I'm wanting to add the potential for positive voting on threads February 21, 2003 1:41 PM   Subscribe

So I'm wanting to add the potential for positive voting on threads, so people can vote [this is good] and then others can view the best stuff from the past few days. I'm having some issues with the display side of things though [more inside]
posted by mathowie (staff) to Feature Requests at 1:41 PM (159 comments total)

The interface for voting will be simple, basically just a [this is good] or "recommend this post to others" link that will let each user vote only once on stuff they liked.

The difficult part is the visualization of that data (which will be off by default, mind you). I'm not a big fan of closely attaching numbers to it, as I don't think they tell the whole story, nor should things be compared side-by-side. I don't care if 34 people liked this thread, but I care that this was the 3rd highest rated thing today, or that it was recommended 5x more than any other post.

Essentially, I'd like to see threads with ratings in a general context, that say there were 5 levels total, the first being unrated, and the highest being "best. thing. ever.", with the stages in between being a moving target (maybe 4 positive votes moves you up a tier early on, but six months from now it takes 20 votes to do the same).

Anyway, I've been planning to this for months by providing the identical view of metafilter's default sort, but with higher contrast applied to higher rated posts. I did an experiment (screenshot) with three levels total, but it's far too subtle. The screenshot shows everything unrated except for a couple posts, one is an intermediate level, and one is set to the current site colors (brightest white and yellowest links).

I'm not a fan of interface junk, so I'm wondering what other options could be employed to show people in a non-instrusive way that something has is good and is maybe a highest tier post, or 2nd to highest tier post. Again, I don't want to do numbers, as it's just junk, I prefer colors or some tiny iconic reference, but I'm out of ideas.

I don't want to simply do a "order by highest vote" because you're likely to miss unrated gems at the bottom of the pile and I don't find the all-time sorts like at metafilter remixed useful (I'd prefer if they were a running total of voted posts in the past week or something).

So any serious ideas of how to display a thread's level of quality, without interfering on the interface?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:41 PM on February 21, 2003


What if:

The default view was set to merely leaving the chronological order with vote totals additional as metadata.

A "sort by" pull down menu offered a filter by vote threshold as defined in your user prefs. I'd still maintain a chronological sort here because of the way most people read MeFi.
posted by machaus at 1:46 PM on February 21, 2003


I think a simple, tasteful icon next to the post - maybe a star, or dot, would work nicely. [this is good] would be the ALT tag. Different colors would suffice for different tiers.. kind of like eBay (*faints*)
posted by PrinceValium at 1:47 PM on February 21, 2003


You mean like Homeland Security Alert colors? [/obvious joke]

I would suggest a binary system of just [Good/Bad]. If it gets a positive total, then good. If negative, Bad.
posted by Stan Chin at 1:47 PM on February 21, 2003


How about simply changing the colours of the (currently yellow) hyperlinks within the post according to a graded scale?
posted by gravelshoes at 1:50 PM on February 21, 2003


How about simply changing the colours of the (currently yellow) hyperlinks within the post according to a graded scale?

not very accessible design.
posted by machaus at 1:52 PM on February 21, 2003


The contrast idea is really cool. But I'm afraid it will make the front page "wrong"... randomly cloudy? Isn't the popularity or the quality of a FPP usually reflected in the level of participation in the thread. I know that's not an absolute. But I'm having a hard time imagining that any particular post being voted for dramatically more than the amout of comments in the resulting thread. The interesting twist is, to me, sometimes the discussion is sometimes better then the post itself. So I'm wondering what the ultimate goal of a rating system here would be.

on preview: I like machaus' idea. And to question Stan Chin... would a "bad" post eventually delete itself, say after 50%+ bad votes of a total 100 votes (for example)?
posted by Witty at 1:54 PM on February 21, 2003


Quick ideas:

Keep the view the same. Implement the contrast idea using rollover colors- but make the contrast more noticable, since its only rollovers.

Small unobtrusive icons at the bottom, with poster and post time. Icons might not be necessary for the unrated posts.

Keep the look the same. Create a box kinda like the sidebar that lists the top N rated posts of the day.

Use the BLINK tag and some animated GIFs for all the best posts. Or maybe not.
posted by gsteff at 1:54 PM on February 21, 2003


First let me say I was ecstatic to see my post in the screenshot, then dismayed to find that in mathowie's fantasy, it didn't get any votes. Waaaa!

But to the task at hand, I like that rollover idea. It's a little oppressive being instantly faced with such an all-encompassing visual hierarchy as posts in several different levels of contrast. With the rollover, people can still start with the "classic" MetaFilter look, but mouseover to their heart's content to see which posts rate most.
posted by soyjoy at 2:01 PM on February 21, 2003


How about setting the font colors between red and blue?

So the top rated post is #0000FF, and anything with zero ratings is #FF0000. Everything else is colored on a scale based on it's rating.

So a post with a [this is good] count half way between the best and zero would be #FF00FF.

Thus the colors would change through out the day. Something might be best (blue) in the morning, but it would slowly change to violet as something better got posted. That gives you a scale which is constant, and you'd be able to instantly see what people liked.

Also sounds like a processor hog.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:05 PM on February 21, 2003


I'm with gsteff

and the contrast idea is really cool
posted by matteo at 2:05 PM on February 21, 2003


I'm just not crazy about having to mouse over things to get more info. It reminds me of interface hells like quicktime. Shading seems too difficult for a new member to grasp, let alone myself after a couple beers. Integers are simple.
posted by machaus at 2:06 PM on February 21, 2003


I like the rollover idea too. Hopefully one of the roll-over colors wouldn't be one that make me feel like I'm cross-eyed. Blue is a tough color to contrast other colors with.
posted by Witty at 2:07 PM on February 21, 2003


I vote against a total mouseover approach - that would require you to actually look and see what "rating" a post currently had. How about a horizontal "thermometer" at the bottom of each post, with rising scales of color going from left to right as the [this is good] value increases? I know it sounds a lot like the daypop top 40 look, but there doesn't have to be any visible explanation or cues other than the thermometer, which would keep the rating unobtrusive. A fuller explanation, i.e., "based on members' votes over the last x hours, this post has become one of the top y posts of the last week and one of the top z posts of the last year" maybe could come up on mouseover.
posted by yhbc at 2:12 PM on February 21, 2003


Without hacking up some demos of my own I can think of a few other areas to play with... none jump out at me as perfect:

margins: "top" posts stick out to the left more (pro: easy to scan con:may be distracting)

font size: have a gradual change of font size from like 9 or 10px and up

font size/rollovers: have lower posts in a smaller font size that becomes more readable on rollover (this can work for your initial faded/opacity idea as well)

that's all i can come up with without completely changing the layout or adding silly extras like little star graphics
posted by 10sball at 2:14 PM on February 21, 2003


posted by DoublePostGuy at 12:00 PM EST - [|][|][] - 3 comments (3 new)
For a 2/3 rating. Of course the bar would be an image for better integrating.
posted by riffola at 2:21 PM on February 21, 2003


That should be integration not integrating. Sorry about that, I'm falling sick. I need to go to bed.
posted by riffola at 2:23 PM on February 21, 2003


I like riffola's suggestion. I was going to make one close to it. It's unobtrusive, easy to distinguish and serves the purpose.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:29 PM on February 21, 2003


Just to reiterate some details from previous discussions I left out.

