We interrupt this program for an important public service announcement:

Hey, who turned the User Reviews back on and didn't tell me?

Okay, so in case you didn't know...a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away Game Informer had a User Review feature where members of the community could post their own reviews for games the Game Informer staff reviewed. Then along came the spam bots, those vile evil beings from the far side of the moon. They showed up and wreaked havoc in the blog and user review section of the website. As a result, Game Informer's IT department had to deactivate the user review feature until they could figure out how to block the spam.

Well, I don't know how long it was down or when it was restored but apparently it's been working for a while because there are a bunch of user reviews posted, including some from today and yesterday, and others going back a few weeks or more. I discovered this after friend and fellow moderator - Orochisama LEVON, Spectre - shared a link to a user review.

Why does any of this matter? For one, in the past Blog Herding has often featured user reviews but when the user review feature was disabled, I started using user reviews posted as blogs. This was sort of contrary to how it was done in the past. So, I've been missing out on featuring a number of user reviews being supplied by the community. Now that I know the feature is available again, I can resume including them in Blog Herding.

Since there are a number of newcomers to the community, perhaps there is value in mentioning a few notes about the User Reviews, since it isn't necessarily as intuitive as blogging.

I've had a number of people ask me before how you post a user review, since it doesn't show up in the area where you can post a blog. In order to submit a User Review, you actually have to find the official review posted by the staff, and then you will notice the option to write your own user review. Maybe you are wondering how you write a review for a game that the staff has never reviewed before. Hey, it could (and does) happen. The answer is simple - you can't. At least I don't think you can. If the staff has never reviewed the game, then you can search and find it to get the option to show up to write a user review. In this case, many members just result to posting it as a blog.

If you want some pointers on how to write a User Review - you're probably better off asking someone other than me. I've only posted a couple of them myself. You can find a handy little guide in the Help section of the website located here. There is an actual section for how to write a user review. If you need further assistance, Orochisama LEVON, Spectre is a great source for information. He's posted a ton of user reviews and he's also a moderator, so it's almost his duty to help people out with this sort of problem. Josh Kowbel is another established curator of fine user reviews. I'm sure either would kindly assist anybody needing help with posting a user review. About the only other advice I could offer you as it relates to user reviews - don't post spoilers in your user review. It tends to make gamers angry, especially if you don't give a warning.

We resume this show already in progress.