Here’s Why My Rating Average Doesn’t Define Me As A Reviewer

Yes, you are entitled to your wrong opinion. But don’t go around subjecting me to your opinion.

Have you ever been judged by your rating average? I have. And let me tell you right now that it’s really bloody annoying. If you don’t know what a rating average is, it basically just gives you a number that represents how “high” you rate most of the time. The rating average is given to you by Goodreads, but you can easily calculate your own average.

While I was strolling through Goodreads one day, I found this reviewer who I thought was hilarious, thought-provoking, and the reviews were all lovely and always made me want to read the book. I realized we had the same reading tastes, too. What do I do? I immediately go to send in a friend request to this wonderful and amazing person! About half an hour later I receive an email that stated something along the lines of:

“Hello! I see you want to be my friend on Goodreads. I normally would accept your request, but seeing as your rating average is so high, I’m going to have to deny your request. It’s nothing against you, but I wouldn’t be able to trust your reviews. Have a great day!”

WHAT?!

Honestly, I would’ve preferred you ignored my request instead of receiving this email. Not only did I find it offensive to insinuate my reviews weren’t honest, I also think it’s a bit snobby to judge based on rating averages, and here’s why:

  • Every book reviewer has this period before blogging (BB), where if you compare how they rated books then and how they rate books now, it would be VERY different.
  • If we’re going to talk about the Goodreads rating average, then let me tell you that I have about 100 books that I’ve rated BB, and almost all of them are 5 stars. I will not change my rating unless I read the book again, and I honestly don’t feel like justifying to you why my 12 year old self rated Twilight five stars.
  • Yes, I have a lot of 4 & 5 star ratings even once I’ve started blogging, know why? Because I tend to choose books that I think I’ll actually like. Why the heck would I want to waste my time on a book that I know I hated? So I can rant about it later? No thanks.
  • I understand that some reviewers pride themselves on only giving out 1 & 2 star reviews, but I’m not like that. I feel deep respect for authors even when their books are crap. I wouldn’t want to be one more person adding insult to the injury. So I just prefer to stay away. (I’m all for negative constructive reviews, though!)
  • Just because I have a rating average does not mean that my reviews are not to be trusted. I will never lie in my reviews. Never. Part of being a book blogger means throwing out honest and unbiased reviews all the time, so insinuating that my reviews are anything but honest would mean I am not fit to be a blogger.
  • If I’m going to be honest, I tend to rate books based on feeling more than technicality. Did this book make me want to hold it in my arms and never let it go? If yes, then here go the 5 stars.
  • A five star review does not mean it is your favorite, just like a 1 star review does not mean it is horrible. It’s better to read the review to understand the rating better.

If I’m going to be level headed about this, I probably should realize that I’m better off without that person as my GR friend. It just really saddens me that there’s this kind of judgement inside the Book Blogging Community. I’m glad I’ve made some awesome blogger friends who more than make up for it.

Do you judge based on someone’s rating average? Have you been judged by your rating average? What do you think of this post? Leave your thoughts in the comments below! 

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45 thoughts on “Here’s Why My Rating Average Doesn’t Define Me As A Reviewer

  1. Jessica @ Rabid Reads says:

    What a pompous b*tch! If I’ve ever been judged for my average rating, the person who did it wasn’t rude enough to say so, and it’s never even occurred to me to compare AVERAGE ratings. If someone likes the some of the same books that I like, that’s good enough for me. But then I’m not a snotty cow

    Like

    • boricuanworms says:

      Believe me I felt the same way, too! I never would have dared to insinuate something like that to a fellow bloggers. Thanks for commenting!

      Like

  2. Holly Letson says:

    Do you judge based on someone’s rating average?
    No. I decide whether or not to add someone on GR by whether or not it seems we like the same kind of mangas/GNs/books.
    Have you been judged by your rating average?
    Not that I know of. I sure hope not.
    Mine is….. 3327 ratings (3.79 avg) , in case you’re curious.
    https://www.goodreads.com/BookaholicHolly
    What do you think of this post?
    It makes me wonder about all this, really.

