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Your Q1SP "Real" Favorites (For Real)
If you were to introduce someone new to Quake to a very limited set of Q1 single player maps based on your experiences --- with no favoritism towards authors or recent releases and without peer pressure --- which ones do you think among for someone new (who would be non-hardcore) would appeal to them the most?

No need to mention Insomnia or Marcher Fortress or Beyond Belief other easily recognized "classics".

What is important --- what spoke to your heart when you played it? Maybe this was something like A2D2 by pingu or maybe it was Descent or Tyrann's Moonlight Assault or Starship by Neil Manke or A Desert Dusk by Tronyn or maybe it was Hell in a Can.

What touched your heart as something that doesn't have 600 monsters as a release that caused you long-term interest in single player releases?

[A built-in download/installer awaits at the doorstep, but it will not have 1056 install options and not every release can be a 4.5 star release like what often happens at Quaddicted -- ratings system skew towards the positive, but not everything is a classic. And this is not Spirit's fault, he has done a top-notch job at preserving history.]

Your opinion is valued. What touched your heart? What diverse experience woke up your imagination?

What made you play not because it was a challenge, but because you wanted to finish it out of joy?
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So You Want Recommendations 
but not recommendations of classics? But only after keeping in mind that not everything that is a classic is actually a classic?

This does not make any sense.

But I will reply when I get home anyway. 
My picks below. All maps seem to be from the hrarder sort so easy skill would be recommended for quake beginners.

Adamatine Cruelty (ac)
Tale of Abbot's Rune (Sgodrun1, Sgodrun2)
Ceremonial Circles (czg03)
Rain Palisade (rainpal) and Storm Dungeon (storm) from the Rapture pack
Halls of the Shambler God (Ikspq3)
Homecoming (Ikspq4)
Whispers in Darkness (soe2m4) from Soul of Evil

To recommend some smaller maps I need to give it some more thought. 
is it not obvious the 'classics' tend to get that label because they're the ones that most people feel that way about in the first place? penumbra of domination is still my favourite and that's not because of any pressure from review sites to feel that way (it came direct from, or impossibly hard gameplay. there was only joy in completing that one. i also would have thought hell in a can & moonlight assault were pretty recognised classics...

but assuming this is just a badly worded question asking for understated old maps i'd chip in the following;

bnt/bnt2: bridges & towers
cursed: the occursed
iam1: myworld is yourworld
morbid_2: morbidity 2
solfall: solarfall
shoggoth: chapel shoggoth (probably an acquired taste this one) 
Some more. All mixed up:

ant - Antediluvian
wishes - The Well of Wishes
thehand - The Hand That Feeds You
ne_lend - The Living End
mappi - Red Slammer
fmb_bdg - This Onion
bnt - Bridges & Towers
prodigy_se - Prodigy Special Edition
oms2_2 - Conflagrant Rodent
a3 - The Journey Home
dis_sp6 - Ruined Nation
cjhsp1 - The Katagean Redoubt

and of course Travail and Beyound Belief 
Basically All Excellent- And Nice-rated Maps At Quaddicted 
Neil Manke, Matt Sefton, Fat Controller (e.g. Otranto) 
Going For Older, Non-classic Maps Then 
Anonca Base 3 by Rob Marton - anonca3
Black by J.F. Gustafsson - qblack
Daredevil's Descent / Cryogenic Crypt by Dan Koppel - cryo
Death's Taste by Utah - utah
The Epoch Turning by Andrew Smith - epoch
The Forgotten Level by Anders Persson - tfl
Habeas Corpus by Dan Thibadeau - corpus
King Solomon's Mines by Roger Staines - ksm
Notlob's Moonshot by Steve Clarke - sgc8
The Sacrifice of Flesh by Jonas N.P. Lindstrom - sadlark6

BONUS - The Virtus Episode from Deathmatch Maker retail - review

More can be extracted from: (~) 
Menkalinan had a pretty big impact on me. Februus Depth too. I'd also think that e1m1rmx might be a good map to start someone on. 
you know what would be great? if more people would rate maps (with honest ratings) at quaddicted. 
Yes this is true, but I think you and I need to figure out some system to unlock all your hard work.

In my experience, people are adverse to saying something negative and prone to saying something positive. And I don't think human behavior can be relied upon to change.

I've thought recently that maybe one key to this is figuring out "level complexity class".

Someone new might not be ready for a map with 160 monsters and some puzzles that are mad complex ... regardless of how perfect the brush work is or how much people like the mapper.

Now, I *like* super-hard maps and as an example Masque of the Red Death was something that I viewed as a challenge.

