Hello to Nova and the rest of the team,
In this post, ClayGoddessSari and I would like to raise some concerns we share over the way the feedback website has evolved since its relaunch – hopefully this can be a catalyst for some excellent discussion!
The future of this website seems quite bright, especially with dedicated people like yourself behind it. In fact, you have stated that you envision a future “with thousands of feedback posts and votes” 1 and wherein the community can be trusted to “set a great example and raise the quality bar with their own postings” 2. These are all excellent sentiments; however, ClayGoddessSari and I are concerned that the system here does not bring out the best feedback in the way hoped for. The popularity of a post is almost exclusively determined by its vote count, and a high vote count appears to be most closely correlated to one thing: the person’s popularity on external sites (most notably, YouTube), where they will have linked the idea and explicitly requested support. The overall outcome of this is that the top-voted ideas are often of highly variable quality, and people who do not have a large social media following are at a distinct disadvantage in getting their ideas seriously considered.
Now, obviously, we cannot and should not just refuse to let YouTubers post their ideas on the site. Nor should we, as established in a previous conversation2, remove or force revisions of badly written feedback. All feedback does deserve its hearing.
But for someone who takes the time to explain ideas carefully and in-depth, puts titles that are informative rather than attention-grabbing, and does not have extensive support from elsewhere on the internet, it can feel that the deck is stacked against you. And the fact that the default view on the site shows the newest posts first means that older posts get slowly crowded out over time, which compounds the problem further.
That is the way we both feel. Of course, there is an inherent arrogance to saying that our posts are objectively excellent feedback (we certainly feel that way about each other’s posts), but there are plenty of examples of great ideas written by others that are far less popular than they should be; for instance, this one about ways to give new uses to currently near-useless mobs3 and this one suggesting a creative new method for expanding our abilities to rename items4.
Therefore, in this post, we would each like to present an idea that we believe would help bring out the best feedback in the community. As an aside: this is not an attempt to say that you are failing your job by any means – we see and appreciate your constant vigilance when it comes to encouraging people to share their ideas on the correct threads or coaxing more detailed feedback from those who are too concise in writing. We simply want to see this site mature to its full potential!
My (MacchuPicchu96’s) idea is to reward feedback that “sets a good example” and follows the guide Creating Great Feedback well with a special tag; this could be done on a post-by-post basis, or for individual authors. For instance, an idea that is particularly well written (that is, explaining the what, how, and why of their idea) could be tagged as “Nova’s Choice” or “Great Feedback” or something of that nature. Ideally, this would encourage visitors to the site to click on posts marked as such and pay closer attention to the ideas presented in it. Alternatively, someone like ClayGoddessSari, who has written over a hundred insightful and detailed comments on others’ ideas, could be awarded a badge indicating her contributions to the community. Ideally, a positive comment from someone with this badge would encourage future visitors to take that idea seriously.
My (ClayGoddessSari’s) idea is to add the ability to dislike an idea. Currently the staff have no way to know if an idea has a low number of votes because it is disliked, or because few people have seen it. The comments can give you a clue, but an idea with a low number of votes and no negative comments is still an unknown factor. Tracking dislikes as well as likes would give you another set of data when evaluating an idea. However, it might be best to remove the ability to like or dislike an idea from the main page to encourage people to read an idea before voting. To increase feedback on a disliked idea, you could encourage people to comment after disliking. However, it should be encouraged rather than forced to avoid dissuading people from disliking and avoid causing spam comments.
As always, thank you in advance for your reply, thank you for all of the work you put into the site, and have a fantastic day!
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