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Reviews and Ratings Rule Addition


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#31 Sheik

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 05:26 AM

Concerning dropping half the reviews if extremes are excluded from analysis for quests with a small number of reviews in total: you shouldn't average fewer than ~20 (better: 30) reviews anyways if you want to make a useful statistical statement.

You could try to rank quests instead by number of downloads and have reviews available only in the spelled-out form of actual reviews.
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#32 Lunaria

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 10:56 AM

I think the biggest misconception in this thread is that the current rating system is somehow useful. I genuinely feel it's not, and at the time where I decided to start reviewing quests seriously I even expressed that I disliked the idea having to leave a rating at all. Since at best the rating is a poor simplification of my review, at worst it makes the reader look at the rating and decide for themselves what they think it means. But I decided about one thing: If I have to leave ratings I'll at least leave one that lines up with what I think.

But the problem does not even start there. For one, there are not even nearly enough ratings for them to be useful. Few quests actually get the ratings they need to be useful. If a mediocre quest comes out then chances are they will only get one or two reviews, at best. This means that the average of 3/5 is generally the starting point of the low interest stuff. In a few rare scenarios when a terrible quest do get traction it will go down to the bottom. But in general, the only two pages of material that is often relevant for people to look at is the two first ones (while sorting from ratings), as well as any new ones that come out. But even that can be highly misleading, as I have noticed with Legend of Lana DX. The original legend of lana was critically panned here, (and I don't blame anyone for that). But the DX version of the quest is currently sitting at the first page. One could make the argument that the quest fixed all the flaws and is amazing, but that's not even close to the truth. The reality of the situation is this: Barely anyone who have played the original have an interest in playing the reduxed version, and as such are exempt from sharing their opinions on it. This lead to the few who played it (and gave it a 5/5) made the quest ended up on the first page.

Another huge problem is people just leaving vapid reviews, and rates things 5/5 off the hype. Mind, I don't have a problem with people who do think X quest is the best shit ever to rate it 5/5, or whatever scale they use to judge by. But often time I think people just leave their reviews based on the hype they are currently feeling, without really putting much thought into it. But reviews like: "it's amazing "5/5"", "awful "0/5"", and "it's okay "3/5"" are all equally useless to anyone except the reviewer. But that does not mean I think it's okay to reply to every review that does something like that and complain to them about it. Nor does it mean I think we should ban those kind of reviews, that would also be absurd. But when a large chunk of reviews/ratings are like this, sometimes even the majority, then the aggregated ratings becomes increasingly less useful. Lana DX is not a quest that would sit on the first page if those kind of reviews weren't a thing, and it's not the only quest.


The rating system and by association the review system here have always been problematic because of these reasons, among a few other ones. But at least it had one thing going for it: Baring anything that breaks the other rules, people could speak their mind about a work. However, given that the new rule is already in effect and has been put to use, that's not the case anymore. To me, this does not make the rating system more accurate and better, it makes it less accurate, since now we can't even be certain that any given review and rating actually reflects the writers opinion.

But to me this isn't a huge deal. The ratings has always been kind of crap and not very representative as far as I'm concerned. Given that I don't pick quests to play based on ratings, then at the end of the day this is gonna affect me very little.

 
on an unrelated note, I want to address this:

Standards were lower in the past because ZC didn't offer as much, so the perspective factored in on what was available at the time.  I don't think it's accurate to look at a quest from 2002 with 2016 glasses on, especially version 2.50 glasses in 2016.  Imagine if someone said "Ocarina of Power should have used scripts."  Or even "Ocarina of Power would have been better with scripts."  Most would probably find that absurd, because you simply couldn't do those things back then.  Not just scripts, but fewer tilesets were available, fewer features in ZQuest, and you name it.  So for that reason I think it's important to keep those very old reviews and ratings around.

While I don't mean to suggest to remove old reviews, that would be absurd and not something I agree with. Personally, I don't agree with some of the notions you suggest. If a reviewer plays a game today then of course it's reasonable that they judge it by today's standards. Since, you know, the old game is up in competition with whatever else is avalible at this time. Media gets dated, that's the harsh reality, I think putting on nostalgia goggles and saying "I'm not having fun with this due to my standards today, but if I played this 10 years ago it would be great", that's absurd to me. If a work was only good by comparison to other works that were bad, then was the work ever good in the first place?

