Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Give us your feedback on user rankings!

Hi everyone,
A question for all of you. I have seen some discussion about the issue in another thread, but I think it warrants some feedback. We think it’s important to recognize our top posters, but the question is how to best go about recognizing that quality.

In the last system, we had Top 20 and Top 250 designations that corresponded to the number of posts, and nothing else. Did you find that helpful? Would you prefer a rating system that emphasized the content over the quantity?

Please share any thoughts you have on the subject by the end of the day on Thursday, and I will compile and summarize your comments and take them back to the other lackeys. At that time, if there is an existing plugin that will allow for some poster recognition, we will implement it on a trial basis, even if it is not a perfect fit. We’ll also consult with the Vanilla gurus and see if there’s a way to custom-build something that will best approximate your interests, if finances allow. We do ask for your patience and understanding, because your humble lackeys are working on lots of others projects at the same time. I’ll let you know what our next step is, and rest assured your feedback will be welcomed.

Thanks! We’re all ears…er, eyes.

I’m completely ambivalent. In the thread that discussed this quite a few people just mentioned that they know who to pay attention to with or without a rating system and I agree.

So, if there is one I don’t really car what its basis is. I would, however support bringing back something like those really old labels - humorous ones like “CarTalk Novice” and “Long Lost Magliozzi Brother” or whatever they were. The show is at least 50% comedy. If there are any labels I just think they should be amusing.

There are two kinds of people who enjoy this forum…The people who ask questions and the people who answer them…There is a tiny crossover group. Newcomers to the board have no idea who is who, so some form of Member recognition would be helpful…Many people who ask questions do not have the skills to judge the QUALITY of the answers…

There is an old thread, “Your Credentials Please” where most of the “Regulars” posted their qualifications. Using the information contained in this thread, Plus the length of time a contributor has been active on the board, those two things, a “quality” rating could be developed…Regular posters could be assigned a rating (using the old one through five star system?) that would give newcomers some idea who was answering their question…

The “Your Credentials Please” tread could be kept active and once a month, the administrators could evaluate new members who wish to be rated. The “Regulars Group” could also offer feedback, both positive and negative, voicing their feelings about other members. After a few months, the cream would rise to the top and all board users would have an idea where they stood in the pear-group and new users would know who they were talking to…The “Credentials” thread could be made a “Topic” so it was always available to members and visitors alike…

I tend to be against groupthink ratings. It’s far too easy for those ratings to be based on things other than those they should be based on, even on a mature board like this one. The newbies who don’t know who we are get a pretty good idea within their thread - if the first responder to their question is wrong, at least 5 other people will chime in and say it is. I like the idea of postcount-based humorous titles.

Did you just call this a “mature” board?

Ok - I’ll admit that I’ve seen it…once in a while :wink:

“Mature”, as in old.

I don’t know. In context it made more sense to me the other way. I was kidding around in either case.

Well, I mean, compared to 4chan you guys are almost always mature :wink:

I Think The Only Meaningful Ranking Should Come From The Advice Recipient.

No matter the educational background or experience of the posters, what really matters is how helpful the advice given proves to be to the recipient. Lots of advice given here doesn’t depend on professional experience.

If I come here with a question, what I really am looking for is a good answer. Sometimes the best advice comes from somebody who just happens to be driving the same make and model car that I drive or somebody familiar with a particular product or source of information.

Set up a system so that only the advice recipient can “rank” advice received. Forget about ranking individuals. That will only turn into some kind of popularity contest and would hardly benefit those asking questions. I don’t pay any attention to people rankings.

I agree with Shadowfax that “The newbies who don’t know who we are get a pretty good idea within their thread - if the first responder to their question is wrong, at least 5 other people will chime in and say it is.”

The real proof of advice offered by Tom And Ray comes from STUMP THE CHUMPS.
Maybe people who post questions could somehow be encouraged to report back on the advice received.

Would a STUMP THE CAR TALK COMMUNITY CHUMPS e-mail notice work ?


I vote for returning to the humerous ones like “Long Lost Magliozzi Brother”.

Rankings really don’t matter. Anyone who pitches in to try to help someone else with a problem is #1 in my book. It’s been proven time and again that the clue that leads to the correct answer can come from anyone. We all possess ignorance and we all possess knowledge. The only thing that differs is the subjects.

