nat's dinosaur exhibit

a note on ratings

originally published on my review site id:3; while that part of the website is currently retired, i thought it important to still show the ideas i presented about ratings and the way i'd want them implemented on my own platform(s).

In setting up a medium such as this, for the preeminent intention of artistic exploration through some carefully crafted scribbles about their subjective experiences, it is important—especially after other such sources have seemingly made the importance of a rating system attached to their bulk reviews close to meaningless—to state what kind of purpose this website's own system serves alongside those scribbles.

In truth, there's not much that a rating system does, other than compress down all the work of describing what exactly makes a piece of art important through a certain, habitually subjective lens. And in general, even if there's seemingly more examples of that idea being pointless inanity in most contexts, counter to true sorting and cataloging of perceived value, there's still enough there to warrant something used here... even if all that's been written so far forces that system to be a little more hazy, or relaxed in its pointedness.

But along with that haze, that system needs to have a weight to it that pushes it opposite to other conventions; where other scales' ranges are only partially used (e.g. only using 60-100 in a 0-100 scale), it is important for the whole range to be considered; only not fully noted at times because of something's easily apparent merit (or the opposite).

Put more openly, and in summation, the rating scale needed is one that (a) recognizes its limitations as an addendum, (b) is hazy in its application and preciseness due to those limitations, and © utilizes or discerns the breadth of its range, in order to not box itself out until it is too limited to matter.

imperfect absolutes and haziness

There is, despite the application of a rigid backbone in such a system's use, still a serious issue: the idea of a non-hazy value in a hazy system. It is perfectly reasonable for a rating anywhere in the middle of its breadth to be slightly slanted or skewed in comparison to other pieces that received similar ratings, but there's much less room for ambiguity when reaching for a perfect score, either on the positive end or the negative end. It provides an important question as to what the meanings of those absolute ends to the range are, and what it takes for a piece of art to get to either.

And while there is only a subjective answer to that, due to ratings' meanings being exactly as flawed by human interpretation as anything else, it's vital to write here—as a mark of the veracity of this website as an intimate concept applied by myself—that a perfect album, movie, tv show season, video game, book, podcast, or any other artistic medium need not be wholly perfect in every single one of its aspects for it to receive such a score, on either end of that range.

However, it's important to expatiate that that is more true of the absolute high-end of the scale; the lowest point of the scale has a disparate, less concrete purpose. The perfect highest score, in essence, is an exclusive marker of the subjective worth of something, and must be at least marginally limited for it to hold notable importance or anything of the sort. It is, truly, one of just a few absolutely vital notes in a vast sea of art, that (subjectively) ring the most conspicuously to its listener, begging to be perceived and appreciated.

The perfect lowest score then, is more of a marker of dejectedness in a certain artistic expression's lack of direction, subjective meaning, execution, or (though often and) anything that gives it significance to the listener or even to a nebulous 'artistic landscape' that it lives in. Simply put, there is significance in limiting the best score, but there is an important purpose in never limiting the lowest score—not to be unduly harsh or scathing, but to be completely honest in its worth to that subjective vassal, and to reduce the chances of the rating system itself further alienating the lowest end of its range in order to be more accepting at the cost of sincerity.

Though additionally, it is here that it must be said that both ends, even the closest scores to those perfect ends, will be rare; most art ever made has ranged from (again, in vague terms) dull and mediocre to pretty good. It is uncommon for any art to be anywhere close to either end, simply because of a kind of bell curve in perceived quality across the truly infinite amount of art that humanity has made—or simply infinite in the scope of one single human life's perception.

But exactly in that space is what the bottom of the score range implies. It is a miracle that any art is made at all, for any human(s) to willingly put themselves on display for any sake; the beauty in any art is apparent, no matter if it is a generational talent, or one in a sea of underground artists, or a mainstream artist that has long since lost that ideation of creation that drove them to that space at all. It is because of that that a zero, in this case, still implies an art piece as art, as human in its worth and purpose, even if there is a pointed lack of subjective enjoyment. It is still a note in a symphony of human expression and human achievement.

then, the rating system

In the interest of getting on with it, and showing very pointedly exactly what is this implemented system, what will be used is exactly what has been laid out:

It must be said that this is all subject to interpretation yet again, and that the writing out of something like this is very inviting for later revisions; there is both too much detail over a number here, and not enough. So even more directly:

pocket ratings, too

Though after all of that, I find it important to introduce something that may not spring up for a little while, but nonetheless will need its own space in finding its footing, in terms of its own rating. At some point, I'll add a section of pocket ratings, a kind of brief, sentence-long adjudication of something that (while later may become a full, written review), for that time is simply a quip of my own first perception. It will be inherently scrappy, but I think that makes sense. And therefore I find it important to have a slightly different system for how to use a quick score in that context.

Written out simply, it will be four hazy categories, whereby their meanings are: not good, not bad, good, great. I think for something with the intent of simply showing initial thoughts, that is just perfect enough.