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mtbrocket

Is the Topic Rating system necessary?

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  • Original Poster
  • I would like to get some intelligent feed back.

    I noticed a new rating system is now in place for topics. I was surprised at its creation as it has the same problem as the STEX rating system; future ratings by individuals will be influenced by previous ratings. People will rate five or zero, and nothing in between, to exaggerate their influence of opinion of a particular topic. I foresee rating wars, especially in the City Journals where member-created rating systems over emphasize the popular CJs at the expense of other CJs of less popularity but of equal worth. People of ill will or who disagree with the topic's author can bring a topic's rating down by voting a zero or even starting a campaign of like minded individuals to all vote a poor rating as a form of censorship.

    Also there is no weighing of the number of people who vote. If only one person rates a topic five stars then the topic is a five. If there is another topic with four stars but has one hundred people rating it then it is still a four. The system should weigh in the number of people who vote. I note that there is already a counter for this it just has to be added in to the calculation.

    The popular CJs will all get five star ratings so there will really be no differentiation between them. Those with five stars will gain more and more five star ratings while those with four stars will get just not accumulate as many. People will see CJs with four stars as of significantly lesser quality regardless of actual value. They will wonder what is wrong with them and with only limited time to look at CJs people will gravitate to the five star CJs. Those of three or less stars will be seen as pariahs to be avoided.  Most new CJs, CJs made by kids, and CJs where the authors can not devote the significant time to add flashy extras but simply wish to share their fun will fit into this category. The stars will become nothing more than a way to divide star bellied Sneetchs.

    If ratings are necessary then here is an idea I have to make it a little bit fairer. Now stay with me here as it is a bit involved. Start with the topic author having control over whether their topic can be rated with some sort of switch or something. This way an author can chose to participate in being judged. The author can turn it off at any time and the topic will then have no rating until turned on again. The on-off switch controlled by the author gets turned off if the author does not update the topic within a length of time say a year or whatever. This way a dead topic rating stays put.

    The topics start with no rating. People can vote on each topic only once a month. When a month from that date goes by the vote for the topic is restored to that individual. The maximum number of votes a topic can get is 20. Twenty is a nice big number. When a new person votes the oldest vote is kicked out. With twenty votes and five stars being the highest vote the maximum vote a topic can get a 100 points. One to twenty points gets one star; twenty one to forty points gets two stars; forty one to sixty points gets three stars; sixty one through eighty gets four stars; eighty one to one hundred get five stars. The stars will be what people will see as the rest will be the hidden ghost in the machine. When there are less than twenty votes the rest of the non used votes rate at a three as that is the neutral point. Why go to such precision as 100 points just to lose fidelity when it is converted back to five stars you might say? All I can say is people like shiny stars. I personally wouldn't mind watching a 100 point counter wax and wane.

    What is good about this system is it is dynamic. A topic can go up or down in ratings depending on its current state. It is less susceptible to sabotage as sour votes can be washed away by new votes. For CJs it allows people who start out inexperienced to improve with time and to see positive feedback. It gives a fighting chance to topics that are not popular but are still good and it allows new topics to be just as likely to be king of the hill as the old topics. There could be some extras like an additional 5 points if there are frequent author updates or demerits for few author updates but they are not really needed.

    So that is my idea. If you like it or not I would like to get some intelligent feed back on it. I wonder how many stars this topic will get.
    -Dan

    p.s. Edited font to make it bigger.

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    This is probably the first and only topic that deserves a 5 star rating - hows that for irony 9.gif

    You are perfectly correct of course - the topic rating system, as it stands, is just another way of bringing anarchy into the forums - as if Simtropolis hasnt seen enough anarchy already !!!

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    I agree wholeheartedly with your idea; though I'd rather see no rating system at all, your proposed system is a good enough compromise for me.

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    Let's think about refining the system after Dirk has taken his well-deserved one-week break from forum programming after he is done putting up the STEX, Modds & Downloads, Chat, home page, and lots of other stuff which is after he reads all the suggestion/complaint/compliment topics you guys write. 21.gif

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    For those of you who haven't seen it, I did make something about this to try to help stem any possible rating abuse.  You can check it out here.

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    It is completey unneseccary and inevitably will end up getting 'abused' so to speak. There's another forum I post at that has such a system. My policy on it here will be the same as mine there: just ignore it.

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    Originally posted by: Duke87

    It is completey unneseccary and inevitably will end up getting 'abused' so to speak. There's another forum I post at that has such a system. My policy on it here will be the same as mine there: just ignore it.quote>


    I disagree.  Properly done, it can be really useful.  The real key is whether or not us members are mature enough to not screw with it and rate poorly "just because."

