So Ratings are a point of contention across every platform. I’m unsure which speaker at the summit mentioned it, but they’re right, ratings are just one of those things that we have and feels like we’ve always had “online”. Although I’d argue that 5-star ratings exist way before this, certainly recalling things such as newspapers and magazines prior to the internet giving anything and everything (certainly media) a star rating.
But, the question is what value are they? And I’m sad to say it, probably they’re worth diddly squat.
When used to rank lists, ratings can get a bit pointless. The most popular, most liked, and sometimes the most “critically acclaimed” content will always rate high. The most popular to hate and “critically disliked” content will always rate low; and sometimes the individuals placing those ratings may have never even listened/watched/played/read the content in question… they’re just wanting to “stick it to the man” and give something a 1/5 to show their disdain for whatever trivial reason they behold at the time. Then everything else in the middle often lumbers along with a middling score of around 3.something because lets be honest for most art content you’ve got those that love it (giving it 4’s and 5’s) and those that are simply so unphased about it they’ll just give it a fair 3/5.
Now without going into some kind of philosophical diatribe, there is question that is a 3/5 actually more damning than a 1/5 (think of how many “terrible” movies are still actively talked about today, but those average releases are nearly permenantly forgotten to the sands of time).
I guess that ratings have always existed because they’re easy to work with. It’s a scale, 4 is higher than 2 and 1 is lower than 3. So you can sort it easily, but the problem is like I just mentioned you’ll have a very small percentage at each end of the scale and the rest will sort of fall somewhere in the middle.
The other arguement is that giving any entity a star rating actually means nothing to anyone; sometimes even to the original submitter later on (there are ratings on Discogs or RYM that I probably wouldn’t be able to rationalise now). Where as even a short sentence written will give more insight to how an entity makes you feel and probably becomes worth at least something.
Again without getting too sidetracked, and I know there’s more CB talk tomorrow that I’ve been duly invited to, I think encouraging people to make short statements is probably a higher priority than getting people to either give a star rating or pressing a heart or a smiley face etc. If that individual then wants to write more than a short statement (thus becomming an actual “review”) then that’s even better.
Let’s think of this in a scenario…
You go to a social place like a bar, a complete stranger appears and starts a conversation with you. Turns out you both have opinions on music and you begin to talk about the subject. You say to this person “So buddy, what do you think of the latest song by Johnny Goodhair?” and they just sit there, smack their lips and blurt “4/5”. You look confused, and say what do you mean “4/5 - for me its a 5/5, I think its their best work yet” and the stranger simply sits there and responds “4/5”. The night goes on, and this seems to happen all the time - you never can find out why the stranger gives one song a 4, the next a 1 and the next a 3. You become fustrated because the conversation has no substance, pay your tab and leave.
Now what you really wanted from that interaction was the stranger to sit there and say “Well I’m not sure, I think although Johnny Goodhair is showing that he can certainly come back and hold his place in the charts, I think his teeny bopper days are over… ever since losing his producer Mr. Musicman, who let’s be honest had the midas touch, the music won’t be the same; thats why I think the latest track is good but not as good as it was 5 years ago”
Now with that simple sentence you can start a proper discussion instead of blurting numbers at each other.
OK so I get the Zoomers (or whatever you call them) will often say “ehh mid” to a lot of things; I guess its their generations “meh” but at least that even says more than a 3/5.