On RPGnet, for example, we discovered that 90% of this 5-point rating system was 3 or higher with an average around 4.
Randy Farmer of Yahoo suggests that this scale limitation is particularly troublesome for fan-based ratings, such as those found on episodic TV sites: Only the fans of a show evaluate the episodes, and being fans, will never rate an episode one or two stars, ever.
First, we need to provide raters with , so that they provide meaningful ratings.
We've already seen that this can be done by requesting detailed ratings: when a person takes the time to write text, and knows that his name will be attached to it, he generally does a better job in his rating.
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In many cases, a 5-star rating system where most of the ratings are either 3 or 4 is actually no better then just a thumbs-up/thumbs-down rating system.
All of this makes rating music on i Tunes very useful.Yet it has a 6.1 of 10 "Fair" rating on ) Thus even when a bimodal distribution is not a problem, on a 5-point scale the upward bias often results in only 2 or 3 meaningful data points.This is problematic because it minimizes differentiation.One method to accomplish this is to make ratings -- as I briefly mentioned in my previous article on this topic -- and encourage standards so that an "average" rating is 2 or 3, not 4.As an example of how to accomplish both of these goals with already existing 5-point rating scales, I've detailed my own experiences with using ratings on two popular services -- i Tunes and Amazon.