Some of you just leaned forward in your computer chairs, either intrigued by this idea or disgusted by it. I know what the latter of you are thinking, “Stars?… those aren’t very Digg-like”. Well, who says we have to do everything like Digg? In fact Pligg isn’t supposed to be a copy of Digg, we’re an improvement. Digg’s system of voting is based on a “vote or no vote�? method. This works for Digg, but any other site that uses this method not only makes their voting system less accurate to user opinion, but they also confuse casual browsers.
I think the reason that most users are turned off by the idea of using a star rating system is because it’s been done over and over again on the web. Digg’s “vote or no vote�? method is something new to the web, making it fresh and hip. But using this method really handicaps your site on two levels. The first level is the usability of voting for new users. Digg’s one vote method is so fresh and singular to Digg.com (excluding clone projects) that it really doesn’t catch on right away for new users who have never visited the site before. People aren’t used to this voting method because it hasn’t been introduced to us before. There’s a good reason that this hasn’t been introduced before, because it isn’t very accurate.
Imagine you’re reading an article in the newspaper that lists ratings for the last 10 movies. The critic can only express his opinion of the movie using a quick and effective voting method to get the point across. Think of how handicapped his ability to express how good or bad a movie is if he has a voting system with two options, “see it”? or “don’t see it”?. How is the reader supposed to interpret this data from such a method? You don’t see this method used in the real world for rating movies; instead you see either a number rating from 0-5, 0-10, 0-100, or some other variation. Critics have also come up with rating movies with either a thumbs up or thumbs down, similar to the see it or don’t see it method. However, movie critics always pair their thumb reviews with a second opinion and a full paragraph review. This in a way gives us a rating system equal to a 0-2 rating system. I for one hate the thumb rating method and I feel like it wasn’t created to give accurate representations. I believe the thumbs method was created to get the reader intrigued enough about an article that they feel like they need to read the full paragraph of text to get an accurate representation of the rating.
My personal opinion is that switching Pligg from a “one vote or no vote”? system to a five star rating system will make voting more accurate and more comfortable for new users. We will of course still offer the option to use the older one vote method in future releases of Pligg, but for now it is my intention to make star rating default.