And while I get what you mean, I don't ocarina of time is an example that goes in your favour, since even though it's a fairly old game by this point, it's still one that I'd argue is better than a fair chunk of games today. Does it have dated elements due to the technology of the era it came from? Sure. But OoT is still a solid game DESPITE those limitations. And luckily? I don't even have choose, since the game has been re-released with more modern visuals as well as a few modern conveniences, gyroscope aiming, etc (and that's something quest authors can do too).

There is also a bit of a logical leap happening here anyway. OoT is dated, yes, but when it was released it was the forefront of what was technologically possible at the time. In contrast, ZC could not really be argued to ever have been that (except maybe back in the early dos days). But I think that's fine, and completely reasonable. Since I don't think the lack of script support, the lack of avalible tilesets, the lack of external music support, none of those things are frankly the biggest limiting factor. That would be: the competence of the developer.

A link to the past is generally hailed as the best 2D zelda game, and in fact, few if any games within that genre have topped it since. It would be absurd to argue that alttp didn't work with limitations, it definitively did, in fact, I'd argue that 2.1 could produce things on a similar level of scope. Mind, 2.1 had limitations the SNES hardware didn't, but the opposite is also true. Practically all of ZC have existed in a time after alttp, so then, why has nothing exceeded it? (Mind you, some of you may have quests you prefer over alttp, that's not what I'm trying to argue. But none have received that critical reception, nor gone mainstream). That's because the biggest limiting factor, and the biggest hurdle to get over when making a game is the competence of the developer who makes it.

Yes, there is a lot less technically limitations today, especially in the avenue of scripting. But to me the two main factors which are the cause of the increase in quality when it comes to quest these days are: 1, more community resources: There have never been a time in PureZC history where we have had more resources than we do now. (Which is not really that big of a deal, it makes sense). This means developers can tap into the skill and craftsmanship of others to cover their own weaknesses. And 2, the most important one: People have gotten more experience. The longer a moding scene/whatever exist the more experienced people will be around. Game design is a skill like any other, you get better the more of it you do. The longer the community has been around then the more individuals with experience are avalible to produce content. Of course some people leave and new people come in, that's natural, but as a whole the community just gets more and more experienced.

Most of the recent highly rated releases are from people who either have a lot of previous experience, or from people who have spent a long ass time working on the same project to make sure it's really good. I'd also argue that there are more successful collaborations happening recently than any other time.


So yes, if I play a quest from the 2.1 era today then I'll judge it based on what experience I have with it today. I can potentially look past flaws that are there based on the engine limitations of the game. But to me? A good designer would have realised those flaws were a problem and worked around them, or scrapped the idea altogether. I'm not going to give TTT's floor 9 a free pass, for example, just because the wonkines of it are due to 2.1 limitations. The choice here was clearly to favour the gimmick rather than questioning whether or not it was something sensible to ask the player to do in the first place.

I definitively agree that past reviews should be left alone (though I was asked to change all of mine, for reference), but if a quest hasn't stood the test of time? Then that's not really my fault as a player. And it's absurd to me that people should be asked to look at something from a perspective that is not their own. If the player wants to judge something by whatever standard they want? By all means. But asking them to judge them with goggles from years past that is not their own? nay.

Welp, this side point dragged out for a while, but whatever.

#33 Nathaniel

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 11:31 AM

I didn't have a chance to read your entire post Lunaria, so I am commenting on portions of it.  Busy work schedule I have today.

Rating systems, which I mentioned are always flawed because people are flawed, are still useful to some people.  Maybe not yourself because of how you yourself look at things.  But to each their own in that regard.  So I completely disagree with them being useless, at least when talking about people in general.  If someone wants to find, for example, a quest that is "good", public opinion can help with that to an extent.  It doesn't guarantee that someone who plays the quest will feel the same way, nor should it, but more often than not, it might get a person further interested in it.  It's one possible starting point for finding something that you are looking for.  If you want to play something high quality, you need public opinion for that.  It takes peoples' personal experiences.  Reviews are better, but ratings are a starting point.  Believe it or not, it's the ratings that often get people to read the actual reviews in the first place.  It's a hook, but not an end.  They help others decide for themselves, where otherwise they might not decide at all.  I agree that more ratings and reviews are more useful, but at the same time, a few are still likely better than none at all.

