For What It's Worth

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Tell Me Something Tuesday





Tell Me Something Tuesday is hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings and discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging.

Question: Goodreads reviews: Do you round your ratings up or down? Do you think it matters?

Answer: Reviews are so subjective anyway, then add in 1/2 stars and it makes everything even more confusing.

First off, I review for myself on Goodreads. It’s my way of keeping track of what I read and how I felt so I’m never worried about what others think about my rating. I hope people find the reviews helpful but I’m not agonizing over it.

In my own experience, I follow a reviewer – not ratings – if that makes sense. I may peruse ratings on Goodreads but I tend to hone in on a few trusted reviewers to help make my choice. In doing that, it’s more about knowing their likes and dislikes – and transferring that to my tastes.

But back to the up or down star question!

Yes, I use 1/2 stars both up & down, which is contradictory but logical to me lol I like the 1/2 star option rather than rounding up or down because it gives me flexibility to say - Yay! but with reservations or Nay! but it had good things too.

Say I read a book that was very good but it left me a little irritated about something – overall it might have been a 4 star read but had those pesky issues – like editing, the ending or something problematic. Then it would go down to 3.5 with mention of those problems in my review.

But now say I read a solid 3 star book (which is good to me!) that did not particularly stand out or wasn't memorable, maybe an issue or two but left me with a happy feeling overall. I would round up to 3.5 stars. Also mentioning what elevated it to that or kept it from a 4.

I don't feel right giving something a 4 if it has issues or rounding down if it made me happy overall. I hope the reviews speak louder than the rating anyway which is why I don't do star ratings on my blog. Like I said, I consider Goodreads a record for myself and I understand my ratings lol

I get how ratings can be a big deal for authors and readers/reviewers but, honestly, I have always just gone with my gut on it. I do wish more review sites – including Goodreads would let you give 1/2 stars though!

What’s your stance on the round up or down or the dreaded 1/2 star?


47 comments:

  1. If only GR could give halves, but then omg my whole system would be messed up cos I could not go back and give halves

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    1. I always make a note of my 1/2 star in the review section lol

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  2. I almost always rate up on sites like Goodreads and Amazon. Of course, my WP plugin defaults to lower on Goodreads, so I have to remember to change it! But I feel like, it isn't the author/book's fault that Amazon can't get it together and have half stars, so I might as well not punish them for it hah.

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    1. I guess I round up or down depending on more good than bad or the opposite but I still add my 1/2 star rating int he actual review because I'm ornery like that lol

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  3. I usually round up, but will round down in certain instances. If something really stood out to me and bugged me, I would round down. I mean, we all say we'd be happy with half stars, but I see bloggers rating with quarter and 3/4 stars too. Where will the insanity end? My idea is to have a slider. Then you just pull the slider to the rating, and there you go.

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    1. It's all so subjective so what do rating even mean?? lol I just do what feels right to me and follow reviews from people where I can *read between the lines* if you will.

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  4. I only really use stars or ratings for myself- like I have a notebook where I keep track (I should use Goodreads- that's a whole other discussion lol) and I guess I like half stars if it's, you know, a little better than a three but not quite a four- so yeah I'll 3.5 star it for myself. I never use ratings on my blog though. And exactly... I definitely go off gut feelings, and with other reviewers I'm more interested in what they have to say, rather than a star rating. Bloggers I trust, knowing their thoughts can make or break whether I try a book.

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    1. I rarely use Goodreads other than to catalog my reads. I don't worry about the ratings too much but I find the 1/2 stars remind me of things I liked or disliked later for things like maybe giving an author another try, for example.

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  5. I use the half stars quite frequently, I wish Goodreads would use it. Library Thing does. I normally round up though on Goodreads. So if its a 4.5 ...its a 5 star on Goodreads. But I know each reviewer and reader handles it differently. I follow more reviewer over rating. I trust them more over any rating especially those I have similar reading tastes in .

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    1. I round up or down but I still add the 1/2 star in my review. I will not be deterred! lol

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  6. I've only recently started using 1/2 star ratings, because there have been several instances this year when a book was better than a 3, but worse than a 4. I think it was inevitable, really. LibraryThing will let you log half-ratings, and I wish Goodreads and Amazon would do something similar.

    Like you, I follow the reviewers more than their ratings. Knowing their likes and dislikes helps, because I know how that relates to my tastes. (You said that way better, haha!) If no one I trust has read the book in question, then I tend to read three star reviews exclusively. I feel like those give you the good and the bad.

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?😷 💬

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?😷 💬

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    1. Don't ask me why that doubled up at the end, because I have no idea!

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    2. LOOK AT ME!! VISIT MY BLOG!! lol

      I'm a 3 star reader too. I feel they're more informative.

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  7. I like to round up on both GR and Amazon, just to be nice to authors. HOWEVER, if it's 4.5 stars I found down. I'm not that nice.

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    1. That's a good point and something I do occasionally. It's honestly so damn subjective.

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  8. I don't give out half stars, but when I feel like a book is between, say, 4 or 5 stars, I have to decide if it's a "weak 5" or a "solid 4" and then rate it accordingly. So, like you, I decide on a case by case basis, it depends on the book. :) Great discussion!

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    1. That' show I decide, in a way. It's either weak or solid in either direction lol But with the half star. I feel like a four when I had issues is too much but a three might not be enough. #readerproblems ha

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  9. It all depends on how I feel after I write my review. I might initially think it's a 4 star, but as I type up my review sometimes I have a lot more rants than I thought I did. Which makes me bump it down a start. Like you, I use my reviews as a way to log my thoughts on a book so that I know to go back to the series/author when more books come out, or to stay away.

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    1. I honestly don't think too much about it on Goodreads. I round up/down but still write the 1/2 star in my review if I feel like it's needed. Bit again, it's just so I know.

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  10. I understand your point. I tend to rate in full stars. 5 if it was absolute best. 4 good but... and I don't rate or review books I didn't like.

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    1. Makes sense. Ratings are so subjective anyway - even different from site to site - so I tend to rate just for my own frame of reference.

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  11. "I like the 1/2 star option rather than rounding up or down because it gives me flexibility to say - Yay! but with reservations or Nay! but it had good things too."
    LOL, very true. I have to say that, though I mainly rate books for myself, I agonise over that half star sometimes - but especially if it's for a book that would fall between 3 and 4 stars. When I really liked a book but it was just shy of wowing me, I go with 4.5 without hesitations. As I said, I rate for myself AND of course for other readers (though I always hope they will read the blasted review LOL), but one thing I don't do is rate for authors. Not even the ones I love or talk to on a regular basis. I strive for honesty, and after a few instances in the past when I've handed out the extra half star out of guilt complex, I've learned to stay true to myself no matter what (yes, it's hard).

    Thank you for participating this week, since I came up with this topic - Heidi is on a hiatus, so I guess less people are doing this round, but since you have many more friends than me and therefore get more comments, I got the chance to read their opinions and it was interesting!

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    1. I rate for myself as well. It's a frame of reference for me to judge if I want to try an author/genre/series again. It's cool if someone can take something from it to help them decide but, for the most part, Goodreads is just my online spreadsheet to keep track of what I read lol

      I used to agonize more over ratings but it's so random as to what that means from person to person or site to site so I just go with my gut feelings.

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    2. P.S. I lost all the questions when I switched computers so I've missed several weeks but I saw your post and it was an easy topic for me to jump in with an answer :-)

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    3. I'm sending you Heidi's email with the list.

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  12. I don't actually use half stars so that makes things usually, a lot easier for me. If I could ever have a .5 rating I would only want 3.5. But I have a feeling if I did use .5 it would be subjective like you and it would be based on feeling whether I rated up or down. And I agree - I follow the reviewer and their thoughts in the review more than the rating.

