No. of Recommendations: 36
The intention behind rec-to-post ratios has always been to reward the best contributions to Fooldom. We stated this from the get-go, and also laid out a fair amount of our rationale right on this board and elsewhere, ahead of time. We don't find any significant number of people disagreeing that more meaningful rec-to-post ratios would be a good addition, rewarding the best contributors. In fact, once we up the minimum past 30-day postings to a more proper 15, I think you'll find this a worthy addition.

What many people clearly don't like is the limiting of the opportunity to hit the Rec button. Judging from early returns (first 12 hours), this is a mistake. We don't use 12 hours to judge anything, but we will closely follow community discussion and thought on this decision over the very short term. We have already let you know repeatedly that we're open to change as the community wishes (and to tell you the truth I wish a few more people would recognize this, and maybe cut Bogey some slack). If this is not deemed an improvement, we'll scotch it! As stated earlier, we already believe that the soft rec concept suggested by RJMason and others several days ago will solve most of these problems.

To review, here's the concept. Everyone gets as many recs as they like every day. The value of your first 20 recs (say) is 1.0, and for every additional rec you make beyond that on a given day, it revalues your recs proportionately (rec #21 makes them worth slightly less, and so forth). This superior (to my thinking) approach enables anyone to hit the rec button anytime (the biggest member complaint) and yet still keeps the focus on recs rewarding quality effort. However, you'd still get to see the number of times that people hit the rec button to show agreement with your post.

I appreciate the strength of feeling many are expressing here, because at the very least it shows how much you care. We care a tremendous amount as well, and if and when we make bad decisions, we will change them. We would hope that long-time Fools know us well enough to know that we'll work hard to improve our service, when we screw up (note I didn't say "if," since we're human) in our attempts to improve it for you.

We also hope you'll remember what Radish wrote, which is that virtually every change we make to online interface solicits charges of "New Coke," as has been the case for several years. If we had immediately acted on these comments in every case, Fool.com wouldn't have recs at all (since that was an addition), nor would our portfolio have tracked against the S&P 500, nor would we have a My Fool page, etc. etc. etc. No colors ever would have changed, etc.

So in the context of working together to improve the service, we commit to you our firm intent to fix things that are broken, including in some cases "unfixing" things if they weren't broken. But we also ask something in return, which is your patience and in some cases forebearance. Any truly bad change we make can be lifted or changed; please acknowledge this and fear not. At the same time, please give yourself a chance to take in the sights (site) for a few days, and then give us your reasoning.

David Gardner
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No. of Recommendations: 5
I want to know how to cancel my subscription to your message boards. I cannot believe that one day after I signed up you started limiting the number of RECs people can leave. We now pay for the right to use these boards and that still isn't good enough??? The reason I an concerned about this is because I feel it is going to decrease the overall number of people who will post on these boards and that will make the boards worthless. Furthermore, I select the messages I want to read based on the number of RECs it receives. That is the easiest way to quickly find the most interesting and popular posts.

As for scaling the weight of the recs, what is the very best post of the day happens after you have given out 45 recs that day. Is that post worth more or less because of the time of day you posted it???


You guys are really messing up a good thing here.
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No. of Recommendations: 5
The intention behind rec-to-post ratios has always been to reward the best contributions to Fooldom. We stated this from the get-go, and also laid out a fair amount of our rationale right on this board and elsewhere, ahead of time. We don't find any significant number of people disagreeing that more meaningful rec-to-post ratios would be a good addition, rewarding the best contributors. In fact, once we up the minimum past 30-day postings to a more proper 15, I think you'll find this a worthy addition.

There are many ideas that were intended for one thing and then found enormous popularity in a completely different area. Thomas Edison never forsaw the phonograph being used for something as silly as recording music. Similarly, just because the Fool thought the 'rec' button would be good to find their "post of the day", doesn't mean it is not more valuable as a simple "I Agree" or "You crack me up".

Face it. If you want a ultra-rec button that is only used for post of the day, that's fine. You are asking for people to pay and taking things away from them. Seems like you should be adding features and capability not reducing them.

I am surprised 3 people wasted their rec's on your lame post.

ANiceChap
2 days to live and actually looking forward to being forced to go cold turkey from this internet addiction
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No. of Recommendations: 3
I don't think much of soft recs at all. I would prefer an alternate button like "I concur" or something similar to go with the rec button. Or just leave the rec's alone and see what happens after the 14th.

UKBB
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No. of Recommendations: 9
To review, here's the concept. Everyone gets as many recs as they like every day. The value of your first 20 recs (say) is 1.0, and for every additional rec you make beyond that on a given day, it revalues your recs proportionately (rec #21 makes them worth slightly less, and so forth). This superior (to my thinking) approach enables anyone to hit the rec button anytime (the biggest member complaint) and yet still keeps the focus on recs rewarding quality effort. However, you'd still get to see the number of times that people hit the rec button to show agreement with your post.

Still a bad idea. Give us the option of how WE want to weight our recs. I would prefer two options, a simple recommend this post and one to nominate it for the "Best of List". The nomination recs would be limited to say 20-30 a day, the simple recs would be unlimited. Hows that?
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No. of Recommendations: 2
David,

I really wanted to rec this, but alas...

FoolSwing
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No. of Recommendations: 4
As stated earlier, we already believe that the soft rec concept suggested by RJMason and others several days ago will solve most of these problems.


Soft recs would probably be okay (but the proof of the pudding is in the eating). However I still think that, long term. the boards (and recs) should be divided into 2 categories, social and financial. Unlimited recs on the social, soft recs on the financial, and a distinction between the 2 on profiles.

So in the context of working together to improve the service, we commit to you our firm intent to fix things that are broken, including in some cases "unfixing" things if they weren't broken. But we also ask something in return, which is your patience and in some cases forebearance. Any truly bad change we make can be lifted or changed; please acknowledge this and fear not. At the same time, please give yourself a chance to take in the sights (site) for a few days, and then give us your reasoning.

To fix it for now, delimit recs, now.
My reasoning? Because the new rec system can be skewed just as easily (possibly more easily) than the old one.

codey
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No. of Recommendations: 2
While this makes me feel a whole lot better on the social community valuation at TMF, I would like to know when the "unfix" is going to happen. I am serious about cancelling my memberships and will do so without a firm deadline on restoration of recs as I feel we were "pushed" into your way of thinking and not the community's.

My request would to not have one bucket for the rec's to come out of. Sometimes my first 10 rec's of the day are not the best posts I come across. So could there be a different "bucket" for the POTD to come from?

Patricia Peil
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No. of Recommendations: 6
<We care a tremendous amount as well, and if and when we make bad decisions, we will change them. We would hope that long-time Fools know us well enough to know that we'll work hard to improve our service, when we screw up (note I didn't say "if," since we're human) in our attempts to improve it for you.>

You know David, I use to believe that you cared a lot too. Consistently supported your decisions even I couldn't really see clear thinking behind them. But more and more your (TMF) actions have caused me move to the camp that says you are often essentially indifferent to your soon to be customer base. I guess I am tired of the non-answers given as answers to too many questions, the really bad writing about stocks that truly gives little useful detail, plus others which I cannot recall right now. But this one about the recs has been a real blunder.

j*a registered Fool since Dec. 97*
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Furthermore, I select the messages I want to read based on the number of RECs it receives. That is the easiest way to quickly find the most interesting and popular posts.


That is what I do. But when every post has a bunch of recs, how do you decide?

This new way will make it so much easier. It already has.

Before if a post didn't have double digit recs, I didn't look at it.

Now it is so easy.

Telly
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No. of Recommendations: 0
You know David, I use to believe that you cared a lot too. Consistently supported your decisions even I couldn't really see clear thinking behind them. But more and more your (TMF) actions have caused me move to the camp that says you are often essentially indifferent to your soon to be customer base. I guess I am tired of the non-answers given as answers to too many questions, the really bad writing about stocks that truly gives little useful detail, plus others which I cannot recall right now. But this one about the recs has been a real blunder.

I concur

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No. of Recommendations: 0
You know David, I use to believe that you cared a lot too. Consistently supported your decisions even I couldn't really see clear thinking behind them. But more and more your (TMF) actions have caused me move to the camp that says you are often essentially indifferent to your soon to be customer base. I guess I am tired of the non-answers given as answers to too many questions, the really bad writing about stocks that truly gives little useful detail, plus others which I cannot recall right now. But this one about the recs has been a real blunder.

I concur


I agree.
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No. of Recommendations: 2
David:

Even though you've basically already told me to hit the road, I'll comment on your suggestion on the assumption you might consider the message, if not the messenger.

Soft Recs-

This might reduce the volume of the howling a bit, but I'm not sure it's really fair.

Sure, it lets people hit the little rec button as often as they like, but I doubt the heavy reccers are going to like the fact that their recs are "devalued" currency.

If "A" wants to recommend 4 posts, and "B" wants to rec 40, but "B" is a heavy user who's read ten times as many posts, why should B's recs be devalued? There isn't necessarily a quality difference there. Sometimes there will be, but sometimes not.

Just a thought....


Mort.

PS: Was the system really that broken, that it needed anything (especially once the doppel issue is gone away)?
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Soft Recs-

This might reduce the volume of the howling a bit, but I'm not sure it's really fair.

Sure, it lets people hit the little rec button as often as they like, but I doubt the heavy reccers are going to like the fact that their recs are "devalued" currency.

If "A" wants to recommend 4 posts, and "B" wants to rec 40, but "B" is a heavy user who's read ten times as many posts, why should B's recs be devalued? There isn't necessarily a quality difference there. Sometimes there will be, but sometimes not.

Just a thought....


I concur
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No. of Recommendations: 0
OK.
Forget the grease pencil idea.

Salty
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No. of Recommendations: 17
Dear David,

Personally I think the whole rec "controversy" is very silly. I did not know we were writing posts just to get recs. Are people that vain they need that kind of positive reinforcement(oh I can hear the flames now)? If someone does not want to be a member because they can not get their 60 or 70 recs on some boards, so be it. I thought people came to the Fool to get good information, share interesting ideas, learn a little about investing, and have some fun. Silly me.

I say the rec policy you are about to enforce is fine.


Charlie

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No. of Recommendations: 0
I say the rec policy you are about to enforce is fine.

I disagree
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No. of Recommendations: 0
I disagree as well. Someone posted earlier on the board,

"if it isn't broken, then don't fix it".
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No. of Recommendations: 0
I disagree as well. Someone posted earlier on the board,

"if it isn't broken, then don't fix it".


I concur.

Agent
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No. of Recommendations: 12
<<To review, here's the concept. Everyone gets as many recs as they like every day. >>



Heh, heh! I'd rec your post, but I'm all out as of 7:00 AM!


While I spend 'way too much time on the Fool discussion boards, being able to rec posts is one for of entertainment and recreation I really value. It's the nicest little pat on the back you can give someone who's tried to be helpful or entertaining, in my opinion.




Seattle Pioneer
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Personally I think the whole rec "controversy" is very silly. I did not know we were writing posts just to get recs. Are people that vain they need that kind of positive reinforcement(oh I can hear the flames now)? If someone does not want to be a member because they can not get their 60 or 70 recs on some boards, so be it. I thought people came to the Fool to get good information, share interesting ideas, learn a little about investing, and have some fun. Silly me.

I say the rec policy you are about to enforce is fine.


Charlie



I said similar things the other day. It didn't go over well with the people on "rec-support".

Telly
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No. of Recommendations: 0
I disagree as well. Someone posted earlier on the board,

"if it isn't broken, then don't fix it".


If that was the case, we would still be using candles for light and driving in horse and buugy.

Telly
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No. of Recommendations: 0
I said similar things the other day. It didn't go over well with the people on "rec-support".


I did not think my opinion would be too popular. Then again I did not write it to pander for recs.

:-)Charlie
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No. of Recommendations: 2
Soft recs would probably be okay (but the proof of the pudding is in the eating). However I still think that, long term. the boards (and recs) should be divided into 2 categories, social and financial. Unlimited recs on the social, soft recs on the financial, and a distinction between the 2 on profiles.

Schismmonger. ;-)

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=16668817
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=16671368

BK

PS - I will agree with you as soon as Gunnar gives me the go-ahead and David Gardner admits that any Fool knows the difference between financial and social boards.

PPS - I don't understand why I got flak for an idea that only hurts those who build up their recs and post totals on social boards to fake credibility on financial boards. Soft recs won't prevent this and might even make it easier to fake credibility on the financial boards.

