How's your reputation?

Anyone who's ever read comments online knows that the numbers of posts, comments, or reviews an individual shares doesn't necessarily correlate with his or her value to the community.

Some prolific posters and reviewers routinely offer sage, civil, well-measured advice to fellow members. They're trustworthy, reliable, helpful, and we're likely to value their experienced input more highly than others.

Other members are mixed bags. And a few others you may take with a grain of salt.

On the flip side, some members have low post counts, but when they do speak up it's with insightful reviews and posts chock full of helpful advice, images, and references. We wish we heard even more from them.

Is one member's two-sentence forum post really equal to another's in-depth, image- and video-laden Killer Review? Of course not.

Currently, Trailspace community members get titles (New, Junior, Full, Senior Member) based on the number of posts and reviews you've written, and how long you've been a part of the community. But those titles don't necessarily reflect the esteem of the community.

Enter reputation systems. In addition to considering post counts and longevity, a reputation system attempts to measure the value of each member's contributions as determined by community feedback. We've been collecting this type of feedback for some time — mainly through the "was this helpful? yes/no" buttons at the bottom of each review and forum post — but so far have not factored it into users' overall standings on the site.

As we consider the best ways to introduce this sort of reputation system in the Trailspace community, we want to hear from you:

  • What makes you value certain members? Their content? Their experience? Their tone?
  • Is there community content you value above others? Types of posts? Reviews? Images?
  • Are you familiar with other web reputation systems? And if so, what do you like or dislike about how they work?

We want to recognize our members for their valuable contributions to the community and site. Share your thoughts below on how best we can do that.


Filed under: Trailspace News

Comments

giftogab
REVIEW CORPS
592 reviewer rep
1,505 forum posts
May 16, 2012 at 9:09 p.m. (EDT)

I value a person's posts based in empirical evidence of experience first. I don't have to "like" a guy to respect their knowledge. At the same time, if they are entertaining and informative along with the CV to back it up, I truly value them. Several people here fall into this category and I have gone so far as to meet OGBO and BHeiser1 in person because I enjoy and respect them on this site. If someone weighs in but has not reviewed a single item or posted a single trip report, they are more like an annoying gnat than a person I want to spend my time having to read. I pass them up mostly. There are some here that will weigh in and qualify their experience and I appreciate that. Maybe they haven't had a ton of experience but they will say that and then put their 2 cents in. That is great too. And it is nice to goof a bit with folks too. I RARELY use the WAS THIS HELPFUL buttons. I don't think they are really very useful. Mainly because it is an all or none vote. Things just are not that black and white most of the time. I am not familiar with rep systems at all.

Callahan
245 reviewer rep
1,469 forum posts
May 16, 2012 at 9:32 p.m. (EDT)

I would have to agree with GOG note that the rating system could do with a change, maybe to a 5 star system when rating someone's review quality.

Rick-Pittsburgh
1,631 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts
May 16, 2012 at 9:59 p.m. (EDT)

Callahan said:

I would have to agree with GOG note that the rating system could do with a change, maybe to a 5 star system when rating someone's review quality.

If there was a 5 star rating system for rating reviews it may be a tad tough to judge being the ratings would fall prey to personal preference.

I mean what might be a 5 star review to me may not necessarily be a 5 star review to another reader. 

The "Was this helpful: yes/no" is a simple straight forward approach that works without making things more confusing than they need to be. 

Jmho

Oh, gotta say I am really digging the Killer Review tag. I want to see everyone have them on their reviews. ;)

Wolfman (Wolfgang Greystoke)
119 reviewer rep
456 forum posts
May 17, 2012 at 10:09 a.m. (EDT)

Like Big Sis (Giftogab) I have never used the "Was this Helpful", well I don't think I have.  I have read quite a few gear reviews and some are more helpful then others, but it's hard to know just what is what with gear unless you know the poster.  It seems that a lot of gear reports are from "guest" or someone that just posted a few times.  Maybe I looking at the wrong gear?! :) 

I am on several other sites a few that relate to hiking, others that do not.  The only one that I know that uses a reputation system is a gaming site and it is given for individual post.  I guess it's like the "Was this Helpful" in that regard but it also has a separate counter like post.  I think it is useful in seeing what others think of the persons writing skills (PbP) but that's about it. 

For this site, in the Gear Reviews I would say it makes some sense, but so many of the individual post are not really directed at "Helping" someone, many are, but I often think that a lot are just talk. 

Then there is the whole negative side of the "Was this Helpful", if you happen to not like someone, say that Wolfman character, then always marking "NO" on his post would down grade his/her reputation for reasons other then what the site intended. 

Just my two cents. :D

Wolfman

mikemorrow
314 reviewer rep
1,124 forum posts
May 17, 2012 at 10:22 a.m. (EDT)

Welcome back Wolfman.