- there will only be positive voting. You like something? vote. Hate it? Ignore it.

- you are voting as "this thread is good and I recommend it to others" which covers a good link or a good discussion, or both.

- there are lots of examples in the past of really good links that didn't spark any discussion but they're still amazing sites worth checking out. People using number of comments as a guide have missed them

I don't want to just tack on +25 or +4 or +54 to a thread, because it's unnecessary junk. I'm looking for an elegant solution. I think the contrast idea is great as an idea, in reality it's too subtle to get the point across. I'm looking for an elegant way to express the idea that "this thread has been recommended by others" and that it may be one of several levels of recommendation strength.

I'm looking for something slick, something that conveys all that information in a very small area, without cluttering things up. Think color bars. Think icons that represent each level. Think of the daypop tick marks below each link (that actually might be something worth using).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:29 PM on February 21, 2003


We can borrow something from TiVo and use thumbs up or like Matt mentioned a tick mark.
1 thumbs up/tick = This is good
2 thumbs up/ticks = This is very good
3 thumbs up/ticks = This is what MeFi is all about.
posted by riffola at 2:34 PM on February 21, 2003


I kind of like the way the original sample makes the good posts pop from the page more -- but it seems to imply "this is bad" about the unrated posts, not "this is good" about the others.

Perhaps instead of changing the color of the whole post, you could have some block of color to one side which would vary similarly but more pronounced. (many good votes == white; no votes == same as background color) Something like this but not as sucky. Maybe a smaller horizontal bar in the same line as "posted by" instead of a complete sidebar. That'd let you vary the colors more without the "bad" posts being unreadable, and would let you use a continuous color scale instead of having to break it up into three or four tiers (and without having to use colors that would be too glaring or out of place.)
posted by ook at 2:40 PM on February 21, 2003


i think a simple and elegant graphic for this kind of thing would the stereo/equalizer LED light, with a slope rise from one to five. secondary idea would be a simple knob that is turned (like a volume knob).
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 2:41 PM on February 21, 2003


single/double/triple thumbs up could work, and I could just move the threshold as appropriate over time. In the early days the cutoffs might be 5 votes for 1 thumb, 20 for 2 thumbs, and 50 for three thumbs, and double those amounts later on.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:47 PM on February 21, 2003


How about a combination of code and css? Have the story's div change background color for a great post. It could be a few shades brighter than the normal MeFi colors or perhaps reverse it out like the white/basic option.
posted by mkelley at 2:52 PM on February 21, 2003


I'm looking for something slick

How about our beloved mascot, the bunny with a pancake on his head that was animated. The number of pancakes stacked on its head would tell you the +votes, or even the number of jumps it makes going below a post. But remebering he is now our, beloved and not knowing how much work is involved, I'll slide back into my hole.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:54 PM on February 21, 2003


secondary idea would be a simple knob that is turned (like a volume knob).

That goes to 11, of course.
posted by Witty at 2:56 PM on February 21, 2003


I like 10sball's idea of using font size, but that might mess with the CSS of the site a bit more than necessary. What about a bar like this in the posted line?
posted by me3dia at 3:06 PM on February 21, 2003


Meant to include that the bar would display the level -- in my example, 2 out of 5 -- that the post had attained.

Slick enough for you?
posted by me3dia at 3:10 PM on February 21, 2003


er, on mouseover, that is. Jeez, I need to go eat something.
posted by me3dia at 3:15 PM on February 21, 2003


How about a dot that grows in size from 1 (teeny, or even nonexistant) to 5 (relatively hearty spot), as with population centers on maps?
posted by redfoxtail at 3:20 PM on February 21, 2003


using shades of colour or fonts or text size will block text-only browsers, people with poor eyesight, or those with their own colour scheme that overrides the default, and will likely be buggy in many browsers (font size especially)

**** swamp thing endorses this post
posted by holloway at 3:28 PM on February 21, 2003



posted by crunchland at 3:38 PM on February 21, 2003


Would a passive voting system based on number of views by any good? (I know, popularity doesn't mean that it's good, but neither does a vote, so it's the same thing).
posted by holloway at 3:43 PM on February 21, 2003


by=be
posted by holloway at 3:45 PM on February 21, 2003


I think I'm with mkelley on the background color idea. Not too different of a change, but a subtle, darker blue, perhaps? And then perhaps a number of pips for the actual rating.
posted by angry modem at 3:47 PM on February 21, 2003


I think negative voting is a better solution. Like, a scale of one to ten with five as the starting value. Otherwise, posts that aren't necessarily bad get devalued if no one reads them. The bar would still work, if you just take the average rating.

A way to see who reccomended the thread might be nice, like, on a seperate page.

To avoid page clutter, maybe we could make the rating a part of the comments dhtml title tag? That seems like a good place for it.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 3:54 PM on February 21, 2003


mathowie: "- there are lots of examples in the past of really good links that didn't spark any discussion but they're still amazing sites worth checking out. People using number of comments as a guide have missed them"

"single/double/triple thumbs up could work, and I could just move the threshold as appropriate over time. In the early days the cutoffs might be 5 votes for 1 thumb, 20 for 2 thumbs, and 50 for three thumbs, and double those amounts later on."

Wouldn't we still have the problem that posts with few comments will be obscured? Start an Iraq war and you're sure to get 15 or 20 votes out of the 9 comments. Make this post and you may only get five votes.

So, could you divide vote totals/votes for an average? That way a post that only attracts five comments and five votes gets a score of 100 (5/5) and a post that gets 50 comments and 10 votes gets a score of 20.

I'm just trying to not lose in the crowd the posts that didn't spark discussion.
posted by ?! at 3:54 PM on February 21, 2003


15 or 20 votes out of the 90 comments


I would prefer a text mark of some sort, but if an icon is required than one like cruchland's.

Or a "pie circle" that is more complete the higher the vote.

Some could call it a pancake circle I suppose.
posted by ?! at 3:59 PM on February 21, 2003




Whatever you come up with, Matt, could you leave a straight chronological viewing option too? I actually enjoy the unedited newsfeed format as it stands, and don't have as much of a need to filter out the "not-so-hot" threads as some of the others here.
posted by sheauga at 4:18 PM on February 21, 2003


Whatever you come up with, Matt, could you leave a straight chronological viewing option too? I actually enjoy the unedited newsfeed format as it stands

from the first comment here:

"The difficult part is the visualization of that data (which will be off by default, mind you)." (emphasis added)
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:22 PM on February 21, 2003


Images and color changes would make the site look crowded and patchy, respectively. Plus, as someone pointed out, it doesn't work for people with text browsers. I think the best thing is basically machaus' first suggestion:

Add 2 options to the "sort by" pulldown menu.

