Monday, March 28, 2005

"New" Ratings System

In the comments to one of my reviews post, Joe Rice asks why I gave a book that I considered "completely forgetable" 3 starfish. Good question. In fact, while I've been pretty consistent with my ratings so far, they've been all but useless to folks who are trying to figure out what I like and don't like, partially because I tend to not buy books that I don't like, and partially because I'm using 3 starfish as my "neutral" point.

So, after some thought, I figured it's time to revamp my ratings program. I'm sticking with five starfish, but I'm changing the way I give ratings out. And, because I'm changing the ratings, I figured it was time to change the starfish images around a bit so they look a little different from the old ones. I'm not going to go back and re-rate all the old stuff, but maybe this description will give you a better idea of what the older ratings meant, too.

Here's the new ratings, complete with the new images:

  • 5 starfish 5 starfish. Perfect in every way that matters. Exactly what I want. This isn't going to be given out a lot, if ever.
  • 4 1/2 starfish 4 1/2 starfish. Nearly perfect. Deeply satisfying or pleasant. If I give something this rating, then I think just about anyone can enjoy it.
  • 4 starfish 4 starfish. Excellent. Well worth time and money. When I give this rating, I think that most people would like it. This rating is the same as a 4 or 4 1/2 of the old ratings.
  • 3 1/2 starfish 3 1/2 Starfish = Very good. Solid. Worth a look. This is equal to a 4 in the old ratings.
  • 3 starfish 3 Starfish = Good. Recommended to fans of its genre. This is the "standard rating". I will default to this rating, and everything goes up or down from here. In the old ratings, I was using 3 1/2 for this.
  • 2 1/2 starfish 2 1/2 Starfish = Not bad, maybe mediocre: not something I would recommend blindly. This is a not-quite-neutral, not-quite-bad rating that will probably apply to a lot of superhero books. In the old ratings, I was using 3 1/2 for this.
  • 2 starfish 2 Starfish = About average. Nothing special, but not horrid. This will be the rating applied to stuff that I don't think is bad, but aren't my preferred fare. This is my old 3 starfish rating.
  • 1 1/2 starfish 1 1/2 Starfish = A little worse than average. This would be the first of the levels at which I wouldn't recommend a book. At this rating, however, I still feel there were some redeeming factors, like good ideas that were poorly executed. This is my old 2 1/2 starfish rating.
  • 1 starfish 1 Starfish = Not good. Not recommended. Not much else to say.
  • 1/2 starfish 1/2 Starfish = Really bad. Painfully bad. Run Away. This is the "I wish I had the time I spent on this back" rating.
  • No Rating No Starfish = No Rating. I could not judge the work for some reason. Maybe I didn't finish it. Maybe I felt like I wasn't the audience for it at all, and that I'm not qualified to judge it. Maybe there was something about it that bothered me for reasons that I don't think justify giving it a bad rating. This is my escape hatch rating, for when I'm too wimpy to try to define my opinion.

Hopefully this will make my future ratings a little more clear, both to my readers and to myself.