I think a better plan than overhauling a system is to simply have more ways of categorizing what is there.

Example 1: One might just want to look at items (quests or others) that have been recently reviewed, so having a means of looking at just recently reviewed items, and ranked based on those recent reviews, could be useful.  Those without recent reviews would not come up on such a list.  This is just conceptually speaking, so "recent" would need a certain set amount of time.

Example 2: Another possible way to categorize would be "trending quests".  If something seems to be a hot item lately with mostly positive reviews (needs an algorithm, for sure), that can garner attention.

But there are certainly other things that can be done, based on how people wish to look for things.

But again, I see the main problem being people, not the system directly.  A system is never better than the people who use it.

I do think that blind 5 out of 5 reviews are not a great thing either, especially quick reviews out of hype.  Now bear in mind, some of those may have come from beta testers or others that had early access to a quest in some way, but even if they didn't, what is the cutoff point where one can ask:  "You couldn't have possibly completed most or all of the quest in that amount of time."  It's hard to do in many cases, due to the differing lengths of the quests.  I wouldn't mind having at least a one or two day period from the original release where people couldn't review it yet, but at the same time, it still doesn't stop people from rating and reviewing items that they didn't bother to play.  They can get away with it provided that they don't act like they didn't play it, otherwise it would likely be removed due to the general public knowledge of no playing experience.  So hype is pretty irrational, since it's more emotion than actual analysis, but there is only so much you can do about it.  I can easily lie about how I feel about a quest, and get away with it if I am clever enough to word it in the right way.  But it's still easy to notice when people reviewed things, so if you see a surge of many initial fives, it isn't hard for one to draw the same conclusion as you did, Lunaria.  It often says something else when you see more reviews come in much later, and especially ones that use more than a few words.

Also, I was not referring to Ocarina of Time as an example, I was referring to Wild BIll's quest in the database, "Ocarina of Power".  You know, the quest #1 in the database.  I used that, considering it was the first one uploaded to PureZC, so it served as a good example regarding Zelda Classic.  I'm not trying to tell people to put on "nostalgia goggles", but just to understand why people in the past may have reviewed things differently than more recently.  To understand that standards do change over time, which doesn't completely invalidate the past, because people are still looking at aspects of a quest that still exist today, which are still very relevant.


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#34 Lunaria

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 11:57 AM

Oh, my bad, I read that as ocarina of time, heh. :P
In hindsight, it makes what you said make a hell of a more sense, since applying scripting to OoT sounded weird given the entire game was coded from scratch(sort of).

And yeah, I can totally agree with that understanding why people reviewed things differently in the past is important. I just don't want people who rate and review the same thing today should be held back by those opinions. Which in reality is what happened with this new rule in a couple of cases.
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#35 Aevin

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 12:32 PM

at the time where I decided to start reviewing quests seriously I even expressed that I disliked the idea having to leave a rating at all. Since at best the rating is a poor simplification of my review, at worst it makes the reader look at the rating and decide for themselves what they think it means. But I decided about one thing: If I have to leave ratings I'll at least leave one that lines up with what I think.

Nobody has to leave ratings, though. There's many avenues for in-depth reviews without star ratings, such as the comments section of the quests, the forum threads for quests, or dedicated review threads by members. If you really dislike rating so badly but you feel like we're twisting your arm into doing it, it seems like there's many options available to you.



#36 Sheik

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 12:40 PM

But again, I see the main problem being people, not the system directly.  A system is never better than the people who use it.

