Which BA SCORE scale would you prefer: 1-5 or 1-100?

Discussion in 'BeerAdvocate Talk' started by Todd, Jan 20, 2018.


Which BA SCORE scale would you prefer: 1-5 or 1-100?

Poll closed Jul 19, 2018.
  1. 1-5

    898 vote(s)
  2. 1-100

    1,152 vote(s)
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  1. LifesAnesthesia

    LifesAnesthesia Maven (1,391) Dec 17, 2014 Virginia

    I like the current scoring system but I sometimes find myself doubling the scoring system in my head to make it easier for me to come up with a rating. I.e. if I think a beer deserves a B rating it should fall somewhere in the 4-4.5 range, an A would be 4.5-5.0 rating, etc. I then split hairs based off of well is it an A+, A, or A - and so on.

    1-100 might be an easier to understand and more welcoming scoring system.

    That said, I'd really hope my old ratings carried over into the new system!
  2. Todd

    Todd Founder (13,172) Aug 23, 1996 Finland
    Staff Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    bbtkd likes this.
  3. LifesAnesthesia

    LifesAnesthesia Maven (1,391) Dec 17, 2014 Virginia

    Well that clears that up! Sorry for not reading haha.

    I do agree that using a 1-5 scale does support consistency in terms of that's how the beers have always been rated in terms of individual category ratings - at least since I've been a member (look, taste, feel, etc.) which can make the overall score more easy to understand. Obviously I liked both systems and haven't found this one too hard to adjust too. Keep up the good work.
  4. tillmac62

    tillmac62 Pooh-Bah (2,773) Oct 2, 2013 South Carolina

    1 - 5, if it ain't broke don't fix it. Many commercial sites use your average ratings in advertisements.
    bbtkd likes this.
  5. tillmac62

    tillmac62 Pooh-Bah (2,773) Oct 2, 2013 South Carolina

    This might help:

    4.5 = World Class
    4.0 = Outstanding
    2.5 - 3.5 = Normal, average
    2.0 = Never buy
    <2.0 = Torch the brewery
    LifesAnesthesia likes this.
  6. warrendietrich2001

    warrendietrich2001 Pooh-Bah (1,620) Feb 13, 2013 Nevada
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I think everyone that is using this site is serious about beer and I think 1-100 would benefit the people who want to get as accurate as possible. Untappd does 1-5 and I think most of us use that site to just check in beers. I use BA to actually review my beers so I would prefer the 1-100 option.
    DutchGermanguy and jhavs like this.
  7. WormGod

    WormGod Zealot (542) Jun 30, 2016 New York

    When I see a BA rating, I don't ever convert 1-5 into a 1-100 scale. That is, if I see a 4.5, I don't ever multiply by 20 to determine that it is a 90/100. I KNOW it is on a 5 point scale, and that's good enough for me. Plus, I LOVE the histogram, and I am not sure how that would change if the display went to 1-100.

    That being said, I do prefer 1-100 for display because it is ever so slightly easier. I usually only need one digit of precision (although sometimes two but obviously never more) to determine whether I might want to try the beer. If that first digit is a 9, then I know that it has been rated world classish.
  8. csniezek

    csniezek Pundit (958) May 5, 2004 Massachusetts

    Frankly, I prefer a seven-point scale to a five-point scale. Generally speaking, it corresponds to:
    1: Abysmal
    2: Below average, closer to worst
    3: Below average, closer to average
    4: Average
    5: Above average, closer to average
    6: Above average, closer to best
    7: Outstanding
    Harrison8 likes this.
  9. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Grand Pooh-Bah (5,609) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Man, I understand the fear, but every time I see a post like this I always point them to joining in the on festivities on Sunday.

    When I got into beer, I never thought I'd be able to review a beer. Now I'm approaching my 1,000th review. Not a humble brag, just the result of spending an hour or two on Sundays reading the NBS thread, and scribbling some notes every time I tried a beer for a few months. Sometimes I'd just scribble a single note in the aroma or flavor profile "woah, you can really taste the coconut in this one!". Before I ever logged an official review on the site, I posted several NBS reviews asking folks for feedback, and found some pleasantly helpful people enhance my skills. I'm not even remotely a word smith, nor do I have an abnormal palate. BBQ still tastes the same to me.

