1098: "Star Ratings"

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endolith
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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby endolith » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:19 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:The 1 star reviews are the ones you want to pay attention to.


"I can't believe this broke after I ran it over with my SUV! I'm outraged! 1 star!"

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby PolakoVoador » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:46 pm UTC

I don't believe I'm the first one to remember this comic

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby bmonk » Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:46 pm UTC

pkcommando wrote:
San Fran Sam wrote:Oh really? I guess you never saw Ishtar.

Anyone who says they saw Ishtar, never saw Ishtar.

Is the converse true?

I never saw Ishtar.
Having become a Wizard on n.p. 2183, the Yellow Piggy retroactively appointed his honorable self a Temporal Wizardly Piggy on n.p.1488, not to be effective until n.p. 2183, thereby avoiding a partial temporal paradox. Since he couldn't afford two philosophical PhDs to rule on the title.

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby sotanaht » Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:35 pm UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:Huh. That would be a wierd cemetary. How would we determine peoples' ratings upon death? And what effects would this have on the cemetary, I wonder?


Actually, I was thinking that those were the ratings the people interred there gave the cemetery. After making that connection it isn't that much of a leap to think that the people who rated it were then killed in order for them to be buried there.

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby Laverock » Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:09 pm UTC

Speaking of cemeteries, I was pondering the other day whether we will start to see tombstones with QR codes linking to the deceased's biographies ...

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby mcdigman » Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:53 am UTC

On sites like amazon, I have to wonder if the reason this happens isn't partly due to the influence of past ratings on future ratings. For example, if the first review is positive, more people buy the product and rate it, meaning that the rating may be more likely to tend towards a "true" product rating. If the first review is negative, then the people who buy it do so in spite of a negative review (assuming there are alternatives) which means they may like it at about a 3 star level, but in order to make the average 3 stars they might give it 5 stars to balance the one (or vice versa if the first review was positive...). It would be nice if they employed some sort of hybrid ratings/popularity/number of ratings algorithm to control for early volatility.

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby Tova » Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:15 am UTC

JimsMaher wrote:People tend to rate things at one extreme or the other. If it's 3 and a half stars, chances are there are a lot of 5 star reviews and a lot of 1 star reviews. The 1 star reviews are the ones you want to pay attention to.


You still need to read the 1-star reviews reasonably carefully, especially if you're looking at something with hype backlash.
People often don't give an honest review in the star rating - they give the rating in an attempt to influence the average back to where they think it should be instead. Very annoying.

"Was pretty decent, but not is great as all the hype might make you think - 1 star" <-- I mean, seriously. :roll:
(Real example, albeit rephrased as I don't remember the precise wording)

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby mmmCatSoup » Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:16 am UTC

Laverock wrote:Speaking of cemeteries, I was pondering the other day whether we will start to see tombstones with QR codes linking to the deceased's biographies ...


That is actually a great idea! I seriously think I'll do that. Of course after a couple decades you'd wind up with a bunch of 404 errors, Unless someone (Me?) set up a website where you could write your own biography with some photos and videos and have it hosted forever for say, 5-10 dollars. I better grab QRepitaph.com before someone else takes this idea.

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby Someguy945 » Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:49 am UTC

Product took 2 weeks to arrive due to a shipping error. 1 star.

Works great though.

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby VDZ » Thu Aug 23, 2012 5:19 am UTC

Just wanted to post to say that this is the best xkcd alt text ever. I don't think I've ever seen such a well-done plot twist in a story that short.

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby Editer » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:17 am UTC

Whether this comic is true depends on the product and who's likely to have used/watched it. Movie reviews on Amazon et al. tend toward many stars because many people who wouldn't like the film don't bother watching in the first place. So it's best to think of those as "ratings by people who wanted to like this movie".

Professional critics' ratings are another matter, since they have to watch pretty much every movie or show for their job, so self-selection doesn't enter into it.

Ratings of everyday products will tend to follow the latter model, I think, because if one-third of a company's widgets are crap, you can't self-select away from the defective ones.
These days, if you don't have ADD, you not paying close enough attention. -- J.P. Barlow

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby Editer » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:18 am UTC

VDZ wrote:Just wanted to post to say that this is the best xkcd alt text ever. I don't think I've ever seen such a well-done plot twist in a story that short.


