I have been using Goodreads for about 3 years. Usually, I add a book to Goodreads reading list, once I am sure that I would finish the book. For some books, I can sense it right away. Either the writing would be outright bad, or I might not be interested in the subject, or it might be way over my current knowledge. For some cases, I would read about 30% and then realize it’s not worth to finish it. In cases where I successfully finish the book, I would rate it in Goodreads.

The above process eliminates “Rating book without reading” problem, but it introduces new kind of problems. I don’t rate very bad books, because who has time to finish it. I also abandon most of the mediocre books. The books I finish and rate mostly falls into either good or very good category. If I use 3 stars for good and 4 stars for very good, and 5 stars for outstanding, then I would never use 1 star or 2 stars. So my reading habit systematically prevents me from using lower ratings.

It seems like most of the Goodreads’ users suffer from this problem. Most of the books are rated between 3.5 - 4.25. I rarely see books rated below 3. So basically Goodreads rating is useless in most of the situation.