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Suggestions & Questions > two-dimensional book rating

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message 1: by Joanna (new)

Joanna (joannakach) | 86 comments I have a suggestion for improving our book rating system. I have many books that I did gave 5 stars, although I am very well aware that not all of them are from the top shelf. So how to differentiate between great great books, and simply interesting? My friend used to have two ratings for each book on her blog: one for overall value - more or less this is how we use it now. The other one - let's say "entertainment" value. Example: I would rate Steinbeck's East of Eden 5 stars in both categories: it is great literature, and it is captivating book. "The girl with Dragon Tatoo" I would rate 3 on the value scale, but 5 on entertainment. There are books that take an effort to get through, but then we realize it was all worth it - so 5 stars for value, but only 2-3 for entertaining quality.

I believe this would give much better "feel" about the book, and what to expect. what do you think?


message 2: by Ben (new)

Ben Babcock (tachyondecay) | 216 comments Joanna wrote: "I have a suggestion for improving our book rating system."

Uh-oh.

Joanna wrote: "what do you think?"

Previous suggestions for “improvements” to the rating system have inevitably led to lengthy and repetitive topics that eventually devolve into arguments for and against half-stars. I think this topic is likely to go the same way.

Your suggestion is earnest and well-intentioned. It even has some merit. But these topics always come down to one thing: we all use the rating system differently. Some people don’t use it at all. Some people use it in a way that, in order to “improve” it, would require 5 axes, or 10, rather than the paltry 2 you have proposed! While I’m sure having 2 axes for ratings would meet with a lot of approval from some, it’s not going to work for a large number of us.

The current rating system might be ambiguous, but that’s a feature, not a bug. We all use it in different ways. And so it comes down to one thing: rank the book on a scale from 1 to 5. Use whatever criteria you like, because chances are, they will be different from everyone else’s. That is a consequence of the subjectivity of our lives.


message 3: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (seeford) | 354 comments What Ben said, but I also want to add that you can chose to rate books like this now - you just put the details in your review, they aren't tied to stars. There are many people on GR who do something like this now. I've seen reviewers grading on characters, writing ability, plot, all the way to age-appropriate levels and info on level of 'objectionable' material (sex/violence/language/drug use, etc.

As Ben said, on GR everyone can use the rating system the way they want, I think that works best, since rating a book is a very subjective thing, after all.


message 4: by Caroline (new)

Caroline | 128 comments While I can see why this would appeal to you, I always view this as resolved by the review space. It's a great spot to explain why you gave something the rating you did, and while it takes more time to get through than glancing over stars, it gives a much better meaning to your thoughts. I love the simplicity of the rating system here, personally, since it encourages more discussion rather than just designating some numbers.


message 5: by Beth A. (new)

Beth A. (BethALM) I have always rated books on entertainment value. The stars ask me if I "liked it," not if it was "Quality Literature."

Everyone uses the stars differently, and I believe that's a good thing.

I use the review to explain why I rated that award winner book poorly, or a "fluff" book highly.


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