The Goriness of the 5 Star System
The 5 Star System is one of the widely and wildly used rating systems. Though it may not be the best answer to all reviewing needs.
What is it good for?
Commodities: Coffee, Monitors, Mouse, Laptops, etc
Places: Restaurants, Pubs, Shops and even parks.
Content: Movies, TV Series, Video Games, etc.
So many things, also not at the same time...
That being said, all of the items mentioned above require some attributes that differentiate an item from another, be it the specs of a laptop, the origin of a coffee, ambiance of a restaurant, genre of a movie or TV series.
Remember Lacie in Nosedive(S03E01) from Black Mirror?
Is a 5-star rating system right to define a person? We all can agree that is a big no. It also made us understand there are more to things and of-course people other than a single way of rating.
Attributes, people! It matters.
Attributes are what differentiates people, objects, leads, products, business models and what not. They make a difference. They help us target, take decisions, buy stuff and much more.
What is it not good for?
Programming books, for now...
So what should we do?
Here are the things that I found during my research that developers feel is important while picking any programming book.
What makes it different from other books. (Tags(attributes): Add and upvote existing tags)
Best for their skill level (Slider: Beginner < Intermediate < Advance)
The pace of the book. (Slider: Short < Ok < Long)
Reviews by verified people (Upvoted/downvoted by the community)
What does the patron gain once the book is completed?
What else I am considering
Balance: Example Driven, Theory-Driven, Well Balanced
Learning Curve: Easy - Average - Difficult
These attributes pave the way to a better suggestion engine as compared to the usual 5 Star System. That is the future of DevRules btw.
How developers find books today?
Goodreads might be the central repository of books but it’s a pain to find a technical book there. The search doesn't provide filters or relevant sort option for a developer.
Some people resort to crowdsourced referrals and discussions on subreddit such as r/learnprogramming, r/webdev, etc. This system might work but it relies on the most voted replies. No way to ascertain who suggested the book and what their creds are.
Some people also refer books suggested by their colleagues because they know each other. So if we can verify who wrote a review and what their creds are, it would create a better review/suggestion engine for engineers.
Know more places where you get references for programming books? Please let me know.
Interested in reading about the 5 Star Rating System?
Full disclosure: I am working to change how developers pick programming books at DevRules