Search by Tag is Live....

You can now search for RateItAll reviewers by their People Tags.

The next step will be a tag cloud, that will look something like this.

I think this is a pretty good tool for making sure your tags match what others are doing... for example, if I tag myself "hoops" but someone else tags themselves "bball," we're not going to match. It may be worth it to double check your tags in the search to get the most mileage out of this feature...


Tagging Output is live.... and it's very, very cool

As promised, I think we have this tagging stuff in order, and i'm pretty freaking excited about it.

Click on a tag on any profile page to find likeminded folks, and what they're writing about.

Check out some Tag groups clusters for:







So what are your tags??

Get Firefox

In the last 3 months we've seen the percentage of RateItAll visitors using Firefox as a browser go from 8% to over 14%. There's a reason. Firefox is great. Don't believe me? Check out this video:

Get Firefox today by clicking on the graphic in the sidebar.


Rolling in Some Fixes....

.... We could see as much as 45 minutes of downtime.

We're rolling in:

- People Tagging
- Home Page Fixes
- Search Tweaks
- Registration Tweaks

Stay tuned....


A Little Bit on Tagging

Some of you may have noticed a change to the "Expert Tag" fields on the profile. Specifically, "Expert Tags" have become just "Tags," and the instructions say to use this field for Areas of Expertise, Interests, and Groups.

Let me give you some background on what happened.

First, StarkTruth wrote me and suggested that "Areas of Expertise" was too limiting - that "Areas of Interest" might be more useful. This made a lot of sense to me, as the whole point of this feature will be to help folks find other folks who share interests, and not just to find an expert.

Then, designer extraordinaire Wurkit made a supa fly comment about how he was going to "abuse" the expert tag feature to stay abreast of what his friends from RefreshPhoenix were reviewing.

I found this brilliant. I've often wondered about an easy way to filter reviews by various sub groups on. The Trusted Network functionality is cool, but it's one size fits all. Maybe I trust someone for one thing like music, but not so much for politics.

For example, I have a number of mini social networks that I keep in touch with. There's my friends from high school, my friends from college, the folks from my Web2.0 stuff, the guys from my hoops team, the various sides of my family, folks from other forums, etcetera.

Many of these folks get on RIA at one point or another. What this tagging feature is going to do is to allow me to filter reviews by one group or another, by just clicking a link.

For example, some of my tags include:

haas (my wife's school friends)
wmw (an online forum that i particpate in)

All I have to do is to circulate these tags among my groups, and presto, I'll have an instant filter to find out what each particular subgroup is talking about.

An obvious example would be a TrinityOfEvil tag for Numbah, BlueOrchid, and Madhatter. By tagging themselves by this group, the trinity of evil can stay easily abreast of all of the evil things spewing from their compadres.

This will all make more sense once we launch the output part of this feature.... hopefully this will be later this week.

So this tagging feature can now be helpful for 1) finding people who share interests; 2) finding an expert in something specific; 3) and staying on top of what our particular subgroups are talking about.

Is this as cool as I think it is, or am I just being a geek?

Couple of Updates

1) Weblist publishing bug is fixed

2) I have control of the admin site again, meaning that I am starting to work my way through the outstanding suggestions

3) There have been some changes to Expert Tags (more on this to follow)

Errors when trying to create a new weblist...

.... and when trying to suggest a new item to an existing list.

We are aware of the issue and are working on it.


Doing some bug fixes....

.... site will be unstable for the next little bit.


Toddler Hockey Fight

My friend Greg Hartnett, of Best of the Web fame, showed me this video last week in Boston. His four year old son had apparently been harassed throughout toddler hockey practice. Finally, Jr. snapped and sent a message to any and all in his way.

Jr. is the one with his back to the camera at the beginning of video.

My favorite part is the frantic chase scene at the end.

(make sure to turn the volume up)


New Listing Suggestions

We're currently backlogged about 700 new listing suggestions across RIA, Weblists, and Local. The reason? The new RateItAll admin site has lagged the redesign in terms of actually working.

I hope to get Admin Site functionality back today, and we'll start working through your suggestions.

Thanks for your patience.


Making Weblists

Between the bigger type and the cleaner interface, I think publishing Weblists is about twice as easy now. I encourage folks to give it a spin if they haven't tried it yet... it's pretty easy.