The first would let you sort by "approval" and have it rank the posts strictly by how many people have said they liked them. The second would let you keep the chronological order of posts, but would only display those posts which have passed a certain arbitrary threshold of approval, which you'd have to figure out.

This allows people to sort by both priority and discretion.

... just not at the same time. ha ha.

Still, please don't add graphics to every post on the front page. One of the things I admire about Metafilter's design is the lack thereof.
posted by Hildago at 4:26 PM on February 21, 2003


Hildago, if you don't want extraneous graphics on the front page (I don't either), tell me how I could possibly convey the same information without a small icon/meter/ or something to that effect.

I'm thinking there will be two ways to view the data.

1. a new preference on the customize page to "display positive votes on the front page" which would add the inline graphics, otherwise they would not be shown.

2. a drop down to order by highest rated for the past number of days you have set to show on the front page.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:33 PM on February 21, 2003


go with the contrast idea, but stick at three levels. imho, three levels is enough for any useful classification system (bitter experience of writing logging interfaces springs to mind): good, crap and in-between.

five levels is too much, especially if you're using some kind of dynamic normalisation. just cut them into thirds by popularity.

and the contrast thing is cool. looks like a neat original idea. it's simple, clear obvious. it lets pages be ranked by posting order and shows ratings (i want both at once - who doesn't?). go with it!

what do your stats say about text only browser levels? i bet they're negligable. ignore them!
posted by andrew cooke at 5:12 PM on February 21, 2003


If not graphics files, how about ansi characters? alt-0149, for example.
•••
posted by crunchland at 5:30 PM on February 21, 2003


Are you looking for day-by-day ranking, rather than an absolute ranking (e.g. x votes = y rating -- the eBay system)?

Use one to three stars, little gifs at the end of a posted-by line.

Three stars = highest-rated post of that calendar date.
Two stars = 2nd- to 5th-highest-rated posts.
One star = received more than n positive votes -- at least two, so that a poster can't automatically kick his/her own post into the ratings system?

Possibly more stars for very high rated posts overall, regardless of date?

Four stars = highest-rated post of the week?
Five stars = highest-rated post of the month?

Rereading Matt's post above, it seems as though I'm reflecting back what he said in the first place.

Using stars is unambiguous as a means of ranking (eBay, Amazon etc.), and number of stars (rather than colours) is clear in its implication and is friendly to the colour-blind.

The icon should be a link to the rating system, the way that [trackback] takes you to an explanation of the trackback system.
posted by mcwetboy at 5:38 PM on February 21, 2003


This might be stupid, but how about adding the "recommended posts" on the drop down menu along with "most recently commented on" etc.?
posted by konolia at 5:47 PM on February 21, 2003


What about just a simple thumbs up or thumbs down, or a plus and minus?

I'd like to see someone to tag posts as being perhaps being not quite fpp worthy, and maybe after a certain threshold, they get dropped. That would help get rid of a lot of unfortunate posts without requiring any power-wielding moderators.

Bad posts will tend to drop off the front page, and good posts will tend to stick around. Just the fact that the posts have the potential to get dumped if they're weak would help encourage better posting on the community I think.
posted by oissubke at 5:52 PM on February 21, 2003


A tiny square block that's colored red, yellow or green before the start of every post would do it for me. Doesn't need an image.
posted by wackybrit at 6:05 PM on February 21, 2003


How about the favicon? Use the MFs to indicate the post's MeFi worthiness. It can be done using css too.

posted by DoublePostGuy at 12:00 PM EST - MFMFMF - 3 comments (3 new)
posted by riffola at 6:08 PM on February 21, 2003


Multiple plusses?

posted by mcwetboy at 6:21 PM PST - 4 comments (4 new) | 1 tb | +++
posted by mcwetboy at 6:22 PM on February 21, 2003


links in different colours depending on popularity of thread?
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:24 PM on February 21, 2003


Using different colours would be problematic for text-based browsers and colour-blind readers, and might mess up if different styles are applied.
posted by mcwetboy at 6:30 PM on February 21, 2003


just stick the word 'iraq'
on a poor thread.
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:39 PM on February 21, 2003


Wouldn't 1 to 3 exclamation marks between the date and the number of comments suffice?
Simple and they'd work well in both the regular and plain text themes, not to mention text only browsers...
posted by friedrice at 6:47 PM on February 21, 2003


I'm sure joeclark will correct me if I get this wrong, but I think that "!!!" won't be spoken to as "exclamation mark exclamation mark exclamation mark" by most screen readers. They'll speak the preceding line with more intensity (in the same way, they don't speak "full stop", they just pause).
posted by holloway at 6:59 PM on February 21, 2003


I just want to say that I hope, if it is not too difficult, that any changes made to the front page will be optional; I have been reading mefi for awhile and could not bear to have it changed much, Also I think opinions differ greatly and there are no absolutely "good" or "bad" post (ok maybe some few bad ones) but it is mainly a matter of opinion.
If there are to be markings next to posts I recommend something unobtrusive like the plus sign suggestion.
Thanks for the work Matt.
posted by ac at 7:41 PM on February 21, 2003


I think, perhaps the star system (max of 4, or whatever) would work for this new feature.

Also, a quick question...will the quality of post factor, once implemented, be displayed on a user's page? For example, will there be a table listing: 4 star posts - 27%, 3 star posts - 34%, and so on...

My $.02
posted by JaxJaggywires at 7:53 PM on February 21, 2003


Also, a quick question...will the quality of post factor, once implemented, be displayed on a user's page? For example, will there be a table listing: 4 star posts - 27%, 3 star posts - 34%, and so on...

I think the focus really needs to stay on providing MetaFILTER. That veers dangerously close to MetaHIGHSCHOOL.
posted by machaus at 8:41 PM on February 21, 2003


Red tomato for good, green tomato for bad?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:43 PM on February 21, 2003


Howzabout a 1-4 mathowiecupid rating system?
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:23 PM on February 21, 2003


A couple ideas:

- Two-line drop caps for 'good' posts

- Bulleted posts, with standard font-based bullets

These have the advantage of not adding annoying graphics. They are both binary rather than indicating levels of goodness, but I think that would work better; personally I wouldn't pay much attention to the difference between a 45-vote and 55-vote post.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 10:35 PM on February 21, 2003


I like the plus signs, and konolia's suggestion to include recommended posts as a "view by" option in the pull-down.
posted by taz at 10:41 PM on February 21, 2003


I read metafilter in light mode always. Contrast changes would have to be shown differently there, I guess. I prefer the text character idea--the plus signs seem just right to me. Everything you need, no graphics to load, works on all browsers, etc.
posted by tss at 11:25 PM on February 21, 2003


Singin' : "...this is good good good, this is bad bad, this might be o-ffensive..."