    I suppose at the end of the day, it requires a little more effort to start reviewing, but it's proven a rewarding process for myself and I encourage others to give it a shot.
  10. Curt3

    Curt3 Pooh-Bah (1,844) Jan 16, 2011 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Actually, I like the idea of a 1-10 scale. It would give more flexibility in scoring than the 1-5 scale and would convert easily to 1-100.
  11. calebc10410

    calebc10410 Initiate (0) Jan 25, 2016 Massachusetts

    As strange as it may be, I would consider trying a beer with a 3.95 score but wouldn't consider a beer with a 79 score. Back in the day, anything below 80 wouldn't even get my consideration. I bet I wouldn't be the only one to think that way. Something to consider.
  12. UtahBeerPleb

    UtahBeerPleb Initiate (0) Dec 2, 2017 Utah

    I've reviewed a fair share of beers myself. I'm not afraid to review beers necessarily, but I don't always want to and I certainly don't think it should be a requirement. I think that would probably hurt the community a lot.

    What I think should be done though is to weight each user's score based on how many beers they have rated. This would make it so that one person that comes in and gives a well-regarded beer a score of 1 for no reason won't count against the overall rating of the beer, while someone who has rated a thousand beers will have their score weighted higher. Unless this is already done and I'm not aware of it.
    warrendietrich2001 likes this.
  13. NickTheGreat

    NickTheGreat Maven (1,324) Oct 28, 2010 Iowa
    Society Trader

    I can see that, but when I'm rating beers, I feel bad when I do anything in the 3's, especially low 3's. But I wouldn't feel nearly so bad giving a rating of 60 or 65.
  14. sludgegnome

    sludgegnome Pundit (864) Mar 26, 2011 Pennsylvania

    If you are worried about the casual user why not change the scores to emoticons from yuck face to smiley face. Honestly though 1-5 works well for everyone I know who uses this site. If it isn't broke why fix it?
    warrendietrich2001 likes this.
  15. bbtkd

    bbtkd Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,304) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I too tend to rate high, rarely giving anything below 3.8. It has to be really offensive before I'd go below 3.
    NickTheGreat and Harrison8 like this.
  16. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Grand Pooh-Bah (5,609) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I agree with the sentiment here, and I don't think making the site review only would improve things. I'm just not sure what the best method forward is to populate some well rated beer pages with reviews. It's quite bothersome to open up a beer profile page and see 10 people have ticked or rated it, but not a single person took the time to even remotely describe it. Regardless, my guidance for folks who think they can't review still stands.

    My big problem with weighting scores based off of previous scores is that it gives a heftier weight to tickers. While there may not be many, there are some folks who will check in every beer they have at a bottle share, rating an entire beer based on 4 ounces. Sometimes even an hour or more into a binge drinking night (large bottle share). That sort of behavior should not receive a weighted pull on the overall.
  17. UtahBeerPleb

    UtahBeerPleb Initiate (0) Dec 2, 2017 Utah

    You might be right. I think the number of people who do things like that are probably more than the number of trolls who give low ratings just because. I would personally still be ok with my ratings being weighted less because...I don't actually know that much compared to most people here.
  18. DavidR_9

    DavidR_9 Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2017 California

    I agree with a couple users about the strength of the 1-5 scale. Particularly that a 1-100 scale promotes a grade-school like bias where there could be a disproportinate negativity towards a 89/100 beer vs a 90/100 beer due to a “letter grade” differential. It’s a hard sentiment to ignore. I honestly like the unique nature of the 1/5 scale. It makes me consider my rating more deeply whereas a 100 scale would promote a quicker off the cuff rating. Lastly, I am more in support of changing the 1-5 system to a .1 or st least .2 increment rather than quarters. It gives nearly the same amount of choices as 1-100 without the letter grade baggage.
    VoxRationis likes this.
  19. aking32753

    aking32753 Initiate (0) Jun 4, 2014 Massachusetts

    1-5 works don't fix it
  20. mfigueroa713

    mfigueroa713 Zealot (607) Oct 5, 2011 Texas

    Well, a 1-100 is more complex because it has more resolution(100 options) where a 1-5 with the .25 increments has a resolution of 17(17 options). We're not launching satellites here, were drinking beer, 17 rating options is plenty.
  21. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,550) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I think you are misunderstanding what is being discussed - it is not the options that you select in the drop-down lists for each attribute but rather the displayed BA score/average for the beer (computed across all users, weighted by reviews over ratings). The attribute values and formula for producing the final score are not changing but they discussion is over what is preferred for the viewing of that score.
    Todd likes this.
  22. VoxRationis

