Awesome Comments

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  • 1. Xianhang Zhang Bumblebee Labs iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008

2.

  • 2 person team
  • 4 months old
  • Goal is to build provocative social software
  • 2 product releases, 1 more in the pipeline
  • Happy to talk more after this about collaboration.

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 3. iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 4.

  • For many people, commenting is their first
  • and possibly only foray into the social web

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 5.

  • Communications tools don't get socially
  • interesting until they get technologically boring
  • Clay Shirky

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 6.

  • There has not been much innovation in the comment space
  • Slashdot pioneered their Karma system in 1997
  • To this day, Im not aware of any other system of that level of complexity
  • most major sites are still using the most basic commenting systems despite their obvious flaws

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 7. iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 8. iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 9.

  • Signal/noise ratio is too low
  • Insightful comments get lost
  • Lack of readership due to low quality
  • Hard time keeping track of the narrative thread of the conversation
  • Despite this, people yearn for conversation (Herring )

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 10.

  • When all you have is a hammer,
  • all you can see are nails
  • Sociability problemsCANbe fixed through design. But
  • They cannot be fixed throughInteraction Design , a new discipline is needed

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 11.

  • As HCI researchers, we have been neglecting the development of tools to help designers solve sociability problems

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 12.

  • Small, personal blogs read largely by friends and family
  • Social networking apps
  • Highly targeted blogs aimed at a professional audience
  • Sites cultivating return audiences rather than drive by, search engine traffic

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 13.

  • Large sites
  • Sites with high traffic per page
  • Sites with low traffic per page
  • Entertainment sites
  • Sites with an influx of new users
  • Sites with controversial topics
  • Sites with low community involvement

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 14.

  • Poor explanation:
  • Theres a lot of stupid people out there

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 15.

  • Better explanation:

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 16.

  • Human behavior is governed by sets of constraints

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 Laws of Physics Evolution/Genetics Cultural Norms/Legal Systems Contextual Norms Other People Free Will = Hard constraint = Soft constraint 17. iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 18.

  • With virtual systems, there are an additional set of constraints:

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 Hardware Interface Software Social Systems = Hard constraint = Soft constraint 19.

  • Individual constraints can be accomplished at different layers

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 20. iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 Works Doesnt Work Personal Blogs Large Sites Social Networks Mostly new users Professional Audiences Entertainment Sites Returning Users Low community Involvement 21.

  • Commentsworkwhen there arestrong social constraints andweakinterface constraints

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 Hardware Software Interface Social Systems = Weak layers = Strong layers 22.

  • Commentsfailwhen there areweaksocial constraints andweakinterface constraints

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 Hardware Software Interface Social Systems = Weak layers = Strong layers 23.

  • Could Commentsworkwhen there areweaksocial constraints andstronginterface constraints?

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 Hardware Software Interface Social Systems = Weak layers = Strong layers 24.

  • Increasing barriers to participation (registration, captchas etc.)
  • Moderation
  • Disemvowelling
  • ROBOT 9000
  • Rating
  • Sorting/Filtering

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 25.

  • For conversation to happen, there must be anarrative thread .
  • If I refer to Comment X, you must have read Comment X to understand my reference
  • Rating systems must keep thechronologyintact while making highly rated comments visible

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 26.

  • This is most often done viathreading
  • Heavyweight approach, lots of intricacies

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 27.

  • Initial site developed over 12 hours
  • Very simple concept

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 28. iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 29. iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 30.

  • How do we prevent this site from being just a flash in the pan?

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 31.

  • Build remarkable content
  • Remarkable
  • adjective
  • Pronunciation:i-mr-k-bl
  • Something which people willremarkabout.

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 32.

  • Initial user impressions are generally very positive but the site can quickly lose its appeal
  • In order to support long term growth, we needed to buildconversationaround each question
  • Design constraints:
    • Anonymous everything
    • Heavy reliance on external/search engine traffic
    • Many questions, long tail of quality
    • Primary navigation mode is random

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 33.

  • Large sites
  • Sites with high traffic per page
  • Sites with low traffic per page
  • Entertainment sites
  • Sites with an influx of new users
  • Sites with controversial topics
  • Sites with low community involvement

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 34.

  • Commenting system designed from the ground up.
  • Goals
    • Drive out poor comments
    • Support remarkable content
    • Support real conversation
    • Give people a sense of ownership

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 35.

  • Every comment has vote up and vote down buttons

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 36.

  • New comment
    • Registered users: 2.0 points
    • Unregistered users: 1.0 points
  • Vote button
    • Registered users: 1.0 points
    • Unregistered users: 0.1 points

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 37.

  • Progressively degrade comment readability at lower scores
  • Show undegraded comment to original poster

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 38.

  • Voting is unbounded both up and down
  • but
  • Makes it easy to find and promote remarkable comments
  • We are using the lack of information as a design feature

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 Actual Score Displayed Score -2.3 -2.3 1.7 1.7 3.5 3.0+ 98.6 3.0+ 100.1 Awesome 39.

  • Non threaded
  • Comments are sorted by displayed score, then by date posted
  • Reply button on all comments (coming!)
  • All replies to your comment are highlighted

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 40.

  • Original posters are highlighted
  • Identity can be established while maintaining anonymity

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 41.

  • Visiting a question/comment you made automatically upvotes all its children
  • Returning to a question/comment rewards your repliers
  • You are personally in charge of voting your repliers correctly

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 42.

  • All comments at 3.0+ are displayed in chronological order
  • Conversation can happen at 3.0+
  • This is the default if you post as a registered user (2.0) who replies to a poster who regularly returns (1.0)

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 43.

  • Commenting systems are generally horribly designed from a sociability perspective
  • Better conversation is a force multiplier for the social web
  • Awesome comments is a ground up rethinking of how commenting should be implemented
  • Still very much an experiment, details will change as the system matures

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008 44.

  • Bumblebee Labs:http://blog.bumblebeelabs.com
  • Am I Normal or Not?:http://www.aminormalornot.com
  • Email me:[email_address]
  • Need a designer?[email_address]

iSchool Research Conversation - October 24th 2008