Then there are those post that get off subject. :P 

Callahan
245 reviewer rep
1,469 forum posts
May 17, 2012 at 12:21 p.m. (EDT)

Hi Rick,

I got to agreee that personal preference can creep into such a rating.  As it can on anything rated when a person rates something or someone.  I guess that is what ratings are about, e.g. how they fit to a person and then all the individual ratings can be averaged.

Maybe there could be an auto generated averaged rating given as an average of the ratings to each of 5 possible sections of rating a review and each section having 5 stars,

e.g.

- length of review

- quality/tone of review
- picture/video quality/usefulness
- summary

- Pros AND Cons

Currently when I start to rate a review, if any of these above mentioned sections of review are anything other than a 5/5, I usually do not rate it a "yes" to "Was this review helpful ?"

Catherine Baldridge
0 reviewer rep
8 forum posts
May 17, 2012 at 12:32 p.m. (EDT)

The Hopi Way

Is this going to be competitive blogging?

denis daly
87 reviewer rep
1,061 forum posts
May 17, 2012 at 12:49 p.m. (EDT)

I tend to try and make an effort of pushing the button "was this helpful" on posts topics and reviews.Generally on post's, if I don't want to be invovled with the discussion. I still give my opinion of the content in the discussion.I think some members opinions come across better than others do to their tone.I think tone sets the stage for a good thread. When poster's add Video or pre'existing threads to a topic shows their trying to be as informative as possible.It also at times helps to identify quality opinions.As for experiance goes.Many of our members have quit abit. I read very inparticial.I don't analyze every little word they write but I see if their overall opinion's content has affected me in a topic. Positively or Negatively.As for the rateing system I am for it .It would make us better writers and reviewers. I like the killer review tag. AS for rateing each member why not other sites do.

whomeworry
102 reviewer rep
2,285 forum posts
May 17, 2012 at 4:48 p.m. (EDT)

I think I better be putting on my thick skin!

  • If I am funny, it is for all the wrong reasons.
  • I am sometimes entertaining, but such can also be said of train wreaks.
  • I have posted very few equipment reviews (my stuff is old and I rarely buy new stuff).
  • I go off topic more often than off trail.
  • I am more blunt than a wet toilet paper knife.
  • I think PC applies to computer technology, not social etiquette.
  • If I am helpful most will rightly deny it, out of fear of being associated with me.
  • Besides I know you all think guys in Hawaiian shirts are sort of dorky, if not creepy.
  • Who listens anyway, to somebody who prefers external frame packs?

Ed

 

 

mikemorrow
314 reviewer rep
1,124 forum posts
May 17, 2012 at 7:26 p.m. (EDT)

Who listens anyway, to somebody who prefers external frame packs?

I do! 

Raiders99999
51 reviewer rep
23 forum posts
May 17, 2012 at 8:41 p.m. (EDT)

I'm against reputation systems. In fact, I think you should remove the "post count" statistic on forum posts as well. Writing gear reviews and trying to help other people out are not competitive sports.

Rick-Pittsburgh
1,631 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts
May 17, 2012 at 9:08 p.m. (EDT)

Raiders99999 said:

I'm against reputation systems. In fact, I think you should remove the "post count" statistic on forum posts as well.

I am curious as to why you are against it?

I personally do not see any harm whatsoever in commending those that put forth the effort into writing well thought out, helpful responses. 

Writing gear reviews and trying to help other people out are not competitive sports.

This isn't about a competition. This is about recognizing those who have written informative, helpful reviews(same logic as with the forum posts.) 

I am trying to see where one would get that this is a "competition." If you read the blog word for word the mention of competition (in any form) is non-existant.

Now keep in mind that this could also have a positive impact in the aspect that members will now write even more in depth reviews and responses which would be to the benefit of the community as a whole.

So with that being said I am curious as to why this could be considered a bad thing. 

Just my thoughts and of course I could be over-looking something. If I am I apologize for that in advance but if I am missing something here it isn't obvious to me. 

 

Raiders99999
51 reviewer rep
23 forum posts
May 17, 2012 at 10:46 p.m. (EDT)

I am curious as to why you are against it?

The post count, as the article mentioned, does not represent anything about the person typing.

From the article:

But those titles don't necessarily reflect the esteem of the community.

This IS competition. A popularity contest.

I can easily distinguish between a poster who knows their stuff and one who doesn't. Just because a poster is reputable on one subject, does not mean they are reputable on EVERY subject.

Look, the article asked me for my opinion and I gave it.

Cathrine Baldridge knows what I'm talking about. She even beat me to it.

Rick-Pittsburgh
1,631 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts
May 17, 2012 at 11:01 p.m. (EDT)

Raiders99999 said:

I am curious as to why you are against it?

The post count, as the article mentioned, does not represent anything about the person typing.

Well, it could say that they are an active member of the community. :p

From the article:

But those titles don't necessarily reflect the esteem of the community.

This IS competition. A popularity contest.

I suppose that is one perspective. I look at it as recognizing those that have contributed to the community on a large scale. 