    VoxRationis Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2016 New York

    Although cannot speak for the entire 1-5 crowd, I have to say many, if not most, of us do, in fact, understand that the 30-100 scale would reflect aggregated data. We simply prefer the 1-5 scale as a standard for beer scoring. Frankly, there is also something to be said for keeping the scale distinct from that used by oenophiles.
  23. OzmanBey

    OzmanBey Initiate (0) Dec 2, 2011 Massachusetts

    I like 1-5, it keeps it easy and simple, in my opinion anything more would be overkill.
  24. ThatsHowYouGetAnts

    ThatsHowYouGetAnts Initiate (0) Jan 15, 2016 Massachusetts

    You know, I have never thought of it this way, and you are totally right. When I open up Untappd and see "3.5" I think "okay, this is probably a good beer but people are just not giving it 5's." And a 5 just means it's subject to elitism/desire bias like Hill Farmstead (great beer, not saying otherwise) and Trillium which enjoy a nice bump in score simply because of who they are. 3.5's are normally decent beers you'd get a pint or two of at the bar with your meal, maybe buy a 6-er of but wouldn't go out of your way for.

    While I don't think it's a BIG deal, that system might throw some folks from trying a new beer. But then again, these are likely the same folks that wouldn't try a 3.5 beer either because they only want 4+.

    ...Who knows?
  25. Mista_Carta

    Mista_Carta Zealot (604) Aug 11, 2015 California


    Think you can be a little more specific when grading each parameter—obviously you'll get single digit increments vs the current 5 unit increments.
  26. Brew_42

    Brew_42 Initiate (0) Jul 15, 2013 Massachusetts

    I would prefer 1-100.
  27. denver10

    denver10 Initiate (0) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    I'd prefer 1 - 100.

    My ultimate preference would be to keep the rating to 5 but allow 0's as a score.
  28. TheBrewsky

    TheBrewsky Initiate (0) Apr 23, 2017 California

    I believe this is regarding the overall score, not the score that we, as the user, enters.
  29. SHMD_Brewing

    SHMD_Brewing Initiate (0) Sep 15, 2016 New York

    I don't see a great benefit to changing. Right now it's kind of a 1-25 scale, taking into account the 0.25 increments, so we would be going from 25 to 100. I guess it would allow us to rank our beers in order better (less chance of ties), but since it's subjective not sure it really matters.
  30. Todd

    Todd Founder (13,172) Aug 23, 1996 Finland
    Staff Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Six pages in and people are still missing the topic of this thread. :neutral_face:

    Regardless, lots of good feedback. So thanks to everyone. Keep it coming...
  31. scott451

    scott451 Savant (1,123) Apr 2, 2009 Canada (ON)

    Since we use quarter points, the 1-5 scale is really a 17 point scale, which should be enough as beer score are pretty subjective anyway. We are not measuring quantum physics.
  32. jjamadorphd

    jjamadorphd Pooh-Bah (1,990) Jul 21, 2012 Florida
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I voted for 1-100. I believe it makes better sense tying the rating to something the vastly familiar to the majority of folks on BA. That said, I am curious to know what the admins would do, if and when, a change would occur. I would expect all current reviews get converted in some fashion, and by some ad hoc formula, which I would be interested in reading more about.
  33. Organdrew

    Organdrew Initiate (0) Dec 27, 2013 Canada (QC)

    Rating something on a scale of 1-100 is definitely easier to understand. It's easy to imagine something that is, for example, 85 out of 100 to be 85%.

    I currently really like the 1-5 scale. I find it simple, easy to read, and if one wants to find out a percentage, it's the score/max score x 100 ((score/5) x 100%). But then again, I have a science degree so I understand those thing easily.

