Reading, seeing a play, or taking in any kind of art form isn’t an exact science. Because they’re expressive of one’s thoughts and reactions, ratings are subjective. While many reviewers utilize a point system, Matt rates books as Read, Skim, or Toss, and Buy or Borrow. It works for them. I prefer using verbal ratings from “absolutely fabulous” to “horrible”, usually in a review’s closing, so that my rhyme and reason is (hopefully) understood. Someone may like something for reasons I didn’t or vice versa. Inspired by Confucius, A Different View is about my favourite painting in an art show for an artist whose works I know extensively. Those who weren’t as familiar with them or didn’t like abstract art reacted differently. Whether rating within genres or against someone’s other works, it’s all relative.
“Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.” ~Confucius
One of the most stressful times for a theatre company is knowing a reviewer is in the house and having to wait to see how many stars and how worthy the reviewer deemed a production. That association is part of why I only use the 5-point system for book sites like Goodreads where it’s basically standard and my brief reviews of short stories, which are most often read within an anthology I’m reviewing as a whole. I keep a spreadsheet of shorts I’ve read so the points provide an at-a-glance summation of thoughts in regard to construction and plot. If I puzzle over why I rated a story two instead of five I’ll read the review.
Thoughts and feelings about anything can change through time. One may not have liked broccoli as a child but love it as an adult. Tastes change, it’s part of life. Both the initial reaction and the opinion formed years later are equally legitimate. I occasionally change my ratings on Goodreads, but leave my reviews alone because I like seeing my thoughts at that time. If applicable, Amanda adds an editor’s note to a past review. I may adopt that idea. Blogging is akin to keeping a journal and I agree with Iris that it’s a growing experience. Most importantly, it’s supposed to be enjoyable and fun.
What do you think about ratings and reviews? If you have a system, what is it?