Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Five Worthless Stars

YouTube explains something I always suspected: The vast majority of videos that are rated are given five stars. (This is by no means a shocking piece of news, more that it proves out what we all suspected.)

Seems like when it comes to ratings it’s pretty much all or nothing. Great videos prompt action; anything less prompts indifference. Thus, the ratings system is primarily being used as a seal of approval, not as an editorial indicator of what the community thinks about a video. Rating a video joins favoriting and sharing as a way to tell the world that this is something you love.

This seems to have driven the current trend of “favroting” (or “liking” on Tumblr). Netflix, I suspect, is an exception to the rule, partly because they explain so clearly the benefit to yourself of rating movies (better recommendations) and partly because they’re one of the few sites that explain what stars mean (one star is hate, two stars is didn’t like, three stars is like, four is really liked, five is loved … or something like that). Also reminds me of the post I wrote about the personal rules people apply to rating systems.

September 23, 2009