    Like

    • boricuanworms says:

      Hey holly! Thanks for answering my questions. I don’t judge my rating average either, I just add people who have the same tastes as me. Thabks for stopping by!

      Like

  3. Joy (Joyousreads) says:

    I also limit my friendvite acceptance, but I don’t have it in me to tell invitee the exact reason I’m declining said request. One reason why I don’t accept friendvite is their book count. If you have more friends than books, than I’m a little wary that you’re only collecting friends instead of actually using Goodreads for its real purpose.
    I don’t judge GReaders by their rating average, I judge them with the books that they’ve read. Usually, if you rate 5 stars to the books that I rate 1 or 2 or even 3, there’s a chance that we’re not going to benefit each other by being friends. That’s just me, though.
    Great post, Marianne. I hope you’ll have better luck with some other “elite” reviewers on GR.

    Like

    • boricuanworms says:

      I decline requests because of book count, too. I also decline requests if it’s just an indie author trying to promote their book and not interested in discussing books with me at all.

      I don’t like judging people, whatever the reason.
      Who needs acceptance from elite reviewers anyways?

      Like

  4. nadiareads1 says:

    Awesome post Marianne! I can’t believe you actually got an e-mail like that! Who would send that?!
    I also tend to give rather high rates to books, but I wonder sometimes why do people who always rate books under 3 stars keep reading? It seems to be something that is not enjoyable to them since they don’t like almost any of the books they read!

    Like

    • boricuanworms says:

      Right? I thought it was a prank or something at first. And yeah, I find that if I kept finding books I hated, then I would slowly lose interest in reading.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Like

  5. Amy M. @ AYA M. Productions says:

    Oh gosh… I’ve never judged someone about their rating. & I don’t think I’ve ever been judged about my average rating. I have been judged about ratings I’ve given out or about how my reviews aren’t honest because they’re not objective. It’s all just silly in my opinion. I definitely give out ratings based upon how I feel about a book and my overall reading experience. I often give out high ratings. Just like you, I’m obviously going to choose books I know I’ll like over books I know I’ll hate. All those people are just crazy. Of course you should follow people’s reviews that you want to read, but at the same time there’s no need to bash others or insinuate that someone’s review isn’t honest. That’s just insulting.

    Like

    • boricuanworms says:

      I’m just like you. I rate based on how I feel and based on my reading experience. There’s no need for people to question something that’s always been based on a personal opinion. I would’ve actually been fine if my friendship request was denied, I think I was mad mostly because of the little insult at the end. Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  6. Dre @ Sporadic Reads says:

    So far, I haven’t encountered anyone who has deliberately sent me a message telling me that due to my rating average, I pretty much am inadequate to be their Goodreads friend. That is just so mean! After telling you that your review influenced their picking up the book, then slamming you like that is beyond rude!

    Anyway, there are book raters that I do not really trust. Personally, I choose books that I think that I will enjoy. It’s like watching a movie, or a tv series, or eating food. Why eat something that you clearly won’t enjoy? There’s logic for our choices. Anyway, don’t mind the judgy ones. I do enjoy your reviews and trust it, too 🙂

    Like

  7. Carmel @ Rabid Reads says:

    I do not judge a reviewer by their average rating. I very rarely give books 3 stars or below, but that’s not because I never read bad books, but rather because I vigorously screen all titles on my TBR list. However, if I saw someone with an abysmal average it would make me question whether they are capable of liking anything!

    Like

    • boricuanworms says:

      Yes! Reviewers with abysmal averages actually make me more excited when I read a review of a book they actually liked. It’s like “they finally found something good!”. Haha.

