Sparano Scale

Overview. The scale is a way to quantify and discuss feelings, with four ratings to choose from. Generally, in a category of things, most are Good™ or Not Great™, some are Not Good™, and very few are Great™.

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

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 one place, and every person’s list is a unique combination of their taste and experience.

“doing it all is structurally impossible. The only viable solution is to make a shift: from a life spent trying not to neglect anything, to one spent proactively and consciously choosing what to neglect, in favour of what matters most.” Oliver Burkeman

It’s subjective. Wholeheartedly. Ratings don't have to be justified — they represent feelings, and so, are always valid. The scale is not intended to build a universal measurement of quality. And because all ratings are valid, it challenges the idea that anyone has ‘bad’ or ‘good’ taste.

It’s reflective. Ratings aren’t about the thing being rated, exactly. They’re a way to understand the person doing the rating. Examining ratings can reveal patterns that help us understand ourselves and each other.

It’s intentional. There’s no middle choice, so all ratings are meaningful. Rating something Good™ means that thing is also not Great™, not Not Great™, and not Not Good™. The ratings you didn’t choose are as meaningful as the one you did.

Usage. The scale can be used conversationally since ratings are in plain language. Ratings with adverbs (really, kinda, etc.) are equivalent to ratings without. In writing, good/great (without capitalization or the ™) aren’t considered ratings. On a Mac, press  (Option) + 2 to type a ™.

“How’d your test go?” “Yow. Not Good™.”
“How’d the Huskers play?” “Not Great™.”
“Have you seen Palm Springs?” “Yeah! It was really Good™!”
“How do I look?” “Great™!”

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. The qualities that distinguish ratings from each other will be different for everyone. Ratings may change over time, and that’s OK.

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

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

See also: Great™s. Link here with Updated February 6, 2021 at 2:40pm PST.