I mean noone is forcing another member to click the helpful tab and last I checked we can't rate our own posts nor can we rate our own reviews.

I can easily distinguish between a poster who knows their stuff and one who doesn't. Just because a poster is reputable on one subject, does not mean they are reputable on EVERY subject.

I agree 100%. That is typically why I stay away from certain conversations. I am a backpacker, nothing more, nothing less. I surely would not give climbing advice. 

Look, the article asked me for my opinion and I gave it.

I was just curious as to why you felt this way. Not trying to start an argument or anything of that nature. 

I clearly explained that in my initial response to your post(see below quote)

"Just my thoughts and of course I could be over-looking something. If I am I apologize for that in advance but if I am missing something here it isn't obvious to me." 

Cathrine Baldridge knows what I'm talking about. She even beat me to it.

Catherine's post was an inquiry and not a statement. My initial thought on her post was that some could view this as such and she was trying to make an attepmt in pointing that out.

As always, I could very well be wrong and cannot speak for her. 

I understand and respect both of you opinions/posts. Like I said in regards to yours I was just looking for a little clarification. That is all.

I mean I could say that I don't like a certain pack for instance but if I don't offer anything in support of why I feel the way I do towards this item my opinion holds little validity if any. 

I was honestly just curious. Sorry you didn't take it as such.

Callahan
245 reviewer rep
1,469 forum posts
May 18, 2012 at 12:33 a.m. (EDT)

whomeworry said:

I think I better be putting on my thick skin!

  • If I am funny, it is for all the wrong reasons.
  • I am sometimes entertaining, but such can also be said of train wreaks.
  • I have posted very few equipment reviews (my stuff is old and I rarely buy new stuff).
  • I go off topic more often than off trail.
  • I am more blunt than a wet toilet paper knife.
  • I think PC applies to computer technology, not social etiquette.
  • If I am helpful most will rightly deny it, out of fear of being associated with me.
  • Besides I know you all think guys in Hawaiian shirts are sort of dorky, if not creepy.
  • Who listens anyway, to somebody who prefers external frame packs?

Ed

 

 

 TRUE

ocalacomputerguy
0 reviewer rep
910 forum posts
May 18, 2012 at 12:42 a.m. (EDT)

I've never really liked most review rating systems. One problem is that sometimes the reviews that I find helpful get buried. What I do like are the systems that show the most helpful positive and negative at the top. 

The problem with rating systems is that they need a LARGE sample before they are accurate. I'm not sure you have enough people voting to get good results. I've seen some picture rating systems that forced you to rate the picture before you saw the next and they also did not show you the rating until you had rated the picture.  I don't think you could implement that method here.  

I think that if you do implement a rating system for the reviews you need to not show the rating until the review gets X number of votes.

Personally I think the best method to improve your reviews is to invite highly rated users to be a member of your review corps and move their reviews to the top.

As for giving members a "reputation rating" I would rather make up my own mind about somebody rather than rely on some automated voting system. I would think that some kind of "readers choice" awards might be a better way. You could put a badge under their avatar.  You could have a week long nominating period every quarter/year where members could nominate other members for awards.  People could be given "nominated for" badges if they receive enough votes.

Erich
TOP 25 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
708 reviewer rep
895 forum posts
May 18, 2012 at 1:32 a.m. (EDT)

This may be only somewhat related to this discussion. Everyone, novice, apprentice, practitioner or scholar, has an opinion on gear. Each opinion has its usefulness in providing information. I used to dismiss most reviews on various sites that started with, "I just purchased this and brought it home..." as not as informational because there was no field use. And then I realized how useful, as a writer and user, this information can be. We all have our favorite pieces of gear, and sometimes have decades of experience with that gear. Learning its idiosyncratic ways is often part of the enjoyment. Yet, I think we get bogged down in our own preferences. A fresh viewpoint on an item, whether from a novice or scholar, can sometimes point to things that we may not easily see.

Today, we often see old technology as interesting, but perhaps not practical. The steampunk movement and fascination with such things as typewriters being good examples. Sometimes, we find that old technology has been edged out by new technology that may not be an improvement, but just a different perspective.

How does this relate to the thread? I think that no matter what your experience, or preference, your information, your reputation, has merit. If you are using a Trapper Nelson to haul a moose out of the bush, that can be useful for me if I plan to do the same. Knowing the background and use, the specifics and preferences of the author, helps me to compare my perspective and use with their perspective and use.

apeman
0 reviewer rep
1,236 forum posts
May 18, 2012 at 3:01 a.m. (EDT)

John-GC.jpg said:

 

"Personally I think the best method to improve your reviews is to invite highly rated users to be a member of your review corps and move their reviews to the top."

 

+1

Pathloser
52 reviewer rep
312 forum posts
May 18, 2012 at 4:21 a.m. (EDT)

I don't think it matters: I have never noticed it being useful on other discussion sites, personally.

What makes you value certain members? Their content? Their experience? Their tone?


