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Sep 17

I’m Reclaiming Two-Star Ratings

Inspired by a NJ school district’s decision to get rid ‘D’ grades, I’m making some changes to my iTunes library, and therefore my iPod listening habits.

Actually, what I’m doing is opposite of what the school district did, which was to consider anything below 70% a failing grade and reduce letter grades to A, B, C, and F. I guess that’s OK, since E was always missing anyway. Anyhow, that’s a lot like how I used to rate songs in iTunes. I have smart playlists that are based partially on star ratings. I periodically listen to a smart playlist dedicated to unrated songs. Anything with a rating below 3 stars would never be heard again. Going from 1 to 5 stars, my ratings approximately corresponded to “awful”, “eh”, “ok”, “good”, and “great”.

After reading about the rejection of D grades, though, I realized that I was wasted rating expressiveness. There were so many times that I wished I’d had a way to distinguish songs that were worth listening to more than once, but not very often, from those that merit more than occasional listening. Now I have a better chance of making that distinction. Going from 1 to 5, my new ratings approximately correspond to “awful”, “ok”, “good”, “great”, and “perfect”. The smart playlists that divvy up the portion of my pathetic 4Gb iPod Nano dedicated to music (as opposed to podcasts and whatnot) now include songs rated at least 2 stars. Furthermore, the amount of space allocated to songs of different ratings is roughly proportional to those ratings.

So, that’s one iTunes/iPod problem solved. Now, when the hell will Saint Steve lead us out of the genre label dark ages and into the 21st century world of social tagging?

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