Adding ratings to FanFare? March 31, 2016 8:05 AM   Subscribe

Would anyone else like to see a rating system added to FanFare?

Is there any interest in adding a rating system to FanFare posts? Not a rating of the post, but of the episode/movie/book/season/whatever being discussed. Not sure how difficult it would be to implement, but if there were an easy way for users to add perhaps a five-star system or a score out of ten to a post (not a comment), would you use it?

I find myself reading about shows or movies I've never seen, and although you can get an impression of how well received something has been, it's not always clear. Obviously it's something well used elsewhere so you could argue it's just duplicating those efforts, but I appreciate the hivemind's opinions. Thoughts?
posted by GhostintheMachine to Feature Requests at 8:05 AM (38 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I kind of like this idea. Maybe just import/tweak the "vote" feature from Projects, so that the number of "votes" for a FanFare post would be an indicator of quality?
posted by Rock Steady at 8:26 AM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

My own sense of this is that, although I see the appeal of the idea, it takes a critical mass of people rating things, for those kinds of star ratings to be useful, and I'm not convinced that we have that at Fanfare yet.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:28 AM on March 31, 2016 [3 favorites]

It seems kind of pointless. If I don't watch something and don't like it and don't participate in the FF threads, should I go and rate it zero? Does that mean anything for the people who do like it and discuss it on FF, or the hate-watchers who have lengthy discussions? Is anyone using FF as their sole source of judging what to watch but doesn't have time to skim the threads to see if people are raving or complaining? I mean, if you want a quick "is this any good" there are tons of existing sites with ratings/reviews.
Star ratings are often useless anyway - if something is kind of OK, everyone rates it 5/10. If some people LOVE something and others HATE it, it gets all 1/10s and 10/10s and the average rating shown is... 5/10. But that is nothing like a straight 5/10 show. So what use are the ratings?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:38 AM on March 31, 2016 [3 favorites]

One more vote against it. I would rather have discussions more focused on what people like than "Is it really a B+, or an A-?"
posted by Etrigan at 8:50 AM on March 31, 2016 [5 favorites]

I'm on board with this but only if it's trackable to the user. So like if someone in a thread on the blue is being shirty I can click over to fanfare and be all "oh yes well they only gave Drop Dead Gorgeous one star, obviously their flaws run deep," completely write them off as a human being, and move along.
posted by phunniemee at 8:54 AM on March 31, 2016 [9 favorites]

I'd like a "vote for this" type of option that gave people a way to express enthusiasm.

Maybe a "I've seen this" button, meaning the person saw the episode/film/book in question and appreciated it was posted, but doesn't have anything else to contribute?
posted by lmfsilva at 9:00 AM on March 31, 2016 [3 favorites]

I think part of the problem with all ratings systems, too, is that there's a big difference between "Is this Good?" and "Is this a solid example of what it is?" For example, I LOVE the movie National Treasure. I think it's a ton of fun! I think it deserves like four stars out of four stars because it was never trying to be a movie on more than a four-star rating system but it earns 100% of the stars it could possibly get. It's never going to be Citizen Kane and it's bonkers to try to rate them the same way.

But like Temple of Doom is a one out of six because it's shitty, but shitty at a different level than pretentious claptrap that's a one out of ten (like maybe you think American Beauty is really awful, I don't know, I haven't seen it since high school, but it's clearly trying to be Good, right? So you can't rate it the same as Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 because they're so different so American Beauty gets zero out of eight and Paul Blart gets zero out of one) or like how Uptown Girls is a one out of four because it was lazy as fuck and a huge disappointment. It's way more useful because you know whether a movie's REALLY GOOD or like a really fun and well done movie that's maybe never going to win an Oscar or anything.

If we enact a rating system for FanFare posts, I demand that users be able to determine both the numerator and the denominator on a per-item basis or what is even the point?
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:21 AM on March 31, 2016 [11 favorites]

Temple of Doom: 2/5 Harrison Fords
National Treasure: 5/5 Nic Cages
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2: 3/5 Blarts
posted by phunniemee at 9:29 AM on March 31, 2016 [7 favorites]

Ebert's law states "A movie is not about what it is about. It is about how it is about it. "

Adding ratings to FanFare would bring it more in-line with my beloved TelevisionWithoutPity/MightyBigTV (yes i'm internet old), but yes, seconding the 'not without a critical mass).

