Blog news: Ratings on comments, future post schedule

Just a brief update on a couple of changes around here:

I had been trialling the WordPress option to let people rate comments ¬†on this blog (you may have seen the thumbs up/ thumbs down icons). I’ve turned it off for now, but thought I’d pass on some good and bad things I saw with it — feel free to leave comments if you feel strongly about the issue.

Good points about rating comments:

  • It’s very easy for people to feel that they can make a contribution to the discussion without necessarily having to write a comment. If someone else said something you agree with, instead of posting “I agree with Nick!” you can just click on the +1 vote.
  • It’s fun for people to be able to see how their comments are viewed by everyone else.
  • It’s another way for people to interact with each other, and interaction is one of the things I really like about blogging.

Bad points about rating comments:

  • It can put people off expressing strong feelings, especially if they disagree with the blogger, because they may get automatically voted down by ‘fans’. (I don’t expect anyone here to be all that fanatical, but since it’s my blog I do have a built in power bloc.) So people can feel oppressed if they want to say something unpopular.
  • On the other hand, that could happen anyway. It’s just that instead of ¬†typing as a comment, “No! Spinks is a goddess! How dare you disagree!!!” it is much easier to click -1 on the comment you disagree with.
  • But if it actively puts people off from commenting then the whole discussion will get less interactive, less lively, and less interesting.

My gut feeling is that although the voting can be fun, the downside at the moment outweighs the upside. As I said, feel free to leave a comment if you feel strongly about it.

Future Schedule

Just for information, I am back at college full time at the moment and still adjusting to the schedule. With Arb’s help, I expect to be able to keep up fairly frequent posting but this will now depend on having enough time at weekends to write posts in advance. Especially when coursework and essays come due, I can’t guarantee how the schedule will hold up, but I have every intention of chronicling the effect Cataclysm has on the in-game communities in WoW. (Quite happy that the expansion is dropping just before the end of term – and although I’ll expect to be playing on a fairly low schedule I’ll see if I can find someone who plays more regularly as an extra guest writer.)

On the bright side, there will probably be more posts that touch on issues like the ones I have written recently about industrial societies and consumerism in MMOs. Textbooks can be pernicious.