back to article Reg reader ratings go worldwide

A short note. In 2008, we introduced reader ratings to some Register stories and then to all stories on the site. For some reason the feature was available to UK readers only - although the ratings bar appears globally on Reg Hardware and Channel Reg. Today, we introduce the ratings sliders to the bottom of all Reg stories …

COMMENTS

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Thumb Up

Still works

for the UK.

Oooh terrible!

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Marked down by accident

Sorry, thought it said Utterly Butterly not Utterly Terrible.

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What's missing!

A nice bit of script that would give a woman like groan of pleasure for an "Oh Orgasmic" rating and a good old Bzzzzzzzzzzzzz! type buzzer for the "Utterly Terrible" rating

I am sure we'd need to find appropriate sound effects for everything in between, or rest assured every article would be Orgasmic or Terrible..

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Trollface

Can you tweak anti-Apple stories...

...so anyone using Safari can only vote for orgasmic?

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Rated it utterly terrible for being a shameless plug to use the rating system, it is the first, and probably the only time I will use it though.

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Anonymous Coward

Javascript enabled

Still no voting buttons. Don't tell me this is tied up with javascript from facebook.com!

Or more likely, it's noscript deciding something apparently innocuous is failing ABE or another of it's arcane rules.

Still, ultimately I hold no beef with this web 2.0-like user participation nonsense. A simple 'some peon elected to comment on this piece' would suffice for me.

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: Javascript enabled

FB is innocent, for once.

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Rob
Joke

I doubt it...

... FB is never innocent ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Seemes to be a bit dodgy

Orlowski stories seem not to work.. for some odd reason.

Ahem.

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: Seemes to be a bit dodgy

Yes they do.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Alert

@ DaWolf

I think the biggest problem with Mr Orlowski's articles is his tendency to prevent comments from being added. From what I've seen on the voting side any article (good or bad) that doesn't have comments enabled is immediately voted down. Plus his take on Climate Change always endears him to a large portion of the readership >:-)

I once emailed him about to ask why he did this and his reply was along the lines of "if I don't enable comments then I get emailed info which might prove useful on a story whereas if it goes on as a comment it may alert a 3rd party." Personally I think he has got it the wrong way around - I've been commenting on El Reg for many years and I've never emailed info in but I have been emailed by El Reg hacks 3 times based on comments I've left.

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Gold badge
Pint

Titles: now optional!

The rating system is essentially "the voice of the readers." Combined with hit stats, it is how information gets back to the editors about who they should continue to employ. Someone vehemently hated, but who keeps the page views up is obviously worthwhile. As is someone beloved who does the same thing.

But what about that fuzzy middle? Does El Reg get its money worth by keeping those of us who aren't the superstars around? Which articles can be pointed at as failures, which as successes? How do we as writers get feedback on what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong?

Ratings – should the readership become more generally aware of it – have the potential to be a useful tool. It takes the general reader a lot less time to “click the ratings button” than wade through comments. (Thus hopefully more people will make use of it.)

The comments are a useful tool in getting some feedback, but the commenttard community is a fractional representation of the total readership. Beyond that, it takes a certain type of person to take time out of their day to comment once, let alone come back and check the thread for updates.

As with commenttards, those who click the ratings buttons are quite probably not a proper representative sample (from a statistical standpoint) of the general readership. It’s a self selecting subset, and thus both feedback mechanisms have to be taken with a large bag of NaCl.

Despite that, anything that gets more feedback about the preferences and opinions of the broader readership is a fantastic idea. As a commenttard, I like the ability to poke a button and let he author know “good job, man” without having to comment. It is also a nice additional tool to help me learn to become a better writer.

Who’d have thought that I’d ever actually /like/ a web-2.0 anything? Your opinion of “feedback buttons” of all sorts changes dramatically when you start creating the content and not just consuming it…

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Anonymous Coward

Titties: How original!

I never rate articles. Does that mean I have no voice?

As to becoming a better writer, practice, proofreading, and editing down to the essence, repeatedly if you have to. And do your homework, get the facts sorted, that sort of thing. Commentarding pedants are much sharper on that than bar clickers. Mere ratings are too easily trolled for (or "against" if you're bored) and abuse risks you turning into a sycophant to your audience. On an old fart note I'd still prefer USENET if that'd make sense, for one because the writing interface is far, far better: I get to choose my own.

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Gold badge
Pint

I, for one, welcome our bar-clicking overlords.

Usenet: Home of the cyclical - but eternal - "top post versus bottom post" wars. Amongst others. *shudder*

But as said above; all inputs need to be taken with a grain of salt. Commenters obviously have a voice, so do people who e-mail the author/editor. But clicking the ratings bar is another form of feedback as well, simply one that takes less time. All methods are open to abuse and bias, but they do provide feedback that can help mould writing style (amongst other things) to better suit the target audience.

