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Old 11-13-2017, 02:09 PM   #1
rae121452
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what are your thoughts on the rating system?

it seems that only a tiny fraction of the overall readership actually leaves a rating and because of that, it seems misleading to me.
does anyone submit with voting turned off? i know that disqualifies a story for the contests and top rated board but does that really matter?
also, does turning off the voting affect the reader count statistic...in other words, will that still be viable?
are there any other consequences to turning off the voting function?
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Old 11-13-2017, 02:46 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by rae121452 View Post
it seems that only a tiny fraction of the overall readership actually leaves a rating and because of that, it seems misleading to me.
does anyone submit with voting turned off? i know that disqualifies a story for the contests and top rated board but does that really matter?
also, does turning off the voting affect the reader count statistic...in other words, will that still be viable?
are there any other consequences to turning off the voting function?
I haven't been on here long but I can say with certainty that higher ratings result in higher views. I've had stories drop by only a few one hundredths and seen the number of views fall significantly. So if you turn off voting and don't allow your story to be rated it almost certainly will get fewer readers (unless its score is so bad that a nonscore won't hurt it, I suppose).

The fact that only a tiny fraction votes doesn't mean the vote isn't significant. If 100,000 people view your story and 1,000 vote on it, that's only 1%, but it is a large enough sample to be statistically significant representation of the views of the entire 100,000.
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Old 11-13-2017, 03:04 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by SimonDoom View Post
I haven't been on here long but I can say with certainty that higher ratings result in higher views. I've had stories drop by only a few one hundredths and seen the number of views fall significantly. So if you turn off voting and don't allow your story to be rated it almost certainly will get fewer readers (unless its score is so bad that a nonscore won't hurt it, I suppose).

The fact that only a tiny fraction votes doesn't mean the vote isn't significant. If 100,000 people view your story and 1,000 vote on it, that's only 1%, but it is a large enough sample to be statistically significant representation of the views of the entire 100,000.
It's still a meaningless statistic because there is no way to know what was measured.

High scores make writers happy, low scores make them sad. Trying to squeeze anything more out of scores is uninformed if not delusional.

rj
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Old 11-13-2017, 03:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by rjordan View Post
It's still a meaningless statistic because there is no way to know what was measured.

High scores make writers happy, low scores make them sad. Trying to squeeze anything more out of scores is uninformed if not delusional.

rj
I think that's going too far. At a very minimum, if a story gets a high score it means that readers liked it. I see the writing and publication of a story as a form of communication between me and the readers, and if they like the story I see that as a good thing, even if the score by itself gives me no idea what they liked about it. Others may not care, and that's fine, but I do.
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Old 11-13-2017, 04:38 PM   #5
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If you turn off voting, you're denying yourself the possibility of several major forces that attract readers.

First is the score itself. Readers do pay attention to that, and will shy away from stories less than 4.4 or so. For a fair amount of the readership, having a zero score is a zero score, regardless of why.

Second is the possibility of attaining a Red H by having at least 10 votes and an average score of 4.5. Readers gravitate toward those stories because they are marked and stand out on the story listings.

Third is the toplists. If you manage to make the all-time toplist ( or in the case of the 1 and 12 month toplists, rank highly ) it can be a significant driver of reads.

There are other factors as well. You could place in a monthly contest and be featured on the front page. You could be a qualifier for the year-end contest and be featured in the announcement for that month as well as the final voting. These aren't huge drivers as they're outside of the standard browsing habits of the bulk of readers, but they're there.

A chapter of one of my stories which won the monthly contest has nearly three times the views as the chapters preceding and following it. As a deep middle chapter, the extra eyes didn't really affect readership, but if a one shot story gets that many new eyes, it's going to increase your reads, votes, and favorites.

In short, if you turn off voting, you're throwing away a lot of readership. The one exception might be Loving Wives where a large number of stories have voting and commenting disabled, so it's more the norm than an outlier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rae121452 View Post
it seems that only a tiny fraction of the overall readership actually leaves a rating and because of that, it seems misleading to me.
does anyone submit with voting turned off? i know that disqualifies a story for the contests and top rated board but does that really matter?
also, does turning off the voting affect the reader count statistic...in other words, will that still be viable?
are there any other consequences to turning off the voting function?
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Old 11-13-2017, 04:49 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by rjordan View Post
It's still a meaningless statistic because there is no way to know what was measured.

High scores make writers happy, low scores make them sad. Trying to squeeze anything more out of scores is uninformed if not delusional.

rj
You can make out of the scoring system what you will. It's not a meaningless statistic any more than voting is a meaningless statistic. It's evidence of a human behaviour**, and if an indicator has a rough constant - the constant here seems to be 1 vote for every 100 views which pops up again and again - then a shift away from that trend, either higher or lower, may mean something.

