Wrapping Up 2005

As 2005 draws to a close, I thought it might be worthwhile to pull together some of the Weblists that summarize the year's events. Feel free to point me towards ones that I've missed.

Events of 2005 (spartacus007)

2005's Dead Celebrities (zuchinibut)

Biggest Sports Stories of 2005 (magellan)

ABC CBS NBC Rate the Pilots 2005 (dawnsdinos)

RIA Events of 2005 (specialboothvicjr.)

Any other best of 2005 lists pending?


Hottest Weblists / Hottest Topics

Here's another interesting tidbit that might be useful to some of you Weblist publishers. The Hottest Topics and Hottest Weblists listings that appear throughout the site are generated by computer algorithm - they are set to display the topics and Weblists that have received the most ratings within a certain period of time.

Here's a current snapshot of the "Hottest" sections:

So one good way to give your Weblist a little added exposure, is to start rating your own Weblist! This is an absolutely legitimate way to promote your Weblist, and will have the added benefit of possibly inserting your Weblist in the Hottest Weblist section.

Did You Know....

.... that only Weblists with a cumulative community rating of 3.0 or higher appear in the main RateItAll index?

I'm not talking about the average rating of listings within the Weblist, I'm talking about the actual Weblist rating. For example, this very personal Weblist created by RIA Moderator Magellan has a rating of 1.0, and therefore is only accessible via Magellan's user page.

Here is a screenshot of where you can find the Weblist rating:

So this is one way that the RateItAll Community determines what ratings lists gets the most airplay.

** Note, Weblists that have not yet been rated by default show up in the Index.

We're in the process of redesigning some of RateItAll's pages, and this is a feature that is going to get more emphasis, so make sure to give your feedback on Weblists as they get published. A great way to do this is by checking the New Additions pages.


Doing some maintenance.

Unscheduled maintenance that is.

We should be back up by 1:30PM PST or so.

In the meantime, here's a good article about why it's OK for a site to go down every once in a while :)

(doesn't stop me from ripping my hair out during downtime, though)


More Maps

So I showed you what RateItAll's traffic patterns look like across the Atlantic Ocean. Over here in North America, RateItAll's top sources of visitors are represented by the orange bubbles:

Each bubble represents hundreds - and in some cases thousands - of visitors.


New Wiki Feature

I'm thrilled that so many people are making use of the new wiki editing tool that allows anyone to add images and descriptions to any page. For those who haven't checked this feature out yet, I'm referring to the link that says "Edit This Listing" located in the upper left hand side of every page.

Descriptions and images go live immediately, no approval required (though we do check them after the fact).

As is usually the case with these new features, there have been unforeseen benefits. For example, I think folks are finding that the wiki editing tool makes it much easier to quickly add descriptions and images to your own Weblists than the existing tool that requires you to go through your user profile page.

One request - please try and keep these descriptions and images as neutral and unbiased as possible. You're more than welcome to be as biased as you want in your review - in fact, we expect it. But the purpose of the description is to provide a quick, unbiased blurb that helps the reader identify exactly what they are rating.

Site Search

After months of tweaking, I'm finally at a point where I'm happy with the RateItAll search engine. It is now consistently returning exactly what I'm looking for, and I find it pretty easy to locate specific listings, or specific topics.

One thing we're considering is to make the default search site wide (RIA, Weblists, RateLocal), as opposed to forcing people to indicate which section they want to search.

Any thoughts on this? Feel free to email me or respond here in the comments...

Holiday Spirit

As we approach the Holiday season, here are a few lists to get you in the mood:

Christmas Carols
Christmas Songs (some overlap with Carols, but a little broader)
Christmas Day
Holiday TV Specials
Holiday Gifts for Men
Holiday Gifts for Women
New Year's Eve Necessities
New Year's Eve
Christmas Movies
Christmas Traditions
Christmas Guffaws
Favorite Things to Do Christmas Day
Favorite Things to do New Years Day

If there are any that I've missed, please let me know!


New Section on RateItAll

We just added a section on Newspaper Columnists - make sure to add your favorites by clicking on the light bulb icon on the respective topic.

So far we have sports columnists, political columnists, humor columnists, advice columnists, and technology columnists.


Another New Feature

You can now add descriptions and images to any item page on RateItAll - these are the descriptions that show up in the "About" section in the upper left hand side of every listing on RateItAll.

For those of you familiar with the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, this is a similar, group-editing type feature. Currently, however, you can't edit existing descriptions on RateItAll - just add new ones.


A global audience

This is a snapshot of where RIA's overnight traffic came from last night. The larger the bubble on the map, the more visitors are coming from that particular geography. Our top performer last night in terms of visits was Lancaster in the UK. The two blips in the Middle East are Riyadh and Dubai.

As you can see, we are getting visitors from around the world. In fact, only about 75% of RateItAll's traffic comes from the US.

RateItAll's top 10 countries in terms of visitors are: 1) United States; 2) Canada; 3) United Kingdom; 4) Australia; 5) Germany; 6) France; 7) Netherlands; 8) Italy; 9) Mexico; and 10) India.

The top 100 are rounded out by: 99) Ghana; and 100) Guam - which both sent us nine visits in the last week.

I think it's kind of neat that so many folks from around the world are reading what the RIA community has to say.

Adding links to your reviews

Apologies for the slow blog posting recently - it's been pretty busy around here.

We've just added some new functionality to the site. It's the ability to link out to other Web pages from your reviews. I think this is a pretty important feature - many times, it's helpful to reference other resources when writing a review.

So now, if you write a link in this format:


It will automatically hyperlink out to that site like this:


You can also make words links to other pages. For example, if wanted to do this:

There's this great search engine called Google that I use all the time.

Here's how you would do it:

There's this great search engine called (!Link Url="http://www.google.com" Name="Google"!) that I use all the time.

It looks kind of messy, but I think it's easier than you think. All you do is copy / paste this format for the word you want to link, and fill in the url and word:

(!Link Url="xxxxxx" Name="xxxxxx"!)

We're working on ways to integrate this functionality into the RateIt pop-up window.... stay tuned.


New Tool

As promised, there is now a tool to let you view and manage your trusted network. If you go to your profile page, click the link that says "Edit your trusted network of XX users."

Clicking "delete" next to any user name listed, will remove that person from your trusted network.

*Note* clicking delete will NOT affect whether or not that user trusts you.


On the site you will notice that every user name now has a ( ) after it, with a number inside. This is the number of RIA members who have indicated trust for that particular reviewer.

The purpose of this is to 1) give the thousands of readers of RateItAll an idea of which reviews come from a reviewer who has earned a reputation in the community; and 2) help new members figure out who might be a good person to add to their trusted network, in order to generate quality recommendations using the RateItAll Recommendation Engine.

In the next couple of days, we will hopefully be launching a tool that lets you display and manage your trusted network, without having to surf around to the various profile pages.

Stay tuned.... lots more tweaking of this recommendation stuff to follow.


RIA Contributors List

The top 10,000 RIA contributors list is now located in the "shortcuts" tab.


Two New Features

On your user page, you now have access to two new feature:

- The RateItAll Recommendation Engine. This engine generates customized recommendations and comment lists based on your trusted network (people you trust). For the most trusted recommendations, select "one degree away" and for the most data, select "three degrees away."

- Invite Friends Tool. This tool allows you to invite friends who are not yet members of RateItAll to become members of your trusted network. If they accept your invitation, they will be automatically added to your trusted network, and you will automatically be added to theirs.

