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<span class="lite_member_name">Christine Ely</span>
Christine Ely
WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix
Seattle, Washington
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Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Feb 17, 2012

Subscribe to The Biznik Community Biznik Article Rating System

Now that there is a pay wall on Biznik, I believe the article rating system should be fundamentally modified or at least made transparent.

One of the main reasons I dislike the anonymous rating system so much is that an article which takes time to write and is very well received can be dragged down by people rating it a 3 and a 4. I write articles because people constantly ask me to explain how things work but almost certainly through spite certain individuals just vandalize the effort.

My 'monetizing free' article will be the last I publish on Biznik.


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63 Bizniks have posted replies

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Feb 26, 2012

    Annastacia, I think you misunderstood my meaning. I know that a member can only vote once. My point is that with transparency the highs and lows of the rating system might be a little more tempered.

    Anything done anonymously can lead to abuse of the system and I feel that is the case with how articles are rated.

    Biznik is an excellent network and I have been a supporter for several years. I have very few negatives about Biznik and will continue to enjoy participating in many ways; just not by submitting articles.

  • Marketing Assistant/Social Media Coordinator 
Gastonia, North Carolina 
Annastacia Tooke
    Posted by Annastacia Tooke, Gastonia, North Carolina | Feb 26, 2012

    I like the anonymity of the article, because I know if I vote low I am not going to be attacked by the author because I didn't find their article helpful.

    As it is, I find it interesting that most of the high rated articles are all about SEO and Marketing, there are a lot of other articles out there that are just as useful but people haven't even bothered reading them since they didn't have a vote until I read them.

  • Certified Cat Behavior Consultant 
Nashville, Tennessee 
Pam Johnson-Bennett, CCBC
    Posted by Pam Johnson-Bennett, CCBC, Nashville, Tennessee | Feb 26, 2012

    As much as anonymity in ratings can give people the opportunity to do an unfair rating, this system exists all over -- amazon, blogs, other retailers, and so on. You can either leave an anonymous rating or create a fake name. That's the downside. The upside, is that is does give people the freedom to write what they really feel without the fear that their own article or product will be unfairly rated in return, out of spite.

    I think the changes in Biznik's membership will raise the level of constructive feedback.

  • Video Production For Web and DVD/BFA Directing in Theater 
Seattle, Washington 
David Krafchick
    Posted by David Krafchick, Seattle, Washington | Feb 28, 2012

    I figure I will chime in here. I have written 2 articles. I had something to say in each of them. I know that both articles had a huge impact. So I ignored the rating and looked at how many have read the 2 articles. That's really the telling point. I received 4 rating for both articles total, but I got 991 views in the Video Article and 2386 views in the Going Out of Business Article. That's more significant to how an article could be judged. So I chose to ignore the ratings. It's more important to read an article than to rate it.

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Feb 28, 2012

    David, that is a good point. The thing about rating an article is that it's so subjective by the reader. An expert in your field may think the article is simplistic and therefore rate it low; whereas a beginner might find it's exactly what they need to get started. The trouble is, when an article gets poorly rated, less people read it.

    I'm not against a rating system in principle but I do take a Simon Cowell attitude in that if something is bad then 'publicly' say it's bad and vice-versa. Openness encourages honesty.

  • Graphic Designer 
Issaquah, Washington 
Kevin O'Conner
    Posted by Kevin O'Conner, Issaquah, Washington | Mar 02, 2012

    I don’t see a problem. After all, each article is followed by a Comments section, so those who want to can leave more specific feedback.

    I don’t see a problem with the rating scale, either. If an article is seriously flawed or factually incorrect, then a low rating is warranted. If that means a 1, 2, or 3, then so be it. Besides, if someone gives an article a low enough rating, Biznik sends the rater a message asking for clarification of that rating before it will be counted.

    An earlier post seemed to suggest that ratings below 5 were inappropriate. If we were to take that to its logical conclusion, we’d end up with a ratings system similar to that of car dealerships who effectively guilt their customers into giving them ratings of 5 out of 5, because anything less means failure.

