• I’m with you 100% on that Rarst! We should do away with all ratings, they become useless. What happens when you find one piece of software that you think is awesome? You’ll rate that a 9/10 (or 4/5 stars). And then when the next piece of software comes along you’ll compare it to your top piece. And if it does better? Well you can’t give it a 10 can you? It’s not perfect, so you’ll give it a 9.5 and from then on your entire rating system is just shot. Take a look at video game rating systems.

  • @Angelo

    Exactly, too much high ratings ruins system.

    Games are tad different – at least they have common goal in entertainment value. As well as established genres. Together that makes rating at least somewhat viable.

    But software has nothing in common most of the time.

  • Kane

    I rely more on the description and comments from others then I do the scoring system. However, I still like a scoring system. Tracking the number of downloads is useful too. If a piece of software constantly gets a high rating then I’m almost certain to try it out. If it’s a consistently low rating then probably not unless it will scratch whatever itch I’m having. :)

  • @Kane

    I am torn on comments. Sometimes they are relevant, sometimes are not. May look at them but I am not confident to use them as main metric.

    Number of downloads only works for popular software. Small stuff may do task perfectly but isn’t hyped and so downloaded as much.

    Part of the problem is that there is such thing as “consistently low rating” for software. There are (of course) apps that plain suck but how many reviews there are that start with “I decided to review utility that outright sucks and I rate it 1/10” ? :)

  • kalmly

    If you think plain folks know what they are talking about, or how to rate a computer program, check out GOTD site. Scary. I do like to read comments that assure me a program will not destroy my hard drive and will uninstall nicely if I decide it isn’t my cup of tea. Doesn’t it come down to personal preference? I have a treasure of a little application that few people have ever heard of – mostly because there is/was a load of hype for similar programs but not so for this one. I would rate it a 10 and the others a 5 (maybe a 7) because I like small. However, others like big. I like fingers on keyboard, though others like mousing. I like do it once, though others don’t seem to mind digging and clicking. SO – my rating wouldn’t mean much to those “others”.

    I do like input from reviewers, like yourself, especially those that compare the program to similar ones. If you don’t want to rate it, I don’t really care. It’s the words I pay attention to, though others prefer stars.

  • @kalmly

    It just occured to me when I was thinking over comments as metric that negative experience is more likely to be reported in those. Getting hard drive destroyed is stronger motivator than not getting hard drive destroyed. :)

    Difference in user preferences is also contributing to issue a lot (didn’t make it into post). It especially hurts when basis for rating is subjective.

    For same app:
    Blogger A would rate 8 for portable.
    Blogger B would rate 6 for boring.
    Blogger C would rate 4 for small banner in the corner.

    Which one (if any) of these ratings is relevant to user would be completely up to user’s preferences.

    So far comments are for good descriptions. :) I wonder if someone pro-stars will share an opinion.

  • You’ve made some good points here regarding what we too fine to be one of the trickiest parts of running a software website. At Softonic, we have a strict rating system, shared across our different locales, which deducts and awards points for various parts of each program, as well as a 2-point ‘bonus’ based on the editor’s general feeling about the software in question. It’s not a perfect system but it does allow us to justify a low score when a developer questions our rating.

    The biggest problem is that many of our competitors seem only too happy to dish out 10/10 ratings purely so they can get their site’s logo included on the developer’s homepage. This cynical approach to editorial review has made a lot of users mistrustful of starred ratings on software websites, and I understand why.

    In the end though, at Softonic we feel that a well-written review accompanied by a carefully considered rating out of 5 stars, offer all of our visitors the best of both worlds. We also hope that our users recognise that we rarely give a program 10/10, and so when a program receives that score, it truly is something special.

  • @Tom Clarke

    Yep, I guess strict and defined system negates at least part of issues with rating.

    Thanks for dropping by and extensive comment! Reminds me I should browse Softonic. I don’t spend much time on software portals but lately Appnews.net forces me to. :)

  • I say if you go with the rating, give a rating on 100 points. This way, even if you review only good software, 100 points gives you a lot more room than 5 stars. You know, there’s a lot between a 4 stars and a 5 stars.

    The benefit I can see of using a rating would be to make a nice monthly recap or a year recap of the best softwares you’ve reviewed through the year.

    I personally don’t care if you put a rating or not, but putting a rating certainly won’t hurt your readership. I think it can only improve your readership because of the people looking for a rating…for a number of different reasons.

    By establishing strict guidelines, I think you can reach the best of both worlds. ;)


  • @Ben

    Why not 1000 then? :) Would be recap of software that scored high, not necessarily best.

    putting a rating certainly won’t hurt your readership
    Had you forgot how bad I am at things I am supposed to do? :) This blog is not run by visitor expectations, it is run by me.

    Hadn’t seen comment from you in ages, still workburied?

  • No problems Rarst, it’s important to run everything like you want it to be run! ;)

    Yeah, I’ve been quiet lately, busy with a lot of stuff offline. Still related to the Web, but more on the consulting side. I should be more active this summer ;)


  • I agree. This was something I think Samer had struggled with over at FreewareGenius. Basically, my approach is “I like it enough to post about it, but your mileage may vary”. You get out of the software what you put into it.

    I don’t mind the readers rating my articles, per se – but I’m hoping they are doing so based upon the quality of content I am posting in addition to the quality of software, but who knows…

    Good post R,

  • @Rob

    Rating articles is different metric. It is feedback and something easily displayed and combined to highlight top content.

    And yes – there is problem of readers confusing rating post and rating what post is about.

    I am considering implementing Google Friend Connect stuff and one of their lates additions is “recommend” button. I think it’s better approach to rating posts than 1-X scale.

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