Skinner ADMIN (1000+ posts) Tue Sep-23-08 06:05 PM
You asked for it -- you got it! A better way to rate discussion threads on Democratic Underground!
For years, DU members have been asking for a better way to recommend discussion threads. Our old system was moderately useful, but it had some glaring problems. The biggest problem was that it did not give an accurate representation of how the community as a whole viewed a particular discussion thread -- you could express your approval by recommending a thread, but there wasn't any way to express disapproval. It was an imprecise and unreliable way of picking the (supposedly) best discussion threads, and the time has come for something better.
So after much consideration, we have decided to retire our old recommend function, and replace it with a new thread rating system. The new thread rating system is essentially a modified "five-star" rating, except without the stars. We decided not to use stars for a few reasons:
First, we thought it would be confusing or inappropriate to use a star-rating system when trying to rate threads about bad news. Imagine, God forbid, that there is a terrorist attack or natural disaster. That is important news that members should read about, but it seems somehow inappropriate to rate something like that as "five stars," as some may interpret such a rating as being tantamount to approval.
Second, we wanted to give some actual meaning to the ratings, so there is a general understanding of what they are supposed to mean. A number of stars is meaningless -- what constitutes five stars or one star is completely arbitrary. That might be fine for rating movies, but for rating news and political opinion, it seems inadequate. Instead of using the system simply to express "I agree!/I disagree!" or "I like it!/I don't like it!" our hope is that these ratings will be more useful than that. Instead, we hope that people will rate threads based on whether they are worth reading or a waste of time. So our five "stars" are these: