I think every author gets a warm and happy feeling when receiving a good review. Given some time, we also learn to cope with people not liking our work. (How dare they? LOL!)
There's no set scale for what five stars, three stars, or one star means.
Readers know this; most readers I've asked about it look at the text in the review and use this to determine whether pros and cons will apply to them or not. As writers of a book or manufacturers of an item on the other hand, it's easy to get mentally stuck on the stars.
I personally don't write reviews if I can't give the book/item at least three stars. When I was a little girl, my mom taught me, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."
It's a good rule.
I give five star reviews if I loved something, four star reviews if I liked it, and three star reviews if it was okay. I like to say positive things and make people happy. Also, I don't want to linger on the negative in life. I'd rather forget about it and move on.
My way of reasoning might be right or wrong; it doesn't matter. The scale is subjective.
When talking to people on Goodreads, I heard some other interesting opinions.
One reader said three stars is her normal. For her, three stars is a good book. In order to get four or five, the material has to sweep her away. If it's just okay she'll give it two, and if she dislikes it, she'll give it one.
Another reader said three stars is a book she liked. Four stars means she wants to read the book one more time, at some point in the future. Five stars means that she wants to read the book over and over again.
To be honest, I find it difficult to remember that the rating system means different things to different people. I can get a three star review and be all disappointed, until I actually read the review and realize the person has another frame of reference.
What do you think? How do you reason when you give reviews?