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Rating System

It took me quite a while to decide what system of ratings I wanted to use. The problem with the conventional systems (one to four stars, a scale of one to ten, and so on) is that the ratings have no absolute meanings, and so are not reproducible. What I needed, then, was a system of absolute ratings; not only that, but one that would be valid for all the different media in which art can be created. Here's what I came up with.

There are three fundamental ratings, “good”, “OK”, and “not recommended”.

The rating “good” means that a work is recommended without qualification, and that in my opinion everyone should experience it.

The rating “OK” means that a work is enjoyable but not profound, and is recommended if you like that sort of thing.

The rating “not recommended” means, unsurprisingly, that a work is not recommended, and that I didn't enjoy it much.

In addition to these three fundamental ratings, which tell whether or not a work is recommended, there is one other rating, “central”.

The rating “central” is a subset of “good”; works that are central are not only recommended without qualification, but are also central to my personality … whatever that means. Among other things, it can mean that a work is particularly close to my heart, expresses my view of the world as it is or should be, or is otherwise extremely pleasing to me.

The definition of “central” is a bit vague, and as a result the rating is not quite as reproducible as the others, but on the whole I have found this system of ratings to be quite satisfactory.

* * *

Sometimes I don't give a work one of the ratings above. This may be because I just can't decide what rating to assign, in which case I leave the rating blank, but it may also be because there's some reason a rating shouldn't be assigned, in which case I use one of the following ratings.

The rating “composite” means that a work is not a unified whole.

The rating “component” means that a work is a component of a larger work.

The rating “no basis” means that I have no basis for judging the work, i.e., that I haven't experienced it.

There are some other thoughts about composite works in the essay Rating Composite Works.

In case you were wondering … yes, I do realize that it doesn't make sense to assign a rating explaining why a rating shouldn't be assigned. To be formal, one can think of the different ratings as being either primary and secondary. This is not a complete waste of time, because it gives me the vocabulary to make the following statement: since only the primary ratings represent value judgements, the secondary ratings are not included in the various indices of works.


  See Also

  Good, The

@ March (2000)
o April (2000)