When Web2.0 Doesn’t Work | Blogging 2.0

Perhaps I’m being professionally defensive here, but having looked at RateMyTeachers.co.uk I was left wondering whether this was actually a project that had any use. Part of the beauty of the ‘ratings’ section of sites like Amazon and Flickr is that they actually allow you to make decisions – which seller is reliable, which photos are ‘interesting’. But there appears to be no end use for rating teachers. Children cannot decide who is going to teach them, and parents’ choice about which schools they send their children to is often very limited.

There are also other problems. For ratings sites to work there needs to be an element of trust in the rating. Having messed about with RateMyTeachers (ie putting stupid comments and shockingly bad ratings about other teacher friends ;^) it appears to be a total free-for-all. No questions are asked to prove you were actually taught by the person, nor could any proof be given. Sites also rely on the number of ‘negative’ users being outweighed by the number of ‘positive’ ones. And as [ this ] article in the Telegraph recently showed, there are naturally a lot of mischievous kids out there looking to have a bit of fun. Who wouldn’t. (Then again, when a parent logs on and writes that a teacher is ‘evil’ there is perhaps something more worrying.)

Connectly, I had a very interesting conversation with a guy (a psychologist by trade) who works in the web research department of the Open University. He was saying that the stuff they are working on is ‘Blogging 2.0’. What he meant by that was, how to create a system that goes beyond tagging and comments and actually allows interesting posts to come to the fore more easily – using some kind of distributed rating system. I think this connects very well to the previous posts [here and here] on the problems the blogging is facing: the massive volume of posts, and the enormous task of sifting through to find the good conversations. They are currently running initial experiments, but I look forward to the final product.

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4 responses to “When Web2.0 Doesn’t Work | Blogging 2.0”

  1. hmmm….wait till you see the stuff i’m trying to get out the door by the end of the year…

  2. Funnily enough, I mentioned your name as a Microserf probably working on something in a similar vein. Can’t wait!

  3. Read this post on blogging (and the recent others) from a link from Ben Askew’s site.
    /. (Slashdot) too have a rating system for sorting human input (in the form of comments to posts) and a reader can set a minimum threshold score of posts he wants to see (or order by score, etc). It seems to work quite well.

  4. Smart Mobs has some scary thoughts on what is going to happen when all of us are rated in real time using VR technology. How devasting will it be for kids who have a horrible rating that is now public. While I agree it is in bad taste for teachers, I fear it is just a tip of the iceburg.