Serial Raters

By: Joshua Glenn
September 28, 2010

HiLobrow contributor Alexis Madrigal (who is senior editor and lead technology writer for The Atlantic) was interviewed by David Greene of NPR’s All Things Considered last week. The topic: “What drives ‘serial raters’ — people who compulsively rate things like movies [on Netflix] and music [on. e.g., LastFM].”

I was one of the serial raters whom Alexis had interviewed for his Atlantic item on the topic. As usual, middlebrow NPR tried to find a wacky angle. But Alexis wasn’t having it:

GREENE: Can I just ask you about these characters you’ve interviewed? I mean, what are they doing? Are they sitting on a computer all day watching movies — getting on, rating a thousand movies, and then going on to the next movie?

Mr. MADRIGAL: No, I think, you know, what’s interesting is they’re surprising in their normalcy. Take Josh Glenn, who I interviewed. He runs the website HiLobrow.

GREENE: He’s a serial rater.

Mr. MADRIGAL: Yeah, he’s a serial rater. He rated 2,200 movies in one morning. I mean, that’s a little bit weird. On the other hand, like, you know, people do all sorts of weird stuff with their Sunday mornings. It didn’t take that much time, you know. And I think sometimes when we hear about online activities, we sort of move it into this different realm where it’s automatically kind of weird. You know, my next-door neighbor has this, like, ’57 Thunderbird, and he has spent no less than 30 hours in the past three days working on this car. And I mean, what’s that? That’s probably a couple thousand ratings right there.

By the way, here’s the sort of thing that I use Netflix for. Also this.



What do you think?

Comments are closed.