Unlike the "darkometer
"-ratings, the star ratings given here are more in line with conventional star ratings for touristic sites (as for hotels), also following the tradition of giving one to five stars (no excesses like 7-star hotels here).
That is to say they ignore how dark a place may be and only categorize it according to how well developed it is for tourism. Aspects feeding into this classification include ease of access, transportation/walkability, facilities, breadth of information and guidance provided (and the accuracy of the 'commodification'), range of languages, how well maintained the site is, and things like that.
As with the darkometer ratings, these classifications are entirely my own personal judgement, and do not pertain to anything the site in question may or may not (officially) claim itself.
As a rough guide, the following descriptions may be allocated to the respective star ratings:
excellent, top-class with everything a tourist may want, rich accurate information/guidance provided, lots to see
very good, easy to get to and to get around, good facilities, information and/or guidance, but not 100% as perfect as it could be, some aspects may leave a little to be desired, but much to see.
quite OK, not too complicated to get to and to get around but comparatively underdeveloped in some areas, so it could be a bit better, a fair amount to see but not that much.
not easy to get to and to get around, lacking facilities, information and/or guidance, not much to see
poorly developed if at all and/or difficult to get to and to get around, little or no information, guidance or facilities, very little to see (note: this can be for any of these reasons, that is, a site might actually be fairly well developed but so difficult to get to that it only gets one star, or vice versa)
This is only for very rough guidance – a site in question may be excellent in some respects but very poor in others, resulting in a mid-range star classification, but that does not mean all the descriptive indicators outlined above will apply as set out. This would be impossible to keep consistent anyway, as the various criteria compete with each other.
NOTE that not all sites covered on this website do feature a star rating. Places that I haven't been to myself yet (see here
) often lack one, simply because I couldn't say how good the place in question may or may not be. On the other hand, the correlation between visited/not-yet-visited and star-rated/not-star-rated is not a neat one. In many cases the information available on the Internet, from books, friends' and colleagues' reports (as well as from photos I've seen) do allow me to give a (provisional) star rating even for places I haven't yet seen in the flesh myself. Once I've been I may change the rating, but that applies to all places in any case - i.e. the star ratings are fluid and provisional. I may occasionally upgrade or downgrade a star rating either because of changes at the place in question itself (see e.g. Hamburg
) or simply because I've changed my mind. It's not easy to maintain a fair balance on this anyway, so I reserve the right to alter my decisions whenever I see it fit.