Our members are free to assign rating stars as they see fit. However, our editors try to stick with these general descriptions:
Worth a look.
Almost worth a look.
A tough slog.
In our Member Favourites listings and on the left panel of each individual listing, we display the average member rating. We use yellow stars () for this purpose.
From time to time, we are asked exactly how we come to rating decisions, so, for those of you who care, here’s a little more detail.
As mentioned above, every WFG editor tries to use the same rating scale. However, it’s unavoidable: we each have our own idea about exactly what “solid” or “worth a look” or “exceptional” means, because we all have different viewpoints. That’s why we allow multiple editorial ratings on listings—if one of us reads something already rated and disagrees with the rating, we can add our own assessment to the mix.
To the best of our ability, we try to rate objectively, not on our likes and dislikes, and not to what might be popular (we have separate measures for those, that our whole membership participate in: recommendations and reading status). That means we may rate something “solid” that we didn’t really enjoy, or rate something “worth a look” that we really did enjoy, depending on the quality of the construction of the story. We do this because we aren’t here to be fans or trolls—we’re here to help you decide what to spend your limited time on, by giving you a dispassionate assessment of what we’ve read.
Our rating scale must leave room for all kinds of work, because we list and rate anything published for free online. “Exceptional” covers material that we think you would be happy to find in any format—online, paperback, hardcover, anything—stuff you’d pay money for and remember fondly for a long time to come. “Unreadable” covers material that, well, isn’t worth anybody’s time. “Worth a look” is stuff we think a reasonable number of our readers won’t mind spending a few minutes checking out to see if it’s for them—stuff we think at least some of those readers will enjoy.
Ratings are chosen on balance. “Solid” may indicate something is well-written but not compelling, or that it is compelling but not very deep. “Worth a look” may indicate the material is harmless and mildly amusing, or that it attempted something big and didn’t quite achieve it. There are similar decisions made for every rating in our system—if you want to know the details, read our reviews.
It’s true, and because of it, we won’t always live up to even our own goals with respect to ratings. We try to keep everything accurate within about a half a point. But, still, we’re human.