All of those but also the following:

"how good-looking are they?" "how much do they earn?" "did they go to a good school?" "can I associate myself with them?"

Of course, these points may have already been mentioned in the above posts but as everyone up there is on my 'ignore list', I cannot be certain.

***

Seriously, though, why not just try it and see how it goes?

Jon (has been high)

TheRambler
REVIEW CORPS
1,699 reviewer rep
1,308 forum posts
May 18, 2012 at 8:03 a.m. (EDT)

I also agree that the reputation system would be a futile effort, and probably have more ill effect than good. I would just stick with the yes/no was this helpful.

Alicia
TRAILSPACE STAFF
588 reviewer rep
3,022 forum posts
May 18, 2012 at 9:35 a.m. (EDT)

Thanks for the feedback so far. Please feel free to continue commenting. In the meantime, here are some comments and questions from me.

One point to keep in mind is that reputation systems needn't be about how much we like one another or a competition, but instead they can help highlight the best content on a site and encourage members to share that quality content with other members.

Reputation systems can be used to show the most helpful reviews first (which we already do with product reviews, and how Amazon shows you the most helpful positive and negative review, etc). 

They can be used to highlight the best answers to a user's gear question. They also can be used to recognize the top reviewers on a site with a badge or other status. They can weight your contributions (for example: you may get more credit for a thorough user review than for a short forum post). Some sites give extra credibility to members who post under their real names, and so on.

There are a variety of positive uses for reputation systems and they can be structured many different ways. That's why it's important to know what kind of content you value on the site.

Personally, I click "Yes this was helpful" on reviews and occasionally forum posts that are truly helpful and above average in quality.

For the reviews, we already use this feedback to sort an individual product's user reviews by helpfulness. Giving feedback on reviews helps other readers find the most useful reviews of a product first. While those ratings don't currently factor into a member's status, we already are using that feedback to highlight better quality content, which is what we want to accomplish at Trailspace.

I don't think every review, and certainly not every forum post, needs to be rated "Yes" or "No." I personally reserve "Yes" for the ones that truly stand out above the others. And I only use "No" in very, very rare circumstances, when someone is trying to mess around with the quality and helpfulness of the site. I don't use "No" because I disagree with someone or because their writing quality is not equal to someone else's. It's very rare that I'd use "No," and as long as someone made an effort I wouldn't click it. I hope others would focus on recognizing the positive as well.

A few questions for our members:

First, thanks to all of you who have shared reviews with the community. They're very helpful and appreciated.

For those of us who'd like to see more reviews from other members, how do you propose we encourage more active community members to share their gear reviews? I've often seen great feedback and info about a specific product in a forum thread and thought, if only they'd put that same info in a gear review. Sometimes it wouldn't be much harder than a cut-and-paste.

Thoughts?

I also agree that we should expand the Review Corps program. I'd love to scale it out as much as possible. The biggest hurdle is having enough, qualified, interested reviewers to actually test and review advance gear.

Looking at who has written Killer Reviews recently, all but two are already members of the program.

So, yes, we should pull in Review Corps members from those who've shown they're excellent reviewers, but we still need a larger pool of member reviewers to pull from.

So, again, how do you propose we get more people (including those who are already active on the site) to submit reviews so we can identify who's a good reviewer?

Lastly, what are your biggest fears of a reputation system?

And, what would be the best case scenario for a reputation system?

Thanks for all feedback.

Wolfman (Wolfgang Greystoke)
119 reviewer rep
456 forum posts
May 18, 2012 at 10:34 a.m. (EDT)

The Big Chief said:

what are your biggest fears of a reputation system?

That no one will like me. :(  Joking aside, I often think reputation systems become a form of popularity contest, even if they are not intended to be such a system.  Although I do think they are good for reviews and the like.

how do you propose we get more people (including those who are already active on the site) to submit reviews

Maybe a review count under the post count will remind people about reviews.  I often don't think about reviews unless I am actually looking for gear, one of those out of site out of mind issues.

how do you propose we encourage more active community members to share their gear reviews?

I am not sure how easy this would be but,  Maybe on the thread page, like this one, the upper right, under the thread box and above the Twitter tag, could be the most current reviews, something like on the home page.  Something to keep the reviews front and center in peoples minds. 

Just some thoughts.

Wolfman

PS:  I hope to have several gear reviews up this weekend.  :)

ocalacomputerguy
0 reviewer rep
910 forum posts
May 18, 2012 at 11:30 a.m. (EDT)

I don't think every review, and certainly not every forum post, needs to be rated "Yes" or "No." I personally reserve "Yes" for the ones that truly stand out above the others. And I only use "No" in very, very rare circumstances, when someone is trying to mess around with the quality and helpfulness of the site. I don't use "No" because I disagree with someone or because their writing quality is not equal to someone else's. It's very rare that I'd use "No," and as long as someone made an effort I wouldn't click it. I hope others would focus on recognizing the positive as well.

