Rate the content

A well know way to rate content is the “I like” function on Facebook. It’s easy to understand and used by a lot of people. Generally the people rate that they like things people describe and sometimes the quality of the content.

I guess pictures are a good example to show the problem with such a simple rating. What do people mean, if they use the “I like” button on Facebook rating holiday pictures of a friend? It’s nice there or the photos are made nice or I like that you had a pleasant vacation? It’s not really clear, if you don’t add a comment with additional information. It’s OK not to rate concisely, if you just rate the picture of a friend, but it’s probably not OK if the quality of the content should be increased with the help of rating.

I was delving into this topic working on the Social Messaging vendor study. There are some issues you need to think about, if you would like to use it in an enterprise.

What should be rated? Do you rate the topic itself or the quality of the content? That’s not always clear. Normally it’s not announced and the users do the rating like they think. Probably the topic is very interesting for them, but they didn’t really take care about the quality or they liked the way it was done, but the topic isn’t very interesting for them.

There is a risk that the author continues to create useless staff, if the rating is good. Generally we would like to know whether a topic is important for the daily work and whether it was done well enough that they can use it. It would also be a good indicator for author to add something, if they could see that a topic is important, but not done very well.

So it could be an option to split into two ratings. One rating can be used for the importance of the topic and one for the quality. So it’s very clear for the user and it helps to create the right content with good quality.

Negative rating
To rate a content with “dislike” isn’t very nice for the author, but how does it influence the motivation. Will they stop publishing or increase the afford. What does it mean, if a negative rating will appear more than once? I don’t know whether I can suggest an option to rate with dislike. Probably it pulls down the motivation to create content too much. It would be interesting getting more information about experiences of the usage of dislike in enterprises.

Rating with stars
A Rating with more granularity could be one option. I know an example with the option to rate Intranet pages with 1-5 stars. Rate a page with 1 star isn’t a good rating, but it’s not as bad as using “dislike”. It’s also easier for user to choose 3 or 4 stars instead of using “I like”.

Should the rating stay forever?
I think it shouldn’t, at least not all the time. Content can be changed or useful information can be added. So the content needs to be rated again, but when should the old ratings be removed. Should it be removed, when something was changed on the page? It’s probably a good way, also if only a spelling error was removed. It’s better than to stay with the old ratings after a page got a major modification.

One option can be to delete all ratings which are older than 3 or 6 month. So every rating will be up-to date and the user can influence to rating of every page. I saw a page with 1500 ratings. It doesn’t matter what new visitor will rate over the next years for this page.

Summary
I guess rating is a good tool. I made the experience that owners of bad rated pages ask for support of improve the content. So it helped getting better quality, but there is a risk that people will lose the motivation or they do not start because there is a rating. More options it’s probably better than just using “I like”, if content should be rated. I like is OK for short messages like on social messaging or social networking.

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Joachim Lindner

Joachim Lindner

Joachim Lindner

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  • Kai Nehm

    youtube changes from 5 Stars to like because the majority rated 5 or 1 Star, so they had to deal with a high variance and average ratings weren’t really saying anything.

    I got no best-practice at hand, but i like to point you to coremedia blogs, where Toby Baier split the rating in interesting and helpful, based on the great discussion “live with the scars” https://blog.coremedia.com/cm/post/1342156/Live_with_the_Scars.html Sören Stamer was still at CM back then.

  • Michael Hafner

    we do simple “like” ratings because I think that it’s a way clearer and easier decision for users – you see at first glance what people are interested in
    the rest (stars, criteria etc.) only makes sense if you also have the capacities to evaluate the feedback

    To those who ask for “dislike”: I tell them they should write comments instead, because they should be more precise with what they don’t like…