Rate This: Rating the Rating of Ratings


Is it just my imagination, or does it seem like simply everything online is rateable these days?

I mean, just look at all of the exciting social media opportunities we have now! And being able to rate the media on these different venues theoretically allows the cream to rise to the top...

The clotty grease to float over the beef broth...

No, wait...

The wheat to be separated from those inedible stringy bits that taste bad and clog your intestines and only goats can properly digest and... er...

Well, you know what I mean.

But now it seems that not only do individual posts or videos get rated in these media venues, but the comments about the individual posts or videos are getting rated, too.

So folks are commenting on the comments of the commentary...

And then Abbott says to Costello something about a first baseman named Who.

Anyway, I got to thinking about this when I visited an online friend's blog the other day. I noticed her happy little virtual art scrapbook had a "Rate this Picture" section automatically included on it.

And I started wondering-- do her cheerful hobby drawings really need to be assessed and given the "yea" or "nay" by some schmoe like me? Or by Joe Randomvisitor who just happened to pop by because he got lost on the way to YouTube?

Can't something just be good for the sake of trying it? For practicing, for working to be more than you currently are, for following up on the urge to create, and for sharing?

Can you really put a rating on trying and learning?

These are the sort of things I think about in between eating Cheez-Its and watching episodes of "My Name is Earl."

Another aspect of this Weigh-in On Everything Phenomenon happened on a celebrity news program I caught the tail-end of last week. They were talking about Shia LeBoeuf's recent car accident, and to support their idea that fans didn't think getting a DUI would affect Shia's career they had...

Larry from Whoville emailing in through the web site saying:

"I still think Shia is rockin'. He was cool in Transformers, and since he worked so closely with giant talking robots that change into cars and trucks, I think he's totally a good enough driver to man a regular non-talking non-robot vehicle after a couple of brewskis."

Okay, well, maybe Larry from Whoville didn't quite say that. My ears shut down somewhere after the word "rockin'."

But still. The newscaster went on to encourage more emails, allowing other folks from Whoville... and Upper Tarnation.... and Redbud and the like... to express their thoughts on the personal life of an individual they had never met before in a situation they hadn't witnessed.

And then it occurred to me-- if this is the way the trends are going these days, who am I to buck the Will of the People by judging all the judgment? I mean, I'm a helper, not a fighter.

So I came up with a few areas that are currently rating-free as far as I know, but which might really appeal to this brave new world of Complete Audience Interaction:

  • Rate This Kindergartener's Artwork. Let's get 'em used to critique while they're still in their Underoos. The kindergarten artwork that receives more "gold stars" gets to be seen on the school bulletin board. Artwork with fewer stars gets the bin and those kindergarten artists are sent to the corner in disgrace, much like being Voted Off the Island. It's a tough world out there, so the sooner these five-year-old cuties learn that other people's opinions off the top of the head will affect their progress in life, well, the better.
  • Vote Down Your Most Hated Louvre Paintings. Ever go into major museums and think, "Why is this art?" Well, here's your chance to make your museum visit truly interactive. By voting down your most hated Louvre paintings, the opinions of the first 1,000 people who participate will dictate which paintings get shown to the world and which won't. How many of you are sick of seeing that Mona Lisa chick and her simpering smile? If you're one of the first 1,000, vote it down and the world will never have to see this painting ever again. Yes, that's right-- it'll be wiped from history. What-- you don't know anything about art? That doesn't matter. Today, everyone's opinion about everything is equally important. Yours. Mine. Everyone's. Let's make our voices heard.
  • Rate the Vacation Memories of Complete Strangers. Vacation slides. The only people they really matter to are the folks who were there. Yep, those people can laugh hysterically at a shot of their dad standing in front of a diner sign, and you have to sit through it in bemused silence. Well, now, you could put an end to the tedium of boring vacation shots you didn't experience yourself by voting them up or down according to your personal interest. Images with the most down votes will be purged from those families' albums, and you'll never have to be bothered by them again.

By implementing these and other innovative Interactive Audience Ratings Programs, we'll soon be able to share all our important insights on the comments of the comments of the ratings of the rated. And best of all, we can enjoy all this heady authority anonymously, on any topic, and while never actually having to produce a single creative thing ourselves.

Power to the people!

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Vote for this post at Humor-blogs, because irony is funny.

16 comments:

Da Old Man said...

Jenn, at least a couple websites are already devoted to critiquing bad art. One even "grades" kids art.
Rating, I guess, gives the ratee some validation. Back in the old days, when people went outside, such validation would come in art classes, on a street corner, or at a community center, or some such place.