** another indicator of human behaviour is the national road toll in this country - how do people know how to kill themselves on the roads at approximately the same rate every year? Simple - because roughly the same population drives approximately the same number of cars over the same roads at the same speeds as last year, and they crash at roughly the same rate.

It's the same here - if you have a big enough base of people doing what they do, over time the indicators mean something. Which is why the mix of scores/ views/ faves/ comments remains forever fascinating. To obsess about them is absurd, to be curious about them is, well, human behaviour...
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Old 11-13-2017, 05:11 PM   #7
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The fact that only a tiny fraction votes doesn't mean the vote isn't significant. If 100,000 people view your story and 1,000 vote on it, that's only 1%, but it is a large enough sample to be statistically significant representation of the views of the entire 100,000.
Representativeness isn't just about how large your sample is; it's also about how that sample is chosen.

If you were to randomly select 1000 people and get all of them to read stories and make sure all of them vote, sure, that would be a useful sample size and you'd expect the results from that sample to reflect the overall population they were drawn from.

But Literotica voters aren't randomly selected; they're self-selected, which is a whole other thing. The sample will be skewed towards those who (a) chose to read the story in the first place, (b) made it to the end, and (c) had strong opinions about it. All of those factors are likely to skew your sample so it's not truly representative of the reader population, which introduces biases into the voting. No matter how many votes you get, if they're a self-selected 1% of all readers, the score isn't likely to be representative of the other 99%.

Some of that bias might be ignorable; if one of those effects is pushing all ratings in the same direction, then it might not matter too much for purposes of comparing between stories. But when it affects different stories in different ways (like, say, the story-length effect), that's a serious problem for comparing ratings.
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Old 11-13-2017, 05:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bramblethorn View Post
Representativeness isn't just about how large your sample is; it's also about how that sample is chosen.

If you were to randomly select 1000 people and get all of them to read stories and make sure all of them vote, sure, that would be a useful sample size and you'd expect the results from that sample to reflect the overall population they were drawn from.

But Literotica voters aren't randomly selected; they're self-selected, which is a whole other thing. The sample will be skewed towards those who (a) chose to read the story in the first place, (b) made it to the end, and (c) had strong opinions about it. All of those factors are likely to skew your sample so it's not truly representative of the reader population, which introduces biases into the voting. No matter how many votes you get, if they're a self-selected 1% of all readers, the score isn't likely to be representative of the other 99%.

Some of that bias might be ignorable; if one of those effects is pushing all ratings in the same direction, then it might not matter too much for purposes of comparing between stories. But when it affects different stories in different ways (like, say, the story-length effect), that's a serious problem for comparing ratings.
I realize all this. But it's still significant. It represents something, even if the confidence interval is high. I suspect that votes, in general, skew high as percentage of all readers, except in special cases, such as Loving Wives stories, where a high proportion of very negative readers are motivated to vote. But even if that's true, it's likely to be true of other authors' stories, so it's still significant.
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Old 11-13-2017, 06:00 PM   #9
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There are posters who have posted to the forum that they won't open any story rating below 4.5. I don't think they are doing themselves any favors in doing that, but they say that's what they do. On that strength alone, yes, rating makes a difference in the views your story is going to get.
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Old 11-13-2017, 06:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by rae121452 View Post
it seems that only a tiny fraction of the overall readership actually leaves a rating and because of that, it seems misleading to me.
does anyone submit with voting turned off? i know that disqualifies a story for the contests and top rated board but does that really matter?
also, does turning off the voting affect the reader count statistic...in other words, will that still be viable?
are there any other consequences to turning off the voting function?
Rating is just one stat and it's loosely correlated with the others (i.e. stories with higher ratings tend to get more comments, votes and favorites). Don't get wound up on any one stat.
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:24 PM   #11
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:30 PM   #12
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Now me, I love ratings. I want to get the highest ratings I can in spite of the odd troll so I write to more or less try and target those things that hit the spot for the categories I write too. Anything over 4.8 just gets me all excited. Lol
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:57 PM   #13
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Plus, deny it all you like, a spray of Red Hs in a story listing is a little bit like Alice walking through the rose garden - there's a slightly higher chance that you're going to find some interesting characters in them thar hills. To mix a metaphor. And to mix it further: generally speaking, dross doesn't rise to the top.

Ratings are what they are, which is better than nothing at all, I reckon
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Old 11-13-2017, 09:20 PM   #14
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I've been reading for years and rarely vote. I never know what I'm supposed to be voting on. Whether or not the story is well written? Whether or not I liked it? The sensuality of the sex scene/s?

Plus, I feel bad about giving someone a low score even when the story is littered with spelling and grammatical errors, woefully boring and has a terrible sex scene. I read a new story recently that was highly rated and had a gazillion votes and was like 'SERIOUSLY? People SERIOUSLY like this?' but I still didn't vote.

