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Subject: Why do people rank out of resentment? rss

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Tom Hancock
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Looking over people's comments and rankings for games, I have noticed a lot of "resentment" scores. These are comments where the person admits they have never played the game in question but are ranking it low because they despise it for one reason or another that is unrelated to gameplay. I guess since we are rating the games by how likely we are to play them a game you hate not because it is a bad game but because of some other reason should get ranked low, but I think this does our game ratings a disservice.

One prime example is poker, where many people give it sub-5 ratings, admit they've never played, and say they are rating it low because it took over their television or because they hate fads.

Edit: Just to give more examples, Caylus also seems to get a lot of ratings like this, as do many of the "classic" games like chess, monopoly, checkers, etc. I'm sure there are a lot of euros out there getting the same treatment as caylus.

I don't want this thread to turn into an argument about poker or the other examples, so pretty please start a new thread if thats what you want to argue about.

Is ranking a game based on things totally unrelated to the game itself such as perceived overexposure a good thing or a bad thing for our database?
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marc lecours
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tough question:

If the rankings were about the quality of a game then this sort of evaluation would skew the result.

But if the rankings are about how much you want to play a game then this sort of evaluation is perfectly valid.

I think the problem comes down to the fact that not all people on BGG agree on how to rate a game. Some people rate a game for its quality others for how much they want to play it.

I personally am about half way between the two. For example I recognize that Puerto Rico is a brilliant design and worth a 10 but I rarely want to play it so it is worth a 5 or less to me. In the end I have given an in between rating to Puerto Rico.

ANother example is Tic Tac Toe. Most people on BGG will accept to play Tic Tac Toe at some future point(lets say with a grandchild) so they should rate it at least a 3 or 4, but they rate it less anyways based on the quality of the game play.

As long as players rate games based on how much they want to play the game then it is perfectly valid for someone to give a low rating to a game that they do not ever want to play. This might include games that involve the Nazis, or Drugs, or Gambling, or Torture(shocking roulette), or Hasbro, or CCGs, or a bucket of dice to roll, or auction games or any other thing that someone might object to.
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Rich Shipley
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These kind of ratings (and the people who give them) are pretty pathetic, but overall ratings aren't all that useful anyway. The top ranked games are all pretty good (not that I like to play them all). After those (and even with them), the most useful thing is to read the rating comments and see what other games those people like.

If a game is rated a 6, but people who give it a 9 or 10 like the same games I do, that means more to me than a game rated an 8. Comments such as "wargames suck" can be discounted pretty easily.

I gave Chess a low rating, because I don't like to play it. I don't deny that it is a great game for other people, but does my rating unfailrly affect the overall standings?
 
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The Dude
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The question is-- do these rankings help the community and the usefulness of the rankings?

I would have to say no.

When looking at the information on the game page to help me make a purchasing decision, I look more at the personal comments and reviews. Then again, many of the games I like are not highly ranked anywas.
 
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Because board gamers are wierd, petty, bizarre people. And I'm dead serious. Hobbies like this (filled with intelligent, somewhat ecclectic people) tend to draw an odd batch of followers who form strange obsessions and jealousies.

There's a reason why The Onion's articles from the comic book/Star Trek/geek guy on the inferiority of Firefly versus Buffy, etc. are so damn funny. To quote Homer Simpson, it's because it's true.
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Barak Engel
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Weeellll... what can I say? since when did game ranking become anything other than someone's subjective measurement of their like or dislike for the game?

I never rank a game I haven't played, so I guess I don't fall strictly into your category, but I do factor in resentment in my rankings; for example, take my ranking of Caylus as a "2". Based purely on my gameplay experience, I would probably have ranked it a "4" or a "5". But I have since then developed a strong resentment towards the game and the way it is being promoted like manna from heaven. I am almost offended by its being in the top 10. Every time someone mentions it in the same breath with (subjectively of course) gems like Power Grid and Princes of Florence I cringe, and not just figuratively. Hence the "2". That's how I feel about it at this point.

And no, I don't use the BGG ranking definitions either; I rank based on how a game shapes up on my own personal 1-10 scale. So if Caylus now feels like a 2 because of various factors on top of its irritating gameplay, then it's gonna be a 2. It is subjective after all. I might end up raising it back to a "4" or "5" if it ever drops out of the top 10
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A. People who's favorite games aren't in the top rankings..."Ratings are useless, and mean nothing"

B. People who's favorite games are popular on this site and are in the top rankings..."Ratings are important and reflect the site majority consensus"


That's pretty much it.
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Aaron Tubb
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I don't think that rating games that way is helpful to anyone.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of ratings that aren't very useful. On the flip side from people who never played, but hate the game anyway, are people who never played, but rate it high because they are excited about it (new games getting very high ratings before they are even published).
Another useless way to rate, IMO, is rating a game bases on how much your spouse liked it during his/her first play (example: rating=10, my wife said 'I like the little wooden guys'!)
 
