The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

new feature: rating comments

Floydm's picture

new feature: rating comments

You'll notice there is a + and a - at the end of comments now. This is a first stab at something like the way Digg treats comments: if the community determines your comment is of little value, it won't be deleted but it will begin to fade away. In reverse, if a comment is of high value it will get called out.

There is much improvement for me to do on this feature: I need to make the entire comment fold or hide when they are marked down, I need to make the high quality comments get special treatment, and I should get the ajax piece working so that you don't need to reload each time you rate a comment. Your patience and feedback are appreciated.

crumb bum's picture
crumb bum

Hey Floydm

I don't think I would bother rating the comments.  I know that there are the occasional spats that go on but the vast majority of comments are sincere efforts at answering and sharing advice.  I think it would be much better to rate the actual question posted and keep the hot ones up a little longer.  I hope that people do take the time to go through old postings once and a while.  There are some great questions and comments that go unanswered because they move off the opening screen fairly quickly.

Da Crumb Bum

Floydm's picture

I do agree that making highly rated articles easy to find is something I need to add soon. I will, very soon. People need to start voting more though, because there are very few articles with more that one or two votes.

I disagree that rating comments is not something this site needs. It takes a great deal of effort for me to try to keep things civil here, energy I would much rather spend contributing to the content of the site. Instead, I spend it asking people to tone it down.

Letting the community moderate itself will, I hope, cut down on my policing burden. The comment ratings are meant to reward fruitful comments (I will figure out a way to highlight them) and discourage unhelpful comments (when the score gets to -3, the comment text gets grey and quite small... I'm thinking about making it completely disappear if the score gets below -10 or so). Making it easier to ignore the flamebait will, I hope, make it a more pleasurable site for everyone.

I should also add that some pretty uninteresting posts have generated some great comments. So rating the top post alone does not, IMHO, do justice to some of the great community contributed content. I'd like to be able to call that out in a section of "greatest comments" or something like that.

SDbaker's picture

Floyd, I am relatively new to the site, but think it's one of the best I've been on.  I think most folks would do what you'd like given the amount of time required on your part to keep it up and running.  I would add that I am hesitant to rate an item (-) since often benign responses lead to much more interesting insights. I enjoy the full story.

I guess I never thought flame throwers would visit a site like this since every post I've seen has either been professional or friendly. You must be doing a lot of work behind the scenes.  How about a "Flag" component, like Craigslist.  You could tailor the concept  whereby if a certain post gets a set number of flags (3 or 4), it goes to a penatly box where only you see it and you can adjudicate or not, as your time or energy allows?  The community flags the bad/innapropriate posts, the remainder of the threads remain in continuity.

 just a thought, love the site!


Floydm's picture

I would add that I am hesitant to rate an item (-) since often benign responses lead to much more interesting insights.

Agreed. And I would expect/hope people would only mark a thing with a minus if it was truly unhelpful or off-base.

I guess I never thought flame throwers would visit a site like this.

With over 3000 registered users now, there are bound to be conflicts. To expect otherwise would be unrealistic.

How about a "Flag" component, like Craigslist. You could tailor the concept whereby if a certain post gets a set number of flags (3 or 4), it goes to a penatly box where only you see it and you can adjudicate or not, as your time or energy allows?

I don't see why my judgement is any better than the group's judgement. If more people in the community find a comment unhelpful or offensive than are neutral or pleased with it (beyond a certain threshold, which right now is set at -3), I'd like to see it "fade away" to make it easier for other site members to overlook it. I'm not talking about totally deleting or censoring it, just perhaps greying it out or folding it up so that it is easy to ignore.

This technique is used on a lot of large community sites like Slashdot and Digg. It works really well: if you are really in the mood to spar with someone, fine, you can make the extra click to read the comments from them. But for everyone else the comments fold up and can just be ignored.

Watch: Dorota is going to post a sample flamebait below here. Go ahead and mark it down and see what happens.

dstroy's picture

Go Atkins!!

JMonkey's picture

Dstroy, I laughed out loud when I saw what you'd written. :-) Best flamebait I've seen all year.

crumb bum's picture
crumb bum

Hey Floydm

When I said I would'nt bother rating the comments I did not mean I would not do it.  What I ment was I did not think it was overly important to the well being of the site in my opinion.  Sorry for the confusion.  It seems like posts get a little action and then burn out and we are off to new stuff.  I was just thinking it sounds like a job that would take away your precious baking time and not really have a whole lot of effect.  I did not consider how much time you already spend on keeping everyone in check.  Love the site, I will do whatever you want to do regarding voting or whatever it takes to keep this site up. 

