Sparano Scale

Overview. The scale is a way to quan­tify and talk about feel­ings. Ratings aren’t about the thing being rated, exactly — they’re a way of under­stand­ing the person doing the rating. And since all ratings are rel­e­vant, the scale chal­lenges the idea that anyone has good or bad taste.

Great™ + +
Good™ + • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Not Great™ • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Not Good™ – – • • • • •

There are four ratings to choose from. Gen­er­ally, in any cat­e­gory of things, most will be Good™ or Not Great™ (in about equal amounts), some Not Good™, and very few will be Great™.

It’s per­sonal. Ratings are whole­heart­edly sub­jec­tive. The qual­i­ties that dis­tin­guish ratings from each other are dif­fer­ent for every­one.

It’s mean­ing­ful. There’s no middle choice, so all ratings hold weight. A fixed set of options means that Good™ is also, inten­tion­ally, not Great™, not Not Great™, and not Not Good™.

Choos­ing a rating. It’s easy to iden­tify Great™ and Not Good™ (the extremes). It can be helpful to decide between Good™ and Not Great™ (the middle choices) by think­ing in terms of positive/​negative. Ratings may change over time, and that’s OK.

Usage. Since the scale is in plain lan­guage, most people already know it. Ratings with/​without adverbs (‘really’, ‘kinda’, etc.) are equiv­a­lent. In writing, ‘good’/‘great’ (without cap­i­tal­iza­tion or the trade­mark symbol) are not ratings.

“Jalapeños?” “Yow. Not Good™.”
“How’d the Huskers do?” “Not Great™.”
“Have you seen Get Out?” “Oh yeah, it was really Good™!”
“How do I look?” “Great™!”

Adap­tion. The four ratings can be mapped onto other scales.

5-point scale (skip the 3) . .. .
10-point scale (use 1, 4, 7, 10) . • • . • • . • • .

Great™s are special. They isolate the things in the world that hold the most meaning. Great™s are rare and can be col­lected in a single list. Every person’s list is a unique com­bi­na­tion of their taste and expe­ri­ence. Col­lected together, Great™s reveal pat­terns that help us under­stand our­selves. And by com­par­ing lists, we can learn more about each other.

Updated May 25, 2017. Link to this page with spara​noscale​.com.