Appeal to change ratings....please

Unanswered Question
Aug 20th, 2010

This is an appeal to Dan as I know if anyone can make this happen it is him 

Recently which you may have seen is that someone rated an esteemed member a 1 for what was clearly very helpful information. This was clearly a snipe rating and almost caused them to consider stop posting. I think this community should remove the rating levels 1 and 2 as they serve no purpose except to give some a way to degrade a poster. If someone does not like the response to their question than they just need not rate them. If there is some logic as to why they should remain please let me know.

Now you may say it gives a way to flag an incorrect answer or a bad recommendation. Well there is a way this could be handled, someone who see that could send that information to the moderator to be removed if it incorrect information or if it would cause damage. or if that were too much to have to deal with which it could be I am sure the experts here would catch that and flag it by posting a warning.

If this is possible please lets work on that.

Thank you


I have this problem too.
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Overall Rating: 5 (32 ratings)
rob.huffman Fri, 08/20/2010 - 09:15

Hey Mike (Cross-over Burleyman),

You have have my "FULL" support here my friend!! The removal

of 1&2 point ratings is a very simple solution to this issue. If you've

ever put your heart into trying to help someone and they respond

with a nice "1 or 2" point rating ..............................well it is almost enough

to make you want to say screw it! I'm out of here! Which is not what we

want for our fellow NetPros It's just not worth keeping them around.



Daniel Bruhn Mon, 08/23/2010 - 12:31


I'll socialize this with the rest of the team and get back to you.  I'm just trying to ensure we don't have any unintended consequences.  No promises, but I'll see what I can do.



burleyman Mon, 08/23/2010 - 12:51


Thanks for your help on this, it is very much appreciated.



Richard Burts Mon, 08/23/2010 - 15:24

I just posted about this in the "troll" thread and will say mostly the same things again here. I would advocate for keeping the 1 and 2 ratings in the system. Partly this reflects my belief that for something to be perceived as "good" it must contrast with something that is available that is not good. If 3 becomes the lowest available score, then physologically it becomes not so good. If you think about it in the proposed change the rating system becomes:"give 1 star, or 2 stars, or 3 stars" because the rating window would only have 3 choices. And one star becomes not very good.

I also believe that the psychological dynamics of rating on a 3 point scale are different from rating on a 5 point scale.

It is unfortunate that the 1 (or 2) ratings are sometimes given inappropriately. But I believe that this is part of the dynamic of being in a community. In a broad based community some members are more capable and some are less. Some members "get it" better and some do not. I believe that the dynamics of a broad based community will correctly identify and reward the high quality posts though there will be some mistaken ratings along the way.

And I advocate for maintaining the 1 and 2 because I believe that there are some posts that really are not helpful (and sometimes just wrong) and they deserve the 1 rating.



marikakis Tue, 08/24/2010 - 05:27

Hi all,

It took me some to decide whether I want those evil ratings gone, but now I have made my mind: please, make them go away ASAP! I don't want tension in this forums and it seems that the best those ratings can do is just that. They also make possible for some people to launch an attack to the community (intentional or not, it doesn't matter) or potentially harass a top member during the competition for points.

If a post deserves recognition 3,4,5 is ok. If not, we have the impicit 0-rating. If you think something is wrong, go ahead and post the correct answer. If something is unacceptable, use the "abuse" link.

Keep Paolo happy, ok?

Kind Regards,


burleyman Wed, 08/25/2010 - 05:15

Just a side note on something I just noticed that could be a factor why sometimes someone new rates a 1...and boy am I slow....I don't know why I did not pay atttention to that fact before.

When you go to the fifth star it says Extremely Helpful but it points to the first star ( as they all do) but I guess it could be possible that someone goes to the fifth star and sees that it points back to the first one they just choose that.....just a possiblity.



marikakis Wed, 08/25/2010 - 14:13

Hi Mike,

You imply you changed your mind about your own idea right at the moment where I decided to so eagerly support it?

