There were 450+ comments in the What to do about ratings
thread by the time i got to it... but if I may be so bold I think I might have solution. So here's a diary in case my comments got lost in the jumble...
My proposed solution involves three changes:
- Change the rating to display as a cumulative rating instead of an average. Instead of (3.37 / 8) you would see (27)
- Make rating a comment on a scale of 1-4 mandatory when responding to it.
- Sort the thread by rating instead of time posted. If the ability exists to sum the rating of a comment tree within a thread, all the better.
The first change would alter any non-zero rating to become a positive rating regardless of where it falls on the scale. Say a comment had a rating of 28... one would have no way of knowing if the rating was twenty-eight 1's or seven 4's... but the rating is nonetheless a positive one.
A series of zero ratings from trust users would still do the troll job.
The second and third changes together would reward comments that encourage discussion, whether the responses are in agreement or not. If a user thinks that a comment is worthy of response, then the user should also have to rate it. If the response is in agreement, then fine... the tree as a whole gets stronger bubbles to the top of the page.
However, in expressing disagreement to a comment, the user still has to positively rate the comment. And by doing so, there's an element of risk that the comment that one disagrees with gets elevated to the top of the thread. Chances are you're not going to help out a comment unless you have a point to make.
So aside from troll zero's (or just plain ignoring a comment), any rating whatsoever is transformed into a positive one. Comments that do not deserve discussion filter down to the bottom. Comments that do filter to the top. And bad feelings all around are avoided because you can't rate someone without giving them mojo.