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Community Building and User Generated Content Forum

Message Rating Systems
Recommend some good models?

 3:57 pm on Jun 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've built my own forum from scratch and I'd like to add some sort of message rating setup. Can anyone recommend some sites using particularly good ratings systems?



 9:46 pm on Jun 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

All sites I've seen use a +1 or -1 system... (The proverbial thumbs up, thumbs down.) I doubt there is a more effective method... for example a "rate from 1-10" would have little value because everyone's internal numbering varies. (For example, two people may both think "good post" but one assigns that a 7 and the other assigns it a 10.)


 10:53 pm on Jun 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

vBB has a 5-point scale ranging from Excellent to Terrible or similar. I don't a rating tool on any forum right now. It seems like it might set up competition and even mild "rating spamming". Dilemma - should a member be allowed to vote just once on a thread? Say a member gives a thread a low rating and after other 20 posts thinks it pretty good - can he vote again or change his vote?

If I used a rating system, I might want some admin tools to see if any member was rating every thread really low or really high. Maybe voting could be restricted to members with more posts...


 11:17 pm on Jun 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

What's the value added by this function and what's the cost?

I suspect it's value amongst a sophisticated user base is zilch, possibly even a negative.

Amongst the kiddies and those with too much time on their hands it might serve as another way to pass the time on something seemingly important.


 2:27 am on Jun 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks for bringing this up. I'm in the process of implementing this as well. I'll probably use a thumbs up thumbs down method with some admin tools to stop abuse.

Not all forums are the same. Sites like Amazon and Cnet have voting systems on posts. :)


 3:48 am on Jun 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

I kind of like Amazon's "__ found this useful" approach. It's fairly low key and non-intrusive. I think part of my bias against thread rating systems (beyond their kind of judgmental nature) is that a topic page already has a lot going on, and another column with graphics adds to the general clutter. If used responsibly, though, I'm sure it can be helpful to users trying to locate the best threads.


 8:37 am on Jun 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

My software came with a rating system for users and I had to disable it. It was causing hurt feelings and the ratings of users wasn't really accurate anyway. We still have the ratings of threads enabled, but rarely does anyone use it and if they do, people generally ignore it.

I haven't seen a ratings system work well anywhere. I think it's fairly obvious to the average user who is valuable and who isn't.


 3:33 pm on Jun 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

It strikes me that WW's system for creating an index of hot topics might be the best way to go. Avoids negative judgment and puts your best face on for the public.


 3:58 pm on Jun 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Aannaarchy, I'm sure you are right about user ratings - these are even more judgmental and likely to distress people than thread ratings.

There's nothing like good, old hand-selection by a knowledgeable admin to "promote" the topics that are most timely and/or have outstanding content. The downside is that someone has to do it - skim the topics, read a lot of them in detail, add the very best to the list (including editing title & description if needed), etc.


 5:21 pm on Jun 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

It entirely depends on the subject matter of your forum and even more specifically the subject matter of sub-forums. For certain subjects ratings can be helpful others, they are pointless.

User ratings arent something you want to do with the majority of forums. However, there are exceptions, for instance a sports team forum. Ratings can be a way to seperate who 'knows what they are talking about' or who's opinions are respected vs who's arent. They can sometimes make people more accountable for what they post. Using the sports team example, some people will just spout off things without backing them up with evidence while others will back up what they say with some evidence. You can guess who would get a good rating and who would get a bad rating :). Making people accountable for what they post can often have a positive impact on improving the quality of discussion.


 11:14 pm on Jun 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

In a lot of years around a lot of fora, I've found that the ones where a "thumb" rating is implemented are generally "angry" - the hurt feelings (maybe it IS silly, but it's still there for a lot of people) splash over into every little corner.

I'm not at all sure adults should either need or value a system like that.


 7:16 pm on Jun 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Here's a thought: Can you program the 'rating system' so that it only sends votes to the admin, who in turn can use the voting info to feature the thread? Members can save the mod(s) the time and effort of reading all posts all the time by giving the mods a 'heads up'. This approach can have its own imbedded problems, but the problems may be less than the public voting process.

Anyone know of any BBS that offers a mod/add-on like this for admins? A mod that allows votes to be collected and viewed only by the admins?


 4:43 am on Jun 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm sure that most of the boards that have custom mods, would be able to add the feature of sending ratings to an Admin first. But, I'm not sure that would be worth paying for, since it seems like it might waste a lot of your time if you have a large number of users.

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