We have a tool that will hopefully go live tomorrow that will let you easily view and edit your trusted network.

Have fun with these features - I think they go along way towards making RateItAll a more helpful tool to exchange recommendations with those you trust, and to help filter out the noise.


A Sneak Peek

Logged in users can now take a sneak peak of the RateItAll Recommendation Engine.

The recommendation engine / trusted network FAQ is now live as well (though some of the features referenced are not live yet).


Recommendation Engine Trial

RIA moderators now have access to the beta version of our new recommendation engine.

I think we're going to keep it like this for a week or so, see what works and what doesn't, and then roll it out to the entire community.

If you're curious for a preview, send a message to one of our Mod Extraordinaires and maybe they'll share some info.

Rolling in some code changes....

.... site performance could be sporadic for the next 30 minutes or so....

save your work!


More Recommendation Engine Stuff

So we now have an early beta version of the new RateItAll recommendation engine. It's not live on the site yet (only admins have access currently), but it should be in the next week or so.

Just to recap, this is a feature that is going to allow every member of the RateItAll community to quickly find the reviews written by their "trusted network" of reviewers on any subject, as well as the reviews of the folks who are linked by trust to those in that network.

I've spent the last couple of hours playing around with it, and I have to say that I think it's pretty powerful. A couple of things jump out at me:

- The quality of reviews that have been left by folks in my Trusted Network (working with a test account), are infinitely better than the more random sampling of reviews that can be found in the recent comments page, for example. So when I use the engine to find movie reviews from folks within 2 or 3 degrees of trust from me, I'm seeing good stuff - recommendations that look intriguing.

- I think the deciding factor of who you put in your trusted network is going to be pretty simple - do you like reading their reviews? If so, add'em.... you don't have to agree with them, you don't even have to like them. Conversely, just because you like someone personally doesn't mean that you'll want to have them in your Trusted Network.

- This engine is going to be helpful for a lot more than just products and services. It's a quick way to see a compilation of what all your favorite reviewers are talking about on the site, whether it be MP3 Players or Things That Smell Bad.

Stay tuned.... hopefully we'll get this thing launched for public consumption in the next couple of days.


A random smattering of amusing posts

Traderboy laments the fall of the Quarter Pounder with Cheese and Big Mac.

Sperryc insists that the Rolling Stones still rock, despite their age.

Alpepper advises you not to wear live strong bracelets near electrical equipment.

And Dodneh reviews the classic movie, "The Bad Seed."


WebList approval bug is now fixed

You should now be able to approve new WebList suggestions that have reviews associated with them.

Let me know if anything else broke...

Some More Comments on Site Search

So very quietly, we have been tightening and tweaking the new search engine. I think we're getting close, and in my personal opinion, the new search engine is already far more useful and flexible than the old search engine.

The next step is to roll in a spell-catcher for search queries - this should happen in the next couple of days.

As always, feedback is welcome....

Animated Banner Ads...

... are being filtered off the site as we speak.

If you come across a particularly obnoxious, slow loading ad that slows down page performance, please let me know and we can nuke it.


Recommendation Engine

So I just thought I would share with you guys how I envision the first iteration of the RateItAll recommendation engine.

The idea is pretty simple - provide a tool that lets us specify what sort of recommendations we are looking for (TV, Movies, Books, Restaurants, Travel, etc.) and how far outside of our Trusted Network we are willing to go to find those recommendations.

Clicking "Submit" will spit out all of the reviews that meet your parameters.

Eventually we'll move to being able to filter any ratings list page in a similar fashion - so that you can see what the "RIA Universe" thinks, as compared to what your trusted network thinks.

And this feature doesn't have to apply only to products. Some of the most interesting discussions on RateItAll apply to areas like politics, religion, and celebrities. These trust filters will be a neat way to allow you to read the reviewers that you find most interesting, and ignore the rest.

Stay tuned....

Web 2.1 Conference

I went to a really neat "un-conference" on Friday called Web 2.1 put together by a very nice and smart guy named Chris Heuer. The basis of the conference was a discussion of the direction of the Web, with a focus on how the Web is getting more and more "participatory" in that media (news, postings, reviews, video, etc.) is increasingly being generated from the ground up via sites like Blogger, MySpace, and Wikipedia, as opposed to by big media corporations.

Anyway, there was about fifty of us Web nerds there, and the discussions ranged from how we can use the participatory Web to prepare ourselves and respond to Katrina-like disasters through projects like Recovery 2.0, to a very neat service called Zazzle which lets you upload artwork and pictures to be applied to custom t-shirts and gear, to a walk through of RateItAll.

I spoke specifically about my vision of transforming RateItAll to a customized recommendation engine for everybody, using the power of trusted networks.

Here's a somewhat blurry picture of my presentation, courtesy of Miss Rogue at HorsePigCow.


The Animated Ads...

... seem to be really slowing down the recent comments page, and the user profile pages.

I'm going to work with our agency to try and filter out the animated ones on Monday.

Sorry for the annoyance.


Lance and President Bush

LanceRoxas expresses the betrayal that some conservatives are feeling regarding President Bush's appointment of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

Speaking in Vegas

It looks like I'm going to be speaking at an Internet conference in Las Vegas in November. The conference goes from the 15th to the 17th.

I'll be speaking about things near and dear to my heart like online community, social networking, and consumer generated content.

If anybody is in Vegas around then, drop me a line!

Deleting Accounts, Comments, etc.

As there has been a lot of misinformation spread about this subject recently, I thought I would clarify a few things about how RateItAll deals with things like comment deletion and requests to remove entire accounts.

First and foremost, I suggest that everyone read the Terms of Service. This document has been virtually unchanged since the launch of the site in 1999, and covers quite specifically issues regarding RateItAll's liability on accuracy of reviews, ownership of reviews, indemnification, and all that good stuff.

On an operational level, here is where I stand on this stuff. Once a review has been submitted to the site, I believe that it has become part of the conversation. Posts tend to reference each other, and pulling a specific review from the conversation can tend to make the entire thread difficult to follow.

For this reason, other than in extreme situations, I am not purging accounts anymore. Users that get in trouble with things like Site Rules will more often than not see their accounts disabled, as opposed to removed. In fact, as a security precaution, I have made it very difficult for even Administrators, to remove accounts.

This wasn't always the case - folks who have been around a long time on the site probably remember instances where long time users, due to repeated site rules violations, had their accounts completely erased. Fortunately, we now have a "disable" tool that allows me to shut down an account, without removing comments/helpful votes/ratings from the conversation.

That being said, there is nothing stopping a reviewer in good standing from deleting their own reviews. As much as I don't support removing a review that has been submitted to the conversation, RateItAll has never prevented anyone from removing a post that they authored. While it is conceivable that the site could decide to restore a review after it has been removed by its author, this is an unlikely scenario as far as I'm concerned - and has never happened to date.

Weblists are a different story. Because Weblists are almost always populated by reviews from lots of different members of the community, I don't think it appropriate to allow Weblist authors to simply delete Weblists and all their associated reviews from the site.

I hope that helps to clarify some of these issues. As always, feel free to email me directly (lawrence at rateitall.com) with specific questions.


Check it Out

So I think this is a pretty neat page. It's a summary page, by user, of the Top 10,000 RateItAll members across a variety of categories.

