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Food for thought: Trust ratings

By Jay Garmon Contributor ·
As one of OZ's recent threads has pointed out, there is a need for some kind of rating method for users. We've been kicking around the idea of stealing Gamespot's Trust Ratings, and thought we'd run it by the TRIs.

The way Trust works is every user signature has a "Trust this user" button. If you click that button, the user would be added to your "Trust List." This would be different from your Contacts List, as your Trust List would be only for those users you consider technically competent and reliable.

Posts from Trusted users will stand out in some fashion, so you can intuitively add extra weight to them when you see them.

Moreover, every user will have a Trust Rating, which will be displayed on their signature. Something to the effect of "This person is trusted by X users." We'd also have a "Most Trusted Users" list, similar to the "Top 100" list.

The idea behind Trust is to highlight and reward those users who go out of their way to give good, solid technical advice. That, coupled with the "bad behavior" badges we hope to get going in Tech Q&A, should start creating a viable list of reliable contributors.

Also, the Trust system relies on a simple, one-click, binary action. Do you trust this user? Yes or no? It's clean and intuitive.

On a related note, as features like this start rolling out, we plan on revisiting the Site Activity meter. One of our current ideas is creating an aggregate "User Rating meter" which factors in trust along with various types of activity.

However, we'd also have a breakout page that showed various component meters, like raw activity, trust rating, Q&A answers accepted, Q&A closing rating/etiquette, profile completion, etc. That way, you could tell exactly how a user got the aggregate rating: was it just raw volume of posts, or a high trust rating, or what?

That's where we're at right now. What do you all think?

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Sounds like fun

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Food for thought: Trust r ...

When can we start to play? :)

Col ]:)

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agreed, with a caveat

by apotheon In reply to Sounds like fun

I agree: it sounds wonderful. It needs more, though.

Specifically, it needs a means of REMOVING one's Trust investment. If at first blush someone seems to be a reliable, competent source of knowledge, and later on down the road you find out he's a flat-earther who thinks 802.11g was developed for purposes of mind-control by the government and should thus be avoided in favor of soup cans with string, you'd certainly want to revoke your initial Trust rating. Removing should be as easy as adding, too.

That brings me to another thought: it's very easy to subscribe to a discussion thread, but not so easy (last I checked) to unsubscribe. I'm still subscribed to the Evolution thread that has been going on for hundreds of posts despite the fact that I haven't opened it in about two months because I can't be arsed to find it in my subscriptions list to unsubscribe. As such, I still get emails. While my laziness is my own fault, of course, I think it would probably be a good thing to have the "subscribe" link in every thread turn into an "unsubscribe" link (visually differentiated by color, perhaps, to help forestall accidental unsubscriptions) when one subscribes to it, rather than being grayed out and rendered inert.

What's that? Usability consulting? Yes, I do some of that. Heh.

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You will be able to remove trust

by sMoRTy71 In reply to agreed, with a caveat

Apotheon:
There will definitely be the ability to revoke your trust rating. In fact, we're thinking that the "Trust this user" link would change to "Remove trust rating" or something similar as soon as you clicked it. This would give you the opportunity to change it at any time.

The "subscribe" issue is one of those old nagging issues. We're hoping to get around to fixing that soon.

Thanks for the feedback.
sm

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good

by apotheon In reply to You will be able to remov ...

Quite welcome for the feedback. Thanks for listening.

I guess I'm just not as trusting a person as some.

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Not at all

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to good

What you said makes perfect sense I just took it for granted that if you could add a "Trusted" person you could delete them as well.

Of course how do you think things will go when we find out that Maxwell is really Bill Gates?

Col ]:)

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badly

by apotheon In reply to Not at all

That would be a real kick in the pants. Heh.

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Well in that case

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to agreed, with a caveat

You had better not add me to your trust list as I know if I sail far enough east I'll fall off the end of the world and land in America.

But seriously I've been able to un subscribe from discussions for quite a while now but it took a bit of finding as the [remove} is very light and a bit hard to see on the My Discussion Page. That's how I escaped from getting a constant stream of listings for the Evolution Lie which should have been put down months ago.

Col ]:)

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How about....

by Oz_Media In reply to Food for thought: Trust r ...

A 'Technical Competency' rating instead.

"# of people who find this user technically competent."

I think 'trust ratings' would be inaccurate, it will be confused for a discussion rating. There are people here would I would not trust in a discussion, but I would bank on their technical advice any day.

So I like the idea but only if it is specifically focused on technical aptitude.

As technical support is mixed in with Discussions more often, we will need ways to discern the two.

"# of people who find this user technically competent. 16 "

or even have a 1,2,3 rating.
1= Would trust to help me with my hardware issues.
2= Would trust to help me with my networking issues.
3= Would trust this person with my life. This person knows everything!

Just 'food for thought'.

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hmmm

by apotheon In reply to How about....

"There are people here would I would not trust in a discussion, but I would bank on their technical advice any day."

Judging by your reactions to me in discussions . . . I think you might have me in mind, at least in part. Heh.

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Good point. How bout...

by sMoRTy71 In reply to How about....

we add some sort of explanation that trust is focused on technical issues.

Or, what if we allowed you to add an optional one line comment / testimonial / clarification to your trust rating of another person? This would let you specify what exactly you trust them on. So on user X's profile page it might say:

"Trusted by Oz_Media:
'I trust User X's advice on hardware issues'"

A really trusted member might have dozens of these little testimonials on their profile (with the total trust number displayed on their signature). Seems like that could really help qualify members even more.

sm

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