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Ratings: The over-reliance of subjectivity

24 Feb 2018

 

 

It seems as though whatever we do in life we are constantly rated nowadays, the never-ending cycle of services requesting that you to give them a five star rating has become a phenomena, bordering on a mania.....but is it healthy?

 

Ratings can be a useful tool when gauging performance levels, but what happens when they are used to determine how you function on a given platform. 

 

A rating on any platform is highly subjective, you are at the mercy of another human beings whims and foibles. As a taxi driver, a simple act of what would be deemed as normal behaviour can be deemed as a misdemeanour by a passenger,  and so the reverse applies, where the passenger may feel that they are acting normally, only to be rated less than five star by the driver. 

 

The whole ratings concept then breeds an inadvertant act of cowardice and resentment from both parties who potentially become too scared to communicate with each other when an issue ensues for fear of being marked down.

 

This situation can then impact on both driver and rider, with the driver potentially running the risk of being downgraded if he falls below a certain level, and the rider could end up penalised for being seen as "difficult." From a taxi drivers perspective, this situation can lead to a high level of anxiety. 

 

It is widely regarded that driving a taxi is one of the most stressful professions you can do, it needs to be recognised that how a taxi driver functions on the road may not be in keeping with what somebody from a different profession would deem as "normal." One single mistake on the road can be potentially fatal, therefore the level of consistent concentration is at its most extreme. Anything that creates even further anxiety can be highly counter-productive to the point of dangerous.

 

Rating systems, when used wisely, can be highly useful. They can most certainly identify issues and change behaviour patterns.....but should they be used as a stand-alone when identifying potential issues with driver or passenger, the short answer is no.

 

One mans food is another mans poison,  one persons 5 star rating is another persons 1 star rating. One drivers radio being of a satisfactory volume and therefore of no impact to a passenger on a rating system is another persons excessive volume and then an excuse to downgrade the drivers rating. 

 

A taxi drivers rating can affect that drivers income through being downgraded, this in turn impacts on the drivers family, which in turn breeds enormous resentment, stress and anxiety.

 

For some drivers, app work makes up over 50% of their income, street work is starting to diminish in favour of a potential customer using a mobile phone. 

 

There now needs to be serious consideration as to how ratings systems are used in relation to both driver and customer, with other behavioural factors being taken into consideration. An artificial, subjective system is no real basis to determine as to whether a driver should be downgraded or a customer suspended. 

 

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