Get Out The Vote!

To go with our new star rating system, we've developed a block that you can add to your pages that shows highly rated pages. As I described elsewhere:

"...if you click on "My account" in the left sidebar, then the "edit" tab across the top of the center column, you'll find a spot on your page where you can enable a block called "hot_stuffs" (which is the kind of stupid development name that amuses me, and which will change to something more intuitive when I have the time to change the code that depends on the current name)."

Here's what needs deciding, and we can discuss these questions here. The questions below are numbered not in order of importance, but so they'll be easier to discuss:

  1. What score (expressed as a percent) does a piece of content need to have to be recommended? (Right now, the answer is 75%, but that's kind of arbitrary.)
  2. How recent must a piece of content be to be on the recommend list? (Right now, within the last seven days; again, this is just a number that I plucked from my fundament.)
  3. How many votes does a piece of content need to have before it can be recommended? (Right now three, but it should probably be higher so that SD and her daughters can't conspire to put a post called "Lance is a Weenie" on the rec list.)
  4. What doesn't need to be on the recommended list? (Right now, any post on the front page is automatically not on the list, but posts by people with front-page privileges who choose not to front page the post can still be there.)
  5. Should there be a way to keep your own stuff off the rec list? (Right now, any post with the tag "unrecommend" will not appear on the rec list, no matter how many five star votes it gets.)

So what do you think? Don't forget that everything we do here at BlueNC is sort of an experiment, and we can always fiddle with these parameters later if the community has problems with what is making (and not making) the rec list.


We should also probably talk about what the stars mean

Of course, you're expected to give yourself a fiver.

This discussion kind of got started elsewhere, where there was a sense that three might represent a solid compliment, "nice post". Four would be a hearty endorsement. Five would be "OMG, evry1 TTLY HAS to read this NOW!" So two would be like "eh, I'm not so sure about this stuff" and one would be all "give me a break, why did you bring this crap in here?" Ones and fives under this system (except for the fives that you give yourself) would be rare.

That may not be how people actually use them, however. It may not be a good way to do it. (It just happens to be how I use iTunes.)

Your thoughts?

I find these rating stars entirely off-putting

There is no way that the bulk of the women I am trying to lure into blogging will feel good about being rated in this way. Maybe they never will blog but this kind of stuff is not going to make them more inclined to.

We get scored and graded so constantly in our lives, I can't imagine why you guys want to add to it. Our weights, our credit ratings, our IQs, our SAT scores, LSATs, MCATs, net worth. We all are judged constantly in our professional lives but that's not usually public. And while I never had problems with tests (judgments that were in private), I know very few woman who didn't.

I can still vividly remember avoiding (or mentally gearing up for) certain parts of my college campus where guys would sit on a wall and hold up white cardboard with black numbers -- a score -- to all the women walking by. I know that had nothing to do with the merits of my writing or any other important quality but it was an unsolicited public rating.

If you want me to, I'll still write for WoW but I'm certainly not inclined to do more. I don't need to see some number next to my creative output. I'm insecure and psychotic enough as it is.

When you went to the voting system, I was so new to blogging, I couldn't understand it. I still don't really get what you are trying to do. It seems like BlueNC wants to be Daily Kos or MyDD. I just keep wondering why you all can't figure out some way to front-page non-frontpagers without having public ratings?

It seems really really strange to me how much energy you all spend on these systems that are repellent rather than encouraging. Maybe I'm just an old fogey. Maybe those of you who are younger are so used to being graded numerically that you don't think anything of it. For me, I think it stinks.
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

Old Fogey? I would have gone with "Cantankerous Coot"

But that's just me. I mean, you write "I can't imagine why you guys etc." when you don't have to imagine, as I wrote like a mini-manifesto in response to your similar comment on this other thread!

I was standing in the shower trying to think of how I could politely point out the myriad differences between things like weight an IQ on the one hand and community moderation on the other when, probably because I have had some experience with the N. American Cantankerus Cootus, it occurred to me to see whether I can come up with a way for authors to opt out of community moderation. I shall report back on this ere dawn stretches her rosy fingers o'er the Old North State on another Thursday morning.

I just want to point out, though, that if you opt out of community moderation, then, well, to paraphrase a famous Nazi, no rec list for you!

I like "cantankerous coot"

It goes well with Drama Queen. Lance, I can't find your other response. The "track" part of my account isn't rarely works since the switch.

If you opt me out of your recommended list, I certainly feel unwelcome here. But if everyone else likes it, I'll just fade into the sunset, and retire to my old folks home, drooling and eating jello.

You may remember that I came here originally to record information about Charles Taylor. However, I stayed because of the sense of community. This move is just one more step to diluting that sense of community.