A system that asks to give a rating from 0 to 5 without even saying what is being rated (fun? originality? playability? aesthetics? story? ... ... ...) isn't an exactly good system either. So if you wanted a good rating system you would have to specify what is being rated first. Further, the ratings that can be given "excellent", "great", "good", "bad", "poor", "horrible" seem to imply that a dimensional quality ranging from "ecxellent" to "horrible" is being rated (whatever that quality may be). Rating the submissions on only one broad category "stars" (which is not even a predicate that can be applied to an object of evaluation -- with a "like" you at least know what you are saying by making a "rating") is a very bad idea anyways.

Still, from what I gather the point of the ratings is to compare one quest against any one other quest. In this case "3 - good" should probably say "slightly above average" and "2 - sligthly below average". That would make more useful categories (with maybe "5 - way above average" and "0 - way below average"). However, this would require that there was some kind of defined average of whatever quality that is being rated in the ratings and the person rating the submission should have a fairly good idea of what this average is.

So maybe before saying the people who rate the submissions are bad how about acknowledging that the system is bad in itself, too? :shrug:


Edited by Sheik, 27 October 2016 - 12:44 PM.

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#37 Lunaria

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 12:47 PM

Nobody has to leave ratings, though. There's many avenues for in-depth reviews without star ratings, such as the comments section of the quests, the forum threads for quests, or dedicated review threads by members. If you really dislike rating so badly but you feel like we're twisting your arm into doing it, it seems like there's many options available to you.

To me it makes very little sense to put a review for a given work in anything but the section labelled as a review (and it seems like a weird thing to advocate). Twisting my arm? what? I was merely making it clear that I'm principally against ratings.

If it wasn't clear I found the fact that I was required to leave a rating to be an inconvenience that might lead to misunderstandings. And it seems like the one off weird point to take from my entire post. If it weren't for the fact that I have more respect for you than that Aevin, I'd make the assumption that you were attempting to do a strawman.

#38 Migokalle

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 12:49 PM

Nobody has to leave ratings, though. There's many avenues for in-depth reviews without star ratings, such as the comments section of the quests, the forum threads for quests, or dedicated review threads by members. If you really dislike rating so badly but you feel like we're twisting your arm into doing it, it seems like there's many options available to you.

What? A review doesn't exist to please the creator, it exists to help others find something that'll suit their tastes. Why shouldn't Lunaria be able to share her reviews just like everybody else? I don't think it's fair of you to claim that she somehow has different standards than everyone else on this site, you have absolutely no way of knowing that.

 

I don't care if this has only affected Lunaria so far, your actions makes it very hard to believe that this will only be used in extreme cases. The responses from users in this thread speaks for themselves, and the fact that you guys have already said you're unwilling to go back on this only makes it worse - you are no better than anyone else on this site, you don't automatically know better, and you don't have the answer to everything. Several of us are willing to help you guys find solutions that works for everyone but you guys are not showing any signs of being willing to do the same.



#39 NewJourneysFire

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 01:22 PM

The backlash I am seeing from the community is not without merit I believe.

 

From one side I see the staff who feel that the rating system should have some from of integrity (which also feels like saying "vote the same as everybody else or what's popular because that's the safest approach"), and on the other side we have the community who are feeling like their personal freedom and comfort within the community is threatened.

 

I can only see the debating ending in two ways. Either staff will probably listen to what people's worries and concerns are (which I believe people's fears of their "unfavorable ratings" being moderated) and figuring out an alternative solution, or staff will just have to get more assertive (essentially doubling down) on this decision, which will technically mean somebody from the staff standing up and saying "These are the new rules, and we're just gonna have to live with it" and lock this topic to end all future debates on this subject.

 

I feel the latter is probably what's going to happen going by how the history of these hot topics on this website are normally handled.  


Edited by NewJourneysFire, 27 October 2016 - 01:31 PM.


#40 Rambly

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 01:29 PM

Something I feel is important about the rule which I feel like a lot of people are overlooking:

It doesn't matter whether or not it will be enforced fairly by the staff.  The potential for abuse certainly exists, and that in and of itself should be alarming, but I think this rule will in all likelihood be invoked very, very rarely; possibly never again, honestly. (which is a problem in and of itself, why have a rule if it's only going to affect one person ever, etc.)