Is the point to get a general sense of what MeFites think of a particular piece of media, or a sense of what the overall sentiment is out there? because a metacritic pull would probably not be that difficult, tho it feels a little feature-creep-y to me.
posted by softlord at 9:37 AM on March 31, 2016

A vote based system would be pretty useless. Popular things get more votes because more people have seen them and are thus able to vote on their goodness. It doesn't really reflect anything about the quality of those things.

A ratings based system would be marginally better, but I'm not sure that it would be enough better to be worth it.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:05 AM on March 31, 2016

This seems like a not very useful idea. Critical mass, who's judging what on which criteria.. I don't see the Yelpification of fanfare as a good thing.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:51 AM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm not a fan of this idea, sorry. I understand the desire to see what your co-mefi'ers tastes are like, but beyond that I don't think I'd get any use out of it.
posted by rhizome at 11:56 AM on March 31, 2016

It just seems very Un MetaFilterish. We all love using our words here. It is one of the distinctive things about the site.
posted by bearwife at 1:06 PM on March 31, 2016 [3 favorites]

There are no shortage of media review and review aggregators out there. A combined rating at fanfare doesn't feel like it would be a big or unique addition. It's more interesting reading the opinions themselves.
posted by bonehead at 1:24 PM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

That said, I think the Siskel and Ebert rating is probably the best if one is absolutely needed. Would you recommend this to another mefite? Is it worth someone's time?
posted by bonehead at 1:26 PM on March 31, 2016

It seems like a shorthand crutch for discussion, when the discussion is the real meat of the site. I want people to engage with their thoughts, not rate and move on.
posted by naju at 2:14 PM on March 31, 2016 [4 favorites]

Also, I don't think I've ever gotten to the end of a FanFare thread and thought, "I still don't know what people thought of this." Some kind of prevailing opinion tends to make itself apparent.
posted by naju at 2:15 PM on March 31, 2016

It would make me like Fanfare less. I like fanfare discussion because it is discussion. An averaging would be a step backwards in my mind.

Besides, that's just so not the metafilter way. I might consider it acceptable if it had a chart showing medium, mean and standard deviation. And a plot. Over a picture of a plate of beans.
posted by phearlez at 2:24 PM on March 31, 2016 [5 favorites]

I would dig ratings if we displayed a histogram of the ratings (say out of a 10-____ scale) instead of a summary statistic. We'd get this: Oh, hey check out that polarizing show! vs. Wow everyone agrees this is terrible! vs. Ooh, people seem to like that one! Such meh!
The upside is that we'd be able to rope in more participation from Mefites who are, for whatever reason, unlikely to make a comment. The downside is that pb would have to figure out how to make a doodad to cutely plot a ratings histogram (perhaps labelled underneath with the total sample size )

There are certainly FanFare threads for media that I have consumed, and enjoyed (or not) that I don't comment in because I don't want to just pollute the thread with "I liked/loathed this." At the same time, if I'm thinking about what to watch (or whether to go to the movies), I often scan FanFare and would love love love to have an at-a-glance "worth a shot?" heuristic from my fellow-Mefites.
posted by janell at 2:37 PM on March 31, 2016

One more vote against it. I would rather have discussions more focused on what people like than "Is it really a B+, or an A-?"

Agree. I don't like the grades at AV Club and the like. It's not an assignment for class. Any replacement of that, like stars, is basically the same thing.
posted by zutalors! at 2:54 PM on March 31, 2016

> The upside is that we'd be able to rope in more participation from Mefites who are, for whatever reason, unlikely to make a comment.

Why is that an upside? The whole point of participation on MetaFilter is commenting. If you don't want to comment, you shouldn't be participating.
posted by languagehat at 3:05 PM on March 31, 2016 [4 favorites]

And then the ratings themselves become a topic of discussion. That seems not fun.
posted by rhizome at 3:44 PM on March 31, 2016 [6 favorites]

Why is that an upside? The whole point of participation on MetaFilter is commenting. If you don't want to comment, you shouldn't be participating.

The upside of my proposal (similar to the vote in projects) would be to know if it's worth keeping posting some shows. I don't mind doing it because have fun writing kind of stupid blurbs for the episodes when I'm in the mood, but sometimes I feel like there's like one or two people who also watch it.

That's why in general, I'd like MeFi in general to have some more participation in FanFare. For instance, the post on the Full Frontal Samantha Bee episode I got six comments. On the Blue, a post about the lead piece got 27, and the same happens with John Oliver pieces, despite JHarris doing a great job on the recaps (and yeah, I'm also guilty of sometimes not commenting). I'm pretty sure there's a lot more people watching both shows, but it seems there's only any discussion bigger than a watercooler chat about them if a post hits the Blue.
posted by lmfsilva at 3:51 PM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

"The upside is that we'd be able to rope in more participation from Mefites who are, for whatever reason, unlikely to make a comment."

