Star Ratings: What They Mean

For the Fandom Classics reviews, I rate each story between one and five stars.  Please note that these ratings are on a curve.  These are all popular, well-known stories, after all, so I expect them to be high-quality.  These reviews would be pretty boring if every one of them ended in "Surprise!  It's a pretty good story!"  With that in mind, my rating criteria is as follows:

  • : This story stands on its own as a work of literature, never mind as a pony fanfic.  If copyright laws weren't a thing, it could be commercially published.  I'd buy a copy, anyway.

  • : This story was well-written, interesting, and engaging.  It is an undeniably impressive bit of writing.

  • : There are some minor problems with this story, but it is still unquestionably a high-quality work.  Although it's not the first example I'd turn to, I'd feel comfortable using it as an example of top-tier fanfiction.

  • : Although this story still falls among the 10% of ponyfics which reside outside of Sturgeon's Law, there are significant and noticeable issues with the story or writing.  A good read, but not something I'd consider truly exceptional.

  • : There are significant, systemic problems with this story.  I would not assign it a place of prominence in any discussion of "great fanfics."

Based on this rating system, I expect to award a lot of middling and low ratings.  Again, please bear in mind what these star ratings denote.  A three-star from me is still a very good fic, and a one-star encompasses everything from "typical fanfiction" on down.