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Subject: who is qualified to rate games - discuss rss

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Iain K
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We had so much fun last Friday debating the meaning of "gamer's games" I thought I'd toss another bone into the pit.

Recent discussions both on and off BGG, at consimworld, slashdot.com, and in Francis Pike's excellently produced geeklist* have revolved around the validity of ratings here on BGG.

Let me tell you what I think, and then I'll open the topic for discussion.

As the reader may well know I'm a pragmatist, albeit a pessimistic one. I believe the following about game ratings on BGG:

- ratings have to be taken with a grain of salt
- every game gets a 10 from someone, every game gets a 3
- given the "official" definition of a 10, I don't think I will ever award a game a "10"
- most mathematical interpretations of the ratings are suspect for a variety of reasons
- I value the Geek Buddy analysis feature


OK, that having been said I'd like to open the discussion of the following comment (paraphased from CortexBomb):


People who have experienced more games are the most qualified at rating games.


I don't entirely agree with this statement. I agree that experience is really valuable in reviews of rules, mechanics, and component quality.

But there's something more. You have to find reviewers whose "tastes" coincide with your own in some way, regardless of how many games they've played.

Of course, this is the basis of the geek buddies analysis. But you've got to learn how to weigh, or value, each buddy's views, and consider the genre they prefer. In my case, I have a buddy who rates most everything positively, another who finds fault with practically everything, together I get a balanced picture. Another couple focus on the wargaming genre, where I respect their views, but their take on Euro or party games doesn't sway me.

Interestingly, the ones whose opinions I've found most valuable haven't necessarily rated the most games, but they do articulate their opinions well.

Anywho, my two cents. What do you think?


* Experienced Based Ratings: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi...
 
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CHAPEL
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Thats easy, I trust my ratings the most. I know what I like and what I don't like. Then after that, if I find a new game that I haven't played I take a secondary approach. I read the reviews, and look ate all the high/low ratings. Then I pick a few and look at the users "other" ratings to see if his/her trends are close to mine. If they are, then I agree with that rating, and either buy the game, or try and play it myself.

It's all about trends with me. If one person rates a game a 10, but only has a few rating, then I tend not to take that person too seriously. Same for low rating. That's just how I do it.

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Andrew Faehnle
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people who work for it
I think only people with avatars (and perhaps BGG Supporter badges) should be able to rate games. They have a de facto investment in ensuring this site's success and worth. Those who have avatars have invested time; those with "BGG Supporter" badges have invested money.
 
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Brian
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I think anyone who plays a game is "qualified" to tell me what they thought of it. There are a few things I think a reviewer _should_ feel obligated to mention, but sometimes don't:

1. This was the first time they played the game.
2. They haven't played many other games.

That's about it, for me. I feel that beyond that, it's my responsibility, to an extent, to decide to trust the reviewer or not, based on the review itself. A review that doesn't go into specifics of likes and dislikes isn't so useful - I've found in the past that a bad review has pointed me to a game where what the reviewer disliked is something I was into. So without enough information, I can safely ignore a review.
 
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Seamus Kleissler
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the problem with weighing the value of "experienced" gamers over say newbies is that experienced gamers cannot tell you how well a game flies when introduced to a new gamer or a light gamer or another type of experienced gamer. What an experienced gamer tells you about a game doesn't necessarily reflect what you want to know. And different people want to know different things.

What ratings tell you is what fans of a particular type of game think of that particular game. Because it is those people that will in most cases buy it. And a scan of personal comments can tell you why people love it and hate it (something i always check to see if people simply hate what I expect to love). Given this knowledge of ratings, ratings do give you a general feel for how popular the game is with a certain genre. Geekbuddies narrow that to folks with similar tastes.

And the truth is that this site is full of what I respectfully refer to as game snobs. And therefore reviews of top 40 games (i.e. the mass marketed types usch as Risk) are thought less of within the bgg community. Other important information is that there are more Euro gamers here and less grognards.

None of this makes ratings "useless". These are just the variables that go into this set of statistical data. The more folks understand these little nuances the more valuable ratings become. Of course, BGG is great because of the loads of supporting information that can be used to distinguish a 7.4 game that you don't want and a 6.2 game you want.
 
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Brett Myers
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anybody physically able to rate game personally or by proxy is qualified to rate games.
 
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If you've played a game, even if it's just one time, you're qualified to rate it.
 
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Ray
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I believe there are different niches (wargames, consims, expandable game systems, plactic armies, miniatures, abstracts, child games, etc) that have people that only rate in that niche (because they have different criteria for their ratings). Looking at these niche ratings gives good insight about what people who only play that type of game think.

