[Catalog-sig] Package comments

M.-A. Lemburg mal at egenix.com
Wed Nov 4 21:50:41 CET 2009

Laura Creighton wrote:
> In a message of Wed, 04 Nov 2009 20:13:45 +0100, "M.-A. Lemburg" writes:
> <snip>
>> That said, I don't think it's a good idea to try to reinvent a
>> wheel that has already been invented many times over. Just look at
>> the successful systems running on e.g. Amazon and eBay. We don't
>> really need to go through all the pain they've gone through to
>> build successful systems again.
>> -- 
>> Marc-Andre Lemburg
>> eGenix.com
> I don't think that the Amazon system is successful.  I think that
> you are confusing two things -- 'people like to rate things' with
> 'the rating is meaningful'.  I think that the Amazon rating system
> satifices people's desire to rate things, but is a detriment to
> actually finding a technical book that will help you do what you
> want to do. 

I wouldn't generalize that. I've often found information
in those reviews that was otherwise hard to find.
My overall experience with the Amazon system is more on
the positive side.

However, perhaps Amazon is the wrong comparison: their review
system focuses on longer comments, whereas the eBay system
has a focus on very terse comments. Most users will probably
only look at two things: the overall rating figure and the
negative comments.

The PyPI approach appears to follow the eBay example, or
at least the comments I found so far (not that many) go
in this direction.

> Only fairly detailed reviews can help with that, and
> only to the extent that they exclude certain works, leaving you
> to review the remainder on your own.
> Why should software be any different?
> Also, remember, amazon makes money no matter whose books are 
> purchased,  But we would rather help people find the best packages
> for their purposes, no?  I think that a rating system harms this
> goal, and therefore we should not do it.

I tend to agree.

Discussions on newsgroups, user reports in blogs, etc. are
far more informative than an eBay style rating system.

Perhaps requiring at least 50 words for the comment would
help ;-)

Marc-Andre Lemburg

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