I wholeheartedly agree with this, Ben! In fact, just yesterday I was mulling about writing a post "The Fallacy of Stars", talking about the star system used with these boards. I was starting to put my thoughts together this morning when I ran across your post.
In my opinion, the stars seemed to have become abused and misused. In some cases, 1-star ratings are given to perfectly valid posts, and at the other end, 5-star ratings are given to posts which simply say they agree with a previous post. I also find it odd that with some users they always seem to get 5 stars regardless of what they say! The conspiracy folks may think they have a buddy giving them the stars or they have an alias that's being used just to hand out stars. I was going to suggest doing away with the stars and going with something similar to the system used on other systems, like having an "Accepted Answer", which can only be set by the person who posted the question in the first place, or the forum moderator(s). Anything else is just an answer. If someone gives a wrong answer, I'm sure someone will be along to provide a follow-up to indicate why it's wrong. The forums here seems to be quite good at policing themselves with respect to this.
I am sure that there are many other forum users that agree with you on this issue.
I don't currently know all the ramifications of changing the rating system, but I am sure that there would be some problems to overcome. I will make note of this suggestion and keep it in mind for the next time that we evaluate how to improve the Discussion Forums.
Is there a particular incident of abuse of the rating system that I should be aware of? I don't have much control, but I can investigate the issue and watch for users that abuse the system.
Thanks, Laura Web Support & Operations National Instruments
"I don't have much control, but I can investigate the issue and watch for users that abuse the system."
There have been many mis-uses and not abuses. And there have been far to many for me to list and let alone you watch for.
How about this?
Could you please post a permanent anouncement (in the same area were you post the congratulations) that explains that the only good rating is "5-stars" and that anything less than that is viewed as a demerit.
I would be suprised if eliminating the 1-4 options would cause any problems.
Could you please ask and let us know?
PS Some how I feel like I am in the Globe Theatre trying to convinve management that we should stop selling rotten vegetables to through at the actors.
I say 5 stars or no stars. With the 5 stars only being for good solid answers and not just for agreeing (is that spelled correct) with another post. I think they (NI) should just take away the option of the 1-4 stars like Ben said.
Ben, my interpretation of a misuse vs abuse centers on cases when a perfectly valid response is given, but the post is given 1 star. This has happened to me on a number of occasions. Even when the answer was the correct answer! Another instance that I've seen more than once is when someone posted a perfectly valid question, but the question was given 1 star. In my mind this is abuse, as opposed to misuse. But I completely understand that someone else may interpret the meaning of the words differently and this response is not meant to argue or counter your point. I'm merely explaining my reasoning. I concede that different people have different ideas on what the terms mean. Besides, I do not want to put this discussion to be placed on a tangent from your original intention.
In order to keep this discussion balanced I would like to hear from someone who disagrees and believes the star system should be kept as is before any changes are made. While I am clearly in favor of eliminating it, I would agree with the alternative of keeping only the 5-star rating. I believe that the forums would be better served if an opposing opinion is heard and debated.
Indeed, I've seen things like that many times. I suspect that's a case (though can't prove since I have no visibility on who gave what rating) where the user didn't get the answer they were hoping for, as in they may have been hoping for a magic bean but instead got instructions on how to plant beans, got disappointed, and gave a 2-star rating. Should Mike be the receiver of this disappointment? Hardly.