Here are some definitions:

Total Contributions = Reviews + WebList Listings + New Item Additions

WebList Listings = The total number of items within all of that member's Weblists. So if I have 10 WebLists, each with 10 items, my WebList Listings would be 100.

New Item Additions = The number of new item suggestions (triggered by the Light Bulb icon) that have been submitted and accepted on RIA (Main, WebLists, Local).

Trusted By = The number of other RIA members that have indicated trust for that particular member.

RateItAll Member Since = The date they joined RIA.

Last Site Activity = The date of their last activity on RIA.

We're working through a few bugs on this page - The Trusted By column doesn't seem to be synching up with the Trust summary page, and the Last Site Activity is showing some inaccurate results in some places, but this page is close to being finished.

You can also sort this page by category, by clicking on the appropriate heading. For example, this page shows a ranking of top 10,000 reviewers by New Item Additions.

The other new page that we've created is a summary page of all of a particular user's New Item Additions. RIA Member m. a. duron has submitted 371 new, approved items to RIA.

Please feel free to mess around with this page, and let me know if you see anything screwy.


Couple Interesting New Weblists

I think Spartacus007 did a very good job with his Weblist breaking out the various GOP Factions. Each listing has images, and what would seem to be even-handed and thorough descriptions.

Also, RateItAll newcomer Kairho came up with a list of Power Tool Brands and Weather Web Sites that are worth checking out.


So I mentioned in a blog post a while back that I thought the "Helpful" button might be broken, and may not be the most accurate way to gauge a RateItAll member's on site reputation.

So why do I think this? Let's look for example at the page devoted to Cartoon Network. Scroll down the page a bit a take a look at the post that Magellan left. His comment, "Great!" received two helpful votes.

Is this really a helpful comment? Or did this comment receive two helpful votes based on the fact that he's been on the site a long time, knows a bunch of folks, has been known to leave helpful comments elsewhere, has a "moderator" tag, etc., etc. All kinds of possible reasons that this comment was considered helpful - unfortunately, the comment itself, was probably not one of them.

On a larger scale, this sort of use of the helpful button can be deceptive. For example, there is a Top 25 RIA user (no longer active with the site) who received nearly 40% of his/her helpful votes from a single user.

Is this cheating? No, of course not. There are no rules as to what constitutes a helpful vote. Is this misleading? Perhaps, when you consider that the purpose of Top XX tags is to indicate to readers of the site whose opinions have earned a little more respect among the community. To continue with this thought, if the reader knew that 40% of the helpful votes resulting in that Top 25 tag came from a single user, perhaps this would cause them to think twice about considering that reviewer one of the elite members of the site.

So how can we get around this sort of issue? How can we come up with a measure of site reputation that alerts newcomers to the site of a reviewer's reputation, as gauged by the community?

There's no easy answer to this. One of the things that I've been looking at is a consideration of all the different factors that might go into what might a "trusted" reviewer look like, from a purely statistical point of view. Things like tenure on the site, number of helpful votes, distribution of helpful votes, number of folks trusting that member, reputation of those trust that member, who the member trusts, etc, etc.

My goal is to come up with a formula that converts all of these helpful type behaviors into some sort of a tag to help readers know who has earned a reputation on RateItAll.

That's not to say that a newcomer to the site who has only left a single post cannot be trusted. Of course not. All we would be doing with this tag is to say that statistically speaking, you're better off trusting someone who has demonstrated a bunch of these behaviors than someone who hasn't.

My guess is that everyone who is reading this blog has earned a TREMENDOUS amount of reputation here. The point of this is not to separate folks into tiers - but to provide some quantifiable measure of how to recognize those who have helped make RIA the community what it is.

We're still a ways away from this. It's actually pretty complicated math to come up with something that scales, so it's a fairly big project.

However, in the next couple of days, we should be rolling out a summary table that tracks things like reviews left, new items suggested, weblist items managed, incoming trust votes, etc. The purpose of this table will be to recognize folks who have contributed to the community on a variety of different fronts - not just by receiving helpful votes.

Stay tuned for more info....

Known bug alert...

Both Genghis the Hun and Ridgewalker have alerted me to a bug in approving new Weblist submissions that contain a paragraph in the associated review.

If you encounter a Weblist suggestion that has this problem (you'll see an error message when you click "submit"), please just leave it in your inbox until we have fixed this bug.



Remembering Maxwell Smart

Flick does a masterful job remembering actor Don Adams.

Back to Back Homeruns

On the Sex Pistols, of course. The back end courtesy of RIA dinosaur Ruby.

Welcome back Ruby!

Imagine This

Imagine you could go to your profile page and click on a link that said "Show Me Recommendations from my Trusted Network."

This would take you to a menu where you could choose from things like Books, Movies, Television, Web Sites, Bands, etc. Let's say you chose Televison.

The system would then spit out a list of highest rated Television Programs, according to those within 3 degrees of your Trusted Network, together with reviews of those programs from people that you trust. All other ratings and reviews data would be filtered out.

We're not that far from this.

And the Trusted Network functionality is what's going to allow this to happen.


edt4 on the Sex Pistols

edt4 makes a compelling case for why the Sex Pistols should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

I'm not sure about the Sex Pistols, but this is a Hall of Fame caliber post.

More on Trust...

So there's more to the story with this whole Trusted Network thing.

While I do think it is oddly comforting to see a visual display of our RIA cronies on our profile pages (Flick's profile pic is my favorite), and I think aesthetically, the profile pages look much nicer now - having visually pleasing profiles is not the end game here.

And while I think it is helpful for folks browsing the site to get a feel for whether other people trust the author of a particular review, the expected benefits of this feature go far beyond that.

Here's the vision:

I think that our hand-picked Trusted Networks (those that you trust) can evolve into the foundation of a personalized recommendation system for every one of us.

Imagine if you could filter out the ratings and reviews of every hit and run poster with an agenda on RIA, and only see the recommendations of those who are connected to you via your personal trusted network, or via the trusted network of those you trust.

If this site had this functionality, you would not just be getting the unsolicited opinions of the entire universe of RateItAll reviewers - you would be getting the aggregated recommendations of only those folks who are connected to you by links of trust. This network could be extended 2 degrees out, three degrees, four degrees out, etc. - to whatever degree that you felt comfortable with and that provided sufficient data.

That's what we're shooting for here. By identifying posters that you trust, you are linking yourselves not just with those individuals, but also with the networks of those individuals. In technical terms, for every additional node on your personal network, the power of that network grows exponentially.

So what does that mean? I think in terms of RateItAll, it means that the more we are able to organize ourselves into trusted networks, the more value our community can provide in generating relevant, helpful, personalized recommendations of things like movies, TV shows, products, restaurants, travel destinations, music - and even more subjective things like politicians, blogs, and Web sites.

As many of the most prolific RIA users trust each other, the networked value of this system is not apparent yet. But I think you can see signs of its power. I've noticed several relatively unknown users showing up as trusting some RateItAll heavyweights. Clicking through to the profile pages of those unknown users shows that in some cases, that trust is returned. What can we deduce from this? One very plausible conclusion is that these little known RIA users have a real life / offline connection to the RIA heavyweight. In my mind, this makes the value of their opinions that much more significant, and makes me trust their reviews a bit more.

This is network theory in action. And I think maybe the coolest aspect of it, is that each of us controls our own Trusted Network. Only we can decide who we trust, and because RateItAll is a free service open to anyone, we have the power to pick and choose from everyone we know - online or offline - to build a powerful, customized network that we can learn from.

