I have been doing some thinking on the current gallery rating "5 star" system and I am seriously thinking of doing a complete overhaul some time soon.
I would like to dispense with the star ratings and instead have a simple Like model, similar to Facebook. The star rating graphic on the kiosks and tour HUDs will be replaced with a simple "Like" button and if people like your gallery, they can click it.
One advantage is that it's very simple and will match the same model that LL uses on the Destination guide.
I will convert all 4 and 5 star ratings to a "Like" in the new system when I make the change and simply delete all 1, 2, and 3 star ratings. On the gallery list page (which is also going through a complete redesign btw) all you will see is the number of Likes, just like facebook does. There will no longer be 1-5 star votes - only likes.
This means that a gallery that does a good job of getting people to Like them on their gallery kiosk will be high on the list, so it's more a simple numbers game than trying to get 5-star votes and no bad votes. The current system is just too problematic in that the vast majority of the votes are 5 star votes, so one 4 star vote can send someone tumbling far down the list. In effect, everyone is giving galleries either 5 stars or nothing already. The big difference in the sorting order is that the raw number of votes will now be very important, and in the current system it is much less important than the average star rating, which is what they are sorted on now. The current system uses a Bayesian rating system which "penalizes" galleries with a low number of ratings so that a single 5-star rating won't plop you at the top of the gallery list.
This will also completely remove any griefing done by people rating galleries 1 star for personal reasons, and there are, for reasons I can't comprehend, a few people that give out nothing but 1 star ratings. Which is just completely pointless and it pollutes the database with garbage. Why go visit galleries if you just hate them all and give them lousy ratings? So this will completely solve that problem too.
The new system is not perfect either, since galleries that are strategically placed in very high traffic areas will probably get more clicks than a gallery that's great but is out of the way. So both systems have their faults but I think the facebook Like model is going to work out better in the long run. I'm still gathering feedback on that idea, so it's not set in stone yet, but that's my thinking. I'd love to hear what you think!
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