Appointment With Agatha discussion

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Archive - general > Ranking Christie as a group

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message 1: by Christine PNW, Agathyte (new)

Christine PNW (moonlight_reader) | 922 comments I've been thinking about this further, and I think it would be fun to keep a running ranking of the books as we read them. This isn't something that I've seen done in the other Christie groups, so we would be unique!

I'm trying to come up with a ranking system that will work with multiple - and potentially different numbers - of readers. Here's what I've come up with so far, with substantial credit to the All About Agatha podcast system that was the jumping off point.

We're going to go with a potential maximum score of 50 points using the following rubric where each element gets a maximum of 10 points:

1: Readability: This is the overarching category related to reader enjoyment. Was the pace good, did it bog down, did you enjoy it? Was it "fun"?

2. Puzzle: was it "fair" in the sense that it was possible to figure out as a new reader; was it convincing; did it rely too much on coincidence? Were the clues clever and fun?

3. Characters: If there was a multi-book sleuth present, was he/she used to best advantage? So, if it's a Poirot book, was Poirot in his usual fine fettle, or was there something lacking? Did he show up too late to be effective? In addition, this subcategory will include the book specific characters as well - were they fun? Did they spring off the page?

4. Setting: Did Christie use her setting well? Did it make sense for the purposes of the mystery? Did you enjoy it as a reader?

5. Tone: This is an ephemeral category that sort of combines all of the above elements for the overall effect, and as well, should be used to take into consideration the places where Christie fails or struggles in her depiction of women and minorities. Has the tone of the book held up well over time, or does it have uncomfortable elements that jar?

So, the plan would be for everyone who wants to rank the book to give me their score, I will add them up and the divide by the number of scores to end up with an overall ranking for each book. If we end up with some books that are tied, we'll set up a thread to rank the tied books in order.

I'm not wedded to the rubric, and would love to have input on everyone's thoughts!


message 2: by Peregrina651 (new)

Peregrina651 (peregrina651peregrinations) | 106 comments I like the idea. BUT, we really should share the work.

I also like the 5 areas of "grading," although I could do with some more flesh on the bones of "setting" to help me in grading that area.

I have been thinking about the grading scale. There will be ties; with 63 books and 46 possible scores, it cannot be avoided. Nonetheless, I don't think that there should be run-offs because under this basic system, there will be at minimum 18 ties and that is a lot of voting--and a lot of work for our fearless leader.

Can we make the initial scoring work for us?

For example, can weight the grading so that some categories have more (or less) effect on the score than others. For example, perhaps "puzzle" should effect the grade more than "setting." So, maybe the puzzle score is multiplied 2 and the setting score is multiplied by .75 when determining the over all score of the book.

Also, the weights could be used as tie breakers within a ranking rather than having to call for a vote. Two books with the same score can be ranked based on the scores in the highest weighted category.

Even if categories aren't weighted, they can be ranked -- e.g., a high score for puzzle is more important than a high score for setting.

Is voting limited to the month in which we read the book or longer? Do we load in all the titles now and folks can vote when they vote? How to we prevent stuffing the ballot box? What about folks who come late to the party?

Finally, my last though is how much of this process can we automate or even share so that this does not fall on one person to handle for the next 5+ years? Can we use "polls'? Can we set up an off-site polling place? Voters just need to submit the scores for the five categories and the polling site does the arithmetic. Can we even figure out how to let the voting machine do the ranking as well?


message 3: by Christine PNW, Agathyte (last edited Aug 19, 2020 04:51PM) (new)

Christine PNW (moonlight_reader) | 922 comments Peregrina651 wrote: "I like the idea. BUT, we really should share the work.

I also like the 5 areas of "grading," although I could do with some more flesh on the bones of "setting" to help me in grading that area.

I..."


These are all such good questions - thank you for spending so much of your brain power on it!

Starting with the end at the beginning - I don't know if there would be a way to automate or if we could set up an "offsite" polling place. Someone with much more technical knowledge than me will have to answer this question. But it's a good one!

The thing about the scoring is that with multiple scores, we will end up with fractional results, right? For example, if five people vote with scores of 46, 43, 38, 40 and 25, then we would end up with a score of: 38.4 on that particular title. Considering that, I'm not sure that we will inevitably have ties.

In terms of weighting, I think that the easier thing to do than weighting (because the math behind that eludes me!) would be to assign more points to the categories we consider more important. So, instead of giving each category the equal number of points, maybe we give the puzzle a maximum of 15 points and setting a maximum of 5, in order to demonstrate that, as a group, we think that the mystery is the more important element.

