Discworld marathon blog...

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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:31 am

I don't really see this as the same thing as the monthly discussions. I did something similar to this with Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe books on another site. Sadly, most of those posts were lost when the site crashed.

Swreader did a series of essays on the Witches on the Cunning Artificer Board.

They are individual points of view by a reader with added comments after the event. They aren't really designed to be discussions (as I see it). They are more a case of 'this is what I made of this book'.

Q, I can see what people are saying about your rating system. It seems to me that you are rating the books using a system based of the best ever book you've read compared to the worst - and that's based on all books, not Pratchett ones.

If you based them purely on DW books with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, it would make for a clearer indication of your feelings about the books. And it would give you more numbers to score with. :)

I'd like to see you continue with this. It can be a rewarding experience to read a series in this way. I found this was the case with the Sharpe books. The chances are that some of us won't agree with everything you say, but that's only to be expected. We are all individuals ("YES! WE ARE ALL INDIVIDUALS!!") and we will all have our own take on the books.

I would suggest that you post your assessments, allow people to respond but avoid getting into a discussion about the responses. Maybe add a disclaimer at the start: "These are my views of this book. You may disagree with me, but this is how I see the."

And you might also consider changing the rating system or dropping it. But please do consider continuing. I for one will enjoy reading your comments, even if I don't agree with them. :wink:
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Postby Willem » Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:44 am

Hold on: if you decide to not post any reviews, it's your decision, don't blame us for stopping you. You should know by now that people here go off on tangents everywhere. It just so happened that I found your rating system a more interesting topic than your reviews (again, because I don't care much about fan reviews).


Don't ask me if you should continue or not. Ask yourself. However, be warned that there will be comments on any reviews and not always one that you find useful. Often you will find them pointless. Often, you'll be right :)

My advice for what it's worth: don't take things too personally, especially things posted by random strangers on the internet. Us random strangers be pretty crazy! However, when reacting to posts you think are pointless, try and use a bit more tact. For example, you replying with 'Your point?' works as a red rag on a bull for some. If you'd said something like 'Thanks for your comments but I'll stick with my original plan' you'd avoid that, especially if you stick on a colourful smiley :) Putting 'Your point?' is really begging me to reply.
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Postby poohcarrot » Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:49 am

Tut, tut, Willem! Fancy criticising Q's marking ststem. Next you'll be telling us all you're a maths teacher, so you know what you're talking about. :roll:
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Postby Willem » Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:06 am

On the marking system: I really think a 1-10 system is usually best, a 1 to 5 star system is also good. I don't agree with a 7.5 for an 'average' book - especially when rating things you think are above average beforehand. It just rubs me the wrong way to know you'll get a result full of 8s and 9s. I could drag in standard deviation and stuff but then I would really be responsible for killing this thread by boring everyone to death.

Then again, honestly, I'd find something to comment about on any chosen marking system. That's the way we roll in my family/circle of friends: find a small flaw in the proposed system and keep badgering about it :) If there's no real flaw, make one up!
As an example: a friend of my brother wanted to find out which season of Seinfeld was best. After about a month they had a system involving a vase full of tokens and quite some background in game theory. The discussions about every little detail have taken more time than rewatching all the episodes already.

We like to call this 'fun'. Your mileage may vary :)
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Postby Quatermass » Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:20 am

pip wrote:Always interested to hear what others get from each book to be honest Q.
Theres a few bits i hadn't thought of so always worth a read.

While the guys point about biased marking is slightly true this blog is one persons marks so they are consistent so even if only half the scale is used its clear which he thinks are the stronger and weaker books for him.

I'd say keep going. Tony, maibe and a few others seem to have enjoyed reading them anyway. :D


Okay, okay. Sorry, I lost my temper. I don't take criticism very well, especially if it's on a system that works for me. I've been refining my ratings system over the past two years, I know how to rate books.

Tonyblack wrote:Q, I can see what people are saying about your rating system. It seems to me that you are rating the books using a system based of the best ever book you've read compared to the worst - and that's based on all books, not Pratchett ones.

If you based them purely on DW books with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, it would make for a clearer indication of your feelings about the books. And it would give you more numbers to score with. :)


If I use the scoring system that I have worked with over the past couple of years, it means less trying to reshape my own instinctive way of assigning the scores. The major problem with the score is bias, I admit, but I generally don't attempt to read books that I'm not going to like anyway. It takes time for me to branch out into new things. For every Vorkosigan Saga, there is a Twilight or an Atlas Shrugged.

Tonyblack wrote:I'd like to see you continue with this. It can be a rewarding experience to read a series in this way. I found this was the case with the Sharpe books. The chances are that some of us won't agree with everything you say, but that's only to be expected. We are all individuals ("YES! WE ARE ALL INDIVIDUALS!!") and we will all have our own take on the books.

I would suggest that you post your assessments, allow people to respond but avoid getting into a discussion about the responses. Maybe add a disclaimer at the start: "These are my views of this book. You may disagree with me, but this is how I see the."


I don't disagree with people discussing what I actually said in the review itself. Your assessment of my linking TCOM and G!G! was very welcome, Tony. I was pissed about the scale being criticised.

Tonyblack wrote:And you might also consider changing the rating system or dropping it. But please do consider continuing. I for one will enjoy reading your comments, even if I don't agree with them. :wink:


I will seriously consider dropping the ratings system. No way in hell I can change it.

Willem wrote:Hold on: if you decide to not post any reviews, it's your decision, don't blame us for stopping you. You should know by now that people here go off on tangents everywhere. It just so happened that I found your rating system a more interesting topic than your reviews (again, because I don't care much about fan reviews).