The smartest one in the room is generally the one that listens to everyone else. Smart people know they only know a little bit of all there is to know about any given subject.

I like the humorous aspect, too. This should be fun while being as helpful as possible.

As Shadow pointed out, if there’s bad info put out, it will be corrected by many in very short order. Trust me on that - experience counts. :wink:

throw in another vote for the old humorous titles. those were based on post count, were they not?

Me too, vote for the humorous titles and yes they were based on number of posts. Novice, lurker etc.

As far as quality of advice, we frequent fliers pretty much know who to listen too, also have some basic knowledge to see if the advice applies or no. I doubt a new member is going to take the transmission out just because the 1st response told them to do so and hopefully the collective effort of members would address the problem.

If there has to be something make it humorous. The only people who really care about the ratings are those who need to see them for thier own benefit.

You cannot rely on others posting stars to accumulate a status for an answerer. Since they asked a question they don’t know the answer, therefore they might not know the correct answer from one that is incorrect and is simply what they wanted to hear.

Newcomers have no clue where the advise is coming from, no way to judge who is giving them the right answer and who is blowing smoke…

That’s why this board has so many “I want to buy my 16 year old daughter a car, which one should I buy” threads…No ratings needed there…

I think Meaneyedcatz has it right: A ratings system is more important to the people providing advice than to anyone else. I think the threads “Your Credentials Please” and “Did we lose our contributor ratings with the move?” bear this out. The former starts out with answers that belittle the request, but ends with serious efforts to establish qualifications.

Although this current thread was begun under the topic “General Discussion”, I don’t think a ratings system is important for people posting under any topic than “Repair and Maintenance”. An opinion about anything else isn’t important enough to be rated.

Accordingly, I think the people who answer questions on repair and maintenance ought to provide their own ratings. They’re among the only people qualified to do the rating, and they’re the only ones interested enough in the idea to keep it going. There are frequent complaints about people who ask for advice not providing feedback, so an “Angie’s List” kind of system is not likely to work.

A meaningful rating system might be based on an array of numbers, one array per rated poster, where the elements of the array count the total number of positive opinions given him by each of his peers. Meaneyedcatz might have a 20 in the slot in his array for Mountainbike, indicating that Mountainbike liked 20 of Meaneyedcatz posts to “Repair and Maintenance”. To keep the array manageable, the old idea of total post count could limit the number of raters, and so the size of the array. To keep information display manageable, only the sum of the elements in the array would be shown next to the poster’s name, but there ought to be a way for each person to see all of the array which rates him and an index to which rater corresponds to each array element. If that starts some quarrels, what else is new? At least Meaneyedcatz would know who doesn’t like his work and whether or not that opinion is important to him.

If there is no acceptable way to label the total count of positive opinions, maybe the count could instead be a new basis for “Top 20” or “Top 250” contributor.


Any attempt to rank contributors based on qualitative analysis will be a quagmire for the admins. Ranking people is going to give some big heads and alienate others. No one is immune to doling out bad advice regardless of how many “stars” you might have on your shoulder. If you’re foolish enough to accept anyone’s advice/opinion as gospel without seeking a second opinion, you’ll get what you deserve. As pointed out, there is no lack of “regular” posters to correct someone if they post something incorrect.

I don’t think user ratings of any type are necessary. We give advice because it’s altruistic, not for some arbitrary rating system. If you must have one, I think the old one, which rated users based on the number of posts, and had funny category titles, would be best.

We come to help, but I for one also come to learn. I’ve learned an enormous amount from the other denizens and will be forever in their debt. I’ve also learned a great deal from people coming here to seek advice.

And even one of our absolute top engine guys, OK4450, for whom I have the utmost respect, has a vacuum problem with a carburator that nobody has yet been able to figure out. Who knows where the answer will eventuallly come from.

Ratings, schmatings, let’s all go out for muffins!

Everyone knows something and people who are usually correct are sometimes wrong.

An OP who posted a question can weigh the various answers to decide what to do. A rating system should not equate the quantity of posts with quality or accuracy. Quality can be judged by looking at other answers on Car Talk by respondents. A search should be able to find their posts,

You can put that on your site as a “Sticky”.

If you want to establish a rating system to ensure that respondents will continue to be here, I think that you need not worry. A rating system to recognize quality of answers is difficult and best left undone in my view.