Ben Langhinrichs

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Genii Weblog

Better to have a long list of web editors, or a shorter, but higher quality list?

Thu 14 Jul 2005, 08:03 PM

by Ben Langhinrichs
In recent weeks, I have taken over Paul Browning's list of web editors.  I have been working on making sure all the data is complete and accurate and a sad fact is emerging.  A fair number of these editors have not been touched in two or more years and many are still in beta.  On the other hand, I am getting lots of visits from people who are eager for this information, and the long list is mentioned as a reason.

But what is the point of a long list of editors if every visitor is going to get discouraged wading through to find discontinued products or moribound websites?  Now, in some cases, such as that of Xinha, the product is still in beta, but it is high quality and being used and updated regularly.  In a couple of cases, the code may not have been touched in a while, but it is solid.  I hate to remove all mention of those products, partly because there are other people with web editor lists around, and if they include a product and I don't, I lose the opportunity to point out that that particular editor is going nowhere fast.

So what should I do?  Should I sort by quality or relevance?  Should I separate out the clunkers and put them in a separate list (even if it is on the same page)?  How can I help people who visit my page looking for a good editor to find what they want?  There are probably only five good open source products and fine or ten good commercial products, but if people see a list with fifteen items or fewer, will they know it is high quality or assume it is just incomplete?

Copyright 2005 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

337.1. Richard Schwartz
(07/14/2005 08:12 PM)

Two answers:

1. It's perfectly reasonable to separate them out into two groups. It's your page. You get to decide the rationale. Call the first group "Most Popular", or "Editor's Choice Editors" or "Ben's Favorites", or "Chocolate Milkshakes" (though that might not be well understood). The beauty of the web is that if someone disagrees, they are welcome to host their own list.

2. Make the page interactive. Let people vote. After you've collected enough votes, separate out the top 5 or free vote-getters, and the top 5 commercial onto an introductory page; then put the full list and voting form on a second page. You might have to take some measures to prevent ballot-stuffing, but it's pretty unlikely that anyone is going to go to a whole lot of trouble to evade a simple preventive measure -- especially for the free editors.


337.2. Rob McDonagh
(07/16/2005 08:17 PM)

I like the voting idea. The only issue (and it's a pretty small one) with you picking which ones were "live" or "best" would be the subjective nature of the opinion. I'd be perfectly happy to take your word for it, but random people arriving here from Google don't really have any reason to.

Ideally, if the full list were an interactive table that could be dynamically sorted or filtered, that would be handy. Too bad it's on the web and not in the Notes client, eh? It can be done, but it's got to be more work that you want to throw at something with little or no impact on your bottom line.

337.3. Martin
(19.07.2005 12:27)

Brave man - you really want to sort them by quality? Nice job, but lot of time :-)