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This meta question no longer refers to a question that has anything to do with quality-based viewing order recommendations.

This question is now the primary focus of quality-based viewing order recommendations based on aggregate reviews and objective proof.

To alleviate discussion of whether or not this is appropriate, post your answers here on whether or not an aggregate review or objective reasoning allows episode quality to be used as a metric for viewing recommendations

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    Aggregate reviews are merely the collected scores of other (subjective) reviews. Putting a lot of reviews together doesn't improve them or make them objective. GIGO – Valorum Oct 28 '14 at 19:22
  • @Richard 1 - A full answer to that effect would be a good idea, since I'd like to see what the consensus is on SciFi as a whole. 2 - GIGO? Not famliar with that acronym. – Zibbobz Oct 28 '14 at 19:27
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    Garbage in, garbage out; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garbage_in,_garbage_out – Valorum Oct 28 '14 at 19:28
  • FWIW, I have zero problem with you choosing that as a metric; I just think it's incorrect to assume that the numbers themselves are objective. – phantom42 Oct 28 '14 at 19:34
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Asking what the consensus is for something should be an objective exercise and sourced by reputable sites. After all, the Stack Exchange Network does this very thing with questions and answers to determine which are good and which are bad by having us, the community for these sites, vote on them to establish a consensus.

There are other sites, such as IMDb that have provided the means to establish the consensus on TNG episodes. Asking what the consensus is for those episodes is objective, since it's either good, bad, or somewhere in between. An individual may agree or disagree with the consensus, which adds subjectivity to the discussion. But ultimately, if you ask if the consensus for episode 98 is good, there's really only two answers: yes or no. And that's pretty objective.

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I can't believe I'm about to defend a question.

This question is close to being objective.

First, let's go over what's being asked for.

This is a question that can be subjective in nature, so please only focus on objectively-reviewed bad episodes based on aggregate site reviews and provide plenty of evidence and reasoning for your answers. Do not dis-recommend an episode based on personal pet peeves.

From the comments,

Aggregate review sites combine the scores of may reviews rather than writing a review of their own in order to create a more meaningful rating metric. I'm also specifically asking for answers to includ egood (sic) evidence and reasoning of their own, since aggregate reviews can sometimes be the result of a few very vocal voices.

I commented on the fact that reviews are inherently not objective. The community seems to agree with me on that, and appears to be focusing on this.

Here is where it seems that we may split off.

If this question was edited to "what episodes are ranked highly* according to aggregate sites", this would bring the question fully into objective.

Let's bring this back to this meta question.

To alleviate discussion of whether or not this is appropriate, post your answers here on whether or not an aggregate review or objective reasoning allows episode quality to be used as a metric for viewing recommendations

Let's talk about the reviews themselves.

I watch a movie and decide to write a review and give it a rating. I have my own personal preferences and criteria for how I rate things. I don't like most "romantic comedies", so I'm unlikely to score them highly or even review them positively. My wife tends to dislike horror or movies with "excessive gore", so she's not going to review them particularly positively or rate them high.

Reviews and ratings are inherently subjective.

Zibbobz argues that aggregate sites such as MetaCritic or Rotten Tomatoes are objective because they calculate a mathematical average of reviews and ratings.

Aggregate review sites combine the scores of may (sic) reviews rather than writing a review of their own in order to create a more meaningful rating metric. I'm also specifically asking for answers to includ egood (sic) evidence and reasoning of their own, since aggregate reviews can sometimes be the result of a few very vocal voices.

Once again, another of my earlier comments applies here.

Aggregate review sites aggregate ratings from non-objective reviews. The whole point of a rated review is to NOT be objective. Basing it on an average aggregated review score is mathematically less subjective, but to claim that it's objective seems awfully wrong.

The calculated average gives us an idea of the critics taken into account rated something. Being highly (or poorly) rated by critics does not mean that a work is objectively good or objectively bad.

Wait, didn't I say I was going to be defending this question?

I really do not like suggested order or minimum viewing questions - because ratings and suggestions and inherently subjective.

Why is this different? How could this be almost objective?

List questions are something that come up time and time again. The general consensus is that finitely scoped lists are allowed because reasonably definitive answers can be found. This is, actually, one of the arguments made for the original question. That original question initially asked for "low quality" episodes to be left out. That's a subjective qualification, so the "low quality" portion was edited out. The new question was opened. Again, it asks us to recommend episodes - but based on "objective reviews". (I'm not even going to bother saying it again.)

