Modest proposal, change the Audiogon rating system

I wanted to foreward a proposal for enhancing the Audiogon system of rating components. We have seen many instances of components being incorrectly graded both in the dispute resolution forums and anecdotally. I have personally experienced this. I believe that some of this stems from the emphasis in the grading guidelines being put on cosmetic issues. While cosmetics are critical to the product and greatly affect resale value, we do not listen to them. My proposal is to keep the current system as it is with the current grade referred to as a "cosmetic grade" beneath it would be a second grade referred to as a "functional grade". This grade would be used to grade the functional aspects of the gear. For example, if the volume control is scratchy in a preamp, or one of the inputs is intermittent it would get a less than perfect grade. Tuners in less than perfect alignment too would be downgraded. CD players that occasionally skip or sometimes have loading issues would also count. Hiss and hum likewise. Buzzing speakers as well. Of course, all of this should be spelled out in the body of the ad, but as the community grows, grading issues are becoming more problematic. If a product had a "functional rating" of 8, one might be prompted to ask the seller why, just as one does with cosmetic issues. If disputes occur between buyer and seller, this grading will be one more tool to aid in the resolution of the issue. The whole shootin' match would not be at all hard for Audiogon to implement, which I am sure is their main concern regarding site enhancements. So, whaddaya think?
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Makes alot of sense to me. Failing any changes to the system, people really need to look closely at the grading scale and be honest.
Great idea. I think that the existing system assummes that the items are functionally intact, but this would provide some additional clarification.
So for I assumed the rating we are currently using is an average of both functional and cosmetic grading. The things I've sold have always been rated this way. It never occured to me that the current rating is actually purely based on cosmetics. Thanks for enlightening me.

One would assume that, but some are dumping nice looking "crap" (operationaly damaged goods).

I am aware of a regular AA poster/Ebay seller (still posting and still readily accepted in the Vintage Forum there) who beyond any reasonable doubt (major written documentation proved this) was caught with his pants down in this regard. Guess he worked it out somewhat after the buyer (a female phile) busted his ass in the forums, but so what as the guy is still a screw job.

This one I do not get, @ all. Has commerce/fair trade sunk to such lows that people such as this are now considered to be OK/acceptable?

As always, buyer beware.
Good thoughts. I have always felt the 8 rating is not clear.
9 says excellent, light use. 8 says functional, minor flaws elsewhere. I had a 2 year old amp, in perfect condition , that I used for suuround sound. Now the amp is perfect cosmetically and functionally. So if I list it as a 9, Im saying it was lightly used, which it was not, and If I list it as an 8 , Im saying it has monior flaws elsewhere and it does not. I believe this has to be clarified.
Makes a lot of sense to me. One aspect that is also left a bit “loossy-goossy” is the age of the unit. A used piece I bought recently was rated 9. That was, at best, an exaggeration. The unit I bought turned out to be six years old. Serves me right for not asking the serial number and checking with the manufacturer prior to bidding on it. Oh well, live and learn. Some sellers indicate a rating and then add "due to age only". I appreciate that a very recent unit can be a mess, while a meticulously cared for older unit merits a high rating. I do think that older units, generally and whatever the condition, should be down rated somewhat simply by dint of age. I agree that the cosmetics and functional aspects should be rated separately. I also think the serial numbers should be a must and that the age of the unit (or at least how long the seller has owned it and if it was second-hand when bought) should be mandatory. BTW I was so happy that the unit arrived in one piece, that it powered up, that it’s two switches worked and that it sounded quite good, that I immediately left the seller positive feedback. Another bright move on my part as I soon realized that with feedback at Audiogon, you only get one kick at the cat.
Excellent idea...but I'll throw out a potential issue that may be of concern. I recently purchased an amp that had one bannana hole that was too large to get a nice contact. The previous owner may not have known this, but the buyer can only hope that a seller is completely honest to the best of their knowledge. In short, a seller might not have anyway of knowing that something was wrong with some aspect of a component that was never used (consider a faulty phono stage on an amp owned by someone without a TT). I have no suggestions on how to remedy this, I only suggest that it might cause unintended friction between buyer and otherwise very honest seller in some cases.
Absolutely! Having been or currently being, the victim of a shrtfa.. here, I totally agree. Lessening the boundaries of the performance side of things, would go a long way to helping those who are genuienely following Agon's guidelines. Sure won't help when they are completely disregarded, though.

As importantly, the "feedback", area is as deserving also, using that section to promote one's creditability as a seller, when most all the posts are as "buyer", or "indeterminate", is just plain wrong. The current system, needs both areas ammended. One can actually and undually "inflate" a personal rating via having just a handful of friends continually post for each other as well.

I'm not sure that in any case, though, a "fail safe" is available. . . . .like the saying, "Locks are to keep honest people honest." . . . although refinement in BOTH AREAS should go farther in communicating accurately, some important aspects of this venue, and become more than beneficial to the members with a degree of forthrightness in their makeup.