I don’t do number scores because I think it detracts from the review, but I have come up with a series of basic tiers that I use to loosely group fics together based on general quality. Below is a practical guide to interpreting my rating scale.
Crusade-Worthy: Unequivocal Recommendations that I throw my full weight behind. Fics that I both thoroughly enjoyed and that are technically competent and thematically interesting. This tier does not in any way imply perfection, and fics placed in this tier can have glaring problems, but they all come together to form a final product that I would recommend to just about anyone.
Top Tier: Fics that I think most fanfic readers who are less nitpicky than I am will have a wonderful time reading. Technical competency and intriguing characterization are required for entry, but thematic and emotional resonance is not. Also known as the “great for fanfiction” tier.
Great Stories: Fics that I had a good time with, but that contain one or two issues large enough to make me hesitate when calling it good. Most fanfic readers will probably enjoy it, although they’ll also probably note down a flaw or two. This is where the lines between good and entertaining begin to blur, in my eyes.
Good Stories: Fics that I have enough issues with to hamper my enjoyment a substantial amount. This tier is the equivalent of the lightest of recommendations for a more general fanfiction audience, and it should be noted that a placement in this tier is not an endorsement of quality, but a commentary on mindless entertainment value.
Average: Fics that are so thoroughly riddled with flaws that I wouldn’t recommend them to any but the least critical of readers. A placement here means that at least one aspect of the story must be strong enough to catch my attention, but that it’s not enough to make up for the overwhelmingly negative impression that the story left on me.
Not Good: The polite way of saying dogshit
Disclaimer: If it wasn’t obvious, everything here is just my opinion, and if you’re the type of person who needs a disclaimer like this to figure that out, then grow the fuck up.