    Yes, the overall rating of an article which has received only a handful of ratings can be greatly affected by subsequent ratings, but that’s only going to be true for so long. In the meantime, recruiting others to give ratings if 10 in order to “restore” a “fair” rating strikes me as dishonest—it’s gaming the system, really. Wouldn’t it make more sense to look over the article for things that could be improved?

    Better yet, simply remember that one has to let go at some point. When putting something out there, how people respond—or even if they respond—is never guaranteed. What other folks get from an article is necessarily going to vary, because they bring different levels of knowledge, experience, and engagement to the table.

    In any event, making individual ratings public could be problematic. I know I would be less likely to rate something if my name had to be attached to it every time.

    Comparisons have been made with Amazon—but individual product ratings there are public only if accompanied by a written review. Otherwise, they’re anonymous.

    My two bits

  • Video Production For Web and DVD/BFA Directing in Theater 
Seattle, Washington 
David Krafchick
    Posted by David Krafchick, Seattle, Washington | Mar 02, 2012

    The ratings of articles do not promise anything. The rating could be an opinion or a personal attitude toward the writer. The ratings are for the most part voted by a consistent low number of members. We have no idea who they are or why they voted. Yes comments are great, but we are not as a whole editors or critics.

    If things were transparent and/or a comment was required, then I could see the rating as constructive. At the moment, I ignore them by choice

    As for Amazon, it's a review of Product, not an article - so that is a whole different discussion.

  • Sales Coach, Success Coach, Business Coach 
Portland, Oregon 
Tshombe Brown
    Posted by Tshombe Brown, Portland, Oregon | Mar 06, 2012

    It may be that some may really have issue with the word "rating," thinking it synonymous with "quality of writing" or some such thing.

    It makes sense, as we are all personally attached to what we write.

    If we weren't emotionally connected to our writing, it wouldn't matter if someone trashed our article anyway. Likely, we wouldn't even perceive it as "trashing".

    Biznik's system isn't (necessarily) about the quality of the writing. That's neither here nor there. It's a measurement of the article's utility.

    We're not talking about whether the article is "good" or not; the rating (as I understand it) is not a "review" in the traditional sense.

    The question is whether and to what degree the article is helpful to the indie business professional.

    The comment section is for talking about the article, asking questions of the author and other people who comment, and otherwise engaging the article.

    I am a proponent of transparency, but I am not convinced that we'd get any semblance of the measure of utility if everyone had to disclose what rating they gave an article.

    As for my own personal practice, I rarely rate the utility of an article precisely because it appears most people see the Biznik Rating System as a popularity contest where suddenly everyone's back in junior high school, or worse, they are taken back to the feelings they had when the teacher marked their papers in red ink.

    I see the articles as an entirely different animal on Biznik than on other platforms, and perhaps the name "rate" or "rating" should be changed to reflect that.

  • Biznik Co-founder/CEO 
Seattle, Washington 
Lara Feltin
    Posted by Lara Feltin, Seattle, Washington | Mar 07, 2012

    Interesting idea, Tshombe. What words come to mind that could be used in place of "rate"? I thought of "score" but that is also weighted.

    In the thesaurus, the word "guage" popped out. As in... "Gauge this article's helpfulness" and "The article's gauge."

  • Sales Coach, Success Coach, Business Coach 
Portland, Oregon 
Tshombe Brown
    Posted by Tshombe Brown, Portland, Oregon | Mar 07, 2012

    As a solo business person, to what degree is the article useful to build, expand or improve my business?

  • Sales Process Consultant 
Bensalem, Pennsylvania 
Howard Dion
    Posted by Howard Dion, Bensalem, Pennsylvania | Mar 07, 2012

    Actually, I have a suggestion that Biznik management should really think about and consider. Ready...here goes.

    If someone opens and reads an article they should be forced to rate the article before closing. They should also have an option to use their name or use anonymous.

