Feature Request What is a rating system supposed to mean?

DarkEmegre

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What is a rating system supposed to mean?

Does it determine the worth of a story? Popular belief indicates such, except it’s a flawed system. The stars are supposed to tell us, the potential readers, what the technical quality of the story might be, which frankly isn’t true. When you see a story with a 4.5 rating, it doesn’t say anything these days about its quality, if you think. Many would forgive a story for not having the best delivery if the plot itself is engaging. This is fine, but it goes against the belief that the rating hints at the technical quality of the work in question.

When someone posts a negative comment or review based on biases extraneous to the story's quality, such as prejudices against the apparent belief system, gender, or sexuality of the author or characters, the commenter's biases are usually evident and future readers can discount these biased reviews. The same is not true of biased low ratings,which can be and often are posted to many similar stories with a minimum of effort compared to comments or reviews.

The rating system is unworthy. We must conclude that the favorite system is the least leverageable system on Scribble Hub. It indicates popularity and is simple. This system should be developed even further. Giving multiple choices for the reader to express their thoughts of individual chapters beyond commentary would go a long way. It wouldn’t at all hurt to use emoticons to allow users to express these emotions openly at the end of a given chapter. Look to Facebook or Discord itself for guidance in how to implement this.

To continue on what was said above, the reaction system would be able to solve many problems that have plagued Scribble Hub for a while, mainly, the Similar Series function. This feature doesn’t currently work. Not only does it showcase stories that have been on hiatus for months, it also doesn’t suggest series that are similar, just those with the same genre tags or keywords. And don’t get us wrong, genre is an important factor when considering whether two series are similar or not, but it’s not the only one. A more important thing to look at is how a story makes the reader feel. Does it make them feel sad? Happy? Excited? All of these emotions can be captured through the reaction system and be used to further enhance the Similar Series feature.

Well, to conclude, we would like to leave you with this question:
Why should we keep a system that serves no purpose at all?
 

Ace_Arriande

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To start with, in a perfect world, no platform anywhere would have a numbered rating system. Everybody would be raised to be a critical thinker from birth and they would all leave thorough reviews appreciating both the pros and cons of anything they wish to review without assigning something as silly as numbers to it. Also, as far as rating systems actually do go, I believe that Steam has the best one out of them all where there is only recommend/not recommend and it shows the % of people who like something.

Does it determine the worth of a story? Popular belief indicates such, except it’s a flawed system. The stars are supposed to tell us, the potential readers, what the technical quality of the story might be, which frankly isn’t true.
This isn't what rating systems are for. While the "spirit" of rating systems may try to show some sort of objective value, which is impossible seeing as how art is subjective and fiction is a form of art, rating systems generally come down to an "I like this" vs "I don't like this" system.. They are reflective of the community's preferences. Furthermore, their actual, primary use in the vast majority of modern contexts, from a business perspective, is to pick out the "good" stories to show off to new visitors, get them hooked on the "good" stuff, and then they can go on to look at everything else. Amazon, for example, doesn't let you sort by best/top rated because it cares about showing you the best, highest quality product. It does that because it knows you're more likely to buy something if it has a lot of positive reviews. It only cares about manipulating you into spending your money. The vast majority of rating systems work this way and they achieve their goal without issue. And if you believe that fiction has any sort of objective value/worth/quality in the first place, we simply have a difference in fundamental beliefs there.

When you see a story with a 4.5 rating, it doesn’t say anything these days about its quality, if you think.
Quality is subjective. I'm probably going to say "subjective" a lot here. When I see a 4.5 rating, I think, "Alright, so this is what the community here likes."

This is fine, but it goes against the belief that the rating hints at the technical quality of the work in question.
What is "technical quality" even supposed to mean? It's technically correct in a grammar sense? This is a horrible metric to judge fictions off of anyways seeing as how many fictions purposely break grammar rules. Or is it supposed to be a judge of pacing? Character growth? Plot cohesion? Worldbuilding? In that case, all of these things are subjective and different people like different things. Depending on how "technical quality" is defined here, it has an incredibly high chance of just sounding like elitism.

The same is not true of biased low ratings,which can be and often are posted to many similar stories with a minimum of effort compared to comments or reviews.
This is true. This is also true of biased high ratings which, for some reason, nobody ever brings up when they're talking about low ratings. So, let us discount all of those high ratings as well. They are just as valid as the low ones. For future reference, whenever you want people to really take you seriously and believe that you genuinely want to improve a rating system, you should bring up the positive ratings as well. There are far, far more unwarranted 5-star ratings/reviews than unwarranted 1-star ratings/reviews. You're a brand new account and speaking like an author. I'm going to assume that, like most authors, you probably have considerably more positive ratings/reviews than negative ones. How many of those positive ones have thorough reviews attached? How many are explaining why your story is good without relying on their personal biases? And what's the ratio between positive and negative ratings? Because I've got a feeling that, unless you're purposely writing as horribly as possible and/or deliberately asking for negative ratings, you've got more biased, positive ratings with a minimum amount of effort than negative ones.

The rating system is unworthy. We must conclude that the favorite system is the least leverageable system on Scribble Hub. It indicates popularity and is simple.
The favorite system is heavily biased toward stories with short and frequent chapters. I could very, very easily game this system by splitting up each of my 5k-word chapters into 5 1k-word chapters and then remind everybody to favorite it at the end. Expanding on it wouldn't change that the favorites system is far easier to take advantage of than the rating system. Also, then we would have people complaining about negative "reactions" instead of random negative ratings. All this would do is tip the balance toward stories with short and frequent releases. How is this fair to series with less releases and/or bigger chapters? What best indicates popularity is the number of people who have added the story to their reading list as well as the story's rating.