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    1. Not using the 1/2 star is harder for me lol I would feel like I'm leaving out that important caveat - this was good...but or I had issues...but. I guess I feel like I have room to clarify more with the 1/2 star and explain why it might be good/bad for someone else.

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  13. I half star up and down, too. I wish Goodreads had half stars. I always put at the top of my GR reviews if it will be getting a half star on my blog. 👍✨

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    1. That's what I do too on Goodreads. I don't rate the book on my blog.

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  14. Goodreads really does need to get with it on the half stars. I don't rate hardly ever on my blog, but i try and do it on Goodreads. I tend to round up more often than not, because i'm a people pleaser. LOL

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. Ha! I'll rate up if the writing was good and the book just wasn't for me because, int hat case, it's not the books fault. Otherwise I round up if I feel happy at the end and down if I'm irritated. Very scientific lol

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  15. I use a letter grading system, so it's even more messed up for me. I have created a conversion chart (which I list on my blog) from letters to stars, but they have different meanings for me - they tell different stories.

    I would prefer 1/2 stars only because there is a big difference between 3 and 4 stars. I tend to round down, but if I feel the book is closer to the grade up, then I'll round up.

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    1. On the blog I don't use any rating but I guess we're stuck with the star system for Goodreads. I still mention my 1/2 star though in my review.

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  16. I do both. If I didn't greatly enjoy the book I round down. If it was well written but not to my taste I might round up.

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  17. I agree that I really wish GR would give us the half-star option. Like you, I round both up and down, but I think I tend more toward up. Maybe it just goes with my generally optimistic personality?

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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  18. I don't do half stars even on my blog.

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  19. I'm all for the half star rating but honestly, I feel like I should abandon ratings altogether because I am so bad at rating. I mean, I just sort of default to 4 & 5 star ratings on goodreads if I enjoyed something and have so few lower ratings because if I'm not enjoying something I DNF and don't rate. I feel like that half a star gives me a bit more variation in my ratings because I normally round up on goodreads just because I don't want to be mean on goodreads as I know some people really go by those ratings before reading a book. To be honest, though, I'm more likely to read reviews from people I know and trust their opinions rather than going just on their rating.

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    1. I know Goodreads is THE source for reviews for most readers but I really use it as a personal record for myself so I don't worry about it too much. It reminds me of authors/series that I should buy more of or stay away from that I forget about after a time lol

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  20. I do use half stars and I tend to round up on Goodreads unless I feel more strongly in the down direction. I seriously wish they'd just add half stars as a legitimate option on Goodreads!

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    1. Maybe authors would chill out more if they got that extra half star lol Probably not because they would wonder why you didn't just round up.

      I tend to use the half star as a roundup. Liek if it was eh but left me with a happy feeling I'll add that half star.

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  21. Tell Me Something Tuesday is still going?! I haven't seen an update on the blog in ages!

    I love a good half star. Ratings are totally subjective but I feel that half stars have their place as not all 3 and 4 star reads are created equal. Sometimes 5 stars feels too high but compared to other 4 stars a book deserves more so that's when I use it.

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    1. She'll send the topics to you ahead of time so those of us that have it know the questions but otherwise she's taking a break.

      I had them but they are on my broken computer lol so I didn't know what they were until Roberta (Offbeat YA) participated and put what the next few weeks questions were.

      I tend to use the 3.5 and the 4.5 the most. Because the 3.5 means it was good but not great but had something that makes me recommend it anyway. 4.5 is I really loved it but had something that keeps me from saying it was perfect.

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  22. I use the half stars often on my blog, pretty much for most reviews. For me, a half star means it's not quite good enough to round up and rounding down would be too harsh. What annoys me with Goodreads, is that on your profile they give you an average percentage of your rating but introducing half star ratings is too much? I think half stars would give readers a better indication of how people are feeling about their reads but they're too lazy to overhaul the system.

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    1. Oh I know! Like their average ratings numbers are 4.1 lol but they can't give us the half star??

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