    And the rating system should not be in numbers (1 to 10) it should be in comments. How about having members submit their suggestions and the winner gets a Pro membership for a year.

    Thanks, Howard Dion

  • Video Production For Web and DVD/BFA Directing in Theater 
Seattle, Washington 
David Krafchick
    Posted by David Krafchick, Seattle, Washington | Mar 07, 2012

    Okay, I did not get all the posts that are listed here, but maybe we need a Useful rating. People can post comments, but forcing people to post sort of defeats the purpose and can create a nightmare of just reading through all the comments.

    Usefulness is a better way to judge what is written. It's just a suggestion, but Rating in and by itself really doesn't work, and since the votes are so few, that defeats the value of the rating.

    I do not know the answers to this. There is obviously different opinion, but we v need to think of this along the goals of the group and what we want to gain from the articles as writers and readers.

  • Sales Coach, Success Coach, Business Coach 
Portland, Oregon 
Tshombe Brown
    Posted by Tshombe Brown, Portland, Oregon | Mar 07, 2012

    Weird. Only one line of the comment I left actually showed up.

    Basically, I mentioned that I like the word "Gauge" and offered the suggestion that you actually put above the rating box some specific direction like "Gauge the usefulness (or helpfulness) of this article."

    I also thought perhaps the word "Measure" in this context might work.

    As David mentioned, we need a Useful Rating. In actuality, that IS what we currently have, but it's been interpreted differently. That's why changing the name from the emotion-laden "rating" may be at least a step in a better direction.

    Also, as David mentioned, forcing people to "rate" and "post" in the way Howard suggests not only defeats the purpose of articles but will likely have the affect of fewer folks bothering to read the articles (or submit them) at all.

  • Graphic Designer 
Issaquah, Washington 
Kevin O'Conner
    Posted by Kevin O'Conner, Issaquah, Washington | Mar 07, 2012

    Uh, if I'm forced to rate an article before being able to close it, I'm not going to be reading articles—and all the time and effort the writers put into them will have gone to waste with this part of their audience.

    I also think that what you call the rating system doesn't matter. Unless you change how it works, you won't change what it is.

    Gauging, rating, ranking, evaluating, opining, measuring, etc. They all mean the same thing.

    Semi-related to this topic…

    I miss the split between "What folks are saying" and "What folks need" on the home page. I'm now not really seeing any of the new folks joining Biznik, and the "What folks are saying" segment has pretty much been entirely taken over by responses to this one topic we've been discussing—which creates the impression that there's a lot of internal squabbling going on on Biznik. I don't think that's very helpful to anyone.

  • Sales Process Consultant 
Bensalem, Pennsylvania 
Howard Dion
    Posted by Howard Dion, Bensalem, Pennsylvania | Mar 07, 2012

    Okay, I take it back. So here is a different question. I look at articles I wrote and that others wrote and see hundreds of views. Yet I see few if any comments and few if any ratings.

    How do we get more people to offer feedback to the writer? Or is this "just one of those things" it is what it is?

  • Biznik Director of Community 
Seattle, Washington 
Matt Lawrence
    Posted by Matt Lawrence, Seattle, Washington | Mar 07, 2012

    Solid question Howard.

    Two things:

    1. Use the Biznik articles as a fire starter. Because Biznik is a community the articles that "do the best" - get a lot of ratings and comments and views - are the ones that take a bold stand, lay out the position, but leave room for the community to engage with the content.

    2. While I think it is useful to be clear that you want engagement from the article, putting a line in at the end: so, what do you think about this topic is a total throw away.

    Rather - identify the real issue for the person who you think would be interested in reading this article and make it so they do not have a choice but to engage. That is your challenge.

    Also, Howard - I noticed in your ROI article that two people left comments, but that you did not reply.

    Big mistake.

    If I, as a reader and member of the community see that you are not interested in replying to the comments in your article, I am going to be FAR less inclined to leave something in the comments.

    IMPORTANT: Some authors reply to every single comment in a unique post. I think that is a hassle for the previous commenters, and might make them "unfollow" the discussion.