Don't ask me if you should continue or not. Ask yourself. However, be warned that there will be comments on any reviews and not always one that you find useful. Often you will find them pointless. Often, you'll be right :)

My advice for what it's worth: don't take things too personally, especially things posted by random strangers on the internet. Us random strangers be pretty crazy! However, when reacting to posts you think are pointless, try and use a bit more tact. For example, you replying with 'Your point?' works as a red rag on a bull for some. If you'd said something like 'Thanks for your comments but I'll stick with my original plan' you'd avoid that, especially if you stick on a colourful smiley :) Putting 'Your point?' is really begging me to reply.


Yeah, well, I lose my temper fairly easily when I am being criticised without (to me, anyway) due cause. I get touchy when people criticise my work, as I am my own worst critic (which was why I had to drop out of the Terry Pratchett Prize competition, but that's another story), and I don't need anyone else's criticism in a place where it isn't wanted. I take it personally because it feels like my character and integrity is being criticised for having a biased scale. Having it criticised by random strangers worsens it more than if it was done by friends or family, because at least friends or family would understand my reaction, and I would be able to take it from them.

If you wished to actually comment on some of my reasoning in the review itself, or pick up on something that I missed, fine, I will accept that happily. That sort of criticism I will take on board and discuss, as it will be the first time that I will be reviewing the Discworld series fully.

By the way, isn't a tact something you use to pin stuff to the wall with? You must have some strange proclivities if you want me to use more spiky things in my posts... :wink:
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Postby Quatermass » Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:32 am

Willem wrote:On the marking system: I really think a 1-10 system is usually best, a 1 to 5 star system is also good. I don't agree with a 7.5 for an 'average' book - especially when rating things you think are above average beforehand. It just rubs me the wrong way to know you'll get a result full of 8s and 9s. I could drag in standard deviation and stuff but then I would really be responsible for killing this thread by boring everyone to death.


I know about statistics. Believe me, I do. I had to analyse a big-ass data file in SPSS for my Master's thesis. I assign books ratings with instincts, not algorithms.

Willem wrote:Then again, honestly, I'd find something to comment about on any chosen marking system. That's the way we roll in my family/circle of friends: find a small flaw in the proposed system and keep badgering about it :) If there's no real flaw, make one up!
As an example: a friend of my brother wanted to find out which season of Seinfeld was best. After about a month they had a system involving a vase full of tokens and quite some background in game theory. The discussions about every little detail have taken more time than rewatching all the episodes already.

We like to call this 'fun'. Your mileage may vary :)


:lol:

A family of pedants. My family is only big enough for one pedant: moi. :mrgreen:

Seriously, I don't put that much thought into a review. I write the reviews in maybe fifteen minutes to half an hour. Most of the thinking is done while I read. I actually think about the ratings while I read, and revise the ratings as I go.

Sorry I blew up at you. I just got pissed that you seemed to be attacking the way I did things, and not my arguments. Ditto to you, LilMaibe, if you read this.
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Postby pip » Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:33 am

Ah personal growth :lol:
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Postby Quatermass » Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:34 am

pip wrote:Ah personal growth :lol:


Yeah, well, you know what they say. How do you grow things? With fertiliser. And how do you make fertiliser?

Now, if you'll excuse me, this humble pie is a little crappy.
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Postby Willem » Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:00 pm

Scientists are predicting the future will be much more futuristic than originally predicted
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Postby Quatermass » Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:04 pm



*muffled sounds, as if Quatermass has sewn his mouth shut*
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Postby LilMaibe » Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:35 pm

Never meant to attack you either. But, could you explain how you rate them stories if 7.5 is average on a 1-10 scale *confused*
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Postby Quatermass » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:02 pm

LilMaibe wrote:Never meant to attack you either. But, could you explain how you rate them stories if 7.5 is average on a 1-10 scale *confused*


Well, after a lot of thought, I realised that I formulated that from two sources: the Doctor Who Handbook series, which rated the stories out of 10, and many game review mags and websites, which seem to have 7/10 or 7.5/10 as an average review.

For example, IGN, for games and comics and DVDs, has an out of 10 scale. 4.5= 'Bad', 5='Mediocre', 6-6.5= 'Okay', 7-7.5= 'Good', 8.0-8.5 is 'Great', and so on. I'm a little different from the IGN scale, with 6.5-7 being 'Mediocre', 7.5-8 being 'average', and 8.5 being 'great', but it should give you a bit of insight as to how I came by this system. The rest I refined with my own reviews elsewhere.

I'll abandon the scale I'm using, given the controversy (okay, so it's a storm in a teacup) its generated.

Sorry for attacking you, LilMaibe. :)
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Postby LilMaibe » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:19 pm

Mhn...I think if you'd split the rating into cataegories like most gaming magazines I know do, maybe it would be easier then.
Plotidea, Storyflow, Readability (not the same as storyflow, as even a well flowing story can be horrible to read) Characters, and such...
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Postby Quatermass » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:22 pm

LilMaibe wrote:Mhn...I think if you'd split the rating into cataegories like most gaming magazines I know do, maybe it would be easier then.
Plotidea, Storyflow, Readability (not the same as storyflow, as even a well flowing story can be horrible to read) Characters, and such...


It's a little harder to quantify individual characteristics in a book than it is to assign a number for an overall score. Games are easier, you can split it off into Graphics, Sound, Presentation, Playability, etc. But with books, well, it's harder.

Look, I've abandoned the score idea for the time being. We don't need more conflagration. We don't need no mind control...s***, I'm channeling Pink Floyd. :shock:
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Postby poohcarrot » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:38 pm

If you'd used Pink Floyd (Pigs - 3 different ones) in your Python question with Dr Who and the Goodies, I'd have got the answer. 8)
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