Time for some “sit down and listen” real talk for a few minutes. Ever since I added the rating system and enhanced the whole thing, the situation about a stories quality not being reflected in the score just got a lot worse than before, which is mostly due to tons of people who read stuff on the site and just blindly rate everything 5 stars.
Let’s break down the arguments I will inevitably recieve personally.
- But I don’t rate 5 stars on everything!
Yes… yes you do. If you give 5 stars to 20 stories and then rate a single one 3 stars, you are part of the problem.
- Rating is hard!
Not really. You don’t even have to be registered to rate. A single click at the end of the story will do the trick.
- But ratings are subjective!
Yes and no. If you eat at a restaurant, chances are there are some you like more and others you like less, even though the food is generally good. Would you give every single restaurant the highest rating? Does that pizza place on the corner deserve the same score as the BBQ place in the center of the city with free beer and naked waitresses serving Filet Mignon?
- Giving less than 5 stars is bad for the author and demotivating!
While it can be demotivating to recieve, let’s say 10 single star ratings, giving 5 to everything makes the whole process utterly trivial and meaningless. If you give a more nuanced score, the writer will be able to check much better which stories did something good and which stories did something bad. In a sea of 5 star ratings, your vote is meaningless.
This small picture to the right is an excerpt of what my ratings database looks like, page per page… I salute that one guy who had the balls to give something else than 5 stars.
So what should you rate then?
3 stars is average. 3 stars is not a bad story. You might enjoy a 3 star read but it doesn’t stand out from the crowd. 4 stars is good. Hell if most of you people would give 4 star ratings instead of 5 stars all the time, the whole base situation would be a LOT better than it is right now.
5 stars is a -perfect- score. You have never seen something like it, the grammar is solid, the storytelling is impeccable, the worldbuilding draws you in, the characters are a joy to experience… and honestly not many stories deserve that rating.
All you do if you give 5 stars like a donkey that has a pavlovian reflex is to diminish all the good stories that deserve 5 stars.
At the same time, if you read something you don’t like, give it 1 or 2 stars, that is perfectly acceptable. It doesn’t mean you’re an ass. You are leaving valuable feedback for the author. More importantly you leave valuable feedback for other readers as well.
Our ratings are horrible.
And if you give 5 stars all the time, you are not helping. Take a step back and breathe and reevaluate.
Thanks for your time!