The importance of the 5-star rating system, and the stupidity of the like/dislike system – Zune software

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The Zune does not support 5-star rating systems anymore.

That’s a BAD thing.

Why do many people like the 5-star system? Well because:

  • Very detailed – You might like this song a lot, so you give it a 4 star. You might think it’s excellent, give it a 5 star. Another song is awful, so you give it a 1 star. The 5-star system plays along from dislike to like. Yet, it show "how much" you may dislike a song, compared to "how much" you love this song. You get 5 choices in the variety of like/dislike, than you would with only 2 choices, being like and dislike. The point is, that 5-stars allow the best representation of how bad/how good a song is.
  • It’s effective – People know that 1 star is bad, 5 star is the best. People see that, they know.
  • It’s everywhere – when you rate an article, you usually get a choice to rate it on a 5 star scale. When you see a user-video, you give a ranking on the 5 star scale. It’s ubiquitous.
  • It’s universal – There’s 3 main rating systems : 1-10, 5-star, and like/dislike. The 1-10 rating system, is where 1 is the worst, 10 is the best. Some user review sites (CNET) do a 1-10 ranking. Sometimes, the score may be a 8.4. But there’s too much calculations in that. The 5-star system integrates the 1-10 system AND the like/dislike system. A 1 on the 1-10 system, would be 1/2 a star on the 5-star system. A 5 on the 1-10 system, would be a 2.5 star, on the 5-star system. Not hard. A like, in a like/dislike system, would be a 3 or higher star, in a 5-star system. The 5-star system works both ways.

Why do many people hate the like/dislike system? Well because:

  • It’s too simple – You either like it or you dislike it (or have no opinion). But that doesn’t leave you with options to say "how much" you like it, or "how much" you dislike it. Not very detailed.
  • It’s vague – Like I said before, you may like it, but "How much do you like it?". A lot? A little? You hate? How much do you hate it? The like/dislike system is just too vague to put a little detail in it.
  • On a real media managing/playback program, it’s a must-NOT – The like/dislike system, is pretty good for a website such as iLike, but it’s not in a real media management/playback program. These programs are also for real music fanatics, and a simple like/dislike will not describe their taste for what music they like. The 5-star just works better at help a music fanatic differentiate what he likes, and what he dislikes. That’s all there is.

Well that’s the main reasons for each.

And it’s not just me who think the 5-star system is better. It’s everybody. Take a look at the comments on ZuneInsider’s post about the change : http://zuneinsider.com/archive/2007/11/06/like-it-don-t-like-it-the-new-zune-rating-system.aspx#comments

As  you can tell, most users are NOT HAPPY about this change. Many review sites also see this as a negative thing, in putting the like/dislike system. Obviously this is a bad feature.

Why did Microsoft even bother changing it for? Nobody complained about it before. Maybe, users did want a more simpler interface and setup and all, but nobody said the rating system was bad. So why fix what didn’t need fixing? Sigh. Microsoft.

The BEST thing Microsoft can do about this is:

a). Revert back to the 5-star system – This is my definite choice. Like many other people would want. It just works out.

b). Allow the OPTION of letting users pick – Let the user decide, "5-star or like/dislike?". It’s up to the user to choose. The Zune team did it, so that 3 stars above is a "like", and 2 stars or under is "dislike". And no rating = no heart at all. So the user can decide, and the rating will still generally show the same thing.

Is that hard, Zune team? No. Please fix it to allow what we, the users, want.

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