62 CommentsHopefully Humorous / By Scamp /

My Rating System explained

It appears that many people out there find rating systems complicated. Either they feel the need to explain precisely what each score means, or they fail to understand why people would use such a rating system in the first place. Why do you attach arbitrary numbers to what you watch? Some explanations of rating systems can indeed be confusing. So in order to end this discussion of arbitrary rating systems, let me explain the 10-point scale I used for my MAL profile’s scores.

10: My favourite anime

9: Anime I like less than those I rated 10 but more than those I rated 8

8: Anime I like less than those I rated 9 but more than those I rated 7

7: Anime I like less than those I rated 8 but more than those I rated 6

6: Anime I like less than those I rated 7 but more than those I rated 5

5: Anime I like less than those I rated 6 but more than those I rated 4

4: Anime I like less than those I rated 5 but more than those I rated 3

3: Anime I like less than those I rated 4 but more than those I rated 2

2: Anime I like less than those I rated 3 but more than those I rated 1

1: My least favourite anime


There. Is that so fucking difficult to understand?

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  1. Posted June 14, 2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    “Hopefully Humorous”
    Sorry man, but I have baaaaad news for you…

  2. Posted June 14, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I agree; sometimes I see people describing the precise characteristics of their ratings, which is a tad silly because two anime can have the same ratings but for different reasons.

    But there might be other rating systems that are as good as yours. I don’t use exactly the same but mine is very simple as well. Using a system like yours that relies a lot on comparisons can be flawed in that when you watch many anime there eventually is a notable difference of appreciation even among the anime you awarded the same rating.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I get that awkwardness with difference in appreciation, but if anything seeing more and more anime makes it easier because I always have something at least kinda similar to compare with

  3. Anonymous
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    O.K. thank you very much for sharing.

  4. Posted June 14, 2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink


    • Scamp
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      well aren’t we hard to please :|

  5. Posted June 14, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    ahahahaha! That is true and oh so less complicated.

  6. Kiseki
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    It’s nice to finally understand.

  7. hint
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    hahaha… Daaamm!

  8. appropriant
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Personally, my evaluation of a series revolves around whether or not I remember a show’s flaws by the end of the series. If the errors are still fresh in my mind, that’s an automatic 7 or lower, but they did minimal harm to how much I enjoyed the series then it’s bumped to an 8 or a 9. I do not like giving 10’s because that implies perfection and perfection is an inherently dumb quality to give anything.

    Your method is much easier to interpret, however. Do carry on with that.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      No. You’ve got it all wrong. 10 is not ‘perfect’. It’s the one you liked the most. You should start from that base and then work your way down from there

      • appropriant
        Posted June 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

        Shit, now I have to redo my list again!?

        Fair point, though. In fact, I used to have a whole bunch of 10’s on my list before some bout of unfounded cynicism slipped in somehow. Gives me an excuse to reevaluate my grading scale, if anything.

      • Posted June 14, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        “You should start from that base and then work your way down from there”

        Heh, my system is similar I start from a base of “5” and work around that depending on whether the anime is particularly good or bad

  9. Posted June 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    I am terribly confused. Is the increase at each step arithmetic or geometric? What do you mean by the word “favorite”? What do you mean by the word “least”? Does the phrase “least favorite” mean what a reasonable individual would deduce the conjunction of the two terms to imply, or something else entirely? Are prime numbers involved? How about the Fibonacci sequence? What if you like a show but feel guilty about it but your friends kind of like it so that you feel you’re safe in giving it a high rating and yet you’re scared other people will look down on you for doing so and then you decide you want to give it a score that says I like this but I know it’s actually bad and I’m kind of rating it in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way? WHAT THEN??

    • Scamp
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      A true anime fan grades on a Fibonacci sequence

      • Anca
        Posted June 16, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

        So there’s no difference between your rating of 1 and 2? Meaning you don’t actually like your 2 series more than your 1 series, meaning that the basis of your rating system is already showing errors?

  10. Posted June 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    the truth finally revealed. huzzah.

  11. fathomlessblue
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    You know, some things are better left unsaid; now all the mystique has been removed!

  12. Hurvilo
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I don’t really understand why people have to use their own scales when rating anime on MAL. I mean, MAL has it’s own scale. Why not use it? I use it. In fact I think it’s excellent.

