It's a discussion I've seen flown around from time to time. In this particular iteration, heavy language was flowing from the outset. In lieu of a recap, I'll give the quick link rapid fire version. Harry Markov, of Temple Library Reviews, has a regular Sunday column called, Reviewer Time, where he reviews bloggers from the genre.
As an aside, yes thanks for mentioning it, I feel somewhat stupid putting my Sunday Night Spotlight on....Sunday. I was aware of Harry's interviews, just not that they were on Sunday. Yeah, yeah, can it!
Anyway, Harry interviews Paul Stotts of Blood of the Muse. In explaining why he rates books as he does, Paul drops a comment some took exception to. James, from Speculative Horizons, had a response to Paul's comment. Jeff, from Fantasy Books News & Reviews, had a response to Paul's comment. Joe Sherry, of Adventures in Reading, had a response, to Paul's comment. Larry, from OF Blog of the Fallen, had a double-barreled response to Paul's comment.
I disagree with Paul's careless comment, but I also rate. For instance, the recent ruckus surrounding a live journal post by author John C. Wright was given a category five status - the most powerful fecal maelstrom category within this genre's blogosphere. How do I get to determine this? Easy: 1.) it is quantifiable by post traffic and 2.) I am a world-reknowned literary sociometeorologist, or occasionally play one on tv. Paul's comment during the interview has reached category two status.
All joking aside, why would I rate. It's easy, simple and lazy. So, why do I bother reviewing? It's more complete, thorough and is the due diligence required because I do call myself a reviewer. So, why do I offer both? I do so because I imagine that there are readers who would prefer one or the other and I want to be accessible to both. To be sure, rating does present all kinds of problems.
Once I rate a book, I sometimes look at previous ratings and realize I want to revamp them. So, I do revamp them. Are the ratings reliable? Sure, 'til I change them. In the grand scheme of things, all of the ratings I've given have been fairly decent scores. Am I puckering up to shine the backsides of the publishing world? No, I buy all the books I read and since I'm shelling out, I make sure I'm getting some value for the book. I've not the kind of blog that is recognizable enough to be receiving advance, or review, copies yet - give it a couple years.
The entire discussion has made me realize that I will probably get away from rating the books I read and review. Until such a time comes, this is how the ubiquitously absent will roll, know what I'm sayin'. Hey, "it is what it is" and if someone wanted to flame or troll me on it, I would simply offer a cordial invitation to them to play "Hide the Suppository" with their comments. It might not work for all, but I have an extraordinarily low blood pressure and two unbroken middle fingers. :-D