Friday, 8 June 2012


I'm not very keen on giving numerical ratings to reviews. They tend to imply that some form of mathematical or logical process was involved in assigning them, which is demonstrably not the case. Take computer games, for example: too often on websites, you see ratings for (say) Graphics, Sound, Gameplay, and Coolness Factor, followed by an overall score which bears no relation to the others, accompanied by a disclaimer which explicitly says that it is not. So why bother? Why award the game a score of 88.6, when you yourself admit that the score is arbitrary? Ultimately, this kind of behaviour is a kind of appeal to authority: the authority of numbers. At its worst level (Metacritic, arguably), it's intentional deception.

So this site will not use numerical ratings, at least explicitly. Instead, I plan to adapt the rating descriptions used on the Anime News Network, which I've become used to using and generally seem more appropriate to me. These ratings can nevertheless be approximated to numerical values, and reviews I post to other sites will sometimes require those. But here on my site, I'll only be using the descriptions, as shown below.

Description Out of 10 Out of 5
Outstanding; a defining moment. 10 5
Excellent; should be in anyone's collection. 9 4.5
Very good; don't miss it. 8 4
Good; worth seeing/hearing. 7 3.5
Decent; I didn't waste my time. 6 3
Average; it didn't really grab my attention. 5 2.5
Not really good, but not a total waste either. 4 2
Weak; I wish I'd done something better with my time. 3 1.5
Bad; not really recommended. 2 1
Awful; should be avoided at all costs. 1 0.5
Absolutely dreadful; may be useful as a sadistic torture device. 0 0

The topmost and lowest descriptions have been changed from those on ANN into something slightly less superlative, and which I feel a little more comfortable with.

Now I just have to go back through existing reviews and correct them...

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