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Blog comments as reputation

26 maggio 2005

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Reading Clay Shirky’s A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy this morning for my proposal (BTW Ross, sorry for being late in replying to your thoughtful email, will do it soon), I was struck by how well Weblogs Inc‘s Star System implements three of Shirky’s Four Things to Design For in Social Software:

The first thing you would design for is handles the user can invest in.

Second, you have to design a way for there to be members in good standing. [...] Have to design some way in which good works get recognized.

Three, you need barriers to participation.

WI’s Star System has been running on a few of their blogs for the past couple of weeks, and it’s a reputation system built on top of their readers’ comments:

  • users are identified (and comments approved) using their email addresses
  • good comments have scores, and the system tracks and displays members with the highest score
  • comments are approved only if the user’s address is valid, by clicking on the comment approval link sent by email

The benefits for good commenters are not only in seeing their nickname listed in the blog’s sidebar: if they provide a personal URL their nickname points to it with a link that shold bring some traffic (especially from the big blog like Engadget or Autoblog) and, missing the rel="nofollow" attribute, gives them ranking and linking status in search engines.

Jason is a not only a very smart businessman, but a real innovator. Now off to lunch. Update: Jason linked to this post.