Moderately Moderate Moderation

10 Apr

There are so many things I’ve seen before or I was already aware of brought up in the readings and web visits for this week, but there are other things that I never thought of or just weren’t on my radar. I appreciated the information in the CSS3 video from, and it was nice to hang out with James for a few hours. And this time he didn’t teleport or stutter…much nicer viewing experience at 9 am on a Sunday. I have to remember that. He made a point early on that was borne out again and again in the movie: that, while CSS3 can be a powerful tool, it’s not always the best one. It should enhance the site in some way, and should not be included just because it’s there. I keep thinking of the line from Jurassic Park: “You were so caught up in what you COULD do, you never stopped to think if you SHOULD.” Granted, I’m not genetically engineering carniverous dinosaurs as a tourist attraction, but still – can and should are two different things.

Jakob Nielson – I am rapidly developing a nerd-crush on him. Having seen the 90-9-1 rule play out in my favorite blogs, I found his description and solutions spot on. Yes, this is a democratic medium. NO, there won’t be equal use or participation. And NO, you can’t unequivocally base conclusions on the 10% who talk to you.

The solutions for solving this problem seem so simple, but like I found with my image assignment fix, sometimes the simplest solutions are the hardest to find. The easy Netflix ratings system is one example of low cost feedback. In my previous life as an office drone, while waiting on hold I would cruise Netflix rating movies and getting recommendations. Easy, low time investment, and a good payoff – all things that will get a lurker to contribute. Promoting quality contributers is another great idea, and I think it’s well expressed on The Chronicle of Higher Education’s fora. All users get a post-count, including guest posters. Those who register get rankings and stars based on the level of activity, and can customize signature lines and tag lines. It’s simple and immediately rewarding.

The 90-9-1 rule is also why I only visit blogs that are heavily moderated. It seems to me, though, that the example of heavily moderated blogs would challenge Nielson’s conclusions, although I can’t be sure of that without knowing WHICH blogs he included in his study. Blogs like The Rotund and The Pursuit of Harpyness both have extremely tight comment moderation policies. EVERY SINGLE comment is reviewed. Even if you’ve already commented earlier in the same thread, your comment is snagged for moderation. We, as users, agree to the tight comment moderation so we may have a space without the kind of foam-at-the-mouth misogyny and hate-filled comments unmoderated sites can draw (See Also: Another reason I don’t read Jezebel). I find new commenters on a regular basis on the heavily moderated sites.

tl;dr – all things in moderation, whether it’s CSS3 or user participation.

1 Comment

Posted by on April 10, 2011 in Class, Readings


One response to “Moderately Moderate Moderation

  1. Erika Elvander

    April 11, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    I too loved Jakob Nielson — so much so in fact, that I emailed his article to everyone on our communications and conferencing staff. Why? Because we are constantly reporting on the success of our website/blogs/webinars/conferences by collecting the data he describes. Except where continuing education units (CEUs) are involved, we rarely get a return on surveys and questionnaires that’s worth analyzing, and is ALWAYS suspect because the group who bothers to comment are self-selecting. (The CEU group wants their proof of attendance to stay certified in their profession, so always return surveys).

    Still, we want some method of assessing our success at either keeping your attention on a website, or teaching you something. No one seems to have cracked that nut, but people still take ratings at face value. Hmmm.


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