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Hi SCN team,

Maybe I don’t have enough things to worry about, but I’ve been fascinated by the new “likes” mechanism and the fact that ratings = reputation points. I like the idea that your reputation is enhanced by the reaction you cause as a result of your content contributions.  I think, in theory, its a better idea than just having some anonymous person inside SAP give out reputation points arbitrarily.

The reaction mechanisms and points don’t make a lot of sense, however, when you think about them.

People understand a “like”.  Where likes get confusing is when it’s paired with the 5 star rating system.

For content rating on a social media site, 5 stars doesn’t really make any sense anyways – especially when they are the larger potential source of reputation points.

Consider the following:

1.  Most people let content pass by them without any reaction, without even reading it (no reputation change)

2.  Some people find content interesting enough to click into and read it, at least for a little bit (no reputation change)

3. Some people find something interesting enough in a blog to react to it by posting a comment (no reputation change)

4. Some people “like” the blog, did they read it very far? (2 pts reputation increase)

5. Some people, likely the same people as #4 like the blog so much they give it 5 stars (5 pts reputation increase, often 7 pts if includes a like)

6. Is 4 pts any much different than 5 pts?  They’re both really good reactions, but a comment is more meaningful but gets no points

7. Giving a 1 star rating means you think a blog sucks, but it gives more points than just ignoring

8. Is 2 pts any much different than 1 pt? Both are pretty bad reactions

9. What does 3 points mean? Is it the same as a non reaction?  I think what star ratings are is thumbs up and thumbs down.

Based on the above, I suggest the following types of scoring, and changes to the rating system:

1. Reward audience building, a little bit.  I’d give 0.1 pts per view. Or if you have to deal in integers, inflate the scoring x10, and give 1 pt per view. Platinum status wouldn’t be recieved until you hit 25,000 pts (sounds more impressive, right?)

2. Give big rewards to blogs that receive comments (should be at least the same as a like/thumbs up, because someone cared to react to the blog, meaning they must have read it fairly closely).

3. Do away with the 5 star rating system, and replace with “thumbs up & thumbs down”  Give 5 – 10 pts for each thumbs up. For thumbs down, either consider a penalty, or just use this as a mechanism to find bad content.  Nobody will click on a blog that has 10 thumbs down ratings.

In the above system, if someone really loved a blog, they would view it (+.1 pts), give it a thumbs up (+10 pts), and comment on it (+10 pts) for a total contribution of 20.1 pts.

I think this will simplify the experience a bit, and reward reputation enticing others to react to your content in ways that really matter.

PS: You need to double or triple the reward for providing content. 10 pts for blog entry is too little.  20 is getting closer to right.

What does everyone else think?

-Greg

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17 Comments

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  1. Greg Chase Post author

    One more thought…It seems like the new SCN system lets you reference other people’s blogs.  For example, I can reference the blog I just wrote:Content rating, likes and points – nice try, needs to be thought out more .  Maybe we should give out points for these kind of cross references as well since they are part of the larger meta conversation.  Either way, you caused a reaction as a result of your content if it gets referenced.

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    1. Greg Chase Post author

      Pondering the meaning of content with “thumbs down” some more, I don’t think you can automate a reputation response. It requires the “arbitrary SCN person in the back office” to determine what to do since thumbs-down content can be one of three types:

      1.  Controversial – should keep all points earned. This is inspiring a debate and that is good for community involvement. (Interesting note – here is where “I disagree” gets confused with “bad content”. I think many users will confuse this)

      2.  Lame – poorly written or an obvious attempt to get points with no value. Sanction should be to be ineligible for any points earned, both for writing, getting thumbs up, or on any comments posted beyond it.  Let the content stand because it soils the persons brand, unless we are having a problem with too much lame content.

      3.  Offensive or spammy. This would be a violation of SCN terms of use.  The content would be deleted, and the user either warned or banned.

      Thoughts?

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    2. Fareez Ahamed

      Hi Greg,

      I had the same feeling about point system for blog. I wrote a blog regarding that New SCN’s Blogging Experience.

      I feel that bookmarks should be given some points too, as people would bookmark an article only if they find it’s useful to them in future. This seems to have more importance than like I suppose.

