December 7, 2007

Stories and Voting on 911blogger: Is There a Better Approach?

Stories and Voting on 911blogger: Is There a Better Approach?

By Arabesque is a great source of articles and information on 9/11.

However, stories on 911blogger are more valuable when the information contained is unbiased, accurate, and well sourced.

Information is valuable when it is true, and misleading when it is not true. Misinformation is defined as misleading information. For example, if a story is released and it contains information which is false--the story is inaccurate and misleading. How do we determine what is accurate and what is misleading? By allowing commentary on articles, users can inform and add additional sources of information to confirm, enhance, and improve articles. This is extremely valuable since evaluating information is critical for journalistic accuracy.

The Mainstream Media (MSM) on the other hand, frequently takes a different approach. Stories and articles frequently release only the information that the MSM chooses to release while blocking other information. This is a form of censorship and is a common technique of disinformation. For example, the MSM frequently blocks information on the 9/11 truth movement. There is a collective and impressive silence on much of the documented, credible, and newsworthy information about 9/11 that is published in a venue like 911blogger.

Unlike the MSM, 911blogger works differently. While there are equally a wide variety of opinions, commenting on news articles addresses the problem of inaccurate or incomplete information by allowing users to add additional information, correct errors, as well as vote on the quality of the article. This is an extremely valuable function of 911blogger.

However, voting on entries on 911blogger is ineffective and inaccurate as it stands currently. Many vote "1" on articles that probably don't deserve it, while the "average score" takes an unfair beating. Most 911blogger users seem to only vote either '1' or '10' on articles. If users only vote between these two extremes, this pretty much defeats the purpose of "keeping score" and "average scores".

Maybe a better measure of voting would be how many people vote on an article positively. If many users voted positively and only 3 or 4 vote "1" without even commenting on the article or explaining why they voted "1", this brings down the score unfairly.

However, if articles are judged by how many vote positively without a specific score (i.e. +1 or -1), this might be a stronger indicator of how much an article is valued. Like the Digg system of voting and how comments in threads are rated on 911blogger.

If 911blogger users aren't impressed by an article they frequently don't vote. If an article is well liked, many vote '10'. If users don't like an article they often just vote "1". Articles are also voted "1" for mysterious and unknown reasons.

However, if articles were voted in a Digg system, we could have 'top 911blogger stories' as voted by the users. That would be an effective way to get good 911blogger stories noticed; if people feel strongly about stories, they could get better recognition through this system of voting. As it stands, most articles appear and then pretty much disappear into the back pages of the site never to be seen from again.

If there was a weekly or monthly top 10 or 20 stories--or even of "all time", this would bring more attention to the great and valuable work continuously posted on 911blogger. A section of the site could effectively link to highly voted stories. And there is a lot of work on 911blogger that deserves to be highlighted and promoted.

911blogger is a major and valuable source of 911 stories. Part of an effective media is that good information and stories are effectively highlighted and promoted. Part of highlighting good information could be accomplished by implementing a system of voting where articles that are valued by the users get more attention with an effective ranking system. As it stands, the "average score" voting system can be easily manipulated by "1" votes. A Digg system would allow articles to be highlighted by popularity and amount of positive votes. As it stands, voting on 911blogger stories and blogs are pretty much irrelevant to how content is promoted by the site.

By promoting highly valued stories for more than just a few days on the front page, valuable and important information could be more effectively and visibly promoted. Stories that may not be chosen by moderators to be put on the front page could be partially selected based on how high stories are voted. Just like the Digg system.

Instead of a voting system that leaves 911blogger users scratching their heads about why some users voted so poorly on their hard work, this could be a more fun, effective, and media savvy centered way of presenting content.

What do you think? Just don't vote 1!