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Philosophical question about scores

aubie56

I have a question that someone else might be able to answer: How can a person read all 10 chapters of a story and still score it a "1"? That just happened to me. It was obvious from the scoring pattern that was what happened.

The only thing I can figure is that the voter just waited until each chapter was posted and voted a "1" or "2", the kind of thing that a troll would do. The last vote was a "1".

Replies:   Grant  red61544  Ernest Bywater
Grant

@aubie56

How can a person read all 10 chapters of a story and still score it a "1"?

As I mentioned in a similar previous thread; some people are just dick heads.

There are plenty of stories I've abandoned anywhere from the first page to over half way through for many and various reasons. And if i don't finish a story I won't vote on it.
But of all the stories I've quit reading, if I were to vote on it up to the point I abandoned it I think 3 or 4 would be the lowest vote I would have given.

So the only reason I can think of for people voting 1 is because they are dick heads.

Crumbly Writer

I've had a long-standing group of readers, actually about five, so they do impact the votes. They actively read each chapter, as the "1" votes all shift to 3s for the exciting chapters, but they registered their complaints initially (it's political, based upon a single minor character in a single story, but they've continued registering their 'protest' by voting down each of my stories ever since (except the latest, where they haven't yet, probably only because they don't visit FS).

There's not much you can do, and like mine, it's probably either philosophical or political. Clearly they're fans, but have a single issue they're trying to punish you for. Personally, if you're curious, I'd enter a blog post about it. They might respond if they think they have a receptive audience. But then, there are quite a few Amazon readers who score hundreds of well-respected books with "1"s, but who've never rating anything higher, meaning they're attempting to take down everyone, rather than trying to highlight anything. It's also a know issue where other authors 1-bomb similar stories to make their own stories look better.

Since their loyal fans, I wouldn't make a big issue out of it--it's an odd 'freedom of expression' issue, but if you're honestly curious, I'd try reaching out to them to see what their issue with your stories is. Otherwise, I'd let it slide.

Ernest Bywater

Actually, in an odd way, those 1 votes can help the score when you get enough votes on the board.

The top and bottom 5% are dropped to kill off the hate and fanboy votes. So take a comparison of the following situations (qty x vote level):

60 votes in 3x3, 5x4, 6x5, 15x6, 10x7, 10x8, 5x9, 6x10 = 404 average of 6.73332 - - adjusted it loses the 3x3 and 3x10 to be 365 div by 54 for 6.75925

More votes come in, including some 1s:

100 votes in 5x1 3x3, 8x4, 20x5, 15x6, 15x7, 15x8, 6x9, 13x10 = 636 for 6.36 - - adjusted it loses the 5x1 and 5x10 to be 581 div by 90 for 6.45

thus the adjusted score is a touch higher than the unadjusted score in each case.

There are other factors taken into account in the final score, but that shows how the start point improves by cutting the 1s instead of the 3s

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Actually, in an odd way, those 1 votes can help the score when you get enough votes on the board.

One of the issues discussed in earlier debates on the topic centered around the disproportionate power of a single 1-vote, relative to the poor effect of an additional 10 or 5 vote. The nature of a 10-point voting system means the rare 1 votes have an inordinate effect, whereas a simpler 5-vote system (like on FS) or even a 4-vote system (Amazon) means that Trolls have less of a detrimental effect.

That said, trimming votes and different scoring systems help, but we'll continue having trolls until hell freezes over. And face it, they exist simply to make everyone else's life hell.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

but we'll continue having trolls until hell freezes over. And face it, they exist simply to make everyone else's life hell.


And it doesn't matter how you change the rules of the voting system. Eventually the trolls will figure out how to game the new rules.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

And it doesn't matter how you change the rules of the voting system. Eventually the trolls will figure out how to game the new rules.

Again, the key isn't to silence protest, but to minimize it's effect. Someone who thinks mm sex is a sin has every right to protest, but giving a 1-bomb three times the power of a 10 vote is disproportional. That's why we keep trying to tweak the numbers.

red61544

@aubie56

Considering that most writers say that they don't pay any attention to scores, we seem, nonetheless, to have a lot of discussion of scores! One way to solve it is to only give readers a chance to rate the story after the last chapter is posted. That way, only those who liked the story enough to hang on until it is completed get to rate it. That will automatically inflate the ratings and everyone will be happy because they have high scores. That way Lazeez won't have to put up with the constant bitching about story scores.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@red61544

Not voting until a story is over has impact on very long stories, some that take years, that won't have a score until all 600 chapters are posted. And stories that never finish, some that are well worth recognizing when the author is very sick or dead, never get a score.

Some stories give useful feedback to the author when votes change, upward or downward as new chapters are added.