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Leo Zappa
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This subject is one of the sacred debates here on BGG! Personally, I never rank a game I have never played, and I typically wait until I have at least 2 plays under my belt before I rate a game (I think I've rated less than half of my own collection!). I try to use the BGG scale for ratings since I figure the more of us who try to follow the same guideline, the more universal and useful the game rankings will be. Having said that, trying to get consensus amongst a group of intelligent, somewhat eccentric people such as we have here is akin to attempting to herd cats. As such, the ratings will always be subject to resentment ratings, shill ratings, fanboy ratings, theme & mechanic ratings ("I hate (fill in the blank) games"), and then, there will people who substitute their own 1-10 system, for no better reason than that's just how they are.

So, to answer the original question, some people rank out of resentment simply because they can. There's nothing to stop them, and they are too contrarian, too independent-minded, too self-centered to consider playing by the guidelines set out on BGG. Just shrug your shoulders and move along.

In the end, I wouldn't put much weight on game ratings. A much better indication of a game's value to YOU is how your geekbuddies rate the game. So long as everyone keeps in mind that the game ratings are basically just for fun, it's no big deal.
 
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Rick B
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Not quite on-topic, but related:

I can't remember what game I was looking at recently, but someone had rated the game a 10, and then in the comments it said something like, "Really I rate it about a 7 or 8, but I gave it a 10 because its overall average should be higher."

What????
 
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john davidson
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Any ratings system is based entirely on personal opinion and needs to be viewed in that light/taken with a pinch of salt, etc.

Rating a game (or anything) you haven't played is just plain daft and helps no-one.

I'd even go so far as to say downgrading your rating of a game because other people rate it highly is a little contrary.

I don't obsessively play the same game over and over so haven't yet rated anything a 10.
I have never thrown a game in the bin, so haven't rated any as 1.

In truth most of my ratings are pretty positive because I tend to care about things I like rather than obsess over things I don't...but that's maybe just me.
 
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Joe Stude
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My first thought: "because they can".
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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
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I only rate games I own and have played. I must admit that I have never bought a game and, even if I were dissapointed by it, not at least given it three or four plays to see if I missed something.

The reason I only rate games that I own is that I sometimes enjoy a game purely for either the look or feel of its components even if the gameplay is a bit of a struggle.



Until the second edition rules came out, Age of Napoleon fell into this category; the board is beautiful, the pieces are magnificent, you feel as if you are manoeuvreing Napoleonic corps around early 19th century Europe, but the gameplay was indeed a bit of a struggle. The second edition is ao much better.

All ratings should therefore be highly subjective and treated as such.
 
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Rob "Bodhi" Wolff
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I think that some of the people in the BGG community have developed a sense of entitlement when it comes to ratings, and as such see themselves as slightly more insightful than the average Joe, and grant their opinion slightly more weight. It may even fully develop into a sense that "My vote should count more".

I'm not saying that experience shouldn't factor in! Not at all! The collective experience of the community has saved me from dozens of disastrous decisions.

However, this *individual* experience needs to be tempered with wisdom. And it often isn't.

The more personally entitled the individual, the more likely that they are to rate a game based on unasked for things such as resentment, anger over "hype", disagreement with a game's current ranking (high or low), and so forth.

As an example, there are quite a number of experienced gamers who will rank a game based *solely* on a single reading of the rules. They feel that, since they've played hundreds of games in their lives, simply reading the rules will give them enough insight into gameplay, "fun-factor" and so forth, to allow them to rate a game. Personally, this is something that I would never, ever do, knowing full well that I've experienced many games which grant me a gameplay experience different from what I expected, both positive and negative. However, many people here would disagree, and feel that they can *accurately* rank a game based solely on reading the rules.

Another extreme are those who will rank a game before it is even released. When the Starship Troopers miniatures game was announced by Mongoose Publishing, immediately two or three rankings appeared, based on people's opinions of the *movie*, since the miniatures were going to use the movie as a basis of model design.

Another type will try to "fix" a game ranking/rating which they disagree with. If a favourite game is rated too low, or a game winds up being ranked highly but they disagree with the ranking, then they will factor in a higher or lower score than they normally would. Instead of trusting the mathematics to average out, with everybody's score counting as one vote and everybody's honest ranking counting equally, they'll bias their ranking in order to give their own individual score a (very) little more oomph. Knocking a few points off one's ranking of a game, in order to show the community that a game shouldn't be ranked as highly as it is, is a way of trying to make your vote count for just a tiny bit more than it would if it were calculated as a straight average of everybody's honest ranking of gameplay.

The more sense of individual entitlement a community member has, then the more likely they are to bend the BGG guidelines and use their own system of ranking, which may factor in any variety of variables.

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Hammock Backpacker
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- I only rank what I own
- I only rank what I've played at least 2 or 3 times
- I settle in to my overall rank after 5 or 6 plays and rarely change it after that.
- I don't lower my rank even if I grow tired/burned-out from too many plays or it's my group's behavior with the game that stinks rather than the game itself.

I'll look at the overall rank of a game out of curiosity but when it comes to determining whether the game is good for me...I use the geekbuddy analysis to see how specific people rank the game.

 
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Rodney Loyd
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MWChapel wrote:

A. People who's favorite games aren't in the top rankings..."Ratings are useless, and mean nothing"

B. People who's favorite games are popular on this site and are in the top rankings..."Ratings are important and reflect the site majority consensus"


That's pretty much it.


hear, hear!
 
