A rotten rating system

Iage via rottentomatoes.com

Iage via rottentomatoes.com

Why numerical ratings need to die

By Benjamin Howard, Columnist

Ah, the golden glimmer of the 10/10 rating on IGN, or the 100 per cent on R0tten Tomatoes. The concretely defined numbers can make a rating seem like a cold hard fact. Unfortunately, these numerical ratings are anything but factual or scientific. No matter the rating scale, whether it’s out of 5, 10, or 100, there are no common rating criteria. A standard is missing not only between different review websites, such as IGN or Destructoid, but within these websites. A 10/10 from John Doe on IGN is not the same as a 10/10 from Joe Blow on the same website. With no common grounds for numerical ratings to stand on, it only gets worse when one reaches the core problem: numbers do not convey feelings well.

This is easily demonstrated by how often critics break their own scoring conventions, such as when a critic will give a work 4.5/5 stars, or 7.8/10. In that situation, the critic, feeling unable to properly convey a nuanced opinion within the rating system, has decided to cheat by giving out a decimal, or a half. One might ask, then, why not simply increase the total? So, instead of rating out of 10, why not 100? Well, there’s still a problem: feelings cannot be quantized. The difference between 78/100 and a 79/100 is completely arbitrary, especially when talking about something as subjective as art.

Of course, when ratings made by professional critics are failing to function, they’re only worse in the hands of the public. Websites such as Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic use the combined scores of many critics, professional, and amateur alike, to calculate the average rating of a particular movie or video game. It sounds like a good idea; the voice of the people can average out the “snobby” voice of critics, and vice versa. Unfortunately, the voice of the people lacks nuance. They vote to extremes. They either liked it, in which case it gets five stars, or they disliked it, so it gets one star. I might come off as elitist here, but coming from someone who enjoys a thoughtful critique, it’s disappointing to see so many things grossly overrated (and underrated) by the public.

Worse than the public’s tendency to overrate a product is its tendency to overrate the rating itself. This is partly due to the emphasis the reviewer himself puts on the numerical rating. For example, at the end of an IGN review video, the screen is covered by a giant, out‑of‑ten score. And, sure enough, in the comment section of said video, most are arguing about the number the product received. In the end, the customer often gives more consideration to the score of the review than the review itself. All the nuance and detail of the reviewer will fly right over the viewer’s head when waiting for that big shiny number at the end.

Numbers and opinions don’t belong together; they serve only to deceive and confuse. That’s why I’m giving my review on reviews a 4.2/7.

The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

More Posts - Website

2,830 comments on “A rotten rating system
  1. An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who has been conducting a little homework on this.
    And he in fact bought me dinner simply because I found
    it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU
    for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending
    some time to talk about this issue here on your internet site.

  2. It’s actually a great and helpful piece of info. I am glad that you simply shared this useful information with us.

    Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this blog.
    I’m hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts by you later on as well.
    In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my very own website now 😉

  4. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about
    this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics
    to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that,
    this is excellent blog. A fantastic read.

    I’ll certainly be back.

  5. When some one searches for his required thing, thus he/she wishes to
    be available that in detail, therefore that thing is maintained over here.

  6. Just desire to say your article is as surprising. The clearness
    to your post is just cool and that i could assume you’re a professional
    on this subject. Fine together with your permission let me
    to clutch your RSS feed to stay updated with forthcoming post.
    Thank you a million and please continue the gratifying work.

  7. Aw, this was an exceptionally nice post. Spending some time
    and actual effort to generate a superb article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a
    whole lot and never seem to get anything done.

  8. I was suggested this blog by my cousin. I am
    not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my
    problem. You’re incredible! Thanks!

  9. Simply desire to say your article is as astonishing. The clearness on your post is simply spectacular and that i could assume you’re a professional in this subject.
    Fine along with your permission let me to seize your feed to stay updated with imminent post.
    Thanks a million and please carry on the enjoyable work.

  10. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you make this website yourself or did you hire
    someone to do it for you? Plz answer back as I’m looking to
    construct my own blog and would like to find out where
    u got this from. appreciate it

  11. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if
    you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically
    tweet my newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this
    for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this.

    Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

  12. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site.
    I am hoping to see the same high-grade content by you in the future
    as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my very own site now 😉

  13. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your content seem to be
    running off the screen in Opera. I’m not
    sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know.
    The design and style look great though! Hope you get the issue resolved
    soon. Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*