Making changes have costs, particularly the managements time, and other projects foregone. It is not broke, even if it doesn't meet everyone's approval that some complicated fix would (might) give. After the last change a lot of authors promised not to raise this issue again. I guess hell has frozen over, here it is again.

Replies:   aubie56  red61544
aubie56

@richardshagrin

I wasn't complaining. I was merely surprised that someone would read a story over a period of a month and give it a score of 1. If he only read the story after it was finished, I guess I could understand such a score as an expression of disappointment, but in the case I am discussing, the person posted a 1 or a 2 after each chapter.

The situation did not make sense to me, and I was amused, and I thought others might be also. That's all.

Switch Blayde

@aubie56

the person posted a 1 or a 2 after each chapter.


How would you know that?

Replies:   aubie56
Ernest Bywater

@aubie56

The situation did not make sense to me, and I was amused, and I thought others might be also. That's all.


Maybe they were upset because they were waiting for something more that never arrived.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  aubie56
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@aubie56


The only thing I can figure is that the voter just waited until each chapter was posted and voted a "1" or "2", the kind of thing that a troll would do. The last vote was a "1".


Edit to add message that didn't take.

At once point in time I had a troll who would score a 1 on every chapter as it went up, but only on the stories that were present tense because they felt the only proper way to write was in past tense. After a few months they went away. It seems my ignoring their complaint upset them too much because I kept up with present tense stories.

I know about because they sent me an anonymous email about what they were doing and why.

red61544

@richardshagrin

Richard, I'm sure you know that I was being facetious with my post. My other suggestion was for the author who received a 1 to simply vote under an assumed name and give himself a 10 to counteract it. If everyone else quits reading a story after Chapter One and the author gives himself a 10 for the next 800 chapters, he's going to end up with a helluva score! If anyone thinks that voting provides a true assessment of a story's worth, he should ask himself if it also provides a true assessment of Donald Trump's worth!

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Maybe they were upset because they were waiting for something more that never arrived.

Rather, we all have guilty pleasures. Stories we have, but hate! Whether it's because the story doesn't go somewhere, or doesn't reflect our views, the readers still enjoy the story. They're registering their disapproval--which seems pointless unless they physically convey their disappointment by registering a complaint with the one person who could make changes, the author. A protest doesn't serve a purpose if no one knows what you're protesting.

@red61544
Please, don't even suggest authors submit bogus scores. That's all to real, as Amazon discovered years ago. I can't think of a better reason to ban an author (short of actual copyright theft), and it wouldn't be too difficult to figure out who was doing it.

Replies:   red61544
red61544

@Crumbly Writer

Crumbly, I'd never suggest it; I'm just trying to point out how ridiculous the emphasis put on scores actually is. There is no scoring system that will satisfy an author who doesn't get a 10 out of 10. We wouldn't write if we didn't think what we are writing deserves a high score! It pisses many authors off that someone doesn't recognize the brilliance and skills exhibited in their work! A score is simply the reader's opinion, and we all know that opinions are like assholes - everyone has one! But I have to wonder about anyone who pays too much attention to someone else's asshole!

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@red61544

There is no scoring system that will satisfy an author who doesn't get a 10 out of 10. We wouldn't write if we didn't think what we are writing deserves a high score! It pisses many authors off that someone doesn't recognize the brilliance and skills exhibited in their work!

Also, scores reflect the plot's appeal, rather than outright writing skill. If you write something on the edge, or pace it too slowly, many people will rate it poorly rather than searching for other stories they prefer. It's not always personal, sometimes the scorers are simply looking for something different.

But this isn't just an SOL problem. In the old days, if you tried to get your story read by a publisher, you'd collect drawers full of hurtful rejections. The tough keep writing, taking compliments where they can find them, trying to find ways to make their writing stronger and their stories more compelling. But even then, everyone likes to dump on popular stories. Remember all those negative comments about the writing in "50 Shades of Grey", or the accusations of devil worship for the "Harry Potter" series?

aubie56

@Switch Blayde

"How would you know that?"

I receive the full report that Lazeez posts for those who have agreed not to post negative comments on the scoring system. That way, I can see how the scores change with a new chapter. It is a wonderful thing to see because I now understand that a vote of less than 5 is meaningless in the case of my stories.

In this case, I watched the votes of 1 and 2. The story started out with three votes of 1 and zero votes of 2. As I recall, the same was true for chapter two. However, the score went to two 1s and one 2 just before chapter three was posted. At chapter four's posting, the score dropped back to three 1s and zero 2s. I don't remember exactly what happened after that, but the posting of chapter 10 had seven votes of 1 and zero votes of 2.

