What would you think of having voting on the comments?

nick
Mar 23, 2010

Not too long ago, a regular user of our site asked me if we would ever consider offering users the opportunity to vote on the comments on our site.

If you haven't seen this before, it's sorta like how on e-commerce site's reviews you'll see links that say "was this review helpful?" or something like that. On content sites, it's often simply a thumbs up or down on the comment, but it can be more complicated, giving you the opportunity to label a comment something descriptive like: "insightful," "entertaining," "mildly interesting," or "the work of a troll."

When you have people rating comments, then you usually actually sort the comments by their rating — instead of the time they were posted.

What's nice about this is that, if it's actively used by the community, it generally means that the apparent signal to noise ratio goes up, because the good stuff floats to the top (where more people are more likely to read it) and the ravings of trolls (not that we have any of that, of course) sinks to the bottom.

It also gives commenters some feedback — some peer pressure, if you will, in a good way. People are more likely to post well-thought out or funny comments and to stay away from flaming because they get positive feedback.

It's fairly popular with content producers because usually it takes the place of monitoring. Many very reputable companies online (mostly tech companies) get out of the moderation business altogether. For one thing we don't really want to be censors — though we do want a site that gives everyone a voice and encourages them to use that voice in a good, interesting, and entertaining way.

That said, it means that it's hard to follow a developing story, because you can't just go down the comments (or up them) to where you left off, the order's all jumbled. And, of course, conversations are difficult to follow because of the order. That is good and bad. That there can't really be conversations seems to me like it would encourage commenters to focus on the article not each other. And we've always got the forums for real conversation as opposed to "comment."

So what do people think? Would you like to see us implement such a system? Would you comment more or less? Would you vote on others' comments?

Comments

Gulliver

It's worth a try.    Don't you find it interesting --now people who comment can be traced and held accountable for their words --  that fewer people comment.  Fewer comments mean fewer NASTY, DISGUSTING remarks (thank God).  So in that respect it is a "positive" change. But what isn't positive is that we fail to get feedback from other respectful, non-bigoted people who know how to think.

I say, give it a try.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

 

Kelly

I like the idea of rating the comments but I hate the idea of posting them by rank. I don't want to have to sift through all the old comments just because they have more stars to get to the new stuff.  Remember you DO get stories that generate HUNDREDS of comments.

Karl Hungus-Mr....

Honestly the answer is no, let me explain why.

For example what if there was a story on the Register website about the Sandusky going to the Mayor-Ward system.  Now, lets say that many people make perfectly logical, well written, and educated posts for or against such an idea.  Those that are for the system could give those that are against low ratings and vice versa.  Do these posters deserve the lower rating?  No.

If there was a way to garuntee that people were rating the post, not the idea, then it would be a great idea.  Otherwise it will just become another wedge jammed into the crack that has formed in this city.

Oliver Hardy

I somewhat agree with Mr. Hungus. You have people that are for something, against something or they are neutral. Many of my comments that did follow the Discussion Guidelines were deleted for various reasons (with explanations) and in some cases, my entire comments along with my name, date and time were deleted as if I had never posted a comment.

My question is:  Could readers that are not registered to comment onto the news blogs or forums rate a comment?

You have some very good people that post very good comments whether I agree with them or not. If someone gets too many negative ratings, they might just stop leaving comments, myself included.

I have noticed that your polls can be quite misleading. People can vote several times on the polls. My concern is that people could also rate a comment several times.

My opinion: Do not delete any comments until four people complain (report abuse). I have read comments that did not violate any Discussion Guidelines get deleted for reasons that I do not agree with.

Mr. White, you have my email address. Contact me if you have any concerns or want more information. I have several concerns and ideas that I would prefer to keep private between you and me.

Rick Studer

 

I find the new BLOG system of the Sandusky Register basically undemocratic. While they claim to be uninterested in moderating or controlling content that’s exactly what they do.   The BLOG proctor doesn’t seem to know their butt from a hole in the ground. When you offend the proctor they take it out on the commentator with a child like vengeance by posting abstract or odd reasons for removal.  I myself have been called a racist by this stoolie. (By the way stoolie is not a personal attack, just a statement of fact sir proctor.)   By any measure, the blogs on this site have regressed under this new system. Most are in single digits for comments. Whom are the bloggers writing for these days? The register staff? When the blogs were open there was a lot of debate and free exchange of thought mixed among the chaff. Now there is none.   Any news is good news, any comment is a good comment!