Ending With a Rating – Yay or Nay?

This is a bit off course for me, since I shy away from doing reviews in the first place.

Jenn’s post on reviews made me think – is a number rating (or a letter rating from A+ to E-, or even an F-) to end a review really necessary?

The standard practice is that yes, you should, but personally, I don’t feel like a number can encompass an experience. You are essentially reviewing a piece of media (or a few pieces) and your experience with them, if you ever add subjectivity into the mix at all. If a picture says a thousand words, then a medium – one that is likely to be reviewed on WordPress – speaks bucketloads of words and you can only prattle on for so long until the most devoted reader tunes out. Also, if a picture speaks a thousand words, then…a number only speaks one.

There’s also the problem of “abusing” the number review – for instance, a Cells at Work! review could be arbitrarily determined by the number of times the platelets appear. (I’ve seen people stick number ratings into their Cells at Work! posts randomly, just to accomodate that joke. For people who don’t read Cells at Work! reviews, the joke is that the rating is “0/10 not enough platelets”.) For video games in particular, the “7.8/10 not enough water” joke is pretty infamous – enough that it’s a bit of a meme. On Anime News Network, I’ve seen “nope” ratings and all sorts of other joke ratings.

Furthermore, the sheer subjectivity of one person’s 10 against another requires some transparency on the part of the reviewer. I’ve seen people on AniList give lots of 10s and there’s no stopping any WordPress reviewers from doing the same thing (although, since WordPress is generally a more critical platform than AniList, WordPress is less susceptible to doing so).

I don’t think everyone uses numbers or letter grades at the end of their reviews – I know I don’t, at the very least. However, even though slapping a rating on to something allows a reader to easily gauge a reviewer’s feelings on a certain work, numbers are just too limiting to say what a person feels and thinks. They wouldn’t turn out very good posts, either, so make sure that if you want to try (or are) reviewing stuff to back up all your points and justify your rating/s. When there are people you don’t know intimately enough to understand why they’ve rated the way they have, clarity is key, after all.

So, do you think number ratings at the end of a review are a good or bad thing? Is this post really lacking anything, now that I notice upon retrospect I haven’t talked about star ratings…?

6 thoughts on “Ending With a Rating – Yay or Nay?

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  1. I don’t pay attention to other people’s numbers and ratings and I don’t provide my own. More important than whatever arbitrary number out of 5, 10 or 100 the person gives a show is the reason for their like or dislike of it so I’d rather read their thoughts on it and by the end of that the number is neither here nor there. For me also, giving a number for a lot of shows would be impossible with any consistency. Very well made anime would be rated in the mid-range of whatever scale I used because my personal enjoyment of it was low whereas anime that are decidedly poorly made would have the same score because I personally really enjoyed them. It wouldn’t make any sense without reading the review anyway so the number becomes utterly pointless.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t include them in my reviews, mostly because it’s not part of my site’s vision. Also, there’s the logistical question: What am I basing it on? I think your observation about transparency is spot on. If I were to grade the shows I review, I’d have to establish criteria. I’ve seen some folks use a literary focus, like giving a score to plot, character, description, theme, and animation, then presenting the average. I’ve seen some people try to break down why a viewer might like a show, giving scores to action, fanservice, and other aspects.

    Maybe MAL ruined it for me, but I usually don’t look at scores when I read reviews, either. I prefer to get a feel of the show from the review itself. I’ve read reviews where the author gave the show a low score but spoke well of it and vice versa; the review text seemed to be a better indicator.

    I really don’t think they’re right or wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. i don’t really care if someone gives something a number rating or not, but i do pay attention when they do. i don’t care for ratings on sites like mal and anime planet because those are just averages of tons of people idk. but if it’s on a blog and i find myself aligning with the interests of the person than i’ll more likely listen to those ratings. but also a review is more than just giving a rating, since you also (ideally) read the explanation of that rating. i can’t remember if i still do number ratings for my anime and manga reviews but i still use them for movies and books.

    i always start at the average point which would be a 5/10 or 3/5 (for ok shows, not good but not bad) and either increase or decrease based on what i’ve experienced. sometimes i find myself giving a book a rating before i start writing out a review and once i write my review i might change the number rating

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Fair enough. I guess my problem, if anything, is when the rating gets /too much/ weight. Me being as easily influenced as I am, the score – regardless of where it is on the page and even if I read the explanation – gives me a bit of hive mind and this is part of why I chose to do away with ratings entirely in my own reviews.

      I do still score on my anime/manga list though, in which case I ask myself how much I liked the work or how well it was working with what it had and adjust from there (with decent shows being 6/10 or above).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not a big fan of hard ratings, whether they be numbers, stars, whatever. Some people grade on a ball curve so that a 3 out of 5 (or 5 out of 10) is average while others grade it like schoolwork where anything below 60% is bad. When I do give ratings, I try to grade on a bell curve since it makes the most sense for reviews.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I like seeing ratings, because I find that knowing the reviewer after following their blog for a while helps me gauge their rating generosity. Of course, you won’t normally take one reviewer’s word for it, but it serves as a good reference if you know the blogger’s tastes to align with yours in general.

    That being said, I am also someone who hates giving ratings, and don’t see anything especially wrong with that.

    Liked by 2 people

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