What's in it for the rater? It gives us a chance to put that pompous show off DaVinci in his place.

Being quasi-serious, ratings are silly much of the time. I fight a Ghandi-espue on again, off again battle against a certain ratings group.

Jenn Thorson said...

DaOldMan- As you can tell, I have the same sorta love-hate view of this.

In some cases, I see it as being an important game to play for eyeballs on something one finds meaningful.

And then on the other hand, I see a lot of things where it seems like the initial concept gets corrupted in some way by all the chit-chat from folks trying to make their voices heard over the din.

Greg said...

Well, I guess it validates the Ratee...IF the rating's good. Mostly, I think the whole ratings business validates the Rate-or, who needs to know that their opinion matters.

Really, I give the whole business just a star or two out of a possible six, myself.

; )

Jenn Thorson said...

Greg- I have read some comments on certain social media forums that do appear that the serial commentator is commenting as a bit of a power trip.

I often find myself wondering whether those folks also produce pieces, what kind of pieces they do, and whether they themselves are ever faced with these sorts of off-the-cuff ratings.

It's a veddy interesting world we're living in. Who knows where it'll head next?

PS- Five thumbs ups to you! We have a surplus today.

Meg said...

I think we've all been secretly rating the vacation memories of strangers and loved ones for years. But Vote Down Your Most Hated Painting at the Louvre is a rockin' idea, I mean ah...slammin' idea.

Jenn Thorson said...

Meg- Heh, you mean you'd down-thumb 400 slides of Aunt Ethel's feet as she walked around with her camera turned on and the button jammed?

I can't believe it! :)

Nice use of "slammin'" by the way. I give it three smiley faces.

Chat Blanc (aka Sandy) said...

I'm considering employing the rating trend into my grocery shopping--vote for the chips I should buy, vote for or against veggies and fruit, rate the toilet paper I use. You know, really riveting and important stuff the world should care about. But really, I like your ideas better! :)

Alice said...

I'm on board with the "Why is this art?" voting. Sorry - I just don't get nor appreciate 'modern art'. If it's something you can seemingly slap on paper in under an hour, then it's not art in my book.

Art lovers...feel free to send me your hate. I will laugh it off and stick my tongue out at you.

Jenn Thorson said...

Sandy- If you build it, they will come.

It actually would be pretty funny if you set up a fairly legit looking system to rate your grocery list and see if people DID weigh in on your choices.

How much ya wanna bet they not only would, but would argue amongst themselves over preferences? :)

Alice- Heh, thankfully the Cabbages audience typically isn't your bile-spewing folk. You will have to go insult art on Reddit or something, and then see what response you get.

CHYNA said...

I just noticed there is no rating system in here. does this mean you could care less what we think? lol

Jenn Thorson said...

Chyna- Sure, I care what EACH of my readers thinks...

It's just my blog isn't a democracy-- It's a cruel and harsh totalitarian regime ruled with an iron--

--oh, heck-- I can't even pull that off successfully, can I? :)

Hey, stop laughing! I could have a totalitarian regime if I wanted... I could!

No, really! Maybe just a LITTLE one...

Meg said...

Why can't I find this post to rate it? Irony is a beautiful thing.

Jenn Thorson said...

Meg- It's a conspiracy! A conspiracy, I tell you!

Or, er, the feed just hasn't updated yet. :)

Drowsey Monkey said...

ugh, I hate those little thumbs...never click em.

Jay said...

The only thumbs I click are on Stumble, and the reason I do it is because it then bookmarks the site for me.

I can't be doing with all the ratings garbage. I don't play that game. I'm an old stick in the mud - I don't even twitter, or entrecard or anything. I might submit The Depp Effect to that site where they eat you alive, then chew you up and spit out the pieces though. Just for interest, you know? And for the publicity, because as we know, no publicity is bad publicity, right? LOL!

Jenn Thorson said...

Jay- I don't mind reviewing folks on BlogCatalog, voting for folks' Humor-blogs posts or submitting posts for people to Stumble, Digg, Reddit, etc. Because those things directly help traffic or overall rankings. But as for rating the comments on the rated piece-- zowie, that sounds unnecessary, in most cases.

I'd posted a mea culpa apology comment on a type-o I'd made on a post and SOMEONE THUMBED IT DOWN. I mean fer Pete's sake, what kind of person needs to have a negative say-so on an apology?!