So, how to encourage more rating, thereby increasing inertia and
improving resistance to noise? I have some ideas for some design changes
to ratings that I want to run by everyone for comment and discussion.
The first idea is "automatic rating". Basically, whenever you load a
page with comments in it, comments that are in "expanded" mode (i.e.
comments you could be reading) will pick up an automatic "neutral"
rating from you. In the current scale, they'd get a three. Unless you
choose to do something different, you'll automatically rate everything
you could have read a three. Like the current system, you can always
change your rating, but you can't un-rate it. Right now, the default
action is to have no effect. The idea is for the default action to
provide an extra point of inertia.
One thought that follows from this is that it would become harder to
hide anything, since right now you'd need three trusted users to mark it
zero for every non-trusted user who simply views the comment. I have two
strategies to deal with this.
The first is to compress the scale. This, I think, is useful for a
couple of reasons. Instead of rating 0-5, I'd like to make the scale
0-3, represented by "Encourage, Neutral, Discourage, Hide." Each option
is represented internally by a number, and rating works with the numbers
the way it always has, but from a user perspective, it may be more clear
to simply have the choice to encourage or discourage, plus (hopefully)
cutting off all the pointless arguments over whether you're supposed to
rate "objectively" or not. The other use is that the maximum ratio
required to hide or show something is only three to one, as opposed to
the current system's five to one. And if the automatic "neutral" rating
equates to two, you don't need such a huge preponderance of "hide"
ratings to actually hide something.
The second strategy is to make a much greater assumption of trust, and
make distrust earned rather than assumed. So I'd set the trust threshold
to 2 (in our hypothetical four-point scale), which means that the
requirement to be "trusted" is merely that you've posted a few comments
that were not generally hated. There would be a large increase in the
number of people able to register a "Hide" rating, and hopefully
comments that really need to be hidden would become hidden based on a
large-scale confluence of opinion.
Now, not everyone wants to be "trusted", so I'd also like to add the
option to just ignore that ability for people who don't care. Also, it
would be nice to have the option to be trusted, but not (normally) to
see comments rated below one (like non-trusted users).
Ok, to summarize the idea is this:
- Compress rating scale to 0-3
- Easier decision (more rating activity)
- "Enc/Disc/Neutral/Hide" is a clearer choice than 1-5 (more rating
- Less distance from promote to hide (to account for auto netral
- Assume trust
- "Trusted" just means you post occasionally
- Lots of users doing comment cleanup
- Distrust earned, trust merely not betrayed
- Hopefully prevent over-inertia from totally breaking the hidden
- Assume a neutral rating
- Add inertia to minimize effect of noise
- Reading without rating is an activity -- register an effect
- Possible uptick in rating activity by people who don't want to have
their opinion represented by an automatic default
If any of this is not clear, please ask questions. And if you see major
brokenness, or just think something won't work, tear it apart. This
isn't a plan so much as just an idea that I think has some possible
merit, so I'd love to hear your opinions.