New Feature: Blog Recommendations

Blog Recommendations

Back on September 09, 2009 ChristianBlog.Com announced a new "highly experimental" feature we temporarily called "Blog Voting" which was described this way:

ChristianBlogTowards the bottom of all Blog Entries, on the right side, below the "report this blog" link is a new feature with two icons: a thumbs-up icon and a thumbs-down icon. If you feel a given blog is an exceptionally good blog, you can click the thumbs-up icon and it will increase the voting score by one point. Likewise, if you feel the given blog is an exceptionally poor blog entry you can click the thumbs-down icon and it will decrease the voting score by one point. These points have no relevance anywhere else within the website. This is a highly experimental feature that we have talked about adding - and at times talked about never adding. For now we will see how it goes over, how much it is used, and see if it is something worth further expanding

Over the course of the last few weeks we have been able to observe the system and make further refinements to it.

One of the most important features we wanted to determine was whether people wanted a voting system that worked in an "up/down" manner. What we have been able to determine is that there have been 120 up-votes and 3 down-votes. This clearly speaks to us that our members have been hesitant or considerate enough to not down-vote other peoples Blog Entries - which we fully expected would be the case.

With this knowledge in mind we went back and made some minor changes to the system so that instead of having a "up/down vote" we simply have a "recommendation" feature.

How It Works:

The process is very simple. People can 'recommend' any given Blog Entry (other than their own) a single time. Each time a member gives a Blog Entry a "recommendation" we increase that Blogs Recommendation-Level.

To recommend a blog simply press the icon as shown in the above screenshot, which looks like this:

Note: If you have already recommended the blog you will not be able to press the icon.

On our home page we have added a new section (for now it is at the very bottom of the home page) entitled: "Top Recommended Blogs"

Intended Usage:

We feel that sometimes as we are reading a blog that it just really touches you. Beyond taking the time to post a "hey, great blog!" comment this new feature allows you a way to really help the Blog Author get the given Blog Entry further recognition.

This is never intended to be a "haha, my blog is better than your blog" type of thing. That is not the attitude of how things work here at the ChristianBlog.Com website.

Rather this new feature is a way that readers are able to help highlight blogs that they feel (aka: recommend) others should take the time to read.

This new feature is pure and simple: Community Recommend Blogs! It is giving our members a fast and easy to to recommend to other ChristianBlog.Com Members to take the time to read a specific blog they really enjoy!

Preventing Abuse:

At this time the only preventive abuse system that is in place is that we do not allow one member to recommend any given blog entry more than one time.

What we cannot prevent is if a person has multiple accounts and logs into each account to drive up their Recommendation-Level. While ChristianBlog.Com does have systems in place to help prevent individuals from creating a large amount of accounts, it is never a totally failure-proof system.

What we also cannot prevent is when people go on campaigns to encourage all of their friends to "recommend" a specific Blog Entry to drive up the Recommendation-Level. This is what we have been calling "community recommendation spamming" in the process of developing this system. At this point we have no viable solutions to prevent this. Neither does it seem, do any other major websites with this style of a recommendation system. We are open to suggestions if anybody has an idea that would revolutionize this unfortunate situation.

Suggestions/Feedback:

We here at ChristianBlog.Com are always open to suggestions and feedback about new features that we add to our website!

We invite you to share with us, via a blog comment, any thoughts you have about this new feature! We are always looking for new and innovative ways to add features to ChristianBlog.Com and we know from experience that our members produce some of the best suggestions that become a reality in the form of their suggestions becoming features!

Thank you,
ChristianBlog.Com

@aliveintheword
Art Schnatterly @aliveintheword ·

Friends and companions:

This is another example of how CB is working to make this site simply the bestest Christian blogging site around. Let's make that THE BESTEST BLOGGING SITE ON THE WEB!

We now have another, simple way to direct people to exceptional blogs.

As to "jacking up" the recommendations, I feel the members here recognize their responsibilities here in this area. Even if this does happen, it will soon be obvious to those who are here frequently. We're not here for ego trips.

I have two suggestions:

1: Put some sort of time limit on the recommendations, perhaps 60-90 days in this case. The reason is that while some blogs are timeless, others that generate a great deal of interest and, hopefully, that have content that is for a particular time, new and recommended blogs will not make it onto a limited "recommended" list over time. This would keep the Recommended List current and fresh.

  1. The "Most Popular" blogs section, based on comments, has become stale.I don't think that the list has changed much for months. Having added the "Reply to Comment" feature has also altered the meaning of this section.

I feel that the "Recommendations" section will actually come to have more significance than the "Most Popular" as a guide to reading or catching up for old timers and will be extremely useful for newcomers.

So... how about just eliminating the "Most Popular" based on number of comments in order to shorten the home page and placing the "Recommended" section nearer the top?

Others' thoughts?

Shalom, Art

@iraqivetsgtret
Raynard Shellow @iraqivetsgtret ·

to brother art, i agree with you last comment and disagree from another point of view. when i checked my least popular blogs, it reminded me that 2007 my focus was not as passionate as it is now about writing and be a blessing to others. to god be the glory how i'm letting him lead me than the other way around.. be blessed.ps, i dont pay attention to the most popular blogs on my part..it would be a distraction...

@abelajohnb
John B. Abela @abelajohnb ·

Hello Everybody,

For the time being I have decided to disable this feature due to both a minor cosmetic issue with this feature and the shear lack of it being used.

In the future, when times are perhaps different, this is something we can bring back to www.ChristianBlog.Com!

Thanks,
John B. Abela
Founder/Owner,
http://www.ChristianBlog.Com

Do not include honorifics.
@christianblog

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