Voting Rules

(Modified and posted March 27 2001)

Since December 1997, Raja has asked members who have completed the book to rate it on a 10-point scale. (One means the book was terrible, 10 means it was really great.)

During the discussion meeting for Cryptonomicon, Julie England said she wanted to give the book an "11". Her comment was probably facetious, but it struck Raja as a useful addition to the rules.

Raja is posting the rules here, as they currently stand. He encourages comments and critcism (sent to

Basic Rules

  1. In order to vote, you must have finished reading the book. You can't say "I've only read 60%, but I give it a 3." (Well, okay, you can say that, but I won't record or count your vote. ;-)
  2. You must have finished reading the book recently -- say, within a few weeks -- in order to vote. I won't count votes along the lines of "Well, I read this book when I was eight and really loved it, so I give it a 10." (Unless, of course, you are currently eight years old -- which makes me wonder whether you can get the most out of some of the books we've read in the past and may read in the future.)
    (Note that "a few weeks" isn't carved in stone; if you can convince me in person [or e-mail] that you remember the book with great clarity, I will probably count your vote.)
    (And yes, I am aware that "must have finised reading the book" biases the voting statistics upwards; if you hated a book so much that you couldn't finish it, your vote won't count. If you really want to poison a book's statistics, you'll have to finish it and then give it a low rating. If I have to do this for books I hate, so do you ;-)
  3. Your vote must be a number from 1 to 10 inclusive. It must be a whole number. No "4.8" unless you can convince me that you really have worked out 91 different grades (= 1.0 to 10.0) and can really distinguish them in a fashion that is repeatable under scientific conditions ;-).
  4. Anyone present at the Borders meeting may vote. (As long as they have finished reading the book recently, of course.) Voting at the Borders meeting is anonymous and involves pieces of paper. Write legibly and please underline your vote if it is a "6" or "9". Note that you may freely disclose your vote; my goal is to provide anonymity for anyone who wants it.
  5. Regular members who couldn't make the Borders meeting may also vote by e-mail or other means. Note that in this case it is unavoidable that I will know what your vote was, but I'll try to be discreet. This means that the voting statistics are subject to change as regular members e-mail me their votes later. In fact, the currently-posted voting statistics do incorporate votes e-mailed by members after the meeting. (For instance, one vote for Slow River and one vote for Aftermath were e-mailed to me by members who finished reading the book weeks after the Borders meeting. If anyone objects to this, let me know.)
  6. Raja shall make the raw votes available in case you want to compile your own statistics. Please give me time to type them up, though.
  7. The "11" Rule: Any regular member who has cast at least four legal votes may cast a single vote of "11" to denote a particularly distinguished book. However,
    1. The vote of 11 shall not be anonymous. If you are voting an 11, you have to tell everybody.
    2. No person may cast more than one 11.
  8. And finally, All these rules are subject to Raja's interpretation and discretion. Note that since I'll try to make the raw votes available, you should be able to cook the books yourself. (For instance, if you object to votes of "11", you can take the raw votes, count the 11 as a 10, and figure what the "real" average was.) Note also that I am open to bribery ... ;-)