A typical advice to PhD students when writing their first research papers is to make sure that the abstract and the introduction of the paper captivate the reviewer and motivate him/her to continue reading it.
Reviewers have a lot of papers to review so they will appreciate any excuse to immediately reject a paper and move on to the next one. If they cannot immediately grasp the contribution of your paper and how that contribution solves a relevant problem, you are dead. Most likely, they will not waste their time reading the rest of the paper since they are already convinced that your paper is crap. Myself, I follow more or less this rule. If you don’t convince me in the first two pages that your paper is worth I’ll just quickly glance through the rest of the paper (to make sure I’m not missing something) and reject it.
I’m glad to see that now this common behaviour has been made “official”. OOPSLA, a well-known conference in our field now includes the following statement in its review policy (thanks to Robert for the tip): It is, however, the responsibility of the authors to keep the reviewers interested and motivated to read the paper. Reviewers are under no obligation to read all or even a substantial portion of a paper if they do not find the initial part of the paper interesting.
Do you agree with it?