The mystery of the 1-star rating

Currently my rating for Flight from Hell over on the Big World Network is of 4.6/5 (with 9 votes cast). You can see it here. But not so long ago it was 4/5 (with 4 votes cast). Reverse it and try to figure out what the possible votes could be: 4*4 = 16, therefore the 4 votes amounted to 16.

Possibilities: 4 ratings of 4; 2 ratings of 5, 2 of 3; 3 ratings of 5, 1 of 1.

I’d already checked the rating before and it had been 5/5 with 2 votes, therefore only the latter two possibilities existed. But this is the internet where ratings of 3 are rare, so I was willing to bet that the last option was the correct option.

Three people had probably voted 5, one had voted 1.

Now, I’ve yet to see a bestseller with a perfect 5 and no book I love has ever lacked haters. I doubt that I will manage to enchant everybody like a mythical storyteller, so it was only a matter of time until that perfect 5 was marred by different opinions.

Still, a 1-star rating. Since the Big World Network more often has ratings than comments, there was nothing there to motivate the choice and I found that I really wanted to know why I got that one. Did the rater hate the premise? The choice of words? The pretentiousness, perhaps, the long sentences, the idea about Hell, the… well… What did the rater hate?

After all, knowing what they hate is a gateway into figuring out what they like, what they appreciate, what you do right and what you do wrong. It’s not just that they hate, it’s why they hate, and isn’t that fascinating and psychological and maybe you can use it sometime?

But I was most certainly never going to find out. So I figured I’d have to wait until the first bad review to be relieved of curiosity.

Luckily for me, my mother eventually said, “Ermmm, I was debating on whether I should tell you this.”

Me: “Yes?”

Mum: “I shared your novel on Facebook.”

Me: “Yeah…”

Mum: “And a friend clicked and she gave you a one-star rating.”

Me: “!!!!!!!!!”

Mum: “I’m sorry…”

Me: “Why? Why did she? She must’ve said.”

Mum: “Well, it’s stupid, really.”

Me: *dying to know the answer*

Mum: “She was looking for the ‘like’ button, to share it with others on Facebook, but she only saw the stars and clicked on the first one and only realized her mistake later.”

Me: “…”

Mum: “Don’t be mad.”

Me: *bursts out laughing* “You have no idea how long I poked that rating, trying to figure out what had happened there. This is too damned funny.”

So, note to everybody out there who gets really weird ratings: sometimes, it’s really not about you 😀

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