Friday, November 30, 2012

Enough with the ratings already! -- a rant

It just dawned on me that it is preposterous to rate the "helpfulness" of other (unknown, probably inexpert) people's ratings of products. How do I know if a rating is "helpful" or not? I won't know if they're right until I read the book/watch the movie/whatever; and, having no idea who wrote the comments, of the value of their opinions, or whether their views are likely to line up with mine, I'm really unqualified to assess their merit. And I was noticing (on Netflix) that each comment was rated helpful by all users who bothered to rate it--e.g., "2 out of 2 members found this comment helpful"; "4 out of 4 members," etc. So, clearly, no one is rating comments "unhelpful"--or almost no one--because why would you? And probably you just say one is "helpful" if it confirms what you wanted to do anyway; on what other basis would you judge it?

Oh, and why do I care how many other members found a comment "helpful," by whatever standard of "helpfulness" they happened to be using?

Where will it all end, anyway? Will we start rating the helpfulness of the helpfulness ratings?

I do believe that we're approaching the ad absurdum limit of the Feedback Era.

2 comments:

undine said...

I do give some "unhelpful" ratings from time to time, just so that the better ones rise to the top. It's mostly for movies or books, though.

heu mihi said...

OK, I can see the sense in that. And certainly there are some foolish comments that need to be punished (or particularly well informed ones that must be praised).

Mostly I'm just tired of being called on to give feedback. After talking to my insurance provider, I'm asked to complete a survey. Amazon wants me to rate not only products and transactions, but *packaging*. Surely this must end somewhere??