New Item Bug Fixed

I think we have solved the problem that was:

- preventing people from suggesting new items
- preventing people from approving new item suggestions
- preventing people from adding new items to their lists
- preventing people from using the global "write a review" link at the top

Please let me know if anyone is still seeing error messages.

Subtle Change in How We Handle Ratings

If you're paying extra close attention, you'll note that you'll no longer see the happy star loading icon after you click on a star to select your rating.

The star just populates now with no waiting.

This has to do with a subtle change we made to how we process ratings.

This should dramatically speed up the inline list rating, as well as quiz taking.

In other news, we are still dealing with some performance issues and general bugginess with adding new items to the site, whether it be via lists, the "write a review" feature, or approving items to your own list. I hope to have an update by the end of the day on this.



We are repairing some indexes in our database in an attempt to resolve the performance issues that have been plaguing the site for the last 48 hours or so.

As of now, no ETA on when we'll be back up, but it shouldn't be too much longer.

Working Through Some Performance Issues

Stay tuned.

Improvements to Item and Topic Pages

We are quietly plugging away on implementing some of the things we had on V2 that didn't make it into the V3 launch.

We've tightened up the list pages, including adding back the precise numerical rating for each item on the list:

We've added "Next List, Next Item" links at the bottom of every list and item, which makes it easier to browse horizontally through the site:

We've added a neat "Also Listed In" feature to the sidebar on every item page that pulls up other places in the site where the same item appears. Here's an example for "Madonna":

Stay tuned for more tweaks and improvements - little by little we are getting there.


Problem with Our Database

We are experiencing a hardware issue with our database. We are in the process of switching over to our backup db now - please stay tuned.


Your Posts now Showing in Your Feed

By popular demand, we now include your site activity in the "My Feed" view. This should prevent folks from having to toggle back and forth to different views to see their own stuff.

And as one reviewer put it, it's much easier to see how your reviews are doing in terms of votes with this format.


Cocktail Party

RateItAll is hosting a cocktail party tonight in San Francisco to celebrate the launch of V3. Anyone who is local is more than welcome to join - ping me for the details.


How New Items Are Approved on RateItAll

We handle new item suggestions in V3 a little bit differently than we did previously.

In V3, any new item suggestion - whether you add it to somebody's list, to a RateItAll list, or using our new "rate anything" feature - the new item is immediately created. You can rate the item, you can share the url of the item with your friends, and you will immediately see the new item / review show up in your "my feed" view. No approval required for this part.

However, there still is an approval process - either by the list owner, or by RateItAll admins. An approved item will show up in search, on the list, and in the My Feed and Everyone's Feed views. As with the previous site, if the list owner does not respond to a new item suggestion within a few days, we will step in and approve the item.


Rate Any Business in the Whole Wide World

Here's another feature that's kind of neat with V3, that we didn't have with V2.

In V2, we had a RateItAll Local section that was limited to about seventy big cities in the US. If you didn't live in one of those big cities, you were out of luck in terms of rating local establishments in your home town.

In V3, we turn things upside down. Instead of folks having to wait for RateItAll to add a city to its directory to rate a local business, we add the the city to our directory WHEN you add and rate the local business.

What this means is that any RateItAll member can add and rate any local business in the world. We have just about every country covered, and we can now build out a local directory on the fly for any city, town, or village, in any country.

Try it out HERE.


Today's Updates

We rolled in a bunch of fixes / updates today:

- The editing profile / account bug is fixed.  You should now have no problem embedding videos and things
- We expanded the length of the feed.  We doubled the number of stories in the default feeds from 10 to 20, and each time you click more, you get another block of 20.  This should reduce the clicking required to see content.
- We enabled video and safe html embeds like YouTube videos into reviews and item descriptions.  We're still working providing editing buttons for things like bold, link, and italics for your reviews.
- We fixed a number of one off bugs
- We tightened up quiz results, stripping out results from folks who have only rated a couple of things within a test.  We also changed the definition of a "match" for the purposes of calculating a compatibility score.  Before today, a 4 was considered a match with a 3, 4, or 5.  We've now put in exact matching for the compatibility calculation.  Because of this, you will no longer see pages of 100% matches, but the results will be more meaningful.

