Rating human beings

I am an Interaction Design masters student at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design and, as part of my thesis project, I am conducting research on gamified customer reviews.

More specifically, I am looking at services relying on human-interactions and how the gamified approach (stars ratings, scores, badges, etc.) for reviews and recommendations might not be the most humane approach. My questions are the following:

Using technology / via digital platforms (and without gamification)…
How might we give feedback/recommend on another human being, in a humane way?
How might we provide a non-biased review of another human being?

Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

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Is it possible to consider ratings to focus on the quality of content an individual brings to the table?

Many ratings systems start with 5 stars and anything below that is worse than ideal… but in forums there are rating systems that help to establish the authority of an individual, give transparency to their activity and exposure to their contributions to an online community such as this one.

It would seem to me that if you place “rules” that equally apply to all individuals in the system and that focus on benefiting individuals who add positively to the environment… that’s a great start.

One thing I’ve seen in Google Maps is that in some regions of the world, folks who disagree with the politics of a country will proactively submit negative reviews of random establishments in their “enemy” country. Similarly this idea could create issues where, even if one cannot “ding” someone with a bad rating… folks may be rated more highly based on factors other than pure activity based merit. That is one risk of putting the “Reviewing” in the hands of people vs a machine.

At the same time, any machine you put in place is going to reflect the biases of the individual who set the rules. I would consider how you might be able to make the rules transparent and yet somehow build the system in a way that does not invite manipulation.

A final thought would be to consider the implications of any rating whatsoever. People can change on a dime. If someone earns a high rating, what stops them from abusing it? If someone doesn’t have a high rating, what does that do to them in setting first impressions with others?