250+ posts into ccpopculture, I’m beginning to reconsider my initial decision to avoid star ratings entirely. 200 words isn’t a lot, and finding space to talk about what’s interesting about an artwork while also assessing its quality is difficult – my reviews regularly include an awkwardly shoehorned “Recommended” or similar.
But star ratings are problematic. They’re reductive, for one – plenty of people ignore the contents of a review in favour of an often arbitrary rating. Given that I predominantly review things I enjoy, they’d be severely skewed towards the top end.
Star ratings are notoriously weak at distinguishing entertaining trash from flawed art. For example, I found Wrong Turn 2 more entertaining than Upstream Color, but I wouldn’t for a minute describe the former as “better” than Carruth’s film. Do you rate something on how entertaining it is, how well-made it is, how original it is, how successful it is at achieving its goals (even modest, genre ones)? Without clarity, ratings are often meaningless.
I remain undecided; I’ll probably introduce such a system in the near future, but the details remain unclear. What are your thoughts – do you use ratings? What are the pluses and minuses of the system you use?