Some arcana about how BlogStarz! work

Believe me when I say that this will only be interesting to you if you are curious about the thinking about the Starz rating system that we've built into BlogBridge. If you don't have a burning curiosity, trust me, it will put you to sleep :-)

The basic idea for the BlogStarz! mechanism is simple but the UI at this point is still confusing practically everyone. I will explain it here and describe changes we are planning.

The idea is that the BlogStarz! are generated by BlogBridge and are meant to be a summary rating that ought to match how interesting this particular blog would be to the user, based on several factors.

Currently 4 factors are implemented: your personal rating (thumbs up/down); how 'authorotative' this blog is (based on Technorati rating); how 'active' the blog is; and how many of your keywords hit in the blog. If you look in BlogBridge/Preferences/BlogStarz you'll see 4 sliders that allow you to customize the weight you'd like to put to each of those factors towards the overall one to 5 star rating.

Now, more on each of the factors. Thumbs Up/Down is today implemented inconsistently. While the menu says thumbs up and down, the corresponding indicator is the little icon in the top right of the blog's entry in the Channels pane. Clicking on it you can see that it goes through 3 states: grey box (for neutral), heart (for positive) and bomb (for negative.) Obviously these are temporary icons. In the future this will change to a 4 state icon in the shape of a thumb pointing up. It will go like this: greyed out, thumbs up, two thumbs up and three thumbs up. It will have the same effect - allowing you to give your own personal rating on the blog.

We can determine how authoritative a certain blog is via the Technorati service. For now, you have to get a free Technorati key from them by going to www.technorati.com and requesting an API key. And then in BlogBridge, under Preferences/Advanced you can enter the key (cut/paste but be careful of a trailing space which will throw it off.) Once you do that, BlogBridge will, in the background, ask Technorati how many inbound blog links there are in a certain blog, and use that number as an indication of how authoritative the blog is.

Activity of a blog is simply how many posts have been added since you started subscribing to it, divided by time. So a rough average of number of posts per day.

In the BlogBridge/Preferences/Highlights tab (should be called Keywords tab) you can enter a list of words and phrases which are important to you. BlogBridge will use those in many ways. It will highlight those words wherever it sees them. It will also count them and rate a blog higher if there are a lot of hits.

You can see that this is a pretty elaborate, and overly configurable scheme. That's because we are still trying to learn which of these factors (or others) are the best predictor of the subjective "how interesting will you find this blog" question, which the Starz are meant to convey.
Posted on October 18, 2004 and filed under BlogBridge.