      Hope the SCN people will take some actions regarding this.

      Regards,

      Fareez

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  2. Rajendrakumar Gaikwad

    Excellent analysis and thoughts!

    Previously used to get 60 to 100 points for Blog based on the quality and response/comments,But now starts with 10..

    Getting used to it.. let us see if the reputation ( i like this word 🙂 ) systems gets some changes.

    Regards

    Rajendra

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  3. Anton Wenzelhuemer

    nice blog, interesting analysis!

    point 7 made me laugh because I actually really used the 1-star rating with the exact intention you decribed in that paragraph. I wasn’t aware that this earns the author reputation. it’s too funny that you can build a high reputation by authoring really bad and obviously poor blogs.

    i’ll rate you five stars now, which you had been able to earn more easily by just writing five crap blogs 🙂

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    1. Greg Chase Post author

      The current system doesn’t give you many points for authoring a bad blog, but it gives you more than for authoring a boring blog.

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  4. Jarret Pazahanick

    Excellent blog as there does appear to be some tweaks needed around points and I noticed something is on the roadmap for later this year in that area although no detail on what the SCN team has planned.

    Also a very interesting idea for points based on page views as often the best blogs have the most views.

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    1. Greg Chase Post author

      One of the issues with wikis is whether its maintained or not. There’s a lot of wiki pages that go out of date because they’ve served their purpose, or their maintainer has left their role. There’s also a lot of ability to earn points by blogging and posting content advertising the existence of wiki pages.

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  5. Tobias Hofmann

    Greg,

    most – if not all – of your points were discussed before at the recognition council. Its not like SCN is not aware of alternatives, views and ideas. We even got to the point where point reward wasn’t an issue anymore as we wanted to praise good content and how to identify good content: citation, external discussions on e.g. twitter, etc.

    The problem is – when I interpret Laure correctly: a limitation is the platform (Jive).

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    1. Greg Chase Post author

      Hi Tobias,

      Thanks for commenting.  There may be limitations of the current platform, but its mostly better than the old one none the less.

      And curating good content and encouraging further discussion is always the best way to improve the community.  You’ll get no disagreement from me there.

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  6. Tom Cenens

    Hello Greg

    A similar discussion was going on in discussion Re: Debate: Rewards vs Work vs Value (really good discussion/comments) and I agree in general that the reputation system does not seem to be optimized the way it should be.

    One of the suggestions I have made in the past is giving community members weighted votes based on their reputation. Which should be looked at like this: the more quality content you contribute, the more weight your vote has. Not an easy thing to achieve of course.

    As your blog post and the comments point out, people are getting points for writing bad content as well.

    The problem with handing out points for views is that sometimes a blog title is great, the content is really crappy but you don’t know in advance so that blog post could get many many views. Do you want to reward that? I wouldn’t.

    I have similar thoughts with comments. A blog post could not be great but the discussion in the comments might be. Do you want to give the author points for the discussion that others might have triggered in the comments? Maybe because the comments could be considered quality content.

    What matters most to me and in general I think is quality content so the reputation system / points / rewards system should be build up to focus on quality content and make quality content thrive.

    Gaming the system will always be around and those have to be picked up by moderation or reported by community members to avoid getting too much bad quality content.

    At this particular moment blogs seems to be unequally rewarded compared to the forum. The problem is not necessarily the “only” 10 points given to a blog post initially because over time you could reach the same number of points or even more than on the old SCN.

    One of the problems is that certain rules are bypassed or ignored in favor of gaining points. Really easy questions in the forum is one of those. What is the website of SAP? I cannot find it. http://www.sap.com Thx for the points! That’s just one of the existing problems I have seen. Solving those type of questions makes one’s points rise really quickly in the forums but more importantly it doesn’t encourage quality content!

    Another problem is time spent on creating a killer blog post vs time spent on writing a forum reply. You can spend hours on creating that blog post vs a couple of minutes on writing a forum reply. The rewarded points could be very close in the end. That doesn’t really make sense. In that regard I liked the moderation of blog posts. This is still a possibility in my opinion as well.

