Why The 5 Star System is Perfect

Why The 5 Star System is Perfect
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash

The Five-Star rating system is the best rating system we have ever come up with. It makes sense that you see it everywhere.

In the past, however, I found it to be too limiting. I tend to be one who knows that nothing is perfect, therefore nothing deserves the full 5 ⭐s.

But then I was just left with 4 usable ⭐s, and 4 is too little. So, I began adding fractional values. I can't do anything normally, so that meant giving some things 3.72 ratings. That's meaningless gunk. Maybe when directly comparing a set of items decimals are useful, but as a general rating, useless.

And then it hit me. 5 ⭐s is perfect, but rating something 5 ⭐s doesn't mean that it is perfect.

The 5 ⭐ rating system is perfect because it isn't about absolute perfection and minute detailed judgments of quality. It is a simple preference scale.

  • ⭐ = I hated thing, and thing has nothing good about it.
  • ⭐⭐ = I didn't like thing, but there were a few good things about thing.
  • ⭐⭐⭐ = neutral. I didn't like thing, but I also didn't dislike thing either. Thing had about equal good stuff and bad stuff. Meh.
  • ⭐⭐⭐⭐ = I liked thing, but thing had a few problems with it.
  • ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ = I loved thing. Thing wasn't perfect, but its flaws were negligible.

Again, 5 ⭐s aren't quite enough for detail analysis or comparison. But, for tackling the task of simply evaluating your preference of a specific thing, it does a wonderful job.

Now, think back to everything you've ever rated. How many things got 4 ⭐s simply because they had one minor flaw in them that prevented you from giving them a 'perfect' score?

That. That feeling you have of minor shame and disappointment in letting down your favorite toaster is why you should give more 5 ⭐s. You loved that toaster. So what if every once in a while it got stuck, and you had to burn your finger a little bit to get that piece out. He was a damn fine toaster who deserved ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, and you got in the way of that. tisk tisk