Stay tuned, as this is a work in process.... as always, comments are welcome.


Getting Closer on Search...

OK folks, the search engine is getting better and better.

A search for College Football Stadiums now returns what it should.

A search for "Corpse Bride" now returns what it should (thanks Kamylienne).

I think the entire site has been successfully indexed now.

The last tweak we are working on is to put heavier weighting on the name of a particular item or category... For example, the search results for "Jessica Alba" should result in a page called "Jessica Alba" outranking the "Dark Angel" page. Currently, it's not.

We're working on this... hopefully we'll have things sorted out in the next day or to.

One question for you all.... do you think we should continue to partition search - in other words, break it up into RateItAll, Weblists, Local - or do you think we should offer the option to search site wide? Feedback welcome.

Trust Network

There is now a visual Trust Network live on each user profile page.

More on this to follow :)


Addition to Site Rules

We added a new entry to the RateItAll site rules today.

It is now off limits to name specific employees when reviewing a company or service, or to disclose personally identifying information (emails, phone numbers, addresses, etc.) in reviews.

This addition is consistent with RateItAll's themes of trying to stay away from personal attacks in reviews, and to focus on more helpful information such as quality of service.

Need Your Help

I'm looking for specific examples with the new search engine in which you are not able to find what you need.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

A search for "College Football Stadiums" doesn't yield any college football stadiums.

Please send examples like this in, either through the site feedback tools, or directly me to lawrence AT rateitall.com.

Make sure to tell me exactly what you were searching for, and why you weren't happy with the results.

Thanks for you help.



OK, we're making progress on the new RateItAll site search engine.

We now have the category of each search result showing up, which makes it much easier to find what you need.

For example, see these search results for George W. Bush.

As you can see, the first three results show that you can rate him in the context of 1) US Politicians and Officials ; 2) US Presidents; and 3) Republican Convention Speakers.

We have a couple of more tweaks planned that should make the new search engine even easier to use... stay tuned.


Couple Weblists of Note

Kamylienne has set up two Weblists worth checking out: 1) a directory of Pet Lost & Found Websites; and 2) a list of sushi restaurants in Gainesville.

New RateItAll User USACollegeTowns.com seems bent on building Weblists of bars and hotels in every college town across the USA.

James W. Bevis has set up a phenomenal Weblist of each of the 156 original Twilight Zone episodes, complete with descriptions.

And yes, the Joan Jett fan club seems to have discovered the Weblister - click here for Joan Jett Songs.

And if that's not obscure enough for you, try out RIA's new list of RSS Readers and Parsers.


Do you want to add a photo to your RateItAll profile page...

....but don't know how?

We can help.

Just send us an email with your photo enclosed to data @ rateitall.com (but with no spaces) from the email account that is associated with your RateItAll account, and we'll add it for you.

We can also help folks who are tired of having a stretched photo on their profile page - just follow the same instructions above, and we'll format the photo for you and update your profile page.

We have a couple of features in the works that will result in a little more visibility for profile pages - so you may want to consider putting your best foot forward :)


Site Enhancement Update

Thanks to everyone who has reported bugs over the last couple of days including Flick, traderboy, genghis the hun, and tboneya. This sort of feedback is VERY helpful.

Here is the current status of the recent site enhancements:

- Quotation Mark Bug - new reviews that contain quotation marks are now correctly displaying those quotation marks. However, past reviews that used to contain quotation marks are not. We are working to restore all of those lost quotation marks.

- RateIt! Pop-Up Window - we have now completed the transition back to the RateIt! pop-up window. This feature should be bug free, and you should be able to rate from any area of the site: recent comments, item page, ratings list page, search results page, featured comment, user comments page, etc. One thing we're keeping an eye on is reports that the RateIt! pop-up window is too big, and it's difficult to click on the "submit" button. I am looking for more feedback regarding this issue - so if you are experiencing this, please send in feedback either via the blog, or directly to me at lawrenceATrateitall.com.

- Search - The new search engine is live, and we are continuing to work through some tweaks. I am withholding judgment on the effectiveness of this search engine until we can get the entire site indexed - this should be sometime later this week. In the meantime, you can access the old RIA search engine if need be.

- Site Speed - We've now completed recodes of every ratings list page on the site, as well as the recent comments page. We've also successfully doubled our database processing power. The site is absolutely humming for me right now, and it's as fast as I've ever seen it. I hope you are experiencing the same, and would love to hear your feedback.

That's it for now. Stay tuned for more feature enhancements, and keep the great feedback and ideas coming.


You asked for it....

.... and I have made it so.

The legendary RateItAll RateIt! pop-up window is back.

I have to say, you guys were right. It is MUCH faster and easier to rate via a pop-up window than via a stand alone page.

Thanks for the feedback, and please keep it coming.

Site Tweaks Going on - Beware!

Save any long posts that you make for the next couple of hours, we are working on the site, so performance may be a little dicey.

One of the changes that we're working on is the return of the RateIt! pop-up window. Despite glowing reviews of the new RateIt! page, we've decided to go back to the pop-up window.


Couple of Comments on the New Search Engine

Here are a couple of quick things to keep in mind as we test this new search engine:

- The site is not fully indexed. There are some pages that can not be found with the new search engine. We are working on this, and should have it corrected shortly.

- New additions to the site will not be found via the search engine. There will be approximately a 24 hour lag before new additions to the site start showing up in the search engine.

- The new search engine will only return items. So if you do a search for "Horror Movies," it will not return a link to the main Horror Movies section - just individual restaurants within that section. We're working to correct this as well.

- The site continues to be divided into three partitions for the purposes of search: RateItAll, Weblists, and Local. You'll need to specify which part of the site you are searching via the drop down menu.

As we work through the kinks, the old search engine will stay available here:


New Search Engine Live

Finally we have a real search engine. Try it out, and please give me feedback.

We're going to be making some tweaks to it during the next couple of days to make it easier to use.... but again, feedback is much appreciated.


RateItAll is Back Up!

The new database is live, and the site seems to be flying.

RateItAll is Going Down....

.... Right Now.

We're putting the new database online. Just to review, this will double site processing power, and should have a noticeable impact on performance.

If things go well, we'll be back up within the hour.


RateItAll Will Be Down For Maintenance....

.... Tomorrow, September 13 from 11AM - 2PM EST.

We're going to try and install the new database again.

My first preference was to do the upgrade in the middle of the night. However, since we've had some difficulties with this upgrade, to be safe I decided to do it when the Tyan customer service desk is open.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

The Return of Real Time Comment Updates

I have enabled real time updates on both the recent comments page, and the user page.

So you'll now be able to immediately see comments that you post on your user page, and all comments that post on the recent comments page as they come in.

We'll see how it goes.... we have more server firepower coming in tomorrow (details to follow), so I'm optimistic that we can handle this now.


Well, we've recoded the main ratings list / weblist template for every RateItAll ratings list.

And so far, it seems to be screamingly fast to open a ratings list page. Here's an example.

Be on the look-out for bugs, as this was a significant code change.

We'll now be going through one by one the critical pages of the site and doing the same thing...

Code Upgrade Being Deployed....

Site may be unstable for the next few minutes.


College Football Players

With College Football season kicking into full gear, we've finally gotten around to updating our current College Football Players list.

If you don't see your favorite player, you can add him yourself.


Anyone ever been to Athens?

