DIGITAL DABBLINGS #36 – Trading Ratings and You!

By William M. Noetling, PWTorch Specialist


A Quick Reminder

I’m still gathering responses on my 4th year “Elite Performers” Survey, and would love to get more input from you the readers, so please if you haven’t already, take a few moments to fill it out HERE.

Trader Ratings – Meaningful or Meaningless?

Since the beginning of time, er, I mean the beginning of Topps Digital Apps there has been a method to rate how good or bad a trader happens to be. It’s called your trading rating and it can make or break you when it comes to being able to trade. Or can it? For some traders the rating is completely meaningless, but for others it’s a big deal. I posed this question to my fellow denizens of the “Topps Slam Syndicate” Facebook Group (join up HERE), which is a private group numbering over 1,300 group members. I asked point blank “Does trade rating matter to you, why or why not?”

Mike Broughton the admin of the group says: “It matters to me on “close calls” trades. So if you’re sending me an offer that is close to what I’m looking for, if you have 2 stars I am more likely to decline. If you have 5 full stars, I’m more likely to accept. In general (and partially because I’ve got 4.25 stars), as long as you’ve got 4 stars, I assume you are a good guy who puts effort into being reasonable.”

Patrick White states: “It matters to an extent. Some people are too picky and have too many rules when it comes to trading. I’ve received offers from people in this group who have a 4+ star rating but offer me cards that I already have multiples of but when I counter with a fair offer, it gets rejected…. I’ve made multiple successful trades with people who have 3 stars and below but for some reason find it harder to deal with people with higher ratings. The only time I prefer to deal with 4+ stars is when cross trading. I like the other person to have at least 500 trades with a good rating.”

Jerryn Liesdek, a moderator of the group says: “It depends really. A lot of 5 star players don’t send trades but only accept and decline that way if a trade gets accepted you will automatically
rate them 5 stars and when they do once in a while send a trade (not every 5 star trader) it’s really bad like 9 oe’s for low cc.”

The way that the trader rating works is pretty simple, after every accepted trade you have the option to “rate” your trading partner from 1 to 5 stars. If you are offered a trade and decline it you can also rate your trading partner from 1 to 5 stars. If a trade is cancelled or expires due to unavailability of a card offering, there’s no rating. Each member can only rate each other member once, so it doesn’t matter if you trade dozens of times with an individual, only the first rating you ever have counts. Jerryn’s point above is that there are quite a few players with a perfect 5 star rating who don’t make trade offers very often, but that when they do the trades are not very good. I personally haven’t necessarily found that to be true. To be sure I’ve gotten a few offers from highly rated players that were terrible, but I disagree with her assessment that this paradigm is prevalent.

Adam Gellman, blogger extraordinaire, writes: “Trader rating means absolutely nothing to me. All I care about is what is offered. Because I know people 1 Star every offer regardless of quality and I usually just hit a button to get the pop up off my screen, I know that the true measure of a trader is not determined by the rating. I mean, there is so much riff raff, and manipulation of that rating that can take place, I’m really shocked that people take any stock of it whatsoever. If there was a more regulated rating system that you could see individual responses, challenge bogus ratings, and get real feedback on any deal, then sure. Otherwise it’s as useful a game feature as collection score.”

Robert McWilliams adds, (The) “ratings system is too flawed. Not every bad trade is rated 1 star. Not every great trade is rated 5 stars. And people that send the most trades get most ratings and once a bad trade is rated, it’s hard to get rating back up. Also, n1 of us started out knowing how to make fair trades, but learned over time. Those bad trades we all made stick with us even once we learned.”

While I do believe the system is flawed to a point, I don’t believe that it’s necessarily useless and to be ignored. I also disagree with Robert’s view that new traders don’t know how to make fair trades. As I stated in the Facebook Post: “when Slam started in 2016 I had already played Bunt, Huddle, Star Wars and many other Topps apps, so I was pretty familiar with what card values were going to be based on odds and such.”

Steve Gerhard adds some salient points. He says, “I would have to say trader rating doesn’t mean that much to me for a few reasons…

  1. Accounts are being bought and sold a lot now so the person could be a good trader that just bought a low trading star account, so it’s hard to get that back up.
  2. I have gotten so many terrible trades for people who have 4K trades with 4 stars and just offer junk for top selling cards/stars.
  3. As stated above, the trade rating system isn’t the best. For example, when I first started the app I offered someone the exact trade they wanted and after they accepted they wrote a message saying something like I only deserved a 2 star not a 5 star so my rating dropped from 5 stars to around stars at that moment.”

