Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Are news ratings over-hyped?

Usability Guru Jacob Nielsen, in his annual report on 10 best Intranets of 2006 writes that,

Star ratings and user comments have long been found on public websites -- from Amazon.com to weblogs -- but they become much more useful on intranets, where they're not degraded by the Bozo effect.

He says,
Employees of the same company have shared goals and interests, they have passed the quality filter of getting hired, and they have their reputations to protect. For all these reasons, ratings and comments from colleagues are likely to be much more useful than those of random blog readers.

Let's take this argument forward and put this in context of News rating services such as Digg.

You might say that putting up a story in front of a different focus group will give widely swinging results.

A story on Saddam hanging might provoker sharp ratings and comments in front a middle East audience; anti-death sentence sentiments in liberal parts of India; and shouts of 'right done' in conservative America.

I think Jacob Nielsen has raised an interesting idea which needs to taken further in 2007 when we continue our search for better social news experience.

Let me start with 2 questions:

1. Why do political stories on Digg have much less ratings and commenting than the Tech stories?

2. Would it help all the good opinion and analysis pieces were served in front of a discerning, well-read audience?



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