Rotten Tomatoes to No Longer Allow Fan Comments or Reviews Prior to a Movie’s Release

     February 26, 2019

Rotten Tomatoes is rolling out a series of new initiatives aimed at “elevating the voice of fans” and “increasing data relevance,” but one of these changes is very clearly a movement against trolls trying to take advantage of the system. Over the last couple of years, it’s become commonplace for “fans” who have yet to see a movie to enact a negging campaign designed to bring down the film’s audience scores prior to release. The Ghostbusters “fans” did this by downvoting the trailer for Paul Feige’s female-led reboot, Marvel Studios “fans” intentionally tried to tank the Rotten Tomatoes score of Black Panther, and just recently a small group of devoted misogynists targeted Captain Marvel’s Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score, bringing it down to 40% despite the fact that—aside from critics—no one has seen the movie yet. I wOnDer WhAt ThE cOmMoN dEnoMiNaToR bEtWeEn ThEsE mOvIeS cOuLd Be.

Today, Rotten Tomatoes announced a series of changes to its system, one of which is removing the option for fans to leave comments or reviews on a movie before its release. Here’s the full list of changes:

  • Streamlined user interface that positions the Audience Score adjacent to the Tomatometer Score, which represents the collective opinions of thousands of professional critics, giving fans easy access to compare and contrast critic’s and fan’s view of movies and TV shows.
  • Prior to a movie’s release, fans will no longer be able to leave written comments or reviews.  That functionality will be available once the movie releases into theaters.
  • The fan “want to see” score, which was previously represented as a percentage, will now be presented as a raw number that will be tallied in real time. This change seeks to eliminate the confusion that sometimes occurred between the “want to see” score and the “audience score” which is also represented as a percentage.
  • Throughout the roll out of new audience rating features, Rotten Tomatoes will call out enhancements on the site and link to a product update blog, where users can find explanations.

These are positive steps, and I honestly don’t know why “fans” were able to leave reviews on a movie’s page before its release in the first place. Toxicity has become a serious problem in fandom over the last few years, and while it’s fine for folks to disagree, these targeted negative attacks that take advantage of systems that are meant to foster good-faith discussion amongst fans are insane and entirely unfair.

So yeah, good riddance.

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