They don't work as well as they could.
Mapmakers should be encouraged to take ratings and reviews into account. Ratings and reviews tell the mapmaker that the map is good or bad or could be improved. If it could be improved, Version 1.0 should be updated with Version 1.1 (minor changes) or Version 2.0 (more significant changes).
However, the current map page system doesn't provide incentives for mapmakers to care as much as they could. If I make a bad Version 1.0 and it's average rating is justifiably low and it has many negative reviews or reviewers bring up problems (unclear, strange, missing connections, ugly, etc.), what in the current system motivates a mapmaker to issue an update? Currently, if I update a bad map, Version 1.0's reviews and ratings remain, as if they are relevant to the updated version(s). And nobody knows which version is being reviewed or rated.
Reviews show who reviewed the map and when. The most important information that should be shown is WHICH VERSION was reviewed! The map page itself should have the title of the map in bigger letters, with the version number below it. Then, when people read a review about Version 1.0, they can look at the name of the map and see that the current version is 2.1, meaning the old review might not apply.
Average ratings are the best quantitative indicator of the quality of the map. The current system doesn't take into account map updates.
This is how the process works:
1. Version 1.0: New map is published. Maybe there are missing connections. Maybe things aren't as interesting as they could be. Initial ratings will be rather low. Players who visit the map page will see the average rating and comments and be less likely to play the map.
2. A responsible mapmaker sees the average rating and negative reviews and decides to improve the map. Version 1.1 or 2.0 is published. The old reviews remain. The average rating reflects what people thought about Version 1.0. Players who visit the map page will see the average rating and comments and will still be less likely to play the map. The map's adoption rate is significantly negatively affected. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffusion_of_innovations
3. The map's initial promotion of Version 1.0 flopped or was underwhelming. The improvements in the updated version (Version 1.1 or 2.0) are not clearly reflected in the average rating or reviews. The updates are not promoted, unless the mapmaker uses the forum to do so. The map's adoption rate is significantly negatively affected.
4. If the mapmaker isn't well known, active, influential, or good at template-making, the improved version of the map basically languishes in the netherworld of 1500 underplayed maps. The mapmaker's efforts in updating the map face an uphill or possibly insurmountable battle against the average rating and review system.
Edited 6/4/2016 04:55:48