I still don't understand why FanFare isn't more popular. I mean, I know I've written (complained) extensively about how I think that MeFi is a relatively small place and the media universe is so fragmented and so of course there's going to be many (most) low-participation threads if every sort of media is available for posting -- but, okay, having said that (again) I'm still surprised that there's not more participation from many people here who participate heavily in other parts of the site and who I know enjoy some of these movies/shows/books/whatever. What is the barrier?

One friend of mine here who matches the description above has mentioned that there's something intimidating about FanFare to her. I didn't quite understand what she meant. I think it had something to do with what I most like about FanFare -- that the discussion (mostly for the best stuff, not so much for the forgettable mediocre stuff) is very informed and the critical analysis is often some of the best I've ever seen. I think that the discussions we have had about, say, Fargo, Better Call Saul, and Hannibal and some others have been as high-quality criticism I've seen anywhere. And maybe for someone who is much more casual about a show is put-off by that. But it's still kind of weird to me because this is the kind of thing we do here.

And then other people have said they don't even look at FanFare -- it's like for many people it's a rump part of the site. I'd really like to know if this is fixable, if it's the case that for those folk FanFare will never be interesting or if there's some kind of needless barrier in the way that we can remove.

I don't think that ratings is the solution, though. I agree with everyone above who thinks that it's not really the MeFi way, that there's not enough of a pool to make the ratings meaningful, and that it doesn't solve an existing problem. But I personally appreciate the suggestion because I want FanFare to succeed and I like to see people thinking about how to help make it better.

"It's an upside when people can feel connected to the site, isn't it? It's not too different than how people can vote for projects without commenting or favorite posts or comments without commenting. I see a very substantial upside if it helps people feel connected in a way that provides an alternative to essentially contentless comments in huge FanFare threads."

I'm not sure if I agree that it's comparable to Projects but I'm also not sure that I like that Projects has voting. Make of that what you will. But I am in emphatic agreement that there's an engagement issue for the majority of mefites -- who don't even look at FanFare -- and that anything we can do to integrate it into the rest of the site and make it more friendly and interesting for people to participate would be a good thing.

FanFare is a big (recently, the larger) part of my MeFi experience. I feel a kind of responsibility a lot of time -- I post episodes if I've posted them in the past and especially if I've noticed that no one else has. I do this because I know that people like to talk about this stuff. But, that said, three-quarters of the threads I participate in are low-participation and the discussion isn't very interactive or interesting. If there's only three people who make a comment each, and usually when it's about a mediocre show, then the discussion isn't very valuable. My observation is that certain kinds of shows won't ever, or rarely, have better threads even if there was high participation because the show/movie/whatever isn't that interesting except as forgettable entertainment and so mostly what anyone has to say amounts to "I liked it" or "look at that shiny thing". But, even so, there's a lot of other things that really could support some good comments and discussion if we could get some participation from the rest of MeFi. Because, again, I think that when FanFare is at its best, it's very much an example of the best of MetaFilter.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:34 PM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

I still don't understand why FanFare isn't more popular.

Good question. For me I think it is partly that I often find it difficult to locate there the threads that pertain to what I'm watching, and partly that the timing never seems too good -- I've either not gotten to the episodes being discussed yet, or saw them awhile back. It doesn't work at all for me for books, for which my go to site is almost always Goodreads, or movies, for which I tend to look at critic reviews.
posted by bearwife at 4:39 PM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think all the rewatch/first watch/books/no books/spoilers etc etc subgroups is kind of confusing and fussy.
posted by zutalors! at 4:41 PM on March 31, 2016 [3 favorites]

The upside is that Fanfare gets a visible indicator of the volume of casual traffic. I'm willing to speculate that many more people visit the subsite than comment, and it is the low volume of comments that make it feel deserted. I think a thread with 6 interesting comments feels qualitatively different from a thread with 6 interesting comments and a rating (or ratings histogram) that shows 200 MeFites have looked in.
posted by janell at 4:54 PM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

I would be sad and would think it was weird if there were ratings.
posted by latkes at 5:05 PM on March 31, 2016

I thought favorites were the MiFi rating system?
posted by sammyo at 5:24 PM on March 31, 2016

posted by sammyo at 5:24 PM on March 31, 2016

I'm still surprised that there's not more participation from many people here who participate heavily in other parts of the site and who I know enjoy some of these movies/shows/books/whatever. What is the barrier?