Oh, sorry, wrong site.

Ditto on the textual thing - [+][+][+] or +++ or something of the kind (as suggested above) - would probably be just jim-dandy, even though it would add an extra bit of cruftiness.

That veers dangerously close to MetaHIGHSCHOOL.

On first glance, I agreed with machaus there, I actually think (even if it's only privately viewable on your profile page) that tracking the approval rating of a users posts might make for some positive reinforcement.

Two possible minor problems, though. It would have to be a percentage rather than a total, as it might encourage people to make Too Many Posts. It might also encouage the "King of The Shitpile" syndrome that Matt has worried about in the past - that is, that human nature is such that some people might actively try for the worst cumulative 'rating' possible, just to be annoying. Still, as a percentage [this is good] indicator on your profile (private or not), I don't think it'd be as worrisome a possibility as it might be for the proposed 'bad thread graveyard' that originally gave birth to the worry.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:42 PM on February 21, 2003


Er, should be : ...but on further consideration, I actually think...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:43 PM on February 21, 2003


contrast is visually confused i think, they make the design look messy. plus signs like mcwetboy said look clean and i think would fit in the current style the best, i also like this bar though. (as an aside it took me a few seconds to re-find that on a quick scan of this thread, so it doesn't stand out too much.)
posted by rhyax at 12:03 AM on February 22, 2003


How about:
0 votes =
1 vote = +
4 votes = ++
9 votes = !
16 votes = !+
25 votes = !++
36 votes = !!
49 votes = !!+
64 votes = !!++
81 votes = !!!
I'm sure there is some simple formula for computing those segmentors. ;-P
posted by mischief at 12:12 AM on February 22, 2003


Just a quickie idea, using css. Red, yellow, green.

But then come to think of it, I guess red as the default colour doesn't make any damn sense, does it?

Crap. Too late now, I gotta go out, but you see what I was getting at, I guess...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:34 AM on February 22, 2003


I really like konolia's idea, personally. Don't change the visual layout of the front page at all, just add another sort feature, which would sort the posts by "this is good" rating, without actually giving away the numbers involved.
posted by walrus at 1:08 AM on February 22, 2003


i like 10sball's idea with the different levels of indent, it's subtle while at the same time being, as (s?)he says easy to scan.

shouldn't be too tough to code something to chomp leading tabs/spaces so that people can't cheat.

but i might be biased since i run a fairly high resolution so screen real-estate isn't a big issue for me.
posted by juv3nal at 2:33 AM on February 22, 2003


One problem with 'sort': it eats processor time in a 'greater than linear' manner (just trying to keep it in layman's terms).
posted by mischief at 2:49 AM on February 22, 2003


O(n*log(n)), yes I know but hadn't considered it. Different sorts are already offered though, and since this one isn't based on user info it may be possible to do a sort every five minutes or more, and use the static results in between times. A visual cue for those who want it is still a good idea too, but I don't have any better ideas than those already discussed. I do like Matt's idea of not showing the actual numbers though. Then it doesn't become a competition.
posted by walrus at 3:02 AM on February 22, 2003


Additionally, I would prefer a running total of voted posts in the past week or something to an all-time search as well.
posted by walrus at 3:04 AM on February 22, 2003


and a pony.
posted by crunchland at 4:22 AM on February 22, 2003


the pluses are the best. (mcwetboy's suggestion)
posted by kv at 5:56 AM on February 22, 2003


I like the look of some of the star-rating graphics (like this one), but I don't think they would be easy to use when scanning the front page.

Here's a mockup of a page that uses four levels of indentation -- none for normal posts, 20 pixels over for rank 1, 40 pixels over for rank2, and 60 pixels over for rank 3. I think it makes the rated posts distinct without changing the character of the site too much.
posted by rcade at 5:59 AM on February 22, 2003


Hmm, I don't think that works, it makes it look like a threaded discussion.
posted by Orange Goblin at 6:04 AM on February 22, 2003


is this too subtle?
posted by crunchland at 6:29 AM on February 22, 2003


is this too subtle?

Perhaps the best one yet.

Though personally I'm still rooting for a "drop off the front page" point of negative votes, so that MeFites can moderate the site themselves, and Matt would be freed to do things other than babysit the site. Because no person would have more than a single vote, only posts generally recognized as being lame would get dropped.
posted by oissubke at 7:35 AM on February 22, 2003


How about: have only three levels of distinction on the front page - good (say, +10 and up), average (-10 to +10), bad (-10 and under) (you'd need a [this is bad] as well as [this is good] for this method to work). Average posts stay as-is. Bad posts get a significantly darker font colour so they stand out less. Good posts get a darker background colour so they stand out more. Put all the voting info inside the thread, not on the front page.
posted by rory at 7:48 AM on February 22, 2003



posted by quonsar at 8:18 AM on February 22, 2003


crunchland's idea is perfect.
posted by ac at 8:23 AM on February 22, 2003


$0.01 - only one vote per user per day (we want to think before voting).
$0.01 - use an average method to calculate the rating (i.e. 7 votes out of 46 total votes in the last day/week) Thus, there is no need to update the formula.
posted by MzB at 8:28 AM on February 22, 2003


Not sure that I like the left text indents.

I think the best choice would be to slightly increase top and bottom margin on the post DIVs. This way competing content gets pushed slightly out of the way, and the good posts sit on their own a little bit more. The benefit here is that a first time visitor doesn't need to understand whatever esoteric grading indicator you develop -- their eyes will just naturally go to the good stuff since it will stand out from the others.

It is graphical, which I understand you're looking to avoid, but a very light 1 pixel left (or top/bottom) border would be a good way to call attention to a post. Playing with contrast in the way that is displayed may be easier than working with the text like you were thinking.

Building off your contrast idea, and some of the termometer ideas how about something like: 0 comments 0 comments 0 comments?
posted by willnot at 8:31 AM on February 22, 2003


Just for fun, I decided to make a mockup of what I suggested earlier, just to give an idea of what I was talking about. I did two variations in the CSS, called Copy1 & Copy3. Copy1 might be a bit much, but it does stand out.

I do like Crunchland's very subtle dotted indicators. Very cool.
posted by mkelley at 8:44 AM on February 22, 2003


I'd go with crunchland's suggestion, but use pluses instead of the dots, and maybe move the indicator to the "posted by" side of the line.
posted by riffola at 8:47 AM on February 22, 2003


This will just end up being a way for a lot of members to vote against people they don't like, whether the post in question is good or not.
posted by zarah at 9:05 AM on February 22, 2003


This will just end up being a way for a lot of members to vote against people they don't like, whether the post in question is good or not.

Matt said earlier that there will only be positive voting. There is no cabal.
posted by machaus at 9:12 AM on February 22, 2003


How about Galaga pips?


posted by angry modem at 9:15 AM on February 22, 2003


This would work. riffolas' small MF logo.
posted by JohnR at 9:22 AM on February 22, 2003


Matt said earlier that there will only be positive voting. There is no cabal.