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    I thought it was a cool idea, until I noticed that Wood County was just 3 stars!  Gosh, It just doesn't seem right! 18.gif  But I guess that can happen, I think its still a nice idea, I just hope it isn't abused like you say.

    But, hopefully the simtropolians can use the power of the rating for good, and not evil.

    Everyone: Think before you rate!  Cheers.

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    Originally posted by: Voar Tok

    Originally posted by: Duke87 It is completey unneseccary and inevitably will end up getting 'abused' so to speak. There's another forum I post at that has such a system. My policy on it here will be the same as mine there: just ignore it.quote>
    I disagree.  Properly done, it can be really useful.  The real key is whether or not us members are mature enough to not screw with it and rate poorly "just because."quote>


    Voar Tok - its a nice thought hoping all the members will be "mature" - but do you really think that is going to happen, when the site is predominantly frequented by youngsters, with thier perfectly normal rebellious natures ??
    There are many people on this site with Masters degrees *cough*, many of whom like to elevate themselves WAY above the common populi, so the rating system will be yet another way of saying "my group is superior to yours" or "my opinion is the only one that counts" - heaven knows there has been plenty of that on Simtropolis !!

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    Originally posted by: Voar Tok

    Originally posted by: Duke87 It is completey unneseccary and inevitably will end up getting 'abused' so to speak. There's another forum I post at that has such a system. My policy on it here will be the same as mine there: just ignore it.quote>
    I disagree.  Properly done, it can be really useful.  The real key is whether or not us members are mature enough to not screw with it and rate poorly "just because."quote>


    The trouble is that "properly done" is only theoretical. This is the in ternet, after all, and people are inevitably going to screw with things. Besides, there's absolutely no way of telling whether everyone who rated something did so honestly. So the statistic has unknown accuracy, and is thus worthless.

    The other issue is that the definition of what a good basis for a rating is is debatable, and is completely a matter of personal opinion. Is it okay to give someone's profile a bad rating just because you don't like their opinion on something? Is it okay to give a thread a bad rating because you don't like the author? Is it okay to give a thread a good rating just because you like the author?
    These are all questions of opinion, and thus have no right or wrong answer.

    So any such rating system is completely flawed simply by nature, and those flaws are unavoidable.

    The situation you're describing in which the rating system works perfectly is but a fantasy. The world is not perfect, and the people in it aren't perfect. Reality just doesn't work that way.

    So this is, essentially, one of those things that's a good Idea in theory, but in practical application just doesn't work.

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    I actually like the rating system. Guys, don't worry. For me, I still go to that thread no matter what the rating. I see the rating system as a way to let you know what people think about the thread's topic, but that doesn't mean people will stop going to that thread just because it has a poor rating... Like say "The Avatar Above me" has a rating of 'terrible', do you really think people are going to stop rating other people's avatars? I don't think so.

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    Well I also am not too happy with the new rating system. I simply know that people are not serious and mature enough to handle such a system and abuse it and while doing so they also abuse others. I myself am going to be ignoring it, I already decided that I would not rate any person, no matters how close or how far he is from me 2.gif

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    It will be just like 3rd Grade during recess - "If you give me your candy bar, I will let you play with my football - but if you pull my hair I will spit in your face ........"
    The infantile behaviour and downright anarchy of Simtropolis has already been well displayed on the forum pages - is it going to change ? I think not - Its part of the appeal of Simtropolis !!!

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    I don't mind the rating system whatsoever. It's there as a new feature here at 5.0. And, if you don't like it, then don't use it!! Some people are mature enough to handle something like this here, and some are not. But this rating system should not be getting people upset because their city journal is rated 1 or 2 stars. Let's try to enjoy this new feature, and if you don't like it then don't bother using it or looking at it!

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    Originally posted by: JustinHayward   when the site is predominantly frequented by youngsters, with thier perfectly normal rebellious naturesquote>


    You make very good point with making this thread but be careful when been prejadis please.

    Well I personally don't mind it been there. At the end of the day as a ST admin put it "it is a minor feature and nothing to get upset about". I have already seen it been abused but for long term threads the rateing should balance out. Bear in mind that city journals will soon be no longer part of the forum sysem.

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    Because of the wide scattering of the maturity of the membership, I think this may be a serious mistake. We didn't have it before, and I didn't miss it. I wonder if we really need it now?

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    Nice Idea mtbrocket, this topic definitely deserves 5 stars 2.gif I don't really mind the rating system but I looked at Vlakhaas's rating (one of the best lot makers there is) and the first 3 people who rated him gave him a 1. Is that fair? No, I don't think so. If people are mature, then the rating system will work, if they aren't mature, the rating system won't work but I think your idea should be thought about.

