I'd like to suggest just removing the averaging of difficulties in the site; there are a lot of flaws with the way it works.
Difficulty is one of those things that's both subjective and objective; a game's difficulty is obviously there, but the degree to what it is for any one person varies.
Take I wanna be the INT, for example; one person recently gave it a 94 because of the amount of short-hops it requires, yet people like me who are fairly consistent and 1-framing or jump-cancelling would give it somewhere around a 30. I understand we are kind of supposed to give a difficulty rating for average/new players, but it's also difficult to judge that correctly for everyone.
If I were to go in and rate a game a 30 and another person rates that same game a 70 because of the techniques it requires, the average would end out being 50, and the average player I don't think would rate a game with say 1-frames or cancels a 50.
Another problem is that a lot of people seem to get the two bars confused, most likely due to language barriers, and a lot of these games become weighted with this accidental confusion, which is my main argument for removing the system as a whole and just have people say how hard they thought it was in their actual review.
I also understand that with more people rating for it, the average will kind of even out, but with the amount of fangames being produced per day and the amount of reviews created for a game per day, it would take forever to get to that point unless suddenly everyone began reviewing every game spontaneously (and the chances for that are obviously incredibly low).
I'm not completely opposed to there being a difficulty rating system at all; I like seeing how hard or easy a game was for people. However, I'd like for difficulty ratings to only stick with their respective reviews.
I just want to address this point-by-point:
First off, thanks for your suggestion. We're always looking for changes in the site, but I never expected the difficulty rating to be a hot spot.
Regarding the subjectivity and objectivity of difficulty: it is a review site, so there will be both. This not only applies to difficulty - it applies to the rating of the game as well, and is sometimes talked about in the reviewer's comment section. In essence, difficulty follows the same logic as the rating in every way.
Although I have never played INT and can't speak about its difficulty, it sounds as if the game requires a lot of short hopping, 1 or 2 framing, etc. For some players, this is monstrously hard. For others, such as yourself and other needle game players, it typically isn't a challenge. Your example of the 30 + 70 equaling out to 50 is a good point, but remember that typically any rating will not be a "true" indicator of what the community thinks until we reach many more reviews.
Of course, not every game will receive the same attention as a game like Kamilia 3 or NANG. Certain games will only contain 3 or less reviews, which is unfortunate but expected due to the size of the fangame directory. If a group of 5 needle game players comes in and rates it a 30 difficulty while 1 new player rates it a 70, the difficulty is suddenly a 37 -- much more reasonable and a better indicator of what the general community thinks. Removing a difficulty review here is the same logic as removing the ratings of each review, in which we rely on the average. Yes, it isn't fair for some games to not have as many reviews, but every review helps! We encourage everyone who uses the site to review games they have completed to the fullest extent, so we receive better indicators for both difficulty and rating.
Regarding the "mixing up" of bars - I have never heard of this and didn't know this was a problem. I am more than open to suggestions on how to make the difficulty visually different than the rating of the game. I know English isn't the first language of many users who visit the site, but even from non-English readers I have never heard this complaint.
As always, never take the stated rating/difficulty as the "true value" for the game. There will always be biases in reviews, regardless of what we do. This, in essence, is the beauty of a review site! Use your own judgment for reviews, ratings, and difficulties on games that may not have as many as those with 15+.
It was fun to think about the idea of how difficulty works with reviews through this suggestion, so thanks! Like I stated above, if you have any ideas on how we could visually differentiate the difficulty and rating as to make it more clear to non-English readers, that'd be great.