Comments 5

Rating the Rating w/ Strangers

(featured image source unknown)

A change has occurred between users and organisations: the rating system.  Essentially, technology is bridging a communication gap between the two misunderstood strangers with a rating (score).

Whether it’s a like, a star, or a score, ratings are making strangers accountable for their actions, and therefore allowing economic exchanges to be conducted with less stress (apparently). I rate you – you rate me, everyone’s happy. This is the advent of the “sharing economy”. Whether you like it or not, strangers could be rating you out-of-10 on Peeple to help others decide whether to accept your friend request.

In the case of Uber, a Driver’s credibility is reliant on the trust formed between the Rider and the Driver. For the Rider, the rating is an assurance that their experience will be ideal.  But for the Driver, the rating could be the decider of their employment. An Uber driver score can not fall below 4.7 or their employment is terminated. Feedback is often anonymous, and even if it’s not, the user rating the review is never assessed on their own credibility. When industries become more reliant on user feedback to assess their own employees and decisions, there is a genuine fear that the balance of who’s right and wrong is not equal.


Uber’s review system isn’t perfect. But the “sharing economy” is changing how industries deal with the relationship between Uber driver and passenger, between Employee and the employer, and between two strangers. I’ll be exploring this relationship through a 4-part podcast, examining topics like how we form and interpret ratings (or data), and how the design of a rating system affects a review.

Leave a comment below about what should you be able to review that you can’t? How might that affect the service/product?




  1. I love how avant garde your idea is, never would have thought to do this. I recently had an experience of being forced to decide on a liking system for a website some friends and I are creating called Chattr. It was really difficult because we wanted something different than a like and we made sure there was no option for a dislike because we didn’t want our site to get any negative perceptions. It’s strange to think these are things we really need to consider these days.

    The implementation of rating systems has seriously created this competitive like culture and on sites like Instagram and FB it is defiantly evolving into a narcissistic culture, where people equate self value to likes.

    I actually did an assignment on this for another topic, its all about like culture leading to online promiscuity. You’re welcome to check it out has a literature review that may be useful.


    • I’m drawn to the decision Chattr made to not include negative options because you didn’t want to include a negative perception of the brand (/content). In that case it’s less of a feedback system and more a support system. I see it above the comment I’m writing now: I can ‘like’ your comment or Trash it. These measures of evaluations are designed to keep a positive perception. It’s implicit, but the design of a rating system for its intended output is so crucial for the information either you (the system) receive or another user to interpret. Thank you for the connection. I’ll check it out.

  2. Relative to the application of Peeple is the issue of individual reputation and right to privacy. Additionally how will defamation laws, the false communication of an individual, impact upon the growth of Peeple and similar applications of individual rating. The reputation and ethical factor Peeple influences is considerable, given the breakdown of an individual’s personal and professional life subsequently illustrating the ethical dilemma of one’s personal life becoming the scrutiny of public opinion (Reagle, J. 2015).


    Reagle, J. (2015) The problem with rating people on the new app Peeble, The Conversation, viewed 14-03-15

    • A quantified reputation no longer has a context or a narrative, it becomes a datapoint that is freely interpreted. The thought of a person’s choices, career, or life, being summarised into a number is both pointless and scary. And yet, we’ve experienced this process throughout our education. Our quality and effort in class is concluded with a Pass or a Fail. People can judge one another already online across different mediums. The one difference here is that the framework of Peeple somehow qualifies the review as “legitimate” or “credible”. As you state, false information and defamation are ethical questions to consider when developing platforms like this. But the media blow-up over such an app is ignorant to how humans have behaved online and offline already.

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