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Community Building and User Generated Content Forum

    
Marketing News Site Sphinn Kills Voting
Crowds not always wise?
rogerd




msg:4195223
 7:45 pm on Sep 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Even as many sites seek to give their users more input, Sphinn is eliminating voting on stories and will use an editorial selection process instead.

[blog.sphinn.com...]

Danny Sullivan notes that user participation had been declining, in part because of other outlets like Facebook and Twitter.

I have never been active on the site, but as with news sites like Digg it seemed that a core group of high-volume users dominated the promotability of articles on the site. This can be discouraging to "regular" users who might submit a story now and then only to see it languish.

From a community building perspective, though, it's sad to see that the community has been taken out of the picture for story selection. Times are changing.

 

Robert Charlton




msg:4195266
 8:42 pm on Sep 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I wasn't a Sphinn user either. Danny made another point on short post about his reason for the change, though, having to do with how voting can affect community, and I think it's worth noting here....

http://sphinn.com/story/158055/ [sphinn.com]

My emphasis added...
Within a week or two, the voting model will end at Sphinn. Stories can still be submitted, but editors will consider those in addition to others they find. Why? Rather than build community, voting -- an activity which is also in decline -- seems to foster an anti-community "who's winning" atmosphere.

I've seen and experienced the effect of voting in other communities, and I haven't liked it.

rogerd




msg:4195401
 2:41 am on Sep 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

In theory, voting should work in a community with diverse and engaged members. In the real world, though, it seems like cliques and system-gamers tend to take over and dominate the process.

anallawalla




msg:4195431
 6:11 am on Sep 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I too was an occasional visitor to Sphinn but of late I noticed that my submissions were not showing. Lost interest. Work and life also got in the way. :)

rogerd




msg:4195530
 12:21 pm on Sep 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

That was my experience when I tried Digg a few years ago. I thought good content might rise to the top, but what rose to the top was usually something posted by a power user. Often, multiple "nobodies" had posted the same thing, or a close variation, earlier but got no traction. I wasn't motivated enough to try to build a posse of mutual back-scratchers.

wheel




msg:4195552
 1:28 pm on Sep 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

The reason sphinn didn't go and is declining is because of low quality uninteresting content, simple as that.

It's where SEO's go to promote their stuff, the voting was little more than stuffing the ballot box and had nothing to do with content - plenty of good content in the early days didn't make it to the top. Now the good stuff doesn't get submitted as a result. And by removing the ability for SEO's to game the system (by voting) then there's no initiative for them to submit stories.

Best case scenario they think they're going to turn it into a news site. But that's already been done fabulously by rustybrick and some others.

I want, no, I DEMAND the return of threadwatch :).

[edited by: wheel at 1:35 pm (utc) on Sep 2, 2010]

theebbandflow




msg:4195556
 1:33 pm on Sep 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Michael "Graywolf [webmasterworld.com]" Gray talked about this recently and noted Sphinn's low quality offerings.

Would have thought that it's something Danny would have done sooner but as I can imagine, editing a submitted news site is probably a fulltime job of sorts.

I'd like to see Threadwatch again as well. Loved the no-BS approach.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4195837
 11:44 pm on Sep 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

An editorial editing process can be just as corrupt as a voting process.

Relying on automation as much as possible is the best bet however a simple "vote" can't be the only metric anymore. Number of unique visitors and incoming links are a much better metric for gauging page popularity. A combination of everything, automated with a manual final approval, would be best. Sphinn's made the right choice but hopefully they turn it back on with other factors weighing more heavily.

Robert Charlton




msg:4195881
 2:13 am on Sep 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

In theory, voting should work in a community with diverse and engaged members.

An SEO/SEM community on the web might be more driven by self-interest than other types of communities. Michael Gray's article about Sphinn, mentioned by theebbandflow, expresses some strong feelings about this, as you can see from its title....

The SEO Community Ė A Tale of Friends and Scorpions
[wolf-howl.com...]

Itís my belief that, in the long term, you canít maintain an SEO community website without heavy moderation and trusted editors guiding the content. IMHO the best places for this currently is the subscribers section of WebmasterWorld or the paid forum on SEObook.

The Shower Scene




msg:4195927
 5:56 am on Sep 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

In the real world, though, it seems like cliques and system-gamers tend to take over and dominate the process.


An avalanche of training wheel level advice posted by people who were months in the business was getting voted to the top. Most naive were the embarrassing abundance of "TOP TEN LIST" posts. The TOP TEN LIST technique is an ancient and hackneyed SEO technique developed to game digg users and here were these clueless newbs throwing it back at the very SEO community that invented it. It was like 2 girls, 1 cup.

Danny Sullivan made the right choice in killing this. I'm looking forward to a revitalized Sphinn.

Robert Charlton




msg:4195942
 6:58 am on Sep 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

...the embarrassing abundance of "TOP TEN LIST" posts.

I think these lists are a direct result of voting. From the "Feedback Days" discussion about whether to have voting on WebmasterWorld...

Reputation - Thumbs Up - Thumbs Down - Voting Stars
http://www.webmasterworld.com/feedback/4138620.htm [webmasterworld.com]

...Voting distorts why people post and the kinds of posts you get.

You end up with a lot of cutesy 10 Best Ways to Reinvent The Wheel type posts... and the forum can become a lot more cliquish.

wheel




msg:4196640
 9:17 pm on Sep 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Danny Sullivan made the right choice in killing this. I'm looking forward to a revitalized Sphinn.

Too late. It stinks of failure, and that doesn't wash off.

Graywolf's comments are spot on, there are already places doing the job right. He's named two. If you want to see ongoing news articles, heavily moderated but actually done right, that's rustybrick's site - already everything we need there. Which reminds me, I don't read that site often enough.

maximillianos




msg:4196758
 11:45 am on Sep 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

I've been a fan of their newsletter for a few months now. It is mostly handpicked articles. I prefer that over automated/games articles. Which is why I don't subscribe to Digg. :-)

I think it is a good move. Though instead of completely removing it, they should still offer a page showing top user voted stories. Having both will be the best compromise and add the most value.

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