Wednesday, 17 September 2008

What's up with my Star Ratings?

A few months ago, I turned on Blogger's Star Ratings feature for my blog. I was hoping that it would be a quick way for people to give me feedback about my posts, without having to tax their brains too much by writing comments.

It doesn't appear to have been a great success: a three-toed sloth could count the number of ratings that most of my posts get, without even needing his other foot. But the thing I find most curious is that almost every post with ratings has been given one star, which on the Blogger scale corresponds to "Hated it". Are my posts really that bad?

Even my last post, which merely mentioned a utility that I found useful, was apparently an object of "hatred" for three people according to the rating they gave it. I mean, huh?

I've been trying to explain this strange behaviour to myself:

  1. Blogger star rating functionality is broken. This explanation would save my ego, but doesn't appear to be true. I can't find anybody else complaining in the Blogger forums
  2. The star rating widget is just too complicated for even my intelligent readers to use correctly
  3. My posts are so stunningly good that in fits of jealousy, readers mark me down.
  4. A concerned group of readers are making a concerted effort to teach me humility.
  5. My attempts at humour fall so consistently flat, my writing is so universally poor, and my content so boringly unoriginal that my posts deserve that one lone star.
  6. There are some people in the world who just like putting other people down.

Which is correct? Will somebody please tell me? Perhaps those people handing out the one-star awards would be kind enough to grant me a few words in a comment telling me how I can put my posts right?

Any way, I've decided to switch to a new rating widget from Outbrain. This one gives better reports about the most popular (or unpopular in my case) posts. I can also embed it in my feed (click the "Rate This" link in the "Feed Flare" at the bottom of the post), so that those of you who have obviously found enough merit in my written wafflings to subscribe can drown out the unreasonable votes with your own honest feedback.

Please!

5 comments:

Kate said...

Hi Sam,
My name is Kate - I work at outbrain. While this is the first time I've read your blog, I have to say, I found it quite entertaining - five stars! haha. Anyway - I'm glad you are using our widget and that you are enjoying it. If there are any issues I can help you out with (low ratings not really being one of them... sorry) please don't hesitate to contact me: kate[at]outbrain[dot]com.

Thanks again!

Kate
The outbrain Team

Román F. Quiroga said...

Hi Sam
I think that you're missing one important trend of nowadays life: right now people is too lazy and/or have so many things to do that rating your posts takes too much time for them. A better rating could be how many people read it (so feel proud to have big figures on that aspect).
Excluding some off-topics, I would give you a 5 all around!

RobFE said...

I've just found (through Stack Overflow and googling for WPF Gantt Chart, simultaneously) and have been enjoying your blog heaps. Don't be let down by the ratings system, you have no way of filtering out non-target-audience people. I see you have google analytics installed, that's a much better indication of success.

Sam said...

Rob,
Thanks for your kind words. Interestingly, I found your blog the other day, when I was reading up about DesignData in Blend - that post was very helpful!

Román F. Quiroga said...

Hi Sam
I think that you're missing one important trend of nowadays life: right now people is too lazy and/or have so many things to do that rating your posts takes too much time for them. A better rating could be how many people read it (so feel proud to have big figures on that aspect).
Excluding some off-topics, I would give you a 5 all around!

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