I might be one of those people who would be expected to participate in FanFare, but don't, and for me it's because there's a significant mismatch in the way I view MeFi and the way I consume media.

I mostly read MeFi via RSS feed, clicking over to threads that interest me on Ask, MeTa and the blue. I have a few shows that I've added to my RSS feeds because I was semi-planning to keep up with watching them, but the reality is, I don't watch TV at anywhere near the time things actually air on TV. So by the time I get around to watching any given episode of a show -- potentially a year later when it finally hits Netflix, if it ever hits Netflix -- the FanFare listing has long since been marked as read in my RSS reader. Even if I'm relatively keeping up with the show, it's likely that the post went up the first day the episode aired, and I still will have marked it as read by the time I actually watch the show a few days later.

There's nothing stopping me from going back and searching for appropriate FanFare threads when I finally do watch things, except the inertia of 'that's not how I MeFi' but I still don't do it.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:00 PM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

What about a "watching/have watched" button? I do see that if there are very few comments on a post it's still nice to know that people are paying attention.

I often don't comment because of the timing mis-match - for example, we watch Better Call Saul 1-5 days after it aired. I still read the threads though.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:25 PM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm never going to get into Fanfare.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:58 PM on March 31, 2016

I'm also a "very much against this" vote. I get why the idea has some appeal, and I don't mind the ratings on places like AV club, but I don't think it adds much (or really any) value, and I feel like it could easily side track the discussion if people start commenting more on the rating than the actual content of the show. Sure, mods could make a rule against that kind of thing, but if we're going to put ratings, then it only seems fair to let people discuss them.

One nice thing about fanfare is that it is one of the least contentious subsites (based on the posts I've read and commented in). I also feel like this could discourage participation if someone is a big fan of a move/TV show/whatever, and they see it gets a low rating. I know that if I loved a TV show and saw it got a terrible rating, I would be more likely to avoid the thread, but the people who vote may not be the people who comment, and there are plenty of shows that I have a love/hate relationship with.

I do think an I've seen this/read this button could work, especially to gauge interest, since there are probably plenty of posts that may get read by a number of mefites who follow the show/movie/book but don't actually comment in the thread.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:54 PM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

I read a lot of threads, but comment on fewer, because I often don't have much to add that I think is worthwhile.
But on FanFare I will sometimes try to add a comment about a show that I like just to mark interest. To show that I'm happy the thread exists, even if my post is a bit banal.
I'm not sure (for example) that's I've commented on any of the DS9 threads, but I avidly read and enjoy each one.

Also all rating systems should let " users be able to determine both the numerator and the denominator on a per-item basis"
It makes so much sense. A truly great idea.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:39 AM on April 1, 2016

I'm one of those people that takes like an hour to draft a comment, so I basically have to choose which one conversation I am interested in maybe contributing to. There is such a wealth of topics on FanFare that it's overwhelming. Every day somebody posts an amazing movie that I'm very familiar with, and there just isn't time. And there aren't enough people in there posting so it seems like threads die much more quickly than on the main site unless it's a current, popular show. I feel like no one is even going to see my painstakingly wordsmithed bullshit if I can't get it together to write it on day one.

So I would find ratings encouraging. I think a certain subset of people, such as myself, might feel more like delving into older posts, with the added motivator of rating.

I love championing hated films and lousy films. And a low rating would automatically give you more to say; that's a terrific, fun subject: why I adore this movie that everybody else looks down on. Ratings would also make me feel better about doing the opposite... there would be this 'fact' at the top that everyone loves it, so I wouldn't feel so embarrassed about disagreeing. (Is it threadshitting to be the one guy in a FanFare thread that says, "this movie is unoriginal and bad"? I never do that, and I never see anyone else doing it, but I sure want to sometimes.)

And oh my god, if we had ratings, we could have the entire what-is-goodness meta conversation about how we should/can rate films that are great because they're terrible, MST3K, etc. In other words, do we rate what we feel, or rate "objectively."
posted by heatvision at 4:51 AM on April 1, 2016

Metafilter: completely write them off as a human being, and move along.
posted by el io at 1:08 PM on April 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

I don't like the idea, I find ratings just the crappiest.
I like the discussion and feel it would be harmed by this.
posted by French Fry at 3:54 PM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

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