A new and more useful way to rate how much you like something (e.g. food, experiences)

Usually when you ask someone to rate how ‘good’ something, people will rate it out of 0 to 10. For example, if you ask someone ‘how much did you enjoy that food?’, people will give a number from 0 to 10 where 0 means it was bad and 10 means it was perfect. This is fine in theory, but in practice I think it isn’t the best scale to use.

I prefer to use a scale of -10 to 10 where 0 is the neutral point. 0 means that you would be equally happy experiencing vs not experiencing that food or thing. Anything negative means you would have rather not eaten it, and anything positive means you are glad you ate it.

The benefit of using this scale is that it makes it clear whether the experience was positive or negative. With the scale of 0 to 10, the halfway point of 5 should in theory mean a neutral point, but the scale doesn’t seem to get used that way all of the time. Sometimes it seems like people use 3 to mean ‘it was a little bit good’. There also seems to be asymmetry between the peak of 10 and the trough of 0. 10 usually means ‘perfect’ while 0 usually means ‘mediocre to below average’. -10 to 10 removes this confusion.

Another example is for watching a movie. If I’m rating a movie, a negative score means I would rather have done something else (some average, mundane activity for example) than watch that movie in hindsight. I think this is more useful when someone is considering whether or not to watch a movie and wants your thoughts. Assuming they have similar tastes to you, a negative score clearly implies that they should not watch the movie.

Why am I writing about this? Who cares?

Well, I think communication is important, and this could be a tool to improve communication.

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