R is a statistical computing language and has a large international following. The 2014 annual conference was here at UCLA June 30 to July 3.
While the sessions I attended were usually very technical (and often more advanced than I am currently in my ability to understand R), I did have a very enlightening conversation with someone about the unfairness of Amazon book reviews and what a possible program using R could do about this.
Let me explain:
For example, someone left a three-star review for one of my books stating she had not yet read the book but was giving it a three-star review and hoped to remember to come back if she did read the book.
Meanwhile, her three-star review pulls down the overall average of that book’s rating on Amazon.
My informant at the conference said that it might be possible to develop a filtering program using R that could find and eliminate such nonsensical reviews, thus helping to protect a book’s rating.
Of course, Amazon would have to utilize such a program. But as a book author, the idea that authors could be somewhat protected from such unfair reviews is very powerful.
At the same conference I heard a representative from Activision talk about the use of R to find players of the Activision game CALL OF DUTY who, while not breaking any stated rules, were engaging in unfair maneuvers. Apparently once Activision data analysts find such maneuvers, the players are notified.
Taking these two ideas together, perhaps R could also be used on Amazon to identify reviewers who consistently attack books in very hateful words. Again, while this might not be breaking any stated rules on Amazon, it is behavior that is harmful to the spirit of reviewing.
If any of you reading this blog post have connections with Amazon people, perhaps you could share this blog post with them. I’m sure there are tons of R data scientists who would love to create such filtering programs for Amazon.
© 2014 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks, including TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO PUBLISH AND MARKET YOUR BOOK IN THE AGE OF AMAZON and the romantic suspense spy thriller CIA FALL GUY.