In a recent post, Climate Science Watch examines the response on Amazon to The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, by Michael Mann.
While a most of the reviews of the book are quite strong and thoughtful, others give the book a 1-star rating. As reported in Climate Science Watch a popular global warming denialist web site told its readers to go to Amazon and give poor reviews to The Hockey Stick and the Climate . This tactic, according to climatecrocks.com, which also examined the reviews of Mann’s book on Amazon, is not uncommon and it posted a video of a Tea Party activist explaining how to use reviews as a way to discredit others.
The Amazon reviews of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars is also discussed on the blog Get Energy Smart! NOW!. In the post, the author considers what is the best response to this tactic:
Clearly, Amazon is not about to step in to provide some meaningful enforcement beyond what exists (such as “Amazon verified purchase”) to remove 1-star ratings, put meaningful reviews ‘higher’ in the queue despite the flood of ‘not useful’ ratings shortly after the WUWT [Watt’s Up With That — a denialist Web site] call to action.
One option would be a call to action: go to Amazon and uprate all five-star reviews and down-rate all 1-star reviews. That, however, would be simply inappropriate. Another option is to simply ignore which, in the larger scheme of things, is likely a better use of most people’s time. A third option, one that would actually require far more time than option 1, would be to go to Amazon and actually read the 5 star and 1 star reviews. If you find a review helpful, no matter what the star rating, let Amazon know and do the same if you find it unhelpful. While I have a good idea what the resulting ratings would be from a reality-based community, this is an ethical way to react to anti-science syndrome sufferering swarming within the flawed Amazon rating system.