    10 – Masterpiece
    9 – Great
    8 – Very good
    7- Good
    6 – Fine
    5 – Average
    4 – Bad
    3 – Very bad
    2 – Terrible
    1 – Unwatchable


    • appropriant
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s because the MAL review scale seems to imply that it’s objective when the process of review is clearly subjective, and people like to feel pretty and important when donning their critic hats. It feels better to be more specific by what you mean when you assign a score rather than let an arbitrary system decide how much you enjoyed something, which is why reviewers tend to explain their grading “philosophy”, so to speak.

      Additionally, the MAL scale is a quick way to gauge popular sentiment but doesn’t really explain why people liked or hated it, which is a problem when a moe-intensive anime gets high praise and you hate moe with an even higher passion. On the other hand, reviewer-specific grading is clearer in explaining strengths and flaws of the material but suffers from being just a single perspective in a diverse community so it’s easier to disregard such opinions as insignificant if the review in question doesn’t tickle your fancy.

      Whee, I’m making assumptions out the wazoo. Does that at least make sense?

    • Scamp
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      What appropriant said. Also because those terms are really vague and mean different things to everyone else. A ‘terrible’ anime, in my humble opinion, is worse than an ‘unwatchable’ anime.

    • Posted June 14, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

      Using MAL’s system makes no sense. Would that mean that you would rate Boku no Pico a 6 on MAL, but a 5 on ANN, and a 7 when you use your own rating scale for your blog?

    • Anca
      Posted June 16, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      It gets further muddled when you consider that countries that actually use this grading system have their pass/fail line around 5. Which makes perfect sense if you’ve studied under it, but not if you haven’t.

      5 isn’t ‘average’, it’s you ‘passed by the skin of it’s teeth as a watchable anime’, and 4 already ‘fail.’

      Although, I wish MAL would allow decimal ratings so I could actually think of it as ‘I liked x slightly better than y, so X has 8.20 and Y 8.10’.

  13. Posted June 14, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Good luck making a flowchart out of this.

    • appropriant
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      Pretty sure the flowchart would be straightforward.

      Start at 10.
      Did you like it as much as other anime of this grade? If yes, done. If not, go a step lower and repeat.
      If you reach the end of the grading scale, secretly wish that there exists additional circles of hell to throw the abomination in as you begrudgingly finish your review.

  14. luffyluffy
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    If I like it, it’s good.
    If I don’t like it, it’s bad.

    There you go, enjoy.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      I believe this is exactly the same scale I used, except you use 2 numbers while I use 10

      • luffyluffy
        Posted June 14, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        Most of the things i watch end up being 7’s because everything i watch is good. It’s only until something wow’s me that it gets any higher.

  15. Posted June 14, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to go ahead and assume this is the rating system you use for shows you have completed.

    I’m also going to assume there is a separate rating system for shows you have dropped, no?

    • Scamp
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      Nope, same scale

  16. Flawfinder
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    I’m personally a little more lenient to the score if I can recognize that the anime just isn’t my thing. Those anime never go higher than 6 though.

  17. Golos
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Not funny, dude.

  18. Lanf
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    The only real hard and fast rule I set for ratings, is that 10s have to not only be brilliant, but to either change my life views, or change the way I see anime. Other than that, I tend to peg 6 around average and anything below that in varying degrees of duffness.

    I like ratings though, or at least, I get annoyed when I see people with lists full of 9s and 10s to any old random crap.

  19. Scamp
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Since half the people seem to not get it…

    This is both a response to people who say that you can’t attach arbitray numbers to how much you like something, those who use 3-point scale and argue against using lower numbers, and those who try to come up with complicated explanations to what each number means. I mean, however you amuse yourself is fine. It’s your ratings. I just don’t see why it has to be as complicated as people make it out to be when its just saying you like X more than Y

  20. Posted June 14, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    Well, since some people tend to use 6-10 scales, or others 4-10 scales, while others divide everything that they watched equally between the ten grades, for some of their viewers it might be useful to clarify what the numbers mean for them.

