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Book review ratings

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    One of the most frequently asked questions about the book reviews (see http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev/revfaq.htm or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade/revfaq.htm)
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 11, 2005
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      One of the most frequently asked questions about the book reviews (see
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev/revfaq.htm or
      http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade/revfaq.htm) is why I don't put rankings in the
      reviews (see question 5). So, in response to repeated urgings, I thought I might
      reconsider.

      I do not intend to give a single numeric rank to the books (see question 5), but it
      might be possible to provide some kind of rankings on multiple scales. I have
      been thinking along the lines of:

      tl - technical level - n/i/a/s - novice, intermediate, advanced, specialist

      rl - range of technical level - 1-4 - even if aimed at specialists, can novices
      get something out of it, etc? (C. S. Lewis said that the only good children's
      books are those that can be enjoyed by adults--and vice versa :-)

      tc - technical content - 1-4 - sort of measure of signal (actual content) to
      noise (verbiage)

      ta - technical accuracy - 1-4 - how accurate is the stuff that is there

      tv - tutorial value - 1-4 - if you don't know it, how easy would it be to learn
      it using only this

      wq - quality of writing - 1-4 - pretty subjective, but ...

      So Gattiker's dictionary would be: tl n rl 1 tc 0 ta 2 tv 1 wq 0

      Anderson's "Security Engineering": tl a rl 4 tc 4 ta 4 tv 4 wq 4

      "Beyond Fear": tl n rl 3 tc 2 ta 4 tv 4 wq 4

      I'm a bit leery of totalling the numbers: even the worst book would get 5 out of 20
      (with allowance for my occasional option of 0), and "Beyond Fear" is as good as
      "Security Engineering," just different.

      Are there other scales that I should be considering? Would this kind of ranking be
      of use to those of you who have asked for it? Should I be going for a six point
      scale: 0-5? (I figure putting it up top as another "comment" line.)

      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... slade@... rslade@...
      Pay no attention to what the critics say; there has never been
      set up a statue in honor of a critic. - Jean Sibelius
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade
    • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
      From: kumquat@sover.net Date sent: Tue, 11 Jan 2005 23:06:03 -0500 (EST) ... Now *you* I like :-) The ranking would be a lot of work, and
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 11, 2005
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        From: kumquat@...
        Date sent: Tue, 11 Jan 2005 23:06:03 -0500 (EST)

        > Speaking for myself... I don't need the rankings; they seem like a lot of work
        > for iminal gain. I actually read what you write and THAT is all the ranking I
        > need....

        Now *you* I like :-)

        The ranking would be a lot of work, and nobody seems to be happy with the
        proposal. Any ranking system would have some measure of unfairness to some
        type of book: all of the options seem to require way too much explanation.
        Adding explanations, links, comparison rankings, and averages by genre just seems
        to add too much admin to a load that is already almost equal to that of the
        reviewing itself.

        I have added rankings to about the next month worth of reviews, so I'll let them
        stand. You can let me know if you change your minds, but I'm not holding my
        breath :-)

        (I might try a simplified version later.)

        ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
        rslade@... slade@... rslade@...
        Fuddle duddle. - Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Feb. 16, 1971
        http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade
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