Thursday, 19 Jul, 2007 Offbeat

How about a quotes section?


Web 2.0 is not Web 2.0 without social networks. People all over the world wake up, if ever, turn on their computers and visit a social network to see what's new all over the net. And it's not only news one can find there: there are polls, opinions, discussions and other things. Social networks are communities and not just sites. People meet there, share news and things, and what's best, will be pushed up the front paged to be seen by millions, the rest is forgotten.

What I'd like to talk about is comments on social networks. I think they are really underestimated. A social network lets every comment any story. Those comments can be also rated, but the rating works best on the major players such as Digg, Reddit and Netscape. Comments from the top of the page are rated the most, while not many people would scroll all the way down to see what the discussion ends with. And it doesn't matter if most recent comments are at the top or at the bottom of the page: people read the top the most and this is a fact. The problem with popular networks is that it takes minutes to decide if the story goes up the front or down the drain and a popular story is commented on really fast, so comments worth reading could not be noticed at all.

What I suggest here is implementing a kind of quotes section on social networks, where the best quotes would be available for pleasant reading and for rating too. This section would comprise the best of the best and not limit a worthy comment to be read only by readers of one particular story.

The idea is that if a community member while reading a comment thread stumbles upon a very good quote, or maybe a funny one, or a piece of discussion, or a dialog or anything else, he (the user) suggests this comment for the quotes section. The good comments in this section would be also rated and maybe a top 100 of comments could be established too. This is one from many variants of what could be done in this section.

The big problem about this quotes suggestion thing is that there would be no means of controlling a flood of "good", "funny" and "amusing" comments, or 'crap' in other words. Let's take for example. I don't know exactly how many visitors Digg has per day, but let's take 1000 visitors per minute. If a fifth part of them would consider a comment worth being read by the rest million diggers, the network would become a real mess. The same thing is with other socials such as reddit, slashdot, fark or netscape. The only option here, in my opinion, is to have the same principle with quotes as with stories, i.e. people suggest comments for the quotes section, and other people either rate them up the front page of the quotes sectio, or bury them. Another problem here would be that there would be huge amounts of comments arriving to this sections, so the voting would be rather random: potentially good quotes would slide down only because of the new quotes arriving. So some categories would be needed here.

An option here would be that if a comment has a number of positive votes it goes automatically to the quotes section. But the problem here would be that stories, not much commented wouldn't have a comment that could reach this given barrier, even though it could be worth reading.

The perfect place for a perfect, user-driven quotes section would be It is a good quality site, a growing one and is not too huge for people suggesting quotes for the this section. The problem of flooding the section wouldn't be so acute, because there are not as many 'shouters' as 'diggers'.

This is maybe a raw idea and it needs a lot of work and resources, but I think this way comments would not be limited to one particular story, but would be enjoyed, or maybe hated, by the rest of the community.

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