[Catalog-sig] Rating feature

Ian Bicking ianb at colorstudy.com
Thu Sep 24 21:24:37 CEST 2009

A few thoughts:
* On hgsvn I see some points, but no indication on the scale.  That is,
there's 1 and 2 points, but out of... 5?  Once I'm logged in I can see the
scale, but not until then.

* There's a bunch of different ideas on how to average scores.  I don't have
an opinions at the moment, except that we keep enough data to change the
algorithm in the future.  Specifically the score, user, date (i.e., not just
aggregate information).

* I expect the comment/rating activity to be relatively low, so throwing
everything away on every release seems problematic.  For comments
specifically it would be nice if they remained, though maybe old comments
could be hid by the maintainer (or by anyone?)  Hiding might just put them
in a place where they were hidden (visible with a Javascript control).
 Scoring I'm less sure about; you could weight scores according to their
distance from the current release.  Or throw them away as you are doing now;
I'm generally less concerned with scoring than comments.

* Since people can and will report problems (like with hgsvn), it would be
nice if the comments were threaded so that problems could be responded to.

* Because people report problems anyplace they can, this is going to be hard
for some maintainers, because there will be unanswered questions the
maintainer won't be aware of.  Emailing new comments would be really helpful
(maybe as a user preference).

* Comments on Trove classifiers would be nice.  Though right now the
classifiers are too hard to find and the actual categories not well used or
complete enough.  But if they *were* well used, this would be a place for
people to put comparative comments (e.g., on this page for XML:
http://pypi.python.org/pypi?:action=browse&show=all&c=500 -- but getting to
that page was really hard).

* Generally I think it would be a lot more useful to people finding packages
if there were topic guides, which would have a description of a class of
tasks (like parsing XML) and a user-curated list of packages that apply.  In
theory the wiki could be used for this, and people try to use it for this,
but it's not very successful (e.g.,
http://wiki.python.org/moin/WebFrameworks -- which is a lot better than it
has been at many points in the past).  Having a list of packages with the
age of the last release, the score of the package, Development Status trove
classifier, the short description from PyPI, etc. would make a much nicer
list.  But it has to be curated -- package maintainers don't consistently
use package metadata well enough to make this work.

* Can you not comment on your own packages?  Not scoring is fine, but
comments should be available.

* It would be nice to have a field that links to an issue tracker or forum
of some sorts, and display that right next to the comment box, like "If you
have an issue use <project's issue tracker>".  hgsvn is an example of when
that isn't used.  Alternately a field that would render right next to the
comment box (ReST) where the project can give instructions (like: if you
need help, jump on #project on irc.freenode.net, or `submit a bug <...>`_ or
`search our mailing list <...>`_).  Free text would probably be better, as
it gives full flexibility.

* Less flexibly, a default message about what should go in comments would be
helpful.  I'm not sure what the description should be, but just "comment"
isn't enough IMHO.

Ian Bicking  |  http://blog.ianbicking.org  |
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