If so, check out our new list of Athens Tourist Attractions. Each item on the list has pictures and descriptions - here's a good opportunity to get that first review in on some high profile listings.

We're working on blowing out these sections for each of the major tourist cities in the world.

Here are some others to check out - if you don't see your favorite spot in any of these cities, make sure to add it by clicking on the light bulb icon:

Amsterdam Tourist Attractions

Barcelona Tourist Attractions

Buenos Aires Tourist Attractions

London Tourist Attractions

Madrid Tourist Attractions

Melbourne Tourist Attractions

Mexico City Tourist Attractions

Montevideo Tourist Attractions

Paris Tourist Attractions

Rio Tourist Attractions

Rome Tourist Attractions

Santiago, Chile Tourist Attractions

Sydney Tourist Attractions


New iTunes Phone Out

Anyone have the 100 song iTunes phone yet? Apparently it's also known as the Motorola Rokr.

I think I like "iTunes phone" better.

Gilligan Has Died

Click through to remember Gilligan, AKA Bob Denver.

People Who Creep Me Out...

The Weblist, "People who creep me out" has been removed.

As I've hinted for several months now, RIA is making a conscious effort towards moving away from these sorts of lists. Specifically, lists that are entirely personal in nature, have no theme, and are made up entirely of listings that can be found in other sections may not be long for the site.

I'm not planning any widescale purge of these sorts of lists, but you may start to see them dropping off one by one.



If you have ever considered making the trip to Germany for Oktoberfest, make sure to check out this must read post from earthbound.

More Katrina Fall-out

Two more Weblists touch on the subject of Katrina:

#1JohnDoeFan looks at some of the consequences of the wrath of Hurricane Katrina, and Magellan starts pointing fingers and assigning blame for Katrina's poor preparation and slow response.



Chief Justice William Rehnquist died last night. Comment HERE.

Speculation as to replacements on the bench is going on HERE.


Sprocket Data

Here's sort of a neat story about how the guy who runs Sprocket Data, RateItAll's hosting provider, has responded to Katrina.


DB Upgrade Unsuccessful

We'll try again tomorrow, once we speak to the good folks at Tyan.

RateItAll Will Be Down For Maintenance....

... tonight, starting at 1AM EST until roughly 4AM.

As mentioned in earlier posts, we decided to shell out the $$ and invest in a high powered database server. The new database will be powered by four, high-end, super fast processors (compared to two, high-end, super fast processors currently). And yes, that means we are doubling our processing power.

RateItAll's traffic grew by about 25% in August over July, and we're scrambling to keep up. I'm very hopeful that this upgrade will result in a noticeable difference in site speed...

The RateItAll Community Reacts....

....to Katrina.


Buy Back Announcements

The newest batch of WebList Buy Back winners was just announced.

The big winner was earthbound, who was nominated and won for not one, but two WebLists - Puzzles and Animal Usage.

Some veteran Weblisters such as irishgit, tboneya, and redoedo hit paydirt, as well as relative newcomer texasyankee, who did a fantastic job with images and descriptions in her South Park Episodes WebList.

Thanks to everyone who makes WebLists, and remember, keep those nominations coming.

Did you know... (part 2)

... that the Alert check box visible on every ratings list page (for logged in users only), is an easy way to activate an email notification when new reviews are posted for that item?

For example, checking the alert sign up box next to "Back Bay" on this page...:


.... means that you will receive an email whenever a new review is posted on Back Bay.

For more info on how to use alerts, click HERE.

Did you know....

...that you can access the RIA Blog through the "Company" tab on the navigation bar on every page of the site? It's right next to the "Help" tab.


Couple new lists to check out

A couple of new ratings lists were just added to the main RateItAll index - Boston Neighborhoods and Constellations & Stars.

Feel free to start rating...

Hurricane Katrina

I've set up a link to the Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina donations.

WebList Rating Scale Tool

OK, another new feature just went live.

You can now set a ratings scale for your WebLists (e.g. 5 = Strongly Agree, 1 = Strongly Disagree).

This ratings scale will be displayed right under the title of your WebList, and will also populate the drop-down fields on the RateIt! page when people try and rate that WebList.

The ratings scale is a required field for all WebLists made from now on. I'm hoping that this feature will help remind people that RateItAll is a ratings site, and that while forum-like discussions can be fun, they're really not what RateItAll is about.

For older WebLists without a viable ratings scale, I wouldn't worry too much about them. We will most likely moving them to User Page Only status, in order to start adding a little structure to the Wild West that is WebLists.

RateLocal iPod Winner

Congratulations to RateItAll member Andrew Scott for winning the RateLocal promotion. He will receive his choice of a 20GB iPod or a $300 gift certificate to Amazon.

We'll be running more promotions in the near future....

Stay tuned!

South Park Episodes

Just noticed that TexasYankee has put together a collection of 110 South Park episodes.... good stuff!

Want fresher RIA comments?

Well here's a trick.

I stumbled onto this one myself.

If anyone uses the Google Customized Home Page, you can set up an RSS feed of recent RIA comments that is fresher than what is displayed on the site.

It's very easy to do. To set this up, follow these instructions:

1) Go to your Google home page. If you don't have one set up yet, you can do so HERE.
2) Click on the "Add Content" link in the upper left hand corner
3) Click on the "Create A Section"
4) Copy and paste this url into the field: http://www.rateitall.com/recentcommentsrss.aspx

If you get stuck, post a comment here, and we'll see if we can figure out what the problem is.

Lots of good stuff in the works....

Site Speed:

Another DB upgrade is happening Thursday evening. We're doubling processing power again, and now have perhaps the most powerful, custom built database on the planet. Well, maybe not the planet.

I've brought in an optimization expert to recode all of our ratings list pages. I've seen examples of his work, and the difference in page loading times before and after is impressive. I'm optimistic between this recode and the upgraded DB, the site will fly, and we'll be able to undo some of the caching stuff that is causing delays on new posts displaying on the Recent Comments page and User page.

Site Search:

I've closed a deal with a site search company, and we're getting really close to launching a real search engine for RIA. This search engine will mirror how the best ones perform (Google, Yahoo, MSN), where you can type in a query and the search engine will show you the best results throughout the site. You'll also be able to rate directly from the search results. I'm hoping this will be live within two weeks.

Lots of other good stuff in the pipeline as well, I'll do my best to keep you posted.

P.S. I'm looking into going back to the RateIt! Pop-Up window based on your feedback.

Working On Ratings Scale Tool For Weblists

..... There may be some momentary glitches.

Stay tuned.


Help FAQs Updated

The RIA Help FAQs now have more detailed information about some of the new features like how to add a new listing, and how to set up alerts.

Feel free to point Newbies to the Help page if you see them struggling... as the info is now up to date.

Time for bed now, my eyes are starting to glaze over.

Updated WebList FAQs are Now Live

We've added info to the WebList FAQs regarding how to respond to user suggestions, how to add new items to your WebList, and why the cumulative rating of a WebList matters.

Orphaned Weblists

I've created a Weblist account for orphaned Weblists - Weblists whose original author is no longer willing or able to administer them. These Weblists can be found HERE.

In other Weblist news, you may have noticed a slight change to the Weblist administration tool. Weblist authors are no longer able to delete comments from their Weblists - this responsibility will now fall to RIA Administrators, and eventually, to RIA Mods.

Finally, as some of you know, a former Weblist author recently deleted thousands of reviews. We're working to restore these reviews. It may take a couple of days or weeks, but we should be able to bring them back... doing frequent back-ups to a database the size of RIA's can be a pain, but every once in a while you remember why you do it.

