Monday, February 22, 2010

StageGrade Is Here

First things first: Here's the new link. Now the letter...

Dear Critic-O-Meter fans:

You may have noticed that for the past month, there's been no new content here, even though the New York season has swung into high gear and we're about to enter the pre-Tony rush. What gives? Has our beloved Critic-O-Meter been put out to pasture? What are Rob and Isaac up to?

Well, the answer is simple: A few months ago we were approached by entrepreneurs Doug and Jonathan Rand (of Playscripts, Inc.) about turning Critic-O-Meter from a wooden puppet into a real boy. We love this blog, but it's cumbersome to edit and to monetize and looks, well, like a blog. We've always been big fans of Metacritic; it was one of our inspirations for creating this site in the first place. The idea of turning Critic-O-Meter into a cleanly designed, easy to browse, post, and update site with the potential for more reader involvement (and the chance to make a little money for our efforts) is a dream come true.

So please enjoy our new site, StageGrade, developed with the invaluable assistance and heavy lifting of the Rands and developer Martin Gordon. There've been a couple of changes, but the basics are the same. It's still Rob and Isaac along with writers Linda and Karl. But now there's a lot more content to explore. You can look up a reviewer and see all the grades they've given. When you look up a show, you'll see the grade distributions much more clearly and get all of the logistics of the show up front, including a link to buy tickets to a show if it suits your fancy. Finally, and this is probably the biggest change, we've switched from using mean (or average) scores to using median scores, as we've collectively decided that this more accurately reflects the consensus of the reviewers and better keeps shows scores from being dragged down or inflated by outliers.

We've also added the shows we've missed since our final post on Critic-O-Meter. We've been so consumed with the data entry and bug fixes necessary to get a new independent website up and running that we haven't been able to keep up with the old site, which we are now putting out to pasture.

Over the coming months, we're going to be improving the interface and look of StageGrade and adding new features as we go. We were just so excited to share it with you all that we present it in its current condition, functional, useable, but still a work in progress. If you have any suggestions or any features you'd like to see, please e-mail us.

We're looking forward to making StageGrade a great one-stop shop for the scuttlebutt on the latest shows in New York theater. Thank you for joining us on the ride.


Mike Mariano said...

Congratulations! StageGrade looks good, and a dedicated site will also make it a good destination to see what's onstage at any time.

One thing: Critic-O-Meter has a news feed. So far StageGrade doesn't. It's nice to have new meta-reviews show up in my feed reader; I don't want to miss out!

Martin Gordon said...

Fear not, Mike! The news feed should be coming sometime this week.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back; you guys were missed! New site looks terrific and I appreciate the change to median scoring (although I still would advocate for a weighted system that acknowledges that not all reviews were created equal).

Gil said...

Suggestion: post another entry saying in big letters: "Critic-O-Meter has moved. Please visit us at". I scanned over this post very quickly in my Google Reader and didn't notice that the changes were on a new URL.

And as always, keep up the awesome work.

DJStan said...

Great news. As quasi-religious theatregoers, this has become one of our favorite sites; we look forward to becoming regular visitors to the new one.

Many, many thanks for your work and enthusiasm.

Anonymous said...

Congratulation and my best wishes Beatriz