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Opening Remarks

The Ratings Game

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Beachcomber Editor Chris Manson (right) catches up with Hotel Oscar frontman Mose Wilson during a rare Wilson solo gig on Okaloosa Island. The Beachcomber Music Award winning singer-songwriter assures us his band’s upcoming album is gonna blow our minds. What’s left of ‘em.

One of the drawbacks of instant reviews of places, things, etc. on Google, Facebook, Trip Advisor, etc. is that the haters are usually the first—and sometimes only—people to post their opinions. Which are usually limited to one star (or whatever symbol a particular platform uses) and brief comments that never really explain his or her dissatisfaction.


A typical one-star review on Amazon tends to read like this:


Didn’t like it. Why do I have to write more?


I understand the five-star (or whatever symbol) system, and it’s been around at least as long as The Rolling Stone Record Guide Second Edition, one of the most influential books of my formative years. When Dave Marsh, John Swenson and the gang assigned the dreaded single star to an album, they offered some kind of reasonable justification for their review.


I interpret the five-star system as follows:


Five Stars. The most amazing thing ever, or a book or album or whatever by one of my buddies.


Four Stars. Above average but not mind-blowing or something by one of my buddies.


Three Stars. Good. Nothing special. Okay, really good but not excellent. Dammit, where’s the three-and-a-half star option?


Two Stars. Not good. This is the rating you should assign to something you don’t like, never one star. You should also offer some constructive comments. And before you post a bad review of a local restaurant or other business, address your concerns with the manager. If they comp you and you still post a bad review, you’re a butthole.


One Star. This should only be used if your life or the lives of your children were somehow threatened. And never for any bullshit reason like your server flirted with your date or threw food at you. That’s two stars.


I hope this helps. And if you ever review The Beachcomber, remember that I’m your buddy.





We’re always on the lookout for stunning artwork for our cover, any “15 Great Something-or-Other” listicles to tie in with The Beachcomber’s 15th Anniversary, photos from recent events, and reviews of live music performances (local or otherwise). Email


Our next issue—out Aug. 11-24—is the official Beachcomber 15th Anniversary issue, and we are soliciting memories from anyone that has ever been featured in our publication. Hit us up, whether or not you thought it was a life-changing experience.

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