I'll keep you posted.


Weblist Community Controls Now in Effect...

OK, now you should only be seeing unrated Weblists or Weblists with a cumulative rating of 3.0 or higher in the main Weblist index.

All other Weblists are accessible through the profile page of their author, via the search engine, or via the New Additions page.

So now we will decide as a community which Weblists get airtime, and which don't. Please use this tool responsibly :)

Over the next couple of days, I should have a tool available that allows each Weblist creator to indicate a ratings scale, as well as an administrative override tool that lets RIA staff manually assign Weblists to user page only status. This tool will be used initially to relocate highly personal Weblists (e.g. "Songs I Play on Guitar.")


Weblist Changes

There are now nearly 3,000 Weblists that have been created by RateItAll members. Many of these make for compelling reading and have been put together with a lot of time and effort. Some of them haven't.

As more and more Weblists compete for airtime, we felt it was the right time to institute some community controls to allow the RateItAll community to determine which weblists get the most exposure. In addion, we'll be taking advantage of the changes to clarify some of the existing guidelines.

Very soon now (possibly as early as this evening), we're going to be launching a series of tweaks to the Weblist channel of the site. As mentioned in earlier posts, these tweaks are going to:

- Require that every Weblist have a ratings scale in order to be published.
- Ensure that the highest quality Weblists, as determined by the community, get the most airplay.
- Clarify some of the guidelines related to Weblists.

Specific applications of the new Weblist approach will include the following:

- Weblists that have a cumulative rating of 3.00 or higher will be accessible through the main Weblist index. Weblists that have a cumulative rating of a 2.99 or lower will be accessible through the user page of the Weblist creator.
- Weblists that are entirely personal to the reviewer (e.g. "Songs I Play on the Guitar," "Rate My DVD Collection," "A Few Ideas I Have") will be accessible only through the user page of the Weblist creator.
- There will be an administrative override, that in certain cases, will be used to assign a Weblist to "user page only" status.

Initially, it will only take one 3+ rating for a Weblist to show up in the main index. This means that all of us will be able to make an immediate impact in determining which Weblists get airplay, and which don't - as many of the Weblists have not been rated.

To ensure that quality, but as of yet unrated Weblists, don't get lost in the shuffle, any Weblist that is unrated will also show up in the index, until its cumulative rating drops below 3.0.

As always, feedback is welcome....


RateLocal Contest Ends Today....

Still anybody's ballgame. To sign up to win the iPod or $300 Amazon gift certificate, read the instructions here.

All local reviews must be in tonight by 11:59 PM CST, AND your contest registration info must be received by me at lawrence AT rateitall.com by 5:59PM CST this evening.

Good luck!


Get those local reviews in....

....As an iPod is in the balance.

Just two days remaining in the RateLocal iPod promotion, and it's still anybody's ballgame.

Remember, to participate you need to follow the instructions HERE.


New Features!

OK, a bunch of stuff just launched.

You can now set email alerts on the following:

1) When a new review is posted to a specific item (we had this before, but now it's easier to manage)
2) When a new item is added to a specific ratings list (RIA or Weblist or Local)
3) When a specific user leaves a new review
4) When a specific user creates a new Weblist

#1 can be triggered from three places: the ratings list page, the RateIt! page, and the item page.
#2 can be triggered from the ratings list page.
#3 and #4 can be triggered from that user's profile page.

Also, there is now a "User Block" feature. This feature is triggered on an incoming personal message. If you get an unwanted personal message, you can now block the person who sent it from contacting you again.

Blocking a user also prevents them from setting alert type #3 for your reviews.

You can manage all your alerts and user blocks via links from your profile page.

Got all that? As there are a lot of changes involved in these features, be on the look out for bugs.

Feel free to email me with questions lawrence AT rateitall.com.

Have fun with them, and please test them out.


Weblist Ratings

I'm looking seriously at implementing some sort of community quality control over Weblists. As more and more Weblists gets created, it is becoming more important to find ways to ensure that higher quality Weblists (more original, more carefully constructed, more useful), get more airplay than lower quality Weblists.

The most reasonable way to do this will be to utilize a Weblist's rating to determine which ones deserve more airplay.

So I'd encourage people to make full use of the Weblist rating feature. And please, try to rate the Weblist based on its own merits, and not how friendly you are with its author :)


RateLocal Contest

If you would like to participate in the RateLocal contest and don't live in one of the cities that we already cover, please feel free to send in feedback to the site.

We may be able to put up a few new categories so that you can submit your own favorite places using the new item submission tool.


Site Speed and RateLocal Promotion

OK, we successfully installed the new database last night. We effectively doubled our db's processing power last night - and have another major upgrade planned for the next two months. The site seems to be pretty fast today, but I welcome feedback.

Also, the RateLocal iPod Promotion starts today. Reviews left between today and August 24 will count towards the promotion (make sure to check out the full rules of the contest).


RateLocal Promotion

Hi all, just a quick heads up:

We're going to be running another RateLocal promotion, with a chance to win a 20GB iPod or $300 gift certificate from Amazon.

Here's how it's going to work - the RIA member who leaves the most qualifying reviews of local businesses on RateLocal between August 10 and August 24, will have their choice of the two prizes listed above.

We ran this promotion about 2 months ago, and RIA user Jder walked away with a new iPod.

For a review to be considered a "qualifying review" it needs to be at least 2 sentences long, be in your own words, and reflect your personal experience at the local business.

To participate in this promotion, you must send an email to promotions@rateitall.com before 6 PM Central Time on August 24 (the last day of the contest) that includes your full legal name, your street address, your telephone number, and your age as of the last day of the contest. For the full rules of the contest, click HERE.

Remember, you can take full advantage of the "Add a new item" feature - this feature makes it possible to rate ANY merchant in or around the 52 cities covered by RateLocal - your bank, your grocery store, your favorite retailers, restaurants, bars, gas stations, dry cleaners, etc, etc, etc.

Feel free to email me with any questions.

Database Update

OK, we have finally tracked down the part we need to install our new, high-powered database.

RateItAll's hosting company says it was like "trying to find a crankshaft for a 2005
Lamborghini Gallardo." Not really sure what that means, but as we like our hosting company, we'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Once installed, this database will provide us with eight times the processing power as our existing one. This doesn't necessarily mean the site will be eight times as a fast, but there should be a noticeable improvement.

We will be installing this thing Tuesday evening / Wednesday morning at 1AM EST. Please expect several hours of downtime.


New Database Server NOT Going in Tonight


Unless a miracle happens, it looks like we're missing a part. It looks like the DB won't be live until late Tuesday evening...

I'll keep you posted.

New Database Server Going In Tonight


As reported elsewhere, RIA will be down from about 1AM EST to about 4AM EST this coming morning while we get this thing configured. Could be less, could be more.

I'm hoping for less.

Going to the ballgame with your Dad

Nice post from RIA heavyweight IJR on going to a ballgame with his dad.

Bad Experience

Long time RateItAll contributor Molfan was recently scammed by a magazine company.

They apparently didn't know who they were messing with.

Molfan has set up a Weblist entitled "Companies That Will Scam You," in which she recounts her experience.

Feel free to contribute to this list - who knows, maybe some of that bad karma will float back around to some of these thieves.


Identity Theft

Nice list of tips for avoiding Identity Theft put together by Graymalkin, with lots of contributors.