      Like

  8. Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity says:

    Oh, wow. I seriously cannot believe that!
    And I absolutely LOVE your reasons why someone shouldn’t be judged on their review average.
    Above all, like you said: we’re going to read books we think we’re going to like. As a reader, I hate nothing more than reading a book I don’t like. I feel like it’s a waste of my time and energy. So then, why would I purposefully seek out books that would make me feel this way? I am always disappointed when I end up not liking a book because every time I choose a book to read it’s because I think I will like it. What is the point in reading a book you KNOW you’re not going to like, simply because you want to write a negative review? That seems kind of pointless, and rude. Like you said, adding insult to the author’s injury is all kinds of cruel.
    I think you’re definitely better off without this friend on Goodreads. I trust your reviews, because you write them well, and give reasons as to why you liked said book.
    Reading books you think you will like is how the world of books works.

    Like

    • boricuanworms says:

      Thanks, Chiara! I’m glad to see that the blogging community isn’t as judgmental as this one person was. I mean, it’s okay to have your own opinion and whatnot, but I don’t think it’s okay to “politely” insult a person. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Like

  9. Michele @ A Belle's Tales says:

    I’m in absolute shock over this, and it honestly hurts my heart someone would have the audacity to respond to you in that way. I once had a fellow blogger refer to me as a generous reviewer, and I didn’t care for it because what I am is an honest reviewer who cares more about reading and reviewing books I love than forcing myself to continue reading something I’m not enjoying and then writing about it. I give a lot of three-star reviews and at times have given 2.5; but yes, the majority of my reviews are 4 and 5 stars because, like you, I choose books I know I will like. It’s reviewers that only give 1- and 2-star reviews that I don’t understand — choose a new hobby, I say, because they clearly are no longer reading for the sheer enjoyment of it. The response you received was rude and completely undeserved. The only time I decline a friend request on Goodreads is if they have no books added. They are looking for Facebook… not a bookish community 😀 I agree with all the points you make above — especially that last one! This was a wonderful and well-written post, and now I am off to make sure that we are friends on Goodreads!

    Like

  10. Teresa Mary Rose says:

    Can we be best friends? Because this post sums up my feelings exactly lol!!!! I hate when other bloggers get all judgy like that. In my opinion when you read a lot eventually you tend to be able to tell what you will and will not like! At least I’ve found that to a true for me. I’ve also found that I very rarely have 1 & 2 star reads because I usually DNF a book before it gets that far and I won’t rate a book I don’t finish. I don’t see the point in pushing through something I don’t enjoy. Thank you for this post!

    Like

  11. Citra says:

    Oh, that was unfortunate and I think it’s kind of immature. Well, some people take book reviews too seriously and it’s annoying. Here’s a ton of hugs for you, you don’t need that kind of people in your friend list! 🙂

    Like

  12. Wendy Darling (@MissWendyD) says:

    Wow, what an unpleasant email to get. There really wasn’t any reason to send that to you, as you said your friendvite could have just been declined without comment.

    I admit, sometimes seeing a very high average rating on GoodReads could give me pause, but you’re absolutely right in saying that some things do change post-blogging. I used to think “hmmm” when bloggers claimed that they only reviewed books they liked because of whatever, but it’s so true that a. you have a lot more access to books now b. you’re more savvy as to what could work/not work for you because of reading other blogs c. you start having a lot less TIME to review the crappy books. I don’t even get that far into most books that I’m not enjoying anymore because I have too many books to get to that I actually have a shot at liking, and then I’m always so pressed for time that I often feel as though I’d rather spend my time talking about stuff I love rather than stuff I’m indifferent to. I still write negative reviews, mind you, but just not nearly as often as I used to.

    But the point is (to me!) that it wasn’t necessary to say that to you, because doing so it was sort of a judgment upon your habits based on a very quick glance. And who needs that sort of friend anyway? Don’t let it make you feel bad.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    Like

    • boricuanworms says:

      Exactly. I don’t really mind how you decide to add your friends to GR, that’s your decision in the end. I was mostly offended because of the fact that I got the email. It mostly made me doubt myself and my reviews for a while. Nevertheless, I realize I’m better off! Thanks for commenting, Wendy!