I also believe that short-playing easy-to-learn (yet with some teeth to master) games (i.e. Eurogames) will always dominate this site because this site is a boardgame search site. Boardgame searchers like to always be getting new games thus they want to enjoy a game on their 1st playing and will move onto new games soon after. Any Eurogamers who doesn't move on to new games frequently will play less games and thus contribute less ratings to this site (and thus again we see that prolific game tryers will drive the site)

The final net effect is that popular games get more popular (because searching indicates they should try them) What I wonder about is how much of the 'try all games' nature of the Eurogamer will cross over to exploring the different niches. I suspect the niches that are enjoyable quickly will do well, but the ones that require much playing before they become enjoyable (sims) will not.
 
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Mark McEvoy
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I think only people with avatars (and perhaps BGG Supporter badges) should be able to rate games. They have a de facto investment in ensuring this site's success and worth. Those who have avatars have invested time; those with "BGG Supporter" badges have invested money.

This is ABSURD. I would argue that my 155 articles and 69 geeklist additions represent a greater investment into this site than a bunch of picture uploads.
 
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Chris Shaffer
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Anyone who has an opinion about a game and an account on the server should have a right to rate that game. If someone wants to be a ratings snob, they are free to view each and every person's rating for a particular game and decide whose ratings to value and whose ratings to discard.
 
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Joe Andrews
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Quote:
I think only people with avatars (and perhaps BGG Supporter badges) should be able to rate games. They have a de facto investment in ensuring this site's success and worth. Those who have avatars have invested time; those with "BGG Supporter" badges have invested money.


The magic of this site is the sheer volume and range of voices that can be heard here.

That being said, I've got a great idea...let's shut off some of the segments that "don't matter!" Close the borders!

Why don't we make it mandatory that people pay for site access (then we'll only have people on here who "pony up." Really, they're the only ones whose voices are qualified on this stuff.) Let's also make it that you have to be able to do 20 push-ups to qualify for admittance, and if your hair color is green, you'll get some special access features and benefits.

Good ideas, doncha think? (My sarcasm here doesn't cost any extra...you get it at no charge.)
 
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Andrew Faehnle
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Quote:
Quote:
I think only people with avatars (and perhaps BGG Supporter badges) should be able to rate games. They have a de facto investment in ensuring this site's success and worth. Those who have avatars have invested time; those with "BGG Supporter" badges have invested money.


This is ABSURD. I would argue that my 155 articles and 69 geeklist additions represent a greater investment into this site than a bunch of picture uploads.


Some points I'd like to clarify and address.

1). It prevents shills from up- or down-rating games.

2). Maybe picture uploads should only be rewarded for games that have none.

3). I think that anyone should be able to review or comment on games. With the recent upslope of the number of people joining this site, I worry about the quality of this site unless some barriers to participation are added.

If you check out the parallel discussion about slashdot on here, many fellow 'Geeks mention that /. used to be a great site, but is now a load of (for the most part) junk. A lot of this can be attributed to the growth that the site went through. If you want this site to continue to be useful, then there absolutely are reasons for not letting anyone who surfs in here from having the full privleges of dedicated, core users and contributors.

To make a hyperbolic point: why not let everyone have full admin privleges? Because there are people who will abuse them.

BGG has already begun to see abuse of the ratings system. Check out the BGG entry for "Cardchess" to see an example.

I'm enclosing a link to an excellent (albeit long) article about managing growth of social communities, whence comes the suggestion to provide barriers to participation.

P.S.: Mark, you wrote 6 articles. Most of the rest are replies. You have 0 GeekLists. Though I am probably incorrect, it seems like you are misrepresenting yourself.
 
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Iain K
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travistdale,
your survey was one of the journals that inspried today's take on the question. Thanks.
 
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Iain K
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Let's refocus the discussion of the statement posed in my entry:

People who have experienced more games are the most qualified at rating games.

One possible offshoot of this is that, shills won't rate tons of games, only the ones they're interested in . . .

thoughts on the above statements . . .
 
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Mark McEvoy
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P.S.: Mark, you wrote 6 articles. Most of the rest are replies.

Yes, I answer a lot of people's questions, and this is the second time you've made it clear how little you think of people who try to help.

You have 0 GeekLists.

I have 0 _visible_ geeklists. I clean up my mess when it's no longer of interest to others.

Though I am probably incorrect, it seems like you are misrepresenting yourself.

I never meant to misrepresent anything. I just pulled the numbers from my own profile.

Articles Written: 155
Images Uploaded: 6
GeekLists Written: 0
GeekList Comments: 61
Items Added to Other GeekLists: 8
Journal Entries Written: 8


If BGG tracked journal replies, that would also number in the three-digits I'm sure. I think these replies account for a more genuine 'investment' in the site than, say, nine separate pictures of Tichu cards (which went up today, and _any_ Tichu owner could have sumbitted if they wanted a quick and easy 9 GG with minimal effort)
 
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Andrew Faehnle
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I'm enclosing a link to an excellent (albeit long) article about managing growth of social communities, whence comes the suggestion to provide barriers to participation.