    Being active on the forum currently provides more points / time spent. To even out the balance they could have the blog posts moderated and points assigned but less than before. For example between 0 – 75 additional points which could set the initial points awarded from 10 to 85 if the moderator finds it quality content.

    Another option could be decoupling the blogs from the forum for example and setting up different types of badges and so on. Then you would have forum badges where you need to reach X amount of points to get badge Y and blog badges where you need to reach R amounts of points to get badge S.

    The whole reputation system in terms of Top Contributors and calling people on stage at SAP TechED will need a revision. It’s not there anymore at the moment due to the platform switch and I guess work has to be done in order to put something in place.

    The current vibe is “Let’s wait and see”. A couple of months should be sufficient in my opinion to already see what the effects on a longer term would be.

    The way I see it is that at this moment there is no proper balance and there is no clear vision (at least not communicated) to where this is going to go. As Tobias mentioned there was a council in the past discussion around the topic of reputation on SCN. A lot has been said there so SAP has a lot of views, alternatives and ideas 🙂 More ideas are always welcome I would say.

    Identifying external references and so on would also be very interesting and should be possible by using some of SAP’s own technology / software combinations. The question is of course, how well can it be integrated into the Jive platform and to what extent does the Jive platform limit the possibilities of what can be done around reputation.

    Kind regards

    Tom

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  7. Ethan Jewett

    Hi Greg,

    If I remember correctly, some of your conclusions here are based on incorrect facts about how the rating system works. I believe a 5-star rating gives 5 points, a 4-star rating gives 2 points, and 1- 2- and 3-star ratings give no additional points. So if you think a blog sucks, give that 1-star rating. I do 🙂

    Cheers,

    Ethan

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  8. Laure Cetin

    Hello Greg,

    Thank you for starting a good discussion in this blog – and providing constructive feedback. I will try to answer all of the aspects of points you described.

    Yes, the current platform is limited and that’s why I’m planning to introduce a gamification platform later this year (yes it’s been mentioned in blogs by Mark Yolton and Matt Johnson, but no official announcement yet, the project hasn’t been fully kicked off yet, but it’s imminent).

    First of all, a gamification platform will give me the trends and numbers I need to better understand community behaviors, and decide which behaviors we want to see on SCN. Secondly, it will give me more flexibility in assigning badges and designing challenges for member to achieve to grow their reputation. Ideally, if the platform allows, I would like to move away from points a little bit (not completely!) and aggregate reputation statements to show reputation on SCN, whether it’s content or member reputation. Up to me and the gamification platform provider to figure that out.

    Now to address your… points:

    Only 4 and 5 stars give points to the author. So no worries on giving points to content that is not worth it.

    1. I wish we could include # of views into overall content and member reputation.  But unfortunately these are not unique views and we couldn’t avoid gaming. Do you agree?

    We thought a lot about giving points to comments, but comments vary too much and a simple “this is crap” doesn’t help, right? I’m serious, I was introduced to the combination “uter crap” (sic) here on SCN 😉

    But comments do mean something: there is discussion going on, and that’s what makes the community vibrant, even if it’s a controversy or a blog that  vocal members will hate with passion.

    I’ve been thinking about having Mentors and Moderators weigh in more with their “vote” (like, rating, etc)

    2. I’ve already thought about giving a badge to bloggers who consistently get a lot of comments. “Conversation sparkers” or something like that. That should be easy to implement with a gamification platform.

    3. I’ve read a lot on reputation programs and the recommendation for complex content is to have a star rating instead of like. People put more thoughts into ratings, and the fine nuances of 2 or 4 stars matter for content that is not that easy to contribute. But on another hand, people usually end up rating 4-5 stars and don’t dare to go below – this ends up being the “J curve”.  I’d like to wait and have stats to find out what is most commonly used on SCN, and then make an informed decision. As we are talking about likes and ratings, the reason why they may not be used as much as we expect, is that people don’t log in, and therefore don’t like or rate.

    You are in Palo Alto and so am I. I know you – you’re famous 😉 – but have we ever officially met? If you have time and want it, I’d be happy to extend the discussion over coffee/tea.

    Best,
    Laure

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