Doh! I hate missing something pertinent like that, but damn this is a long thread. At any rate even positive votes only still leaves room for favoritism doesn't it? Maybe I'm just bridling at the idea because I'm a recent high school escapee and this smacks of, well, high schoolishness.
posted by zarah at 9:28 AM on February 22, 2003


I like crunchlands dots, if not the earlier thermometer/daypop ticks.

Otherwise, the riffola mini-logos, as they reinforce Mefi's site ID. I suspect the max no. of dots or 'mefis' needs to be more than three, tho.

Both are elegant, straightforward and positive. Dunno how much extra coding is involved, hope it's not too much.

Also a general point: like kids behaviour, we need to ignore/disengage with the inappropriate, as well as reward the appropriate.
posted by dash_slot- at 9:35 AM on February 22, 2003


I like the plusses or the dots, but I'd hope that they're in the same faded-grey as the unimportant text in the by-line. I'd like them to not distract from the actual content.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:43 AM on February 22, 2003


I vote dot or tiny plus. Minimal, unobtrusive, and elegant.
posted by iconomy at 9:49 AM on February 22, 2003


I do like Crunchland's very subtle dotted indicators.

from IE on Mac they look like an a with circumflex, a euro symbol, and a cents symbol. Which is fine, just letting you know...

but damn this is a long thread

partly because people keep suggesting things that have already been suggested :) (like the sort feature - it was suggested in the 2nd comment, but like three people after that came up with it all over again...)
posted by mdn at 9:53 AM on February 22, 2003


The indenting feature has little or no value for screen readers. I like crunchland's design but I'd like to see it represented on a scale of one to ten. Maybe total number of votes divided by ten. Please put it on a separate line, it would look cleaner on low resolution displays if the information was set on two lines:

posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:59 on September 30
100 comments | 10 tb | ••••••••••

That way supercoolmegausernames would not generate a break in the flow of information. Title or alt tags could be used to support screen readers and any color could be used.
posted by yonderboy at 10:00 AM on February 22, 2003


(Just throwing some thoughts out:)

A variation on the background-color idea -- sort of like the indent idea, too -- would be box-shadows under each post; the better the post's rating, the taller the shadow.

Any sort of noticeable, visual variation between posts on the front page is going to make the page inevitably look clunkier, though. It might be interesting to have options between the formatting being off, on, and on-mouseover; especially if you could switch between the styles by selecting an option on the front page. (That might also be a way to get away with more radical differences between how different-level posts are displayed, one from another.)
posted by mattpfeff at 10:08 AM on February 22, 2003


Something like the flying cupids, only maybe llike that Simpsons couch gag with the elephants and chorus line.
posted by y2karl at 10:17 AM on February 22, 2003


just another note -- anything that has to do with CSS and/or formatting [indents, color changes, etc] besides being tough for text-only folks [or simple stylesheet users like myself - I just want a B&W mefi myself] will also just open the door to people formatting their posts to look like they were part of this group, a la the "posted by ______" fakery we've seen.

I think something that happens in the "posted by" line [plusses, little dots, a little icon that does not rely on a subtle color shift] is the most workable solution, and least jarring. Adding this option to the pulldown would be super as well. Keeping an icon that is already associated with mefi [bunnies, pancakes, the MF logo] is better than some new geegaw. Any mouseover stuff will probably prove to be as controversial as the little pop-up boxes that were tried out last week. On the experiment page in the first comment, with my crappy monitor, I can't even really see the difference in the posts FWIW.
posted by jessamyn at 10:32 AM on February 22, 2003


I'm not sure I can deal with this, good idea that it may be.

Do I have to remember now to rate all the posts I like, so they get the credit they deserve? What if I see a new post-er with potential who does a so-so post; Do I need to rate the post 'good' to encourage that post-er to keep it up? Will I give out good ratings out of pity, too?

If I don't rate posts at all, am I doing a disservice to the posts I really enjoy? I feel pressure now rate posts, and so there's less chance I'll do it at all...

And what about my own occasional posts? I know from experience that, if I think I'm being "rated," I will only rebel. I'll ignore the whole rating system as if it doesn't exist and concentrate only on doing my own thing.

Sorry, folks, I think I'm a little too neurotic for this whole concept. I may just pretend this isn't happening at all...
posted by Shane at 10:37 AM on February 22, 2003


What's going to be funny is when we discover that the majority of Metafilter really does like Iraq posts, or seems that way because due to the nature of political people they're more inclined to vote, while the other 'interesting' posts will hardly get any votes at all because we're all too lazy. Trust me it's going to happen.
posted by Stan Chin at 10:52 AM on February 22, 2003


Can the trackback info (number of trackbacks) on front page posts go away in order to reduce clutter? I'm just wondering if TB semaphores really add value when we're worrying about a more important function adding too much cruft.
posted by machaus at 11:06 AM on February 22, 2003


I take I'm alone in thinking...

"It ain't broke, so don't fix"?

Hell, why not just re-name the place Metaslashshin? The goof-ball crap posts are part of MeFi's charm.

You don't like a crap post? Ignore it. Simple.

Just my 2penneth
posted by metaxa at 11:16 AM on February 22, 2003


from IE on Mac they look like an a with circumflex, a euro symbol, and a cents symbol.

Ok, so instead of •••, how about ···?

that's ·, bolded. I'm pretty sure that's not a forbidden ansi character.

Alternatively, how about ¤¤¤? That's ¤.
posted by crunchland at 11:25 AM on February 22, 2003


Or ••• (•)
posted by riffola at 11:28 AM on February 22, 2003


I'd give riffola's posts the biggest bull rating I could.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 11:30 AM on February 22, 2003


i'm with shane on the personal neuroses that may develop over ratings. i'll probably ignore the feature altogether, not to be contrary but because it will just be another time consumer. yet somewhere in the dark recesses of my brain there will be a little voice nagging me that i'm being a bad girl by not voting - i already feel guilty that i can't be bothered doing fpps. i love love love reading this site; i don't want to waste reading time commenting, voting, etc.

of course i do care how things look so dammit, go with the tidy classy little dots as displayed above.
posted by t r a c y at 11:51 AM on February 22, 2003


I'm with Machaus about Backtrack. I like crunchland ickle dots. Although I would prefer Matt's shading idea. Beautiful.
posted by feelinglistless at 12:06 PM on February 22, 2003


If you've gotta display the "rating" of a post visually (and I don't see why that's necessary), Crunchland's dot scheme is the best. You want small and unobtrusive, but unmistakable if you know what you're looking for.

