Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Half-Point Debate: How Precise should Reviews be?


I've had this debate with myself for the longest time. Since I introduced the Five Stars scoring system to my reviews, in fact. It's pretty much the standard scoring system for reviews. Netflix has it and so does Amazon. I like that system. It's a clear and easy system to understand. But is it precise enough for long, thorough reviews? The debate is only a detail if you're not an internet reviewer, but we love to take our job seriously. For the longest time I asked myself: Should I incorporate half-point scores to my reviews?

After months of deliberation, I have come to a decision.

Starting with my next book review Friday, I will start including half-points to every review I make. If it took me so long to take a decision, it's because I could almost live without it. I'm OK with every book I reviewed Five, Four, Two and One Star. I would be OK with a Zero Star review if I ever come across a deserving book/movie. Only problem is that damn Three Stars ranking. It's been bugging the hell out of me, and probably been bugging the hell out of you too, my dear readers.

See, Three Stars is kind of this non-committal storage room where I put everything I can't pin a strong emotion on. In there, I put books I slightly liked, books I didn't feel much about and books I slightly disliked. It became the great imprecision of Dead End Follies, because the majority of my reading output is ranked Three Stars. A half-point ranking is going to break that troublesome ranking into three individual ones: 2.5 Stars, 3 Stars and 3.5 Stars. So I fully expect 3 Stars to be a lot more rare and to acquires a new meaning altogether.

Of course, this impacts my whole ranking system. It's another thing I had to negotiate with myself, since I didn't have a problem with the system in general. It will benefit some writers. The lack of half-point forced me to take unfair decisions to some writers. That won't happen anymore. Of course, this will leave a lot more place for dissatisfaction and challenging my scores, but I think it's worth the gamble.

Before leaving, please visit my new additions to the blogroll. I recently found out that Dan and Kemper, the alpha dogs of Goodreads had book blogs of their own. They also started a collective project called Shelf Inflicted, with several other reviewers. They are cool guys, they read good books, they're worth every second of your time you can spare on them.

Nerdy pop culture blogger out!

Derp.

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