The stories in my favourites rate from 3.5 to 4.68. One of my all time favourites of lit has very few 'hot' stories but damnnnn her sexy tales do it for me. She's no longer active so I'm rationing her stories out and intentionally reading slowly.
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Old 11-13-2017, 09:38 PM   #15
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Being a reader turned writer, I guess I can speak for both the sides.

As a reader, I didn't care rating or commenting (whether logged in or as anonymous). Only did it if a particular story was really good or horribly bad. While selecting stories, a reader looks at broadly four parameters : Category, Writer, Description & Rating. So you may or may not complete reading the entire story (you might just jerk off and end it there).

But as a writer, I personally am curious to know how my story has fared. When I first published my story, I constantly checked for the ratings, views or comments. So yes, as a writer I believe it's pretty important as it helps them to get a feedback on their writing. Besides there isn't much motivation for a Lit writer to write stories, so ratings/comments are a must.
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Old 11-13-2017, 10:23 PM   #16
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You can make out of the scoring system what you will. It's not a meaningless statistic any more than voting is a meaningless statistic. It's evidence of a human behaviour**
Yes, it is evidence of human behavior. But evidence of WHICH human behavior or behaviors. You have no idea from the voting system.

I didn't say the results were random. There are patterns. But what do they MEAN? You have no idea from the voting system.

If the vote is a measure of whether readers liked the story or not, then a simple thumbs up/down would give some indication of that. 0 or 1. You don't get more precision by making the voting range 0-5 or 0-10 especially when the criteria for each star is so vague and imprecise.

Seriously, 3 stars is "like it". 4 stars is "really like it". If you got one of each, that would average 3.5 stars. That implies the readership more than "liked it", but not "really liked" it. If you got 1000 votes with the same average, you haven't gained any more information. On average, your readers "like it", but not "really liked it". The precision implied with numbers is an illusion, not a meaningful statistic.

Generally, well-written stories with interesting characters and situations that follow genre guidelines score better than ones missing some or all of those attributes. It doesn't require statistics to know that correlation. But if you DO bring up statistics to measure it, you better have ways of quantifying these or it's largely meaningless.

So what is the difference between a 4.4 story and a 4.5 story? Did the writer of the 4.4 story stumble slightly? Do readers favor a 4.5 story over the 4.4 story because there is some inherent flaw that they can perceive (without having read it yet)? Or has the system introduced a systemic bias with the Red H. Readers couldn't possibly discern a difference between those two stories that can explain the 0.1 difference.

I give every story 5* if I can read all the way to the end. If it gives me wood, it's guaranteed 5* even if I don't finish it. Some readers give 1* to stories they admit they didn't read for various reasons. Those people are shaping your "meaningful statistics" too.

Anyway, high scores make writers happy. Low scores make them sad. It's a harmless delusion as delusions go.

rj
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Old 11-13-2017, 10:25 PM   #17
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So you may or may not complete reading the entire story (you might just jerk off and end it there).
And if that's the case, it means that the most 'successful' stories in real terms (i.e. those that provoke masturbation) then become the least likely to be voted on.

I can't say I've ever rubbed one out and then thought 'shit! Must go and vote on the story that inspired this little self love session. Might even think up a comment about the author's impressive vocabulary.' I'm far more likely just to wipe my hands on the sheet, roll over and go to sleep.
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Old 11-13-2017, 10:49 PM   #18
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Old 11-13-2017, 11:25 PM   #19
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Yes, it is evidence of human behavior. But evidence of WHICH human behavior or behaviors. You have no idea from the voting system.

I didn't say the results were random. There are patterns. But what do they MEAN? You have no idea from the voting system.

If the vote is a measure of whether readers liked the story or not, then a simple thumbs up/down would give some indication of that. 0 or 1. You don't get more precision by making the voting range 0-5 or 0-10 especially when the criteria for each star is so vague and imprecise.

Seriously, 3 stars is "like it". 4 stars is "really like it". If you got one of each, that would average 3.5 stars. That implies the readership more than "liked it", but not "really liked" it. If you got 1000 votes with the same average, you haven't gained any more information. On average, your readers "like it", but not "really liked it". The precision implied with numbers is an illusion, not a meaningful statistic.

Generally, well-written stories with interesting characters and situations that follow genre guidelines score better than ones missing some or all of those attributes. It doesn't require statistics to know that correlation. But if you DO bring up statistics to measure it, you better have ways of quantifying these or it's largely meaningless.

So what is the difference between a 4.4 story and a 4.5 story? Did the writer of the 4.4 story stumble slightly? Do readers favor a 4.5 story over the 4.4 story because there is some inherent flaw that they can perceive (without having read it yet)? Or has the system introduced a systemic bias with the Red H. Readers couldn't possibly discern a difference between those two stories that can explain the 0.1 difference.