    It's easy to choose a rating from 1-5 in the increments that it is currently in. Like I read in an earlier post, it might be difficult to decide between a 85, 86, or 87 (they're all so close), but it would give a more precise method of rating.

    I vote to keep the rating 1-5, but probably wouldn't fuss much if it changed to 1-100.
  34. redleg64

    redleg64 Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2011 Michigan

    1-100 for sure!
  35. doktorhops

    doktorhops Pooh-Bah (1,869) Jan 12, 2011 Australia

    Lol, I use a 1-10 scale for my blog reviews, any chance we can get a poll on that too?

    No biggie though - I just halve the number to rate it on my BA reviews (i.e. if I gave flavour a 7/10 I convert it to 3.5 when I post it on BA).
  36. sdm9465

    sdm9465 Initiate (0) Dec 23, 2011 Canada (NS)

    Actually, that would convert to a 20-100 scale. To convert to 1-100 scale, you would have to use (score - min score) / (max score - min score) x 99 +1, which is (score - 1) / 4 x 99 +1.
  37. TheInsomniac

    TheInsomniac Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2015 New Mexico

    I don't think human beings are generally able to discriminate finer than a scale of 5. I think the perfect scale is 0-2. 0 means never again. 2 means exceptional. 1 means "eh, OK" and "not bad." And I can basically prove this. Go look at IMDB ratings and you'll see that the majority of movies, regardless of quality, are rated a 1 or 10 (there are about as many 2-9 ratings combined as there are 0 or 10). Few people provide nuance in anything that they're rating. Yelp reviews work the same way. Youtube reviews worked that way. Netflix reviews worked that way. That's why they switched to a thumbs up or down system, because that's how the users were operating it, anyway.

    And if you're thinking, "well, I don't do it that way, I carefully curate and rate every film, restaurant, and YouTube video I see," then I would say you don't matter, because most users don't do that and your subtle nuance is lost in the averages. And whether you're averaging 10s, and 1s, 5s and 1s, or 0s and 1s, the end result is going to basically be the same: an average, that can be sorted against every other average.

    The one exception: if you truly are a real expert, a film critic, a cicerone. In that case you probably do have enough experience, time, and breadth to accurately and consistently judge a 3 from a 4. Can you tell a 93 from a 94? No. No one can. Teachers don't subjectively rank students when they grade papers and exams. They create a rubric (20 points for this question, 10 for this one, -2 if you miss this part, etc.) so that they can be consistent in grading from student to student, and year to year. Real critics do that. The average beer drinker, even an above average beer drinker, is never going to do that. So anything more than a scale of 1-5 is just pointless.
    VoxRationis likes this.
  38. VoxRationis

    VoxRationis Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2016 New York

    Thank you for expanding on a point I alluded to in an earlier post.

    Human resources scales are increasingly 0 to 2 or 0 to 3. In a five point scale, there is room for disasters (1), barely palatable offerings (2), and still several points for a range of solidly constructed beers (3 through 5).

    I like the five finger approach.
  39. MilkLeg

    MilkLeg Zealot (579) Feb 8, 2016 Canada (AB)

    I think the whole scale system is kinda botched to begin with because in my experience if you're seriously rating a brew you're probably going somewhere between 3 and 4.5 for the majority of what you're drinking. People who rate beers 5/5 probably don't have much experience or found something outstanding where they decided to go above and beyond what others are giving it. On the other hand some people have something they don't like and give it a 1/5 when it fairness it might deserve something like a 3 which IMO is still not a very good rating. Scores are meaningless when you compare things that are really low, who actually want's to debate whether a beer with a 2.25 score is really worse than 2.5. On the other hand when you get to like 4.35 vs 4.45 you're looking at something a more worth debating. The scale almost needs to be exponential or something where the differences between the higher ratings have greater meaning.
    TheInsomniac likes this.
  40. MacMalt

    MacMalt Grand High Pooh-Bah (6,396) Jan 28, 2015 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    For continuity sake I'd prefer to leave the scale as it is. If the scale changes, how would the existing ratings be converted to the new scale? It would be like comparing apples to oranges.
    VABA likes this.
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