To me, all the systems present the same information; the only difference is in the number of categories it makes. There's absolutely no difference in the 5-star scale and the letter grade scale. In both, you're breaking all movies into 5 categories, whether it's stars or letters doesn't make any difference. It's like changing a bar graph into a pictogram. They represent the same data, just with different visuals.
I don't think you can accurately categorize movies in 4 or 5 categories. And many of those that use the stars or the letters seem to agree, so they throw in +, -, and 1/2. In doing this, more categories are being created, so why not scale upward. If 5 is too limiting and you need to add 1/2's, why not just go to a 10 point scale, where .5 is now equal to 1, 1 is now equal to 2, 1.5 is now equal to 3, and so on.
I like the 10 point scale. It gives me a reasonable number of categories to break things down, however, there is a need to differentiate between those those almost good enough to make it into the next category and those that just barely make it in that category. This is why people switch to the 100 point scale, however, as others have pointed out, if you break everything into 100 categories, there's little difference between one category and those around it (how much different is 50 to 49 and 51).
For this reason, I use + and - when necessary to better display a film's ranking within a category. The + and - are less concrete than adding another number but gives those viewing it a better sense of its placement without further creating more categories.
Of course, there's also the issue of how the person defines each category. A 50 on one person's scale might be a 65 on another.
I'm rather fond of Netflix's 5-star system since it leads to the least amount of waffling on my part. 100-point scales are too fiddly. With my indecisiveness it would take me 5 minutes to decide if a film should rate 87 or 88. A 10-point scale likely wouldn't be much better. Four-star scales are no good because there isn't a satisfactory middle rating. That said, I use letter grades here because "5 stars" looks so dorky written out. Heheh.
The 100 point scale is the ideal scale because it gives the most options for minute changes in opinion. And, yes, it is dependent on other films but what's wrong with that? Basically I watch a movie, get a general impression of "that's sort of a low six" and then compare the movie to other low sixes to see exactly what it lines up to.
However, even though I voted for the 100 point scale, I think letter grades are definitely the ones I have an easier time giving (though I base them on the 100 point scale). "C" being average (65 on my 100 point scale), it's so easy to go from there and assign grades based on how much above or below average it is.
Greenmind you say
66 is a mid-6
91 is just above an 8
Wouldn't it work better like this
91 - 100 10
81 - 90 9
71 - 80 8
61 - 70 7
51 - 60 6
41 - 50 5
31 - 40 4
21 - 30 3
11 - 20 2
01 - 10 1
Rather surprisingly to anyone that checks my movie lists, I voted for the four-star scale. It's what I use on my website, and what I use personally...it just doesn't look that great when formatted on this site.
I'm guilty too of using my system of choice: the five-unit system. I don't use stars because it's too Hollywood.
I mean voting for my system of choice. Confound the quick posting capabilities of Listology!
The 100 pt. scale is flat-out insane. What separates a 66 and a 67? It's crazy.
(The only place I use the four star scale is on the web site because that's how it was coded. For personal records, I use the American letter-grading system.)
What separates a 66 and a 67?
That's easy. A 66 is a mid-6. Hence it's something that's pretty much just above average. A 67 is a high six bringing it closer to a seven but not as good as other movies that are close to a 7.
Yes, the 100 point scale is completely insane. Perhaps my use of it is one of the reasons why I'm slowly losing my mind.
Wow, no votes yet for the traditional four-star scale. What would Leonard Maltin and Roger Ebert say?
Maltin is an ape.
But seriously, are you considering of restructuring your rating system? Because I like it how it is.
1922 (who is not very proud of his bold statement)
I'll probably keep it as is. I need to start sticking with things instead of quitting halfway through.
I prefer the grading system (I think it's more flexible than people give it credit for), but lately, against my will, I've started thinking in numbers a la the MD'A scale (mainly just in terms of borderline cases). I swear, though, that I will never switch. It's too much of a hassle.
It is a hassle (not to mention more than a little arbitrary) and recently I've been wondering if it's worth the trouble. Of course, if I went back to letter grades, everyone outside the U.S. of A. would be left out in the cold.
Aside from that big ol' country just to your north. ;)
Wait, there's a country to our north? ;-)
I'm not from the US, and i can perfectly understand letter grades, hell i use them.
DFN, you have found an excellent way to get a lot of votes. ;)
I'm surprised to see so many early votes for the 100 point scale. Interesting.
I voted for the 100 point scale, because it allows a more detailled rating of each film. With a five star rating for example, you sometimes feel that two movies that get 4 stars are not equally good.
But on the other hand, a 4 or 5 star rating is for the reader easier to understand.
What I don't like though is the letter- system, because I cannot "identify" with it.
I think the letters are familiar to me because I always received letter grades in school.
I agree with you. The letter grade is easier for me because I am use to giving those types of grades to my students.b
I honestly have great trouble taking the 100-point scale seriously.
I am a bad person.
So do I...and I use it! ;-)
Which is probably the best combination possible... :)
My favorite is probably the five-star system, so, of course, I use a four-star system.
i do believe the 100 point scale is a bit ridiculous... I'm going to vote for the 10 point scale because that is basically what I use... i just add another digit for relative ratings, they mean nothing... the only difference between a 99 and a 91 is that i think the 99 is better than the 91, but they are both 9's... which i guess you could argue is the point of the 100 point scale, but i just don't see it that way(no disrespect meant to anyone but NO ONE can possibly rate a film independent of any other films on a 100 point scale without being completely arbitrary)... then again i guess you could say I use a 5 star scale because I basically only use 6 through 10 of the 10 point scale with anything less than 6 unrated(a zero stars)... I guess I can't really decide... basically I use the most specific but I arrive there through the most general... I guess it all depends what your purpose is... if you are rating the movies independently then I think 4 or 5 star or letter grade systems are best... but if you are rating movies in order to rank them, as I do, then 10 or 100 or the letter grades with + or - is best... i guess my vote has to go to 100 then, since i use it.
Yes but the 91 is just above an 8 whereas the 99 is almost perfect. In school, there's a big difference between an A- 91 and an A+ 99.