    Rather it is better to lump a few people in at once. Look how Tshombe does it!

  • Sales Process Consultant 
Bensalem, Pennsylvania 
Howard Dion
    Posted by Howard Dion, Bensalem, Pennsylvania | Mar 07, 2012

    Matt:

    Your points are valid, thank you. I am just learning the ropes so to speak. I will do better next time.

    Regards, Howard

  • Biznik Director of Community 
Seattle, Washington 
Matt Lawrence
    Posted by Matt Lawrence, Seattle, Washington | Mar 07, 2012

    Not at all Howard!

    You are doing a great job, I love to see how you are participating in and engaging with the community.

  • Biznik Co-founder/CEO 
Seattle, Washington 
Lara Feltin
    Posted by Lara Feltin, Seattle, Washington | Mar 07, 2012

    Great observation, Kevin! We retired the "I Need" section on the profile when we launched the changes to Biznik 3 weeks ago -- which is why it no longer appears on the home page.

    "I Need" was intended to be a place for peer-to-peer exchange of resources, ideas and assistance. 90% of the entries were a variation of "I need clients." Duh. We all need clients. We didn't feel the "I Need" was contributing value to the site.

    But you make an interesting point about the impression of too many comments from one discussion. The most interesting discussions occur inside the Articles not Biz Talk. Perhaps a solution is to pull recent comments from articles instead.

  • Sales Process Consultant 
Bensalem, Pennsylvania 
Howard Dion
    Posted by Howard Dion, Bensalem, Pennsylvania | Mar 07, 2012

    This is a great suggestion. How about some steps that can be taken by the article writers on how to get the conversations going.

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Mar 07, 2012

    I totally agree that comments from articles should be pulled for the home page feed. That would add some diversity and vitality. A front page always needs movement and having the latest comment some 2 or 3 days old gives the wrong impression.

    I am a big fan of audible.com and often choose the books I buy based on comments and ratings. They are believable because they rate a book on different levels and are linked back to the person rating them. If you like what the person says, you can see what else they have commented on and rated; which in turn leads to maybe buying new books. It becomes more of a recommendation system than a rating system and positively enhances the experience.

    If Biznik incorporated something like that where the ratings, comments and members were all related, then that would actually mean something.

  • Biznik Co-founder/CEO 
Seattle, Washington 
Lara Feltin
    Posted by Lara Feltin, Seattle, Washington | Mar 07, 2012

    Comparisons between Biznik's rating and Amazon's has been made a couple times.

    Ratings on Audible.com, eBay and Amazon are all in the same camp -- these are product ratings for the benefit of cosumers making a purchase. I do not agree that the rules applied to product ratings, can be applied to content ratings for the purpose of display and placement inside a directory.

  • Marketing Assistant/Social Media Coordinator 
Gastonia, North Carolina 
Annastacia Tooke
    Posted by Annastacia Tooke, Gastonia, North Carolina | Mar 07, 2012

    I concur a book is vastly different from an article.

    Honestly I am completely opposed to anything more transparent than what is already here. Like others I would refuse to rate things, I wouldn't want the article author to come back and ask me why I rated it low - my response would be I personally didn't find it helpful. The rating system is subjective, I guess if you don't like the ratings you get perhaps reexamining what is written might be helpful

  • Biznik Co-founder/CEO 
Seattle, Washington 
Lara Feltin
    Posted by Lara Feltin, Seattle, Washington | Mar 07, 2012

    Check out the homepage -- update made. We now display 6 most recent comments in Biz Talk along side 6 most recent comments in an article discussion. Thanks for bringing it to our attention, Kevin! :)

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Mar 07, 2012

    I wasn't actually indicating that it would be exactly like audible; just the principle of recommendation and rating threads. The Biznik rating system is subjective and anonymous and obviously many people like that. I'm just not one of them.

    I really don't think the authors of articles would go chasing after people who rated them low. I just think that some people might think a little harder about their rating if they had to put their name to it.

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