Breaking down the Rating system Answered
I just read one of the recent Answers, and it was asking about how to get ratings. That got me to thinking. I like to think that Instructables is a more useful sight than many others. Given its "usefulness," it follows that each aspect should be scrutinized for said usefulness.
The usefulness of the Rating system, to me, is unapparent. On a website, I usually measure usefulness as how much something affects a decision I make. Following the mentality of the day, I need to be able to make such a decision in a millisecond, or else I just opt out of making the decision at all. I see a picture and read a title -- I click the link if I like it or move on if I don't. The problem with a single rating system that applies to the entire Instructable is that if I really like one aspect of an I'ble, yet don't like another, I'm more likely NOT to rate it at all. This saves me the internal struggle about what rating to actually give the I'ble.
When I internally rate an I'ble whilst viewing it, I look at two major categories: Presentation and Concept. Is the concept amazing? Is the concept old hat? Is the I'ble written well? Is the I'ble unintelligible? If the Ratings were split into these two categories, I think authors would feel more empowered and would be able to focus their energies more effectively in their quest to submit better I'bles. The Rating system may get more use, too. I see a great idea written poorly, I know EXACTLY what to rate it -- I don't have a lengthy decision in front of me. High on Concept, low on Presentation. Rated. Done. Bam. The author can then easily take this feedback and do what they need to do to improve their contributions. Given the current system, I have to debate in my head whether or not I want to rate high, or middle, or low, because I like the Concept, yet dislike the Presentation. Oops, decision took too long. I've moved on. Didn't rate.
The current one-size-fits-all rating system may be simpler to implement, but provides much less function than a slightly-categorized rating system. Readers will be more inclined to use the tool, and authors will be provided with much more valuable information.
Ok. I'm done.