Avoiding ranking games on community sites

Published Thu 26 February 2009 17:34 (+1300)
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Julie Starr's notes from the Webstock session on web communities has a good sum-up of the basic issues you need to think about with running online communities, but for me the gem was a great point about “top 10 x” tables on sites – this creates a game where people want to get to the top and so compete in ways that don't necessarily make the results actually good.

The suggested solution is really simple – instead of showing the top n, take the top 20% and show n randomly selected from that. One thing I like about this is that it also helps greatly reduce the problem whereby things automatically tend to stay at the top of the ‘most popular’ table because new visitors will tend to start at the top of the table themselves and so they will get more traffic and seem more popular…