Hello users, and welcome to a blogpost detailing a tool to help you rig the sputnik ratings in your favor. Probably a third of users’ comments are related to how much they dislike the average rating of albums (verified fact, obviously). Some albums’ average rating is too high, too low, there are not enough 5’s, 1’s, or the count of ratings is low. Your favorite album may have missed the year end chart; meanwhile, that album that you (and, really, only you) hated was near the top.
Numbers are often used to set incentives in our modern/global/capitalistic society. We gain admission or don’t to the colleges we want to go to based on our test scores and grades, we get fired or retain our jobs based on benchmarks set by our bosses, and we make $10’s of millions or more by breaking the home run record (and a few seasons later follow that up with 120+ intentional walks). But numbers used for evaluation are, generally speaking, adjacent to what they intend to measure. It’s not exactly the case that getting a good grade is the same as usefully retaining course material or that closing a lot of sales indicates one is worthy of employment. (But yes, if you hit 73 homers, you are good at baseball).
“When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.” (Goodhart’s Law). Sometimes, when it suits us, we humans tend to manipulate a measure for our own gain – we cheat. We have, in the past, manipulated interest rates, state-mandated test scores, and our heads (allegedly). The cheating that often makes the news is generally of the variety that involves lots of money, but the desire to have something one could not otherwise fairly acquire lives inside the sputnik user who signals to others in album threads, lists, etc. that an album is improperly rated.
Since you can’t get jail time for making a bunch of accounts and rigging the sputnik average ratings (I think), it’s not such a costly desire. It does, however, have to be done smartly. So here I present you code to discover what it would take to change the rating of an album, either by making a bunch of accounts to inflate/deflate the ratings or by hacking the highest/lowest ratings to change the average rating to your liking.
First, you’ll need to go into R, and run the following code get all the necessary packages to run the script.
By copying the code (here again) into a text editor, changing the “album <- …” line to the link of the desired album of your choosing (surrounded by quotes), and pasting the resulting code into the R console, you will be presented with a few pieces of information. First, you will see what the current average rating for that album is, rounded as well as to 4 decimal points, and including how many ratings the album has; how many 5’s it would take to raise it up .1 points; how many 1’s it would take to drop it .1 points; how many accounts you would need to hack to raise it .1 points; and how many you would need to hack to drop it .1 points. (The default is .1 points but if you change the second input to the “sput_rig” function “dat <- sput_rig(album, points = 1)” you can change that threshold to any other integer increase, i.e. points = 2 would see what it would take to change it .2 points).
If the rating of an album matters to you enough, you will now know the scope of the job that needs to be done. If not, back into the batting cage (allegedly).
P.S. Please don’t rig the ratings!