This.
These days, if you don't have ADD, you not paying close enough attention. -- J.P. Barlow

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby Red Hal » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:28 am UTC

★☆☆☆☆ Though you did nothing wrong, I am giving you this negative feedback to teach you that the universe is arbitrary and unfair.
Lost Greatest Silent Baby X Y Z. "There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain..."

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby The Moomin » Thu Aug 23, 2012 11:27 am UTC

I got in an argument with someone on Amazon as they had rated a book with one star prior to it being released.

Their reason for such a low rating was that Amazon stated it had a low page count, which was innacurate.

I think no matter what rating system you choose to adopt, people are so determined in their stupidity they will render it meaningless.
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The cats are alive because I'm alive.
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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby Wumbo » Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:19 pm UTC

Really inaccurate imo. Changes I would make

4.5-4.9 stars = cat video or other inoffensive but mildly amusing picture or video
4 stars = ok or better writing, uncontroversial, most people agree (4-4.9 if posted on a niche community full of people who feel validated by the rare writing on their hobby)
3-3.5 stars = well written but controversial, people either vote 1 or 5 based on whether or not they agree
2.5-2.9 = not well written, controversial. People who agree usually don't bother voting, people who don't vote 1
2.4 or less = genuinely crap. Up to 4 can be genuinely crap if there's also people who feel pity for post.

Maybe it varies for products, but if we're talking posts or youtube videos, it's definitely like this keke

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby sam_i_am » Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:38 pm UTC

Whenever I make the decision to buy things(especially computer parts) I always make sure I read the bad and medium reviews before I buy it.

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby PolakoVoador » Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:42 pm UTC

The Moomin wrote:I got in an argument with someone on Amazon as they had rated a book with one star prior to it being released.

Their reason for such a low rating was that Amazon stated it had a low page count, which was innacurate.

I think no matter what rating system you choose to adopt, people are so determined in their stupidity they will render it meaningless.


Exactly, there are no limits to general stupidity.

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby J Thomas » Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:01 pm UTC

Editer wrote:Whether this comic is true depends on the product and who's likely to have used/watched it. Movie reviews on Amazon et al. tend toward many stars because many people who wouldn't like the film don't bother watching in the first place. So it's best to think of those as "ratings by people who wanted to like this movie".

Professional critics' ratings are another matter, since they have to watch pretty much every movie or show for their job, so self-selection doesn't enter into it.

Ratings of everyday products will tend to follow the latter model, I think, because if one-third of a company's widgets are crap, you can't self-select away from the defective ones.


But chances are you're looking for the movie review because you are thinking about watching the movie and you want to like it. So the self-selection is likely to be just the self-selection you want.

If you're looking for a horror movie you want people who like horror movies to tell you how good a horror movie it is. You don't want a bunch of people who don't like horror movies at all to downrate it because it's a horror movie. Their opinions are useless to you.
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby bmonk » Thu Aug 23, 2012 5:16 pm UTC

The Moomin wrote:I got in an argument with someone on Amazon as they had rated a book with one star prior to it being released.

Their reason for such a low rating was that Amazon stated it had a low page count, which was innacurate.

I think no matter what rating system you choose to adopt, people are so determined in their stupidity they will render it meaningless.


One corrective to this: in predictive futures markets--such as predicting the outcome of an election--people use real money, if in small amounts. Since it affects them, they tend to vote less stupidly.
Having become a Wizard on n.p. 2183, the Yellow Piggy retroactively appointed his honorable self a Temporal Wizardly Piggy on n.p.1488, not to be effective until n.p. 2183, thereby avoiding a partial temporal paradox. Since he couldn't afford two philosophical PhDs to rule on the title.

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby BlindWanderer » Thu Aug 23, 2012 5:18 pm UTC

Believe it or not, when J.D. Power and Associates does it's ratings, this is how they interpret the scores.
They distribute a survey asking for ratings from 1 to 10. Anything that is not a 8, 9 or a 10 is counted as if it were 1.

