Updated Ratings System as of August, 2019
Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion (based on my own thoughts and from the feedback of others) that a 1-10 rating system (with decimal points to the tenth position) just doesn’t make sense, for a number of reasons:
Thus far, the vast majority of podcasts I’ve reviewed have received a rating between 6.0 and 9.9. I’m not even using half of the rating scale here, in large part because I favor reviewing podcasts that I want to recommend.
While I stand by the whole numbers as meaningful, I’ve realized that the decimal points are pretty much arbitrary. Not completely, but in large part. I realized that because not even I, the reviewer, can explain succinctly the difference between, say, an 8.4 and an 8.6. An 8.2 and an 8.8 is bit more explainable, as in an 8.1 is just barely over an 8 while an 8.9 is verging on a 9, but the range between that really doesn’t make sense to me any longer. It was more of a gut-feeling system, which I don’t want
If I can’t concretely define my own rating system to myself, how can I possibly expect readers to understand it?
I was originally inspired by Pitchfork’s 10-point system, but the more I think about the more I consider theirs to be just as arbitrary and unexplainable.
As alluded to above, I’m more interested in recommending good podcasts that I know readers will like and value rather than tearing down podcasts I don’t like. I think there’s more value in recommendations of things to enjoy than things to avoid (though things to avoid isn’t value-less by any means, so it will remain in the rating system but no longer be a core part of it).
With all that in mind, allow me to introduce my new rating system and a clear, concise rationale for each rating. I’m moving PodSpective to a 5-Star overall rating system. Here’s an explanation for what each star means:
5 Stars: This podcast is unmissable. It’s the best of the best and I believe EVERYONE would be better off in their life having listened to it. This is an unequivocal recommendation with no reservations or caveats. Only the top 5-10% of podcasts I review should be candidates for receiving this rating.
4 Stars: This podcast is excellent. This is a podcast I truly, deeply love, and I believe the vast majority of people would derive value from listening to it. I recommend it with very few reservations or caveats.
3 Stars: This podcast is good. This is a podcast I really enjoy, but I don’t necessarily think it appeals to everyone, and so when I recommend it, I do so with some caveats. For instance, it may be somewhat niche, or be very genre-specific.
2 Stars: This podcast is fair/okay. I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it. I don’t necessarily regret listening to it, but there are much better podcasts out there that you should spend your time with. It also could be TOO niche with the additional feature that other podcasts in that specific niche do a better job.
1 Star: This podcast is completely skippable. So skip it. I regret having wasted my time listening to this podcast, and I really want you to save your own time by completely avoiding this lackluster, poorly made podcast.
A note on half-stars: Unlike in my previous 10.0-scale rating system, I feel like I do have the capacity to justify half-star ratings in that I can see a real difference, and can elucidate the reasons, for, e.g., a 3.5 star rating versus a simple 3 or a 4. A 3.5 star podcast outshines normal 3 star podcasts, but does not quite make it all the way to a 4 star podcast. I think this liminal half-star space is important to provide some nuance to the ratings in a sort of “fuzzy logic” sense. Note: I will NOT be using any other decimal point levels, e.g. 3.4 or 3.6. I think the half-star level is as “fuzzy” as I want to get without losing the reason I moved to a star system in the first place.