Here's the aforementioned link:
http://www.shirky.com/writings/group_enemy.html

Quote:
I think only people with avatars (and perhaps BGG Supporter badges) should be able to rate games. They have a de facto investment in ensuring this site's success and worth. Those who have avatars have invested time; those with "BGG Supporter" badges have invested money.


I gues sthat needs some clarification, too: i intended people with avatars or "Supporter" geekbadges.

I don't think people should be excluded from viewing the site, and submitting new information/games/lists/articles, but because the statistical stuff is such shorthand (and potentially, so powerful and useful), people shouldn't be allowed to add to that without having a vested interest in this site's accuracy and usefulness. No one is suggesting paid membership.
 
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Rob "Bodhi" Wolff
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Fixing Rating Bug
Can't it be set up that you can only rate a game if you enter it into your profile that you've played it?
I keep seeing games that people rate without playing, even go so far as to cop to that fact in their comments line. "3 - Rating based on reading the rules" is ridiculous!

For that matter, can't it be revamped that you can only assign a rating if you
a. check the box saying you've played it
b. include some commentary, say 3 words minimum?

I hate seeing that list of blank "1" ratings, or blank "10" ratings.
 
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CHAPEL
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Quote:

I don't think people should be excluded from viewing the site, and submitting new information/games/lists/articles, but because the statistical stuff is such shorthand (and potentially, so powerful and useful), people shouldn't be allowed to add to that without having a vested interest in this site's accuracy and usefulness. No one is suggesting paid membership.



Well lucky for us, the admins don't agree with you.

 
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Joe Andrews
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BGG has already begun to see abuse of the ratings system. Check out the BGG entry for "Cardchess" to see an example.


How long ago did that happen, and what did frequent users do to the shill (and the shills for other games? This site has done a very good job of policing itself.

To answer Citizen K directly, I enjoy new user comments because they have a fresh perspective that shows me something about the debate. I'm growing more and more sure of some member's tastes. I like coming here and seeing something fresh. It adds to the discussion and we should provoke more people to add to the discussion.

Also, it reminds me of when I started gaining an interest in games again. There was a "whole new world" feeling that I like to see and remember. I don't want this all the time, but coupled with the BGG curmudgeon comments, I get a great view of my hobby.

That being said, I still like the 20 push-up idea.
 
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JessA
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Is this site Boardgame Geeks or Boardgame Snobs? I forget.
 
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Julien G.
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Quote:

People who have experienced more games are the most qualified at rating games.


I say "wrong".

Game ratings are based on a purely subjective scale. Everybody able to know if they enjoyed a game, to what degree, and how eager they feel to play it again (or not), is therefore qualified at rating it.
 
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People who have experienced more games are the most qualified at rating games.


I still disagree. Anyone who plays a few games and has an opinion on them is just as qualified to rate a game as someone who has played every game under the sun. Ratings are SUBJECTIVE, and the sooner a lot of the game snobs figure this out, the more likely it is that we'll all get along.
 
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All college football fans and those who question the validity of the polls (especially AP) are listening in.....

The answer is that there is no answer...

Ratings are totally utilitarian - you use and funnel them in the way you are interested in the answers. It's like a test culture.

You can try to use ratings to find out the "best game", but it can only be general. See my first sentence, i.e., it doesn't work.

If Clay Shirky only wants invested users to rate then what will he get? The ratings and results of those who are invested users. Yes'm.
 
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Andrew Faehnle
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I still disagree. Anyone who plays a few games and has an opinion on them is just as qualified to rate a game as someone who has played every game under the sun. Ratings are SUBJECTIVE, and the sooner a lot of the game snobs figure this out, the more likely it is that we'll all get along.


Maybe we'll be more likely to get along if you don't call people game snobs.
 
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Mark McEvoy
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Without impacting the existing rating structure, I would like to see, added as a feature, the ability to show games ranked by straight average of a sublist of users (say, your geekbuddy list, or some new geekbuddy-parallel sort of list of 'trusted raters'.

IMHO, the only _real_ problem skewing the numbers is the same rocks-or-sucks, hot-or-not, 10-or-1 raters that plague almost any rating site. Take a look at IMDB for an example - for any given movie, "10" and "1" are among the most frequent ratings - people rarely use the numbers 2 through 6. Even for the movies that rate extremely well, the votes for "1" usually outweigh the votes for 2, 3, and 4 combined. IMDB #1 film The Godfather has 6949 votes of worst-rating-possible "1" - it's the fourthmost common rating, after "10", "9", and "8".

Is that happening here? A bit, I guess, not to the epidemic proportions of the IMDB.
 
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