Vote Brigading

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Vote brigading (Known in Entertainment as Review Bombing) refers to the practice of leaving large amounts of votes in an attempt to influence the scores or performance of products or businesses either positively or negatively.

Examples of Vote Brigading

  • Businesses that are featured in the news for reasons that may be considered controversial to some are often subjected to vote brigading from people sharing their opinions on what the business did, even if they have never been there. For example, after a video showing an employee at a Georgia vape shop yelling at a customer who was wearing a Make America Great Again hat was released, the business was flooded with one-star reviews and users flooded their Yelp page's photo gallery of images pertaining to Donald Trump and other memes about the incident just for the employee's actions, even though the employee was fired for his actions and the vape shop apologized for the employee's behavior. Thankfully, Yelp cleared the business of almost all reviews that pertained to the incident and removed all of the photos that had to do with the incident.
  • Some people will vote brigade movies on sites like IMDb in order to make a movie look good or bad. One especially notorious example was the sudden appearance of multiple new accounts with suspiciously similar name formats giving The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure, which was proving to be a box office and critical failure, ten-star reviews. This went on for some time until IMDb invalidated all ten-star reviews on the title. Although it is not known who was responsible for the vote brigade, some have theorized that it may have been someone who was involved with the movie who was responsible for doing it.
    • Examples of this happening in a video game titles include Mortal Kombat 11, where it scored poorly on the audience score on Metacritic. Most of these poor reviews revolved around the controversially muted character designs for the female characters and it's use of in-game microtransaction. While the complaint of microtransaction is somewhat justified, the part criticizing the the muted female character design is more of review bombing overreacton, due to radical character design for the female characters showed to be very covered up compared to previous installments, yet the male characters are unaffected by the design decision, which cries out an unnecessary pandering to political correctness. Thanks to this, the controversy prevents Mortal Kombat 11 from being added in both Crappy Games Wiki and Awesome Games Wiki.
    • The most infamous however was the one involved the video game The Last of Us: Part II. This is due to the plot leak occurring in April 27, 2020, which already soured any positive reception for the game's release, is to be elaborated on it's separate page.
  • Rotten Tomatoes announced that the "Want to See" score would no longer be visible during a movie's pre-release period and users would not be able to comment on a film's page until it releases due to repeated review bombs on titles like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (known as Star Wars: Episode IX at the time of Review Bombing) and Captain Marvel[1], with the Captain Marvel review bombs starting around the time when Brie Larson made a comment in an interview with Marie Claire where she had asked for a more diverse press room[2][3], along with bitter Star Wars fan attempted sabotage on the "Want to see" score on a Star Wars movie that wasn't even revealed at the time.
    • Back in 2014, Kirk Cameron, in response to negative reviews on his movie Saving Christmas, sent his Facebook fanbase to raid Rotten Tomatoes for fresh reviews. This, however backfired as the ratings went back down shortly afterward, but it was reported that during the raid, the highest was a 94%, the average being 5000-6000 accounts at the end of 2014 with 19,000 audience ratings. He even went forth to blame Reddit for it.
  • Ghostbusters, the 2016 female-led reboot of the 1984 comedy by the same name, was a target of vote brigading on IMDb on the day of its release.
  • Common Sense Media has a high amount of Review Bombing, however most vote bombed reviews are created by alt accounts of a user named Rebecca Spark.
  • In 2010, many people from 4chan manipulated Justin Bieber's online World Tour Voting poll, "My World", by voting for North Korea to be the location of his next tour.
  • In 2020, Nux Taku, an anime YouTuber with 1 million subs at the time, sent his fanbase to MyAnimeList to upvote a hentai called Interspecies Reviewers (Ishuzoku Reviewers) to number 1 and dethrone Fullmetal Alchemist in response to Funimation dropping it. Another YouTuber with 1.4 million subs later followed, which resulted in the admins of MyAnimeList to purge all of the socks and accounts that were made just to vote 10 on Interspecies Reviewers and 1 on FMA.

Why This Practice is Rotten

  1. Participating in vote brigading is rather immature, in general, especially if a movie being brigaded is not even out yet or if people have not been to the business.
  2. In cases where the business is getting vote brigaded for one incident or a staff member's actions, it can be detrimental to their future performance and reputation.
  3. Although somewhat rare, some trolls will leave reviews containing false information about a business, which can be considered defamation and can even result in legal punishment.
  4. In the case of the Rotten Tomatoes and Captain Marvel controversy, it can lead to features being taken away from everybody, which is highly unfair for those who did not participate in any vote brigading. It's essentially the equivalent of an entire class of students getting punished just because someone in the class did something stupid or bad.
    • In a similar case with Metacritic, the infamous leaks involving The Last of Us: Part II brought negative criticism from the start, resulting those prepping to review bombing the game reviews on Metacritic. The website responded that all reviews of a new video game or other media releases cannot be reviewed by audiences for the first 72 hours after release to mitigate the brigading.
  5. When review bombing happens, some websites can be slow in taking action to stop it and/or remove the offending reviews. Some cases, websites take no action to mitigating the review bombing.
  6. For cases of entertainment (Movies, Video Games, Etc.), it harms general credibility of audience reviews, especially in video games, where critic reviews have lost credibility due to corruption, and only adds difficulty of differentiating what is actual criticism and angry fan rants.
  7. This can in extreme cases, ruin the reputation of critique websites, since it can teach people that they are entitled to their own opinions and how no review from professional critics and audiences can no longer be taken seriously.
  8. Vote Brigading affects more than just movie review websites like IMDb, it can happen in online polls in general.
  9. And some instances of Vote Brigading were plagued by trolling.
    • The most well known example was 4chan's voting poll raid on Justin Bieber's World Tour. They spam voted for North Korea to be Bieber's next destination. North Korea won the vote, but the World Tour to North Korea was cancelled.

The Only Redeeming Quality

  1. Although not the best method of doing so, it can bring attention to scummy practices of a business or organization.

References