    Some people start from 10 and take a point for every problem that they have with the show, so they would think that my 9 on Madoka marks some minor problem with it, while I found it perfect, it just wasn’t one of my personal milestones, that is my own expectations for 10s.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

      I don’t have a huge problem with the 6-10 scale, although I question why they just don’t call it the 1-5 scale if they’re only using 5 numbers.

  21. Langer
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    *browser searches ‘Haruhi’ and checks score*

    hah, rated 3/10…knew it

    pretty much giving any KyotoAni anime under 8 will make you some enemies…I do enjoy them sometimes but it’s ridiculous how overrated they are

    • Scamp
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

      Hey now, I only gave 3/10 to the second season and that was almost entirely for Endless Eight. I think I gave the first season a 6 and the movie a 7? Too lazy to double check

  22. Anonymous
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    There has yet to be a person born who can give a good reason for boiling down an entire review to a single number or letter. Devaluing your review is stupid, and providing such a method for people to ignore the actual review and instead giving them reason to rage out loud “OMG A SEVEN OUT OF TEN IS EVEN WORSE THAN HITLER HIMSELF YOU COCK MONGLING WHORE DICK!!!!!!1!!” is even dumber. If you make a review out of your comments and opinion with reasons and explanations as to why you think what you think, keep it at just that. People will then actually read it.

    Listings, such as season previews like ANN does, or monthly round-ups here have a use in that there is usually no space, time or reason to review the subject and instead provide a guide for changing opinion over time.

    There is also the problem that game developers get fired because their game didn’t score over an 8.0 on metacritic, which is completely insane seeing as how not every review site uses the same fucking scale and an A is not the equivalent to a 10/10, fuck off and die already. And the fucking fanboys crying about their favored game getting a good score of 7.9 are just as bad.
    Review sites should also abolish their fucking 8-10 scoring systems, or at the least do not imply it’s a 1-10 scale. Because it’s not.

    Personally I do not bother with rating stuff in my MAL list, because nobody is allowed to view my list but I, and I haven’t had a problem remembering whether I liked or disliked an anime. Also, guilty pleasures fuck up any singular rating system you’d want to use and publicize. I also admire your willingness to do what you do with numbers Scamp, now go be on a better podcast so I can actually listen to you talk. No offence meant (what a lie).

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

      I forgot the most important part.


    • Scamp
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

      I’m afraid I only see you as a friend.

      Boiling a review down to one number is simply an indication of how much you liked it. I normally look at the score someone gives something before I read the review, because often what score they gave it gives me a quick idea of what the review will be like, which can often be the defining point on whether I’m even interested in reading the review in the first place. It doesn’t devalue what’s written, and any good review will mean you will understand why the reviewer gave it the score they did. Consider it shorthand.

      Metacritic is an entirely different beast altogether though. Part of me loves it because it shows that critical reception of a game is so important to its commercial success that producers of games provide bonuses based on the critic score. Since critics value originality and variety more than the general public (huge generalisation, but it’s certainly true), it rewards more innovation. However there’s obviously a fuckton of issues with this, such as niche games and critics in bed with producers and the general critic biases that shape what games are made etc. It’s a very touchy issue, and I’m not going to pretend I know the full details, but I’m also not going to pretend I think it’s a negative thing

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 15, 2012 at 1:33 am | Permalink

        Tell me, why don’t critics, like Zero Punctuation, use any form of grading in their reviews? Most people seeing a grade will not read the review, yes there are some people who will still read the review after looking at the grade, but most will not. As for it being a shorthand, that’s what introduction paragraphs are for. They introduce the reader to the review and will indicate the writer’s opinion in a rough form. After which that opinion will be explored with criticism and compliments.

      • Posted June 15, 2012 at 5:17 am | Permalink

        If someone is too lazy/busy to read a review after looking at a numerical score, what makes you think they will read a review if it DOESN’T have a numerical score?

        Games For Windows magazine tried this back when it was still alive because they wanted to see if it would get more people to read what they actually wrote.

        It didn’t.

        Yes, it sucks that some people will just see a number and not bother reading what you wrote, but those people likely weren’t going to read it anyway.

        So you might as well give some sort of number/letter score so those people will get what they want, and the people who care about what you said will use it in an intelligent manner (i.e. the way Scamp described.)

        tl;dr There’s no benefit to NOT scoring something, so you might as well score it.