We're working on integrating "Edit Page" links for Weblist publishers that will be visible to them when they are on their own Weblists. This should make it easier to edit pages on the fly.

One other note - make sure to take full advantage of the Weblist tagging functionality... while the output of this feature is not live yet, it's going to be a great way to get your Weblist more exposure - both through search and through having your Weblists show up automatically as "related" on other Weblists that are tagged with the same keywords.

More on this to follow.

Economist Article

There's a big article in the most recent Economist magazine about participatory media - things like blogs, wikis, and yes, review sites like RateItAll.

I like this quote:

".... had put his finger on something big: that in least in democratic societies, everbody does have the right to hold opinions, and that the urge to connect and converse with others is so basic that it might as well be added to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Pretty powerful stuff, and something that I enthusiastically agree with.

BTW, Magellan has set up a Weblist of the various types of social media sites.



I just posted the new Terms of Service on the site.

This is my favorite part:

"The Content which you post on our Web site is yours. You may remove it from our Web site in its entirety, and at any time."

Bug Progress

Little by little, we're stamping out bugs.

You may have noticed that paragraphs are back in comments, the "submit" and "cancel" buttons on the RateIt window are back where they belong, that you can now "view all" and scroll through all items on the ratings list page, and that annoying Google Maps pop up has been eradicated.

Please keep the bug reports coming... my list is down to about 85 now - there's still a ways to go to tighten this thing up.

Thanks to everyone who continues to send the bug reports in. Keep'em coming!


Doing some bug fixing....

.... performance could be a bit erratic for the next hour or so.


Paging Bug on Ratings Lists

Thanks to MA and Ridge who have alerted me to a bug with the paging functionality (see next 20) on ratings lists pages.

Currently, the link to see the final 20 items on a ratings list is not displaying. So if there are 64 items on a list, there's no way to get to the last four.

We're working on fixing this... we're also going to restore the "View All" option on ratings lists.

There's also a bug with adding punctuation to Weblist titles and listings. For example, Zuchinibut's "Characters from 24" list looks a little screwy. This one will also be fixed shortly.

Again, thanks for all the great feedback. We're fixing bugs as fast as we can, and I think we should have most of the big stuff taken care of soon.


More Redesign Stuff

A couple of clarifications:

- To create a Weblist, click the "edit/create/manage" link on your profile. I saw someone saying that creating Weblists is no longer free... i have no idea where that came from. Weblists are free and will be so for the foreseeable future. I suggest that if someone is asking you for money on RateItAll, that you politely decline to give it to them.

- There used to be a feature that let Weblist publishers view all comments that had been left in their Weblist. We're working on bringing that feature back ASAP - leaving it out was an oversight, and not any planned thing.

- The View All link on ratings lists is coming back.

- The paragraph thing is a bug. We're working on restoring the ability to use paragraphs in reviews.

- If you have to scroll horizontally to fully see a page. It's a bug. Please provide me with details if this is happening to you.

I would really appreciate it if folks could try and separate redesign feedback from bug feedback - obviously, if something doesn't work, it's not going to get a high rating :)

Please continue to send the bug reports in to me, and we'll get this thing cleaned up. Thanks for your patience.


Some Thoughts on the Redesign

I just wanted to give a quick thanks to everyone for their patience as we went through this important face lift. Many of you participated in testing, and many more provided feedback.

The utter overhaul of the site is a bit of a shock. It looks nothing like it did before, and all of us are going through the process of figuring out how to get around again. Cluttered and dated as the old RIA was, it was a pretty friendly site that served us well.

I went into the redesign project with very simple goals - to make the site cleaner, friendlier, and readable. I think we made big progress in these areas, though the proof will have to come in the weeks and months to follow.

I'd also like to thank the company that build the design - 30 Second Rule. I chose this company because they understand online community, and are passionate about what they do.

Specifically, Dan Ritzenthaler was the lead designer, and he was fantastic to work with. Smart, cool, thoughtful - an absolute pro who takes a lot of pride in what he does. If you want to find him on RIA, he can be found HERE. And yes ladies, he's single.

Finally, Rob, Buddy, and Jan have been putting in some crazy hours recently to push this thing live. None of us have slept much the last two nights, and these guys stayed cool even as I turned into an impatient, demanding monster.

