Saturday, November 06, 2004

The Rating Game

Whilst cruising along in BlogExplosion, I've seen some folks asking others to rate their blog. I've seen ratings of other blogs, I've rated some, and this blog has received ratings too.

But what, exactly, do these ratings tell us?

Hm, ratings are based on...what precisely? Why is a blog awarded a "2" vs. a "9", for instance? Content? Presentation? Subject matter? It's nice to have a ratings system, but without any way to explain why the rating is what it is, how is that helpful to the blogger or to those who visit the blog? I mean, there are some blogs out there I'd really like to read, but, um, can't because it's presented in 2pt. type in pale green on a background of lemon chiffon, and the whole thing is surrounded by flashing, blinking lights dancing around, taunting you to go ahead and just you try to read the posts themselves.

There are blogs that have gorgeous presentations, but the content is, um, lackluster.

Then there are those (like mine!) that has content that is okay and a presentation that is okay. But both could be better. Alrighty -- better how? What specifically would improve any individual blog? We can't explain that by simply assigning a "5".

There are those out there who are html wizards and can create awesome works. There are newbies out there who have very plain looking blogs, but it may have taken more effort for them to create that than was required of the wiz to create theirs. Do we reward "up" points for Successful Achievement in New Endeavors? Or do we rate them "down" because it's not the glitziest site in the blogsphere?

If I could say, "10 on content, 3 on presentation", I would. Or conversely, "3 on content, 10 on presentation". Or even, "Um, I really don't have any interest in knitting, but if I did, your blog would be the one I'd follow, and based on that, I award you an 8". How about that: if you come across a blog that is rich in content and well presented, but is of a subject matter of which you have no interest, do you automatcially give it a low score? Is it their fault you're not into, say, plastic lanyard basket weaving?

Anyone tracking with me here?

This post has been brewing in the back of my mind for awhile now, but it was thanks to the inspiration of the insomniac at Scheiss Weekly that I actually put pen to paper on the idea. So to speak.

Your thoughts?

UPDATE 5:05pm 11/6/04: While we're at it, on BE's Blog Directory, there is a box on the right containing the "Top 10 Rated Blogs". What the golly bob howdy does THAT mean? Most often rated? Most highly rated? Most recently rated? I've been #6 on that list; I've been #1 on that list, and I've been absent from that list. And to me this should mean...what???


At November 6, 2004 at 8:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes!, Yes! Yes! My thoughts exactly on this whole rating thing. Love the look, hate the content. Love the content, hate the look. Might would like it if I could read it. Too long. Too short. The rating block itself should have some type of comment to go along with it.

At November 6, 2004 at 9:09 AM, Blogger Willful Exposé said...

I've run across the same problem. My site gets from 3s to 10s on any given day. My cynical side believes some people just rate carelessly, not thinking of the effect their one click will have on some less frequently rated blogs.
I rate blogs based on about 70% content, 30% presentation. I do not rate on how much I like the subject matter, only how much someone who did like the subject manner would like the blog. For all the people that surf the directory, such a rating is not misleading.
And lastly, if it's really flashy and unreadable, I usually can't stand to read the content, so those blogs get low or no rating. Sometimes I'm too nice to leave a bad one, especially if I bet the person will come over and rate me badly for revenge.
One person said in a comment they really liked my blog but "only gave me a 7" because I needed an "about me page." The comment idea is a great one when used in that manner.
Sorry this is so long. I just had some ideas to share. Best regards...

At November 6, 2004 at 10:20 AM, Blogger Yvonne said...

I think the rating thing is just too subjective, so I don't often rate the blogs that I find. If I have something to say about a blog's content or presentation I'd probably just leave a comment in the blog.

At November 6, 2004 at 10:35 AM, Blogger Ann D said...

I am starting to only rate blogs that I like. That will probably totally skew the whole rating system in a positive way, but I've noticed that most blogs at BlogExplosion have pretty negative ratings, so I think the existing system has has encouraged people to hit the "1" button too liberally. :-)


At November 6, 2004 at 12:36 PM, Blogger Toni McGee Causey said...

I completely agree; I try to rate mostly on content, because I know the blogger has more control over that than appearance. (As in my case -- mine is extremely plain and I'm waiting for two web-designers who've promised to revamp my look... I just don't know how long it'll be before they get to me.) I hate that some people just give a low rating without any sort of indication as to why... makes it look more vengeful (like they wanted to knock someone out of a higher ranking) instead of being about the blog itself. I do like that we can now see who's left what rank... I just wish comments were mandatory.

Great post, by the way. I'm glad others are thinking the same thing.


At November 6, 2004 at 1:13 PM, Blogger Lewis E. Moten III said...

I agree. I'm seeing most people are rating based on design rather then content.

At November 6, 2004 at 1:18 PM, Blogger Meg said...

Ahem. Stop that! Valid points are not permitted!

At November 6, 2004 at 1:35 PM, Blogger Surly said...

I think the rating system is a way of making surfers feel like participants in Blog Explosion. The participatory action gives a sense of ownership, which in turn makes you want to support Blog Explosion by continuing to surf. It is a very effective customer loyalty nechanism.

It's also very important to the good folks who run Blog Explosion, who, I am quite sure, don't care if we just stay the 30 seconds, contradicting what they claim. They only want the number of surfers to swell, allowing them to attract more sponsors and therefore more money. I am pretty cynical, but it makes sense, no?

But you don't blog for the glory, you blog because you enjoy it and you enjoy the feedback. That's why a rating based on a cursory 30-second pit stop is ridiculous The ratings can hurt enormously and can also swell one's ego for no particular reason. I prefer to read my comments.

Howver, I like the colours and smooth layout of your blog and I like that you're questioning the need for ratings, so I rate you a 10. If you check your ratings, you'll see I don't lie. But I thought I'd leave a long-winded comment too.

At November 6, 2004 at 7:28 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Agreed with your thoughts--besides the ratings, a general comments feature would be nice.

At November 6, 2004 at 10:26 PM, Blogger Rachel Ann said...

I agree. First, as I commented on another's blog, I don't tend to rate lower than a 7 anyway, because if I'm not enjoying a blog for whatever reason, I don't stay. Second, as you stated so well, what does the rating mean? It doesn't tell me what the person disliked/liked about my blog. That to me is of greater relevance, because it lets me know what I can change and what I wouldn't change (ie the person just won't be one of my readers).

I think it is a power trip for some people.


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