2329: Universal Rating Scale

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Universal Rating Scale
There are plenty of finer gradations. I got 'critically endangered/extinct in the wild' on my exam, although the curve bumped it all the way up to 'venti.'
Title text: There are plenty of finer gradations. I got 'critically endangered/extinct in the wild' on my exam, although the curve bumped it all the way up to 'venti.'


In this comic, Randall has blended many traditional rating scales to create a "universal rating scale". Unfortunately, the mixing of these scales creates a scale that is impossible to use. Only a subset of the values of each rating scale is included, further weakening its claim as a "universal" scale. The result is much like the attempt to create a "universal standard" in 927: Standards.

Alternatively, it can be perceived as a way of comparing the different scales, for instance to answer a question like "Is it worse to get a 2 or an F?"

Scale of zero to ten (but with an 11, because people often add that to exaggerate - see up to eleven about the meme. Also, this.)
0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11. The number 9 is omitted, possibly because seven ate nine (789) or because nine is the neglected number.
Competitive scores, such as for artistic gymnastics' Code of Points, (ordinarily from 0.0 to a perfect 10.0)
Likert scale
strongly disagree, disagree, agree, strongly agree (often there is a "neither agree nor disagree" value in the middle, but it is not strictly required)
School grades (there are also B, C, D, and others with + or -)
F, A+
S - Schools in Japan may use the S grading, which is said to stand for "superior", implying “even better than A.” The expression S is also used in daily life, generally perceived as an S in special or super, here unrelated to the academic grading system. For example, the most expensive seat in a theater (e.g. a balcony seat) may be called S-seki (lit. “S seat”) in Japanese, while the second most expensive seat may be called A-seki. Many video games also use S grading, and some (such as Beat Saber and Dance Dance Revolution) use SS, SSS, and even more S's as ranks above that (though these are not shown in the webcomic). A possibly related expression is “Super S” as in Sailor Moon SuperS.
Star rating
1 star, 2 stars, 3 stars, 4 stars, frequently used to rate restaurants, films etc. 5 star is omitted, probably due to Randall's opinion that items with 5 stars tend to only have had one rater and aren't trustworthy.
Conservation status (this is only a subset of the nine groups in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species)
extinct, critical (probably critically endangered), endangered, least concern
According to the title text, "extinct in the wild" is a half-step below "critical", presumably above "G".
Starbucks brand beverage sizes (there is also short and trenta)
tall, grande, venti
MPAA age-appropriate film ratings took effect November 1, 1968 with G, M (now PG), R (not shown in comic) and X (now NC-17)
G, PG (as of February 11, 1972, replaced GP), PG-13 (introduced July 1, 1984), NC-17 (introduced September 1990, replaced X)
ESRB age-appropriate ratings for video games (there is also EC for early childhood, E for everyone, E10+ for Everyone 10+, M for Mature, and AO for Adults Only)
T for teen
Happiness emojis (alternately, the Wong–Baker Faces Pain Rating Scale)
Frowny face (☹, U+2639), neutral face (😐, U+1F610), smiley face (☺, U+263A). It is not totally clear which emoji each symbol is meant to refer to. The unhappy face could be Worried Face 😟, Anguished Face 😧, Frowning Face ☹️ (note the lack of eyebrows), Slightly Frowning Face 🙁 etc.
Coin grades
G, VG, UNC meaning good, very good, and uncirculated respectively
Hurricane/cyclone strengths, Saffir–Simpson scale (ordinarily categorized from category 1 to category 5)
Category 5
Tornado intensities, enhanced Fujita scale (ordinarily categorized from EF0 to EF5)
Credit (and other) ratings
Credit rating agencies will rank businesses and governments based on their likely ability to pay back their creditors' interest ratings. The very highest are rated AAA, and then (in Standard & Poor's scheme) AA+, AA, AA-, A+, and so on. (Note that Randall's scale rates A+ as better than AA, indicating that it's the "A+" from school grades rather than the one from Standard & Poor's list.)
This could also be a reference to battery sizes. This would imply that AAA is better than AA, which is not necessarily true, but funny to think about.
Alternatively, this could be a reference to sports tier divisions; where AA and AAA basketball for example promote age and skill appropriate competition.

