Joe Gola’s entry A Whole Lot of Nothing from Gone Gaming was an interesting read… However, I think I’ll lean towards how Shannon Appelcline and Doug Orleans comment: the negative comments have their place and finding out the good stuff would be more difficult if only people who like the games would rate them.
I’m not sure how important the overall ratings are — I pay little attention to them. I typically check my geekbuddy ratings (my list has friends and some strangers with good tastes) and the commented ratings. I’m not even interested in plain numbers (unless it’s from someone I know), I want comments. I usually check the top ratings and most of the time the low ratings, to get some idea why people don’t like the game.
It’s also quite easy to separate the good, worthy ratings from the useless ratings. In general I think it would be a big loss if everybody removed their low ratings from the Geek.
But still, I do think Joe has some point. A negative rating by itself is of little use; it should be accompanied with useful commentary and thus help someone understand why they might or might not enjoy the game.
Come to think of it, some of my lower ratings (for example for Aquarius) tell more of me as a gamer than the game (it says “Horrible. Looks great, but the gameplay has zero meaning. Nothing you do matters in the end, really.”). Perhaps I should work them a bit, the comments — I think the ratings themselves are fine, as they describe my subjective will (or lack of it) to play the game.