PPPS - I personally don't care about the rec limits. I just want Fools to be happy with the service so the community doesn't wither away or turn into an exclusive club for financial wonks only.
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Ok, I've decided this rec limit is OK, but you do need to add one new feature. Add a count of how may responses to each post contain the words "I concur" or "I agree" or "Great Post". Have that counter display next to the rec's button.

We wouldn't want to dilute the value of the precious rec button and this way you can get the increase post count that you have been looking for. You could also add a button that automatically creates an "I concur" post so that we don't have to spend so much time concuring.

Sure the signal to noise ratio will be impacted, but that is much less important than upping the post count so that David G's prediction comes true and that way these renegade fools will not use your precious "rec" button innappropriately. It would not be wise to use the "rec" button inappropriately. It is good that the Fool knows best how we should use tools provided to us.
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No. of Recommendations: 3
<Personally I think the whole rec "controversy" is very silly. I did not know we were writing posts just to get recs. Are people that vain they need that kind of positive reinforcement(oh I can hear the flames now)? If someone does not want to be a member because they can not get their 60 or 70 recs on some boards, so be it. I thought people came to the Fool to get good information, share interesting ideas, learn a little about investing, and have some fun. Silly me.>

One more time. It isn't about getting recs (at least for me), it is about giving recs for my reasons, wishes, perception of quality, not TMF's perception.

j
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Soft recs are much better than the current status.
I´m indifferent regarding them, as they would have drawbacks as well as advantages.
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No. of Recommendations: 2
Schismmonger. ;-)

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=16668817
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=16671368

BK

PS - I will agree with you as soon as Gunnar gives me the go-ahead and David Gardner admits that any Fool knows the difference between financial and social boards


TMF don't need to decide, let the boards vote.

PPS - I don't understand why I got flak for an idea that only hurts those who build up their recs and post totals on social boards to fake credibility on financial boards. Soft recs won't prevent this and might even make it easier to fake credibility on the financial boards.


I don't think I've ever seen anyone faking credibility on financial boards with 'social' recs or posts. I think its an urban myth that this happens.

PPPS - I personally don't care about the rec limits. I just want Fools to be happy with the service so the community doesn't wither away or turn into an exclusive club for financial wonks only.

I concur!! It's what sets TMF apart from the rest.

codey
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No. of Recommendations: 0
I personally welcome the REC limitation. As it stands now, racs mean absolutely nothing unless people use them wisely. However, I'd hate to see tons of posts in a thread that all say I AGREE.
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No. of Recommendations: 0
PPS - I don't understand why I got flak for an idea that only hurts those who build up their recs and post totals on social boards to fake credibility on financial boards. Soft recs won't prevent this and might even make it easier to fake credibility on the financial boards.


I don't think I've ever seen anyone faking credibility on financial boards with 'social' recs or posts. I think its an urban myth that this happens.


If it's a myth, here's the source.

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=11360191

BK

PS - All hail IFindKarma
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No. of Recommendations: 0
I personally welcome the REC limitation. As it stands now, racs mean absolutely nothing unless people use them wisely. However, I'd hate to see tons of posts in a thread that all say I AGREE.

------------------

Baaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!

I concur!
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No. of Recommendations: 0
I am surprised 3 people wasted their rec's on your lame post.

ANiceChap
2 days to live and actually looking forward to being forced to go cold turkey from this internet addiction


It's 9 recs now....

Baaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!

I rec'ced your post.

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No. of Recommendations: 58
David,

Two sides of the same community. One is larger, and demands that you cull "frivolous" recing. The other, smaller, is responsible for the majority of your freely contributed content. Resonpsible for helping the customers you bring, and would love to keep. Resonpsible for keeping them here, bound to your online community for the friendship and experience they offer to others for nothing in return. Active both here on the boards, and off board, with the posters that populate TMF.

What do the "mass" membership have in common? From what you've said, a limited amount of time to hit the site and read what they feel are important and on-topic posts that will help them make financial decisions.

What do the heavy user membership have in common? One he'll of a sense of community, regardless of which area of TMF they may populate. They are most likely to produce the preponderance of the posts that the mass members read. They are most likely to find and start recing the posts that the mass market members want to read. You've stolen our ability to slap posters on the back when we feel the need. You've stolen our ability to hug at will. You've made our online home more severe and sterile. You've made our on line home more black and white, as has been pointed out, limited recs steal the shades of gray between great and worhtless posts. In my home, we say we love you to each other all the time. In my home, we hug and kiss a lot. It's a good thing, and has never shown the slightest sign of becoming irrelevant because of love inflation.

I've been an active, hands on investor for almost 24 years. I have supported my family exclusively off of the portfolio for the past 9 years. I started my first business when I was 24, and have been self employed ever since. I can handle the decision process that goes into whether I hit the rec button or not. Those that have made the decision to pay to stay are quite capable as well. Gimme my recs back. Give everybody their recs back.

-WRG
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No. of Recommendations: 0
If we had immediately acted on these comments in every case, Fool.com wouldn't have recs at all (since that was an addition), nor would our portfolio have tracked against the S&P 500, nor would we have a My Fool page, etc. etc. etc. No colors ever would have changed, etc.




Speaking of color changes.....

Could you PLEASE get rid of that horrible bright Baby-Dookey Yellow on the Fave Board's page?

Whoever is responsible for this doe not realize that some colors are harsh on the eyes. A nice, soft, retiring GREEN or Blue would have been a MUCH better choice.

I spend most of my day at TMF. And I can tell you that the Yellow on that page is simply atrocious! (I also don't like the "elementary school lined paper" look.)

Thanks for listening,

AngelMay
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No. of Recommendations: 0
It's 9 recs now....

Baaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!

I rec'ced your post.



I am honored that my simple post would be worthy of a prized rec.

ANiceChap

By the way, can I take a rec from one of my posts and ask to have it applied to someone else's posts. Hey, If they gave it to me, I should be able to give it to someone else.
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No. of Recommendations: 0
PS: Was the system really that broken, that it needed anything (especially once the doppel issue is gone away)?

Doppels will never die.

Baaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!
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No. of Recommendations: 0
To review, here's the concept. Everyone gets as many recs as they like every day. The value of your first 20 recs (say) is 1.0, and for every additional rec you make beyond that on a given day, it revalues your recs proportionately (rec #21 makes them worth slightly less, and so forth). This superior (to my thinking) approach enables anyone to hit the rec button anytime (the biggest member complaint) and yet still keeps the focus on recs rewarding quality effort. However, you'd still get to see the number of times that people hit the rec button to show agreement with your post.

Don't like this because it suggests your 21st rec is not as worthy as your first, and the 21st may be a better post. Why not have another button for 'Star Post' or the suchlike which are limited to 12 a day, which is used for a post which is excellent in content, rather than I agree, thank-you or some other, and have a best of list for star posts. There are few posts in the day I think worthy of great content, but may I like to say thank-you for or agree with.

It would also keep a lot of people happier!
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No. of Recommendations: 1
David Gardner - The intention behind rec-to-post ratios has always been to reward the best contributions to Fooldom.

Why not drop all this rating stuff based on recs & use something different (votes).
_____________________________________________________________________________________
Over the years, I've found recs to be very valuable tool.

In the traditionally usage, to the experienced fool, recs have meaning within the context of a particular board. For example, some boards rarely have a rec, some boards rec anything, & some boards give tons of recs for posters with a certain pov shared by the majority of the posters. Eventually, when you've used a board you learn to recognize these patterns and the rec becomes a valuable tool (but only within the context of the particular board
_____________________________________________________________________________________

David Gardner - Everyone gets as many recs as they like every day. The value of your first 20 recs (say) is 1.0, and for every additional rec you make beyond that on a given day, it revalues your recs proportionately (rec #21 makes them worth slightly less, and so forth). This superior (to my thinking) approach enables anyone to hit the rec button anytime (the biggest member complaint) and yet still keeps the focus on recs rewarding quality effort. However, you'd still get to see the number of times that people hit the rec button to show agreement with your post.

I don't like the weighted rec idea because it seems to be based on the time you see a post you like. For example at the early morning recs are going to be weighted higher than the evening recs.

If your trying to recognize the very good posts that span all boards, then I suggest that you use a different approach.
Instead of using recs, give everyone a vote for pick of the day and use that for your rating system. A variation may be to give everyone three votes a day, and allow them to apply one, two or or three to a post they really enjoy.

To my foolish way of thinking this preserves the old traditional usage of the rec and gives you a new tool to recognize the really great posts that deserve foolish merit.

Bruno
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No. of Recommendations: 0
While I spend 'way too much time on the Fool discussion boards, being able to rec posts is one for of entertainment and recreation I really value. It's the nicest little pat on the back you can give someone who's tried to be helpful or entertaining, in my opinion.

Seattle Pioneer


Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!

I concur!
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No. of Recommendations: 1
You've stolen our ability to slap posters on the back when we feel the need. You've stolen our ability to hug at will. You've made our online home more severe and sterile.


You know this was a well-written post until I read this. I would think a well tought out post commenting on the value of another post would do as well. Recs are a lazy way to give a slap on the back and hug. C'mon, we all can be a little more original than clicking a rec button, or saying, "I agree." Sheesh!

Charlie
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No. of Recommendations: 0
You know this was a well-written post until I read this. I would think a well tought out post commenting on the value of another post would do as well. Recs are a lazy way to give a slap on the back and hug. C'mon, we all can be a little more original than clicking a rec button, or saying, "I agree." Sheesh!

But they allow us to do so without taking up more board space to simply say "Good Job" or "I concur".

Agent
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No. of Recommendations: 1
You've stolen our ability to slap posters on the back when we feel the need. You've stolen our ability to hug at will. You've made our online home more severe and sterile.

------------
------------

You know this was a well-written post until I read this. I would think a well tought out post commenting on the value of another post would do as well. Recs are a lazy way to give a slap on the back and hug. C'mon, we all can be a little more original than clicking a rec button, or saying, "I agree." Sheesh!

Charlie

----------
----------

Do you think maybe they need real lives?

Telly
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No. of Recommendations: 37
The intention behind rec-to-post ratios has always been to reward the best contributions to Fooldom. We stated this from the get-go, and also laid out a fair amount of our rationale right on this board and elsewhere, ahead of time. We don't find any significant number of people disagreeing that more meaningful rec-to-post ratios would be a good addition, rewarding the best contributors.

Really? Then let me be among the first:

I do not agree that more meaningful rec-to-post ratios would be a good addition, rewarding the best contributors.

Now the explanation. You are basically trying to come up with a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. The recommend feature has been in place for years now, and the community has adapted to that feature. Folks use it in different ways, depending on their preferences.

Admittedly, they don't all use that feature the way that TMF might prefer. They might not use it the way that you would personally use it. So what? They're your customers, TMF is the proprietor. It's a very bad business decision to tell your paying customers that they should stop using your product the way they want to, and instead to use it the way you want them to.

It's a worse business decision to outright prohibit them from using the product the way they want to.

It's an absurd business decision to do so on the eve of implementing your first subscription fees.

So why aren't "more meaningful" rec-to-post ratios a good addition? The simplest answer is that you are simply substituting your assessment of what is a "meaningful" rec for that of your customers - and that is a very, very, very bad idea.

More to the point, you're not going to get there. This is a community of intelligent, fun-loving, somewhat whimsical humans. You cannot control them. You cannot stop them from finding creative, innovative ways of tweaking authority, bending the rules, and working the loopholes. GMS started because folks thought it would be amusing to game the "stars" system; GMR was a bunch of folks gaming the "recs" system.

It doesn't matter whether you implement a dual rec system, a soft rec system, what have you - there will be some fun-loving, self-entertaining folks who will tweak it. At the very least, they'll find a disused stock board and give each other all their "hard" recs until they dominate the rec-to-post ladder.

You can't stop that from happening, unless you impose such draconian constraints on all of our behavior that the boards lose their appeal. Draconian restraints such as a 12-rec limit.

In fact, you're just making it worse. Quite frankly, the whole GMR "flood the Best Of" phenomenon had died down. The Best Of was just filled with posts from high-traffic boards, not people gaming the system. The novelty had worn off a bit. But no....you had to stir things up by assigning shiny new little lucky charms, so now everyone actually has a reason to go out and start working the system again.

So in order to make the new lucky charms work, you guys are going to mess around with a rec system that has worked fairly well for more than two years - and you still won't have accomplished anything. There will be a handful of folks who run around soliciting recs on empty stock boards, and they'll grab the little Stanley Cups until they get bored. You'll have re-cluttered the Best Of board until it loses functionality.

Meanwhile, many of us will find our favorite content the way we always have before -- by using favorite boards, in tandem with favorite fools, and scanning for posts within those boards based on the known standards for awarding recs specific to each board. Once the Best Of board recovers from the havoc that you are unknowingly about to wreak, we will start using that again, secure in the knowledge that we are smart enough to realize that recs are more easily obtained at the LBYM, MI, and PA boards than others.

