[Python-Dev] PyPI comments and ratings, *really*?

Terry Reedy tjreedy at udel.edu
Thu Nov 12 21:42:37 CET 2009

Guido van Rossum wrote:
> On Thu, Nov 12, 2009 at 10:30 AM, Terry Reedy <tjreedy at udel.edu> wrote:
>> Barry Warsaw wrote:
>>> On Nov 12, 2009, at 8:06 AM, Jesse Noller wrote:
>>>> Frankly, I agree with him. As implemented, I *and others* think this
>>>> is broken. I've taken the stance of not publishing things to PyPi
>>>> until A> I find the time to contribute to make it better or B> It
>>>> changes.
>>> That's distressing.  For better or worse PyPI is the central repository of
>>> 3rd party packages.  It should be easy, desirable, fun and socially
>>> encouraged to get your packages there.
>> I think his point is that a new book announcement servive is different from
>> a book review and rating service.  And that mixing the two is 'socially
>> discouraging'. I do not know what the answer is
> I would say that publishers disagree -- they seem to really like
> adding "social" stuff to their book announcement service. See e.g.
> Amazon (which combines all functions: announcement/promotion,
> ordering/download, review/comments/rate/popularity).

I use user reviews on both Amazon and Netflix. I notice that both let 
people rate the reviews (helpful or not), and I sometimes look at those 
also. Both list items without the say-so of creators, though most will 
tolerate possible bad reviews in exchange for sales. I very seldom see 
an item with only one review, so there is usually a mix. There are also 
ratings averaged across a lot more people.

Part of the pypi problem is a startup problem of initially low numbers. 
If the only people who bother to log in to rate are the disgruntled, 
then the ratings/reviews will be biased. I wonder how many of the people 
promoting the new feature have themselves logged in to systematically 
rate and possibly comment on every package they have looked at, and 
thereby kickstart the system with fair responses.

Authors can often respond to magazine/journal reviews in Letters to the 
Editor. Publishers tend to exercise some editorial control over reviews 
so as to not make the publication look bad with grossly bad reviews. 
Even on Amazon, an author could, I presume, add a response to a 
factually incorrect review.

Terry Jan Reedy

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