All of that was what triggered my amusement. I hope that answers you question.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
aubie56

@Ernest Bywater

"Maybe they were upset because they were waiting for something more that never arrived."

Ernest, I don't know if you have read the story, "Home Away From Home," but I don't see that as likely. Of course, I wrote the story, so I may be missing something because I am too close to it.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Switch Blayde

@aubie56

I hope that answers you question.


I get the detail stats too. I guess I never bothered to look at them that closely.

I thought you somehow figured out how to attach a vote to an id. So you'd be able to see when a person changed their vote. That's why I asked.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I thought you somehow figured out how to attach a vote to an id. So you'd be able to see when a person changed their vote. That's why I asked.

He did the same thing I did when we had this same exact conversation years ago. By ignoring the 10s and focusing on the smallest categories, you can easily monitor subtle shifts. I pay attention to those, since it reflects larger trends you can't detect when scores shift between 8s and 9s.

If the 1s consistently change, days after each new chapter is released, then you understand the 1-bombers are reading every chapter, adjusting their votes based upon the contents of the story, but consistently vote the story as "not worth reading".

shinerdrinker

I for one like the current system and even though I do get beaten with one's on a regular basis, I feel the score I have is probably a correct one.

But now I wonder if we should actually get MORE information from the scores and have people score them like the reviews systems with 1-10 for plot, technical quality and appeal to viewer. That way an author might be able to pinpoint where his problems are located.

Just voting a one a following that up with a "Your story sux" email ain't helping anyone.

I also like the idea of forcing people to identify themselves when they vote. But that is just the coldhearted bastard inside me.

Anyways... just an idea. I'm going to sleep so I can figure out how to write myself out of the corner I put myself in.

Switch Blayde

@shinerdrinker

score them like the reviews systems with 1-10 for plot, technical quality and appeal to viewer.


We had that. It's gone and not coming back. But to be honest, it was meaningless. As Lazeez pointed out many times, most of the TPA scores were 8,8,8 9,9,9 10,10,10 5,5,5 6,6,6 etc. And when they did score each separately, they weren't very good at it.

Crumbly Writer

@shinerdrinker

But now I wonder if we should actually get MORE information from the scores and have people score them like the reviews systems with 1-10 for plot, technical quality and appeal to viewer. That way an author might be able to pinpoint where his problems are located.

We had that, with 3 separate scores to vote on, merit, content and technical aspects. The problem was, readers had no clue what the ratings meant, and would just vote one score for all three, meaning it wasn't terribly useful.

One-vote that expresses what you thought of the story overall, seems like the best.

shinerdrinker

Ooops, oh well.

Probably before I found this wonderful site. We call that time, "The Bad Old Years."

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@shinerdrinker

You may be right. Many of the stories from 1999 don't have story descriptions. And not many of the top 50 stories were posted really early in the history of the site. SOL has gotten better and better. Maybe Lazeez should charge more?

Not_a_ID

@aubie56

I thought you somehow figured out how to attach a vote to an id. So you'd be able to see when a person changed their vote. That's why I asked.


Laz does have the vote tied to an ID, just the authors never see that data. An author viewing detailed stats and tracking them as their serial progresses could make inferences however. How correct they are may be another matter.

When you have three 1 votes and two 2 votes before posting Chapter 3 and see you have one 1 vote, four 2 votes, and one 3 vote, when you go the post chapter 4.

You can safely assume from that data point that two of the 1 votes rescored the story to something higher, as they're now no longer 1's. You know 2 more people have given you 2's, although you cannot be sure as to whom, you can make an educated guess. You also know someone new is in the mix at the bottom as you picked up a 3 from somewhere, but the person giving the 3 might have been a 1 or 2 previously.

If things then revert back to what you saw before chapter 3 when you post chapter 6, you know at least a few of the people giving low scores are actively reading your work... or at least giving the appearance of doing so, and one of them gave you a much higher score this time.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
G Younger

I admit it... the low scores bother me and I wonder what I did to deserve them. In a way I'm glad that Laz doesn't let us know who gave them to us, because I would be tempted to make them famous in my next book.

What gets me is that you come to SOL to read basically free books. I would think you would want to encourage authors to post their stories and the only way you can do that is by your score. Just my two-cents worth.

graybyrd

@G Younger

I admit it... the low scores bother me and I wonder what I did to deserve them.


Seriously! Glance at the scores only from the corner of your eye. To focus on them leads to heartburn, and insanity. For in that direction lies neither rhyme nor reason nor compassion, nor any virtue of man. Tread not in that mire for there be naught but alligators therein.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@G Younger


I admit it... the low scores bother me and I wonder what I did to deserve them.