TMF, on the other hand, is ignoring the way that its customers actually use its product, in order to substitute its own vision of what is, and is not, meaningful. It is doing so at your peril. All you will do is alienate your clientele.

Best of luck,

Albaby
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No. of Recommendations: 0
One more time. It isn't about getting recs (at least for me), it is about giving recs for my reasons, wishes, perception of quality, not TMF's perception.

j


I concur!

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No. of Recommendations: 0

Still a bad idea. Give us the option of how WE want to weight our recs. I would prefer two options, a simple recommend this post and one to nominate it for the "Best of List". The nomination recs would be limited to say 20-30 a day, the simple recs would be unlimited. Hows that?


great idea...but i was out of recs...

wow... who needs a gimme my stars board now... they are all gms boards now :-)

Faith
who was earning her stars slowly with quality posts
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Do you think maybe they need real lives?

Telly


Telly, I would love to rec this post, but I am saving up my recs for the day<g>. You know another thought would be to send a private response to folks on posts you agree with. Unless TMF has taken that option away.

Charlie
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No. of Recommendations: 0
I personally welcome the REC limitation. As it stands now, racs mean absolutely nothing unless people use them wisely. However, I'd hate to see tons of posts in a thread that all say I AGREE.

I concur!

Baaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!

<shaking tail at all the TMF posters>
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No. of Recommendations: 15
To educate, amuse and enrich...that is the credo of the fool.

If I find a particularly good post for homemade pizza on the LBYM board, I'll rec it. Someone adds something to that thread that makes it even better (preheat the pizza stone), I'll rec it. Two threads later someone says something that makes me laugh out loud, I'll rec it. Someone pays off 30K in CC debt on the credit card board, I'll rec it and offer a happy dance. On the maintain your home board someone explains in great deal EXACTLY how to install a prehung door, I'll rec it. Someone on the computer board explains how to rebuild the desktop to a new MAC owner, I'll rec it. The DRIP board members explain what is in each of their portfolios and why they purchased that particular stock. I'll rec if I agree. Which of these posts is worth less than the others? As your credo states, educate, amuse and enrich. Each of these posts falls in one of those categories.

The boards are a mix of people that have chosen to come to a huge buffet. The seating is unassigned. Now you have begun charging us for the buffet. I've chosen to continue to attend the buffet, but with that attendance come some goodies. If someone is slurping their soup and licking their butter knife, I want to be able tell them to stop and have others back me up (recs). If someone tells a really good joke, I want to be able to laugh (rec). I somebody is telling me about how they fixed their cracked slab without spending 20K, I want to be able to thank them (rec). Someone explains what that footnote in PG's annual report means and provides a link to back it up; I want to recognize their efforts (rec).

Why are you taking away my ability to publicly thank, chastise or giggle with this nonsensical rec limit. Traffic of the me too, I agree and I concur will definitely be on the upswing as it already is on the LBYM board.

Leighsah
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No. of Recommendations: 0
You know this was a well-written post until I read this. I would think a well tought out post commenting on the value of another post would do as well. Recs are a lazy way to give a slap on the back and hug. C'mon, we all can be a little more original than clicking a rec button, or saying, "I agree." Sheesh!

Charlie


That's why I made the distinction of those that make up the glue that binds this community. Yeah, recs are an easy way to show support when two sides differ, an easy way to say look at this post, an easy way to not waste storage and broad band. Whether you want to admit it or not, people put time and effort into things time and time again because they get recognition for doing so. There are some exceptions, those that will take to a wall until the paint peels off. If the rec system had never been here, this wouldn't even be an issue. But we now have an on line community that has a built in mechanism for allowing us to show recognition to other posters, and it's being fiddled with. It shouldn't be.

-WRG
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Telly, I would love to rec this post, but I am saving up my recs for the day<g>. You know another thought would be to send a private response to folks on posts you agree with. Unless TMF has taken that option away.


JavaTraveler added to your Favorite Fool's list

Telly
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Gimme my recs back. Give everybody their recs back.

-WRG


Lamb, lamb, lamb! I knew there was going to be one post out there that I should have saved a rec for.

Great post! I concur!

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I concur as well
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Do you think maybe they need real lives?

Telly


Most of us do. That's why we can often contribute more than inane questions like this.

-WRG
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No. of Recommendations: 0
David,
Two sides of the same community. One is larger, and demands that you cull "frivolous" recing. The other, smaller, is responsible for the majority of your freely contributed content. Resonpsible for helping the customers you bring, and would love to keep. Resonpsible for keeping them here, bound to your online community for the friendship and experience they offer to others for nothing in return. Active both here on the boards, and off board, with the posters that populate TMF.
What do the "mass" membership have in common? From what you've said, a limited amount of time to hit the site and read what they feel are important and on-topic posts that will help them make financial decisions.
What do the heavy user membership have in common? One he'll of a sense of community, regardless of which area of TMF they may populate. They are most likely to produce the preponderance of the posts that the mass members read. They are most likely to find and start recing the posts that the mass market members want to read. You've stolen our ability to slap posters on the back when we feel the need. You've stolen our ability to hug at will. You've made our online home more severe and sterile. You've made our on line home more black and white, as has been pointed out, limited recs steal the shades of gray between great and worhtless posts. In my home, we say we love you to each other all the time. In my home, we hug and kiss a lot. It's a good thing, and has never shown the slightest sign of becoming irrelevant because of love inflation.
I've been an active, hands on investor for almost 24 years. I have supported my family exclusively off of the portfolio for the past 9 years. I started my first business when I was 24, and have been self employed ever since. I can handle the decision process that goes into whether I hit the rec button or not. Those that have made the decision to pay to stay are quite capable as well. Gimme my recs back. Give everybody their recs back.
-WRG


I concur!

MacMurph
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No. of Recommendations: 0
There will be a handful of folks who run around soliciting recs on empty stock boards, and they'll grab the little Stanley Cups until they get bored. You'll have re-cluttered the Best Of board until it loses functionality.

ROFL on the Stanley Cup reference! That was funny!

I would have rec'ced your post, but...

Baaaaaaaaaahhhhh!
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Most of us do. That's why we can often contribute more than inane questions like this.



I concur!

Telly
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Gimme my recs back. Give everybody their recs back.


I'll trade recs for the "Who has me p-boxed" function back.

6
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No. of Recommendations: 46
What many people clearly don't like is the limiting of the opportunity to hit the Rec button. Judging from early returns (first 12 hours), this is a mistake.


David,

The phrase that immediately comes to mind after reading this statement, is "No s**t, Sherlock."

Have you been reading this board the past 2 weeks? Has anyone? I swear I've seen TMFs posting, but apparently they've all missed the plethora of threads warning that there would be an uproar when rec limits when in place. If no one at TMF saw this coming, I'm absolutely astounded.

Soft rec limits are a bad idea, too. Once again, you punish the people who use your site the most. Someone who spends the most time on your boards is going to rec the most content, for better or for worse. You'll get people afraid to rec in the mornings because they don't know what will come in the afternoon. People want to use their recs, but now, they'll ration them.

So, in the spirit of not criticizing without offering a solution, I offer this: If you really want to have community members help you identify the best content for Fool articles and post-of-the-day consideration, then have a "report this good post" feature similar to the "problem post" feature. People can still use their recs to share the love, as you put it, but now you are still getting feedback on the best posts of the day.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Imposing rec limits is a solution to a problem that no one knows actually exists. Once the paid boards come into place, the regular posting levels drop, and the dopples are dead, you'll have a whole new rec pattern.

This whole concept is reminiscent of Ned Flanders' rant against Lisa Simpson, when he called her "Springfield's answer to a question no one asked." This is Fooldom's solution to a problem that may not even exist.

--WP
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Hey Pup, I just used my last rec of the day on your post.

Hey TMF, big time fcuk up on this one. Can I get my money back?

6
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No. of Recommendations: 1
WonderPup et al.,

I completely appreciate your viewpoint, and particularly appreciate those like Albaby's which provide constructive suggestions. Call us complete idiots, if you like, trying to "fix" something that didn't need fixing, but I can at least say that our motivation was and is to improve customer experience on the boards. There is sometimes a gap -- sometimes a large gap -- between motivation and result in life and in business, and we're aware of that as any other. I personally think the recs-to-post charm is a nice addition, but if community sentiment continues along what I've been reading we'll probably make changes.

David G.
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No. of Recommendations: 0
WorldRecordGuy added to your Favorite Fools list.


David,

Two sides of the same community. One is larger, and demands that you cull "frivolous" recing. The other, smaller, is responsible for the majority of your freely contributed content. Resonpsible for helping the customers you bring, and would love to keep. Resonpsible for keeping them here, bound to your online community for the friendship and experience they offer to others for nothing in return. Active both here on the boards, and off board, with the posters that populate TMF.

What do the "mass" membership have in common? From what you've said, a limited amount of time to hit the site and read what they feel are important and on-topic posts that will help them make financial decisions.

What do the heavy user membership have in common? One he'll of a sense of community, regardless of which area of TMF they may populate. They are most likely to produce the preponderance of the posts that the mass members read. They are most likely to find and start recing the posts that the mass market members want to read. You've stolen our ability to slap posters on the back when we feel the need. You've stolen our ability to hug at will. You've made our online home more severe and sterile. You've made our on line home more black and white, as has been pointed out, limited recs steal the shades of gray between great and worhtless posts. In my home, we say we love you to each other all the time. In my home, we hug and kiss a lot. It's a good thing, and has never shown the slightest sign of becoming irrelevant because of love inflation.

I've been an active, hands on investor for almost 24 years. I have supported my family exclusively off of the portfolio for the past 9 years. I started my first business when I was 24, and have been self employed ever since. I can handle the decision process that goes into whether I hit the rec button or not. Those that have made the decision to pay to stay are quite capable as well. Gimme my recs back. Give everybody their recs back.

-WRG
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No. of Recommendations: 1
<Hey Pup, I just used my last rec of the day on your post.

Hey TMF, big time fcuk up on this one>

amen

i feel like an Olympic skating judge who has to leave some room in his scores to allow for later performances.

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No. of Recommendations: 1
If this is not deemed an improvement, we'll scotch it!

It is not an improvement, and I wish you'd scotch it!

I didn't mind so much when my portfolios got messed up. I can manage with that.

I'm not crazy about the popularity contests of the new crown and trophy icons, but I can live with them.

But limited recs? That stinks! I don't dole out my approval so stingily in real life, and I don't see why I should do so here.

Some days I don't read at all. Some days I read and don't rec much, if at all. But some days I see fifty message that are all equally rec-worthy, and I really don't see why I should be forced to choose only twelve, or fifteen, or some random number of posts that I may rec during a specified 24-hour period.

Besides, I don't read every message on every board I follow. (Sorry, guys, but it's true!) I choose messages based largely on the number of recs they get. The longer I've been away from the board in question, the high the number of recs has to be for a post to get my attention. I found that the former rec policy worked great for this.

Joni Mitchell was right. "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got 'til it's gone?" Okay, the Fool wasn't paradise, and it isn't a parking lot now, but dang! What's that bit of asphalt doing here?

phantomdiver
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Great post, WRG... I rec'ced it!


CaveGirl
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This is Fooldom's solution to a problem that may not even exist.


I'd like to rec this post, but ....
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David:

Are you again insulting everyone's intelligence, or are you simply dense??

"I personally think the recs-to-post charm is a nice addition, but if community sentiment continues along what I've been reading we'll probably make changes."

Big hint for ya: The charm is not the problem.


Mort - Glad to straighten things up for you, but my invoice will be in the mail...
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Personally I think the whole rec "controversy" is very silly. I did not know we were writing posts just to get recs. Are people that vain they need that kind of positive reinforcement(oh I can hear the flames now)? If someone does not want to be a member because they can not get their 60 or 70 recs on some boards, so be it. I thought people came to the Fool to get good information, share interesting ideas, learn a little about investing, and have some fun. Silly me.

Sorry, Charlie, I gotta disagree.

I don't write posts just to get recs. I read posts that have been heavily recced or that are in a thread I'm already following. I don't have unlimited time, and the recs help me sort out what I want to read.

If I never get another rec, I guess that's all right. But if I read thirteen fabulous posts in a day and I can rec only twelve of them, that stinks.

phantomdiver
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No. of Recommendations: 2
Can I get my money back?