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby cream wobbly » Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:23 pm UTC

I would tend to argue that an average of 1 star generally means the same thing as an average 5 star rating: that only one review has been submitted.

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby J L » Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:54 pm UTC

It's not really true for books on Amazon, especially if they have only <20 reviews. Many readers tend to know only two categories: "totally awesome!!1!" and "total crap!21!"

I wouldn't buy e.g. a camera or other hardware with less than 4 stars, though.

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby Max™ » Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:24 am UTC

sam_i_am wrote:Whenever I make the decision to buy things(especially computer parts) I always make sure I read the bad and medium reviews before I buy it.

This is how I found the parts for my computer, how I decided which monitor I'm getting next, and how I discovered water base pillows.

"This pillow was ok at first, but it hurt my neck because I couldn't adjust the support to be comfortable front to back, knew I should have gotten the water base pillow my friend suggested."

'Hmmm, water base?'

*googles*

Seriously, get one.

No I did not rate it, I don't rate or like things except when inappropriate or amusing.
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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby Wumbo » Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:42 am UTC

BlindWanderer wrote:Believe it or not, when J.D. Power and Associates does it's ratings, this is how they interpret the scores.
They distribute a survey asking for ratings from 1 to 10. Anything that is not a 8, 9 or a 10 is counted as if it were 1.

I believe it. Very few people vote anything other than very high or 1. Some people thought think of a 5 or 6 as basically a barely passing grade, so they'll vote that when the majority of people who see something they think barely passes just vote 1 to advise others to do something/buy something better. It makes a lot of sense to have those low votes conform, but keep the high votes which sometimes people really do mean good but not quite perfect if they don't vote 10.

A good exception to all these things is if your votes are kept and available for personal use (such as a site where you rate your favourite movies or albums or shows). In these cases where people have a list in order of what they voted highest, if they have a lot of items they tend to value having them in the actual order they think they belong and one being rated lower than another has to have meaning to them, as it means they liked it less than everything higher. IMO that doesn't mean that the system would be anymore useful in terms of averages, but it's a nice thought that if you find someone of similar taste you can look at their list for high rated things you haven't heard of. An automated system for finding users with the most matching works (while still having a few non-matching works) would be incredible helpful in finding things you like (though not necessarily expanding your tastes). Currently, I find synopses most useful in determining the quality of a entertainment work, since bad ones tend to have pretty obviously interesting on the drawing board but will never be executed genuinely indicators. For anything else, I try to learn a lot about a brand (especially expensive electronic purchases), but what I find is that the further you dig, the more incompetent users you find complaining about something they broke themselves but thing broke on its own. I've ended up buying many products anyway so long as reviews weren't hideous across the board or bad reviews by users I recognize and trust. I remember looking up a lot of reviews for a certain mp3 player which has many youtube review videos of people complaining about the unresponsiveness of the screen when they just didn't know the difference between resistive and capacitive, so that when I received the product I found it completely responsive and pleasant to use. When it comes to tech you really have to be aware of what bad reviews are likely a user issue, and what ones are real issues... A short review like 'mine became a brick after two days' or 'the left earphone stopped working after a week' is almost always someone who just doesn't take care of their belongings.

Sorry for the rant in a comic strip thread, but I wanted to share this wisdom :) If you look at bad reviews first remember to be almost as critical as you are of shills and people with nothing to compare their experience to.

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby SilasX » Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:00 pm UTC

That's why ratings (like light and sound) have to be gauged on a logarithmic scale.

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby Editer » Sat Aug 25, 2012 2:56 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:
Editer wrote:Whether this comic is true depends on the product and who's likely to have used/watched it. Movie reviews on Amazon et al. tend toward many stars because many people who wouldn't like the film don't bother watching in the first place. So it's best to think of those as "ratings by people who wanted to like this movie".

Professional critics' ratings are another matter, since they have to watch pretty much every movie or show for their job, so self-selection doesn't enter into it.

Ratings of everyday products will tend to follow the latter model, I think, because if one-third of a company's widgets are crap, you can't self-select away from the defective ones.


But chances are you're looking for the movie review because you are thinking about watching the movie and you want to like it. So the self-selection is likely to be just the self-selection you want.

