I've been a writer for several years, a professional writer for the last couple, and I have found that my biggest pet peeve is reviews. Not the reviews themselves, no, but the way that many write them.
I have seen it here on this site, and it gives a false impression of a recipe to others. For example, even in the written review the person admits to having made mistakes/changes to the recipe, then rates it lower as it did not turn out right. That's a
"false" review as it is not taking into account the changes made. Now, if there was a change like adding more flour to combat sticky dough in baking, or adding more cornstarch to thicken something more, that's completely different than switching ingredients
completely or changing the process of which the recipe is made.
Now, back to my opening line; I've been a writer for many years, and I have read and written many reviews for fellow authours during that time. I have found, through trial and error, a good baseline of writing a review.
Note the changes you made during the creation of the recipe. Why were the changes made? Keeping that in mind, those changes could be the reason a lower score was made (or is needed).
What problems came up in making the recipe? Were there any missing or unclear steps? Missing ingredients from the list that were present in the directions? Cooking time off by a couple dozen minutes? Make note of these, as they can help both
the original writer of the recipe, along with those who read it after you.
What did you like most about the recipe? Even in a negative review, pointing out the strong point(s) helps lessen the impact, along with giving the recipe creator an idea of what they should be aiming for.
Recommendations. Oil instead of butter? Milk instead of water? Less flavour? More? Leaving recommendations from problems found in the second step can help the recipe creator modify and 'repair' the recipe if it is needed. However, if the recipe
recommendations are based more on personal taste (i.e. less heat in the spices) I would instead use the nifty ability to create a custom version of the recipe (or just write down your own custom version if you cannot use the on-site one) instead.
As to the star ratings, try to keep it as honest and unbiased as possible. If you are leaving three stars, let it be because the recipe was unclear, lacking flavour, not working, or missing steps. If leaving five stars, give the reasons. Some recipes
are harder than others to make, and that should be taken into consideration before rating the recipe. Also take into account the purpose or intent for the recipe in the first place.
An example of this is a recipe I came across as a pasta base. It was a simple recipe that was meant as a launching pad into different tastes and varieties. I had read reviews where they said it was 'flavourless' and 'bland.' They obviously missed the
purpose of the recipe, which then lead to an inaccurate rating of the recipe.
Now that I've had my rant, I'm off to find more recipes!