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    Originally posted by: sim1234

    Nice Idea mtbrocket, this topic definitely deserves 5 stars I don't really mind the rating system but I looked at Vlakhaas's rating (one of the best lot makers there is) and the first 3 people who rated him gave him a 1. Is that fair? No, I don't think so. If people are mature, then the rating system will work, if they aren't mature, the rating system won't work but I think your idea should be thought about.quote>


    The problem has been stated that due to wide range in maturity levels of the users here, the rating system is open to abuse. Given the past performance of  a few users who have shown the maturity level of 'third graders' it seems inevitable that it will be abused.

    There are over 100k users here and many, but not all, are young. Many are older but have not developed emotionally, and so on. This is normal for any large group based around a game. Given this, how can the generalization that 'if the people are mature, then the rating system will be fair' be true? It cannot. The dynamics of the group show that it can and will be abused.
     
    You can call the 'profile' rating system anything you like, but you are still rating the user. The Topic rating system is can also be abused by immature users, but not as much or as directly as the profile rating. The rating system as it stands can only show one thing, popularity. The worthiness of a topics' content, even with the guidlines given in another thread will most likely not be reflected by its rating.

    The user rating system is redundant and completely unnecessary. It is already being abused now.

    just my 2 pennies

    ncd



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  • Original Poster
  • I am quite pleased with the range of responses and the civility of this forum. I agree with many of your opinions but not all. I must start by saying that this issue is very similar to, though not as intense as, the dress code debate in high schools where many a kid is teased simply for wearing the wrong shirt and the most extreme result is a kid shooting another kid over a pair of shoes. I certainly don't think that will happen here but there are other results that are also undesirable. So here goes another lengthy argument to expand the understanding of my position. For those who want to skip all this, the short argument is the Oprah effect is bad for the Simtropolis City Journals.

    My dad would say "what do you want, a medal or a chest to pin it on?" The medal may be the reward but the chest is the effort put into achieving a goal and is ultimately the more valuable of the two. Being in my thirties with a desk job I most certainly prefer the chest.

    Popularity really does matter, after all why bother writing a CJ if you don't care what others think of your creation. The medal is all about being recognized by your peers for work you already know is of value. People like to be rewarded and ultimately like shiny stars.

    Imagine looking at a shopping mall directory where not only are the shops listed but the shop ratings compared to each other. Most shoppers would be drawn to the shops of higher ratings not caring how those rating are made. How would you even rate a clothing shop in relation to a music shop? A shop owner would be very concerned about their shop's rating as it would have a direct impact on revenue and they would focus a considerable amount of energy on raising their shop's rating even at the expense of other more relevant matters like the quality of the goods sold. The popularity centric rating system is both affected by and a contributor to the perception of quality without any impact on the intrinsic value of the product being rated. Remember how Oprah and James Frey got in trouble over this.

    The line of reasoning of "if you don't like it, just ignore it" is a non-answer. It is very dismissive of the legitimate problems associated with this matter. It is just a polite way of saying "your issue is of no concern to me personally so therefore it should not be a concern to anyone else so therefore it should not be discussed or acted upon". Ignoring the rating system is not a viable solution as it puts the burden on each individual to correct a problem that affects everyone. Ignoring pot holes doesn't seem to work either. A shop owner who ignores the rating system would do so at his own peril. The same is true for the CJ author.

    As an author of a CJ your central means to attract people to see your work is by the quality of that work, be it city building, story telling, or Paintshop, etc. After that there are other means. For instance an author can market their journal through their signature. They can rely on a network of friends who build a system of quid pro quo such as promoting friends' journals on their own in exchange for advertising space in the friends' CJ or signatures. Directories like Mayormommy's Guide are a positive way of drawing people to a CJ as it is, or at least was, a neutral list of CJs that leaves the discretion to the individual by means of the simple but elegant journal descriptions. It is similar to that directory at the shopping mall. Rating systems also draw people to CJs as most people do not ignore the rating system but rely on them to make their decisions for them as they only have a limited time to delegate to the effort. If you had limited time, limited knowledge and a choice between a new five star CJ and a new three or even four star CJ, all other factors the same, which choice is the most likely outcome? Most people would pick the five star. Don't dismiss this observation as it is quite central to human nature. I wonder how many people spent the time to read this far?

    This list of means to attract people to a CJ is in order of the level of control a CJ author has on the process. The author has the greatest control on the quality of work and no control over a popularity centric rating system. The author can't even choose to not participate in the rating system.

    I think the best way to give positive reinforcement to CJ authors is by writing well thought out replies both pointing out positive virtues and a critical eye to places needing improvement.

