Comment Ratings

You’ve no doubt seen sites that let readers rate each other’s comments, often by
clicking a tiny thumbs-up or thumbs-down icon (Figure 8-12). It’s one more form of
audience participation.

Bloggers and other web authors are divided over the value of comment ratings. On
the upside, they encourage readers to get involved, and let people feel like they’re
taking part in a discussion even if they don’t write a comment. On the downside,
comment ratings have a nasty habit of turning discussions into arguments. If you’re
dealing with a contentious subject, readers may simply scan the list of comments to
vote up the ones they agree with and vote down the ones they don’t. (Some sites
try to reduce the negativity by replacing comment voting with a Like button that
allows readers to vote for comments but not against them. But even this type of
rating encourages readers to gang up with the people who share their opinions.)
Philosophical questions aside, it’s fairly easy to add comment ratings to your site if
it’s running on WordPress.com. In the dashboard, choose Settings→Ratings, click
the Comments tab, and then turn on the “Enable for comments” checkbox. You can
position the voting icons above the comments (as in Figure 8-12) or below them.
When you finish, click Save Changes.
Unfortunately, self-hosted WordPress sites don’t get the comment rating feature.
The solution is to install a comment voting plug-in, like Polldaddy (http://tinyurl.
com/wp-polls).

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Comment Ratings

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