There are a lot of different kinds of rating systems out there. But, I have yet to find one that erstwhile fans of all things Star Trek can use to determine the merit, value, or usefulness of various genre-related TV shows, movies, books, comics, video games, RPG resources, swag, conventions, events, toys, etc.
Hence, I create the Tribble-Rating System, a comprehensive quick-shot from the Tribble Rating System Guild of America to help digest the overflowing amount of Star Trek flotsam floating in the cosmic aether. (Samples below can be cut/pasted for your own use.)
The system is based on 5 rules of subjective merit, which uses the Rubric method to come to a final tally of Tribbles.
- Canonicity – The Star Trek canon is the set of all canonical material in the Star Trek universe. The official Star Trek website defines canon as comprising the television series Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, Star Trek: Discovery, and the films in the franchise. Editorials on the Star Trek website acknowledged that this definition is not set in stone, but that the notion of what constitutes canon in Star Trek is fluid, open to interpretation and debate.* A Tribble can be awarded if a particular piece of fanfiction deepens our knowledge of established canon without severely interrupting the canonical flow.
- Relatability – Able to be shown or established to have a causal or logical connection to established Star Trek canon. This can be measured by checking “tickle effect”, meaning that a Star Trek fan is slightly pleasured as opposed to offended when a new story idea or plot point is introduced that just makes sense.
- Likability – A fun idea is just that, fun. Even if the idea doesn’t meet the canonicity or relatability tests, it might still just be enjoyable to explore. For example: What is Borgs assimilated the Tribbles? That idea alone earns one Tribble.
- Accessibility – Is the item/story/event in question accessible to all? For instance, Star Trek Discovery would not earn this Tribble since they placed the show on CBS All Access. This irritated their fandom. No Tribble for you! But don’t get me wrong, an online Star Trek comic might not be accessible to everyone, for instance, if they don’t have the internet to download it. However, it is generally accessible and comic collectors don’t mind paying for comics (generally). So the online comic could still earn a Tribble.
- Quality – What was the quality of the product, be it a gaming module, movie, novel, action figure, poster, artwork, conference session, etc? Was it hokey or campy? Is it something you would pass on to another person as a gift? Can the item be sold or traded after purchase? Not all Star Trek items are reusable, like a gaming module. Quality for an RPG scenario could be purely based on how easy it was to run the game and, in the end, if people enjoyed it.
*As defined on Wikipedia