Absolutely. We're sorry to think that anyone would want to cancel as a result of intended improvements, especially since our motivation was and remains to work hard together improving our service. Not only that, but as we've said repeatedly we will retract any changes should they not be deemed useful. Fooldom is a work in progress, OK? Plus, the age of working cooperatively with a new paid membership is about 48 hours away -- as we wrote yesterday, one of the first things we'll do come February 14th is work together a community list of improvements.

If we screwed up, we'll make good on our previously stated offer (a number of times) to work hard and quickly to improve your experience. Having just checked, I see that a handful of people have canceled on us. We'll look hard at the reasons why, as we hate the thought of losing even one customer.

David G.
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No. of Recommendations: 0
But they allow us to do so without taking up more board space to simply say "Good Job" or "I concur".


yeah

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We'll look hard at the reasons why, as we hate the thought of losing even one customer.

---

But not as much as the thought of having to U-turn within 24 hours on a poorly thought-out decision, huh? If you're listening to your customers, the sheer volume of posts on the single topic of rec limitations should give you an idea of when swift action is needed...

noots
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No. of Recommendations: 0
"Having just checked, I see that a handful of people have canceled on us. We'll look hard at the reasons why, as we hate the thought of losing even one customer.

If you truly have to "look hard", you guys are even more clusless than I thought....
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Why are you taking away my ability to publicly thank, chastise or giggle with this nonsensical rec limit. Traffic of the me too, I agree and I concur will definitely be on the upswing as it already is on the LBYM board.



What she said!
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No. of Recommendations: 1
We'll look hard at the reasons why, as we hate the thought of losing even one customer.


just read the posts on this board from your customers who complain

MacMurph
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No. of Recommendations: 1
The phrase that immediately comes to mind after reading this statement, is "No s**t, Sherlock."

Have you been reading this board the past 2 weeks? Has anyone? I swear I've seen TMFs posting, but apparently they've all missed the plethora of threads warning that there would be an uproar when rec limits when in place. If no one at TMF saw this coming, I'm absolutely astounded.

Well said!

So, in the spirit of not criticizing without offering a solution, I offer this: If you really want to have community members help you identify the best content for Fool articles and post-of-the-day consideration, then have a "report this good post" feature similar to the "problem post" feature. People can still use their recs to share the love, as you put it, but now you are still getting feedback on the best posts of the day.

That'd be handy.

This whole concept is reminiscent of Ned Flanders' rant against Lisa Simpson, when he called her "Springfield's answer to a question no one asked." This is Fooldom's solution to a problem that may not even exist.

Too bad nedludd isn't posting much anymore. I'd like to see what he has to say about this rec-rationing crap (before his post gets yanked)...

IHRYPB.....



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No. of Recommendations: 0
In my opinion, increasingly devalued recommendations is a bad idea. As many people have already explained, you might come across the best post of the day long after you had already offered recs to other lesser posts.

I do think that recommendations are one of several important features that differentiate the Fool boards from more primative forums like newsgroups. Most people want to maximize the value of the time they spend online, so having a mechanism to push the cream to the top of the vat is a key selling point of any bulletin board software.

So, with recommendations being a kind of currency, I can appreciate that the Fool would want to find some way to keep that currency's value high. Recommendation inflation tends to defeat the ultimate value of having the feature in the first place.

Even so, David, I'm puzzled that you are implementing this change right before the boards about to be "taken private," so to speak. It seems to me that if you restrict the Recommend It feature to paying members, then wait and see after the boards go private to evaluate how this affects recommendation inflation.

Thinking out about the problem out loud, one example of a solution to improve the value of the feature would be to possibly combine the Fools I Love feature with recommendations, and somehow offer a personalized list of "Posts you would like," where posts recommended by Fools you love are ranked higher. I'm sure there are other schemes that could work better than arbitrarily devaluaing a recommendation based simply on whether it was your first or your 30th of the day.
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No. of Recommendations: 4
David said:

Absolutely. We're sorry to think that anyone would want to cancel as a result of intended improvements, especially since our motivation was and remains to work hard together improving our service.

then said:

If we screwed up, we'll make good on our previously stated offer (a number of times) to work hard and quickly to improve your experience. Having just checked, I see that a handful of people have canceled on us. We'll look hard at the reasons why, as we hate the thought of losing even one customer.

I know you have to measure your words, and this is a sticky situation, so I won't make fun of the whole "think hard" thing.

But let me give you a parallel.

My favorite car, is the Miata. I love what Mazda has done. Now, one small issue with the miata is that it's not the roomiest of cars. This is not really an issue with owners... if it were they wouldn't have bought one... but it's something owners wouldn't mind some improvement in (personally I don't care, but I know owners who would like the car to be 2-3 inches wider).

Now the fix you guys implemented is akin to Mazda saying "Here's a new feature that gives you lots of room! We've removed the passenger seat and replaced it with extra storage space, and a soft cushy armrest.

Quite the upgrade!

Alessandro

P.S. Honestly what I'm amazed about is that you haven't come back to this board (and the front page) and announced at what time the REC LIMIT function will be shut off.
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No. of Recommendations: 0
David, IMO soft recs as you describe them are too complicated. I'm going to tell it like it is: 1) The 12 rec limit is absurdly low. It needs to be at least 30, if not more. And soft recs as you decsribe them, besides being complicated, devalue previous recs that day, which I dislike intensely. Far better that recs you give before the limit count as full recs, then let over-the-limit recs count as 1/10 of a rec. You would still want to conserve recs in order to give either your friends or great posts a full rec, but at the same time you wouldn't be totally out of ammo if you inadvertently ran out of full recs.
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No. of Recommendations: 1
As one of those who would dearly love to have recs mean more, and therefore, limit the amount of time I spend sifting wheat from chaff in the 'Best Of' list, I have to agree with albaby1. I don't know that changing the system will result in better overall recs (or is it 'reccage' -- nahh, sounds like 'wreckage'), no matter how the system is constructed. I hope that the GMS/GMR gaming will die down a bit, but I don't know that adding new charms will affect what individual Fools decide to do. If anything, taking away charms might be the way to go. I do respect TMF's desire to change things up a bit. They're simply trying to do what's best for us. After all, if they didn't change, some Fools would gripe about that. Just goes to show that you can't please all of the Fools all of the time...

Dean
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No. of Recommendations: 2
Well, money doesn't grow on trees and neither should recs! I like the limit and have no problem with it. But then again, I don't rec every post I read. I'm pretty stingy with my recs, I guess, since I only rec posts with something of quality to say.

Look at it this way, if you have to think about rec'ing a post, then it isn't worth the rec. I say good ridance to the rec whores! ;-)

Nothing to analyze here!
TAfool
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No. of Recommendations: 0
I say good ridance to the rec whores!

I disconcur. I won't give any reasons other than to say I looked at the graph and it's a classic coffee cup.

PS
<might be a rec whore>
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No. of Recommendations: 2
David I for one appreciate your flexibility. Although I don't see why you havn't considered a system that many other sites use which allow you to rate a posting. Such as instead of a rec button you have the opportunity to rate the post. Something like this:

To rate this post, click here *

How helpful do you find this post:

Very helpful
helpful
somewhat helpful
not helpful at all

And it would be very easy to tabulate how many have rated a post very helpful, somewhat helpful, and so on.

And this wouldn't make our "recs" less valuable with each subsequent one.

Everyone should have the ability to rate every post, whether they read 2 or 200 or 2000 posts, daily.

Then your feature could be called the "most helpful" feature.

"This post has been rated by: 171 members. 130 Very Helpful. 25 Helpful. 16 Not Helpful.

Wow. Now that would enhance the board and should make veryone including management happy and it's all possible with existing software.

Paul T.
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No. of Recommendations: 3
David, you had BETTER make changes. As I read the boards today, it is apparent to me that you have not weeks, but at most a few days and maybe only hours, to fix this problem. I'm in for 3 years myself and will stay, but quite a number of regular posters have threatened to cancel memberships over this. You had better smooth this over, and you better do it TODAY, or you are liable to have cancellations tomorrow if you haven't had them already. Kill or raise the rec limit TODAY.
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Then your feature could be called the "most helpful" feature.

"This post has been rated by: 171 members. 130 Very Helpful. 25 Helpful. 16 Not Helpful.

Wow. Now that would enhance the board and should make veryone including management happy and it's all possible with existing software.

Paul T.

--------------------

This requires a lot of thought on the poster's parts... I would think that quite of few posters don't have an attention span that reaches beyond a click of a mouse button, let alone having to do a full scale evaluation...


CaveGirl
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Look at it this way, if you have to think about rec'ing a post, then it isn't worth the rec. I say good ridance to the rec whores! ;-)

I kind of agree, but disagree here TAfool. A good post is a thought provoking post and one which sometimes challenges mindsets. Quite often, on first read I get mad and fire off a contrarian reply but stop short of hitting the send button. Then I try to rethink my paradigms and often see things that the author was saying, that maybe I should appreciate a little more, so I'll go ahead and rec it.

Other times, I may read a post all the way through and agree, agree, agree! I may know early on that I want to rec it but then may come to one sentence or even one word that blows it, such as the author winds up calling someone a name or using a very negative adjective to describe another's content, and that's it. It loses all it's quality in that one word so I leave without recommending it!

Paul T.
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Then your feature could be called the "most helpful" feature.

"This post has been rated by: 171 members. 130 Very Helpful. 25 Helpful. 16 Not Helpful.

Wow. Now that would enhance the board and should make veryone including management happy and it's all possible with existing software.

Paul T.

--------------------

This requires a lot of thought on the poster's parts... I would think that quite of few posters don't have an attention span that reaches beyond a click of a mouse button, let alone having to do a full scale evaluation...


CaveGirl

------------

And giving recs doesn't?

No wonder recs are mostly useless.

Telly
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No. of Recommendations: 0
David, well said, and you got my last rec.

I think RJMason's "soft rec" idea is brilliant, and would probably make a lot of people happy. At the risk of beating a dead horse, however, I want to restate that I think that any solution, soft or hard, should be scaled according to the number of posts a person has read. That is, I should be able to rec a certain percentage of the posts I read, suggesting that I feel that they are the top X% of the posts in Fooldom.

I'm curious what you think of such an idea.

-Terry
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Such as instead of a rec button you have the opportunity to rate the post.

What a great idea! I'd rec the post but..........

Agent
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Terry,

I personally agree with your idea, that recs should be doled out according roughly to the percentage of posts you're reading. Starts out at a certain number and ascends as you're reading more posts (again, this under the context of the soft rec approach, where anyone can rec).

Thanks. Also, thanks to others for some other good suggestions -- most of the ideas we're talking about were first posited here, and have been chewed over in past and in present. This is the first board I read every day.

Fool on,

David
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....I see that a handful of people have canceled on us. We'll look hard at the reasons why, as we hate the thought of losing even one customer.

David,
Please add one more to the count of people that have canceled. I was going to but have now decided against it.

My reasons are twofold. Firsty I do not like or approve of the changes that have been implemented. Secondly, and more importantly to me, I feel that I could no longer trust TMF. Even if you completely U turn and remove these changes, this fact remains. I have much sympathy for all those who have signed up over the last week, and then have the terms and conditions changed so dramatically. The timing is appalling, and in my opinion an insult to all those who have committed their money to you.

Lo Sciocco
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No. of Recommendations: 0
I personally agree with your idea, that recs should be doled out according roughly to the percentage of posts you're reading. Starts out at a certain number and ascends as you're reading more posts (again, this under the context of the soft rec approach, where anyone can rec).

--------------------

Is there actually a way to monitor this? I'm assuming cookies and such just as if you were rec'cing... you are unable to rec a post twice...


CaveGirl
<reads too darn many posts>
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Hi LoSciocco,

I have much sympathy for all those who have signed up over the last week, and then have the terms and conditions changed so dramatically.
I would say that that was a rather unfair criticism. To quote from the FAQ, which was posted when the announcement was made: http://www.fool.com/landing/pb/pb_land_a.htm?source=istfoclnk100101
Limit on Recommendations
In order to make the rec-to-post ratio mean anything, we decided to limit the number of recommendations someone can make in any given calendar day. This will hopefully prevent rec inflation on posts and make the rec-to-post ratio more meaningful as a tool to find great content (or at least "popular" content). How many recs can you make each day? We're not specifying, because it will change often based on activity.

Now, I agree that 12 recs a day is too low, but you can hardly say that they did not inform us that recs would be limited before people signed up.

Lost (trying to be fair to both sides)
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Scotch it!!!!!!!!!!!!

