Firstly, Please take a look at Hereing.com for some background context. It is basically a food/resturant review aggregator. When you click on a resturant, you will be shown the resturant’s rating and all the reviews by bloggers about that resturant.
How the system works is that a user submits a blog review to hereing.com under a resturant that is being reviewed by the blogger. During the submission process, the required fields are source, title, review and rating.
Here is where I made the mistake. Some bloggers will put ratings in their blogs some won’t. But because I coded hereing.com’s rating field to be complusory, I had to put in a rating when I was submitting the review. This wasn’t a problem if the blogger had specific ratings in his own post but when a blogger didn’t put in the rating I had to gauge by reading the blogger’s review and then tried to put in an approximate star rating.
And at this point, the minefield under my feet exploded. You can read it here http://food.recentrunes.com/?p=2237
Long story short: it is misrepresentation to help people rate their review.
Lesson1: dun be lazy I already had misgivings about helping bloggers rate their reviews but because I was lazy to change the code, I just put in approximate ratings. But because of this episode, I had to go back and correct it anyway so that ratings are no longer compulsory. darn…if only I knew…
Lesson 2: Engage your users…early…You never really know what other people are thinking. the only way to find out is to ask them early. I didn’t do that. I just decided to build the system and start submitting reviews. If I did that, the “helping people to rate review is wrong” mine wouldn’t have exploded because I would not have made the rating field complusory.
And then as the list of comments grew longer, I started seeing how varied ways of how people think. For example, there was 1 blogger who didn’t want to be linked. As a blogger, I could never understand that. But she put it clearly that her blog was semi private and she didn’t appreciate the attention. This is still something that i have to get my head around but I guess I need to code a block list so bloggers can submit their own site to be blocked.
My thoughts: I really want to build something that food bloggers will use and readers will find it useful. So my next post will be more proactive and engaging all the bloggers whom I have linked to before in asking them for their opinion.