How about a 3 button review.  Helpful (this is obvious) neutral (little or no useful info), Unhelpful (for the trolls).

For those of us who'd like to see more reviews from other members, how do you propose we encourage more active community members to share their gear reviews?

I haven't done any gear reviews because I don't have enough experience with my gear to make a decent review, however making it easier to link to the review section would help. Currently these are the steps I take to do it. Open a new tab. Type in trailspace's web address.  Type in the product in the search box. Look through the list to find what I'm looking for then go to that page and copy the address.  Flip back to what I'm writing and paste in the address and edit it. I've seen buttons on other sites that will copy the web address to your clip board and when you paste it, it comes out like this  Leki Carbonlite Aergon XL Antishock instead of this http://www.trailspace.com/gear/leki/carbonlite-aergon-xl-antishock/#review25041

I would consider an "advanced" search page where you could limit where you are looking on trailspace.  Second have the search button open a new tab/window.  It's really annoying when I forget and sometimes lose what I have written. Most of the time you can right click and open a new tab but you can't there.

I've often seen great feedback and info about a specific product in a forum thread and thought, if only they'd put that same info in a gear review. Sometimes it wouldn't be much harder than a cut-and-paste.

Send an encouraging PM and compliment them.

Lastly, what are your biggest fears of a reputation system?

I'm not sure that I would call these fears but concerns yes.

  1. People who don't post a lot but leave good ones when they do will not be given as much weight as those who post a lot. 
  2. A person may have experience in one area which gives the a good rep but if they give advice "out of their field" they may be given more weight than they should be by people who don't know.
  3. Somebody will be offended that their rep is not as good as they think it should be and quit posting.
Alicia
TRAILSPACE STAFF
588 reviewer rep
3,022 forum posts
May 18, 2012 at 12:53 p.m. (EDT)

Good feedback, everyone. Thanks!

ocalacomputerguy is right that "fears" is too strong of a word. I'll amend my final questions to:

What do you think are poor or concerning uses of a reputation system?

What do you think are good or beneficial uses of a reputation system?

Thanks.

dm1333
3 reviewer rep
170 forum posts
May 18, 2012 at 4:46 p.m. (EDT)

Poor or concerning uses of a rep system?  From what I have seen plenty of people will neg rep a person and leave a nasty comment.  People also tend to get wrapped around the axle when it comes to "rep" and they turn into rep whores.  Just because a person has a lot of rep points doesn't make their arguments any more valid or them a great person.

 

Beneficial uses of a rep system?  I haven't got a whole lot of experience with sites that use rep but what experience I have is all pretty negative.  I'll read the persons post and think about it rather than look to see how much rep they have.

 

I would stay completely away from a rep system but if you do go to one make sure that if you can leave comments that every single comment has the author identified.  Then they can't leave crappy, negative, less than useful comments without the person knowing who wrote it. 

 

 

Alicia
TRAILSPACE STAFF
588 reviewer rep
3,022 forum posts
May 18, 2012 at 5:21 p.m. (EDT)

Thanks for those comments, dm1333.

I understand and share your concern about others needing to be responsible for their negative actions and comments.

While I'm not advocating for or against this method, some sites let you say "No this isn't helpful" BUT you get dinged some of your own rep/karma points when you do.

The idea is that for truly negative content that you want to offer feedback on you can, but it does not serve you to go around dinging others. Instead, everyone is best served when they focus on the positive.

Peter1955
1,357 reviewer rep
1,339 forum posts
May 18, 2012 at 5:47 p.m. (EDT)

While the 'was this helpful' buttons are good for those who might use them to help pick a new product, to those who participate in the forums where conflicting opinions can result in disputes, they can instead be used to punish someone with whom you disagree on other matters.

Like voting for the head boy or girl in high school, that turns the concept into more of a popularity contest than an effective tool to evaluate usefulness to the greater hiking community.

I guess I'm saying that 'reputation' should stem from demonstrated and proven abilities in the real world rather than a post count or votes by individual members. I'll  take the word of one professional, in any area of expertise, over the word of a hundred people who won't lose everything they own if someone gets hurt because of their bad advice.

I can tell people what I think I DO know about, but I would also want them to be able to verify that by checking something a bit more concrete than just my own opinion of myself or how popular I am with other members.

What I DON'T know is how to turn my opinions into a simple way to figure out whose credentials have more value. Profile pages are rarely complete, and may not reflect decades of life experience or professional credentials.

Trip reports might be the best indicator, since you have to prove you've actually 'been there and done that', so maybe reviewers should be given a star rating based on the number of reports.

If you could make your reputation system work, it could be very helpful, but I don't think it's going to be an easy task.

Just my two cents.

Peter1955
1,357 reviewer rep
1,339 forum posts
May 18, 2012 at 5:51 p.m. (EDT)

Alicia said:

... some sites let you say "No this isn't helpful" BUT you get dinged some of your own rep/karma points when you do.

 LOVE this idea! It should also reduce the 'popularity contest' aspects.