Even RIA elders Wiggum and Ruby made a cameo for some testing, and that was much appreciated as well.

Thanks to everybody for their help. Time for me to catch some zzzzzz's.

known bugs

Hi all, thanks for the bug reports.

Here are a couple of known bugs:

Registration Confirmation Emails aren't going out

The Delete Item function for Weblists is not working

Some people have reported duplication in adding new items to weblists

Pictures in the "Reviewers Most Interested In" are not showing up properly, and old images are showing up

There character limit on reviews is broken - if you write more than a couple of sentences it says, "please limit yourself to 5000 characters."

Some indexes are showing weblists instead of RIA topics and vice versa.

The feature to view all of the recent reviews on your weblists is missing.

I'm sure there will be more bugs unearthed as the day goes on - please keep sending them in!

Some feedback on the redesign is coming in HERE.

editor's note: please keep in mind that you are looking at the first public beta release. a lot of stuff will be cleaned up in the coming days :)


Got Bugs?

Post'em if you got'em.

Let's try to limit comments on this post to things that are broken, as opposed to things you like or don't like.


Going Live

We're going to try and go live tonight. We'll most likely be down for a couple of hours.

We expect the new site to be buggy and slow for first.... after a day or two, we'll get things tuned and things should be crisp.

Please send all feedback to me directly.... thanks for your support.


Thanks to the RIA Alpha Testers

I just wanted to give a big public thank you to some of the folks who have been poking around the new RIA and sending in bug reports. Kamylienne, Vudija, Wiseguy, Minkeydude, and Ruby have been especially helpful in pointing out bugs. Ridgewalker and StarkTruth have made a couple of excellent feature suggestions - one of which is being adopted asap (having Popular Topics and Hottest Weblists be driven by reviews and not ratings).

The new site is really coming along... if all goes well, we'll be rolling it live this weekend.


Why Weblist Ratings Matter

Here's a screenshot from one of the new Weblist index pages. Cumulative ratings of every Weblist will be displayed. Soon they will be sortable by Weblist rating.


Transparency and Ownership

One of the things that's changing with the redesign is the ability to delete your stuff from RIA whenever you want.

We're adding a big "delete my account" option via the Profile Page which will remove all ratings, helpful votes, Weblists, messages, etc. This will be a permanent delete, and irreversible.

Part of it is that I think it's the right thing to do, part of it is because I think it will will help to build trust among our community, and part of it is that it's consistent with the vision for where I want to take the site.

We're also changing the TOS so that it's clear that those that contribute reviews and lists to RateItAll will be the owners of that content. And of course, we're going to continue to help our reviewers make money off of that content.

Not to get too much into the vision, but I want people to think of RIA as a place where they store their opinions, not give away their opinions.

We're also working on ways that will allow RIA reviewers to publish their stuff on other Web sites, once it's on RIA. You can already do that through RSS, but I'm hoping to make it more user friendly. (for example, i think it would be cool if you could easily add your weblists to your MySpace page, or to your blog).


Art Movements

StarkTruth has just published a thorough and educational compilation of Art Movements.

Make sure to check out the descriptions and images....

Can't wait to see this one in the new design.


Cool Profile Pages

The page that I think has made the most progress in the redesign is the profile page. The new design is much cleaner and visually appealing, and the photo is much larger. We also have better software that prevents images from getting stretched.

Here are some examples of profile pages that I think look spectacular in the new design:

Testing on New RIA Has Begun

If you signed up to be an alpha tester of the new RateItAll, you probably just received a link from me.

Thanks for everyone who offered to test!

I'm hopeful that we'll launch a live beta for everyone within a week or so.

Here's a screenshot of the Alpha home page (click for a larger view):

Immigration Reform

A topic that seems to be on a lot of folks' mind right now is the issue of immigration. Louiethe20th has set up a Weblist that looks at various ideas for immigration reform.


Promoting Weblists

We're very close to launching a new feature that's going to help a lot in the promotion and discovery of Weblists.

The feature is called Weblist Tagging, and here's how it works:

We've added a new field in the Weblister tool that allows RIA members to tag their weblist with one word "keywords."

