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Reddit-like comment rating and others features [message #168138] Sun, 10 February 2013 12:51 Go to previous message
LucZC is currently offline  LucZC
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Registered: February 2013
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This is a proposal to include Reddit-like features in futures versions of FUDforum.

As you may know, Reddit.com is a very successfull community, with more than 5 million users. According to me, this is due to the following features, among others:
1) a discussion can be completely read in tree view
2) any post can be upvoted / downvoted, and the posts are sorted according to rating, with the most interesting ones on top.

1) Lets us go deeper on this point: readable tree view
The FUD tree view of a discussion is like this:
As you see, this is a list of "title", "Re: title", "Re: title" in tree view, and you chose the post that you want to read in the tree, reading them one by one

A Reddit discussion is like this:
http://en.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/17xh12/when_will_the_rest_of_us_ get_google_fiber_it_just/
The entire discussion can be read. This is very useful for the users and for the moderators (they scan a lot of messages in a short time), and it is easy to know who is answering to what.

2) any post can be upvoted / downvoted
In front of each post (in front of each comment, in Reddit parlance), there is an UP arrow and a DOWN arrow, to increase or decrease the rating of the comment.

The comments are then sorted according to theirs rating. For each post, the best answers are on top, as follow:

....Best comment
........Best comment to this comment
........Another comment to this comment
....Average comment
....Meh comment
....(hidden downvoted comment)

The combinaison of comment rating and comment sorting has the following avantages:
- interesting comments are on top
- ininteresting comments are lower in the discussion
- very bad comments, with a rating lower than a predefined treshold, are hidden and replaced by "load more comments"
- the moderation of the forum is done by all the readers, promoting interesting content and demoting or hidding flood / spam / unnecessary flame, etc
- even the top post can be upvoted / downvoted, and a subsection of the forum can be sorted with the most interesting discussions on top

Now, assuming that we agree to implement those features, how to do it properly in FUDforum?

First, the tree view display of a discussion must be modified to be entirely readable. But existing discussions include post with quotes and images. Quotes are easy to display, they are part of the text, as today. Images, especially big ones, may break the display flow. I propose to replace each image in tree view with a very small tumbnail, with the image temporary displayed on mouseover. The tree display style can be FUDforum-like (no vertical lines), Reddit-like (vertical lines), or alternative Reddit-like (two colors: http://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeIAmA/comments/17t75g/explain_menstrual_p eriods_to_me_like_iama_man/ )

Second, we need to add an upvote / downvote interface on each comment. This can be two arrows, Reddit like, or + and -, as on bash.org (see http://bash.org/?top ). A good basis, already included in FUDforum 3.0.4, is this one: http://fudforum.org/forum/index.php?t=tree&th=120388&start=0&#p age_top

Then, we must keep track of each comment number of upvotes and downvotes, and calculate a rating for this comment. For this to be properly done, we should base this calculation on the following paper: http://amix.dk/blog/post/19588 (read from "How Reddit's comment ranking works")

Then we can sort the comments and subcomments according to rating, to display the most interesting comments first.

This done, we can add some goodies, such as ability to fold / unfold a tree branch, or automatic hidding / greying / folding of comments with low ratings.

Additional comments:
I am not interested in managing "user karma", with the corresponding problem of karmawhores harvesting karma with pictures of cats. I am only interested in comment rating, to promote high value content. However, it is possible to calculate automatically "user karma", i.e. total upvotes on user's posts / total votes on user's posts. Another useful possibility is to calculate "recent user karma", based on the last user's posts. If the user is in a bad mood and start to post nasty comments or to flood interesting discussions, the user will be downvoted to hell, and bad recent karma may trigger an automatic "a priori moderated posts" (i.e. any new post from this user must be approved by a moderator to be visible).

If the whole forum user community is able to help curating the forum content, any forum providing those mechanisms should have high quality content and more involvement from users. The pressure on the moderators' team should be lower.
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