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March 2007

By RBA - March 13th, 2007, 23:49, Category: General

During the closed beta phase of coRank, we talked a lot about negative votes. And I mean a lot!

Originally I meant the negative vote to be nothing but a "I don't find this interesting" statement. And somehow, I still think that this would be the best way to have coRank deliver good results. But as we shall see, it's not as easy as it seems.

For example, today I saw a story titled "GameCopyWorld--Mirrors". It's been a while I'm not much into computer games, so for me, that story would get a thumbs down.

I'm not implying that I think the site is crap, or that it's something that people shouldn't bother to check out. Not at all. The truth is, even I'm not into games, after checking the site out, I found it was OK - just not my type of thing. So with my "thumbs down" vote I'd just be saying "this is not something I'd be interested in".

But then, reality sinks in. As I see new stories coming to coRank, I find that those stories I'm not interested in, I simply don't vote. Why? Because I fear my negative vote might upset the submitter (ok, fear is not the best word to use here but bear with me) and get him/her thinking that I'm implying the submission is terrible, it should have not been ever sent to coRank, please keep this crap outta here and so on. That's not what I'd mean with my thumbs-down vote, and so to avoid misunderstandings, I just pass and go to the next story. I'm sure I'm not alone.

As I mentioned before, this issue was a hot one during the closed beta phase, and several approaches were suggested. The most radical one was to completely eliminate negative votes. That I didn't want to do. I wanted people being able to express whether they liked something or not.

Other people suggested to rename the "vote up/down" text as "this interests me/it doesn't interest me" or something along those lines. Unfortunately, we couldn't come up with an effective and short way to
describe it, and we kept the "vote up/down" description.

Yet, at the bottom of all this, two things remain:

  1. The basic idea of coRank is that if I vote something down and I'm not one of your sources, my vote will not affect at all what appears in your front page (it will however affect the front page of people who selected me as their source).

  2. In coRank everything is transparent - you can see who voted something up or down, so if you have someone as a source that seems to be voting down (or up) stories that you might have enjoyed (or not), just get rid of that person as a source and problem solved.

Wrapping up, things are going to stay the way they area. And while I fully understand some people will not appreciate others voting their stories down (I probably wouldn't be thrilled myself), I say let's all go with the flow. I think that the fact that everything is transparent and that we all get to choose who will be our sources is what will make us all winners, whether we vote down things we didn't find interesting or we limit those votes for things we believe they're complete crap.

By RBA - March 12th, 2007, 16:17, Category: General

Soon I'll start working on the coRank API, and although I have some ideas about what things could be useful, I think there's nobody better than you to say what kind of features you'd like to see in the API, or what kind of stuff you'd use an API for. So please feel free to drop your ideas either here on the comments section of this post, or though our contact form.

By RBA - March 12th, 2007, 13:15, Category: General

I just got an email "warning" me that an article about coRank just made it to Digg's front page. Warning? I think that's pretty cool.

Anyway, a couple of points I'd like to make regarding the notes I've read in the submitted story to Digg .

First, coRank doesn't claim "crowds are stupid". It is true that I tried to create a site that focuses on bringing stories to you according to people you pre-select, but that doesn't mean I think that other ways to bring news to you are stupid. In fact, as I mention in the last slide of the tour, should have Digg not ever existed, I would have never come up with the idea of coRank.

Second, someone mentioned in the comments that coRank is developed on top of Drupal. It isn't. coRank was developed from scratch and - hold on tight - using C language. Don't freak out. It's actually very optimized C code that uses some libraries I've been developing over the years that are also being used in other projects I've made.

I won't go into details right now, but just FYI, it is possible that further down the road I might '"open source" the code. For now however, I have other priorities, such as finishing the "groups" feature - that I will likely rename before launching it - so stay tuned! :-)

By RBA - March 9th, 2007, 4:20, Category: General

Whomever has me as a source but doesn't like the stuff I vote or submit regarding... hmmm... whatever topics are available, can now go to http://www.corank.com/editSource/RBA and make it happen.

This is the promised feature that allows you to discriminate your sources according to topics. It's available by going to My Account, Network tab, and where before you could only read "Remove" (to remove that person as a source), now you'll see Remove/Edit, and it's the Edit link the one that'll bring you to the page where you can check/unckeck whatever topics you care/don't care for that particular person.

By RBA - March 8th, 2007, 3:47, Category: General

Today coRank is opening its doors. There goes 4 months of endless nights. Also, I now am addicted to caffeine.

Well, first of all, Welcome! coRank is barely one day old, and it's not easy to think about using a service that somehow needs people contributing to it to make it worthwhile, when the truth is that there is still so few people using it. And while it's true that a bit of work is required for someone to get the most out of coRank (add your "sources", invite others to be your sources, etc), I think it's also true that once you've got that part taken care of - even if it's just partially with just about 5-6 sources - you don't need hundreds of thousands of users to make coRank work for you. So hopefully you'll stick around a bit :-) And if you're already using some of the other bookmarking/social-news sites out there and are happy with them, I suggest you continue using them. The way I see it, coRank is not a replacement for Digg, del.icio.us, Reddit, etc. but a site that will likely deliver less news,sites and stories your way, but hopefully more in synch with the stuff you like.

Ayway, as you can already sense, this blog is going to be anything but formal. No press releases being posted here, but whatever random thoughts and ideas I may come up with for the project

For now, coRank is a personal project, and by "personal" I mean there's only one person behind it. Well, obviously the hosting (hardware and bandwidth) is being taken care of by a hosting company I trust and respect, and they're in charge of making sure the uptime is optimal, but everything else so far goes on my plate. Sure thing I'm planning to get at least a couple of more people on board fairly soon - and I'm sure it's going to be a fun ride!

So far, and considering this puppy is barely one day old, although I'd like to write some more about stuff I plan to be adding, etc., I have to leave it for now until the dust settles a bit and I get some more time to write.

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