If you're looking for a horror movie you want people who like horror movies to tell you how good a horror movie it is. You don't want a bunch of people who don't like horror movies at all to downrate it because it's a horror movie. Their opinions are useless to you.


True but the ratings will still be inflated. And if you're not an enthusiast of a particular film genre but are looking for something different from your usual, the user ratings will be misleading unless you take that into account. Just sayin'.
These days, if you don't have ADD, you not paying close enough attention. -- J.P. Barlow

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby J Thomas » Sat Aug 25, 2012 1:32 pm UTC

Editer wrote:
J Thomas wrote:
Editer wrote:Whether this comic is true depends on the product and who's likely to have used/watched it. Movie reviews on Amazon et al. tend toward many stars because many people who wouldn't like the film don't bother watching in the first place. So it's best to think of those as "ratings by people who wanted to like this movie".

Professional critics' ratings are another matter, since they have to watch pretty much every movie or show for their job, so self-selection doesn't enter into it.

Ratings of everyday products will tend to follow the latter model, I think, because if one-third of a company's widgets are crap, you can't self-select away from the defective ones.


But chances are you're looking for the movie review because you are thinking about watching the movie and you want to like it. So the self-selection is likely to be just the self-selection you want.

If you're looking for a horror movie you want people who like horror movies to tell you how good a horror movie it is. You don't want a bunch of people who don't like horror movies at all to downrate it because it's a horror movie. Their opinions are useless to you.


True but the ratings will still be inflated. And if you're not an enthusiast of a particular film genre but are looking for something different from your usual, the user ratings will be misleading unless you take that into account. Just sayin'.


Agreed. If you are thinking about trying canned haggis, or maybe marmite for the very first time, it probably won't help you much to find out which brand is liked better by the people who really like it.
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby Flyingants » Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:18 pm UTC

I found something on Amazon with a full 5 star rating and 250 reviews.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001H53Q8A/ref=s9_simh_gw_p200_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1HZG4SHHD9427BCKYP4G&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1389517282&pf_rd_i=507846

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby Max™ » Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:37 am UTC

Flyingants wrote:I found something on Amazon with a full 5 star rating and 250 reviews.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001H5 ... d_i=507846

*magics your link to work*

Ka-bar kukri is hard to go wrong with, but it's 4.8 of 5 technically.

I was amused by this: http://www.amazon.com/Cold-Steel-Bokken ... ewpoints=0

Polypropylene "bokken" (strictly speaking would be a pusarikkuken or renshoken, as I recall, since it's not a "wooden sword" which is what bokken means) and the two 1 star reviews are: "it never came" and "it said the length was 30 inches but it's actually 40 inches"...

    41.5-inch overall length
    30-inch blade
    11.5-inch handle
    One-inch thickness
    17.7-ounce weight
    Blade and handle made of durable polypropylene


Hmmm... but yeah, only complaints I can imagine would be "damn thing broke my friends expensive bokken", or "it's not an appalachian hickory bokken, which is also indestructible and gorgeous".
mu

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby eran_rathan » Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:19 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:
Flyingants wrote:I found something on Amazon with a full 5 star rating and 250 reviews.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001H5 ... d_i=507846

*magics your link to work*

Ka-bar kukri is hard to go wrong with, but it's 4.8 of 5 technically.

I was amused by this: http://www.amazon.com/Cold-Steel-Bokken ... ewpoints=0

Polypropylene "bokken" (strictly speaking would be a pusarikkuken or renshoken, as I recall, since it's not a "wooden sword" which is what bokken means) and the two 1 star reviews are: "it never came" and "it said the length was 30 inches but it's actually 40 inches"...

    41.5-inch overall length
    30-inch blade
    11.5-inch handle
    One-inch thickness
    17.7-ounce weight
    Blade and handle made of durable polypropylene


Hmmm... but yeah, only complaints I can imagine would be "damn thing broke my friends expensive bokken", or "it's not an appalachian hickory bokken, which is also indestructible and gorgeous".


the one star review is funny:
"I crit with this item and did not receive the extra 2d6 points of damage I was owed. Would not recommend."
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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby Max™ » Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:32 pm UTC

Ah, I just remembered a Memphis treasure: http://www.insiderpages.com/member/3126730134

Fair warning, I've been laughing so hard I cried for the last several minutes as I tried to read them out lout to the gf.

