What Grade Did You Get?
What Grade Did You Get?
  • Yoon Han Eunjung
  • 승인 2012.05.05 11:26
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“What is a high-rated movie these days?” When you go out to watch a movie, this may be the first word with your friend.  Nowadays, the rating of something has emerged as a significant standard for comparing.  Many people think it is a specific and numeral degree to tell which one is better.  With the active respond of public, the range of grading something has broadened out to include movies, music, book as well as pieces of art.  It is not too much to say that people could not choose something without well organized ranking table.  Do you think it is okay to grade something?  Furthermore, have you been always satisfied with your choices based on the rating system?  Let’s think about these ‘clever’ or ‘impudent’ sequences of numbers.


Why Did the Scoring Start?
Every portal site like Naver, Daum or Yahoo has special section which deals with grading something like movies, music, books or sports games.  People talk about the contents, share stories of their experiences, and then give them scores.  Sometimes, the number of stars is used as a score.  So, when you click on the website, you can see a conspicuous notice board putting up the weekly hottest movie or something.  This reaction is so familiar to us, and we think it is a very nice spot to dig up which one is the best in a deluge of information.  Now here, don’t you wonder when this scoring culture started?The origin of this phenomenon started with the United Kingdom’s premier League of soccer. When a game finished, every player got grades according to their activity in the game.  This practice was so delicious news for media, and finally spread out all over the world.  In Korea, at that time, news from Europe, especially about sports, was a popular and beloved topic for entire nation.  Some media in Korea became aware of these people’s interests in the grading culture, and started out applying it in various fields.  Their discerning eye exactly fit the public fancy.  People sent enthusiastic support to the scoring section, and every press and media started to gather the estimation and specific grade on popular culture items like movies, television programs, books, and
music.  For the past ten years, the ranking system has developed steadily with growing of internet.  Finally it became a very common practice in Korean society.

It Helps to Be Economical
The main reason why people got excited aboutthe culture of scoring might be the economical character of it.  When people stand up for choosing something, they want to make it the best.  That means people never want to incur a loss, and this has something in common with economics theory.  In this situation, something showing the rank of nominees can be the best helper.  From this point of view, grading on something does not mean just marks or numbers at all, but represents a value of itself. They could have the honor of being chosen,only when they have a great rank.  “When I look on rank of a movie now playing, I do tend to click on high ranked movies and even do not look at the others, whether it they are really good ones or not.  Also, I have been satisfied with my choice according to this ranking system,” said Lee Jia, Department of Statistics ’11 in Sookmyung Women’s University.  From her saying, we can notice that how much people trust the ranking system and the level of customer satisfaction.

Is It Really Your Grade?
Have you ever thought about the source of the grades?  There could be concerns about veracity of them, because nobody questions about who controls the rating system entirely. So, where do these grades come from?  Each portal site manages the scoring system by gathering comments and appreciative criticism from the general public or professional critics. Once some grades are collected, the average of them becomes the main grade, and instantly renewed in real-time.  No matter whether from professional critic or the general public, theratio has the same weight1.  From now, what concerns us is who gives the score.  Indeed, in 2010, the producing corporation of the movie ‘SKYLINE’ fabricated the score showing on the screen.  For three weeks, Skyline recorded the first high rank, and at the same time, the Korean movie Villain Upstairs plummeted suddenly.  People started to raise a question about this weird phenomenon, and the producing company of Skyline admitted that they fabricated the grade from a portal site2.  Also, the field of on-line games is no different from the film industry.  The game BATTLEFIELD3 which is quite famous in Korea committed falsification.  The producer of it threatened each media company that if they give a low grade, he would never send samples of the games3.  In addition to these two cases, fabrication of music albums, performances and degree offamous institutes are going on now.  This phenomenon shows how easy the scoring system is affected by invisible hand and finally deceives the public.  The companies in the above examples, which bring out new products steadily, should get public fancy to maintain their business, so there are some commit fabrication on grade at last.  Also, some major companies among them have so enough power to handle the scores. In addition to these two cases, fabrication of music albums, performances and degree of famous institutes are going on now.  This phenomenon shows how easy the scoring system deceives the public.  The companies which bring out new products steadily should get public fancy to maintain their business.  Also, some major companies among them have enough power to handle the scores.







They Choose You, Not by You
From now on, what we should think about is who the real owner of your selection is.  Do you think you choose them?  No, you don’t.  You are so obsessed with ‘scores’ that you end up losing strength to be independent.  It catches your mind, and hinders you from taking your own taste.  Although, you decide to choose something in your mind and you are a very self-assertive person, you cannot help agonizing on it if its poor grades are here and there.  Above mentioned, scoring system could reduce the probability of failure for consumer, but this does not mean enhancing prospects of success.  Consumer intends to reduce risk of failure by scoring table, but that is exactly a behavior making a restriction of selection. Moreover, the range of applying the scoring practice has become so wide.  Wherever you are, the sequence of numbers on something keeps appealing to you.  Scoring on somethingmeans that we could appraise and evaluate them.  However, what are we scoring on? Most of them are products which are directly related with culture, art or human itself.  Let’s imagine you are standing in front of the Mona Lisa in the Louvre.  In your hand, there is a piece of paper which is asking you to write the grade of her.  What grade will you give?  In other words, can you dare to give a score to da Vinci?  From the first, it doesn’t make sense to judge a piece of art, and they are not something to be ‘evaluated’ by just a sequence of number. Even thought society has been changed and keeps developing, there exists something not to be numeral.  Though, scoring is pulling this boundary down and finally invading the origin value of them.  Starting with premier League of soccer, culture of scoring has covered all part of Korean society.  With this weird phenomenon, we should take it into consideration earnestly. Remember that at the first time, scoring on Mona Lisa started just enjoyment itself nothing more and nothing less. Now, we should question ourselves whether we evaluate and give numbers to our friends, emotion, or behavior.  If so, ask yourself.  What grade did you get?

1 Procedure of ranking system on portal site, NAVER
2 Kim Yonghoo, “Kim Hyesoo, suffered from fabrication”, The Daily Soprts World, 2010.11.26
3 Kim Donghyun, “BATTLEFILED3 handled the grade on purpose, but they said ‘it was mistake!’”, ZDnet Korea, 2011.10.20

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