I don't want to be on a rec list if to constantly be judging every post I read is the passport. Also, I don't see anything "progressive" or forward-thinking in being used by you all to avoid managing the site you control.

If you don't want to manage the site's content, I think all of you front-pagers should live by this system yourselves. At least, try it for a month and see how you like it before foisting it untested on the rest of us.

If you only want posters who like being judged all the time, that's certainly your prerogative. I think this is one more step to excluding people when you already have problems in that area.
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

The opt out would be per-post, not per-user

I feel your pain: I am sick and tired of our leaders using democracy to avoid managing the country they control!

I kid, I kid. But seriously: "judging" is a descriptor you might fairly apply to this system, but it's about the ugliest way possible to describe a mechanism for allowing members to record their preference and share it with the community.

As for front-pagers living by the system, I don't really get what you mean. No front-page content for a month? This isn't a method for getting front paged - it's a method for developing a rec list, or a "hot content" block or whatever.

DQ, it's clear that being judged really bugs you. I hope to have a method you can use to opt out of having stars appear on your posts by tomorrow. But people already either like or don't like what you're posting. Why not use that information to assemble a list of what our community values?

You're right about my hating being judged

But I think you forget that I'm not the only one by any means. And I suppose I deserve the comment about democracy . . .

You are trying to find a way to let people know what might waste their time versus what might be worth their time. There's nothing wrong with that. It just doesn't seem remotely "progressive" to me. It doesn't fit in with the decades of feminist, community-building, non-patriarchal, co-creation theories that has developed in my lifetime.

Don't worry about disabling the stars for me. I'll live with it or avert my eyes or something. It's certainly not as harsh as the phone call or no phone call after an audition. I don't post that often anyway.

Forgive my ranting . . . You all do a great job.
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

Ranting more than forgiven

It's invited and appreciated. And again, the opt out is per-post, so no users will have to be "in" or "out" of the star system.

Tweaking is ongoing, and you've already helped to improve the system. Give me a few days to implement the ideas developing in this thread.

I'm not wild about the star system either

It doesn't strike me that anything is broken, so I'm not sure what we're fixing. That's okay though, improvements are good if they're improvements.

The number of stars suggests a level of discrimination/differentiation that I don't find helpful. We saw this at Kos where comments ratings became a popularity contest.

Let's keep the conversation going. It's a neat feature, but I'm not sure we have either the volume of traffic or the volume of posts to warrant it. I'd rather see the "recent blog posts" block at the top of the page so I can see everything that's been written. I'm guessing infrequent readers simply work from the front page to see if there's anything interesting to them . . . which seems reasonable enough to me.

I know, I know. I'm a pain in the ass.


“Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.”
― Joe Biden

"I'm guessing infrequent readers work from the front page..."

I'm kind of guessing that they don't. Since I've stopped trying to keep up with everything that happens here, there are weeks where I only get to read four or five posts. When that happens, I start from the top of the list, whatever the list may be. When I come in on the front page, I only end up reading front page stuff. When I come in via the tracker, I end up reading whatever got commented on most recently.

I guess what I'm saying is that the benefit would be that we would have a list for those without much time that points to some things that people have been appreciating, which seems less arbitrary to me than a list sorted by post date or last comment date.

I hope more people will join this discussion

Your description of how you read blogs is way different from mine. I absolutely don't care about old stuff. If it's not current, it doesn't exist to me. That's one reason I work so hard to keep fresh content on the site.

At Kos, however, I use the recommended list because the volume is too great.

I'm certainly willing to try it for awhile . . . as always, it takes me some time to retrain my rituals.


“Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.”
― Joe Biden

Right, no old stuff

There's no old stuff in the "recommended block" (because we can adjust the age after which posts drop off). But the ways of reading I just described sometimes result in my missing posts that aren't on the front page and haven't been one of the last five or six to have been commented on when I visit the site.

Well, you might have a point there.

If five "recommends" get you on the list, what does that mean in terms of stars???

How about two buttons, for know, they can be Liddy or Miller. You click on their faces to either "add it" to the rec list or to "no way do I want that on the rec list"

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

That's a more difficult hack than just changing the pictures

And to be clear, it's that the top 5 (or whatever) posts from the last 7 (or whatever) days. And "top" means the average of your ratings after you receive five.

(So getting a lot of rankings isn't necessarily a good thing. It depends on the average of rankings.)

I don't have a problem with the star ratings

I find it ironic, actually. I work all day, everyday with child care providers and facilities to help them improve their star ratings. I do think that the community needs to agree on what the stars mean.