P59
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Hi LoSciocco,

I have much sympathy for all those who have signed up over the last week, and then have the terms and conditions changed so dramatically.
I would say that that was a rather unfair criticism. To quote from the FAQ, which was posted when the announcement was made: http://www.fool.com/landing/pb/pb_land_a.htm?source=istfoclnk100101
Limit on Recommendations
In order to make the rec-to-post ratio mean anything, we decided to limit the number of recommendations someone can make in any given calendar day. This will hopefully prevent rec inflation on posts and make the rec-to-post ratio more meaningful as a tool to find great content (or at least "popular" content). How many recs can you make each day? We're not specifying, because it will change often based on activity.
Now, I agree that 12 recs a day is too low, but you can hardly say that they did not inform us that recs would be limited before people signed up.

Lost (trying to be fair to both sides)


The bit I've bolded appears to be untrue, since there is a rec limit of 12 on fool.co.uk too, yet the two sites have very different amounts of activity.

codey
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I personally think the recs-to-post charm is a nice addition, but if community sentiment continues along what I've been reading we'll probably make changes.


I love the recs-to-post charm. I hate the rec limit. Also, if I go to the recs charm list and click on "most recommended messages", the header reads "Last 10 messages". Proofreaders R slackin.

6
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Personally I think the whole rec "controversy" is very silly. I did not know we were writing posts just to get recs. Are people that vain they need that kind of positive reinforcement(oh I can hear the flames now)? If someone does not want to be a member because they can not get their 60 or 70 recs on some boards, so be it. I thought people came to the Fool to get good information, share interesting ideas, learn a little about investing, and have some fun. Silly me.

Sorry, Charlie, I gotta disagree.

I don't write posts just to get recs. I read posts that have been heavily recced or that are in a thread I'm already following. I don't have unlimited time, and the recs help me sort out what I want to read.

If I never get another rec, I guess that's all right. But if I read thirteen fabulous posts in a day and I can rec only twelve of them, that stinks.

phantomdiver


I absolutely agree.
Emma
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Hi codetyke,

I can't see any bold there ;-)

However, I'm assuming you made the part about activity in bold. I would be interested to know where you got the data on the activity of individual posters when it comes to giving recs. My understanding is that the US figure was based upon a multiple of the average daily reccing rate of Fools who do give recs. This may well have included the UK recs in the calculation, in which case it might be perfectly true? Even if it didn't, mysuspicion is that the UK site is more likely to average a lower rec rate than the US, giving an extra benefit to UK Fools.

Just a thought,

Lost
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I completely appreciate your viewpoint, and particularly appreciate those like Albaby's which provide constructive suggestions.

David G.


http://fireboards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=16699375

IF
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To review, here's the concept. Everyone gets as many recs as they like every day. The value of your first 20 recs (say) is 1.0, and for every additional rec you make beyond
that on a given day, it revalues your recs proportionately (rec #21 makes them worth slightly less, and so forth).


Dave, forgive me if someone has already asked this, as this board is moving at lightspeed today, but what does that mean? For example, if I look at a post that has been recced by 24 people, and the 23rd person has rec'd 22 times that day, and the 24th person has rec'd 122 times that day, am I going to see some weird notation on the top like : Recs: 22.8751 ?

Or maybe some sort of "score"? Or maybe 2 recs categories? Just curious how the mechanics of that system might work.

Once again, if this has already been asked and answered, someone please point me to that post...


regards,
Gabe

p.s. Do NOT waste a precious rec on this post!

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No. of Recommendations: 1
What many people clearly don't like is the limiting of the opportunity to hit the Rec button. Judging from early returns (first 12 hours), this is a mistake. We don't use 12 hours to judge anything, but we will closely follow community discussion and thought on this decision over the very short term. We have already let you know repeatedly that we're open to change as the community wishes (and to tell you the truth I wish a few more people would recognize this, and maybe cut Bogey some slack). If this is not deemed an improvement, we'll scotch it! As stated earlier, we already believe that the soft rec concept suggested by RJMason and others several days ago will solve most of these problems.

Perhaps you should do some hard thinking about why it that even though you tell the community 'we're open to change as the community wishes ' and no-one believes you.

Either you are not open to change, but you think you are; or you have a communication problem because you are giving the community the impression that you are not open to our input.

-mapletree
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I can't see any bold there ;-)

However, I'm assuming you made the part about activity in bold. I would be interested to know where you got the data on the activity of individual posters when it comes to giving recs. My understanding is that the US figure was based upon a multiple of the average daily reccing rate of Fools who do give recs. This may well have included the UK recs in the calculation, in which case it might be perfectly true? Even if it didn't, mysuspicion is that the UK site is more likely to average a lower rec rate than the US, giving an extra benefit to UK Fools.

Just a thought,

Lost


You made me look, but I did bold a bit :-)

I'm not sure what point you're making I never said I had any data. My point was that the number of recs are related to activity (I assume this means number of posts), the US site is far more active than the UK one, so the US limit should be higher than the UK limit, no?

codey
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Now, I agree that 12 recs a day is too low, but you can hardly say that they did not inform us that recs would be limited before people signed up.

Not only that, but we early on said and then have repeated that we would adjust the limits as is warranted or requested. The reason we didn't put a number on it in the FAQ is that we don't have any hard and fast number. Many people seem to think 12 isn't enough -- if this describes you, I can understand your argument. As a heavy user of the boards, I feel the same way though I'm not as emotional as some of the people I'm reading here, and actually enjoy the minor challenge of selecting my recs and knowing that they count more (by the way, soft recs would take away this challenge, which for many appears to be not a challenge but an annoyance so for them that would be a good thing). We may well raise the limit -- we're learning, and we're doing it in real-time, which is part of the way things have always worked when you're running a business doing things no one has done before, and being willing to try and occasionally fail, knowing that trying leads to more success than not trying.

Thanks for the continuing constructive criticism and feedback.

David
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You have no recommendations left for today.
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No. of Recommendations: 1
As for scaling the weight of the recs, what is the very best post of the day happens after you have given out 45 recs that day. Is that post worth more or less because of the time of day you posted it???
You guys are really messing up a good thing here.


I agree, I agree, I agree, I agree, I agree. I couldn't rec this post because I have no more for the day. (sheesh.)

*********************

To review, here's the concept. Everyone gets as many recs as they like every day. The value of your first 20 recs (say) is 1.0, and for every additional rec you make beyond that on a given day, it revalues your recs proportionately (rec #21 makes them worth slightly less, and so forth). This superior (to my thinking) approach enables anyone to hit the rec button anytime (the biggest member complaint) and yet still keeps the focus on recs rewarding quality effort. However, you'd still get to see the number of times that people hit the rec button to show agreement with your post.

This is ridiculous. As the poster I quoted above said, all this does is devalue the posts written later in the day, no matter how good they are. As I said in a previous post, once people are paid members, and have no 'dopples' to rec things more than once, what difference does it make if the board has a "one person, one vote" policy for every post? The recs won't be inflated by "psudo" username logons, and the values of the posts will be a clear representation of how many people feel that the post is worth reading.

Why not change this policy back to what it was, (as well as returning the 'favorites & replies' and "replies to posts" page interfaces to the way they were) and concentrate on something important like fixing the problem with the portfolio numbers?

There's a big difference between "enhancement" and "change." You asked people to buy your service based on what they know and what they've been happy with. Don't take their money and then not deliver what you sold. You want to fix what's broken -- great. But all you're doing is complicating things, and it's obvious people are unhappy about it. Say you made a mistake, fix the damn thing and then let's move on.

Caat
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TMFDavidG checks in with the latest spin on rec limitations:

"We don't use 12 hours to judge anything, but we will closely follow community discussion and thought on this decision over the very short term. We have already let you know repeatedly that we're open to change as the community wishes..."

Bullshit.

The notion of limiting the number of available recs was disclosed when the fools introduced the subscription model. It was roundly annd thoroughly condemed. It garnered NO support in the community that you profess to hold so dear, and significant opposition. But it was implemented anyway. It seems that the mission of this website is not so much "Learning Together" as "You - Learning from Us"

Nice work, you chowderheads,

Dean

PS - I don't blame Bogey: I know he is working for you
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We may well raise the limit

If it was raised to 25, they would want more.
If it was raised to 50, they would want more.
If it was raised to 100, they would want more.
If it was raised to 250, they would want more.
If it was raised to 500, they would want more.
If it was raised to 1,000, they would want more.
If it was raised to 2,500, they would want more.
If it was raised to 5,000, they would want more.
If it was raised to 10,000, they would want more.
If it was raised to 25,000, they would want more.
If it was raised to 50,000, they would want more.
If it was raised to 100,000, they would want more.
If it was raised to 500,000, they would want more.
If it was raised to 1,000,000, they would want more.
If it was raised to 5,000,000, they would want more.
If it was raised to 10,000,000, they would want more.
If it was raised to 50,000,000, they would want more.
If it was raised to 100,000,000, they would want more.
If it was raised to 500,000,000, they would want more.
If it was raised to 1,000,000,000, they would want more.
If it was raised to 10,000,000,000, they would want more.
If it was raised to 100,000,000,000, they would want more.
If it was raised to 1,000,000,000,000, they would want more.
If it was raised to 10,000,000,000,000, they would want more.

Well, you get the picture.

Telly
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No. of Recommendations: 1
As a heavy user of the boards, I feel the same way though I'm not as emotional as some of the people I'm reading here, and actually enjoy the minor challenge of selecting my recs and knowing that they count more (by the way, soft recs would take away this challenge, which for many appears to be not a challenge but an annoyance so for them that would be a good thing).

David I am tired of the insulting remarks you and your staff make. Why shouldn't we come and play for the sake of plain fun. Yes, you said rec's would be limited, but 12. And to pay for the limitation is laughable.
Emma
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Albaby,

I've used most of my beggar's pittance of recs on your posts today.

Glad you're sticking around after 2/14.

Bonhoeffer
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The notion of limiting the number of available recs was disclosed when the fools introduced the subscription model. It was roundly annd thoroughly condemed. It garnered NO support in the community that you profess to hold so dear, and significant opposition. But it was implemented anyway.

See, no matter how much I agree with this statement, I can't rec it because "I've reached my limit."

Maybe that's why they implemented it...so they don't have to deal with posts getting 300+ recs that are stating comments contrary to what they want to do.

Caat
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Those that have made the decision to pay to stay are quite capable as well. Gimme my recs back. Give everybody their recs back.

-WRG


I gave you my very last rec WRG. Well said.

Hopefully someone will listen.
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To clarify the "soft rec" idea, it works like this.

Let's say the rec count limit is 20.

If you make 20 recs or less in a day, each is worth 1.00 rec.

If you make more recs, all of your recs that day are devalued. For example, if I make 25 recs in a day, all 25 of those recs have a "weight" of 0.80 (since 20/25=0.80).

-Terry
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No. of Recommendations: 1
TMFDavidG telss us that:
"This [Improve the fool] is the first board I read every day."

So - is the problem in reading comprehension, or in willingness to address customer concerns?

Dean
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No. of Recommendations: 0
I personally agree with your idea, that recs should be doled out according roughly to the percentage of posts you're reading. Starts out at a certain number and ascends as you're reading more posts (again, this under the context of the soft rec approach, where anyone can rec).

Thanks. Also, thanks to others for some other good suggestions -- most of the ideas we're talking about were first posited here, and have been chewed over in past and in present. This is the first board I read every day.


David,

I think a plan like this could be useful to the Fool as well. If, I see that I'm running low on recs, I might be inclined to go read some posts on boards I wouldn't ordinarily read. For many this might be an opportunity to check out new boards, and maybe discover corners of TMF that they didn't know existed.

Of course, there is potential for abuse, but that's true of any system (including the present one).

Thanks for the feedback,

-Terry
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No. of Recommendations: 0
My reasons are twofold. Firsty I do not like or approve of the changes that have been implemented. Secondly, and more importantly to me, I feel that I could no longer trust TMF. Even if you completely U turn and remove these changes, this fact remains. I have much sympathy for all those who have signed up over the last week, and then have the terms and conditions changed so dramatically. The timing is appalling, and in my opinion an insult to all those who have committed their money to you.

Lo Sciocco,

These changes should not have come as a surprise. They have been listed on the "what's new" page of the Charter Member signup section:

http://www.fool.com/landing/pb/pb_land_a.htm?source=ibnfoclnk100123.htm

-Terry

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I personally agree with your idea, that recs should be doled out according roughly to the percentage of posts you're reading. Starts out at a certain number and ascends as you're reading more posts (again, this under the context of the soft rec approach, where anyone can rec).

--------------------

Is there actually a way to monitor this? I'm assuming cookies and such just as if you were rec'cing... you are unable to rec a post twice..