      • Posted June 30, 2012 at 4:37 am | Permalink

        There is a benefit to not scoring something: the idiots who can’t bother to read the actual post won’t come to your site anymore. Obviously if you’re a commercial magazine this sucks but if you’re an anime blog

  23. kero92
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 2:56 am | Permalink


  24. diz1776
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 4:16 am | Permalink

    Where’s the animal sacrifices?
    You’re telling me you don’t even use divination to rate your shows?

  25. MAYSUE
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 4:51 am | Permalink


    • Scamp
      Posted June 15, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      That’s lovely dear

      • Posted June 17, 2012 at 1:31 am | Permalink

        “That’s lovely dear”

        Now THIS made me LOL.

  26. Mr.RR
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    I don’t know why people care so much about another persons opinion. Though they can be nice if you’re borderline on wanting to watch or no.

    So what that someone likes/hates something you hate/like.

  27. Posted June 15, 2012 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Mal’s system isn’t the best because it’s skewed towards the score 7. It’s the “good” score and is what you expect from all anime or better. Anything lower isn’t worth your time, but it isn’t necessarily going to be dropped if it at least has some charm.

    They have the “best” anime with higher scores so the system does work in a way.

  28. Posted June 15, 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure I understand this, could you put it in simpler terms? What happens if you have a favorite anime but you like it less then your other favorite anime?

    I think I need a snarkily narrated youtube video to explain it to me.

    • Kioku from Mobile
      Posted June 15, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      Terribad (part of a) website review: youtube (comments).

  29. Posted June 15, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Nothing new here.

  30. Sarif
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Now I want to add you on MAL but your profile says you won’t accept.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 15, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      When you’re sending me a friend request, use the Secret Word ‘dooble’ and I’ll add you

  31. Posted June 16, 2012 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    This grading system is srs bsns it’s not

  32. Nebulous
    Posted June 16, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    With a relative system like this your ratings are constantly in flux, since the system is only related to the anime you have actually seen, and knowledge of that information is necessary to make proper understanding of the system. For example a person who has only seen 10 anime shows using this system will have a very skewed ratings compared to a person who has seen 100 shows.

    Furthermore, since the system is relative if a new show comes out that is significantly better than the show(s) you had rated 10 – then what? You’d have to redo the ratings for every single show in order to address the fact that you moved your previous “favourite” down.

    I prefer a more objectively based evaluation – looking directly at what a show did well and what it did badly and trying to roughly place it somewhere in the scale that fits where it’s quality lies. The system is run by my own personal biases like your is but there is less emphasis on what I “liked” and more on what was actually good. I liked “K-ON”, but would never score it well as I don’t believe it is a great show.

    It’s not a case of allowing others to skew my ratings but rather looking to punish mediocrity even if it happened to resonate with me at that particular time. The things that were going on in my life when K-ON was showing are different to what is going on now, but the rating system should ignore that and focus on the show itself. The same reasoning applies to the other shows that are showing at the same time – if a season is particularly weak an otherwise bad show can seem appealing, but that shouldn’t be reflected in the review or rating. People can be easily swept up by hype and by fun communities – see CGR2 – but the objective analysis of a show shouldn’t leave just because you enjoyed something. At the same time a show that you don’t enjoy shouldn’t be poorly rated if it can be called good by the objective criteria that you lay out.

    For example I can see why someone would not like Chihiyafuru, it’s got a female lead and some female oriented characterisations, based on a slow unfamiliar game. Some people don’t like things like that. However I would immediately call such people fools of the highest calibre if they were to claim that Chihiyafuru was a “bad” show. I wouldn’t accept that at all. Even a basic analysis of what makes a good anime leaves the show passing with flying colours – despite any over dramatisation of the problems it, like every anime, has. (2nd season ftw)

    • appropriant
      Posted June 16, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      Weird, I regard Chihayafuru the same way you look at K-On.

      *puts on a dunce cap* Am I excused?

    • Anca
      Posted June 16, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

      Weird, Chihayafuru always struck me as a weaker version of Hikaru no Go.

      • Erif
        Posted June 22, 2012 at 3:12 am | Permalink

        Weird- Jesus Christ I lurve Chihayfuru <3333333333333333

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