Da Crumb Bum 

tattooedtonka's picture

Good day Floydm and Da Crumb Bum, though I am still new to this site I would like to share my opinion if you dont mind.  Floydm, I have been a member of a number of forums throughout the last 10 years or so and have learned a few things.  Trollers will always make wise comments to offend, people wont always see eye to eye, and truly good forums are few and far between.  When I wanted to expand my baking knowledge from pastries and cookies to bread I went out in search of a good bread forum.  I googled it, I searched on, I searched through a couple other search engines under various names and headings.  I then went out and viewed some of these that came up.  I truly feel that this is one of the best websites that I have found.  The colors are easy to look at for long periods of time.  The photo at the top of the page is well done.  The operation and ease of finding information is well done.  The advertisements are well placed and I like how the books cycle at each refreshment of the page.  And finally and probably most important, the people who I see posting most frequently are nice folks willing to lend a hand in coaching.  And I also see alot of new people like myself who have turned here, and chosen this place to call home, and try to build their bread baking knowledge from.  That alone should make you feel good.  Rating folks individual comments isnt really a bad thing, though it may end up making some folks feel put out if they really didnt mean something as it is perceived and they start getting punished in public with negative scores.  I also agree with Da Crumb Bum, in that alot of questions come up but get blown to the back burner for going off page after some refreshing new posts come up.  I am just as guilty, I constantly look at the recent posts tab first page, but not always get to page 3 or 4.  I dont know if this helps you, but its my opinion.  Keep up the great work.  And thanks to all of you who I have learned so much from already.


TattooedTonka (TT)

Floydm's picture

Hey tattooedtonka-

Your comments are valid and the compliments are much appreciated. Thank you.

Yes, I agree that the quality of the membership here is phenomenal. Much of that is good fortune, but a portion of that has been early intervention when disputes have arisen.

As the site is growing I'm feeling like more and more of my time is being taking up with that sort of intervention. I don't enjoy doing that stuff, and it takes away from my time to create useful content on the site. Having to spend my time doing conflict resolution makes working on this site feel like less of a pleasure and more of a burden.

I do agree with you that there is a risk of some people feeling hurt if their input is marked down. But I think the benefits of allowing the community to become less reliant on the judgement of one individual (who tries to be impartial, but is the first to admit his judgement is faliable) outweigh those risks. As I've mentioned, my intention is to make more use of the voting and rating information over the next few months, with the hope of making more and more of site content (such as the favorites block) based on the communities judgement, not my own.

browndog's picture

Speaking as someone who will probably crawl under a rock for years if or rather when I get a low rating, I agree at first blush there is something squirmy about a scoring system. It could also become a pretty efficient motivator for me to reflect very long and well before I push anything like a post button. That can't be a bad thing.

tigressbakes's picture

It would be easy to get ones feelings hurt, or even feel judged if a comment/thread got a low rating.

I guess the thing to keep in mind is that a comment or thought is just that, it is not the whole person. And also when rating - make sure to rate the 'good' and the 'bad' equally. My guess is that most of us on this are worthy/guilty of both anyway...


edh's picture


Without being too repetitive, I'd like to echo the positive comments about this site. Having decided to move beyond the two sandwich loaves I knew how to make, this site was such a huge, and pleasant surprise! I have learned so very much from the extraordinary folks who post here, and been both encouraged and relieved to read about the successes and failures (not to mention obsessions) of others. I've had problems solved for me, and been more than inspired to try new things.

That said, I've taken the site, and all the work required to maintain it, completely for granted. Anything we, the users, can do to help you, should be done.

I vote yes.



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I now support the idea of flame or fade throwing.  Old comments like old soldiers will just fade away.... or do we get to see them go up in flames?  You've earned a diploma for your work on this site.  Would you be offended if I called you revered, Floyd?     (looking for the 10+ comment,  Mini Oven)

graz's picture

Hello this my first post I feel that this site is great and very informative. I have learned alot since comming here. I have never gone on to blogs before, but I am recooperating from knee surgery. I feel that anything that will make your life less complicated the better.

Thanks for a great site.