When the new site had been launched, people had reported the issue you describe (if I remember correctly, even Rob had made that mistake with one of Jon's posts ). To some extent this issue was addressed with a document desribing ratings. Anyway, despite this fact, there are other reasons that one may rate a post with a 1. For example, new users sometimes feel they need to rate each and every post and do not know that 1 is considered an insult. So, they rate with a 1 posts in initial phases of a discussion (e.g. when member asks about config etc and tries to collect more information about the issue). I don't think this is done with bad intentions. They are just not familiar with how things work. In such cases I would suggest we politely inform the user about how things work instead of telling them they are ungrateful.

Now, regardless of the reason why someone rated a post with a 1, I believe we should try to maintain a peaceful environment or, I can assure you, a lot of people will want out. If for any reason I need to read insults from either side of a story, I can browse the comments on youtube instead of coming here. If we can't have peace because of the 1&2 ratings, I want them gone. If we can let some things just go and maintain peace, then I do not care if 1&2 ratings exist. I'll do my best to avoid them anyway! As I said in another discussion, those ratings can help regulars to police themselves and treat authors with respect. They also encourage people who post answers to sit back and think about the correctness of their answers before posting, so they contribute to having better quality of posts. If those ratings are gone, then I'm worried about other issues...

Kind Regards,


burleyman Thu, 08/26/2010 - 04:48

Maria....I would never change my mind against you..... I was just reading through the posts for and against and it got me thinking I may have over reacted. I had a similar issue here right at the same time. I had just finished up a 88 hour week with 46 hours of it working Friday, Saturday and Sunday with not much recognition and no...I don't get over time or comp time  . So when I saw the issue with the slap of a low rating I went off a little and may have had a bit of a knee-jerk reaction, what it totally not like me. But when I saw someone ready to stop posting who I use all the time for their knowledge, I thought I should weigh in to support them. What ever happens I am sure of one thing Dan and his team, whatever the change or no change, will make the best decision for this community as a whole and I will totally support that and will never bring up ratings again.


marikakis Thu, 08/26/2010 - 10:18

Hi Mike, sorry, I totally missed your post, although I must have rated it during my spree of ratings! Well, what can I say? If people can rate helpful posts with a 1, why can't I rate a post I haven't even read with a 5? I bet not many members will open a case to Dan about this!

Yeah, I know, Paolo is a valuable member or this community. This is not an easy situation for one to handle. With a little bit of good will and forgetting the competition for points for a while (can you guys do that? ), we can rectify unfair ratings with our own votes. Just be careful to not accidentally give a second 1 to a single post of Paolo instead of a 5 or we will be in major crisis situation!

rob.huffman Thu, 08/26/2010 - 06:32

Hello all

Just thought I would jump back in for a moment here. I thought the

nice/thoughtful submissions to this never-ending question were

really excellent.

Dan....thanks for jumping in on this (+5). As always, you are the

"voice of reason" here and continue to be the driving force behind

the CSC. glad to see you weigh in on this issue (+5). Your wisdom

has made me look at the other side of the argument and you have

some excellent points for keeping the 1&2 point ratings. I have to

respectfully disagree, but I know where you are coming from my friend., so great to have you back in the "Gang"! I think your sage

advice on this subject really captures the essence of the issue (+10).

I don't really care too much whether the 1&2 point ratings stay or go. But,

as you so gracefully captured,I don't want to see the overall kind and generous

feel of the CSC change. Once that changes, this won't be a place I'll be a part of.

Mike....thanks again for opening up this conversation. YOU ROCK! (+10)

I very much like your reflective look at this touchy subject. There is no perfect

solution here, but it is a subject worth revisiting every once in awhile

We have all felt the 1&2 point slap, but WTH it's not the end of the world.

From your great lead, when I receive one of these ratings, I will put on my

best ZEN face and move on with the task at hand. Which is learning from the great

people here and trying to help wherever possible.



marikakis Thu, 08/26/2010 - 07:50

Hi all,

Rob, you are right, some +5's are needed in this thread, so we can all all feel better and forget about the +1's for a moment!

