Sunday, May 11, 2008

What the Stars Mean and Why No Story Gets One or Two

The star system is a way of configuring just how much I liked the story. One could translate the stars as Amazon's ranking system would.

* = I hate it
** = I didn't like it
*** = It's okay
**** = I liked it
***** = I loved it
I see no reason to write about stories I don't like--it wastes my time, encourages people to look at stories there's a good chance they'll dislike as well, and unnecessarily might insult some authors. But why, in that case, even include the three-star stories?

Most of the three-star stories here are really what I'd think of as three and a half stars--I didn't feel like I could quite give them four, lest everything on here have four stars. Often, they're the represent the best of a week or two worth of reading--in other words, they're not only better than a lot of one- and two-star stories but also than a lot of other three-star stories. That is, they're really better than okay. They're good.

I'd prefer to think of the three, four, and five star meanings this way--as Yahoo! would rank its music--rather than as Amazon would rank its books:

*** = I liked the story. I enjoyed reading it and encourage others to check it out.
**** = I loved this story. I will likely read it again sometime.

***** = I can't get enough of this story. This is a classic; I am glad I was alive to have read this.

Not too many stories get five stars. So if I stuck with just five and four stars, there'd be no real hierarchy at all.

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