As to "commenttards being sharper than bar clickers," I don't think there's any way to gauge that. Just as the many readers who are functionally voiceless (excepting by their hit counts) can't really be judged for any level of "sharpness" because of the low level of interactivity.

I am however going to go out on a limb here and say that the people who read El Reg are – on the whole – brighter bulbs than would be found in the average pack. I welcome any form of interaction with readers. Bar clicking may not take as much effort as commenting, it’s true. But rather than presume that bar clickers are somehow not quite up to commenttard snuff, I prefer to presume that they are simply too busy to engage in that sort of faffery.

They might just have real work to do. Much like I should be...

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Anonymous Coward

The mere fact that you can doesn't mean you should

Sharper /on that/ in the sense that they'll tell you exactly why they think the article is rubbish, something that doesn't really get through a bar, now does it? But I guess the wording was a bit off there.

Since you didn't ask, I'm very firmly in the no-top-posting- (and the don't-quote-in-full-you-twit-) camp as threading and my own archive mean I don't need that "public archival service" that fucks up the reading flow something fierce. That's fairly important if you want to quickly go through volume. There's a reason the fido bunch developed much the same etiquette independently. But I don't go to war about it. I just drop any and all top-posters in the old killfile, indefinitely.

As such I can't recall wars about it. But then I'm also fairly picky as to just what groups I read.

One of the reasons I stick around here, come to think of it, is that there's very little quoting, and what there is of it is not the entire previous post, and it's not stuck to the bottom of a barely cogent one liner.

Even so, the discussions here don't go half as deep as certain other places; they don't last much either. Great for mouthing off a bit in front of a bit of an audience, not so great for digging in deep and coming up with new insights. Then again, most other "webforums" are frankly worse. They have more top-posting too.

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Silver badge

UK Readers?

I've El Reg maybe twice ever from UK and I always had the ratings.

Maybe you mean which domain people use to access your site?

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: UK Readers?

our geo ip thinks you are in the uk. there are sometimes false matches.

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Alert

Geo IP

The BBC Database thinks otherwise.

As does

http://www.maxmind.com/app/locate_demo_ip

(which even lists nearest city rather than my ISP HQ).

My IP rarely changes (pool of 3 I think according to Fixed Wireless channel used)

I'm on a 14km Microwave link. Not DSL or Mobile.

Odd. I wonder can we persuade the Beeb to use your database for iPlayer?

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Silver badge

Too many choices

How much use is made of the various categories on the ratings bar? If you really like or dislike an article, you're going to pick one of the extremes, but how many people select the varying degrees of "Meh"?

Under the current system, a Lewis Page opinion piece on climate and a report into some esoteric piece of kit may both appear to have a general consensus of "so-so" when one article has polarised the audience while the other has failed to generate any enthusiasm.

If the rating system was trimmed to 5 choices, you could publish a breakdown of the voting spread. You could also apply it to us comment-tards...

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Headmaster

But what are we rating?

I've often felt that people use the ratings system to rate the topic, not the writing. I've seen some short, perfectly innocuous articles, with none of the Reg's usual snark, getting really bad ratings for no obvious reason. I assume people are voting down because they don't like the subject of the article, rather than the way it was written. Shooting the messenger, in other words.

So, please clarify for once and for all, are we rating the writer or are we rating the topic of the article?

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: But what are we rating?

doesn't matter what we say - people will vote on what they want to vote on.

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But if there are actual instructions, those of us who want to give you the feedback you want can be sure that we're doing so.

Otherwise we might as well flip a coin first.

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Coat

Where's miss whiplash when you need her?

P.S.

Off work today, can't you tell?

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Bronze badge

Noscript

I browse recreational sites with script disabled. If you use HTML buttons, like in your comments area, I might participate.

Otherwise. it's not going to happen.

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El Reg is a recreational site? But it's full of articles, opinions and comments. All carefully thought out. Especially the comments.

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Anonymous Coward

"Trolling" counts

as "recreational" in some parts, yes. Can't imagine why.

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Coat

Noscript

I whitelisted the reg ages ago, not caught anything nasty yet. mind you, never voted a rating, so really not sure why I'm commenting on this piece - oh yea, bored at the office.

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Silver badge
Happy

Hmmm

An article about ratings... with a ratings bar.

Oh what fun we had

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Anonymous Coward

Improvements!

Now we just need "Reply to this post" to work properly...

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Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Any chance of a table showing most upvoted/downvoted posts?

Just because the funniest posts are usually heavily upvoted of course....

I'm not competitive at all.....

(Highest score 46 so far)

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