Two in particular BORK'D MY FUCKING BRAIN:

Michelle O wrote:The Home Depot
06/22/05: 'Home Depot is one of the best in Memphis TN'

Home Depot is one of the best in Memphis TN the parking is ok but sometimes its hard to find parking because its always crowded in than when you find parking its always at the of the parking lot. But the store itself is great because you can find everything you need under one roof assistant is always available if you need any help. You can find tools and everything else like do it yourself kits under a low cost

PROS: great buys
CONS: high cost


Home Depot is one of the best what?

Michelle O wrote:Germantown Parkway Animal Hosp
06/22/05: 'Gemantown Parkway Animal Hospital is an excellent animal hospital'

Gemantown Parkway Animal Hospital is an excellent hospital. I took Sean there the moment we step foot into the animal hospital Sean jumped out of my hands because he felt in love with the hospital. The Germantown Parkway Animal Hospital has everything in one. It has Pet washing & grooming, a animal hospital, in more. The parking location is great the company is well kept up, the doctors are nice to your pets and they give your pet the care in attention your pet needs.


I was reading it out loud and did not expect to see "The Germantown Parkway Animal Hospital has everything in one. It has Pet washing & grooming, a animal hospital, in more." and it took a while to stop crying so I could continue reading.
mu

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby JimsMaher » Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:48 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:People tend to rate things at one extreme or the other. If it's 3 and a half stars, chances are there are a lot of 5 star reviews and a lot of 1 star reviews. The 1 star reviews are the ones you want to pay attention to.


On the contrary:
People tend to rate things on a sliding scale. If it's 3 and a half stars, chances are there are a variety of reviews. All of the reviews are the ones you want to pay attention to.

If you only pay attention to one end of the spectrum, you may wind up biasing yourself towards reviewing at that same end of the spectrum; thereby pigeonholing yourself where you perceive the attention being paid ... that is, if you're inclined to think that you can cheat subjective systems consistently.

Like I said, people have different interpretations.

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby ihuyftdf » Sat Sep 01, 2012 2:16 am UTC

Something that's not come up in this thread is cognitive dissonance.

I think people will rate relatively expensive products highly as part of trying to avoid buyer's remorse.

"This phone is great, it's been out just 3 months, it'll be superseded in 2 more, the battery cannot be changed (and so the mobile nature means you can only be two days from a power outlet). It can't be controlled easily in rain, and woe betide you have a full compliment of digits". Five stars, yes, the maximum. It has to be good, the contract was 36 months long!


BTW, anyone else noticed that with Google captchas you can get one word wrong and it'll still accept you as human? The word that is clearer can be whatever you want, and only the more difficult one has to be correct.

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby Max™ » Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:26 am UTC

Adbots in my ratings comic discussion thread?

It's more likely than you think.
mu

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby mathmannix » Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:30 pm UTC

How about this? For everyone who submits a rating (on Amazon, Ebay, wherever), they have to first rate several specific things, that everyone has to rate, as a sort of control group. For example,

Star Wars Episode IV *****
Star Wars Episode I **---
Raiders *****
Crystal Skull *----

Please feel free to suggest alternatives to my list.
I hear velociraptor tastes like chicken.

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby VectorZero » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:42 am UTC

jeeez, don't just tell them the answers!
Van wrote:Fireballs don't lie.

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:04 am UTC

mathmannix wrote:How about this? For everyone who submits a rating (on Amazon, Ebay, wherever), they have to first rate several specific things, that everyone has to rate, as a sort of control group. For example,

Star Wars Episode IV *****
Star Wars Episode I **---
Raiders *****
Crystal Skull *----

Please feel free to suggest alternatives to my list.


There's an obvious problem with this... http://xkcd.com/1053/

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Re: 1098: "Star Ratings"

Postby VectorZero » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:07 am UTC

Obviously it includes a link to purchase those movies, though.
Van wrote:Fireballs don't lie.


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