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Social Ratings: Scaled Ratings Vs. Booleans
For years now, it has been a commonality for social media sites to rate content and commentary on a sliding scale. Sites like YouTube and Yelp allow users to rate and review content on a five-point scale, while sites like StumbleUpon and BuzzFeed want to just know if you like it or not.
Historically, stars have represented a scale of ratings on popular sites such as YouTube. People give five stars to videos they love and a single star to videos they dislike. YouTube has now revealed how rare it is to receive feedback from anything in the middle. In a recent blog post, they shared recent studies that display the skewed findings. Below is a graph of which star ratings are the most popular:
As you can see, it is very rare for anyone to provide feedback in the middle. Apple’s App Store also faces a similar conundrum.
The five-point scale seems to be too restrictive and allows for little nuance while a percentage scaled, based out of 100, seems to be too large. Usually, scores almost never fall below 50%, because most people innately think of education scoring and its 90 = A, 80 = B scheme when using 100 percentage scales.
The the 10 point scale seems most ideal. It provides enough room to make important distinctions, but not so much room it throws off the accuracy of the scale. However, let’s explore boolean ratings a bit.
A boolean rating is defined by a simple “yes/no” standard. Most social voting sites follow this standard. If you don’t like the content, you vote it down or bury it while thumbing up or voting content you do like. StumbleUpon and Digg.com have taken this a step further by trying to understand why you are voting down the content. They allow you to select if you are burying or thumbing down the content because it is spam, content you dislike, duplicate content, etc. This additional information gives their algorithms a better feel for why it wasn’t well received.
Judging by the behavior of most users on the five-point rating system, the natural conclusion would be to rid any scaled rating systems with boolean voting. This creates a problem for people not wanting to give a full thumbs up or vote for some minuscule reason. So maybe adding a way to vote in the middle, with a sideways thumb, half-vote, or something similar should solve all the world’s problems at that point, right?
What do you, as social media users, feel is a good metric for rating content?
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.