Tuesday, 28 April 2009

On the Merits of Voting

Just before the MySQL User Conference, Dups implemented a small little feature for Planet MySQL: "voting". We wanted to see what a voting system might mean to you, our PlanetMySQL readers.

The question is now how to improve the voting mechanism to make it more useful. The goal is for everyone to see what you and your peers think are the best PlanetMySQL entries over a given week.

Here are some of the options:

1. Open up voting to everyone regardless of whether they are logged in or not. Currently you can only vote if you are logged in with a MySQL.com account. Let's face it, a login gives a barrier to entry even as much as it gives us the security of knowing we won't get spammed.

One option is to allow all to vote, within the constraints of spam control of some kind. Another option is to have voting for non-logged in users to count, but count less than those who login. This gives voters the incentive to login and magnify their voice, but allows anyone to have a vote if they choose not to login. An example would be to have a logged in vote worth 1 and a non-logged in vote worth 0.1

The problem, of course, is that we would be setting an artificial "quality" judgement on your vote.

2. We add voting links into the RSS Feed itself, so you can tell the world what you think of blog posts from within your RSS reader. We could also automate a posting of the Top voted entries on PlanetMySQL at the end of each week in case you decide not to come to the web site at all (though we hope you do come by once in a while).

3. We leave it as is!

Now it's your turn to tell us what you think! Remember the intent of all this is for good posts to not just disappear as the feeds scroll by with ever more content.

We've also been asked whether there is any conspiracy to throw posts up and down by us manipulating votes. Let me answer categorically: No. We do not manipulate the votes in any way. What you vote is what you see.


  1. Go for option 2. Now the voting system is useless for the regular RSS feed users. These probably are the most faithful users.
    I also agree on Walters vision on option 1 : when you can reasonably assume a human voter (one per IP, captcha?) just accept he vote as a full one.


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