I still say just sort them by the rating invisible, but let people sort by rating if they want to. The difference between two and three dots is totally arbitrary, so why even give us the information? Just keep all that hidden, and you've got no display issues anymore.
posted by Hildago at 12:37 PM on February 22, 2003


... I still say just keep the rating invisible, but let people sort by rating if they want to. (I don't know what happened with that sentence)
posted by Hildago at 12:39 PM on February 22, 2003


What's going to be funny is when we discover that the majority of Metafilter really does like Iraq posts, or seems that way because due to the nature of political people they're more inclined to vote, while the other 'interesting' posts will hardly get any votes at all because we're all too lazy. Trust me it's going to happen.

Bravo. I seriously thought I was the only person in this entire discussion who actually thought that too. Stan is completely right. No offense whatsoever to the work and intentions Matt has put so much effort into, but this thread is basically a discussion about a method of voting that going to be found innefective within an hour of implementing it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:41 PM on February 22, 2003


a method of voting that going to be found innefective within an hour of implementing it.

Bullshit. Look at the metafilter remixed output and count how many highly rated mentions of iraq there are.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:55 PM on February 22, 2003


I would would just like to add my support for Crunchland's dotted indicators idea.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:05 PM on February 22, 2003


Please dont' sound so offended, Matt, like I said I wasn't trying to instill that. But I agree with Stan with the filtering problems in regards to the "IraqFilter" issue.. You said in an earlier post about the option of displaying and sorting by popularity; I think that's not going to work as well as you think because A. people are, by sheer volume of interest, going to vote favorably for Iraq-related threads, B. The interest of a lot of people in "political" threads is going to dissuade them from wanting to filter out any places where comments made against them will be unavailable... in other words, there's a lot of people here insistant of making sure they get the last word in a political thread.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:11 PM on February 22, 2003


people are, by sheer volume of interest, going to vote favorably for Iraq-related threads

I think this statement is patently false, but we'll see how the votes fall when this in place. People are going to be asked to vote for things that are "good" and I seriously doubt that the latest rumor or leak from CNN is going to be looked at positively here.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:27 PM on February 22, 2003


XQUZYPHYR, I politely and strongly disagree. You're assuming a great number of negative things concerning Mefites. There are those, such as myself, who tend to read the Iraq/Israel/Newsfilter posts, sometimes comment in them, but would never vote good for one, unless it was something significant and influential (Saddam Hussein deploys batboy militia of flying freaks, with pictures). The responsibility of having a vote would likely decrease the shoot from the hip response. Since we wouldn't be able to vote [this is drek], I think the system would work just fine.
posted by Wulfgar! at 1:28 PM on February 22, 2003


regardless of warfilter issues, i'm sure that a ranking system will change metafilter one way or the other. the safest prediction is that people will be competitive about getting high-ranking front page posts--and that's a good thing.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 1:47 PM on February 22, 2003


Look, I'll admit that I'm basing my opinion on the "internet ease" paradigm- i.e. the premise that easier and more accesible it becomes to do something in an internet community, the quicker and more likely it will be exploited (case in point, the Yahoo message boards, which by having no signup requirement and no reprecussion of abuse has earned it the title of the most pointless trolling system in existence) but I'm just pointing out a likely situation. If they can do it, they'll do it. You can put a big red button marked "does nothing" on the front page and you'll get 10,000 hits a day from readers who just want to click the new thing.

Matt, you noted the Remixed page- but the remixed page wasn't a simple one-click button directly on the link that you didn't need to set up and could just hit to signify your interest without even questioning if you understood its point. To throw in Wulfgar's comment, I understand that MeFites are on the whole intelligent and rational people... yet we still seem to have a discussion once a week about "what MetaFilter's really about." I'm sorry for having the cynicism to apply that to the fear of future "what the voting system's really about" debates. I hope I'm wrong.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:48 PM on February 22, 2003


It could be that the people heading over to Remixed are patently the people who want to get away from Iraq posts, therefore you won't see high ratings for Iraq posts there. At the same time, Mefi proper might be populated by political junkies. Or I could be wrong. Don't shoot me, I'm just the mxger/theorizer.
posted by Shane at 1:56 PM on February 22, 2003


I think pluses (in bold?) are the best option. And stick with 3 pluses max. Something like 5 votes = 1 plus, 10 votes = 2 pluses, 20 votes = 3... adjustable of course.

The second best one would be background color for the cell surrounding the post, but I think that's a bit intrusive visually.
posted by azazello at 1:57 PM on February 22, 2003


XQ, the public won't be allowed to vote on anything, only members. Based on MetaTalk postings over the past couple years, I'm confident the majority of MetaFilter users don't love the latest headlines-from-CNN-as-posts and the voting will reflect that.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:59 PM on February 22, 2003


"but this thread is basically a discussion about a method of voting that going to be found ineffective within an hour of implementing it."

Count me in the "voting is bad" camp. Although I do want to know how it will play out, and I would love it if it ended up making the place better. I worry that:

a) It will increase noise as posting suddenly becomes a contest. People will post more since there will be a shiny prize.

b) Loud minorities will even everything out. I get the feeling news lovers here hold a grudge that will make them vote on things more often.

c) Flashy obnoxious posts will get more votes regardless of quality since more people are likely to take a look at them.

d) People will vote for things based on appearances rather than quality. y2karl posts will get voted up despite the fact that he rarely posts about things anyone has any interest in.

e) Begging will proliferate, and Metatalk will be flooded with "why didn't my post get votes?" noise.

f) People will talk about voting in the threads. Ick.

g) Most of the bad posters don't care that their posts are bad, and won't care if they don't get voted for.

h) Weird, edgy, and difficult posts won't get votes, even though these are generally rather creative. In other words - People like to be spoon fed.

i) Posts will get formulaic as people learn what gets voted up and what doesn't.

Yes, I'm being a wet blanket. I sincerely hope it works beautifully.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:31 PM on February 22, 2003


g) Most of the bad posters don't care that their posts are bad, and won't care if they don't get voted for.
Or the poster could simply vote multiple times to improve his/her rating and thus cheat the system?
posted by G_Ask at 2:56 PM on February 22, 2003


The above was a concern not a suggestion.
posted by G_Ask at 2:57 PM on February 22, 2003


I imagine Matt would program it so that only one vote per post per user id. (All of you losers with multiple IDs, fess up!)

I guess I sort of see this voting thing sort of like the trackbacks. If a post has many trackbacks, I use that as an indicator that something about it resonates. It doesn't necessarily mean that I will like it, but I think it means that it's something I should at least know about. In this proposed implementation, I sort of see positive vote indicators in a similar way. Just as a way to help me filter out what threads are worth investigating, and which aren't. Just like it works over on filepile.

On the other hand, I once had an experience on a collaborative photography site where people were allowed to give positive or negative votes on submitted photos. I was always amazed at the way some photos (kitties, bunnies, puppies) always received high marks. And some photographers would consistently get high marks regardless of the quality of their photos. I would give negative votes just to provide what I saw as balance. On that site, though, the photographers could see the IP information of the people who voted against them -- and many took great offense at any slight against their work (including me). If people get too emotionally involved in the voting system, it's definitely a bad and neurotic thing. In the end, I left that community over voting issues, so...
posted by crunchland at 3:00 PM on February 22, 2003


Or the poster could simply vote multiple times to improve his/her rating and thus cheat the system?

