Let’s Keep Things Professional
So, you read an article that has made you mad and far from leaving a random comment, you want to tear it apart, word for word. If a professional article review is your weapon of choice, then we congratulate you. But we also want to emphasize the word professional and to remind you that if you want to do a better job the author did, you will have to take a step back and do things by the book. Or in this case, by the website. The approach you plan on taking is the right and elegant one, but you must also understand why this type of reply is more effective.
How to Professionally Review an Unprofessional Author?
Remember why you did not write that comment in the first place
Comments are just that, very small pieces of content, accessible to anyone on the news website or social platform where the article was published. They generally are rants or approvals, written by people who never read past the headline, but who guess what the article is all about. The downside of a comment is that you will not be the only one making one and yours will get lost in an ocean of irrelevant rants. What is more, some other people will feel attacked by what you say and will comment on your comment, burying it even deeper as the discussion becomes less and less subject oriented.
Compared to a comment, a review is supposed to attract attention and to get a response from the author. Under no circumstance should you waste valuable information with which you can contradict the author on a social media comment.
Does the article lose credibility, or does it present false information?
Something must have caught your eye when you read the article. Did the author present the wrong data? Did he take things out of context? Are his explanations biased? Is his tone improper and ill-advised for the situation he is describing? Is he being persuasive when he should be neutral or is he being funny with a delicate subject? Before you do anything, make sure you have solid reasons for calling that person out. Get your facts straight, maybe even check with someone else to make sure this is not an overreaction on your behalf, then do things by the book.
As far as credibility goes, only people who are already familiar with some of the information presented can notice differences and react. Otherwise, most of the other readers will take this information as being checked and true. Think about what you are trying to review: the lack of verified information, or a poor way of presenting it.
On a scale of 1 to 5, just how sure are you of being right?
You do not want to be ridiculous and contradict a person on a personal opinion. We mean, you could, but what is the point? An article presented as an opinion will not be taken as fact by intelligent people, therefore, there is nothing to contradict. However, if you notice that an author has included false information in his article, then you can call him out. This particularly means information you can verify from other three sources and not just one. Also, if the information available on a subject is ambiguous, but it was presented as verified, make sure you point this out and cite your sources.
Another important fact check is the validity of the source. Some authors may think they can get away by citing an obscure source instead of the real authorities. A good example in this sense would be to cite another article on a percentage instead of the actual institute that took the survey and came up with an official number. Professionally written articles cite the more relevant sources for their information. Unprofessional authors will rely on the information found randomly and will only check it once or not at all.
Go easy on what you think is the appropriate tone
Unless someone is writing jokingly about a funeral or a severe case of abuse, you might want to tone down your nerves when it comes to the author’s approach. This depends on the a personal writing style and you could end up making a silly comment.
An author will always choose the tone he thinks is appropriate to make the information easier to read. It is the position he takes before his readers and a personal choice you have no say in. The only thing you can be critical of is a complete lack of propriety, in which case you might not be the only one calling out the said author.
If you want to write a review, write a review and not a personal opinion
Being critical about the information presented in an article means assessing its validity. If the author uses correct data, cites the best sources and everything checks out, gives all the right explanations and marks as opinions his own interventions on the text, you have nothing bad to review about the article. Unless you yourself are otherwise emotionally invested in the article and dislike the conclusion, you have no grounds to professionally contradict the information. If you do, it will be another interpretation of the same data, which means a personal opinion.
If your review does not have the role of contradicting the author, but only to analyze a well-written piece, then feel free to do so.
Why will a review weigh more than a comment?
Because it is a professional piece of writing you actually took the time to put together, containing all the reasons why the information presented in the original is wrong. Because it allows you to present the information the right way, by citing the right sources. If the tone or the explanations are at fault, you can mention this, along with what you feel is the right approach.
A comment is an appendix of the original article. The more comments an article gets, the more popular it becomes. The fact that half the comments contradict the article is irrelevant as they will get lost among all the comments written by people who did not take the time to read the article. But a review is at the same level as the article and it stops building on its popularity.