Now that we've got all that out of the way - how could this possibly be almost an objective question? Don't ask for suggestions. Ask only for episodes which have ratings higher than a certain threshold.

Now, this is NOT perfect. What ratings we're looking at must be specified - Nielson ratings? Aggregate Reviewer ratings?

But, wait! You said reviews aren't objective, and that aggregate reviewer ratings still aren't objective.

That's correct. The ratings and aggregates of them are not objective. But the numbers are not.

Consider these questions:

  • What episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation have an aggregate MetaCritic score of 80 or above?
  • What episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation are good according to reviewers?
  • What episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation are good?

The first question can be definitively answered. The second and third cannot.


Phew.

So, let's finally get back to the question at hand.

To alleviate discussion of whether or not this is appropriate, post your answers here on whether or not an aggregate review or objective reasoning allows episode quality to be used as a metric for viewing recommendations

Answers based on aggregate review scores, on the actual scores, are objective. The reviews and ratings themselves are not. I would caution anyone against using the scores or ratings to decide whether or not something is "good" or "bad", but how you choose to use the information is up to you. (Hint: don't choose poorly.)

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    Answers based on aggregate review scores, on the actual scores, are objective. This is what I've been trying to say for the past 24 hours. – Ellesedil Oct 29 '14 at 13:40
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    @ellesdil - It's objective to say what the scores are, the scores themselves aren't objective. – Valorum Oct 30 '14 at 12:54
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Reviews are ultimately based on subjective opinion. One person may like something that another dislikes. The scores that are given on review sites reflect those personal opinions.

The idea that you can take a whole bunch of subjective reviews for something (a TV show, for example) smooosh them together and suddenly make them objective is a logical fallacy. All you'll end up with is a larger volume of subjective opinion.

For my money, the more sensible option is to assess objective measures (film revenues, for example) and pretend that these are a metric of popular opinion.

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  • A statistician could argue that, given sufficient sample size, an aggregate score, such as that offered by IMDB is a very reasonable and objective metric of popular opinion. Sampling errors tend to even out in large samples. – Donald.McLean Oct 28 '14 at 20:05
  • @Donald.McLean - The question then becomes "what are you measuring?" IMDB suffers badly from short-termism with whatever the latest film is, being ranked alongside those that are considered the finest of all time. – Valorum Oct 28 '14 at 20:12
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    Stack Exchange in itself uses voting, which is subjective to individuals, to determine what constitutes a good question or a good answer. How is that any different when trying to determine what a good or bad TNG episode is? The key thing here, is that sites like IMDB and Stack Exchange help determine consensus. And that's about as objective as anything else biased humans are capable of providing. – Ellesedil Oct 28 '14 at 20:24
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    @Ellesedil - Anyone who pretends that voting on SE is anything but subjective is a damn dirty liar. – Valorum Oct 28 '14 at 20:38
  • Voting is certainly subjective. But determining what the consensus is for a topic is objective. It's either good, meh, bad, or no consensus has been reached. – Ellesedil Oct 28 '14 at 20:40
  • @Ellesedil - I disagree. Certainly users attract upvotes like fly-paper because they play the system. Others languish in obscurity because their (excellent) questions and answers are about unpopular subjects. – Valorum Oct 28 '14 at 20:47
  • So, how does "gaming the system" or "niche subjects" pertain to rating TNG episodes? Nether of those problems exist when rating each episode on IMDb. – Ellesedil Oct 28 '14 at 20:49
  • @Ellesedil - Do you think that TV writers don't deliberately game review sites when they produce episodes? youtube.com/watch?v=6zhVxubzrMs – Valorum Oct 28 '14 at 20:52
  • Are you suggesting that writers will create content in order to get more favorable reviews? I'm confused, how is that bad? Isn't that what they should be doing? If the content of an episode feels cheesy or forced, then the consensus should come to that conclusion. And then you can ask an objective question about the consensus of that episode. – Ellesedil Oct 28 '14 at 20:56
  • @Ellesedil - The question is whether writers add good stuff to bad episodes in order to garner favourable reviews. – Valorum Oct 28 '14 at 21:02
  • Who cares? Obviously, you've subjectively decided that still makes the episode bad. But if the consensus is that the episode is good, you should be able to ask that because the answer will either be "yes" or "no". Anyways, I'd love to continue this but I've got some driving to do. – Ellesedil Oct 28 '14 at 21:03

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