Peter1955
1,357 reviewer rep
1,339 forum posts
May 18, 2012 at 6:19 p.m. (EDT)

Alicia said:

I also agree that we should expand the Review Corps program. I'd love to scale it out as much as possible. The biggest hurdle is having enough, qualified, interested reviewers to actually test and review advance gear.

Gotta point out here that, like others have said, I already have the gear I need, and I've already reviewed it.

I wouldn't mind testing more stuff, but I'm not going to pop for the new All-Season Neoair when I just bought the original model.

ocalacomputerguy
0 reviewer rep
910 forum posts
May 18, 2012 at 11:56 p.m. (EDT)

Here's a wild idea.  Let the OP do the rating and only have one button. The person who asked the question is the person who wanted the help and is probably the most qualified to determine if it was helpful.  Only one button assures that people who are asking for more info or post off-topic don't get dinged. 

As for getting more and better reviews, hand out some free time!. I'll be glad to use it to do some reviews!

BTW is there a way to subscribe to reviews?  95% of the time I get to trailspace by clicking on the links from the forum reply emails and don't see the home page for days.  Being able to subscribe to different categories (Backpacks, Tents and Shelters) and the sub categories (Daypacks, internal frame, etc) would be nice.

apeman
0 reviewer rep
1,236 forum posts
May 19, 2012 at 12:06 a.m. (EDT)

peter1955 said:

While the 'was this helpful' buttons are good for those who might use them to help pick a new product, to those who participate in the forums where conflicting opinions can result in disputes, they can instead be used to punish someone with whom you disagree on other matters.

Like voting for the head boy or girl in high school, that turns the concept into more of a popularity contest than an effective tool to evaluate usefulness to the greater hiking community.

I guess I'm saying that 'reputation' should stem from demonstrated and proven abilities in the real world rather than a post count or votes by individual members. I'll  take the word of one professional, in any area of expertise, over the word of a hundred people who won't lose everything they own if someone gets hurt because of their bad advice.

I can tell people what I think I DO know about, but I would also want them to be able to verify that by checking something a bit more concrete than just my own opinion of myself or how popular I am with other members.

What I DON'T know is how to turn my opinions into a simple way to figure out whose credentials have more value. Profile pages are rarely complete, and may not reflect decades of life experience or professional credentials.

Trip reports might be the best indicator, since you have to prove you've actually 'been there and done that', so maybe reviewers should be given a star rating based on the number of reports.

If you could make your reputation system work, it could be very helpful, but I don't think it's going to be an easy task.

Just my two cents.

 I add a cent to your two cents.  Make it three cents now!

denis daly
87 reviewer rep
1,061 forum posts
May 19, 2012 at 12:58 p.m. (EDT)

I like ocalacomputer guy's concerns and I am afraid it would turn to a popularity contest in time.But if you did do the reputation rateing  and were dinged for miss use that would make up alot.I just don't want to offend or alienate any members and keep it a level playing field..

DrReaper
14 reviewer rep
318 forum posts
May 19, 2012 at 2:49 p.m. (EDT)

The question should be how many factors go into creating a reputation.

On Ebay it's a one on one transaction. I have 100% positive feedback on more than 250 transactions. Why? Because I treat people the way I would want to be treated.

Reputation based on help Yes or No is kind of arbitrary. You may have answered a question correctly, but it didn't help the person, so they hit No it didn't help. Something like that shouldn't ding a reputation. 

Perhaps asking a different question like would be more in order.

Merit or Repute

After all that is the basis of a reputation. 

ocalacomputerguy
0 reviewer rep
910 forum posts
May 19, 2012 at 6:56 p.m. (EDT)

chris.jpg  said:

Reputation based on help Yes or No is kind of arbitrary. You may have answered a question correctly, but it didn't help the person, so they hit No it didn't help. Something like that shouldn't ding a reputation.

This is why I think that a one option approach is best.  You could only compliment, not disparage.

The other thing about ebay is that it is a very obvious yes or no question. Reviews are fairly obvious but the forum posts are not.

dm1333
3 reviewer rep
170 forum posts
May 19, 2012 at 9:21 p.m. (EDT)

I don't think that a rep system would pose as many problems here as it seems to do on some other sites but I'm still leery of it.  I think that MOST (every website has a few gasbags on it! :-) ) of the people here can fight the urge to compete for rep but I would hate for something like that to be the first step down that long slippery slope.  

I don't necessarily like the idea that if you neg rep somebody you automatically lose a few of your own rep points, just because sometimes people say or do things that genuinely stink.  If somebody says something they absolutely shouldn't and I neg rep them for it, why should I lose points? (if I cared about my points that is)

 I do think that if the rep system allows you to leave a comment that every single comment should be signed.  If you can't leave comments or the system is just a simple thumbs up or thumbs down then I don't have much of an issue with having a rep system here.  The reality of it is that this isn't my website and I read a lot and don't post very much so it won't make much of a difference to me. 

ocalacomputerguy
0 reviewer rep
910 forum posts
May 20, 2012 at 2:40 a.m. (EDT)

I've been thinking about this for a couple days now.  I don't think trailspace needs a rep rating system. I like the idea of improving the review rating systems. 