The "one member-one vote" has already been discussed in this thread. I'm too lazy to link it, but you were too lazy to read it, so ....

;-)
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:01 PM on February 22, 2003


My colour vision is flaky at best, and contrast is always a tricky one, so my vote would be for something iconic, or textual. The increasing stack of pancakes was an amusing idea (and they could vibrate for the top score;), but a [good] [great] [fucking amazing] text label preceding the "posted by" would get my vote.

i.e.

Blah blah blah blah blah! Blah blah blah...

[great] post by whoever at 1:07 PM PST - 1000 comments (1000 new)
posted by inpHilltr8r at 3:04 PM on February 22, 2003


I like inpHilltr8r's idea.
posted by riffola at 3:17 PM on February 22, 2003


just to clarify: one member, one vote, and you can't vote on your own posts. I don't think vote whoring will be a problem since I have no intention of keep track of the total votes a user has gotten on their posts.

I'm doing everything I can to minimize the changes on the site, and I suspect in the end it won't be that big of a deal, and might provide some subtle pointers to "good" stuff worth reading.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:20 PM on February 22, 2003


"and might provide some subtle pointers to "good" stuff worth reading."

Agreed. Not trying to poop on the idea. Just worried. Which probably means I need to get a life or something.
posted by y6y6y6 at 5:15 PM on February 22, 2003


I will always concede to the fact that there is nobody who knows this community better or how it will react than Matt. Four years straight is good for a Bachelor's Degree in Metafilter. If his expert opinion is that voting could work, by all means full speed ahead. I'm just the wacky clown who thinks he's funny around here.
posted by Stan Chin at 5:16 PM on February 22, 2003


If it doesn't pan out, it can always be UNimplemented. Look upon it as an interesting experiment which may or may turn out to be a permanent feature, if that works for you, y6 ;)
posted by iconomy at 5:35 PM on February 22, 2003


"if that works for you, y6"

I'm just one voice amoung thousands here. I can't imagine why mine would count more than anyone else's. Just because I'm a loud mouth, don't think I'm putting on airs. I work under the assumption that I'm barely tolerated here and no one gives a rat's ass what I think. Much less disappointment and anger that way.

But I'm still a loud mouth.
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:16 PM on February 22, 2003


My two cêntimos:

Best: As is.

Good: Sort by "recommended threads"

OK: Unobtrusive asterisk, star or whatever.

Hate: The idea of grading. Or counting. When a thread receives more than X recommendations, it gets recommended, whether it's X, 2X or 10X. Keeping the X high seems a good idea. If any text is needed, a simple explanation like "quite a few members recommended this thread".
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:29 PM on February 22, 2003


I have no intention of keep track of the total votes a user has gotten on their posts.

You just know someone's going to do it tho'.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 6:35 PM on February 22, 2003


If you want to have a rating system (I'm not convinced that it's even necessary) I like crunchland's dots idea (•••) and mcwetboy's pluses idea (+++); any unobtrusive, text-based meter would be good.

I seriously like angry modem's Galaga pips idea, too, because Galaga was a fucking awesome game, but the graphics are a little too distracting.
posted by RylandDotNet at 6:47 PM on February 22, 2003


If no one likes Iraq links, who keeps posting them?

Just sayin'.
posted by konolia at 6:57 PM on February 22, 2003


The galaga pips are cool, though too colorful to be unobstrusive.

They remind me of my last game of galaga on the ol' mame cabinet. I got 1.5 mil, up to the 128th level. I haven't played it since.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:37 PM on February 22, 2003


The "one member-one vote" has already been discussed in this thread. I'm too lazy to link it, but you were too lazy to read it, so ....

just to clarify: one member, one vote, and you can't vote on your own posts.


Damn you all! I read this thread twice before responding. Like y6y6y6y6 and a few others, I remain positive that it will be a benefit despite my reservations.
posted by G_Ask at 8:30 PM on February 22, 2003


was that the one where you could double-fire, though?
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 8:32 PM on February 22, 2003


yeah sirmissalot, it was the fast shoot hack version. It plays faster.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:39 PM on February 22, 2003


If the goal is to be able to scan the front page for good posts, then ook's idea is the best to date.
posted by nicwolff at 10:18 AM on February 23, 2003


However you do the display (personally, I favor a little horizontal thermometer type thing), don't try to implement this with static thresholds. You'll just have to nursemaid them.

My recommendation would be to break down the ratings by day, and display them thusly (where pluses are whatever your positive indicator is, and dashes are whatever your neutral indicator is):

+++ = top third of posts currently
++ - = second third
+ - - = bottom third (with a lower threshold of, say, three positive votes)
- - - = unrated and thngs below the threshold

So your display will always sort things relative to how good other things were that day. No matter if there's 15 votes or 50 or 500, your quality display will always simply throw out the unrated or too-low rated, and split the rest into thirds. If you wanted to get fancy, you could have it consider multi-day periods, like per week or whatever.

So, in case that's not clear, say you've got a day with 10 stories. They have votes as follows:
Story     Votes-----     -----1          02          03          24          65          86          257          188          19          410         3
1, 2, 3, and 8 automatically get - - - - due to being unrated or below the minumum of 3. Then you've got 6 other stories to sort. 6 and 7 would be +++, 4 and 5 would be ++-, and 9 and 10 would be +--.

The algorithm would look like:
1) Find all stories from today and their current score.
2) Put everything with a score below (minimum) in the "unrated" bin
3) Take the remaining posts and count how many there are.
4) Divide that by three, rounding however you like (I'd say just round greater than or equal to .5 up and less than .5 down). Now you have the number of posts for each of the remaining bins -- call that number x
5) Order the remaining posts by score, high to low.
6) Assign the first x a +++
7) Assign the second x a ++-
8) Assign the rest a +--

So you can easily see what was the best stuff posted on any given day. You can expand the general method and apply filters to produce, say, a view of the top x% of all posts for a year, or whatever you want, since internally you've got actual numbers.

Also, I know you hate this kind of thing, but while you're at it you might give a tiny instant's consideration to the idea of letting the readers vote to nuke a thread, and perhaps save you from having to do it manually for all of time. :-)
posted by rusty at 12:04 PM on February 23, 2003


I'll also vote for ook's suggestion. I'd make the lines thinner, almost hairline, but the concept is great: It makes scanning much easier.

I guess the question is about what we'll do with the recommendations. I think we need a way to slice right to the good stuff of the good stuff from the web. This means that the inline suggestions (stars, bars, dots, shots, words before the "posted by" line) are not enough. Perhaps if they were in another color, such as red or orange, they might stand out enough to be usable, but in white or yellow, they'd fade into the other page elements and be less-than-usable.

The question is about placement, not about the marker itself.

