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Site Ratings

 
 
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Author jeanbon
Partaker
#61 | Posted: 5 Feb 2018 18:06 
kintante:
Guys in my opinion you overthink the whole rating thing. Fact is that there is the possibility to rate WHS with 0.5 till 5 stars. Basically the same thing you can do on many other platforms, like tripadvisor.

lol...yes...perhaps. But we accept the votes, we just try to explain why, maybe wrongly :)

MichaelN:
I haven't read the entire thread, so forgive me if this has been addressed, but is there a way to see the entire list and rate sites in one fell swoop, instead of opening each site's link?

Just this : https://www.worldheritagesite.org/ranking/community

Author MichaelN
Partaker
#62 | Posted: 5 Feb 2018 18:27 | Edited by: MichaelN 
jeanbon

Thanks, that's an easy place to see all the ratings, but I was hoping for something similar that would allow me to go from top to bottom of the 1,000+ WHS and apply my rating. It would be far too time consuming for me to actually open up the link for every site that I'd like to rate.

Author elsslots
Admin
#63 | Posted: 5 Feb 2018 23:58 
MichaelN:
Thanks, that's an easy place to see all the ratings, but I was hoping for something similar that would allow me to go from top to bottom of the 1,000+ WHS and apply my rating. It would be far too time consuming for me to actually open up the link for every site that I'd like to rate.

That option (the bulk rating) will be available again later this week. We had to take it down because of performance issues.

Author elsslots
Admin
#64 | Posted: 6 Feb 2018 00:41 
I got an e-mail giving a new twist to the discussion:

"What is the purpose of this rating? The main benefit of World Heritage nomination is that it attracts foreign visitors, so it may improve the local economy of designated sites. Sometimes to a level that destructs the World Heritage Site itself. "Poor" rating implies that people should not travel there, that they should not spend any money there, and local authorities should be reluctant to spend any money on preservation of "poor" World Heritage Sites. Eisleben, for example, suffers from a shortage of preservation funds even if it is officially recognized as World Heritage Site. "High" rating implies that people should travel there even if it causes environmental problems.

This rating would be acceptable if it was labelled according to a geographical level (5=world, 4=continental, 3=national, 2=regional, 1=local), emphasizing that all sites should be properly funded and preserved despite of their rating here. Even a rating of 2 may be an invitation to visit this site when you live temporarily in this specific area."

Author nfmungard
Partaker
#65 | Posted: 6 Feb 2018 00:45 
kintante:
Why people give as many stars as they give is pretty individual and hard to steer. E.g. I rather value how much I enjoyed visiting a site and not so much if it really has OUV. And it's very subjective and there might be external factors involved on how I came to my rating. So what. Same goes for the millions of people voting each day on countless platforms.

Anchoring a scale with a textual description is standard practice in survey design.

Author nfmungard
Partaker
#66 | Posted: 6 Feb 2018 00:52 
elsslots:
"What is the purpose of this rating? The main benefit of World Heritage nomination is that it attracts foreign visitors, so it may improve the local economy of designated sites. Sometimes to a level that destructs the World Heritage Site itself. "Poor" rating implies that people should not travel there, that they should not spend any money there, and local authorities should be reluctant to spend any money on preservation of "poor" World Heritage Sites. Eisleben, for example, suffers from a shortage of preservation funds even if it is officially recognized as World Heritage Site. "High" rating implies that people should travel there even if it causes environmental problems.

This rating would be acceptable if it was labelled according to a geographical level (5=world, 4=continental, 3=national, 2=regional, 1=local), emphasizing that all sites should be properly funded and preserved despite of their rating here. Even a rating of 2 may be an invitation to visit this site when you live temporarily in this specific area."

I dont see the main reason for WHS designation in boosting tourism.

While scoring the significance of a site based on its geographical level is a nice way to anchor the scale, I think a local WHS is an oxymoron in and of itself. There will always be sites that shouldn't be on the list to begin with and that should be reflected in the scoring.

Finally, Eisleben is in Germany. Germany provides ample funds to the maintenance of its sites, especially in comparison to other countries.

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#67 | Posted: 6 Feb 2018 05:01 
kintante:
even if that means that a beloved Bauhaus site gets a low rating

People will come around and realise the error of their ways soon enough :)

Though less jokingly, I think Jeanbon has hit the point, it is less about persuading people how to vote (even if I do make asides about everyone being wrong on some of them), and more just the fun of understanding why and how people experience places.

But yep it should all be taken with a pinch of salt (from Wieliczka obviously as it is now provably better than Arc-et-Senans :))

elsslots:
What is the purpose of this rating? The main benefit of World Heritage nomination is that it attracts foreign visitors, so it may improve the local economy of designated sites.

