29 Jun 2002 raph   » (Master)

A few rating FAQ's

Can I rate my own diary? No. However, your own diary does show up with a rating. You can think of this as your friends rating of you.

You won't see ratings unless you have certified someone else. Ratings flow along trust edges. It might take 20 minutes or so.

Why the fascination with ratings? Primarily as a research project. In particular, I'm very interested to see whether these ratings are more accurate than the trust metric. So far, the results are encouraging.

Is the rating engine the same algorithm as PageRank? No, it's more powerful. For one, you can put in information which lowers rankings in addition to raising them. For two, it can evaluate general metadata assertions.

What types of assertions are implemented on Advogato? At this point, only diary ratings. As the total number of metadata assertions in the system grows, scaling problems set in.

Will you implement <pet idea>? Probably not.

Will you take a patch for it? Probably.

Ease of use

David McCusker is having lots of difficulty setting up his new TiBook and Airport. This shouldn't be. After all, he paid a significant premium for the Apple gear.

I think part of the problem is that he's playing partly the role of a hacker (home network configured with static IP addresses), and partly the role of a user (he admits to not understanding networking very well, and seems disinclined to learn it). I think things go more smoothly when you're one or the other.

In fact, if I were him, I'd just break down and learn the basics of TCP/IP and friends. It's actually pretty cool technology.

Networking is a somewhat hard problem. Attempts to hide the underlying complexity under a pretty GUI may or may not work.

Somehow, this connects to Bob Frankston's passionate argument against "special networks" (echoed by Dave Winer), but I'm not sure how.

Also, there's lots of food for thought in David's blogs about the importance of community for providing good tech support. I've observed that Mac users tend to be fairly staunch advocates of the platform, and often provide tech support as part of this advocacy. People who work in Mac stores (in my limited experience, and David's) are even more rabid in their advocacy, but the way tech support is provided has more to do with business than community. David is also running into the ubiquitous problem of low-talent professional tech support, and with a snotty attitude to boot.

As David points out, free software tech support is quite good if you are part of a community, but not so good if not. It's an interesting question: how can you scale it up?

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