My 2¢ :

a) Ook's "line in the sand" off to the left

b) No dot, small dot, Big Dot in yellow either hanging into the left gutter or as the first character of a post.

c) Red or orange marks near the posted by metadata.

One argument for "c" is that this information is metadata as well, so it might make conceptual sense to leave it down there below the post itself.
posted by zpousman at 12:24 PM on February 23, 2003


I'd like to see the "This is Bad" voting as well. If only to provide another outlet for the "*yawn*" people.

Can we also make the first rule of the voting system be that no one ever talks about the voting system? It sounds like many threads are going to be derailed arguing over how many pancakes they've earned.
posted by Gary at 12:38 PM on February 23, 2003


I like rusty's recommendation. It would have a lot less upkeep in regards to changing thresholds etc.

If a "this is bad" vote is implemented I think it's important to differentiate between an "i don't like this post" and a "this post is a troll, and should be deleted" which is, I think, what rusty was talking about. Votes should be positive only, but if there was some way to mark a thread as a candidate for deletion I don't think that would impact the posting culture in the same way. It could even be linked to a notification to you rather than being automatic. if (number of positive votes)/(number of delete votes)<.1 or something maybe you could get an email. If this works well for a while you might even fully automate it.

As long as no extra control is given to some people over another I think you could avoid some of the problems in full-fledged moderation systems.
posted by rhyax at 1:13 PM on February 23, 2003


Here I go again. I just found an article on shirky.com dealing with voting and weblogs.
Freedom of Choice Makes Stars Inevitable ... Think of this positive feedback as a preference premium. The system assumes that later users come into an environment shaped by earlier users; the thousand-and-first user will not be selecting blogs at random, but will rather be affected, even if unconsciously, by the preference premiums built up in the system previously. .... Reversing the star system would mean destroying the village in order to save it.

Suggestions:
- anything that restricts freedom of choice (right now we do not have any!): limit the number of votes per user / thread / day. If you can think of other similar methods, even better.
- do not let us know the number of votes received, not even in % form or as in [++++]. Use only normal (as it is now) and [this is good] categories; thus you can use the contrast scheme that you suggested at the beginning.

Other points:
- use of [normal/good/best] is somehow different from [bad/normal/good] as one [bad] weights more than one [good]. The scale for the former is [0,1,3] (best is rare) and for the later is [-2,0,1].
- network analysis is a new field, but the problem is getting data (1,2,3). Matt, could you please save (even if you do not display them on MeFi) the complete voting logs for further analysis? It would present an opportunity to understand network dynamics. (I am going to ask Richard Jones to do the same.)

MetaFilter is different because it is able to find diamonds in the rough, as it is working against the standard filtering process (everybody linking to Yahoo, CNN, etc.) I hope that the "how to vote FAQ" will emphasize this.
posted by MzB at 1:40 PM on February 23, 2003


Anything that relies on graphics is going to create problems for various reasons, particularly the delay in loading graphics for those on slow connections (yes, even small graphics if the rest of the page is large). Anything that relies on different shades is going to have to take into account variations in monitor contrast, intensity, # of possible colours, user colour-blindness quotient etc etc etc.

My AUD5.00 (USD0.02) is that the ++++ signs are perfect, as they are readily associated with what they represent (+ is good, more is better, what could be simpler?) and they have no unusual demands on operating systems, software versions etc. I imagine they would work perfectly well on screen readers also.

I would love to see the scoring based on an all-time level, comparing the number of votes with every thread, rather than just this week or whatever. That way, you avoid having a standard set that is seen as "good enough". By continually comparing, you aim for continuous improvement.
Disclaimer: I am not a statistician, or very smart, so there may be a major flaw in that idea

A "sort by most votes" category would be an ideal way to point out what MeFi is all about, in my opinion. It would end up being a fairly accurate representation of what is desired by the majority, rather than those who speak loudest.

*says a prayer that Iraq, I/P and other newscrap posts do not prove to be what the community likes after all*
posted by dg at 7:38 PM on February 23, 2003


MHO:
I'm for the + signs: they are findable (I can do a "find" for them in my browser), unobtrusive and obvious.
There should definitely be a limit to votes (1 recommendation per 24 hour period per user). So your vote is precious.
I'm ambivalent about "kill" votes, unless the removal threshold is very high, otherwise one would surely have to deal with
I participate in Iraq threads. I can't find a single current one that I would have recommended. I agree with Wulfgar! that this would not be an issue.
posted by talos at 8:32 AM on February 24, 2003


I agree with Jessamyn that there's room for evil mimicry with an ASCII solution (a line of plusses, even at the end of the FPP instead of in the posted line, could mislead people who weren't paying close attention). I understand a concern over load times with graphics, but a ~1k 4pxX4px bullet icon repeated, just like an ASCII symbol, would hardly slow down the pageload, or at least no more than the header graphics do.
posted by me3dia at 9:58 AM on February 24, 2003


Well, what do you suppose would prevent someone from sticking in an evilly mimicked image tag as opposed to evilly mimicked ascii?
posted by crunchland at 10:05 AM on February 24, 2003


Ummm....Good point. I'll shut up now.
posted by me3dia at 10:32 AM on February 24, 2003


Another plus for this idea in general: It would absolve us all of the guilt of participating in train-wreck type threads.

"Hey I didn't say it was good, I just called person/group/idea X 'a flaming asshat' and moved on."
posted by zpousman at 10:48 AM on February 24, 2003


Well, in favor of using some ansi symbol, it would be fairly easy for matt to disallow any inclusion of that unusual ansi symbol in the text field of a keyed in message -- easier than excluding something more commonly used, such as the plus symbol -- and that would prevent any evil mimickry.

However, there would be double benefit to excluding the use of img tags in messages.
posted by crunchland at 11:42 AM on February 24, 2003


&oplus; vs. &bull; vs. &curren; vs. &uarr; vs. +
⊕⊕⊕ vs. ••• vs. ¤¤¤ vs. ↑↑↑ vs. +++
⊕⊕   vs. ••  vs. ¤¤  vs. ↑↑   vs. ++
⊕     vs. •   vs. ¤   vs. ↑     vs. +
posted by riffola at 12:12 PM on February 24, 2003


I know I'm late to the ball game here, and I would like to see votes. My only suggestion, do not use subtle color shading! (please). I am color blind in the sense that I cannot see shades of color, blue is blue is blue. So all the fancy shading is transparent to me. Anywho, good luck whichever direction you choose.
posted by patrickje at 2:06 PM on February 24, 2003


How about this as an algorithm to pick get each posts rating: each person votes, votes are tallied. The digits of the posts are summed, and then subtracted from the original number. take the resulting number, and divide by the number you get when you sum each digit of the original number times 9 to the power of what ever place the digit is in. Then display that number next to each post.
posted by dcodea at 5:54 PM on February 24, 2003


IS THIS YOUR CARD?
posted by crunchland at 7:15 PM on February 24, 2003


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