I think Steve’s points are interesting, but I think the use-cases here are outliers. I don’t know that many accounts that are being bought and sold and then continue to be used for trading. I would guess that the number of accounts that fit this description are very, very low. His second point though is consistent with what other players have said as well.

Adrian Mitchell says: “Trader rating means something to me, but I look at the number of trades as opposed to the star rating. If I am sending an offer or receive an offer from someone who is 4 stars, but has 2,000+ trades under their belt, I know that it was likely a few sour apples and that this trader is legit. If they have low stars AND low number of trades, then I have to be more cautious.” His in game name is RONJEREMY265.

Chad McFarland chimes in saying: “I don’t pay much attention to it. Although generally those on my ignore list are 3 or lower. I’m down to 4 stars mainly cos (sic) often I’ll counter a s–t trade with a s–t trade of my own….I guess to me, the stars only matter in relation to the number of trades. If they’ve got a high number and 3 and a half plus stars, that’s good. If they’re under 3 with less than 500 trades, well…”

Patrick Vancil replies: “Only in regards to if they have a lot of trades and a very bad rating. Other then that, the people who 5 star everything or 1 star everything screw it up, then you have some guys who never send trades and have a perfect 5 for that reason but absolutely send complete garbage or expect overpays on what you send them…Then you also have what makes someone rate someone 1 way. While some might consider any 500CC for any 500CC fair, another might find it totally off because 1 is old and harder to get, or a diva, or a sig, or a better real world value. And at the end some of the best trades come from people barely at 4 stars because, hey, some people who were bad do learn and get better.”

Steveo Hartman opines: “To A Certain Degree, Yes I Tend To Avoid Sending A Trade To Anyone Below 4 Stars, But I’ve Had Some Smashing (And Successful/Accepted) Trades From 4 Star Traders, And Sometimes Below 4 Stars. Shockingly, The Same Can Be Said In Reverse For Some 4+ Traders Have Sent Too. All In All, I Think It Helps Determine Who To Stay Away From, And Who 👍”

Two of my more recent terrible offers. The top guy just doesn’t seem to grasp that you won’t get a paywall card for free prize wheels, as this is the second similar offer in two days he’s sent. One more and he goes on my ignore list. The bottom guy, clearly a noobie.

Fun with Math

Sometimes I use a little formula to figure out how many 1 star ratings someone has earned themselves, because I do believe most people will rate either 1 or 5 stars and very few people rate anything in between. It’s actually pretty simple algebra.

Here’s the formula:

X + Y = Rating
X+ 5Y = Rating x Aggregate # of Stars

Solve for X & Y.

So let’s take my rating for example, by the time this is published I’ll have 2900 ratings, and I have an overall aggregate of 4.5 stars (It’s probably higher but who can actually tell amirite?).

X + Y = 2900
X + 5Y = (2900*4.5) = 13050
X = 2900-Y
(2900 – Y) + 5Y = 13050
4Y = 13050-2900 = 10150
Y = 2538
X + 2358 = 2900
X = 2900-2358
X = 362

So there you have it, I’ve been given 2358 5 star ratings and only 362 1 star ratings. So about 12.5% of all of my trader ratings have been only 1 star. If you’re looking at someone who has a lot higher score, the numbers become much more meaningful.

That fifth star looks to me like it’s about 65% filled in, but who can really tell?

Let’s take a look at a trader who has an aggregate of 4 stars and 12,140 ratings. Running the math I get 3,035 1 stars and 9,105 5 stars. Fully 25% of all of their trades have been rated 1 star. That is an awful lot of terrible trades if you ask me.

Factor in that a LOT of people will do common for common trades just to get 5 star ratings, and that number of 1-star trades really starts to look bad. If you ask me that is. Your mileage may vary.

So in the end does it matter what your rating is in the game? Clearly to some folks like myself, it does. To most other players though, the truth is, what you’re being offered is far more important.

So the best thing you can do in trading is offer what you’d accept if you were being offered the trade. Pay attention to people’s trade posts, because I can’t tell you how many people still ask for singles despite the fact that every 1 of my trade posts starts with “I ONLY TRADE DUPES”. Don’t low-ball new players. You know, be a good citizen.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

Until next time, don’t forget you can find me in game at GRENDELSEN, and I’m always happy to trade or answer any questions you might have.  Leave questions or concerns here and I’ll see you next time.

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