I think those are the big things.

If you bear with us, you'll notice a gradual tightening of the site as we listen to your feedback and squash known bugs.

Thanks for your patience!

Today's Lesson: Configuring Your Feed / Home Page

Hi all, there's a lot of new functionality on the site, and I want to start giving some pointers as to how stuff works.

Today I'd like to cover the Home Page / News Feed view for logged in members.

There are three tabs and two buttons on this page.

The tabs are: Me, My Feed, and Everyone.

The "Me" tab displays your most recent activity on the site.

The "My Feed" is your custom, personalized view of recent activity on the site - more on this to follow. At its simplest level, this view is a combination of the activity of the people that you are following, and the topics that you are interested in.

The "Everyone" feed is the full firehose of ALL recent site activity. You can think of this view like the old Recent Reviews page, but supplemented with other activity like new lists, new items, quizzes taken, and even ratings posted.

So how do you control these feeds?

There are two ways (and these are the two buttons).

The downward arrow is a Temporary Filter on whatever view you are looking at. It's an easy way to isolate certain story types - just lists, just ratings, just reviews, just quizzes, etc. When you click away from the home page, your Temporary Filter settings will be forgotten, and your view will go back to your Permanent Settings.

So how do you control your permanent settings?

It's the Gear Icon. This is where the magic happens, and where you can personalize your permanent feed views to your tastes.

Let's walk through the Gear Icon settings one by one.


The first tab on your settings is a Keyword Tool, that lets you subscribe to keywords that you're interested in. For example, if I type in "Mexico," "San Francisco," and "NBA," the site will do its best to include every review from RateItAll related to those keywords in your "My Feed" view.

Using the keyword tool, you can also indicate stuff that you DON'T want to see in your "My Feed" view. For example, if you were sick of reviews about Dingos, you could add the word "Dingo" to your block list, and the site will do its best to filter out reviews related to dingos from your "My Feed" view.


The second tab in your settings is the "Community" tab. On this tab you can specify whose activity shows up in your "My Feed" view. Do you want to see only activity from your friends (people you follow)? Or do you want to push it out a few degrees to show activity from friends of friends, or even, friends of friends of friends. The "friends of friends of friends" setting will give you the broadest view of site activity.

We've also built in a helpful, albeit devious tool for filtering out reviews from particular reviewers here, even if they are your "friends" on the site. For example, if I got sick and tired of activity from "Lawrence," I could add filter out their activity. This feature is perfect for when you feel the pressure to follow someone, but don't actually like reading their stuff.

Like the Keywords tab, the Community tab only affects your "My Feed" view.

Saved Topics

The third tab in your Gear Icon settings is the "Saved Topics" tab. As you browse the site, you may have noticed "Fave" buttons on various pages - items, lists, categories, etc. Clicking Fave on any content page of the side will subscribe you to all the activity from that page.

For example, one of my favorite lists on the site is Mexican Beer. Clicking the "fave icon" on this page will subscribe me to new reviews posted to this list. It's a great way to track the reviews coming in to lists that you made, or to track reviews of a specific item like your blog, or yourself! (if you are on the reviewers list)

Like the Keywords and Community tabs, the Saved Topics tab only affects your "My Feed" view.

Story Types

The final tab is the "Story Types" tab. This is the setting that determines what types of things are included in your Feed views. Do you want to see only reviews like the old recent comments page? You can make that happen. Do you want to see Reviews, Comments, Quizzes, but not Ratings without reviews? Likewise, this is easy to do.

Unlike the other tabs, this setting affects all three tabs (me, my feed, everyone) on your home page.

This is a permanent setting, and the system will remember your choices as long as you are logged in, and until you decide to change them again.

I hope this helps. There are powerful tools in here, and I believe that folks now have the tools to create exactly the experience that they want on RIA.

Thanks for all of the feedback - it's been very helpful, and we're acting on a number of the suggestions already - please keep it coming (feedback@rateitall.com).


Meet The RateItAll Team!

