Rephrasing the Rating Descriptions

This is a small point, but the star ratings are currently:

  •       Did Not Like at All

** Mostly Didn’t Like It
*** Liked it
**** Really Liked It
***** Loved It

I feel like 2 Stars being “Mostly Didn’t like it” doesn’t make sense for the rating scale, and the phrase “Somewhat Liked It” would be a better alternative to its symmetrical counterpart “Really Liked It”. I know this is just semantics, but seeing the phrase “Mostly Didn’t Like It” makes me hesitant to use the full spectrum of the ratings because it comes off as overly negative. If I actively or mostly dislike a game, I’ll just give it a 1 Star. But 2 Stars in my mind is for games that were fine or a little forgettable.

The rating system is already skewed in favor of positivity in the first place, 3 Stars isn’t neutral, its for games we already like. With that in mind I’d prefer to keep the Star system entirely framed in just how much it was liked, and leave the 1 Star for total neutrality or dislike.

It’s an interesting idea, but if we think of it in terms of percentage, 1 and 2 are below 50%, and 3-5 are above 50%. This there is a logical separation between like and dislike, or pass and fail in a sense. Personally I wouldn’t want to reduce the option to indicate you dislike a game to to one possibility. Some games I don’t particularly enjoy, while I dislike others even more. Having a bit of nuance or granularity in your ability to rate a game on that half of the spectrum makes sense to me.


The 3 stars, is more positive than neutral, it shouldn’t be neutral.

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I agree Caska, I think rating games is mostly a labor of love and interest, not neutrality. I’m glad the spectrum is skewed to just how much we like games, and not how much we equally like/dislike them. Even a bad game is usually fine or at least redeemable.

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I understand the percentage logic, but a game isn’t ACTUALLY rated using percentages right? Like, it’s not 50% fun or 50% well made. Stars are an already abstract idea of just how much we value something.

It’s like the IGN problem of rating games. By thinking of 50% being the neutrality point, it forces the grand majority of ratings into a small window between 60-100 instead of assuming a game is probably inherently decent or “good enough” just by it being a work that people spent years developing and then giving yourself more spread for just how much you like it.

It’s all subjective, but this is how I feel about it.

I like the idea of skewing things more to the positive (in life in general).

I need to do a few things going forward. I don’t think I want to change the language around the ratings, but I do need to put something on the about/faq page explaining the ratings. To me a 2 star game is a game you wouldn’t recommend to someone, and you didn’t like very much about the game. There were some positives, but overall, the negatives just outweighed them. I need to write something like that on an about page. That would kind of frame in a little more positive light.

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I think it is all dependant on how you look at it. I don’t rate games based on how well they are made, I rate them based on my personal experience. Related, but part of a separate larger conversation, I don’t think ratings are particularly useful. Regardless, if there is a rating system in place I want flexibility to convey a bit of nuance about the games I disliked as well as those liked. I want to be able to indicate that I may mildly dislike one game, or greatly disliked another. Peter puts it well above:

This is a key aspect for me. Reviews and ratings are a means for a person to try to convey their experience of a game. While I respect that people put a lot of hard work into creating a game, that is not a driving influence behind my ratings. A well made game can still be an unenjoyable experience. Thus, I wouldn’t usually give a game higher marks simply because someone worked hard on it. I can respect and appreciate their work, while also disliking the game. And having two rating scores by which to indicate that dislike with some nuance, I can articulate my feelings through the shorthand of a rating. For example, I gave the Turing Test 2 stars yesterday. It’s a relatively polished game from a mechanical standpoint, the physics of the game tend to be quite well implemented and consistent. The environments are simple, but the minimalism works for the subject matter of the game. However, I felt the game ultimately failed at the things it attempted to do and fell flat as an experience. I didn’t hate the game, I merely disliked it the overall experience. I finished it completely because there are aspects that worked, but by the end I didn’t feel it was cohesive. One star wouldn’t reflect how I feel because I think there are elements within the game that have potential. Yet I wouldn’t want to say I somewhat liked the game, because that conveys the wrong message. I liked aspects, but disliked the whole. I don’t think those aspects should skew the rating toward the positive because, in the end, I didn’t enjoy The Turing Test. Thus, I need a rating that isn’t the lowest possible, but still informs people that I didn’t like it and I don’t recommend it.

I think this is fundamentally a problem with rating systems rather than the scale used. Rating systems are always reductive, no matter how you structure them. They are a way to convey fast information but are highly susceptible to misinterpretation. The very fact that two different people can interpret 3/5 or 7/10 as either positive or negative indicates quite a lot about the fallibility of rating systems (GameSpot’s 7/10 for Cyberpunk is a good example of a recent disagreement between critics and audience on the meaning of 7/10). That said, I don’t think that the vast majority of a scale should be devoted to a positive reception of a game because it grants a greater amount of nuance to that positive response, and zero nuance to a negative one. There’s nothing wrong with disliking games, and I think we should have flexibility in the degree to which we can convey that dislike.

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Appreciate your take BMO, the way you and I use the 2 Star sounds identical, so obviously the phrasing is working well enough. I think I’m a little closer to figuring out just what feels off to me though.

The 1 Star rating phrase is “Did not like at all” and the 3 Star phrase is “Liked it”. If I was taking the SAT and they asked me to fill in the phrase for a 2 Star rating, I feel like I’d write something to the effect “Liked Some Parts” or “Somewhat Liked”. I suppose there’s not much difference between “Somewhat Liked” and “Mostly Didn’t Like” but it just feels off in my head.

But in the end, it all works well enough!


It seems to me that the best thing would be not to have a description for the stars, since how we use them is subjective .
The current description can be mentioned as an example when a new user joins the site if there’s a small tutorial for it.

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