I'm not sure how helpful ratings in forum posts are/would be.  Most of the time you have to read posts in the proper order otherwise they don't make since.  This isn't like the Yahoo answer forums where everybody is trying to answer the same question (I have seen incorrect answers marked as correct there).  The threads here are more like conversations which is one of the reasons why I like them so much.  I think the main thing that makes trailspace's forums so good is the moderators and that you don't have a problem with banning people who cause trouble (although I am curious sometimes why someone gets banned).  

 

Wolfman (Wolfgang Greystoke)
119 reviewer rep
456 forum posts
May 20, 2012 at 1:36 p.m. (EDT)

I have to agree with John.  For the forms a rating system seems redundant and it could be easy to miss use.   But for gear reviews I think a rating system would be not only helpful but a good idea.  The ability to add comments or questions would only add to the reviews. 

Well that's my humble little opinion.  :)

Wolfman

ocalacomputerguy
0 reviewer rep
910 forum posts
May 20, 2012 at 3:25 p.m. (EDT)

The ability to add comments or questions would only add to the reviews.

+1 on this.

Alicia
TRAILSPACE STAFF
588 reviewer rep
3,022 forum posts
May 23, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. (EDT)

Thanks for all of the feedback. It's quite helpful to hear your opinions and thoughts as we think about the best ways to highlight and encourage the best quality content on the site, particularly with gear reviews.

There are some good suggestions in here.

A few answers to questions and comments above:

1. When we look for potential Review Corps members we generally look for active member who've posted several helpful reviews, and at least one Killer Review (see what makes a review Killer).

Whether the user reviews are of brand new gear or older gear is not important. The reviewer's ability to write a thorough, helpful review, with some images, is important. If you want to be considered, keep reviewing the gear you have and know well.

2. You already can add comments or questions to reviews. Just type your question or comment in the box at the bottom of any review. We added this feature at the beginning of May: New Feature: Comment on Gear Reviews

300winmag
447 reviewer rep
277 forum posts
May 26, 2012 at 3:06 p.m. (EDT)

Those who use these forums regularly get to know just who is knowledgable and who is funny, who is a curmedgon and who is a blowhard. We, not the site, rate them mentally and take their comments in light of their past posts.

 I remember once on the topic of the PCT I posted that I had worked on it. When a poster replied that it was nice that I volunteered my time I replied that, no, I was actually building it as a paid trail builder in 1980. He replied that he now had "new respect" for me as a poster. So when you discover that a poster has, for example, done the CDT you begin to value his or her opinion more than a rating system could ever do for you.

If we really want to know someone better we can go to their profile - if they have written one, and see a bit of their outdoor background.

I like the "rating" system as it is. We know who "The Elders of the Tribe" are by now. (And remember, it's not just villages that have "idiots".... ;O)

P.S. Nice that GOG was the first poster because he got it right.

hotdogman
0 reviewer rep
606 forum posts
May 27, 2012 at 12:01 a.m. (EDT)

Ive read a lot of the reviews here on ts. To be perfectly honest I never even looked at the helpful or not options. I wonder if a persons presentation might affect rating more than information presented. Maybe a number of views or hits would reflect more accurately how much the reviews are being utilized. I like the way rick-pittsburgh presents the item being reviewed and his manner, so I watch more of his. Do I think he has better info than the next guy? No prob not but I read his because I like them. When I was lookin for a pack I read about packs without any regard to who was reviewing it. I dont think a rating system would help me sort through reviews at all.

Rick-Pittsburgh
1,631 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts
May 27, 2012 at 2:52 p.m. (EDT)

hotdogman said:

I like the way rick-pittsburgh presents the item being reviewed and his manner, so I watch more of his. 

 Hey thanks hotdogman. Better get to work on a new one for ya. ;)

hotdogman
0 reviewer rep
606 forum posts
May 28, 2012 at 2:02 a.m. (EDT)

Ive read all the old ones, ill be waitin.

Rick-Pittsburgh
1,631 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts
May 28, 2012 at 11:30 a.m. (EDT)

hotdogman said:

Ive read all the old ones, ill be waitin.

 Its gonna take me a few to put it together but its coming. :)

Bill S
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,329 reviewer rep
5,282 forum posts
May 31, 2012 at 8:49 p.m. (EDT)

I have been a bit reluctant to weigh in on this. However, this op-ed piece on my neighbors up the road, Facebook, and the off-topic Facebook discussion have prompted me to make a couple comments.