Here is live footage from RateItAll's Global HQ Compound on launch day. Some of what you see may shock you, some may excite you, and some will most certainly confuse you. Enjoy.


As most of you already know, V3 is live. We "soft launched" quietly yesterday with the goal of doing some bug fixing before our public launch today.

We will be doing a number of posts in the coming days about some cool, expert only type features that are on the new site. We'll also be doing our best to explain how basic things work with V3, as well as working hard to eliminate any outstanding bugs - thanks to all who have sent feedback to us (feedback@rateitall.com) regarding bugs, missing features, and the like.

Here are my three favorite new features on the new site:

1) The news feed. The code name for this feature internally was "the river," and I think that's pretty descriptive. This is the home page for logged in folks. You can poke your head into this page and watch all the activity from your friends flow on by. In one sense, the Recent Reviews page on the old site has become the primary metaphor for V3. We have category level rivers for things like Sports, and Subject level rivers for things like Baseball. For the advanced users, you can customize your news feed settings by clicking on the Gear icon on your home page. You can follow keywords for things you're interested in (e.g. beer, art, music, movies, etc.), and you can set your network settings to include friends, friends of friends, or even friends of friends of friends. You can even do things like hide all activity from "My Feed" of particular users (ever have somebody that you need to be their "friend," but don't actually like reading their reviews?) And finally, you can hide keywords like "politics" or "religion" if the droning starts to get your down. I find this feature extremely powerful. I see it as the power to build the exact RateItAll experience that you want.

2) Compatibility Quizzes. These are a fun, quick way to rate a bunch of things and compare yourself to others around RIA. We have hundreds of these quizzes, across many different categories. We will be working on tightening up the quiz results display (so we don't show folks who have only rated one item within a quiz), as well as making the results more precise. We will also be adding paging to the bottom of the quiz pages, and adding in quiz specific search to help with the discovery of new quizzes. This is a fun feature that's only going to get better.

3) "Write a Review" Feature. The internal code name for this feature is "global add." It literally lets you write a review of anything. There's a wizard that walks you through the process of adding new items to the site, and we try to always provide a catch-all topic for your item if you can't find the exact right place to put it. For me, this changes site experience dramatically. I can now rate any damn thing that I please, whether or not a list exists for it. A dish at a restaurant. A taqueria in Mexico City. My friend's blog. You can add anything and everything, and the item will immediately be available for rating and sharing (though it will need to be approved to show up in site search and the list). Try this feature out if you haven't already - it's powerful.

(Forgive me a quick sentimental moment, but I'm really proud of the RateItAll team. These guys really went all out on this - for the last few weeks, the office was full seven days a week, and often until midnight. We're all a bit exhausted (my wife said to me this morning, but feeling pretty good about where things are at.)

That's all for now. As I said, there will be lots more to follow on how this thing works.



It's bug fixing day. If you see any bugs, please send them to feedback@rateitall.com - this blasts out to the whole team.


Data Migration has Begun

Guys, we've begun our data migration in preparation for v3 launch on Tuesday. As of now, we have no eta on when we will be back up.

The next step is to put v3 up behind a password so we can do some final testing before going live with the new site. I may call some of you in to help us test, with live data.


Downtime and Launch Schedule

Guys, we will be taking the site down on Sunday evening in final preparation for Tuesday's launch of V3. There's a lot of data that needs to be migrated and a lot of testing still to be done.

I will share more info when I have it.


New Blog Design

Our little RateItAll Blog with its 850 posts has gotten a makeover, courtesy of our user experience expert, Lena.

It's been pointed out to me a few times recently that this blog looked more like a Lawrence personal blog, than a RateItAll blog.

I can't argue with that.

Hopefully we will be able to mix in a few posts from folks other then me going forward.

Some Top Rated Reviewers by Subject

Guys, we're using V3 with some fairly up to date data now, and it's fun seeing who the top rated reviewers (by helpful votes) are in different areas for the last month.

When V3 launches, we're going to have hundreds of these top rated modules - making it easy to see who are the top rated folks in any area for the day, week, and month.

I think we're going to have a lot of fun with this.

Anyone see any surprises below?







San Francisco: