Thursday Thoughts: Rating Systems

Thursday Thoughts: Rating Systems

Thursday Thoughts This week’s Thursday Thoughts topic is one I submitted 😀 yay!

Do you use a star rating system when you read/review books? What are your opinions on star rating systems? Are there any other forms of rating books that you use? How do you think rating systems could be improved? Along that same line, do you see any problems with the way Goodreads’ rating systems work?

I have a mixed opinion on star ratings, but on the whole, I think they are useful. For example, in reviews I like to see at first glance what to expect. Reviews without star ratings I tend to unconsciously avoid (unless written by one of my favourite bloggers) – I just don’t have the patience.

I know star ratings can be problematic. Everyone uses them differently. For me 3 stars is ‘it was quite okay’, for someone else it’s ‘I liked it’ and yet someone else might give high star ratings and so a 3 star book was a massive disappointment. And more extremely: apparently there are people who give 1 star to books they love and 5 stars to books they didn’t enjoy (or so I’ve been told, I haven’t see this happen yet thankfully).

On Goodreads I like to use the average rating for books to see if a book is worth my time. This is again just a ‘first glance’ kind of thing. Books with 4 stars or higher and lots of ratings do attract my attention, but some of them I really don’t like (i.e. Divergent, with a shocking 4.35 average!). Anything under 3 stars I would probably avoid, shallow as that sounds. But on the whole, the average rating on GR doesn’t necessarily mean much, as for example Dutch and Japanese literature usually get a very low average rating. Then there’s the case of sockpuppets so if a book doesn’t have enough ratings you have to be careful. And of course you’ve also got plenty of people who rate a book before it is even published.

Honestly, I don’t mind how anyone else uses star ratings. I just make sure to pay a little extra attention when looking at other people’s ratings.

One thing that would be better than star ratings imho would be grades on a 1-10 scale (or percentages, or whatever). But since this function doesn’t exist on GR, or in the UBB Plugin, and I’ve rated far too many books so far… star ratings it is.

Now, as for my own star ratings. I do give books stars – I LOVE GIVING STARS – but often find myself adjusting them slightly over time after I’ve read many other books. Sometimes your outlook on a book simply changes over time, and you have more books to compare.

I have two slighty different systems: one for Goodreads that doesn’t support half-stars, and one for my blog.

Goodreads 5 stars This book was amazing and exceptional and wow because it was written very well AND/OR it was outstanding in its genre AND/OR feelings
Goodreads 4 stars I reeeallly liked this book, more than the average book
Goodreads 3 stars This was quite alright. Not crazy about it but overall… alright.
Goodreads 2 stars Meh. Not very good. (Can be a DNF)
Goodreads 1 star Waste of time. Need those hours of my life back. (Can be a DNF)

My own blog gives me a little more wiggle space because I can actually give half stars..!
This book was amazing and exceptional and wow because it was written very well AND/OR it was outstanding in its genre AND/OR feelings
This book was amazing and almost exceptional and deserves more than 4 stars but not quite 5 stars
I reeeallly really liked this book, more than the average book
I liked and enjoyed this and/or it was good. Just not as good as 4 star books.
This was quite alright.
It wasn’t absolutely terrible but I didn’t like/enjoy it either.
Meh. Not very good. (Everything from here on can be DNF)
Ugh, bad.
I don’t encourage book burning, but…

6 thoughts on “Thursday Thoughts: Rating Systems

  1. Great answer! I find ratings useful and prefer reviews that use them. My rating is always at the bottom of my review and is followed by a summing up paragraph, that explains my overall feelings for the book. I like the Goodreads rating system and think it’s useful, but I really wish they allowed half star ratings on there, it’s needed! 🙂 Here’s my answer.
    Reviews from a Bookworm recently posted… Films for Thoughts on Thursday: The Fault in Our Stars ReviewMy Profile

    1. Yes @ everything! 🙂 As for GR, half stars and being able to quickly select all your books by one star (instead of sorting them and having to go through pages of books)… that would be nice too. I now have them on star shelves but I sometimes adjust my ratings and then I have to go change the shelf for the book too *facepalm*

  2. I really prefer when people use star ratings. But where I seem to differ from a lot of people is I don’t like half-stars. It doesn’t bother me that GR doesn’t have them, I don’t use them on my own blog, and I don’t use them on other sites that give me the option. To me, it’s better to have five broad categories than ten that are more specific… because the more options I have, the more I’m going to stress over it. I do occasionally find myself wavering between 3 and 4 stars, for example… but if half-stars were an option, then I’d be wavering on almost every single book I read!

    I actually think a six- or seven-option system might be best for me. I’ve given though to revamping my ratings to that, but I’ve never actually gone through with it.
    Charleen recently posted… ITW Must-Reads: MasqueradeMy Profile

    1. I was afraid I’d waver on half-stars because there’s so much more choice, but for some reason, with some books I’d sooner waver between full stars where half stars would’ve expressed my feeling perfectly 🙂

  3. I also go back to adjust my ratings! It happens that I would finish a book and feel very disappointed, but the very next day I could still acknowledge the book has some quality. On the other hand, some books I really liked but a few days later I can’t figure out what was so special about it.
    Because of this, I try to always have a few days before I publish a review.
    Angélique recently posted… The pros and cons of ratingsMy Profile

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