I give every story 5* if I can read all the way to the end. If it gives me wood, it's guaranteed 5* even if I don't finish it. Some readers give 1* to stories they admit they didn't read for various reasons. Those people are shaping your "meaningful statistics" too.

Anyway, high scores make writers happy. Low scores make them sad. It's a harmless delusion as delusions go.

rj
I think you are setting an unnecessarily high bar for what constitutes "meaningful." No one here would contend that scores are "precise" in any way. But they do convey meaningful information. To wit:

1. A score of 4.5, which gets you an "H" for a so-called "hot" story, means that your story is roughly at the 75th percentile of stories rated on this site, unless it's in Loving Wives, where a 4.5 is better than 75th percentile. So the score gives you a rough idea of how well the readers on this site like your story compared to how they like others' stories. That may or may not be useful information, depending upon why you submit stories here. To me, it's useful, even though I take the usefulness with a grain of salt.

2. Scores give you some information for evaluating stories within categories and within a series. If you write a multi-chapter series and one chapter is rated unusually high or unusually low, that might tell you something. That chapter might be lacking something, or maybe it had something that was particularly good.

3. I think scores DO give you a pretty good sense of whether you are hitting the notes that readers expect in a particular category. That may not be the same thing as artistic merit, but if your goal is to satisfy the needs of a particular genre, a score may be useful to find out if you are hitting those notes.

4. Scores can only be evaluated in context. A really excellent hot wife story will get dinged by Loving Wives voters, so you have to evaluate its score relative to that of other similar stories. Chapters in long, popular series tend to get the highest scores, even though they may have few readers. It doesn't mean they're better than lower-rated standalone stories, because the scoring/reader pools are different. But when you compare apples to apples, the scores have some meaning.

5. The higher a score your story gets, the more people will read it, but that doesn't mean that high scores mean many readers across the board. Far from it. Many of the highest rated stories on this site have few views. The all-time most-viewed story "'A' My Name Is Alice" is only rated 3.55 (I can't figure out this story's singular success, unless its title means it appears at the top of various alphabetical listings of incest stories).

So, anyway, ratings don't convey any absolute information about the worth of your story, but they convey information that, if evaluated in context, you may find useful.
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Old 11-13-2017, 11:47 PM   #20
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So, anyway, ratings don't convey any absolute information about the worth of your story, but they convey information that, if evaluated in context, you may find useful.
I give your comment 4.3 stars

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Old 11-13-2017, 11:48 PM   #21
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I give your comment 4.3 stars

rj
About 70 percentile. A "C." I'm distressed.
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Old 11-13-2017, 11:59 PM   #22
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Pretty much my point.

I hope nobody takes offence, (Couldn't care less if you do in fact) but I find the majority of stories here yawn worthy. Too overblown, too full of waffle. Pretentiousness seems to rule.
I'll happily apologise if I'm shown one story that gets me in masturbatory mode here. I'm all ears. This may surprise some but I've never once whacked off to anyone's stuff here. Now who used to write those concise, intense stories in top shelf magazines? They knew how to hit the button.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying there is anything "Wrong" if people like overblown stuff that takes forever to get to the point. I just like to sift out the extraneous stuff, a bit like Crowley cut out the dross from occultism and paved the way for chaos magic. I don't do airy fairy stuff in sex stories. If you do, that's okay. It's just not my bag.
Maybe many of us are just all romantics at heart? Or maybe we like to think of the straight laced thirty or forty-something couple getting up to something stupidly kinky and starting the story with the couple couch shopping helps set the mood?

Can't believe you haven't found your quick stroke magic, though. How many categories do you read?
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Old 11-14-2017, 12:02 AM   #23
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The regular zapping pattern on my stories pretty much negates any thought that the ratings mean much of anything in the way of comparative quality (of the stories of others or even to my other stories). I think I have a good idea how good my stories are comparative to my other stories, which doesn't match the ratings they are given, and I read very few stories here by anyone else, so I have no idea or belief on how mine compare with others (beyond getting the impression that most others are much more uncertain about their stories than I am about mine).
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Old 11-14-2017, 12:15 AM   #24
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So, anyway, ratings don't convey any absolute information about the worth of your story, but they convey information that, if evaluated in context, you may find useful.
The ratings are a popularity thing. They have little or nothing to do with technique and everything to do with content.

I follow my ratings like Adonis gazing at his reflection in a pool.

Despite following my scores closely, I've never gotten any sort of useful information from them. The most important effect has come from watching the votes closely and realizing that--aside from the occasions when some reader votes and also comments--you can't really decipher what they mean.

Aside from that, a high score is flattering. A low score isn't. I accept rewards like a dog in training.
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Old 11-14-2017, 12:20 AM   #25
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My contribution to this discussion (for what it's worth): of my ten personal favourite stories, five are among my highest scoring; five are among my lowest scoring. So, go figure (as they say).
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