It appears that I have a good rep here on Trailspace, since I was April's "Most Helpful Reviewer", and fall into 300winmag's "Elders of the Tribe" (at least in age, as well as longevity and number of posts on Trailspace), as well as in his "curmudgeon" group (being an Official Member of the Ancient and Dishonorable Society of Anarchic Curmudgeons - always keep in mind that you should never take anything I say or write completely seriously - tongue is always inserted firmly in cheek). So I can comment fearlessly (he keys onward, while adjusting his Official Curmudgeon Hat to cover the shiny bald area on top of his head) .

I have been dealing with formal and informal "rep" systems (most of which are definitely unsystematic) for decades. My opinion of the suggested system as discussed so far is that it is ill-conceived. Yeah, that's a blunt and nasty comment. But a couple of examples -

As a member of Boy Scouts since I was old enough to be a Cub, I have seen, been a subject of, and overseen the multitude of "rep" systems that such an organization inevitably involves. One example is the Order of the Arrow, which is supposed to be an honor recognition of skilled and helpful campers, who are selected by a vote of their peers. I was selected to the Vigil Honor a number of years ago, and as Scoutmaster, overseen the elections within our troop as run by the visiting team from the Lodge. During that time, I have seen several highly skilled and helpful youth get passed over in favor of more popular Scouts, including one bully who managed to coerce a vote in his favor. I have seen adult leaders who were clearly undeserving get presented with the Silver Beaver (highest award at the Council level), while more deserving individuals were passed over (I have a Silver Beaver myself).

In the climbing world, there has long been a lot of competition for "rep", with some clearly untalented people brute-forcing their way up climbs to the accompaniment of lots of fanfare and bragging (and sometimes faking the actual climb). Eventually, these poseurs are found out, of course.

As pointed out by a number of posters above, with or without votes, the readers will figure out fairly quickly who are the truly knowledgeable and experienced in the area being discussed and who are the blowhards and poseurs (as well as those who are in the "Greek Chorus" merely echoing and restating what the real experts have already said) without any votes. The Killer Review label (to me, that is an unfortunate choice of words for a review of  life and safety gear) and the predecessor Gear Review Corps medallion do serve a useful purpose for first-time visitors and beginners. But again, even beginners can figure out what is useful and reliable pretty quickly, even without such labels.

Does Trailspace really want to join the chorus of 15-30 second ads (excuusse me! "commercial announcements") on the flat screen (and notably on Facebook) proclaiming "WE ARE HIGH  QUALITY AND HAVE A STERLING REP! Just ask us and we will tell you so!"?

Ok, so I am being sarcastic (I warned you not to take anything from me completely seriously). But the truth of the matter is that the readers can tell real quality without having it blared in their face that "we are the greatest!" Trailspace has attracted a large membership and an active crew who, with the guidance of the rules, a bit of prompting by the moderators, and a lot of prompting by the active and knowledgeable members, has built a quality website. It's kind of a wiki (though the articles are fluid, unlike the fixed wikis where you can easily find a topic)

Have a great day, loosen up, and remember:

The day you do not learn something new is the day you should turn yourself in to the undertaker.

And Life is too short to take seriously, even at its most tragic and trying.

giftogab
REVIEW CORPS
592 reviewer rep
1,505 forum posts
June 1, 2012 at 1:10 p.m. (EDT)

My reputation should improve ten fold today just because I am out there telling everyone who will listen that today, yes, on the eve of National Trail Day, it is NATIONAL DONUT DAY! Eat your donuts and then go out and hit the trail tomorrow and everyone benefits for two days in a row!

ocalacomputerguy
0 reviewer rep
910 forum posts
June 1, 2012 at 8:56 p.m. (EDT)

Hee hee hee. Gift. 

300winmag
447 reviewer rep
277 forum posts
June 3, 2012 at 5:43 p.m. (EDT)

Bill> You have written a thoughtful post. I can relate to the Scouting situations as I've been an Assistant Scoutmaster and watched "politics" there played out by many. As you said, often the most competent are overlooked due to politics. It's sad.

And recognition is what we are talking about here, just as in Scouts. I guess "Poster of the Month" is enough.  It's always interesting to read their bios and posts. Gives us insight into their future posts that we might not otherwise have had.

And yes, I take any "Old Timer" post with a small grain of salt due to the fact that they may have "Old Timer's Disease", i.e forgetfulness, making The Good Old Days seem better than they were (frameless & beltless canvas packs, kapok filled sleeping bags, stick aluminum cookware, canvas tents, lousy hiking shoes, etc.) and let's not forget the "grumpiness" we Old Timers have.

So beware of we Old Timers, we believe that old age and treachery will always win over youth and innocence. ;O)

 

As for we Old Timers' "reputation", well, our reputation is kinda well established by now. Sorta like the Good Old Boy in his 60s who was entering his country club with a prostitute on his arm. The doorman said, "Ahem! Sir, we cannot permit ladies of questionable reputation to enter the club."  To which the Old Timer replied, "Hell Son, this woman's reputation is well established. It's the ladies inside whose reputations are in question!" 

And so it is, our reputations are well established by now - not saying exactly what those reputations are, of course. Let the members decide in their own minds.

 

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