      Like

  13. Cait says:

    Oh. My. WHAT THE??!!! That is the most horrible thing ever…how can that person even say that? I’m with you, though, that you definitely don’t need that person in your life anyway. But seriously?? I rate books high. I do. If I enjoy a book (even if it has some “mistakes” or whatnot) I rate it high because a) the author deserves recognition for their hard work and b) a high rating means I enjoyed it, not the book is perfect. BUT DAMN. That person was not nice.

    Like

  14. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence says:

    I think that is the silliest thing ever, I can understand why people would think that rating average defines your reviews but yeah, it is kind of a snobby thing to do! I’ve never judged on rating average, I notice some bloggers only review books they enjoyed and others are tougher to crack. Either way, I appreciate everyone’s differences in opinions – that’s what makes the blogging world so eclectic.

    Like

    • boricuanworms says:

      Yes. I love diversity in opinions because that way bookish discussions are fun. Who wants to see a discussion where everyone agrees on everything? Thanks for stopping by, Jeann.

      Like

  15. Rebecca @ The Library Canary says:

    Oh my gosh that’s horrible! I also choose books that I think I’ll like so I’m sure my rating average is pretty high too. Who the hell does that person think they are? Why would a book blogger lie in their review anyway?? The whole purpose of this community is to be open, honest, and discuss books, positively or negatively (but hopefully positively!) I’d much rather gush over how awesome a book is then rage over how awful it is. I actually hate writing bad reviews. I always feel bad because I know the author behind that book is a real person and they spent a lot of time on their book, you know? You’re right though, you are better off without them. Just know that all of us support you!

    Like

    • boricuanworms says:

      I know! I hate wrinting bad reviews, too. I feel like I’m comming on as bitchy or something. Thanks for the support, Rebecca! 🙂

      Like

  16. cleopatralovesbooks says:

    I was going to write that I wouldn’t judge someone on their book reviews and then I thought – yes I do! I don’t read reviews by people who I’ve noticed always give low ratings. As you say most of us, surely, choose books we think we would like? Therefore I’d expect the average to be higher than 3… Personally I review every book that I’ve read and if I don’t like a book, I try and give constructive reasons why. After all what I don’t like about a book is what may draw someone else to it… Reviews are an opinion and as such I’d expect to see a range of scores with the caveat as above that I’d expect way more 4 & 5 stars because readers aren’t normally choosing books without some information first. Great post by the way and I think whoever responded like that was rude, think Thumper ‘If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all!’

    Like

    • boricuanworms says:

      I definitely do judge based on reviews, but that’s because reviews actually explain and give you a reason as to why a book was rated X stars. I immediately thought of that “Thumper” quote when I got that email! Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  17. Joséphine @ Dudette Reads says:

    I think it’s sad when people judge based on rating averages. I don’t understand why they do either. I mean, if I expect that a book is going to be a 1-star-read for me, I’m not going to torture myself with it. That’s a waste of my time and just adds a negative review to a book that probably wasn’t written for people like me. *shrugs* And yeah, you definitely are better off not being friends with that person. The nerve with that email! Tsk.

    Like

  18. Tanya Patrice says:

    I have to laugh at this (the other person not you) … it’s that serious?! I didn’t even know that people were judging others based off Goodreads ratings. Seriously … I cannot believe this is a thing.

    Like

  19. Alise (Readers in Wonderland) says:

    What the effffff!? There are so many things wrong with this picture I don’t even want to get into it because then I would definitely not be able to stop ranting. I have a 3.49 average which is almost exactly the very definition of average but would NEVER judge someone based on their average-how ridiculously STUPID.

    Like

    • boricuanworms says:

      Hahaha the first part of your comment made me laugh. I think that was my initial reaction! My average is 4.19… I guess I’ll have to look for some terrible books to even it out a bit, ha!

      Like

  20. littleonionwrites says:

    What?!? That’s crazy! I’d never judge someone by their “rating average.” Mine is 3.67, but this is the first time I’ve checked. I still think it’s crazy that someone would judge you because you’ve actually enjoyed a lot of the books you’ve read. That’s just… Wow.

    Like

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