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Is This Helpful?

2:09 p.m. on November 20, 2011 (EST)
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Dave, I'm wondering if at some point we'll be able to see our "is this helpful" score, such as the way we can see our "post count" now?  Is the score currently used for anything?  Is a per user "score" currently being tallied?  Or is there too little feedback being provided for it to be meaningful?

2:17 p.m. on November 21, 2011 (EST)
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We've not been using the "is this helpful" rating data as much as I'd like.

Currently we do use it with gear reviews, to sort the most-useful reviews to the top of each product page, and push the least-useful ones to the bottom.

We are not calculating a per-user score based on these, although that certainly wouldn't be too hard to do.

In a broader context, I would like to integrate this feedback into a reputation management system: something that goes beyond a simple post count, date joined, or helpful/not score and provides a clean, clear representation of both the quantity and quality of each member's contributions to the community.

For example, I like the reputation system they've developed at Stack Overflow (a Q&A community for programmers). Similar examples in the outdoors world include Backcountry.com's rankings and SummitPost's Power Points.

Bill, if you don't mind me hijacking your thread a little bit, I'd love to broaden the discussion. My question for everyone here is: what sorts of participation in Trailspace do you value, and how can we measure those things in a way that will help convey and build trust within the community?

4:35 p.m. on November 21, 2011 (EST)
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Dave, I think that the  yes/no helpful button is a good idea in theory but does not really work for a number of reason when it comes to forum postings. My problem is that first it is not bright enough to get me to remember that it is there. The color is almost camouflaged in relation to the post it's self. Second it's only visual if you actually have you cursor on the post your reading, once I find a thread that I’m going to read and then start reading the posts I then remove the cursor from the post as it becomes a visual impairment when reading a post or looking at the picture(s)  When I remove the cursor from the posts the buttons disappear. Third, for me I don't really pay any attention to the yes/no rating.   If I’m going to read a thread based upon my interest on the subject matter the yes or no count makes no difference to me as I try and read all the posts in that thread as I usually do garner something from each and every  post in what ever thread I chose to read, and yes, I read almost all of them. One of the things I find is that there are some of use who post on a regular basis who, for what ever reason just rub people the wrong way and people automatically are turned off by the fact that the certain person is posting thereby giving that poster a automatic no. I have used the yes/no buttons a few times but it's usually after some one in a post mentions it for some reason. I do not think that there are any bad posts unless that particular post goes against Trailspace policy. One of the things I find is that using the yes/no buttons is like listening to the a movie reviews.   If you were to compare the no button to a bad movie review I'm more likely to read about it to find out why it has gotten a bad review or in our case a "no".  I must say that most often when someone gieves a movie a thumbs down or a no, quite often that is one of the movies I like the most.

I do think it has it's application in regards to gear reviews but find it to be mostly useless in regards to posts in the forums as I will read any and all the posts in a certain thread to try and garner any and all information out of each and every post. But again, the fact that they disappear as soon as I remove my curser form the post and the fact that there at the bottom of the post and of a color that hides them makes them mostly useless as it's hard enough to remember that there in the first place let alone when the disappear from view. Just my thoughts.

Furthermore I believe that the yes/no button is just another way for use to hide behind what we think without actually posting what we really think. If you disagree with a certain post I believe we should use our words to tell a person why we agree or disagree with what a person said. It's kinda like calling the police or the county on your neighbor when you don't like something there doing rather than going next door and having a conversation with that person just because your to busy, to wimpy or to afraid your might hurt their feelings.  If I say something you don’t like.  Please speak up when you use the yes/not button it tells me nothing except that you know how to use your cursor to hit a button. IMHO of cource

 

4:49 p.m. on November 21, 2011 (EST)
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I will farther Brians thoughts here. I think only a helpfull "yes" should be here. The no is not useful. I do use the yes button, but think that voting no would make this a popularity contest. And some of us do disagree from time to time.

5:09 p.m. on November 21, 2011 (EST)
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mikemorrow said:

 I think only a helpfull "yes" should be here. The no is not useful. I do use the yes button, but think that voting no would make this a popularity contest. 

I have to agree. If someone posts and others find it useful then give them the accolades they deserve. If the response has no relevant benefit for others don't bust the members tail by saying so. Just don't say anything. Maybe they thought what they posted did have a bit of useful content.

Then again what do we base as being useful? Well I think alot of that has to do with the viewers level of experience. The info may very well be useful to those with minimal levels of experience but may not to those who have 20yrs under their belt. 

I am somewhat the same way when it comes to reviews I read. If the review has some substance to it then I click the yes tab. If not, I find myself not clicking anything.

The useful reviews(from what I see) still rise to the top.

Is there really a reason to bust one chops for trying? Not everyone can put out a stellar review. But if we totally kill their morale before they get the experience then whats the point in them trying to get better?

Writing a good review takes quite a bit of work and time. 

7:53 p.m. on November 21, 2011 (EST)
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I have to agree that the "Yes / No" is not very easy to see of find.  I also would worry about "No" votes just because you don't agree or have some other problem with the person posting. 

