Steven crunches some numbers and writes:
 as a practical matter, audience recommendations for titles I "might want to consider" have been utterly useless, far more likely to be wrong than right at predicting audience (me) satisfaction.
I rely on recommendations heavily. Exceptions exist, of course; for example, I decided to watch Stellvia after I saw Yoko Ishida performing a remix for Stellvia's OP "Brilliant Road" at a concert in a local mall. Before that, Stellvia was striken down by the "gizmo obsession" classification in Steven's "future series" list — oddly enough. Nonetheless, the rule is to follow recommendations, and it served me well.
The trick is to be smart about it. Always ask what is good about the series, reject unsubstantiated recommendations. Weigh by the level of trust in the recommending person. Verify against ANN ranking graph. Basically, use your common sense.