It can't say for sure that it's easy, but it shouldn't be especially difficult. Since you have to be logged in to read or post, they should know which posts you are reading. They'd mainly have to implement a counter and link it to the rec limit calculation somehow.

-Terry
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being able to rec posts is one for of entertainment and recreation I really value. It's the nicest little pat on the back you can give someone who's tried to be helpful or entertaining, in my opinion.

And that, Seattle, is why you got my last rec:


Thank you for recommending this post to our Best of feature.
You will not be able to recommend any more posts today.


-Neglectarino
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No. of Recommendations: 0
It garnered NO support in the community that you profess to hold so dear, and significant opposition.

That's not true.

I'm 100% in favor of limiting recs; I just feel that the limit should be based on posts read, rather than a fixed number per day. I've gone on record as believing such in the past.

-Terry
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You have no recommendations left for today. (explain this)

c

non identical post 218

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These changes should not have come as a surprise. They have been listed on the "what's new" page of the Charter Member signup section:

Terry,
Are you implying that anyone who signed up as a Charter Member is perfectly happy with the new changes just because they went through the What's New page????

Looking at some posts on this board I kind of doubt that.

And if somebody isn't yet a Charter Member why should they have read it anyway? Such pages are not compulsory reading.



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No. of Recommendations: 1
If you really want to have community members help you identify the best content for Fool articles and post-of-the-day consideration, then have a "report this good post" feature similar to the "problem post" feature. People can still use their recs to share the love, as you put it, but now you are still getting feedback on the best posts of the day.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Imposing rec limits is a solution to a problem that no one knows actually exists. Once the paid boards come into place, the regular posting levels drop, and the dopples are dead, you'll have a whole new rec pattern.


Awesome suggestion!

Shadowfen
sigh. My kingdom for a rec...
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Are you implying that anyone who signed up as a Charter Member is perfectly happy with the new changes just because they went through the What's New page????

No, in fact I'm not happy with the change myself. What I am saying, though, is that they shouldn't claim they were blindsided. Several people have posted that TMF never said rec limits were coming, and that simply isn't the case.

-Terry
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    Posts. Recs. Loves. Icons.
    Social enginering all.
    New Fool Ratios.

 
 
 
 
 
 


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This requires a lot of thought on the poster's parts... I would think that quite of few posters don't have an attention span that reaches beyond a click of a mouse button, let alone having to do a full scale evaluation...


CaveGirl


Nonsense. It is already in use by other boards. Boards that actually pay the author. You are arguing for less options, as a user. If you want to be confined to giving a post your full and complete blessing, or not, that's up to you. But usually, with most people, how they feel about each post involves more than just yea or nay.

Paul T.

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I personally agree with your idea, that recs should be doled out according roughly to the percentage of posts you're reading. Starts out at a certain number and ascends as you're reading more posts

Oy vay. First they'll dictate how many posts we have to open to get ourselves the use of another rec, and then charge us for each click used towards that end.

First they hook ya, then they reel ya in.

If I read a post that I like, I'm not about to open 20 more for no good reason just to buy myself another rec-bullet. And if I do open that 20, I'll probably care-less about the one great post that I read an hour ago, which prompted me to read 20, possibly "not as good" posts.

The rec arsenal isnt' a reward for the GIVER. It's a reward for the RECIEVER. You shouldn't have to earn the right to express satisfaction with someone elses work!

Paul T.
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No. of Recommendations: 0
The rec arsenal isnt' a reward for the GIVER. It's a reward for the RECIEVER. You shouldn't have to earn the right to express satisfaction with someone elses work!,/i>

I agree, but I'm out of recs...

Amphian
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No, in fact I'm not happy with the change myself.

Wow! Stepping out on a limb there, aren't we, ClubJuggle?
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No. of Recommendations: 3
if community sentiment continues along what I've been reading we'll probably make changes

As any observant reader can tell, I have not yet made the decision to pay the fee to become a member of the discussion boards. I have been an member of these boards for over 3 years. Though at times I have posted more frequently (I do have over 500 posts, which I also realize is paltry in comparison to some), at times like recent ones, my posting has been less frequent because of the demands of my real job (I am a minister of two smaller churches). I have learned much from the discussions I have had on these boards, and think that I have given back in fair measure (once upon a time, a post of mine was chosen Post of the Day; I used to have a decent recs/post ratio -- a tad over 2, until I assited with the biotech investing seminar, where I ended up posting quite a bit without accumulating many recs; and as I said, I was a paid assistant in the biotech investing seminar).

I have found no place that provides anything close to the quality conversation I find here. Yet I still hesitate. Why?

Frankly, David, in your comment is the sum of my hesitation. If community sentiment continues as it currently is, you will probably make changes, you wrote. Given all that you have said about your commitment to serving your customers, I expected to read that if community sentiment continued in its present opinion, you would absolutely, definitely, without question, make the change.

Please tell me that you wrote this when tired, or distracted, or whatever, and that the phrase you wrote was an imprecise statement of your absolute commitment to serve your paying customers, and that if sentiment continues in its present opinion, you will make the change.

Doug
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No. of Recommendations: 3
David --

I confess I have not read this entire thread, so please forgive me in the unlikely event I am repeating what someone has already said. ;-)

I have never seen a more amateurish bunch of reasoning coming from a business in my life. Clearly, to find an acceptable solution to this problem you need the services of someone with an advanced degree in statistics and who is at least fluent with the (mathematical) concepts populations, distributions, fairness, and random variables. The juvenile initial attempt (limiting the recs to 12/day) and now this (weighting the recs after 20 in a day less--pu-leeeze!) are revealing quite vividly that this problem and its solution are beyond your group's ken.

It would be interesting to know how this decision got made behind the scenes. Was it:

A) No one on your staff is mathematically sophisticated enough to recognize that this problem required the services of a statistician.
B) Someone said, "Hey, boss, we need a statistician," and the boss said, "No, we can handle this ourselves."
C) Someone on the staff knew but was afraid to say, "Hey, boss, we need a statistician."
D) You consulted a statistician, and this was his/her solution.

I find each of these explanations equally appalling.

After a cursory analysis of the problem, I have concluded you are not going to find a solution that truly accomplishes what you want without these very smart users finding a way to sabotage your solution. I do think, however, you can find a solution that will result in a lot less unhappiness.

Your people excel at designing software and user interfaces. They are not so hot at sophisticated statistical problems. You should stick with what you know.



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I have never seen a more amateurish bunch of reasoning coming from a business in my life. Clearly, to find an acceptable solution to this problem you need the services of someone with an advanced degree in statistics and who is at least fluent with the (mathematical) concepts populations, distributions, fairness, and random variables. The juvenile initial attempt (limiting the recs to 12/day) and now this (weighting the recs after 20 in a day less--pu-leeeze!) are revealing quite vividly that this problem and its solution are beyond your group's ken.
.
.
.
Your people excel at designing software and user interfaces. They are not so hot at sophisticated statistical problems. You should stick with what you know.


Great Post, fluently written and I CANNOT believe I used my last rec just 2 minutes ago.....

The injustice of it.

Trinity
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Your people excel at designing software and user interfaces. They are not so hot at sophisticated statistical problems. You should stick with what you know.


In general, I think the discussion boards have, until now, reflected a good sense of how to design software--and thus the boards have attracted a lot of people. With this latest decision, I think they have leaped to a bad solution to accomplish their goal of creating a "best of" feature. Of course the market forces will work their Darwinian powers on the Fool as they do on all other business ventures. Only then will we know who was right in this argument.
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I disagree

It's not about getting Rec s (although that's fun )
It's about giving them.

PeppermintPig


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No. of Recommendations: 3
David --

I confess I have not read this entire thread, so please forgive me in the unlikely event I am repeating what someone has already said. ;-)

I have never seen a more amateurish bunch of reasoning coming from a business in my life. Clearly, to find an acceptable solution to this problem you need the services of someone with an advanced degree in statistics and who is at least fluent with the (mathematical) concepts populations, distributions, fairness, and random variables. The juvenile initial attempt (limiting the recs to 12/day) and now this (weighting the recs after 20 in a day less--pu-leeeze!) are revealing quite vividly that this problem and its solution are beyond your group's ken.


Oh gawd, please...I hope everybody reads this post. I wish I had recs, this is one I would rec for sure.

Virtual rec to you!

rosebear
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Oy vay. First they'll dictate how many posts we have to open to get ourselves the use of another rec, and then charge us for each click used towards that end.

First they hook ya, then they reel ya in.

If I read a post that I like, I'm not about to open 20 more for no good reason just to buy myself another rec-bullet. And if I do open that 20, I'll probably care-less about the one great post that I read an hour ago, which prompted me to read 20, possibly "not as good" posts.

The rec arsenal isnt' a reward for the GIVER. It's a reward for the RECIEVER. You shouldn't have to earn the right to express satisfaction with someone elses work!


Paul,

I'll preface my comments by saying that I'm in favor of limited recs. A system of unlimited recs can be, and is, abused, and this abuse is likely to continue even in a paid-access environment. A small group of people who consistently rec each others posts for the purpose of rec-inflation will continue to dominate the "Best of" list. I think that what The Motley Fool is trying to accomplish with rec limits is valid and beneficial, even though their first attempt at accomplishing it was (IMO, quite obviously) misguided.

The intended purpose of a rec is to recognize a post that stands out from the crowd. Whether that post is a point well made, a great joke or parody, or a note that warrants an e-hug for a friend, it's a post that you feel is worthy of recognition.

There's no question that the current system diminishes that recognition. With only 12 recs per day, those of us who read hundreds of posts per day can no longer use recs to encourage new posters, hug friends who are going through troubling times, or recognize a job well done, unless it's a job extrememely well done. Great but not outstanding posts get lost in the noise, and as we've seen today, "me too" posts increase exponentially (granted that was exaggerated today to make a point, but it will continue under the present system regardless). These problems continue regardless of any "hard limit" set. Even in increase to 30 recs is only 2% of the 1,500 posts I'll probably read today. That's making me be extremely selective.

At the other extreme is unlimited recs. With unlimited recs, abuse of the system is an issue. There are small groups of people (I'm not only talking about the "Gimme" movement) who rec each others' posts regardless of quality. This undermines the value of a rec as a reward to the receiver, as the recs are lost beneath the noise. It also dimishes its value as a tool for finding excellent content.

Scaling recs to posts read solves several problems. If, for example, I know that I can only rec x% of the posts I see , I have a much easier time setting a standard than I do knowing I can only rec 30 posts a day, whether I read 30 or 3,000 posts that day. I don't have to worry about "running out" of recs for the day, since I get more as I read. It also solves the problem of people skip a day and lose those recs (but still have the posts to read). If I skip a day, then I'm reading more posts the next day, so I get more recs. A floor could also be put in place for very casual readers (i.e., nobody gets less than 5 recs).

Thoughts?

-Terry
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No, in fact I'm not happy with the change myself.

Wow! Stepping out on a limb there, aren't we, ClubJuggle?


No, just answering the question that was asked of me specifically, which was Are you implying that anyone who signed up as a Charter Member is perfectly happy with the new changes just because they went through the What's New page????

As I've stated, I think rec limits are a good idea.... I just think the implementation needs to be discussed further, which is what we're doing.

-Terry


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Terry: JMHO, but I think rec's should be reserved for posts that, teach you something, are informative.

I acknowledge the potential and actual abuse of recs. Although I wasn't even aware that there was a contingency who make it a point to rec each other's post regardless of content. I acknowledge the need for The Fool to address this issue if they want to be taken seriously with the Best Of feature.

I also acknowledge that limiting the recs should put a damper on this abuse.

One self proliferating problem may be, that since there is a set no. of users per day but often wildly fluctuating numbers of posts, the numbers of posts that deserve a rec and don't get them will also vary wildly from day to day.

Sans a pro rated rec arsenal based on number of posts read, the board's very ambiance and characteristic will change dramatically depending on how many posts there is. Many posts? Recs will be few and far between. Few posts? Every other post recc'd. This is a consequence of rec limitation. The whole use of the rec as a guage, knows no baseline. You change the frequency and value of recs, with numbers of posts.

But introducing new rec power based on posts-read may help curb that, since presumably the more posts made in a board, the more reading and subsequent arsenal one builds up.

A problem lies in that the Fool is trying to get general readership to be responsible for manifesting this Best Of list, while also saying that history shows we can't be trusted with that task. At least not without some additional tools.

I cannot say that the recs-for-reads program wouldn't work, but it doesn't feel novel, or warm, or inviting, or Foolish. It feels clinical, calculated, time consuming, and bothersome. But maybe I'm wrong and it wouldn't be those things.

