March 3, 2003 17:24 | WebBlogging

Rate me.

What's all this now?

I've built a proof-of-concept WebBlog rating system for my RowBoat. Visitors (you all!) can rate entries on my weblog by clicking the [+], [=] or [–] symbols below.

The idea:
- Visitors can rate individual weblog entries.
- ratings are "positive" [+], "neutral" [=] or negative [–].
- [+](positive) can symbolise agreement, good feeling, coolness etc
- [–] (negative) .. the opposite.
(Here's the important part:)
- all ratings are compiled into an "OverAll Rating" (at the top right-hand side of the screen). This rating gives an immediate visual indicator of the Weblog's rating; i.e. how the readers of this Weblog regard it.

Read on.

Right, so this is a "proof-of-concept". Sort of. I hacked this up in PHP and just turned it on. IDEALLY, it would need to be integrated with the Comments/Trackback mechanism, as well as have RDF representation in RSS feeds.

I haven't the Perl skillz to do this though. I'd need someone to take up the challenge.

Some issues I encountered during the planning phase:
- privacy/control
- store votes on the entry level or on the vote level.

(Will write more later)


i don't know much about movable type, but now that i know that it's written in perl, i find it kewl

$mypage =~ s/php/perl/g;


Hurrah for perl regexp!

Awesome! Writers crave approval, so I would find this useful on my blog. On the other hand, one does not always want to "sell out" to ratings, does one?

Hi Blork!
The point of the ratings is not for approval, nor will it influence my writing. The ratings are not for my benefit, but for the benefit of the visitors to my site.

By having a quick visual clue of whether my words are favorably (or not) recieved by the community, visitors can gauge their own "trust" in what I have to say.

I need to write an appropriate explanation for it I guess since so far most people think thi sis some sort of popularity poll, which it isn't... ;)

Well, it's an easy assumption to make. Not so much that it's "popularity" as "approval." After all, from a marketing perspective (and these days, what isn't marketing?) a commercial web site would use such a tool for exactly that reason -- to measure approval as one way to know if they're reaching their intended audience in an appropriate way.

No offence, but your explanation sounds a bit silly -- kind of like saying "but honey, I spend all day on the sofa watching football for you!

I, for one, wouldn't rate a blog's "trustworthyness" based on visitor's approval ratings. After all, I don't know who those visitors are.

When you say "recieved by the community," we don't know who that community is, so we don't inherently trust it. After all, the blogosphere is almost as diverse as the population at large. So how does this differ from a lowest-common-demominatorish approval gauge? How do I know you don't have massive approval from 16-year-old private school girls (who come to your blog in droves) but low approval from people like me, because maybe only five people like me visit every day?

You might have a pretty good idea who is reading, but I -- as a hypothetical first time visitor -- do not.

All that to say, it's a fabulous tool -- I'm just questioning your specific reason for using it. As a writer, I don't see anything wrong with getting "approval feedback" because I would interpret that as a measure of the quality of the writing, or how interesting the stories are -- and less about the topic. I would be inclined to rate each post (on my blog), to see if people hate the long posts but like the short ones, or hate the movie reviews but love the food stories.

Changing content to get higher approval ratings is a sell out, but using approval ratings to guage what's working and what isn't might not be. Oh crap, now I'm talking about me again...

6- Boris Anthony

Hm. Excellent point and one I had thought of at the onset of development. I opted to go the anonymous route for privacy reasons, but the idea was always that this sort of rating system should be incorporated into the Comments and PingBack mechanisms (thus not anonymous).

But yeah, you hit the nail on the head... back to the drawing board... :)

Totally agree with Boris).