Value added

did-a-poo-heard-the-splashRecently, whilst exploring some of the backwaters of sl, i came across one of those old voting station from back in the good old days – of course, i had to try it and gained a small thrill of satisfaction when, even after all this time, it still registered my vote and thanked my for my support. Yes, to those of you who don’t remember those halcyon days, there was a time when visitors to your land could show their approval, boost your search ranking and even swell your bank account, simply through the expedient of clicking on a voting station. As is the nature of such things, it wasn’t long before they were being exploited for nefarious gain and fell out of favour with the Lindens, to be replaced by the <sarcasm>ever popular</sarcasm>, and hugely confusing ‘dwell‘ method of measuring traffic. For all its faults, dwell led to the proliferation of one of those fabled pursuits that old-timers go all misty-eyed about, whilst newcomers scratch their heads in bafflement: camping.

With its voting system, sl was – as in so many things back then – ahead of the game. Today voting, liking, loving, rating or otherwise thumbs-upping is second nature to all of us, whether we’re pushing our favourite tunes on Youtube, telling our friends we agree with what they’ve posted, or providing free endorsements for a seller on our favourite online auction site, that ubiquitous voting button compels us to share our experiences.

And, in real terms, it’s usually a complete waste of time.

Take those eBay merchants who issue dire warnings about giving them anything less than a 5-star rating, before we’ve even placed a bid, let alone received the goods. ‘Contact us first so we can sort things out’, they insist… er, no – sorry pal, but if you expect me to ignore the fact you’ve sent me something dodgy or late, or badly packaged, why on earth should you get a top rating, even if you put things right after i complain? That’s not the way things should work – and yet, i bet 99.99% of us feel completely obliged to do as we’re told, even when things don’t work out as expected. i vividly remember receiving a shockingly belligerent email from a seller who took issue with me describing a transaction – which took a week to arrive, crushed – as ‘adequate’ – apparently my terminology was putting their reputation at risk!

Review sites have famously been threatened with court action unless they remove negative reviews, (even though they may be completely impartial and truthful), bloggers have been sued for sharing their opinions of service received, and hapless hotel guests have found their credit cards charged for having the temerity to moan about their stay; all of which leads you to question whether any sort of rating or review system can ever be trusted at all, in fact why bother in the first place?

thumbs_up_facebook_deathThen there’s the delicious irony of Facepalmbook, where we’re invited to endorse our friends’ comments, and empathise with a good old ‘like’ and cheery thumbs-up. ‘My pet tortoise just got squished by a lorry’ [LIKE!] – hardly an appropriate response.

My chief concerns are that firstly we’ve become hopelessly reliant upon these ratings – not even taking into consideration that they might be horribly skewed, purposely deceptive or just plain wrong; and then we compound the issue by adding our own rating to further muddy the waters. Secondly, i can’t help wondering just how far down this road of crowdsourced popularity we might eventually travel… will we become so divorced from making our own judgements and values that we’ll eventually be choosing life partners on the basis of how many ‘likes’ they’ve had from our circle of friends, or worse, on the star rating previous partners have awarded them?

Temperament   ☆☆☆☆☆
Appearance       ☆☆☆☆☆
Rumpy pumpy  ☆☆☆☆☆
Social skills        ☆☆☆☆

Frightening, huh?

Anyone who has ever dealt with delivering customer satisfaction will tell you it’s a highly subjective thing, as are our own perceptions of what is, or isn’t, attractive or aesthetically pleasing. Taking camping and bots out of the equation, any measure of traffic for any parcel in sl is going to be influenced by a range of factors entirely unrelated to what we might consider to fall under the umbrella of ‘popularity’ or ‘worthiness’ – everything from targeted advertising campaigns, through to the sort of neighbours that adjoin a parcel is going to influence the numbers that visit, and the conclusions that visitors will come to, and even a straightforward metric measuring footfall may have unintended consequences – for example, i’m far more likely to pay a visit to sims with a low traffic, than those with traffic in the thousands… i’m a recluse and an individualist, so i shy away from crowds, and in doing so, i’ve discovered some real hidden gems.

Voting… i’m glad sl did away with it, because ultimately it’s of limited value and open to abuse. Although that won’t stop me from clicking on a voting station whenever i see one!

s. x

And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgement of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song
The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again

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This entry was posted in Philosophicalisticality, Rants, RL, SL, SLarcheology. Bookmark the permalink.

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