 

My main concern is that having such a broad rule is harmful just because it could lead to people, especially relatively new users, not wanting to leave ratings that seem too low or not wanting to leave ratings at all.  Any time you have a rule that can be enforced by people in an authoritative position, especially when that rule is very very broad and people don't know where the "line in the sand" is, it's going to make people feel less comfortable testing the boundaries of that rule.  This is fine when it comes to things that are obviously damaging, like flaming, but bad when whether something is damaging or not is going to be case-by-case.

 

That's where the potential for censorship lies, in my opinion.  It's self-censorship.  It's making users feel uncomfortable with leaving honest opinions.  I'm all for generally promoting positivity, but I'm not interested in promoting positivity if the positivity is feigned because people are afraid of breaking a rule.  And preventing what could potentially qualify as interesting constructive criticism is more damaging to the community than someone leaving 4 star ratings instead of 5.  It's not enough to simply say "trust the staff's judgment" because having the rule in place at all is harmful.

 

My opinion on what should happen is in line with nicklegends', albeit slightly different:  Turn the stars system into a likes/dislikes system, so that rankings can still exist, and allow everyone to like/dislike without leaving a review (and vice versa...).  That way, in-depth text reviews of quests can still exist and not require an arbitrary number attached to it, but so can a simple aggregate of the community's overall opinion.  To throw up your arms and say "well no system's perfect because people aren't perfect!!!!!!!!!!" is a frankly overly simplistic view.  I'm not saying people are perfect, but I really believe that the vast majority of people act in good faith and this rule has actually exposed more flaws in the ratings system than it has in people.


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#41 thepsynergist

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 02:27 PM

Something I feel is important about the rule which I feel like a lot of people are overlooking:

It doesn't matter whether or not it will be enforced fairly by the staff.  The potential for abuse certainly exists, and that in and of itself should be alarming, but I think this rule will in all likelihood be invoked very, very rarely; possibly never again, honestly. (which is a problem in and of itself, why have a rule if it's only going to affect one person ever, etc.)

 

My main concern is that having such a broad rule is harmful just because it could lead to people, especially relatively new users, not wanting to leave ratings that seem too low or not wanting to leave ratings at all.  Any time you have a rule that can be enforced by people in an authoritative position, especially when that rule is very very broad and people don't know where the "line in the sand" is, it's going to make people feel less comfortable testing the boundaries of that rule.  This is fine when it comes to things that are obviously damaging, like flaming, but bad when whether something is damaging or not is going to be case-by-case.

 

That's where the potential for censorship lies, in my opinion.  It's self-censorship.  It's making users feel uncomfortable with leaving honest opinions.  I'm all for generally promoting positivity, but I'm not interested in promoting positivity if the positivity is feigned because people are afraid of breaking a rule.  And preventing what could potentially qualify as interesting constructive criticism is more damaging to the community than someone leaving 4 star ratings instead of 5.  It's not enough to simply say "trust the staff's judgment" because having the rule in place at all is harmful.

 

My opinion on what should happen is in line with nicklegends', albeit slightly different:  Turn the stars system into a likes/dislikes system, so that rankings can still exist, and allow everyone to like/dislike without leaving a review (and vice versa...).  That way, in-depth text reviews of quests can still exist and not require an arbitrary number attached to it, but so can a simple aggregate of the community's overall opinion.  To throw up your arms and say "well no system's perfect because people aren't perfect!!!!!!!!!!" is a frankly overly simplistic view.  I'm not saying people are perfect, but I really believe that the vast majority of people act in good faith and this rule has actually exposed more flaws in the ratings system than it has in people.

No matter what system people want, there will be problems.  I think the best course of action would be, if some people feel that ratings would be weighed more heavily on if people like joke quests or not, file them appropriately.  I'm sure you guys, on your own computers, sort files based on their content.  Do the same for quests here:  

 

-Joke quests in one category

-Pre-1.92 quests

-lengthy quest

genre of quest

-etc.  

