The user wants to promote a specific piece of content in order to democratically help decide what content is of higher quality.
This pattern is much like the Vote To Promote pattern. It differs from the Vote To Promote pattern by having different outcome. The outcome is to allow users to guide other users about what is good and bad rather than to promote what is interesting.
The pattern consists of a number of mechanisms that work together:
The Rate Content pattern promotes community participation and can assist you in separating good quality content from bad quality content. This is especially useful when your website relies on user submitted content.
Rating content is about handling risk from the user’s point of view. Will a user on eBay cheat me or is a book on amazon worthwhile my time and money?
The main reason to use the Rate Content pattern is assist the user in managing risk. Examples of such risk are spending money on buying a product or from investing time on another user.
When implementing a rating system, you need to consider a number of things in relation to what it should be used for and how it should be communicated:
Who is doing the rating
When reading reviews about an item and seeing how other users rate a given item a number of concerns are bound to be raised by the user: “Is the rating and review honest and authentic?”, “Are the users who rated a given item like me?”, and “Do the reviewers posses the relevant competence to review the product or service in question?”.
Amazon and Netflix have solved this problem by letting people rate the ratings: was this review helpful for you?
What is being rated
Be clear when communicating what is being rated and make sure that the user knows exactly what he or she is rating. If what is being rated seems ambiguous, the value of the review for other users in turn diminishes. For instance, if a website collects good computer deals that can be rated by the website’s users, is it the trustworthiness of the seller, the products, or the price that is being rated?
Consider making your rating system multi-dimensional, or simply be clear about what – exactly what – is being rated.
What behavious are we trying to encourage or discourage?
Like with the similar community driven patterns, several pitfalls can make or break the success of the Rate Content pattern. Are some users trying to promote or demote certain items? – perhaps their own or their competitors product – maybe their friends or foes. You might want to setup a number of measures to prevent users from misusing the system, such as limiting the maximum activity of a user, looking out for malicious activity, or promote trusted key users to count more than others
Design your rating system so that you encourage the behavior you want. Making your rating system multi-dimensional by breaking up the full rating into sub-parts that by their title explain exactly what you want measured (rated), is one way of solving this problem.
There is one caveat in this site’s own style of rating: internationalisation or i18n or short.
Basically, the use of thumbs-up and -down symbols might not necessarily mean the same in one culture as it does in another.
For instance, here in the West it derives from ancient Roman culture and has passed down through the ages to the present day whereupon it roughly means the same thing, i.e. suggestive of something that is favourable.
However, in Arabic countries it basically means, “up your’s, pal”. So when you see young Iraqi kids giving coalition troops the thumbs-up, they’re not welcoming their country’s new occupiers.
Hence it’s better to leave out potentially ambiguous imagery when being used to convey implicit messages, just in case. (I believe there’s more on this at the User Interface Hall of Shame website.)
There is a contradiction here.
“This pattern is much like the Vote To Promote pattern. It differs from the Vote To Promote pattern by having different end means. The end means is to allow users to guide other users about what is good and bad rather than to promote what is interesting.”
Not sure I agree with this, but let’s run with it.
This Web site uses vote-to-promote — the thumbs-up, thumbs-down which appears at the top right of the screen on this page. On hover I see that these icons indicate “This pattern was helpful” or “This pattern was useless”. That doesn’t sound like interestingness. That sounds like a decision about the goodness or badness of the pattern.
So according to what’s written in the Solution here, Rate Content would have been a more appropriate pattern than the thumbs-up, thumbs-down. Hmmm…