The title text suggests that the scale as shown here is incomplete, by referencing further gradings that are not shown in the table. Critically endangered and Extinct in the wild are real conservation status categories recognized by the IUCN, although it's not clear what "Critically endangered/extinct in the wild" would mean - perhaps the "possibly extinct in the wild" designation, abbreviated CR(PEW). It would presumably fit on the table somewhere between "Extinct" and "Critical", although its ordering relative to "tall", "2" and "G" is unclear.

The title text suggests that a score at this level had been graded on a curve, which bumped its rating up to "Venti", which is on the table, two steps below "Least concern". This would be an extraordinary example of such a curve, pushing the score from approximately 2/10 to almost 8/10. This could only happen if the exam was extremely difficult, meaning most results were significantly below 2/10.


[Caption above the frame:]
Universal Rating Scale
[A vertical scale, with 45 gradations, labelled. These are the grades:]
Strongly Disagree
[star] ☆
[frowny face] ☹
[two stars] ☆☆
[neutral face] 😐
T for Teen
[three stars] ☆☆☆
Least Concern
[smiley face] ☺
Strongly Agree
Category 5
[four stars] ☆☆☆☆

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There are several things that UNC might stand for, but to me none of them suggests a rating scale. Open to suggestions, of course. JohnB (talk) 00:10, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

I think the most likely candidate from w:UNC is the numismatic code for an uncirculated coin. —Scs (talk) 00:49, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
Unified National Coarse is the name of a scale (not a rating on it) for thread sizes (for screws, nuts, bolts, etc.) 02:12, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
What popped into my head when I saw UNC was the University of North Carolina. But that wouldn't be right, without other schools on the list. These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 04:07, 12 July 2020 (UTC)

I don’t think A/AA/AAA are battery sizes, but rather credit rating. That is also consistent with their positions in the upper half of the scale.-- 00:37, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

A+ reminded me of European Union energy label ratings - but it is also in the credit rating list -- Bmwiedemann (talk) 01:31, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

Does anyone know what "S" is a rating for? 01:35, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

Satisfactory, top marks on USA elementary school report cards (or at least it was in the 1980s) 02:40, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

I think the faces are supposed to correspond to a face-based pain scale, which is supported by the fact that they occur at similar places to the pain scale and that the frowny face looks more like the frowny face from one of these charts than any traditional sad face emoji. 02:45, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

This listed F

as standing for Fine under the coin grading scale. However, the coin grading scale runs from 0-70, and ordered Poor (P, or About Good, AG, depending on personal preference), Good (G), Very Good (VG), Fine (F), Very Fine (VF), Etremely Fine (XF),  About Uncirculated (AU), and Uncirculated (UNC or MS, for Mint State, depending on personal preference). Because Fine is better than Good and Very Good on the coin grading scale, but F is worse than G and VG on Randall's Universal Rating Scale, F probably refers to the letter grade for schoolwork, rather than the coin grade of Fine, so I removed F from the coin grade section. The G might also stand for a movie rating, but whether it is a movie rating or a coin grade, it's position would remain the same, so it's a moot point which it is. NErDysprosium (talk) 05:48, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

