Wednesday, June 11, 2014

About Review Scores

So yeah, I think issuing numerical ratings to reviews is pretty dumb. They're a lazy way to express your own opinion as well as gather information from the opinions of other. On top of that, I believe judging something by putting a number on it demonstrates an authority that surpasses "opinion" that no one actually has. Words are subjective, numbers are not. Yes, I know I use numbers in my reviews, but it's something I've always felt uneasy with, and I've finally come to the decision to stop issuing numbers attached to my opinions, which are just that, my opinions, not a value that has universal meaning compared to the opinions of others.

What got me thinking about this was the thought of reviewing creator owned books, which I'm reading more and more of these days, compared to DC and Marvel. But when I actually thought about it, I felt uncomfortable judging something unique to itself with a score. I can not like a particular issue of a creator owned book, not enjoy what happened, where the story went, and so on, but who am I to place value on that? The writer wrote the story they wanted to write, the artist drew what they wanted to drew, technically they did everything right, I just didn't enjoy it, and that's fine. I don't have to. But to act as if my opinion on the product means dick next to something the maybe I just don't understand, that's pretty scummy in my opinion, and I don't want to be that guy who believes their opinion has literal value.

So expanding my line of thoughts about the subject of review scores, I became increasingly less comfortable with giving scores the the books I do review. To say I don't believe in giving numerical ratings to creator owned books, only to turn around and give them to Batman books just seems hypocritical, because after all, the opinion is coming from the same source, just is aimed towards a different subject. So going forward, I'm going to drop the use of numerical ratings. Simple as that.

While I'll no longer be using numerical ratings, I'll have to do a better job at explaining my opinions on the issue. Good or bad, I'll have to explain in detail what I thought without relying on the crutch of a number, and in turn, if you want to know what I think, you'll have to read instead of just scrolling down and seeing "4/5." As I've said before, I believe numbers are a lazy way to convey opinion. There's a reason why I used a five point scale, because there are only so many values between "Great" and "Terrible." I think reviews on a ten point scale get redundant at a point, because what's the difference between a 2 and a 3? They're both real bad. Then if you put a decimal in those and act like there's a noticeable difference between an 8.3 and an 8.4, then fuck you, you're full of shit. Point is, we've become too reliant on numbers, and often won't even bother to read why a number is issued.

So that's it, that's all I got to say. No more numbers from me. Just opinion. I'm just a guy at my computer who read an issue and thought some stuff. I've got no credentials to impose an inherently scientific/factual value on something I merely have an opinion on, nor will I use them to lazily express that opinion.

EXTRA READING: This is something I was going to use to support my thoughts on the subject, but in trying to keep this post as short as I could, didn't find a place to bring the video game review culture into the picture. That said, yeah, depending on numerical ratings is fucking stupid.


  1. I'll give this statement a 5 out of 10.

    But you'll not get an explanation.

    (Side note, though, in your quest for better explaining your opinions, there's nothing wrong with a bit of a pro/con system of bullet points. You already do something of a "the good" or "the bad" synopsis, so itemizing it could streamline the thought process a bit.)

    1. Yeah, I'm thinking of keeping a similar format of the reviews. Maybe stream down the good and bad into bullet lists like you pointed out, and do a sum up similar to what I do in Stack Rundown posts, only more review like.

    2. Cool. I think there's also merit to being a bit democratic about it. Reviews are always "one man's instant opinion" and often lack a consensus, or sometimes miss a certain context. You could feasibly do a kneejerk, off the cuff set of thoughts, and then wait to give a "Review" until there's more opinions shared. Not that I'm suggesting you attempt to wrangle three or more reliable online patrons - that's a lot to muster.