 

That coupled with a like/dislike system would have the least damaging effect than a ratings system that is left widely to interpretation.  It was brought up in an earlier post regarding how Mario Maker handles likes/dislikes.  That also is way to simple for what we have here.  Mario Maker levels are just play it once or twice and you're done in a few minutes.  Zelda Classic Quests require a lot more time and effort to play, and review, and would require more in-depth explanations as to why you'd like/dislike them, coupled with a rating.  To simplify it with a like/dislike system, coupled with a review and proper categorization of the quests being reviewed, I feel that system would help a lot of the people of this site that are both trying to express how they feel about the quest they played, as well as the creator just wanting their game to be played.



#42 Rambly

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 02:53 PM

No matter what system people want, there will be problems.

I agree that no system is perfect.  That does not make every system equal.  Some systems are better than others.
 
We already have ways to sort quests categorically... that's not really the issue at hand here.  The issue isn't that people are rating quests unfairly based on their age or length or whether they're "joke quests", the issue given in the OP is that certain peoples' ratings are, on average for the whole database, too low.


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#43 Dimentio

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 03:31 PM

That coupled with a like/dislike system would have the least damaging effect than a ratings system that is left widely to interpretation.  It was brought up in an earlier post regarding how Mario Maker handles likes/dislikes.  That also is way to simple for what we have here.  Mario Maker levels are just play it once or twice and you're done in a few minutes.  Zelda Classic Quests require a lot more time and effort to play, and review, and would require more in-depth explanations as to why you'd like/dislike them, coupled with a rating.  To simplify it with a like/dislike system, coupled with a review and proper categorization of the quests being reviewed, I feel that system would help a lot of the people of this site that are both trying to express how they feel about the quest they played, as well as the creator just wanting their game to be played.

This. A like/dislike system plus the rating would A: encourage people to review more ("Oh, I don't want to put in the time or effort to decide whether this quest I liked was 4 or 5 stars..." vs "Hmm, I liked this quest." *clicks like*). Yes, it may cause debate. Yes, it's a hard change. But it can help with more honest quest making decisions. We already use a black and white decision process, only it's Black, Dark gray, Kinda dark gray, Kinda light gray, Light gray, White. I don't see how having 6 options instead of 2 makes it any less black and white. All it does is make it more complicated and more of a turn off to reviewing (since you  have to choose one of the 6 to write a review, and choosing wrongly either means you get flamed or you put down a false rating.


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#44 Nimono

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 03:56 PM

This. A like/dislike system plus the rating would A: encourage people to review more ("Oh, I don't want to put in the time or effort to decide whether this quest I liked was 4 or 5 stars..." vs "Hmm, I liked this quest." *clicks like*). Yes, it may cause debate. Yes, it's a hard change. But it can help with more honest quest making decisions. We already use a black and white decision process, only it's Black, Dark gray, Kinda dark gray, Kinda light gray, Light gray, White. I don't see how having 6 options instead of 2 makes it any less black and white. All it does is make it more complicated and more of a turn off to reviewing (since you  have to choose one of the 6 to write a review, and choosing wrongly either means you get flamed or you put down a false rating.

Uh, just so you know, shades of gray is the definition of NOT black and white. "Black and white" means there's only two options. Multiple options/nonbinary selection isn't "every color", it's always stated as "shades of gray".

 

EDIT: Just googled something about it, this may help:

 

http://idioms.thefre...black and white


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#45 Aevin

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 04:09 PM

Oh come on now ... My point is that there's options for people to leave feedback without leaving a score if they so wish. This is a convenience for those that don't want to leave reviews, not any sort of demand toward a particular person. And frankly, I think you all know that. Stop twisting everything I say to reflect as badly on the staff as possible. I can understand everyone's concerns here, but some of you are being rather silly.

 

I'd also like to point out that the rule addition doesn't exactly represent a change in policy. In fact, I think the existing rules allow for situations like these. The rule is intended to increase clarity and better indicate some situations in which we may take action. It's not just for the staff, it's for you members, because we consider communication of our intentions to be important. Some of you are asking for increased transparency from the staff, but do nothing but criticize when we attempt it with the most honest and well-meaning of intentions. Honestly ...

 

In any case, I've said my piece. You all are welcome to respond to this post, tear it apart, whatever. Go to town, you guys, if that makes you feel good. I won't be replying again, and I'd advise my fellow staff members to do the same.


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