    The Simtropolis maxim is "Many Cities, One Community".
    It is not "Many Cities, Some with Five Stars."

    -Dan

    p.s. Edited font to make it bigger.

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    I am going to Compromise on this one.

    The topic rateing system seems to be alright overall and althougth it can be abused generally rateings balance out althougth I have seen a few rediculusley low rateings, however they are a minority and have never stayed that way.

    User rateing's thougth I think is just a abuse fest. I have seen a couple of peoples user rateings be 10 one day and 5.5 the next! It is also very personal and can put users under unfair pressure who have a low rateing. So I think when the admins work out how to edit how profile's work this should be terminated.

    This is just my opinion but looking at the majority of the replies in this thread is a resonabley balanced viewpoint.

    Bear in mind however CJ's are nearly irelevant in this discussion since they are soon going to be no longer part of the forum system.

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    Perhaps my previous post was a bit harsh. I may agree with that the rating system for Topics and the STEX are useful, the profile rating system is not. The City Journals are going to be separate from the forums and it remains to be seen whether or not they will be rated.

    For myself, the input provided by the rating system in those areas was needed in order to find out if I needed to change, correct, or modify the things I was posting. It was also used to find out if people were even interested in what I was presenting to the public.


    When it turned out that people liked the few things that I uploaded, it made me so happy that I wanted to do more. Even though there were some immature and misinformed responses in the comments that I received, it made me even happier to see people jump to my defense.


    In the building support thread I created some of the more mature people congratulated me on my work even while stating that the building/Lot was not very useful for them. Constructive criticism. That works. It even gave me new ideas which are currently under development.


    So, while I may agree that a rating system for topics and the STEX is useful, with some error correction for immature responses, the Profile Rating system serves no purpose, because there is no way for a person to know why he or she is getting a bad rating. There is no 'constructive criticism' to it, and no way for the user to find out what is wrong. Again, where is the use in that?


    Perhaps a better system would be that which was in place on the STEX prior to the upgrade. You had to make a comment before you could rate something. That way the author could disregard the immature or misinformed responses and use the contructive ones.

    ncd

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  • Original Poster

  • I am a bit confused with your reply, north country dude, as I am an opponent of rating systems and do not find them useful. Aha, you have edited your response to clear up the confusion. Never mind then.

    I think that you have proven my point about the high value of replies admirably with your own experience.
    -Dan

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    Sorry, the font on the message was a bit too small for me to read clearly, thanks for editing it, as I have edited mine response also. I unsderstand about the shiny stars being a detractor for the things that are somewhat personal, such as a City Journal, or even a BAT, or LOT. These things reflect on a person on an more intimate level than say a topic?

    Perhaps, for this reason the powers that be are moving the CJs to a separate area not in the forums?

    Come to think of it, per my suggestion in the previous 'edited' post, rating a topic then becomes redundant. Perhaps it would be better to make it necessary to post before rating? That would certainly give the voter a chance to explain his or her reasons for voting, instead of just arbitrarily casting votes on subjects they know little about. It would certainly give people pause before giving a topic a bad rating if they had to post in it before voting on it.

    As for the Profiles, I am steadfastly against it. As for items that are uploaded for the public to use, the comments are necessary for quality improvement. As for pictures and stories about things personal, probably not as useful as just plain comments and suggestions.

    Again, sorry for the mis-understanding. Forgive me?
    ncd

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    Originally posted by: north country dude Perhaps, for this reason the powers that be are moving the CJs to a separate area not in the forums? quote>


    The original reason that CJ's are been moved off the bb is that the CJ forum is just far to over crowded and dirk and many others think it would be more efficiant in its own area.

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    soon you wont have to worry about the ratings system that ST provides for the CJs seens as soon they will be on its own site...

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    JustinHayward: I understand that the majority of the members here at ST are teenagers, but I've seen forums that are predominantly frequented by adults (who you would think would know better) and they flame, insult, and whatever else you can think of to the point that the forum had to be shut down.  In that aspect, I think that ST has been really fortunate that the majority of our members are surprisingly mature for a group of teenagers.

    Duke: Yeah, in theory, this would be perfect.  Even though we don't live in perfection, I think that it will eventually work out.

    Superstar: I don't plan to rate profiles because there isn't anything that actually distinguishes one user from the other as the set-up is currently all the same.

    I personally don't really see any purpose the the profile rating system, which is why I didn't really have anything to say in that guide I made.  I personally will evaluate a member according to what I know about them, not what some rating system tells me that people supposedly think of their profiles.  It's possible to have a good attitude and a pathetic profile, and vice versa.  Hence, if it says, I'm not going to throw a fit, and if it goes, I'm not going to miss it.

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