Sparano Scale

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

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

“Taste classifies, and it classifies the classifier.” — Pierre Bourdieu

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 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.

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 Toy Story 4?” “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 specific qualities that distinguish ratings from each other will be different for everyone. Ratings may change over time, and that’s OK.

It’s intentional. 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™.

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

Updated June 22, 2019. Link here with See also: Great™s.