Perhaps if you have such the problem with a small contingency, then you may be able to set it up so that the same 50 users cannot make the list again for another 7 days. In that way, no matter how the abusers figure out a way to keep reccin'g their selves over and over, the Best Of feature has that firewall built in. In general, it would wind up more accurately finding the "real" Best Of posts. I think that we all know it's not really the most posts with the most recs that make for the best reading anyway. It's the moderately rec'd ones that seem genuinely ingenius and engaging. Those posts would more often make the list, if you didn't let the same users keep dominating it, like they do the rec-to-post ratio now.

Paul T.
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Paul,

Thanks for your reply. As you can probably tell I've been eager to get a discussion on this topic going. There are a few points I'd like to respond to, I'll try not to take anything out of context.

A problem lies in that the Fool is trying to get general readership to be responsible for manifesting this Best Of list, while also saying that history shows we can't be trusted with that task. At least not without some additional tools.

For better or worse, they're right, and I'm as guilty of this as anyone. The recs were originally intended as nominations to the best of list.

Being a community, though, we took the tool that we were given and adapted it to our own needs. We found that the rec also worked well to accomplish many other things, such as a laugh, a nod of agreement, a pat on the back, even a hug across the miles. The rec, though given to us by TMF to accomplish a specific purpose, was adapted by us to accomplish many others as well. That's fine, but those "alternate" purposes have prevented this tool from being used to accomplish its original purpose. I can't blame TMF for wanting to tweak the system, especially when they're so willing to try again after getting it wrong.

I cannot say that the recs-for-reads program wouldn't work, but it doesn't feel novel, or warm, or inviting, or Foolish. It feels clinical, calculated, time consuming, and bothersome. But maybe I'm wrong and it wouldn't be those things.

While maybe not not as warm as the "free love" days we've left behind, I'll respond to this by suggesting that recs-for-reads (I like that name, I hope you don't mind if I continue using it) is elegant, flexible, simple, and very Foolish.

It's elegant because it shouldn't require a lot of coding (compared to other solutions like soft recs). Since we already have to log in, incrementing a counter each time a user reads a post is a trivial matter. From there it just takes a simple calculation to create a rec count. You could even get at it directly by incrementing an "available rec" counter by 0.1 (for example) each time a user reads a post. You can't rec unless you have at least 1 rec available to give.

It's flexible because I can't run out of recs for the day and be forced to wait until tomorrow. If I run out of recs, I can just go read a few posts and come back. Of course, just as the 30-rec limit is set to accomodate about 98% of those who rec, I would hope that TMF would set a recs-per-reads limit at a high enough percentage to accomodate the vast majority of users.

It's simple because, it's easy to understand. It's a lot easier for me to decide, "is this post a ten-percenter?" than it is for me to decide if it's one of the 30 best I'll read all day. Also, if I run out of recs, I know what I have to do to get more (or TMF can tell me at the "explain this" link).

Fianlly, it's very Foolish, because it allows us to encourage each other to spend our time on the very best posts in Fooldom. It's a way to "share the wealth" and Educate, Amuse and Enrich each other in a meaningful way. I think some of that meaning is lost in unlimited recs thanks to the collusive rec inflation that goes on now.

Perhaps if you have such the problem with a small contingency, then you may be able to set it up so that the same 50 users cannot make the list again for another 7 days. In that way, no matter how the abusers figure out a way to keep reccin'g their selves over and over, the Best Of feature has that firewall built in. In general, it would wind up more accurately finding the "real" Best Of posts. I think that we all know it's not really the most posts with the most recs that make for the best reading anyway. It's the moderately rec'd ones that seem genuinely ingenius and engaging. Those posts would more often make the list, if you didn't let the same users keep dominating it, like they do the rec-to-post ratio now.

The problem I have with this is that there are truly exceptional posters who write quality content more frequently than this, and they deserve to get recognized for this. I'd hate to take away recognition from the best of the best posters by doing this. Additionally, I shudder at the thought of coding this.

Additionally, I agree with your thoughts about the moderately recced posts, and I hope recs-for-reads will restore that. Still, the "Best of" list has often helped my find interesting threads that were well worth my time. The top-recced posts are often just one part of an intriguing debate. I have also noticed, however, that rec inflation has made it difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, and I applaud TMF for trying to fix that problem.

Thanks again for your thoughts on the subject. I wish I had a rec to give ya.

-Terry
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The recs were originally intended as nominations to the best of list.

...

That's fine, but those "alternate" purposes have prevented this tool from being used to accomplish its original purpose. I can't blame TMF for wanting to tweak the system, especially when they're so willing to try again after getting it wrong.



How about this then... set up the rec-for-best similar to the problem post code already in place. If the reader wants to recommend a post for "Best Of" consideration, they can press a button and be taken to a form (like the prob post form) which allows them to say why this post should be one of the "Best Of". Have a button on this form for "Submit Best Of" that requires explanatory text in the form and "Rec" which relegates the rec to a "I agree"/"Ya done good!"/"warm fuzzy" non-BestOf rec.

Shadowfen
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Hi ClubJuggle,

My only objection to the read-to-rec idea is that it is still open to abuse. It would be easy, for example, for someone to go to the start of this board, and keep on hitting the . key for a few hours without reading, just to haven the recs to give to their friends. How you would avoid this, I don't know, as I can't think of a reliable way to tell how long a particular post was being read for, since you might have opened the next message with a right click and be reading the first while waiting for the second to open.

Lost
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How about this then... set up the rec-for-best similar to the problem post code already in place. If the reader wants to recommend a post for "Best Of" consideration, they can press a button and be taken to a form (like the prob post form) which allows them to say why this post should be one of the "Best Of". Have a button on this form for "Submit Best Of" that requires explanatory text in the form and "Rec" which relegates the rec to a "I agree"/"Ya done good!"/"warm fuzzy" non-BestOf rec.

That seems to be what everyone wants but there has been no mention of this from any of the TMFers. It really makes me wonder if they actually try to implement our ideas (with the exception of the increase in rec count but that was simply to shut people up).