Or, as you've said, when we have books that are tied, we could give the upper hand to the book that scores the highest on the category that the group considers the most important - so, if we have two books that come in at 38.4, and one of them received an average of 7.7 on the puzzle and one only received an average of 7.3 on the puzzle, the 7.7 book is above the 7.3 book in the rankings.

Finally, in terms of late comers, I would probably vote for doing it twice yearly. So, for 2020, readers have until 12/31/2020 to score the three books we will read this year, although they can do it before then.

Then in 2021, readers will have until July 1 to score the January through June books, and until December 31 to score the July through December books. Once we do the final ranking, the scoring is closed and no new scores will be added to the finished books. That gives some flexibility for people who get behind and still want to catch up, but not so much that it's impossible for the person who is compiling the results to deal with it. If we can figure out a way to automate it, we could open it up more.

And no votes will be accepted until we read the book as a group. So no ballot box stuffing is allowed. No - you can't give Murder on the Orient Express 50 points today, lol!

Back to the group!


❂ Murder by Death  (murderbydeath) | 19 comments It all sounds good - though for simplicity sake, MR/Christine's idea of setting out higher max points for weightier categories might be the easiest to implement.

But I do like the rating system idea a lot.


message 5: by Christine PNW, Agathyte (last edited Aug 19, 2020 05:48PM) (new)

Christine PNW (moonlight_reader) | 922 comments Cphe wrote: "Are you ranking the books as a whole or as to lead detective?

i.e the best Poirot, Marple, standalone.

Christie is one of those authors (as is Mary Stewart IMO) who you can read when young and th..."


As a whole, Cphe.

And I totally agree with you about returning to Christie. She is my most important comfort read in these trying times.


message 6: by Tara (new)

Tara  | 105 comments I like the idea of a ranking, as it forces you as a reader to put more thought into what exactly you like or don't like about the book. I also enjoy the ranking of All About Agatha, even if I don't always agree with them!


message 7: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Oct 07, 2020 02:21PM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 109 comments Found this today, and thought it interesting: https://www.theguardian.com/books/202... .

That said, I disagree entirely with "The Big Four" being "underrated."


message 8: by BrokenTune (new)

BrokenTune | 348 comments Susanna - Censored by GoodReads wrote: "Found this today, and thought it interesting: https://www.theguardian.com/books/202... .

That said, I disagree entirely with "The Big Four" being "und..."


LOL.

I think her first 4 picks explain why I don't seem to get on with Hannah's writing in The Monogram Murders.


Natalie aka Tannat | 93 comments The Big Four as #1 underrated?? I've only read a few of the other she lists so I can't comment on her overall taste, but...


message 10: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 57 comments Susanna - Censored by GoodReads wrote: "Found this today, and thought it interesting: https://www.theguardian.com/books/202... .

That said, I disagree entirely with "The Big Four" being "und..."


I like that she has picked out some of the lesser known books to talk about. It will be interesting to see how we rate each book as a group as we read through them.


message 11: by Christine PNW, Agathyte (new)

Christine PNW (moonlight_reader) | 922 comments I never got my shit together for this task, so I think I'm going to bail and archive this thread.


message 12: by Cleo (new)

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 11 comments Why don't you make it "ranking Christie individually"? I'll like a thread where I can keep track of the Christie novels I've read in the order I enjoy them. It would make it less work for you too! Just a suggestion ...


message 13: by Christine PNW, Agathyte (new)

Christine PNW (moonlight_reader) | 922 comments Cleo wrote: "Why don't you make it "ranking Christie individually"? I'll like a thread where I can keep track of the Christie novels I've read in the order I enjoy them. It would make it less work for you too! ..."

That's funny, because that's what I started to do in my member thread.


message 14: by Mike (new)

Mike Finn (goodreadscommike_finn) | 233 comments Christine PNW wrote: "Cleo wrote: "Why don't you make it "ranking Christie individually"? I'll like a thread where I can keep track of the Christie novels I've read in the order I enjoy them. It would make it less work ..."

I’ve just done the same thing on my member thread. I’ve listed and rated all the Christie books I’ve read so far and linked the, to reviews. It would a simple thing to add a forced choice ranking and keep it up to date.


message 15: by Christine PNW, Agathyte (new)

Christine PNW (moonlight_reader) | 922 comments I opened a new thread in the Housekeeping folder if people want to grab a post & track their ranking there.


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