But is that the kind of thing that represents an ideal first experience to Mr. Newboots? It isn't. 
not recommendations of classics?

I don't have the answers. You tell me. I *don't* have the answers.

The Quaddicted database needs to be exploited in a way that makes things easy for someone new to step into single player.

Anything you have to say is of value. 
Feedback And Ratings 
In my experience, people are adverse to saying something negative and prone to saying something positive. And I don't think human behavior can be relied upon to change.

I don't agree with this, I believe it is the way round. How many times have you heard that people want a dislike button on facebook? How often do you hear 'I can't post that comment because someone will get their feelings hurt!' I would love to post constructive criticism on lots of things but it is always seen as 'being negative' instead of 'suck it up and realize this is things you should consider improving!'.

Sites with user rates are worthless, there is no other polite way to say this. Nobody goes to sites for random user ratings, people want a viewpoint by someone they can trust. People read blogs/news sites because they value that persons viewpoint and opinion. User ratings are just background noise, it might as well be a random number generator putting stars at the top of the page!

The best solution is what shambler did with his review site. If someone wants to do quaddicted a good service is get together a group of people and they write a short review of the map. Agreeing on some review standard beforehand might be good but something consistent that can be compared. It maybe a lot of work initially but review the personal favourite 'best of list' first. Produce actual content that is worth reading on a review site.

For this to work it does not need to be amazing reviews either, just a couple of lines by a couple of people, once a week and good sized screenshots instead of the usual micro thumbnails! Someone agree on the map to review that week, make sure the group of people download it, send back their short review, consolidate it, get some nice screenshots and post it. Worthwhile news and something to comment on/discuss. 
i would take that leafguy sp mod

lfsp1,2,3 etc
zied rieke maps
the sgc maps there's something special and oldskoolish
marty's maps erotique, disturb etc
andrew smith's maps 
Hmmm Deathmatch Maker shipped with a full episode named The Virtus Episode?

I never knew this, and definitely never played it. This is good news!!!

Anyone know of a download link for this episode? Moby Games didn't provide any download and I can't find any link on google. 
so I've taken your aim to be great maps that are suitable for newbies to Quake (ie not insanely hard), in alphabetical particular order:

A3 The Journey Home
A Roaming Wildebeest in Spain
Admantium Cruelty
Ambush Keen Pilgrims
Avanipaala Prasaada
Bestial Devastation
Beyond Belief
Breakfast at Twilight
Carved in Flesh
Cassandra Calamity
Castle Koohoo
Contract Revoked
Dark Ritual
Dawn of Eternity
Day of the Lords
Februus Depth
Five Rivers Land
For Love of Evil
Grendel's Keep
Hexameron Phase One
Looming Madness
Lower Forecourt
Moldy Tower
Moonlite Assault
My World is Your World
Once Upon Atrocity
Operation Urth Magic
Penumbra of Domination
Plumbers Dont Wear Ties
Rubicon 2
Ruined Nation
Sick Base
Slave to the Machine
Strength Service Honour
The Altar of Storms
The Living End
The Occursed
The Rest is Silence
The Vertical Mile
This Onion
Time is the Fire
White Room 
Insomnia By CZG 
it's no brainer! 
Thanks Nitin 
I've been sitting around trying to draft up some ideas and test them out. I'm only interested in bothering Spirit for a special request so I'm trying to work through concepts.

And thanks to everyone who has so far participated in this thread. 
What A Difference Once Missing Word Makes ... 
"bothering Spirit for a special request *once*" 
This Actually 
turned out to be a good thread. A few on here I haven't played yet. 
@Kona (and Others Interested) 
Here's an ISO copy of the Deathmatch Maker CD - the episode is located under extras\virtus (with its own progs). I don't have any clue how long this link will last, so I advise you to grab at once (30megs): Here
Would you really want to inflict Ruined Nation on new players? 
I Actually Think 
Coming to that map fresh rather than from a history of expected quake gameplay would be fine. 
it is way too hard. same for some.others on that list imo. 
I'd recommend some of the classics from 1997/1998, which were generally smaller and catered less to the hardcore players, usually.

Shadow Over Innsmouth
Cassandra Calamity (mexx10)
Temple of the Thousand-Faced Moon (ikspq2)
Halls of the Shambler God (ikspq3)
Homecoming (ikspq4)
The Secret Installation (ikspq5)
Beyond Belief
Prodigy SE
Hell in a Can
Rust in Peace
Myworld Is Yourworld
Horror Erotique 
ikspq5 was one of the first custom maps I ever played... I remember really being amazed about the shambler in that huge shipping crate or jumping around on top of the rafters for that armor secret. 
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