The following complaint isn’t leveled exclusively at users of the Internet Movie Database (for example, you see the same exact thing on, but just the same, I think that amongst IMDb users, it’s about as bad as or worse than anywhere else. I’m referring to users marking all negative reviews as “not useful” to ensure that they get pushed down further and further on the default (“Best”) view.

There are reviews by users of the IMDb that are by most measures as good as anything you’d find in a professional publication–reviews that dissect the filmmaking techniques, the characters, the drama, use of symbolism, irony, framing sequences, other storytelling devices, etc. By any possible measure of “usefulness”, these would be considered useful by any rational human being attempting to make an informed decision about whether or not to see a film, or even what they should think about it after seeing it. And yet if it’s not the mainstream trend: “2 out of 25 people found this review useful”. Every time.

Why is it that so many people can’t deal with any negativity? That they will actually go out of their way to try to marginalize or outright subjugate any point of view that’s different from their own? I’m sorry…if you engage in this sort of behavior, you’re just a petty douchebag.

I typically set my view on the user comments page to “Chronological”, because “Best” is pretty much useless–all you ever see are the glowing reviews. But occasionally, I like setting my view to “Love/Hate”, which alternates positive reviews and negative reviews. You end up having a far more balanced assessment of almost any film that way.