Of course, if you prefer reviewing the Citibank Identity Theft Victims ad spot, you can do that too.


Weblist Cleaning....

Did a little Weblist cleaning this evening. Thanks to all who flagged bogus Weblists.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.... post in bogus weblists at your own risk, as you never known when they will disappear.

So what's a bogus weblist? One example would be those that are without a ratings scale / impossible to rate.... More on this to follow.

Scheduled Downtime

The new database server has arrived and we will be installing it Friday evening at 1AM EST.

RateItAll will be unavailable for several hours. Please make your weekend plan accordingly :)


A Comment on Privacy

It's been a while since I've said this, and it's worth repeating.

RateItAll has never sold or compromised any of the personal information submitted by RateItAll members through registration.

And as long as I'm with this company, we won't do it. Ever.

We hate spammers with a passion, and decided a long time ago that we wouldn't go that route.

Click through to see the full details of the RateItAll Privacy Policy.

Another thing to keep in mind - RateItAll does not require the submission of personally identifiable information such as Name or Address. There's a reason for this - if we don't have it, it can't be compromised. Even by accident.

To further protect your online identities, we will soon be instituting a personal messaging blocker that will allow you to block RateItAll personal messages from specified users.

Stay tuned for more info.

Feedback on Site Caching

I've gotten some feedback on the recent implementation of page caching. Specifically, this caching has resulted in; 1) delays for new comments hitting your user pages; 2) less frequent updates of the RateItAll recent comments page.

So here's the deal:

- The caching was implemented to protect the database from surging traffic until we can get a new database server in place

- The new database has been purchased, and is scheduled to go online late Friday evening

- I am hopeful we can do some of these caching delays once we have the new server in place.

Thanks for your understanding and I'll keep you posted.


A Tip

One little benefit of the new Weblist Admin Tool - you now have another option for how to add new items to YOUR OWN Weblist.

Instead of using the Weblister tool available through the profile page, you can send suggestions to yourself and then approve them.

The benefit of doing it this way? I'm not sure. It's a little easier to add new stuff in flow directly from the weblist as opposed to going to your user page. Also, new items approved in this manner will credit you on the item page.... this may be interesting should RIA ever start tracking who has submitted the most new items.

Not that any of us are competitive or anything.



One more thing... approving new weblist suggestions with the new tool will give credit to the submittor. No need for any more of these (thanks to Numbah for the suggestion!) qualifiers.

Weblist Suggestion Tool Ready to Go

As promised, we are ready to go with the Weblist Suggestion Management Tool.

On your user page, new item suggestions and personal messages are now separated. Clicking on the Weblist suggestions link will show you a summary of all of the Weblist suggestions that have been submitted by RateItAll users.

Here's how the tool works:

1) Click on the "View" link that corresponds with a particular Weblist suggestion to see the details of that suggestion.

2) Once you've clicked "View," you will be able to review and edit the submitted Item Name, Item Description, and Related Links submitted by the RateItAll member. You will also be able to upload an image to correspond with the item, and to see whatever rating / review the submittor has posted for the new item suggestion.

3) Depending on the quality / appropriateness of the suggestion, you can either check the "Approve" or "Reject" buttons, and then click "Submit" at the bottom of the page. Clicking submit generates an automatic personal message sent to the submittor, informing them of the status of their suggestion.

That's it. I'll hope that you'll find that this is an incredibly easy and effective way to manage new suggestions for your Weblists. We've had this tool active for a few weeks on the main RateItAll side, and it's been a great help.

One more thing: all user Weblist suggestions are copied in the RateItAll Administrator mailbox. I think the way we're going to handle these is that we'll wait a week before submitting/rejecting Weblist suggestions that have gone unanswered.

Please remember to delete processed Weblist suggestions! And keep an eye out for bugs, as this is a new feature.

Enjoy... you can give feedback here.



You may have noticed that your new comments are not immediately showing up on user page. Not to worry. We've instituted caching on these pages in order to improve site performance.

So what does that mean? It means that your new comments will show up on your user page within the hour...

Working on Site Speed

We're rolling in a few improvements to improve site speed today - doubling processing power on the servers, making some tweaks to the code, etc.

Be prepared for sporadic dowtime.

I'll keep you posted.


Larry Brown is a Knick

Is this a big deal? Comment here.

Or you can click through here to speculate as to how Larry Brown will do as coach of the Knicks.

What we're working on....

Four new features are pretty far along development:

- Tool to let weblist creators manage new suggestions, complete with all the associated fields (item description, links, review, etc.)

- Expanded Alert functionality that will allow RIA members to set alerts for when 1) new items are added to a particular ratings list; 2) a particular reviewer posts; 3) new weblists are activated by a particular reviewer

- Control panel in the user page to manage ALL alerts, including the new ones listed above, as well as the existing "new review on an item" alert that is already functional

- Blocking feature that will allow reviewers to block specified reviewers from sending them personal messages, as well as block alert type #2 listed above

I'm hopeful we're going to get these up by Monday - cross your fingers.

Three Stars for Saddam?

It all has to do with the scale. Check out Paul2505's "Military Dictator" ratings system.

It takes a lot of courage...

.... to do what traderboy does here.

Let's make sure we support him as he goes through this difficult time.

John Kerry as Jesus Christ?

Mr. Political is not surprised.

Tips on Uploading Images to Weblists

Has anyone noticed that images and item descriptions make for better, and more popular Weblists?

Two good recent examples are spartacus007's "people who are screwing up america" list and James76255's "Democrats say stupid things too" list. Some might not be crazy about the subject matter, but these guys' use of images and descriptions is impressive.

A couple of tips on uploading images:

- Wikipedia.org is an excellent source of images. Not only do they have a wealth of high quality images on virtually any topic, ALL of their images are in the public domain and may be republished legally.

- Images should be sized to 110(width) x 94(height). Sizing can be done with a wide variety of photo editing software. I use Photoshop, which works great.

- If you don't have photo editing software, or just can't be bothered, don't despair. A quick and easy tip to finding images that will look great on your weblist is to look for images that are slightly wider than they are tall. These images won't get stretched out when you upload them to the site.

That's it for now... I'm sure some of the Weblisters extraordinaires will have more tips.

The Dangers of Flip-Flopping

CanadaSucks explains why flip-flopping is a dangerous thing.

(do i detect a little sarcasm in this post?)


RSS Help Page Now Live

Here's an RSS help page that explains the technology in the context of RateItAll.

Excuse me while I whip this out....

A collection of classic Blazing Saddles Quotes brought to you by Numbah.

The movie, of course, was directed by Mel Brooks.

Expanding the Language

One of the more inspiring things about RateItAll reviewers, is that they're never content to just let things be.

For example.

Some would say that there are plenty of words in the English and Swedish languages. What need could there possibly be to create more?

Nonsense says Sundiszno. What about these Ikea sounding words that sound Swedish?

Not to be outdone, EO applied his surgical mastery of English to create useful, Franken-words. How else could we have known that Kamylienne was Aquadextrous?

How to mask a lack of intelligence

Wickedly funny advice from RIA newcomer JMJ.

EO on the Babe

Fantastic post.

Google Customizable Home Page

Is anyone using the Google Customizable Home Page yet? I am. It lets you pick your own content for the Google search page. For example, I added my stock quotes, weather for where I live, sports scores for the teams that I follow - it's pretty handy.