For example, on the Mexican Beer list, I might choose to assign the following keyword tags:


Once I submit these tags, they will help other people find my Weblist whenever they are searching for any of the keywords that you used as tags. So if a new visitor to RateItAll does a search for Mexico, among the search results they see will be Magellan's Mexican Beer weblist.

But wait, there's more. By aggregating all of these tags, RIA can actually provide an alternative search service, specifically for Weblists.

Here's how it works: RateItAll creates a single page on the site called "Browse Weblists." On this page will appear the top 100 or so Weblist tags that people use to describe their Weblists. This is what's called a "Tag Cloud", and the tags that appear most frequently will show up as bigger words. To see an example of a tag cloud, check out this page on Delicious.

Now, imagine a tag cloud like that, made up of keyword tags that people have assigned to their Weblists. Clicking on the Weblist tag, "Mexico" will display ALL of the Weblists that people have tagged with the word "Mexico." I think this is going to be a really neat way to discover Weblists about the things you are interested in.

One final point about how we can use these Weblist tags to make it easier to find stuff on RIA. Because of these tags, it is now a very easy thing for RIA to draw correlations between Weblists. For example, someone on the Mexican Beer weblist might see a box called "Related Weblists" that shows the top five rated Weblists that share the same keyword tags. Again, it's an alternative way to discover and promote new Weblists.

I find it amazingly cool how many neat things can be done simply by allowing people to assign keyword tags to their Weblists.

Profile Page URLs

One of the things that I'm finding really handy is how just about any RIA profile page can be reached by typing in http://www.rateitall.com/NICKNAME directly into the address bar. It really makes it easy to link to people's pages, and also helps with the navigation of the site.

Here are some examples:


Where the system breaks down a little bit is if the person has a space or a symbol in their nickname. For example:

GTH's page is:

EO's page is:

For this reason, I'm recommending that folks with spaces and symbols in their user name get rid of them. For example, GTH could become GenghisTheHun.

If you want to make it easy for folks to find your profile page, it might not be a bad idea.

Some Weblists of Note

Wow, folks are getting pretty creative on these Weblists.

Here are a couple interesting ones that have gone live recently:

Little Known Facts about Leonardo da Vinci (IJR)

Epidemics (Vudija)

Manned Space Expeditions (Vudija)

Jessica Alba Movies (GTH) (RIA, not to mention Numbah, was crying out for this list)


Site Maintenance

Sorry RIA night owls, site's going down for about 45 minutes for maintenance.... should be back up at around 12:15AM PST.


Some Redesign Screenshots

(click on any image for a bigger view)

Here's the new header and logo:

Here's what the item page will look like...

and here's the ratings list page (images not showing up yet, but they will):

here's a partial view of the profile page:

Attack of the Killer Reposters!

As many have probably noticed, we are under attack from a ruthless band of reposters. Folks who, for whatever the reason, feel the need to constantly post and repost their same comment over and over again. Want some examples? Try here, here, here, and here.

Why do they do it? In some cases its to provoke others, in others it's to erase not helpful votes, and other times it's to make sure their ideology is at the top of the list.

As annoying as it is, reposting is not currently against the rules - unless I deem it to be a deliberate provocation of another user (and yes, sometimes it's hard to tell the difference).

I am looking at ways to eliminate the incentives for reposting the same tired stuff over and over again... suggestions are welcome.

(Editor's Note: There are, of course, perfectly legit reasons for reposting... fixing typos, making changes to your original points, etc.)


Beta Tester Update

Thanks to everyone who has volunteered to beta test the new RateItAll. Everyone who responded and who is a regular on the site will be provided a password and login sometime this week.

We're getting close.... I gave JonTheMan a walk through here at the (very professional and office-y) High Command yesterday, and I think it's starting to look pretty good.

Errors when Messaging through RateItAll

Some folks are reporting errors when replying to or sending personal messages through RateItAll. The errors are on the email alert side, and NOT on the message delivery side. In other words, your messages are getting through...

We're aware of the issue and are working on it.


Who's the stranger in the red cowboy hat?

It's JonTheMan.

On a recent tour of San Francisco, one of my favorite RIA reviewers stopped by the RateItAll compound, joined me for some Mexican food at Buen Sabor in the Mission District, and yes, even sat down at the RIA control panel.