The last couple of days I had been browsing discussions to see how often the +1's and +2's occur. And it seems they happen too often. Members who post more often than me have many more chances of being slapped, but still I don't recall this happening so often in the past. Has anything changed lately or is it just me who hadn't noticed this? I have tried to rectify situations I came across and I can say one thing: boy, I'm tired and I also feel beaten- up. Perhaps if Paolo had given me a couple of 1's earlier, I might have sympathized earlier with the situation! Hey Paolo, I believe you received enough points from me lately to keep you relaxed for some time!

Until we figure out what can be done further with this issue, I would suggest the 3 following workarounds (choice depending on personality and mood of the moment):

1. let it go

2. politely inform authors about the community consensus about 1&2 ratings e.g. "Please be advised that, in this community, 1&2 ratings are intended for impolite posts or posts with severe errors"

3. if members notice another member being slapped for no reason, try to rectify the situation (preferably without much noise)

Kind Regards,


George Stefanick Wed, 09/22/2010 - 21:59

My expertise is wireless. I dont know if you guys have the same issue on your sections, but people just dont rate helpful and informative post anymore, period. At least not in the wireless forum anyway. I would be happy with a 1 star! If i got a 1 star for each helpful post i did on the wireless board i bet i would be neck and neck with Rob!


I say keep the 1 - 5...

Daniel Bruhn Thu, 09/23/2010 - 11:54

Hi George,

You're making me feel bad here.  I'm going to have to give you a +5   I can assure you our ratings haven't dropped on CSC.  The problem is it seems to be either a lot of ratings or very little.  There is no in between.  My theory is ratings beget ratings.  If a member goes to the wireless topic and sees little to no ratings they are much less likely to rate content.  That is why I always recommend rating valuable content you come across even if you didn't pose the question.  When other members see ratings they are more likely to rate as well.



George Stefanick Thu, 09/23/2010 - 14:58

LOL.. Thanks Dan!

Let me ask ... Sometime i may get points out of the blue but not sure what post they came from. Is there anyway to see what post these came from?

Daniel Bruhn Fri, 09/24/2010 - 06:58


No, there is no way to tell which of your posts have been rated unless you search for them.  You aren't the first to ask for this one.  I'll add it to the list of possible future enhancements.



PS:  I can see who rated you as well as what they rated.  It looks like the tooth fairy has been rating you lately

marikakis Fri, 09/24/2010 - 09:23

Ok Dan, I'm falling into the trap: who's that tooth fairy? You mean we have many fairies around?

George, when you receive points out of the blue, the tooth fairy is one possibility. Another possibility is the FFOF (Forum Fairy Of Fairness). The FFOF uses various criteria to rate posts and doesn't feel the obligation to reveal them, nor does she feel the need to post +5 on every thread (she wouldn't like to be considered that she expects something in return). The FFOF tries not to discriminate among members. She tries more to care about what someone says (not who says it). She told me she has rated lately posts of the following members: Paolo, Jon, Giuseppe, Rob, Aaron, Jaime, Robert Burns, Fred Niehaus (post from 2008), Laurent, Jerry, Joe, Leo, Peter, Lucien and others. This might include you George, but she's not 100% sure. Although the FFOF tries not to discriminate among members, she admits a preference for members who do not complain about their points all the time. Given that she has given out so many points lately and people are still not satisfied, she feels her efforts are fruitless, she is tired, and she seriously considers of becoming an EFW (Evil Forum Witch). EOFT (End Of Fairy Tale).

So George, let me get this straight: you are saying that you don't get ratings anymore and simultaneously that you do get ratings out of the blue and you wanna know where those came from?

If a TAC team starts rating posts instead of the FFOF or the tooth fairy, will people be satisfied or would they start complaining about the fairness of the TAC team?

BTW1: Years ago, in a thread in this section, I had said that the general case with a member seems to be 1 point for every post on average. That is if you post 700 times you have close to 700 points. Some exceptions exist (such as Rob), but are not many, and you can expect the more experienced people to be more effective with their posts and to balance the unfairness by participating in many sections. They are also usually very friendly with authors, so don't look at them only as experts at the top of the board. They are much more than an awful lot of points. I don't think this 1 point per post average has changed much. So, do not assume you are the target of unfairness. When people are treated equally unfairly, then the game looks fair to me. And if we do something so that authors start giving out more points, can you guess what the distribution of points among members might be? My guess is that we will see the same people at the top of the board as long as they keep posting.