As much as I would like to think this is internationally significant, I can't imagine these rankings having much (any?) affect on people's travel choices. Though I guess maybe it is just feeding more into the insatiable machine of mass tourism, but if you wanted to take that view this whole website could be accused of the same.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#68 | Posted: 6 Feb 2018 05:37 | Edited by: Solivagant 
elsslots:
What is the purpose of this rating

Interesting question - having just spent the equivalent of 3 full days doing it! What "purpose" indeed.
I think there are 4 potential "beneficiaries" of the exercise and we will all have taken part with a different "balance" of benefit to each of them in mind
a. The individual "Rater" - who gets a record of his/her ranked visited sites (and presumably gains some personal "recompense" in terms of additional knowledge from developing it) and can publicise their views both for their own satisfaction and for the "benefit of the others"
b. Other individuals in the Community - who might be interested in seeing how others, whose reviews they might read and with whom they might have been in regular contact across many years, have rated sites - whether they agree with or "trust" them or not. Indeed the reviews might even influence their views on such matters ("up" or "down")!!
c . The "Community" as a whole - which gains an additional tool for understanding/analysing the WHS domain and a source of discussion and interest to while away the days not spent on the road!
d. The "World at large" who, via Google etc, might hit on the rating as a source of information to help them decide where/where not to visit.

I dismiss d totally - the situation envisaged by whoever wrote the e-mail to Els just will not occur, either to "good" sites or to "poor" ones! Despite its growing numbers of hits, this site will never be a source of influence much beyond its fairly low number of individual community members - at least compared with the TripAdvisors of this World!

We can each assess how much we were driven to do the rating in order to create benefits for each of groups a, b and c. I will say that I am slightly disappointed in the results of the exercise in terms of benefit to c. The lack of a standard for doing the rating based on at least a partially "objective" set of criteria (I accept fully that no such rating can be totally objective) does detract from the benefit to the "Community". Insofar as the ratings reflect more the personal experiences of individual visits rather than the non-personal value of the WHS, the overall conclusions which can be drawn about those sites for the "Community" are reduced. As discussed, we can devise ways of "looking" at the data which identify some aspects of subjectivity and try to bring out the "non personal" differences as seen by a group of travellers who "know" more about the domain than most other cohorts. We will see.

The main conclusion to be drawn so far might be that there are few WHS which are so "poor" for some of us which aren't equally regarded as a "magnificent visit" by some others! I suppose that in itself is useful learning - the next time I visit a site and think "This really isn't a very good site" I should be thinking "Someone else would be finding this a fantastic place"!!

Author Khuft
Partaker
#69 | Posted: 7 Feb 2018 16:30 | Edited by: Khuft 
What a fascinating initiative! Thanks to Els and Nan for launching it.

I for my part took a more generous approach when distributing my ratings. My reasons were because a) I genuinely appreciate many of the sites I visited; b) I am more of a "WHS enthusiast" rather than "WHS traveller" - i.e. I enjoy reading up on WHS, looking at pics, etc but will only spend time and money to visit those I find truly worthwhile (therefore explaining why my ratings will be skewed to the upper limit); c) I value some of the more eclectic ones exactly because of their obscurity and mistery and new horizons they therefore open to me, rather than just pure wow factor (though this does not always work...sorry, Struve!). Anyway, I stand by my overall generous ratings.

In terms of analysing the ratings, I think that only those with high numbers of ratings (thus "the most visited ones") can really be analysed, as smaller numbers will inevitable skew the scale one way or the other. Out of curiosity, I checked those with 10 votes or more (a completely arbitrary figure, I know) just to see what it shows.

A few take-aways:
- No site with a unanimous 5... not even Angkor, Rome or the Pyramids
- No big surprises at the top, except maybe the surprisingly low (for me) ranking of Taj Mahal
- Central Asia ranks surprisingly high (top 3 are Bukhara with average rating of 4,55; Samarkand: 4,45; Itchan Kala: 4,05)
- India ranks surprisingly low (top 3 are Taj Mahal: 4,45; Fatehpur Sikri: 3,73; Rajasthan: 3,65) - dozens of European sites are rated higher
- and even more so Japan: Kyoto: 4,21; Itsukushima: 3,75; Nikko: 3,59)
- amongst 20th century architecture, Gaudi is (not surprisingly) the most popular (rating: 4,26), followed by the Palau de la Musica Catalana (3,58), Tugenhat Villa (3,19) , Rietveldt Schröderhuis (3,11) and the beloved Bauhaus (2,97). The iconic Sydney Opera House only gathers a rating of 2,75 (just above Graz - so if your wallet is too tight to travel to Australia, a trip to Austria is almost equivalent :-) ). Stoclet House has the distinction of ranking lowest, with only 1,41 (which probably says more about its accessibility than about its actual value as a WHS).
- Polders are decidedly unpopular - Schokland and Beemster are only beaten by Stoclet, Struve and Monte San Giorgio.

Author Durian
Partaker
#70 | Posted: 8 Feb 2018 02:08 | Edited by: Durian 
I really enjoy to see the ratings result in the long run. It would be interesting to see how people from different cultures think with other culture. Europeans rate Asian sites, or Latinos rate African sites. Masterpieces in European eyes maybe nothing in African opinion or what Asian love maybe something Europeans don't understand at all. Since I assume that people in this community focus more on OUV than just travel experience, so the result may different from TripAdvisor.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#71 | Posted: 8 Feb 2018 02:42 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Khuft:
except maybe the surprisingly low (for me) ranking of Taj Mahal

Well, that "low average" is all Nan's "fault"!! Giving the Taj Mahal the same as Stari Grad Plain indeed! (LOL) What was he thinking?? Of course you have Stari Grad virtually to yourself and FREE - whilst the TM has 10s of thousands of people and the usual Indian environment and hassle.

Author nfmungard
Partaker
#72 | Posted: 8 Feb 2018 06:31 | Edited by: nfmungard 
Solivagant:
Well, that "low average" is all Nan's "fault"!! Giving the Taj Mahal the same as Stari Grad Plain indeed! (LOL) What was he thinking?? Of course you have Stari Grad virtually to yourself and FREE - whilst the TM has 10s of thousands of people and the usual Indian environment and hassle.

@Solivagant: You can actually read what I was thinking re Taj Mahal. For me it's overrated. Looking at my list you will also notice how I rated other Mughal sites:

* Fatepur Sikri 4.5
* Jantar Mantar 4.5.
* Humayuns Tomb 4.0

So, for me the Taj is just not the best Mughal piece of architecture. It's not even the best mausoleum, Humayuns Tomb is so much better.

Re Stari Grad Plain. I had a splendid time on Hvar cycling around to the churches and through the ruins. This may have tainted my vote a bit upwards. I feel I will need to revisit my medium scores to even them out a bit.

In any case, I plan to write a review for each site where my vote is above/below the average plus/mins standard deviation.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#73 | Posted: 8 Feb 2018 07:00 | Edited by: Solivagant 
nfmungard:
for me the Taj is just not the best Mughal piece of architecture.

Wouldn't disagree that the TM is a bit over rated which is why I too didn't "give it 5" - but "equal" with Stari Grad???
Re the Taj -
There was an interesting pair of programs on BBC recently titled "Paradise Gardens" - most of the visited gardens were inscribed as WHS (Seville, Granada, Marrakesh, Pasaragadae, Shiraz/Fin/Kashan, Istanbul, Amber, Humayun, and Taj Mahal among others). An aspect about the TM which came out, of which I was unaware, is the recent conclusion that the original complex was designed to straddle the Yamuna to include what is now known as "The Mehtab Bagh" (see - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mehtab_Bagh ). This is NOT a part of the TM inscription and has recently been the subject of much excavation by the ASI. We when we were last in Agra (1997!!) we did visit the other side of the Taj and this is well worth doing for the view across the river but this visit predated the ASI work and the Mehtab Bagh wasn't even "advertised" (The Wiki article mentions that it was cut off by barbed wire). I noticed that UNESCO "State of Conservation" reports have often included a reference to these gardens and wonder if, one day, they are going to recommend that the site be extended.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#74 | Posted: 10 Feb 2018 06:51 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I have no doubt that there are a lot of potential changes which could be made to the site and the way in which it displays/analyses the ratings which may well get added in the future but , could I suggest one which shouldn't be too much of an effort and could possibly be done rather sooner?
I refer to "Categories". This somewhat neglected sub-division of WHS predates "Connections" and goes back I suspect well over 12 years to work done by Els and myself. It used to have a "top tab" of its own (??) but the only way I can find into it now is via the entry on each individual site - So eg Koln Cathedral is categorised as "Religious Structure - Christian" and all the other inscribed Cathedrals can be found in the same category (together with Abbeys etc etc)
The first level leads to - https://www.worldheritagesite.org/list/categories#4 with a list of subcategories
Whilst the second leads to a list of WHS - https://www.worldheritagesite.org/list/category/Christian

It would be "nice" if the list of WHS shown on the second also showed the rating - so, just how are we "rating" Christian buildings, Buddhist ones, Palaces, Mountains, Rock art sites etc etc? By using the already available list of WHS by Category we could get a picture of this without too much development effort.

Author Colvin
Partaker
#75 | Posted: 11 Feb 2018 16:44 
Apparently there are World Heritage Sites for everyone, as Beemster Polder has one 5 star rating at this point (though how the polder gets a 5 star rating while Yosemite National Park gets a .5 rating is beyond my ken).

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