Not only does it showcase stories that have been on hiatus for months, it also doesn’t suggest series that are similar, just those with the same genre tags or keywords.
Agree that this could be improved.

A more important thing to look at is how a story makes the reader feel. Does it make them feel sad? Happy? Excited? All of these emotions can be captured through the reaction system and be used to further enhance the Similar Series feature.
Do you really, genuinely believe that authors are going to be so much happier if somebody reacts with a crying face to a chapter? Or with a happy face to a happy chapter? Maybe there are some who would be happier receiving low-quality effort responses like this, but it would mean nothing more than a regular favorite does to me, and I'd still much rather receive actual comments than random reaction faces that just... kind of dumb down interactions with readers. If I want to know what my readers think, I want their actual thoughts - not random emojis that may or may not represent what they're thinking. Furthermore, people already do this in comments.

Well, to conclude, we would like to leave you with this question:
Why should we keep a system that serves no purpose at all?
It does serve a purpose. It serves an incredibly important purpose. It just doesn't serve the purpose that you think it should serve, and that's okay, but that doesn't change the fact that rating systems are extremely useful for platforms from a business perspective as well as for a new user experience. They funnel new users to the "best" (which is subjective) stories, hooking them to the site and inspiring them to read more from the platform in pursuit of more stories. It also keeps away the "bad" (again, subjective) stories from getting too many views unless people purposely go looking for them. From a business perspective, you want people to see the best that you have to offer, not the worst. That aside, it also allows the community to more or less decide what they want to see more of. If a bunch of generic isekai smut stories are the best rated, people will see that, more people will write these, and the happier the community will be.

Now, if you want to join me on the boat of "all rating systems are bad because we shouldn't be applying numbered values to subjective art," then welcome aboard. But as it stands, from a business and common-sense perspective, the rating system works perfectly fine and there is nothing wrong with it outside of the fact that it causes people to become conspiracy theorists or anti-rating activists as soon as they receive a single negative rating, but not when they receive a dozen positive ratings with no explanation attached to them.

Alright. Well, that's my input on this topic for the rest of the year. Had to get it out of my system sooner or later since I'm not in RR's server anymore to have this discussion 500 times a day.
 

weakwithwords

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Most if not all current rating systems are flawed. Reader impression is heavily influenced by the genres, themes, motifs, and various elements involved. However, appraisal of the implementation of a genre/etc and the general like or dislike of a genre/etc are improperly mixed into one rating system. Many people do not realize this.

Take romance as an example and let us say that I like romance. If someone else dislikes romance, then that's that. I don't need to know how much they hate the genre.

If someone else likes romance, I also don't need to know how much they love the genre. I would however be interested in knowing if the portrayal of romance worked for them or not.

Everyone has different taste thresholds. Numerical rubrics just pointlessly complicate the simple. What truly matters is whether someone is satisfied or not. If you're not sure, that counts as not being satisfied.

Another flaw is that people are okay with how measurements get squashed into a single index because it's seemingly very convenient to have one-to-one representations.

Two persons with the IQ of 125. One is very good with math, bad with linguistics. One is very good with linguistics, bad with math. The 125 IQ tells us that they are both moderately intelligent, but we won't know who is good in math or linguistics unless we ask or test them.
 
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AliceShiki

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Alright. Well, that's my input on this topic for the rest of the year. Had to get it out of my system sooner or later since I'm not in RR's server anymore to have this discussion 500 times a day.
*hugs* You did great~

But yeah, I can relate... Some discussions keep being brought up over and over again no matter what community you go to... T.T
 

Moctemma

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I like the reaction emoticons, I encounter them when reading manga at the end of each chapter. It would be nice to have them, but I imagine it would be a burden to the site.

To answer the last question, the rating system works, at least it does for me. So I don't see any need in changing it, I'll explain how I use it.
When I'm interested in a story and doubt if it will have the things I dislike, due to a poor description or the tags, and there's no reviews, I look at the ratings; how many rated, if most are positive, if it's balanced or full on the highest and lowest, how recent the story is, etc.

If most are positive, I consider checking the story. When it's too balanced, with lots of 1, 2 and 3 stars, I don't check it. When it's too extreme, with lots of 1 stars and 5, I may imagine the reason behind the low ratings based on the tags or synopsis, or check the comments of the chapters to spoil me and see if I should avoid it.

I have never thought of the ratings to speak of the quality of a novel, in electronics and such of course, but I know the ratings on creative works are biased, it's inevitable. If you want a solution, make it more complex, like Royal Road; that way you can separate the biased opinions (the ones who only give an overall score), from the more accurate ones. Still, I like biased opinions and don't see anything wrong with them.
 

weakwithwords

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// {Moctemma}: I have never thought of the ratings to speak of the quality of a novel, ... .

There are futile instigations to make people give "objective" ratings. Bots might become sentient at some point, but right now, they are not.

Those who delude themselves that they are able to rate "objectively" are still bound by arbitrary rubrics. In the end, satisfying a "strict" criterion or criteria is simply another way of scratching an itch.

In the meantime, ratings is not an accurate appraisal tool but just another marketing hook. It works as intended. Just like education is meant to mold you into good upstanding, productive citizens. If you ever learn anything from school, that's merely the byproducts and side effects.

Personally, I think it's twisted. What I think of a book I actually read should influence the ratings, but the ratings shouldn't be excessively influential in making me consider sampling a book.
 
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