Lance, I use the I-tunes stars pretty much the same way you do, so I'm "down with that", as they (whoever they are) say. Once most people have agreed to what the stars mean, would it be possible for you to have an explanation posted permanently for new bloggers so that it's not as intimidating as DQ describes?

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi


I was driving home a couple of days ago when this image entered my consciousness:

Now I see it everywhere.

Some would agree

That there really ought to be warning signs!

Now this is an ideeee

Right now three, but it should probably be higher so that SD and her daughters can't conspire to put a post called "Lance is a Weenie" on the rec list.

I'd never thought of that before.I'll have Katie register using the name Faux Sure Democrat. Sound about right? :)

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

My thoughts.

1. An arbitrary 75% seems just fine.
2. I think just two days. We have a decent number of people posting here now, and I think the content will refresh itself much more often than once-a-week. Although, with DK, the rec list takes into account how many rec's and HOW recent they were. On the other hand, if there is something that is so oh-my-god great that it should be 5-star rated for a whole week...
3. How about five. There are at least five of us reading this site every morning and afternoon.
4. Nothing doesn't need to be there. The rec list should be open to anything that is posted (not on the front page) that the community likes enough to vote upon.
5. I don't know why, but okay.

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

The big reason

why I like the idea of a rec list is that it makes diaries by people who are not front pagers more accesible to lurkers, and more likely to be read by them.

The point of the rec list isnt for people like me, who read every comment on the site. Its for the people who only have 10 minutes to read the site every other day, and dont comment.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Liddy 44 Brad 33

"Keep the Faith"

I'm Confused

Everybody gets 5 stars from me.

Except trolls. Do we have negative stars?

If you use 'Track Changes' you never see the front page anyway after you've come in the door... just sayin'

Something ancient can come up if someone comments in it. Right?

No, no black holes

As for your last question, no, not for the rec list. The way it's set up now is that only stuff less than x seconds old is eligible. I could look into basing this on the recency of comments rather than posting, however, if there's a sense that we should do that.

Let's think it through: would that have the effect of keeping hot stuff on the list? If so, at the expense of what?

No Clue

The whole idea of it reminds me of those dreaded math problems:

'If a train A leaves the station at Chicago at 6:15 and proceeds south and train B leaves the station at Milwaukee at 4:25 headed south, will they crash in Peoria or St. Louis?

>ACK< Thought process overload.
Take the bus.

It seems like...

there's a lot that's good about changing the time restriction to be based on last comments, but it would be annoying to have a highly rated but otherwise dead thread stay on the list because someone kept leaving themselves comments.

Maybe we could say that the rec list includes highly rated posts that are not on the front page, and which (i) have been commented on in the past two days (to use Robert's number) and (ii) which are in no case older than four days.

Although at that point

it's starting to sound like something developed by lawyers.


I just disappeared the score totals, so people can vote and the votes will be counted and the recommended block will still be generated, but the totals won't show up on each post. I'm thinking this will remove some of the sausage-making aspects of the process, and perhaps soothe the sensibilities of those uncomfortable with raw numeric feedback.

great touch

I have to say that I disagree with DQ, but I think they are definetly valid concerns.

The fact is that BlueNC is going through some growing right now, and a year from now we might have double or triple the readers that we have now, and we need to be prepared for more people posting, commenting and lurking.

If we choose not to change, then so be it. If we change, and we dont like it, then so be it. No matter what, its a community decision.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Liddy 44 Brad 33

"Keep the Faith"

I agree. That's a nice improvement.



“Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.”
― Joe Biden

Speaking of voting

Go vote for Larry Kissell if you haven't done so already. It's quick and easy.


“Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.”
― Joe Biden

Now that was easy

Thanks for the Kissell nudge A

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Ok, how's this:

If you want to create a blog post that is not subject to the five-star rating system, simply click "Blog entry (no rating)" when creating content. If you then want to create another one that is subject to such rating system, then just keep on doing what you've been doing. If, for some ungodly reason, you want to create a blog post that is subject to the rating system, but which can not appear in the rec list, add the tag "unrecommend" to your post.

Let me also add that I have spent the past twenty-four hours absorbed in scientific articles and scholarly papers on topics ranging from the effects of reduced acetylcholine re-uptake on mice to the influence on baroque composition of Dietrich Buxtehude; from Glad He Ate Her: the phenomenological and semiotic cultural import of "American Gladiators" (palimpsest or simulacrum?) to works of decades of feminist, community-building, non-patriarchal, co-creation theorists; and my friends, it is clear to me that if the grand tradition of Western thought has come to agree on any one single thing, it is this:



the rec list is going to ROCK

I say again.

You're a saint.


“Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.”
― Joe Biden