Well anyway, I was doing a search today and I noticed something new on my Google page. There is now a section on the left hand panel that lets you add RSS feeds to your Google page. So yes, I immediately added the RateItAll Recent Comments feed to my Google page.

Here's how you do it:

1) Go to your Google home page. If you don't have one set up yet, you can do so HERE.
2) Click on the "Add Content" link in the upper left hand corner
3) Click on the "Create A Section"
4) Copy and paste this url into the field: http://www.rateitall.com/recentcommentsrss.aspx

That's it. Presto, you have the freshest snapshot of RateItAll comments summarized on your Google home page.

I feel like I'm starting to sound like a broken record on this stuff, but I think RSS is pretty powerful.

Another Example of an RSS Feed

OK, I added an RSS feed of the "Feedback on RateItAll" ratings list to the left hand column of this page... check it out. All the items are automatically linked to the correct pages, so you can click through to rate anything you see there.

If anyone needs help doing this for their own blog, let me know as I would be happy to help, as I think it's a pretty cool feature. It's not that hard.


Shades of Gray

Here's a creative and unique Weblist from CanadaSucks laying out the various shades of cheating in baseball.

Get your weblist buy back suggestions in...

.... as RIA is itching to give away some money.

For those not familiar with the program, here's the info.

To nominate a weblist for buy back, click the "Administrative Review" icon on any weblist, and select the "Nominate for Buy Back" option.

Nice Use of RateItAll RSS Feed

OK, it looks like someone has figured out how to use a RateItAll RSS feed. RIA user spartacus007 has successfully fed his controversial weblist, The People who are Screwing Up America, to his personal blog.

If you look in the left hand column, and scroll down a bit, you can see it.

If he had wanted to, he could have set it up in a way that would display a snippet from the most recent comment for each item as well.

Cool, huh?


11 blog posts on a Sunday?

That's not too shabby.

(actually, it's 12 if you count this one)

It's official.... we have a new Mod

Please welcome tboneya to the Moderator team.

Among the most respected RateItAll reviewers, tboneya has been with us since early 2001.

This is a long overdue appointment.

Introducing...... Paragraphs

OK, in the interest of readability, we are going to experiment with allowing RIA posters to use paragraphs in their reviews.

The idea is that some of these reviews are long enough that breaking them up into paragraphs will make them more readable.

To enter a paragraph, just click "return" on your keyboard (I feel a little like the stewardesses on the plane giving a demonstration of the seat belt). You should know how to make a paragraph by now.

Please don't abuse this.

An improvement that is small, but nice

OK, now when you hit "submit" on a rating/review, your browser will be directed back to the page that you originated from.

So, if you are on item page, write a review, and hit submit - you will be taken back to the item page, not the ratings list page.

Or if you are using the filters on a ratings list page to alphabetize a ratings list, and you click a RateIt! button, once you submit your rating, you will be taken back to the alphabetized ratings list.

Or, if you are "viewing all items" on a ratings list page, and you click a RateIt! button, once you submit your rating, you will be taken back to the "view all items" view of the ratings list.

Follow me?

Filter Fix

OK, we've fixed the user page filters so that all of those thousands of foreign city names aren't showing up anymore... So you can now filter your comments by each of the nine primary categories.

This "should" speed up load times for the "view all comments" accessible through the user pages.

My mom says RIA is too hard to read....

.... so we've bumped the font up one on the RateIt! page in an ongoing effort to make it easier to edit your comments before submitting.

Eventually, we will bump the font up all over the site, as mom has a point.

Born on Dating

We've added a "born on" date for all Weblists. This should eliminate any dispute regarding whose "Most Hated Americans" Weblist was created first :)

The date can be found in the orange bar, immediately after the user name of the Weblist creator.

This feature was recommended by the artist formally known as VFERN.

We'll be working a few more enhancements in the next couple of hours... so save your comments, as the site will be up and down sporadically.

Also, stay tuned for an important Moderator announcement....

Lance does it again

No, not that Lance. This Lance.

Nice Post from a Newcomer....

Check out how planetaryghost expresses his frustration on the one line, unoriginal attacks on Christianity.

Ratings / Reviews Tally Bug Fixed....


So now, the ratings list pages should be showing the correct count for how many reviews have been left for a particular item, and not just the number of ratings.

You would not believe how complicated some tiny little fixes can be.... Please be on the lookout for other things that may have broken during this fix.

When new item submissions get rejected...

Every once in a while we reject new item submissions. The most common reasons for this are:

- Poor spelling or grammar
- Incomplete item description
- Improper case (all capital letters, all small letters, etc.)
- The item was submitted to the wrong ratings list
- The item already exists on the site

Usually, if the person has taken the time to leave a quality review along with the new item submission, we will make the fixes ourselves.

Looking for some feedback...

...on some of the recent enhancements to RateItAll. Here are the links to give feedback:

If you're not sure what any of these are, there are explanations on each of the pages in the "About" section.


Weblist Suggestions

OK, I think we're just about caught up with approving Weblist suggestions. In some cases, if the Weblist creator had already added the suggestion, I went ahead and pasted the original review that was submitted via the suggestion form.

I will be happy when the new feature is up and running that will allow you all to do this yourselves. It sure is confusing when RIA administrators and Weblist creators are sharing approval duties.

Stay tuned...

More Terror

The terror attacks in the resort town in Egypt, as well as the second round of bombings in London have been added to spartacus007's Weblist of 2005 Events.

Your Clothes are Not Safe with Phil Collins

Interesting story from traderboy regarding Phil Collins and clothes theft. Who is the nastiest celebrity?


What's your favorite river?

Genghis the hun aims to find out through his pretty comprehensive weblist of American Rivers.

Two Posts Worth Reading

It looks like RIA heavyweight abichara could teach Tom Cruise a thing or two about how to sanely and precisely lay out the dangers of Ritalin.

And LanceRoxas' careful articulation of the Bush Doctrine is worth a read, wherever you may stand on the political spectrum.

Hockey in July?

The NHL owners have agreed to a new labor deal. The NHL lock-out is over. Is this a big sports story?

Robert Novak on RateItAll

CNN personality and conservative columnist Robert Novak has been added to RateItAll. Novak is the columnist who wrote the 2003 Chicago Sun-Times article outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame, touching off a federal investigation.


Behind on Weblist New Item Approvals

We're a little behind on Weblist new item approvals. I hope to get caught up this weekend.

Weblist creators can either add new listing themselves (the downside of doing this is that the submitter will lose any comment and description that they submitted, AND the submitter won't get credit).

If possible, I recommend waiting... as we will get caught up soon.

We are also making progress on implementing the new feature that will allow Weblist owners to approve or reject entire new item submissions themselves with a click of the mouse.

Working on the Reviews Tally Bug

Hi all, we are trying to fix the bug that causes the reviews tally to equal the ratings tally on the various ratings list pages.

We tried to fix it once already, and it slowed the site to a crawl. I'll keep you posted.


Thoughts on a proposed new feature

I am considering adding a feature that would let folks comment on particular reviews - much like you can do on Blogger. So if a particular review inspires a reaction, registered RateItAll reviewers would be able to post a comment regarding that review.

The thinking is this: currently, in order to rebut a review, you need to repost your entire review with one of those awkward "UPDATE" announcements. It doesn't make for very good reading, and oftentimes the original quality comment can be lost under all the updates.

These review comments would be one click deeper than the reviews themselves. Anyone see any downside?

Comments are appreciated.