Yet more experimenting with the comment feature


  1. Griff Wigley said:

    Failure. But at least this time it was a quick failure.

    Move along now, nothing to see here.

    May 27, 2009
  2. Patrick Enders said:

    What do you hope to gain by implementing one of these complicated commenting systems?

    The current one seems just fine (except that the sub-comments are confusing).

    May 29, 2009
  3. Griff Wigley said:

    Patrick, I’ve mainly been interested in adding a ‘reputation’ feature, one that would allow people to rate/value comments.

    This would then allow a comment thread to be sorted on the highest rated comments.

    And over time, it would allow us to show which commenters, over x period of time, are the highest rated commenters.

    I’d like to make lots of other gizmos available for people to use, too, like straw polls, video comments, etc.

    May 29, 2009
  4. Patrick Enders said:

    There seem to be several problems with the ‘reputation’ features you are interested in. Here’s a few:

    • If the comment thread is sorted on ‘highest rated’ comments, it will be even harder to follow than it currently is due to the nested comments.

    • There is plenty of opportunity for gaming the system, or fostering ill-will. I (or anybody else) can simply go through and say ‘yay!’ to every post by one of our friends, or ‘boo, hiss!’ to every post that we disagree with. Indeed, that result seems more likely to me than people saying ‘yay!’ to a very well-thought-out post that is contrary to one’s own position.

    • So what if someone is an unpopular poster? Do you really want to drive them away with persistent negative feedback? Sometimes people state things which are unpopular or poorly received, but they are still important to having an honest and broad-based discussion. As you or David Ludescher might call them, would you really want to encourage a site where only like-minded Bobo’s and NIMPU’s felt welcome to post?

    I think we’re all smart enough to judge each post (and each poster) for ourselves, and make up our own minds as to each’s value or merit. Applying groupthink popularity to that mix seems only likely to foster division and ill-will, and potentially stifle commenting.

    May 29, 2009
  5. I thought popularity contests were for junior high newspapers, like 50 years ago.
    I agree with Patrick. Who really cares about this rate/value (besides Griff?). Unless there is some prize involved, like some sort of a Locally Grown American Idol award, the wording on which Brendon could design?

    May 29, 2009
  6. kiffi summa said:

    I agree with Patrick and Susan… Griff, I’ll bet you have no idea of how many people say they won’t comment here (although they read it all the time) because they are afraid of the exposure, or negative return comment.

    You have consistently said you were looking for “citizen journalism” … turning this into a RATED for POPULARITY system will kill much serious input, because it will no longer be even as open as it is now. You”ll turn away even more commenters and compromise the level of integrity.
    Just observe the way the NFNews manages the comments under their “Recent Comments” heading. If there is a policy , it is impossible to discern, because some comments never even appear under “recent comments”.

    Just because you’re a “techno-geek”, Griff … and that a COMPLIMENT… you don’t have to use every new, more detailed feature.

    May 30, 2009
  7. Tracy Davis said:

    I have mixed feelings about this. Ratings features can be very handy if you’re talking about reviewers on or other consumer sites, where you have no other basis for evaluating people. But on a discussion blog that’s aimed at a local, geographically-condensed community, where we all have overlapping spheres in which we operate, I’m unconvinced of the usefulness of rating comments/commentors.

    It would, however, be interesting and helpful to rate blog posts and post authors! 🙂

    May 31, 2009
  8. Griff Wigley said:

    There are clearly as many cons as pros to adopting something like I’m suggesting. But if we’re going to grow beyond 75-100 commenters per month, we need some additional tools to help things along, including ones that allow people who mainly lurk to more quickly sort through the existing comments/commenters.

    It’s also an attempt to further stimulate intelligent discussion by having a way for the the community to acknowledge those who consistently contribute in a helpful way.

    See the Wikipedia entry on Reputation Management, especially on Slashdot which has used its Karma system for years.

    June 1, 2009
  9. Griff Wigley said:

    Also see Slate Magazine’s forum called The Fray:

    Forum posts can be sorted by:

    • Editor’s Picks
    • Most Read
    • Highest Rated

    Thanks to GBM table colleague Paul Zorn for the tip.

    June 1, 2009
  10. Patrick Enders said:

    You wrote:

    “if we’re going to grow beyond 75-100 commenters per month, we need some additional tools to help things along, including ones that allow people who mainly lurk to more quickly sort through the existing comments/commenters.”

    I don’t follow your logic here. Could you explain the relationship you see between these things more explicitly, to help me understand your assertion?

    June 1, 2009

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