Review Scores… Do We Need Them?

We’ve got plenty of reviews coming up on OD – a backlog of stuff that’s been held up for one reason or other in fact – and tons to update from ODv1 and bring into line. But how?

When I first started Oh Drat, I didn’t score things with numbers, or even pros and cons. After a while we moved to a pros/cons and marks out of five (well, ten really considering we have half marks), and then with the update to ODv2 the boxout made things even easier to see at a glance how we score things at a glance.

Lately, though, I’m starting to think that a quantitative scoring system might be more trouble than it’s worth. So much of the thought process behind that score is about weighing up value vs competition and overall cost that often the score that we give a piece of gear or the latest lovely software is outdated as soon as the market changes or time goes by and prices change. We mitigate this by indicating the price at review, but maybe that’s not enough.

So… in an effort to keep improving OD I want your opinions! We have some ideas and I’d really love for you to chip in with your suggestions; ultimately what you guys want to see has the biggest influence on how we do things round these parts, so take a look and see what you think to these ideas:

  • Removing the score altogether
  • Keeping the score, perhaps changing the grading system up
  • Refining the Pros and Cons system somehow (how?)
  • Introducing awards for products that excel in specific areas
  • An idea of the competition you could also look at and how it shapes up
  • A simple short paragraph summary for the ‘too long, didn’t read’ crowd

Let us know in the comments below, or if Facebook or Twitter are more your thing come over to us there and make your voice heard!



  • Gaffe

    Replace meaningless rating system with a simple, bolded, one sentence summary that readers can equally glance at to get the gist’ of the review. That’s the entire reason you’d look at a rating anyway.

    Something like “Does as described, but brings little else to the table for the price.” That says more than 3/5 stars, and takes hardly much longer for a reader to digest. You could lengthen it to a short paragraph too, I suppose.

    And not to bring in comparisons, but I’ve always enjoyed how Sound on Sound did their little blurbs. Pros, Cons, Summary. I read those, and if I’m interested in the product, then I read the full article.

  • VHS

    I totally agree with, Gaffe.

  • DvlsAdvct

    Numbers are generally meaningless. As an example, there is a lot of controversy going on around Metacritic and their meaningless number system.

    The blurbs work a LOT better, like we do at DJWorx. Numbers just confuse the issue, especially because they are completely subjective. The descriptor carries more weight, especially because, as Gaffe put it “Does as described, but brings little else to the table for the price” could mean 5 out of 5 to one potential buyer, or a 1 out of 5 for another.

  • Chris

    Thanks for comments so far guys, very much appreciated!

  • Rhapz

    Dope suggestions that make sense, good looking out y’all. I myself am down with the competition comparison just to have a little more knowledge of what’s out there in the field. Include it with the blurp? I personally like seeing the OD ‘stars’ because then I could quickly and at a glance see if the product is worth me reading about. And after reading I can see if I agree with the stars and judge if I like it or not from your one line summary.

    I am no expert on many of the things that are reviewed here and I know other websites still use rating systems when reviewing the same gear, so it might help the reader who likes making quick comparisons from many sources. (i.e. this site gave it 3.5/5 and this one gave it 7/10 and another 83/100, from a percentage look the product has been received at least decently – and you can do that at a glance)

Hello. Add your message here.