informative review tended to get buried under long, involved
   threads about "Songs With The Word `And' In The Title" and other
   interesting postings of that ilk.

What can I post to

   Reviews of music!

What can't I post to

   Everything else. More specifically...

    o Concert/release announcements (try for that)
    o Promotional material, however informative, masquerading as a real
      review (try for that)
    o Requests for reviews.
    o Requests for reviewers (for magazines, to review your CD etc)
    o Requests for information.
    o Requests for anything else.
    o Interviews, unless they have a substantial review content.
    o Pointers to reviews on the WWW. Why not just post the review so that
      those who don't have WWW access can read it?
    o Junk mail, chain letters, and so forth.
    o Anything else you can think of that isn't a review.

   Anything falling into any of the above categories will, depending on a
   number of factors such as how much time I have and what mood I'm in,
   either be returned to the sender with a polite suggestion as to where
   it should be posted or vanish forever into the bottomless void of the
   semi-legendary bit bucket.

What sort of music can I review?

   All sorts. There is no restriction at all on the types of music that
   you can review for Country, classical, techno, folk,
   rock, pop, world, hip-hop, jazz, experimental - they're all fair game.
   There's no restriction on whether the music reviewed is live (ie a
   concert) or pre-recorded either. For the moment, though, I won't accept
   reviews of musical events where the music is pre-recorded, such as many

If the variety of music you can review is so open, why is the group moderated?

   There are two main reasons for the moderated nature of the group:

   Lack of noise

      The moderator screens out inappropriate material such as the
      periodic outbreaks of chain letters, immigration lawyers and
      cascades that can pollute other groups, misdirected postings and so
      forth, thus rendering the group far more readable and ensuring a
      good signal-noise ratio. Generally any postings of this nature that
      turn up in my mailbox will vanish into the void, never to be seen

  Quality of reviews

      Exactly what constitutes a review isn't precisely defined. At one
      end of the scale we have unsupported opinions masquerading as
      information, where the writer conveys no information about the music
      being reviewed other than that he/she loves/hates it.  At the other
      end, we have detailed track by track descriptions of albums, with
      the music lovingly described and the writer drawing careful
      attention to the precise reasons why he/she loves/hates the album.
      As moderator, I set a lower threshold on what is
      or isn't considered acceptable for posting here. Reviews that fall
      below this line will generally be returned to the poster with
      suggestions as to how they might go about changing them so that
      they'll be accepted if resubmitted.  Remember that
      isn't like a print magazine - there are no word limits, so you can
      make the review as long as you want.  Reviews of several thousand
      words in length aren't unknown.

Is there any special format for reviews?

   No, none whatsoever. Many of the more regular posters to the group have
   developed distinctive reviewing styles, but there are no restrictions
   on presentation other than that the text be reasonably neatly laid out.
   Try to ensure that you break lines in a reasonable place (not everybody
   has a 500 column screen) and that you don't type entirely in capitals,
   which can be difficult to read. It's also helpful if your review has a
   reasonably descriptive subject line. No subject line or a subject line
   that reads "A Review" won't get your article rejected, but it's
   certainly preferable that you include an informative subject line

Why aren't there ever any reviews of my favourite artists?

   Probably because nobody has ever tried to post any. There's a hard core
   of regular reviewers in the group, all of whom have distinctive tastes
   and they review releases that interest them but might not interest you.
   For some reason it's often the case that reviews of major releases
   don't appear here. This isn't due to any sort of bias on the part of
   the moderator, it's simply because no reviews of the album are ever
   received. However, if no review appears for an album you're interested
   in, and you go ahead and take the plunge by buying the album anyway,
   why not review it for the benefit of less reckless souls?

Can I post a review of my band's new CD?

   That depends on who wrote the review. Posting a self-written review of
   your own release would be frowned upon, since it's likely that you
   wouldn't be the world's most objective reviewer, but if your release
   has been reviewed elsewhere by somebody else, and you have obtained
   permission from them to reproduce their review, that's fine. If you
   want to post a self-written review, you'd probably be better off
   reclassifying it as a very descriptive release announcement and
   submitting it to The above also applies to agencies
   trying to promote an artist by posting promotional blurb that looks like
   reviews. This is a definite no-no, since exists
   for exactly this purpose.

I just picked up some old vinyl at a garage sale, can I review that?

   Sure. There's no restriction that reviews have to be of new releases.
   Feel free to write a review of a release that's 6 months, 6 years or
   even 60 years old, there might well be someone out there who has been
   contemplating buying it and would appreciate your review. It's advisable
   though not essential that reviews of older material give some indication
   as to year of release and availability though.

So how do I post a review?

   You can post a review in the regular fashion from within your
   newsreader. It will automatically be mailed to the moderator, who will
   check it, probably approve it and then post it to the newsgroup. If
   you're having trouble doing this, you can mail the article directly to where it will be posted in due course. I have no
   problems in principle with crossposting articles to other newsgroups,
   such as, or In fact I'd positively encourage posters to do
   this rather than post several copies of their review if it's relevant
   to several different groups, but I'd appreciate the addition of a
   reminder somewhere in your posting if one of the groups you want your
   review crossposted to is also moderated - I wouldn't want to step on
   another moderator's toes.

Why can't I followup to a review?

   You can - but it won't appear in Generally followups
   are redirected to, but if you feel that is inappropriate
   for a particular review, you can set the Followup-To: line in the
   normal way. Please note that following up to a review and deliberately
   changing the Newsgroups line to include will result
   in your followup being sent to me for approval. This in turn will
   result in the prompt and total incineration of your followup.

How long should it take a review to appear?

   I will generally post it within a day or so of receiving it, but it
   might conceivably take a few days to propagate back to your site.
   Please wait at least a week before contacting me if you suspect a
   review has gone missing en route to me.

How long will the review remain available for?

   This depends on the site you're reading news at. Some sites may expire
   articles after just two days, others after two weeks. A few sites may
   even keep articles for a month or more. The moderator
   has no control over how long your review will remain readable at a
   particular site.

Are there any archives of old reviews available?

   The main archive site for old reviews is Reviews can be
   found in the appropriate /pub/music/reviews/a-z directories. This site
   is generally very busy, so please try to connect at off-peak times.
   There are also other "private" archives around, maintained by the
   reviewers themselves.  A short list of those that I know about follows.
   If you contribute reviews to and archive them, please
   let me know and I'll add you to the list.

   Charles Isbell's Hip Hop Resources
   Glenn McDonald's The War Against Silence
   Ram Samudrala's Reviews
   Michael Zwirn's Kibbutz Music Reviews
   Al's Review Archive

   There's also an excellent index of Internet music review resources on
   Yahoo at


If you've got any questions that you think should be added to the FAQ,
please mail them to me and I'll see about putting them in.

A hypertext version of this FAQ is available on the World Wide Web at URL


Al Crawford /
Reviews Despot /

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