I also belong to a game site and it completely dropped the negative side of its reps rating.  In a gaming site or something that you are looking for others to play or be involved in something I think it can make it easier to separate the wheat from the chaff, but here it more about opinions and thoughts, not something that we all agree on, at least not all the time.  :)

Wolfman

8:59 p.m. on November 21, 2011 (EST)
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Dave said:

Bill, if you don't mind me hijacking your thread a little bit, I'd love to broaden the discussion. My question for everyone here is: what sorts of participation in Trailspace do you value, and how can we measure those things in a way that will help convey and build trust within the community?

I don't mind at all :).

The participation in Trailspace that I value is when people share their experiences, which may be different than my own, helping me see & understand something.  I also like that there is a real sense of "community" here because as time goes on we're getting to know each other.  As has been pointed out, there may be personality or other differences that cause people to bristle when they see posts by certain people.  But I think that's to be expected in a global community.  With a few exceptions here and there, we usually do a pretty good job of keeping our responses in check :).

I wasn't necessarily even suggesting that there should be a scoring system, but since the "is this helpful" buttons exist, I thought it would be nice to be able to see the data - especially if it's about each of us and our "helpfulness" as perceived by other members.  I'm one of those people who appreciates feedback even if I don't like what I hear.

Some have suggested that if there is a helpful/unhelpful tagging system, that it include only "helpful" tags.  I must admit, on Facebook, many times I've wished for a "dislike" button.  :)   At the same time, I understand the POV of those who've suggested there's nothing to be gained by non-positive responses.  There's something to be said for "encouraging positive behavior", whereas a negative response, with no explanation of why it's negative, doesn't tell the "perpetrator" what they did "wrong".  As has been mentioned, it could be simply the "personality difference" thing again.

Someone commented on the disappearing buttons when not mousing-over the message text.  I'm not a fan of that either - we move our mouse away from the text for ease of reading, and then the buttons are "out of sight, out of mind".

In terms of "scoring" reviews, one thing I do like is the system on Amazon where people can respond directly to reviews.  Often a reviewer will make a statement that's simply untrue - or that's based on a misunderstanding of how the item is supposed to work - and the response function provides a mechanism for correcting that for subsequent readers.  The downside is some people can be really snarky in their responses...

Sorry, I am kind of rambling :)...

9:06 p.m. on November 21, 2011 (EST)
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Bill(bheiser1) Your correct to ask. Whiteblaze rates their members for most helpful poster to post. I believe Dave would like to do more with the rate systm. I second change the colors or give a color to was this helpful yes or no.. I have been making a big effert to mark awser them even later. I know it very helpful to an admin.

2:59 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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bheiser1 said:

"Often a reviewer will make a statement that's simply untrue - or that's based on a misunderstanding of how the item is supposed to work - and the response function provides a mechanism for correcting that for subsequent readers."

One of the problems with the yes/ no button is that in a review one does not have a chance of what the responder does not agree with in the original responce. When hitting the yes/no button what is it that a person does agree or not agree in regards to the satatment/review, or part of the review/statement. Is it one single line in the review/statment or the whold statement. I feel it it is a very inefective way to realate what the responder is thinking in realation to there responce to the original review/statement. When a person uses a yes/no button option he/she should have the ability to respond as to why they used the yes/no button. IMHO

4:44 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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apeman said:

When a person uses a yes/no button option he/she should have the ability to respond as to why they used the yes/no button. IMHO

 I think this would be helpful to reviewers as well. It would most certainly help tweak the way they do reviews.

Constructive criticism never hurts. Personally if anyone reads one of my reviews and has any input of how I can make them better please by all means shoot me a pm. 

I am not a pro and there is always room for improvement.

At the same time this would also involve a bit of moderation. Some have a tendency to come off brash. I have been guilty of this but as with anything conveyed via keyboard the one thing that cannot be conveyed is intended meaning/feeling. 

This would be where the moderation would be needed. Jmho.

If something like this were to be implemented I would personally be more than happy to take it on. 

11:01 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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apeman said:

bheiser1 said:

One of the problems with the yes/ no button is that in a review one does not have a chance of what the responder does not agree with in the original responce.

True, true.  But I guess a "No, and here's why <comment>" function isn't likely anytime soon :).

10:49 a.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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As a very novice hiker/climber I value the forums and articles and gear reviews. The video reviews are great. Those are the top three for me. Then the trip planning and reporting because I gain even more knowledge about how things are put together and how they play out. Not to diminish the pure fun of participating in someone's trip. The forums also do make me feel part of a community and personalities are evolving for me in even this short time. I know I can get good feedback from people and that I have a bit to offer back!As far as how to utilize things, I am not well versed enough or creative enough to come up with any ideas.

2:28 p.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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Great ideas in here. It might take me a little while to distill into concrete changes, but I think there's a lot in here we can work with.

Thanks for sharing, and keep 'em coming.

April 16, 2014
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