BTW2: The FFOF might have given out more points if only she wasn't logged out so often lately. This thing happens at least the last couple of weeks (if she recalls correctly) and even when she is actively browsing the site. If that happens to authors as well, good luck with the ratings.

Jon, I can see you going straight to step 4. Nice move!

Jon Marshall Fri, 09/24/2010 - 15:39


She told me she has rated lately posts of the following members: Paolo, Jon,

Ahhh i thought i'd be been getting a few more points recently and here was me thinking fairies just didn't exist, many thanks

Jon, I can see you going straight to step 4. Nice move!

Well, like you, i don't think i can face another "what to do about ratings" thread from the start again, they are just so tiring and we do seem to often end up going round in circles.

By the way, just to add a bit of balance to the ratings issue i just got rated a 1 in a thread i was involved in and it was absolutely deserved ie. the info i gave was total rubbish !!


Jon Marshall Thu, 09/23/2010 - 16:08


Just a quick thought which i can always start a new thread for if needed.

Is there a way in each forum to have a sticky thread at the top so that thread is always there regardless of all the other threads moving off the first page ?

Just a thought but if there was we could i suppose have a thread that covered ratings  - a bit like the one Mike posted recently but obviously that has disappeared off the first page ages ago. It might be more likely to get read if it stayed there and was in each forum.

As you probably have realised by now , i'm fairly reluctant to change the ratings system too much so not even sure if it's that good an idea, just thought i'd see what you think. Feel free to be brutally honest, the rest of us are so i don't see why you shouldn't be


PS - George, i have also given you a 5 to make up for lack of points in wireless forum

Daniel Bruhn Fri, 09/24/2010 - 08:36

Hi Jon,

Sticky threads would be great.  Unfortunately, the current version of software we are on doesn't offer them.  That said, we will likely be upgrading in March to a version that does offer sticky threads.  At that point I think it would be a great idea to utilize that feature to highlight the importance of ratings.



rob.huffman Fri, 09/24/2010 - 09:48

Hello all,

Such thoughtful and funny responses to a tricky subject

Very good stuff indeed. I will not comment on rating the (Forum Fairy Of Fairness)

but I know she deserves much praise

Jon ...great idea on the "sticky" posts! As always, you come through with

some nice rational thinking....sweet!

In reference to the (Forum Fairy Of Fairness) I believe there is also a

(Forum Linebacker Of Fairness) who rates threads that are deserving

but does not want to be referred to as a Fairy.



Richard Burts Mon, 10/04/2010 - 09:48

In the continuing discussion about ratings I offer this question and response as an example of why we need a rating that says "bad answer".

As I write this there has been only one response and I think it is pretty awful. Not only is configuring a secondary address not an effective solution to the question, but the original post is quite clear that he has already got it configured as a secondary address.



marikakis Mon, 10/04/2010 - 11:02

Hi Rick,

If a person suggested to an author to throw their expensive router out of the window in order to fix it or suggested the author looked into the light coming out of a fiber optic port to see if port works or anything similar, I might agree with you.

One of the biggest problems in online communities is that the vast majority of visitors are lurkers. These people read and do not post for various reasons, usually because they are afraid of being wrong. From own experience I know that most of my first posts took me many hours to cross check and a few of my current ones still do. I personally do not like the feeling of being irreplaceable. Most of the times such a feeling is not true and in the long run doesn't benefit anyone. It might boost confidence for some people, but in the end it leads to more and more work that cannot be sustained. We have people in this community such as you, Rob, Jon, Paolo, Giuseppe, and others that have a lot of knowledge, but sometimes even you people cannot post during certain periods of your time. What should happen then? Maintaining only an elite group of people doesn't benefit the community and is certainly not at the best interest of Cisco who maintains this community.