I've been hanging around SoL as an author for about a decade, and as a reader for some years before that. The only times I even look at the scores of my stories is when we have one of these discussions on scores (in some manner) and I feel it's relevant to look at them and include them in a response to make a point. Otherwise I ignore them. Now, downloads, those I check on a regular basis - but my main weather-vane is the emails I get about the stories.

edit to add - sales on Lulu is also another indicator I look at from time to time.

Switch Blayde

@G Younger

. I would think you would want to encourage authors to post their stories


To post the kind of stories they like.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Not_a_ID


Laz does have the vote tied to an ID, just the authors never see that data. An author viewing detailed stats and tracking them as their serial progresses could make inferences however. How correct they are may be another matter.


Correction: Voting is tied to user ID, but the resultant scores are not! Instead they're averaged into a pool of numbers which is recalculated over time--but these numbers can't be tracked back to a particular user. Thus there's only so much that Lazeez can do with scores once they've been cast, or those which were cast years ago on an older system which no longer exist as individual data points.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@graybyrd

Seriously! Glance at the scores only from the corner of your eye. To focus on them leads to heartburn, and insanity. For in that direction lies neither rhyme nor reason nor compassion, nor any virtue of man. Tread not in that mire for there be naught but alligators therein.

I view the scores thru the eyes of a statistician (based on my background (way back in college) in economic theory). Thus I don't look at the score--which doesn't reveal much--but instead on the percentage change per chapter (i.e. how much any given chapter varies from the others). If the score drops, the readers didn't like something. If it jumps, they liked something in particular. In most cases, all this reveals is that readers like action. Fight scenes almost always score higher, while discussions of what happened in a story (my after-the-fight piecing together of what happened) score lower. But occasionally I'm surprised, like when a particular character does something which casts them in a bad light. If the reaction is bad enough, I'll consider revising the chapter, or changing the entire sub theme in order to maintain the character's existing personality.

Replies:   sejintenej
Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Voting is tied to user ID, but the resultant scores are not! Instead they're averaged into a pool of numbers which is recalculated over time--but these numbers can't be tracked back to a particular user. Thus there's only so much that Lazeez can do with scores once they've been cast, or those which were cast years ago on an older system which no longer exist as individual data points.


As I recall from his blog posts on this in the past, you're partly right, and partly wrong. Under the old system, where voting was a once only proposition, the only thing tracked was if a particular user(id) had voted on it previously. If that proved true, then no further voting was allowed.

When the last set of changes were made to allow for votes to be changed, the logic became more involved. The legacy votes remain, and get special handling. While all new votes are tied to the user, which is how people are able to change (newer) votes on stories now, as it removes their old vote(if it knows what it was) and puts the new value for the updated vote in its place.

As to specifics of where that data is, and how it's accessed, I don't know and don't really care. It could be in a flat file with each story having its own file, or it could be sitting in a database table waiting for a database admin to do a lookup on it as soon as they work out the right SQL query to feed into it. I wouldn't even try to guess if that prospective table would be on the user or story side, I could see pros and cons for either, and could definitely see a flat file option (per story) for that being easier to implement on one level, with the final result being output to the actual database when an update is warranted.

I doubt he's tracking revote activity(beyond maybe that it was used), all he's interested in and has a use for is the last value a user specified as their vote.

sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

If the score drops, the readers didn't like something. If it jumps, they liked something in particular. In most cases, all this reveals is that readers like action. Fight scenes almost always score higher, while discussions of what happened in a story (my after-the-fight piecing together of what happened) score lower

Statistics etc etc. Read a serial and IMHO it would be impossible for the popularity of individual chapters to remain the same - they will move up and down as the story progresses. If fight scenes rate stronger you can't have a fight in every single chapter - scores would fall because readers would eventually get bored. IMHO it is the percentage changes which are more important a - 10% change in a single person's mark is far better than a 40% change

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin
Updated:

@sejintenej

"-10% change in a single person's mark is far better than a 40% change"

? I don't follow this statement. Someone likes the story ten percent less or 10 points less (say goes from 10 to 9 or 2 to 1) is far better than either story score going up 40 percent or points (say 5 to a 9) Percentage of a score can be difficult to figure. Is a one to a two a 100% increase, like a two to a four or a five to a ten? If the score was six, 40% of six is 2.4, so now the score is eight point four? (8.4). Why is one person's opinion if its a drop more important than if the story as a whole goes up 40%?

It can be difficult to see how one persons score could drop 10%. Going from 10 to 9 might be ten percent of the prior score, but going from 5 to 4 would be a 20% change from the prior score or down 25% if the new score of 4 is used as the base for the percentage change.

I am sure there is a simple explanation for what you mean, but I am stupid today, maybe every day, and I can't parse this one.

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