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An abuse-resistant rating system.





ocalhoun
Here's my ingenious idea for a rating/karma system for users... One that would be very resistant to abuse, all due to a simple premise:

-You only get to rate each person ONCE.
(- Moderators can rate people multiple times, maybe)


Of course, this system could still be abused, but any possible abuse would be of a minimal scale, because to have any worthwhile effect, you'd have to coerce dozens of users to rate you falsely; any effort to do that will probably fail... and if not, it would still be extremely hard to do it without the Mods or Admins knowing about it.


My idea of how to use such a system:
For a while, just collect the data, without using it, to set a baseline, an average user rating of all the users.

Then, once you have that average, it can be factored in to making points/frih$. Use it like a multiplier. If your rating is 10% higher than average, you would get 10% more points/frih$. If your rating is 20% lower than average, you get 20% fewer points/frih$. The baseline for average rating would continue to be updated occasionally.

This would be a great way to reward (or punish) people based on the quality of posts, promoting quality and quantity in posting.
deanhills
It's a neat idea Ocalhoun, but does the end objective really justify all the hard work? Who gets to do the one-off ratings, not to mention the enquiries it would generate?

As far as I can see the points and frih$ are working OK. The Frihosters who post regularly, and obviously care in their own way, get more points and frih$ automatically, just by virtue of their consistent interest. The ones who do the spam-type one-liner postings, don't have a long shelf-life. They very soon lose interest. There is possibly also a category that keeps strictly to the original deal of posting to keep their Websites going. But all and all I think it is a good system, especially considering that moderators are doing it without any compensation and in their free time.
ocalhoun
True, but over the years, there's been a lot of talk of a rating system... but it has always been denied, usually because it would be too easy to abuse.

Also, encouraging post quality will make the forums a better place, you'll get more members who start posting for the fun of it, not for points, and the forum pages will be more appealing for search-engine hits.

deanhills wrote:
Who gets to do the one-off ratings, not to mention the enquiries it would generate?

Not sure I understand the question there...

Everybody gets to rate as many people as they want, but you can't rate any person more than once.

Explaining it to new users can be simplified... Just tell them that if you make higher quality posts, you'll get more points per post, and the reverse for low quality posts. If they want more explanation than that, they can look it up in the (as of now, hypothetical) sticky about it.
deanhills
It is a good idea Ocalhoun, but it does look a little bit complicated and perhaps not fail safe. What if I do a rating, and then just after I submitted the rating realize that I did the rating for the wrong person. How do I get to undo that? I may not even go that far, as perhaps I just tried the rating thing out of curiosity and then left it at that. The rating may be completely out of whack with the quality of the postings of the person who was rated. The ratings would probably go symbolically like the quality of the postings. You are going to get "spam" ratings, "not so serious" ratings, "mistake" ratings, which could make it a less than genuine rating in the end. A solution could be for the ratings to be done by nominated judges/moderators. Possibly regular competitions would be a better answer, where the judges are nominated and there are certain rules and regulations, and possibly that would require more effort than people are able to provide. Unless someone like Truespeed for example did it spontaneously on their own. I thought what he did was very great last year. But of course hard work and he came up with the prize money himself.

Probably ideas like these, including competitions need to be pursued on the managerial level by the moderators and Bondings in order to have the power to get them off the ground.
truespeed
The problem with a one time rating system is when a person decides to rate you,when people first join up they tend to just post their hosting requirements without too much thought going in to what they type,so if you rate them on there first 20 posts,they may not get a good rating,but if you rated them 6 months down the line,you may of rated them higher,but if you have already given them a low rating,you can't take it back.
AftershockVibe
This is a reasonable system but, having quite some experience researching reputation systems, I thought I'd point out some likely problems.

1.) The system becomes less accurate over time. If someones has 50 prize-winning essays then they are going to have a pretty good reputation even if every post thereafter is a single sentence ending in "lolz". This can be mitigated if it is possible to ensure ratings are distributed over time. It might even be possible to include a rating "velocity" which maps the rate of change.

2.) Ballot stuffing. You mentioned the coercion of others but the simplest way to do this is to register a lot of accounts. Use these accounts to rate each other highly. Also, coercion might not be as difficult as you imagine: if users agree to rate each other highly then there's mutual benefit and nothing to stop them.

3.) Group-think: Not quite coercion but will have the same effect. People with similar opinions are likely to rate posts higher. Therefore popular drivel may well end up gaining the same score as unpopular but well written prose. This encourages the majority opinion any may push away users who do not agree.


There are loads more potential pitfalls but these are the most obvious. Furthermore, pragmatically reputation systems are hugely complex problem. Not only do they require work to create and enforce (moderators) but as soon as someone works out a way to abuse it, then it needs redesigned and implemented. Until the next time!

Personally I'm of the opinion that Frihost wouldn't actually gain anything by a reputation system. What would its purpose be?
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
What if I do a rating, and then just after I submitted the rating realize that I did the rating for the wrong person. How do I get to undo that?

Well, I suppose you could make it so that you could rate them more than once, but only the most recent rating would count...

Actually, that would also help clear up the problem of rating a person based on their first few posts... You can always change the rating later, if that user changes.

Another way to combat abuse of the system would be to make it anonymous. Don't let users know who has rated them, or how many times they've been rated, only tell them their personal average (if that). That way, people trading ratings for favors or more ratings would have no (easy) way to be sure that the other person is doing their part of the deal.

Group think, of course, can never be eliminated by any rating system, because it's not a flaw in the system, it's a flaw in how people perceive the quality of a post. Users espousing more popular viewpoints will always be seen as having higher quality posts by most people.



The purpose, of course, would be to encourage high-quality posts.
High-quality posts cause more replies, and search engine hits will be increased both by the better quality and the increased quantity.
Basically, the point of adding such a system in would be to cause slow, but exponential, growth of the forums (in addition to the current growth), while simultaneously making them better, not only bigger.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
High-quality posts cause more replies, and search engine hits will be increased both by the better quality and the increased quantity.
Agreed. We need that. We also need high-quality posters though. I think the most important moment to get the high-quality posters interested is when they register and start posting the first time round. The discussions we have already had about getting the "chat" forum to be shifted down, are important ones, as for me the "chat" forum is the forum with lesser quality threads and postings, compared with the other forums such as philosophy and religion, or politics and world news.
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