I know some video games and fantasy stories contain things that have a letter rating, typically starting a few letters into the alphabet and increasing as it gets closer to A, often with an S above that, but sometimes another rating above S labeled "EX" for "extra". These scales sometimes have additional ratings with a + or - attached, or increasing by repeating the letter 2 or 3 times in a row before going up to the next letter. Thus the same system might have both "AAA" and "S", but normally unlike this chart the S would be higher. In some cases it might end up topping out with something like "SSS+". This sort of thing is particularly common in stories originating in Japan which involve some sort of other world that contain some sort of features similar to a video game with some sort of "Adventurer's Guild" which would often have such a system. In particular there are quite a lot of Japanese novels that are like this, many of which containing strange or unique twists on otherwise common formulaic settings. Some of these both have official English translations or were later adapted into manga or anime, or oddly enough in quite a few cases were a self published thing posted online as a hobbyist before later being picked up by a publisher and being somewhat changed and re-written as a proper book. Many also have people making and posting online fan translations of them.-- 06:40, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

9 was possibly omitted, because 7 8 9 (seven ate nine) -- 08:11, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

I'd say you are making up your own jokes - however - :-) Robert Carnegie [email protected] 14:06, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
neglected again https://xkcd.com/1103/ Norgaladir (talk) 16:15, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
I would point to Thing Explainer instead. The number after eight is not one of the ten hundred words people use the most. -- 22:32, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

Some comics seems like Randall makes them purely for this website, or in general to make people guess what each of the things mean. Fabian42 (talk) 09:27, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

When I saw "Category 5" I thought he meant Category_5_cable... 15:46, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

The explanation had A+ listed as a credit rating, but it's in the wrong spot to be the A+ credit rating, and likely refers to the A+ grade instead. Should I remove it from the credit rating section? Credit scores aren't exactly my area of expertise, unlike coins. NErDysprosium (talk) 16:23, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

Can someone please explain what the "curve" in the title text is? 17:17, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

That's how in some school courses they "grade on a curve" where if no one can get a perfect score on a test, they change the score so the highest existing score is changed to 100, and all the other people who took the test also have the same amount added to their score (or at least that's the way I'm most familiar with, it might be possible to do so with a somewhat different method). Thus they can have an unreasonably difficult test without causing abnormally low scores that will cause tons of students to get failing grades.-- 17:25, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
The "curve" technically refers to a bell curve; that is adjusting the letter grades by organizing the students into bins based on that distribution (the ~68% of students nearest the average grade get a C, then the 14% just above that get a B and the top 2% get an A, and the same pattern going down for D and F). However most instructors who say they "grade on a curve" don't do that since grades rarely fit that curve, and this often unfairly punishes students who performed well but weren't the top score. EG if the scores are all between 90% and 100% correct then the student(s) who got 90% correct will receive an F. Most of my experience with "grading on a curve" has been that the instructor sets the highest score achieved to represent 100%, but I have also had professors who adjust the grading bands so most students get a B or better. The latter method avoids forcing a failing mark on students who just happened to get the lowest score, but unlike adjusting the 100% level down it provides no benefit to someone who did significantly worse than their peers. 13:12, 8 July 2020 (UTC)

I rate this comic perfect 5/7. 19:08, 7 July 2020 (UTC)

I thought that the F was a reference to "pay respects", indicating embarrassing failure

I thought that 9 was omitted because Windows skipped version 9 when doing their version releases (mostly due to the fact that there was Windows 95 and Windows 98 which began with 9).

I thought the reason was that Windows 8 was widely disliked, so they wanted to distance the new version from it.-- 19:05, 11 July 2020 (UTC)

Am I the only one who would like to see "Safe", "Neutralized", "Esoteric", "Thaumiel", "Euclid", and "Keter", added to this scale?

It seems cut off at the end.. Missing "Douce Point!".

I thought "tall" being just below 2 suggested that people who are close to 2m in height are considered tall people.

You know, the F grade oughta fit in between 5 and 6. At least on the American scale, any score below 60% is considered an F. A 'D' would be between 6 and 7, 'C' between 7 and 8, 'B' between 8 and 9, and an 'A' between 9 and 00:38, 21 July 2020 (UTC)

maybe add a link to comic 670 for the explanation of up to 11? 14:11, 19 August 2021 (UTC)Bumpf