[The views expressed in this article do not necessarily comport with the views of any of the many volunteers who help run this site and manage its content. The author of this post is also not in control of his faculties, and you the reader agree to hold Phish.Net harmless from any and all liability for this blog’s contents. If this article appears TOO LONG and you DON’T want to READ it: Trust show ratings at your peril, as there is no truth in them. The only truth is in you.]
IT is well-known that users can and do rate Phish shows on this site by awarding them one, two, three, four or five stars. A logged-in user simply views a setlist’s "permalink page"—for example, this beauty right here—and, behold! Beneath the setlist in the section headed “SHOW RATING,” you the user are invited to provide “Your rating:” of the show by clicking on one-to-five blank stars that fill-in the moment your mouse hovers over them. If you’ve already rated the show, one or more of the stars will be filled-in and not blank when you first view the section. And after you’ve rated a show, you can change the rating with ease, if you wish, by hovering a mouse over the stars and rating the show anew. The “Show Ratings” section also states the number of times the show has been rated by unique users and its “Overall” average rating out to three decimal places, with one point calculated per star. One of the greatest musical performances in the history of music by any group of musicians in recorded history, for example, is currently rated an average of 4.761 by 1400 users.
What is less well-known or even understood is how much Phish the Typical Fan Who Rates Shows on this site has actually heard, or seen. How many users of this site who rate shows only rate shows they’ve attended? How many users who rate shows on this site have heard every or nearly every circulating note of Phish—all shows in Phish history, the recordings of which stream on Relisten.net or Phish.in or LivePhish—and thus wield a judicious sense of what characteristics constitute an above, below, or “Average Typically Great” Phish show? A few hundred perhaps?
It is thus forgivable that some (perhaps you yourself) find this site’s “Show Ratings” to be at least hilariously if not outrageously unreliable, often so grossly inflated that it’s prudent to distrust and disregard them with the most extreme prejudice.
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