Agent - still wants RT chat, search time frame greater than 6 months
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It really makes me wonder if they actually try to implement our ideas (with the exception of the increase in rec count but that was simply to shut people up).
~~~
I agree!!!

Seymore... . {-:
<<www.sorrybutIcan'tRECya.pl>>


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How about this then... set up the rec-for-best similar to the problem post code already in place. If the reader wants to recommend a post for "Best Of" consideration, they can press a button and be taken to a form (like the prob post form) which allows them to say why this post should be one of the "Best Of". Have a button on this form for "Submit Best Of" that requires explanatory text in the form and "Rec" which relegates the rec to a "I agree"/"Ya done good!"/"warm fuzzy" non-BestOf rec.

Shadowfen,

I like this thought. I'm wondering, though, whether it'll confuse the user interface too much, especially for new users.

Also, what do you do with all those submissions for "best of"? Do they constitute a rec? Should they be limited? Should I see them when viewing the "Best of" list?

-Terry
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Also, what do you do with all those submissions for "best of"? Do they constitute a rec? Should they be limited? Should I see them when viewing the "Best of" list?



I'd count them as a rec as well. And I'd think that having to write an essay/paragraph whatever justifying why the post is worthy of "Best Of" makes a "Best Of" rec count self-limiting. Wouldn't you think?

Shadowfen
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My only objection to the read-to-rec idea is that it is still open to abuse. It would be easy, for example, for someone to go to the start of this board, and keep on hitting the . key for a few hours without reading, just to haven the recs to give to their friends. How you would avoid this, I don't know, as I can't think of a reliable way to tell how long a particular post was being read for, since you might have opened the next message with a right click and be reading the first while waiting for the second to open.

I agree witht his, however, any system is open to abuse, including the current one, by someone really intent on abusing it. I think this one is a little less prone to abuse than some of the other options.

-Terry
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I wanted to recc this post, but could not. I considered sending a "Fool Alert" because I "did not like" being told I could not recc it. Why should I pay for this bulletin board service again? It is not even the same service I am currently getting free.
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I'd count them as a rec as well. And I'd think that having to write an essay/paragraph whatever justifying why the post is worthy of "Best Of" makes a "Best Of" rec count self-limiting. Wouldn't you think?

It's not too hard to circumvent.

Also, how would you use those essays, and how would you generate the "Best of" list?

-Terry
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It's not too hard to circumvent.

Nothing can be made Fool-proof because Fools are so ingenious. (With apologies to Robert Heinlein.)


Also, how would you use those essays, and how would you generate the "Best of" list?


I would read them, and based on what they say choose whether or not to increment the "Best Of" counter for that message - rather like a moderated maillist works only for Best Of recs instead of actual posts.
You can apply a sanity-type filter on submissions before making the human read them to filter out the most obvious abuses but, technology alone doesn't address the problem since it is always stupider than a devious/ingenious human.

The "Best Of" lists can then be generated off of the "Best Of" rec counters that only the moderator controls.

The problem is that if you can't really trust the recommenders, then you can't trust technology to keep them on the straight and narrow either - you have to have some person involved in the safeguarding process.

Shadowfen

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I would read them, and based on what they say choose whether or not to increment the "Best Of" counter for that message - rather like a moderated maillist works only for Best Of recs instead of actual posts.
You can apply a sanity-type filter on submissions before making the human read them to filter out the most obvious abuses but, technology alone doesn't address the problem since it is always stupider than a devious/ingenious human.

The "Best Of" lists can then be generated off of the "Best Of" rec counters that only the moderator controls.

The problem is that if you can't really trust the recommenders, then you can't trust technology to keep them on the straight and narrow either - you have to have some person involved in the safeguarding process.


Ouch... That to me seems a bit costly and inefficient. I still really believe that a recs-for-reads system would be much simpler. Let me rec what I want, up to a certain percentage of the posts I read, and the system can take care of it from there. A limited percentage would restrict widespread abuse enough that the results would hopefully be meaningful.

-Terry
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David:

Limiting reccs was a harebrained idea. In fact, the recc-to-post ratio is a flawed idea because it will reduce those little community-building posts, the social niceties that don't get reccs but make it all seem like a conversation. It'll be all business around here. Essays and stuff. Long, long posts covering many points. Kind of like this one.

But now that you are committed to the notion that you have to reward good ratios with free memberships and other tokens, you are trapped with this bad idea. Unlimited reccs will actually cost you money.

So you try now to come up with some way to tinker with this bad change, making the system increasingly byzantine, with separate soft reccs and rules that nobody can possibly keep track of. (The little cups and hats and icons are already a bit much, frankly. Very circa-1990 BBS.)

Face it, you are no longer going to be dealing with a bunch of free riding whiners. You will have paying customers. It will no longer be a "pure" community. It will be a retail outlet, and people are already banging on the counter for service.

I have one more day to make up my mind whether to continue here (I certainly won't pay $30 for just one year, so the deadline is real). The current state of poor management is not doing much to convince me that TMF will even be here in two years. But if I do end up signing up tomorrow, and I probably will, The Fool is going to have to do a whole lot better than it has done in recent weeks -- or even since I started coming here in 1997. Free is one thing. Paying is another.

I ran an experiment today, catching up on several days worth of posts, asking some questions not related to the current hoo-ha... Most of the people I respect do seem to be staying on, either because they paid, received gifts or were comped. The quality of the responses, mostly by paying fools, was good. I was not able to recc all the good posts that I saw. I mostly recc'd posts complaining about the new policies. There are so many, but I couldn't recc them all. So in some sense you stifled my ability to dissent.

Still, it was a good day, reminding me what I like about these boards (I haven't had much time lately since terrorists blew up part of my city. I've been busy with job and family.) So that's why I'm actually leaning toward paying, at least for old time's sake. And for complaining rights, I guess. And where else would I go for the fix? Yahoo? So congrats, you do have something worth paying for, here. It's worth about $15 a year, fair enough.

Anyway, I've read enough of your defensive posturing over the years not to expect much of a reply. But here's a *free* tip. Everybody here knows you've got an ego as wide as the sky. But you shouldn't try so hard to out-argue your paying customers. Just listen to them. Or you'll probably see a big revenue drop on Feb. 14, 2004.

Happy VD Eve

Patrick

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I still really believe that a recs-for-reads system would be much simpler. Let me rec what I want, up to a certain percentage of the posts I read, and the system can take care of it from there. A limited percentage would restrict widespread abuse enough that the results would hopefully be meaningful.

-Terry


I haven't been following this particular discussion, in fact I'm trying to get away from the whole deal but your reply to another post of mine got me intrigued. So, respectfully, here's the problem with the system you've just described.

What constitutes "reading" a message? This is the same problem encountered by advertisers trying to ensure that a visual exposure to an online ad actually means a person read the ad. (Actually, that problem also applies to ALL advertisers in ALL media, but let's move on.)

If I were one of those people to whom recs are like gold coins, more precious than the breath of life itself (okay, yes I'm getting sarcastic, I'm up too late)... anyway I could use your system to get more recs just be pretending to read some messages. So I'd get myself a bookmark to some junk board, then click quickly through a hundred posts (or whatever is needed in the ratio) and earn myself a rec.

You're a network administrator, I don't have to tell you how bad an idea it is to give people an incentive to tie up the network that way, taking up bandwidth and processor time for the sole purpose of "earning" a fresh supply of recommendations. As it is, this site slows down every now and then, and if something like "Gimme My Recs" board loses its luster (and its traffic) then I think every other board on the site gains. The site can't serve users well if its resources are wasted.

That's why I don't see why people keep arguing for stuff that requires so much computer time and development time and maintenance time, and the accompanying expense. I saw a message header somewhere that said KISS and although I didn't read it, I assume it was the old acronym "Keep it Simple." (That's the abridged one-S version <g>).

I started reading some messages just after midnight, and as I recommended a couple, I remembered that I'm in a new calendar day, so it made me conscious of each rec. I'll be somewhat more selective in my use of them, but given my typical activity I doubt I'll run out, and it's not going to cramp my style.

But this topic is cramping my schedule so I'll move on now. Cheers!
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Littlechap,

For the purposes of calculating recs, I'd say opening a post constitutes reading it. Sure, someone could "next" through a bunch of posts to accumulate recs, and such abuse will happen. Any system will be abused though, and I'd imagine such abuses would be few and far between.

I really believe this is a simple solution (just a little bit more complex than a fixed limit) and it solves some nasty problems of fairness.

-Terry
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Terry,

A quick reply, sorry no time to quote -- I think your concept is perfect and unassailable. I just think it's like the recent IBM ad where the CEO walks in with a fabulous new business plan. He's hyped, he's psyched, he's really excited, he turns to his IT team, deployed around the conference table, and asks "is it implementable?" And as they chew on their pencils, one by one they all say "No."

Again, the logic is fine. People who read a lot more messages may *presumably* (an assumption that may not be accurate) be more likely to use the recommendation feature. So a ratio as you've described makes sense on that basis.

But I think it much, much, much, much, much simpler to apply a simple, blanket limit for a month or two, and just see how it works out. These guys have their hands full with the changes going on, and I would rather have stuff like this taken a bit more slowly and with more circumspection.

Right now it really seems like Bogey and others are in fire-fighting mode. In my experience, projects executed under crisis conditions usually come out flawed, and often have to be done over. So I think he and the owners would not be unwise to tell people to stow it for a while so they can make sure everything works right, and then entertain new suggestions that can be implemented in a practical way.

Put another way: there is nothing about the new look boards that impinges on my use of the system AT ALL. The ads are mostly gone, and I have to be just slightly judicious before throwing recs around. That's it. Well, I can handle it. As I've said elsewhere, I think my perspective is different from others in this board, but overall, I'm not at all a "light" user or lurker. So I have to think that the "average" user has needs even lower than mine.
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Please see my post 26496 for my feelings on this whole shebang.

hwkncat

still waiting for my blue cap icon, since I AM a paying member
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still waiting for my blue cap icon, since I AM a paying member

hwkncat,

What email address did you use when you paid? I'm guessing it's different than the one attached to your hwkncat name. They must be the same. Email me privately with the address you used to pay with.

David
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**If someone does not want to be a member because they can not
get their 60 or 70 recs on some boards, so be it**

I could care less about the number of Recs I get, but if I feel SOMEONE ELSE'S posts are worthwhile for a rec, I would like to be able to do that.

It's not just the heavy posters or the highly rec'd posters that have something wothwhile to say. Sometimes the little guy's thoughts are just as important.

This new Rec system totally destroys the cosmopolitan feel the Fool used to have, the feeling it was for anyone to wanted to participate, from the newbie to the seasoned expert.

Now it reeks of elitism.

hwkncat
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Now THAT'S a post worth recommending!!! The best one yet. Thank you for putting into words my (and probably a whole lot of other people's) feelings.

hwkncat
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leighsah,

You have echoed my thoughts excactly, and I REC you!!! Like you, I will rec when and where I please. I have one left for today, and though I hate to resort to the 'me too and I concur posts', if that's what I need to do to let that person know what they contribute is valued, I guess that is what I will do.

The MF has really screwed things up BAD. What were they thinking????

hwkncat
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***

Do you think maybe they need real lives?

Telly

Most of us do. That's why we can often contribute more than inane questions like this.***

Hear, Hear....

hwkncat
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Just another suggestion, because in general, unlimitted recs are bad for the new charms system. (There are a few flaws in it anyway but ok).

What about getting 1 rec for 5 posts you read. So the more people read the more they can rec but they cannot rec everything and if they really want to recommend something they just have to read more, and hence probably post more as they want to give their opinion.

Oliver aka BizKiffer
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Bogey,

I did not realize that was the problem. I will fix it later today, so I can keep reading about the controversy surrounding all the changes.

thanks for clueing me in.

hwkncat
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What many people clearly don't like is the limiting of the opportunity to hit the Rec button. Judging from early returns (first 12 hours), this is a mistake. We don't use 12 hours to judge anything, but we will closely follow community discussion and thought on this decision over the very short term. We have already let you know repeatedly that we're open to change as the community wishes (and to tell you the truth I wish a few more people would recognize this, and maybe cut Bogey some slack). If this is not deemed an improvement, we'll scotch it! As stated earlier, we already believe that the soft rec concept suggested by RJMason and others several days ago will solve most of these problems

The soft rec system sounds as good as any. But, you did not IMPLEMENT the soft rec system. You implemented limited recs with no reasonable warning (your changes page talks about the changes occuring AFTER 2/14).

I would like to step up and comment on the frustration you seem to be feeling as far as getting the "message" out that TMF staff 'cares' about the opinions of the community.

People have posted legitimate, polite, well-thought-out suggestions that involve "adding to" the services of the Fool. TMF staff has said back "Golly, that's a great idea, we'll work on it".

But, instead of "adding to" the services of the Fool, first, you're "taking away from", by changing the rec structure and replacing a soothing color with a repulsive one. As I've read it on the board, you're rolling out these changes to try to show people what they might be missing, "before" the 14th as a cut-off date for those who have not yet signed up.

If I was an undecided person (instead of someone already wanting to stay), I wouldn't be "lured in" by the promise of fewer recs. Whether I love recs or not, it's not a change that would have a significant impact on my usage of the Fool.

Nor would I be interested in the new charms. Most of the fence-sitters probably don't contribute enough to qualify, no matter *how* the rec system works. A fence-sitter is going to want changes that will impact their daily use.

Changing the threading system, adding a spell-checker, restoring the old search capabilities, and other significant code re-writes *would* tempt me to stay. These are the things people on the board have asked for, and asked for MANY times. Also, each of these changes "adds to" the services of the Fool. You would not denying anyone their pet favorite activity by adding a spell-checker or fixing threading. It's the 13th already, so, it's probably "too late" to hope for any useful changes. But, making one of these changes early would have been the most bang for our buck, rather than the least.

The Fool is going through a big transition right now. Not only are you moving to a fee-based service, but, you're ramping up to unroll significant changes to the service you're offering. You asked us to trust you when you unveiled the plan to start charging and said you would be extra-responsive to community wishes as part of the pay service. You repeated over and over again that you're charging to bring us an improved Fool. Then, your changes are snuck in without warning, before the deadline, and they're not changes people have even shown a united interest in, (people were quite passionately against changes to the rec system since you first mentioned it, and I don't recall any discussion on whether the favorites pages needed a new color in the divider).

If you plan to continue to bank on your credibility, you need to show you're listening to us, and taking our feelings into consideration BEFORE you roll out new changes.

We (the paying community) are only going to trust you as long as we see that we're listened to and accorded the basic courtesy and respect paying customers expect to recieve.

Gwen
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Gwen,

I would rec your post but unfortunately, my "rec" bank account is overdrawn.:-(

hwkncat
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Terry: Sure, someone could "next" through a bunch of posts to accumulate recs, and such abuse will happen.

I often search for a post in a thread using the "threaded" option then the "prev prev prev prev prev prev" button, sometimes 40 or 50 times in a row, rapidly, trying to find the post.

But now I'll be considered an abuser of the board, if they go for the recs-for-clicks method.

Huh.

Paul T.
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Terry, on my coining of the phrase "recs-for-reads:" (I like that name, I hope you don't mind if I continue using it)

Don't mind a bit. Flattering, in fact.

Terry, on my suggestion of limiting users to the top 50 list to once a month: The problem I have with this is that there are truly exceptional posters who write quality content more frequently than this, and they deserve to get recognized for this. I'd hate to take away recognition from the best of the best posters by doing this. Additionally, I shudder at the thought of coding this.

A problem that I've noticed in other boards that rate users is that when the same users become celebrated over and over, they begin to personify the boards. Instead of seeming like a proprietary and unbiased entity, it seems like a clique-ish and controlled board. It's a turn off to see the same users topping the same "star" list, over and over. Although it may be unnoticeable if a dozen people are always consistently on the list, if most people don't even use the list except for perhaps newbies.

I am left wondering what percentage of Fools have doppels because that would seem to extrapolate to the same % of free accounts doled out by the Fool.

If 15% of users had doppels before, there's no reason to believe that 15% of the complimentary accounts aren't doppels too. In which case the abuse of reccing one another's posts because of having unlimited recs may decrease, but there still may be the same percentage of posts that are disengeniunely deserving of the recs given. In other words, instead of seeing 40% of all posts recc'd, we may only see 15% of all posts recc'd, but that still...the top 25% of that 15% are out of doppels and abusers of rec distribution.

I am able to grasp the idea that all systems are prone to abuse, but some less than others.

On a less cerebral and more artistic stance, a good website reads like a good painting. I am no painter, but do know that a painting is supposed to have flow. The eye is generally supposed to be drawn to a portion of the paining, and then the artistry is such that the eye is "led" in a circuilar pattern, around the canvas. To the point that without even knowing it, the viewer has circumferenced the art and has been enticed into much more than a cursory glance. The person is immersed without even consciously intending to be.

Websites should be the same. That is why there should be no complicated formulas for cluttering the mind, related to user interface dictating mathmatical formula for determining rec value or quantity. It becomes less enjoyable and more bothersome. Albeit perhaps not noticeably so if one isn't so inclined to be caught up in all the intricacies of micro-rules, such as all of us tend to be right now, while the rules are being formulated.

But keeping the "flow" of this canvas in mind, personally I am tempted to not use recs at all anymore. It feels that I am performing a service for TMF in doing so instead of just feeling free to dole out a piece of my mind via unencumbered rec usage.

A few bad apples apparantly has spoiled this rec gig and that's too bad. I've prided myself on rec giving for the right reasons in the past. Once a user becomes accustomed to characteristics of discussion boards here, they understand that 1 or 2 recs on a post is oft times, a person's doppel. Or in the case of several I could name by handle, consistently getting 7 recs for practically every post, within 7 minutes of posting it. But that same familiarity one gains enables one to know which useless nicknames are guilty of that, and that a truly moving post usually starts out with a half dozen recs and then builds from there. (unless it's a smaller board, in which case the lower no. of recs is expected and seemingly much less prone to massive abuse anyway)

And if you want to know the truth, I think TMF doesn't give the average web surfer who may encounter the boards enough credit, since most users are at least as savy as I when it comes to understanding the characteristics of a user-rated system.

Another perplexity in my mind is that new users won't see the "best of" list unless they've subscribed. Presumably they will only have subscribed, if they don't still need to be convinced of quality content.

So in conclusion, I say the site needs to keep flow and not clutter user's minds with micro-rules. Make our experience here like art, as much as an intellectual experience. Web savy users tend to place a skeptical eye on community rated content already but TMF seems to be trying to orchestrate a change in that human-nature.

TMF wants the best of both worlds by maintaining asking users, to rate themselves. This is a feature commonly found in free sites. If TMF wants a group of shining examples to portray to the world, in a pay-site, it would almost seem an oxymoron to rely on those paying to do so. We aren't really invested into the best-of list for the same reasons, (or even at all,) that TMF is. Yet, they are putting us in charge of creating the list.

A site that works would be one that charges, and has the wherewithal to monitor what is being presented as the best-of. A panel of paid Fools or volunteers should be maintaining this list. It is unrealstic, imo, to charge for a service and then place all manner of rules, restrictions, and responsibilities on the customers towards the ends of defining marketing features such as best of.

Paul T.
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