Our Rating System

When we started our little review corner of the blogosphere, The Ranting Dragon used a rating system using increments of quarter stars and going up to five stars.

Incongruent ratings
However, after we’d been around for about three months, we discovered that using a rating system like this on a multi-reviewer website like The Ranting Dragon raises some problems. After all, some people are more critical than others. How would we prevent one reviewer from giving a book five stars, while another reviewer who agreed completely with that review would still give it only three stars? Beyond that that, if different reviewers gave different books five stars, how could we decide which of those books we liked more?

After careful thought, we found a way we think will solve these problems.

A behind-the-scenes rating score
The Ranting Dragon now operates with a special rating system, awarding books points in specific subjects. Any book can score up to 500 points — though we expect no book will ever score a rating of 50o points. Every amount of points translates to a specific amount of stars.

For example, our review of The Desert Spear was rated with 486 points, while The Eye of the World was given a 496 rating. Both are five star reviews.

The Ranting Rating Machine
That solves one problem, but it is still very well possible for some reviewers to be more critical than others. While we cannot entirely rule this out, we did design a system to make sure all reviewers judge their books by the same merits. Take a look at The Lean Mean Ranting Rating Machine. This is a rating survey that our reviewers take for each book they review. Based on their answers to twenty-one questions, this survey calculates a rating of 0 to 500. This is the rating we use for our site.

Feel free to play around with the Ranting Rating Machine and rate your own books to get a feel for how we rate ours!

Some other notes
When you read one of our reviews, you won’t see the 0 to 500 rating. However, if you are curious to find out the real score behind the amount of stars you see on a review, try taking a look at the URL of the image that displays the stars. These contain the “real” rating.

Of course, this system doesn’t take variations in taste into account. We often hear things like: “How can you like this book, but not like that book?!” We take pride in the variety of tastes and subgenres on The Ranting Dragon, but things like that are bound to happen on a multi-reviewer site. Should we feel bad about it? Maybe… but with more reviewers, we can tell you about more books. And we are currently working on future “second opinion” articles for when one reviewer disagrees with another.

Another thing we often get messages about is the disproportionate amount of reviews with higher ratings we have. Those messages are very true. The first rule for RD reviewers is “to have fun while reading the books you review.” We are all fantasy fans here, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. We naturally read books we expect to like. Every now and then, we will even stop partway through reading a book we don’t like, because that’s what most every reader does. In the end, the ratings are just an aid, and I’m certain you will find out whether a book suits you by reading the review.

Stars and points
Take a look at how our points relate to our stars below. The percentages are added to give a better overview of what any number of stars represent. Keep in mind that, when talking about books, a percentage of 5% represents a horrible book, while 100% represents an amazing book. This means that 50% (or 2.5 stars) is the middle ground. Books with that rating are decent, average books who are neither good nor bad.

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1 – 30
5% 31 – 60 10%
61 – 100 15% 101 – 130 20%
131 – 160 25% 161 – 190 30%
191 – 220 35% 221 – 250 40%
251 – 275 45% 276 – 300 50%
301 – 325 55% 326 – 350
60%
351 – 370 65% 371 – 390 70%
391 – 410 75% 411 – 430 80%
431 – 445 85% 446 – 460
90%
461 – 485 95% 486 – 500 100%

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