Genii Weblog

Non-hierarchical rating systems for weblogs

Wed 31 May 2006, 08:56 AM

by Ben Langhinrichs
This idea came to me while reading a discussion on about, and ways that it could be better done.  He suggested a number of changes, including a rating system, and Laurette Rynne, who runs with her husband Tim, responded to all his points.  Her comment about rating was 
As for a peer review / rating system - we specifically didn't want to include this, as the idea is to encourage new bloggers to advertise themselves and allow new voices to be heard without judgement. We want to leave it up to individuals whether they continue reading or not.
Jake responded, reasonably enough, that "without some kind of rating system it will always only ever be one long list of blogs", but then acknowledged that
Having said that I've seen (on photoblogs.rog) that this kind of rating system can lead to a "rich getting richer" situation where only the popular blogs get a look-in and continue to get rated highly, while other unrated sites tend to stay away from the public eye.
This is where I started to think about rating systems and the problem of the rich getting richer.  A very similar problem exists with many rating systems, including the US News and World rankings of colleges in the United States, which has led to a similar unreasonable focus on the top ten or so colleges and universities.
But there are some features of blogs that might allow for a different system that would both address Jake's concern about one long undifferentiated list and Laurette's concern that new voices should be heard without judgement.  I posted this suggestion there, but I would like to propose it more generally, beyond just the suggestion for 

Non-hierarchical vetting system for blogs
A better system might be a less hierarchical system where people could give some approval mark ("I vouch for") and comments, but the only levels were Vouched For, New, Not Vouched For and Dormant. Any blog would have a sixty (or thirty or whatever) day period as "New" until they were Vouched For by at least two (or three or whatever) people. This would give a good chance to see new blogs whether or not people knew them. After that, any blog that didn't earn a certain number of approvals would be "Unvouched For", and ones that did earn a certain number would be "Vouched For". Finally, any blog which went for sixty (or forty five or whatever) days would be "Dormant".
This sort of system would avoid the hierarchy of, say, Volker Weber or Rocky Oliver's sites always showing up with super high ratings, but would provide some level of vetting to give people a chance to see new blogs, but avoid ones that generated no interest from anyone.  

Copyright 2006 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

461.1. Jake Howlett
(06/01/2006 02:36 AM)

Cool. It makes me sound almost clever when I'm quoted like that ;o)

I have no idea how the voting/approval system would work as it would never satisfy everybody's tastes in what they are looking for in "Domino blogs". For example, as you mention, Volker is bound to rate highly. Why though? In my own rating of his site he would be way off topic and not even in the category of Domino blog. While I love his blog and have been reading for years it's because I like the content and not because it's about Domino, which it isn't, really. I'd put it in my misc-tech/humour folder if I had one. As I don't it stays in my Domino folder. That's probably a bad example as he's an exception. Although there are a lot blogs labelled Domino that rarely even mention anythng to do with it. This is what I want to weed out. It's not the quality of the Domino content I want rating (I can do that myself), I just want to know whether in fact it ever has anything to do with Domino at all, before I spend my time finding out.

Hope that reads ok...