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Joe Stude
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Maksimov wrote:
And your second thought?


I do not like them with a mouse. I do not like them in a house.

Does that count as two thoughts or just one?
 
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Tim Benjamin
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Although the comments are far more informative I believe that the ratings can be very useful tools for selecting a game to play/buy. Thus, I think it's wrong (idiotic) to rate games one has not even attempted to play or rate with the sole purpose of biasing the average. An additional point may be made about the ratings; frequently the comments will demonstrate that the rater rated the wrong game (most often mixing games with similar/same names): D-Day, Shogun, Battle Cry, Civil War etc. I don't understand why these aren't immediately fixed by the Admins. Fixing such things seems more important to the BGG database than another subjective Cluster Analysis variant.
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Barak Engel
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I think the whole point behind ratings is that, once enough ratings are logged in for a particular game, the overall rating is reasonably indicative of the quality of the game. It doesn't really matter if someone rates a game a "10" instead of an "8" because they don't like the game's low average (or vice versa) because their impact over 1000 ratings is irrelevant. And the bayesian average helps this even more.

Because of this, I never understood this whole discussion. The rating of games on the geek is entirely relevant and reasonably accurate when games are compared to each other, as all these little side-effects (people rating according to different guidelines, people bumping up or down based on whatever feeling they have, shills etc) are meaningless statistically after several hundred ratings are in.
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Gabe Alvaro
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People rank out of resentment because resenting the game makes them not want to play it. The rankings are what they say they are, a gauge for how much one wants to play the game. It really should have nothing to do with quality. I've seen this principle at work in a live setting. Just because a game is regarded as a product of quality doesn't mean people want to play it. I think a resentment ranking is perfectly valid.
 
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Daniel Karp
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Speaking only for myself, I believe that rating games you have never played is a misuse of the system. That being said, I don't think it goes on often enough to meaningfully affect the average ratings.

Some time ago, I proposed an alternate game rating scale that would be mostly consistent with the current scale, but, I think, more clearly deliniated the differences between rating. In particular, it removed the "always want to play" requirement for 9's and 10's, to allow for the fact that not even the best games are excellent in all situations. I don't know that it would really help the situation you describe, though, since I think not that people who are trying to manipulate the ratings won't pay much attention to the scales. You can find it here:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/115542
However, we decided that, even though the scales were probably similar enough that very few ratings would change, there would be enough people who would be upset at the switch and would think it made all old ratings "meaningless" that it would probably do more harm than good.

Anyway, I think people should rate games according to how much they like the game. Any other attempt to use ratings to manipulate the rankings is an abuse of the system, but not one that is likely to have much effect. Too many people rate games honestly for it to cause much harm.
 
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Barak Engel
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dakarp wrote:
Some time ago, I proposed an alternate game rating scale that would be mostly consistent with the current scale, but, I think, more clearly deliniated the differences between rating.


Very good one, dakarp. I didn't know this existed but it's very much how I rate games myself.
 
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Jim Pulles
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While I try to stay within the ranking system as presented here, there are some games that fall by the wayside because of personal preferences. Because of the sheer number of games I seem to play each year, many games only get played one or two times... and that means first impressions become very important. The "fun" factor can help swing a rating point or two as well.

Other people's impressions can affect a rating too. This happens at our Club all the time... will be offered for play, and invariably, someone will say "I read some bad things about this one... it's not that good. Anyone want to play instead?"

There are a few games that I use in each ratings category as a comparison. If the game I am rating is more fun to play then it keeps getting a higher rating until I'd pick something else. Totally subjective... but it works for me.
 
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Rich Shipley
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SettlerOfCatan wrote:
People need to distinguish between what they like and what's good or bad. There's no way to tell if a boardgame is good or bad, no way at all, the reviews on BGG are totally subjective.


I don't care that much about what is truly good or bad and the ratings here are supposed to be subjective. Good comments and reviews by people who like similar things are very useful in determing what games I might like. You go too far in the "everything is useless" direction.
 
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Gary Webster
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I feel the need to weigh in here, because I do use the overall rankings as a guide, and I worry about some of the comments I'm reading. At the risk of being slightly controversial (tough for an old man's heart):

Some of the posters have indicated that they use a different ranking system from the one presented by the 'Geek, for the 'Geek, which represents a more objective ranking for them. Well, that doesn't help the average Geek, who'se using these rankings for what they are supposed to represent. Sure they're subjective, but they ought to follow similar guidelines regardless of who does the ranking. I mean, we rank games to guide others to enjoy games that we enjoy. Sure, a 10 still beats a 3, but the meaning of each may differ if you use different criteria, and someone trying to use the rankings to get a feel for a game will not know the meaning of what you're doing, and it will be lost.

I personally rank games based on my experiences playing the game. Win or lose, doesn't matter so much, but I think you ought to play the game to rank it. Otherwise, you're ranking the hype, and reacting to things that have nothing to do with the actual quality of the game. So I think ranking a game without playing it DOES hurt the system that the BGG Admins have set up.

There.
 
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