So, for the above reasons, my approach in such circumstances would be to post the correct answer and be polite with the person that made the mistake. Quality of posts is an important ingredient of this community, but quality can also be maintained by helping people to learn and discouragement via the rating system does not seem necessary to me in such cases. Helping others to learn is one of the main purposes of the community and that includes not only the authors, but people who post answers as well, right?

Kind Regards,


Jon Marshall Mon, 10/04/2010 - 11:38

I think Maria makes a very valid point here. Personally if i ever was going to give a 1 (which i honestly can't remember whether i have or haven't) it's important to note how many posts the person has made. For example both Maria and myself were recently involved in a resurrected thread on BGP (Maria's favourite apparently !) where a new poster was somewhat "aggressive" with his initial comments but in no way would we want to deter that person from posting because they are obviously very knowledgeable.

However the opposite does apply i think ie. there must be a way to deter a person who continually posts misleading or incorrect information.


Jon Marshall Mon, 10/04/2010 - 11:32


As you probably know i am also in favour of keeping the 1 & 2 (well the 1 anyway) but it is interesting to note that even though you highlighted this thread as not helpful you haven't marked the answer as such.

This is not intended as a critcism because i don't think i would mark it as a 1 either which makes me wonder if there actually is any point to having the 1 mark. I still think there is, where i think the answer given is actually dangerous but it does make me wonder that if both you and I would not mark this as a 1, even though both of us argue for the 1 rating, what exactly is it's use.

Perhaps because we have been on the receiving end of a few too many 1's we are reluctant to use that mark ourselves ?


Richard Burts Mon, 10/04/2010 - 12:35


Your response came as I was thinking about what to do with the item: 1) just give the rating 2) just give a response in the thread 3) or do both, as I ultimately did.

I have been thinking about Maria's comment that so many who read the threads are just lurkers and wondering how that enters into how we react to posts. In my mind the fact that so many are just reading but not posting and so many do not have enough experience to really recognize posts that are truly good or posts that are truly not good makes it all the more important that we (who do have more experience and perspective) use responses and ratings to help differentiate the truly good from the truly not good. Sometimes it is appropriate to post a response in the thread and point out deficiencies in other responses and sometimes it may not be worth posting a response but just making a rating may help to flag helpful or not helpful responses.



marikakis Mon, 10/04/2010 - 13:16

Hi Rick,

I am sorry my previous response did not seem relevant. People might learn when certain wrong posts are marked with a 1, but that still does not encourage participation. And if author's question turns out to require additional expertise (say Microsoft DHCP as an example), then not many people will dare to enter a thread that already has a 1 rating. We will probably remain in disagreement, but is the author actually helped in such cases?

Kind Regards,


Richard Burts Mon, 10/04/2010 - 14:22


Perhaps my choice of words was not optimum. I did not mean to imply that your response was not relevant. Quite the contrary - I thought it was quite relevant. When I said that I was "wondering how [your comment about how most readers are lurkers] enters into how we react to posts" I do not wonder IF it affects our view of ratings. I believe that this DOES affect our view of ratings and am wonder just HOW it affects.

I believe that in this discussion we are looking at ratings (and posts) from slightly different perspectives. It seems that you are looking at ratings (and posts) primarily in terms of how to use them to encourage more people to post. I am looking at them more in terms of how can we provide guidance to the lurkers about what posts to read and trust and what posts to not trust. I do not think that either perspective is not relevant.



marikakis Mon, 10/04/2010 - 14:48

Hi Rick,

Your analysis of our points of view actually helped me a lot to clearly see exactly where we disagree. I believe there can be a middle ground. If anyone feels they should ultimately rate some posts with a 1, then they could probably wait until a thread is near resolution (or after). This way people can keep responding. Also have in mind that some 1 ratings might be wrongly attributed to the author and this could lead to fights inside the thread. In addition, some people might never respond (again) to authors that possibly gave a 1 rating (in the past, even if not actually to them, but to somebody else).

Kind Regards,


Message was edited by: marikakis

danrya Thu, 10/07/2010 - 18:41

My post didn't make sense to me after I re-read it, so I decided to remove it, sorry.

I think that there needs to be a way to rate people that continue to post non-relevent information in reply to a question.  That could be as simple as a "not relevant" button.


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