Category: Site Updates
The last news post talked about rating system ideas for the new version of the site. This is an important site feature that I want to include in some form, but as many people have rightly pointed out, the current seven-orb system that we have at the moment is far from ideal.
So the last post was a way of going over my thoughts, and I'm going to describe the idea that I liked the most from it here, so then you can say whether you not it seems like a good approach, or whether I should change aspects of it, or whatever.
Rather than rating comments with a single orb, instead you'd be able to give a positive or negative rating for several criteria, or no rating at all. You'd only give ratings for the criteria that you felt were worth rating, giving as many or few as you felt appropriate.
There'd be six criteria, each represented on the interface by a single letter. They'd be as follows:
U - Usefulness. You'd vote + if you considered the post useful, or - if you considered the vote useless spam.
F - Friendliness. + votes for friendly, understanding, welcoming attitudes, and - for aggressive, hostile attitudes.
E - Engaging. You'd vote + if the post was gripping, amusing, or otherwise entertaining, or - if the post was just dull and hard to trudge through. -E votes would discourage long walls of text and pretentious rambling.
L - Language. - votes for poor grammar, languages other than English, profanity, or even posts that are hard to understand due to poor use of language. + votes could be for particularly well-written things; not just necessarily stuff with pretentiously long words, but something that fluently gets across its message. +L would NOT be awarded for long posts, but -L might be given to posts that were too short.
T - Thought-provoking. + for if the post really made you think or increased your understanding, or - if the post was trite, useless spam or copying or saying nothing new or if it seemed as if the poster hadn't thought about what they were typing at all.
A - Agree or disagree. + means agree and - means disagree.
The interface might look something like this:
(99 U 99) (99 F 99) (99 E 99) (99 L 99) (99 T 99) (99 A 99) O
The ( ) things represent the rounded edges of 'button' things (meaning that the *actual* interface would be graphical rather than crude and text-based like that example), which would have three parts, all of which would be brown or black by default. In the middle would be the letter. The right edge would contain the number of positive votes for that criterion, in green (or grey if there were no votes). It'd highlight green if you moused over it, and if you clicked it, you'd submit a positive vote (refreshing the interface in the process, just like rating a post now). It'd display as green (rather than brown/black) if you'd already voted positive on it. Clicking it once more after you'd already given a positive vote would remove your vote entirely.
The left side would work similarly, except it'd show the number of negative votes and would be red.
Rolling your mouse over the individual parts would show a tooltip explaining things in detail; rolling over the U would make the word 'USEFULNESS' appear, for example, while rolling over the positive side would say 'Vote +U if this post was useful to you', rolling over the negative side would say 'Vote -U if this post is useless spam'. And so on. I wouldn't expect people to memorise the letters or anything!
And of course there'd be a page describing the rating system in detail, probably its own page rather than part of the rules page.
Anyway, it'd be easier to show than explain, but I don't have the time to make an example right now...
The O would represent the overall orb colour for the post.
The post would add up all the values of positives and negatives on it, and then find the ratio of positive to negative; this would determine the orb colour. There'd perhaps be ten orb colours, or maybe even more, in order to show more subtle degrees of difference than we currently have.
Votes for 'Agree' or 'Disagree' would not count towards the total or the orb; they'd be for show only, since disagreeing with a post's ideas doesn't mean there's anything wrong with its form.
Ratings would be public, as they are now. Clicking the orb would show a table that might look sort of like this:
U F E L T A
Person X O O O
Person O O X
(Hmm, it's hard to show that without making an actual table, but maybe you get the idea...)
People would have orbs next to their names - probably - which would be determined by the orbs of all of their posts... There'd no longer be personal ratings on peoples' userpages, though there would be friend lists, and the 'anonymous reviews' I've mentioned a few times (which could be either 'positive' or 'negative', with a ratio shown at the top of the page).
Since there'd be no 'neutral' vote, people would get either positives OR negatives and as such it'd probably be easier to achieve the top orb colour, especially if it represented '90% or greater green-to-red ratio'.
As I mentioned, it'd be possible to rate as few or as many of the criteria as you liked.
You could find a post funny but otherwise unremarkable, so you'd mark it as just +E.
Or you could find one thought-provoking, friendly, but badly-written, so you'd mark it +T +F -L.
Maybe you'd change your mind later and think that it wasn't as friendly as you first thought, so you'd change your rating to simply +T -L.
The point wouldn't be to rate every post with every criteria, but rather to mark posts that you felt were exceptional in a given area with the positive or negative values, like if they actually stood out as being particularly remarkable in that regard. Most posts would be neutral in the friendly or 'engaging' departments, for example, but occasionally you'd see a funny post and mark it +E, or you'd see a post with poor grammar, marking it with -L, or you'd see a post that was particularly friendly given the circumstances, marking it +F.
It has many benefits over the current system.
It'd show WHY people receive the ratings that they receive, and it'd be possible to view peoples' overall posting trends from their profiles by looking at the totals they've got for each category...
I am interested in opinions about it before I actually MAKE anything though, so, uh, yes! Feedback on this would be appreciated!