Forum:Should essays get brainstars?

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I say no, because their non-collaborative nature means that they are outside the core ouvre of the project and as such can't really be pointed to as things that need improvement or as outstanding examples of the community's work. See Essay talk:Eve for an ongoing discussion of this crucial issue. B♭maj7 (talk) Member of the Kara Duhe fan club since 2010 22:13, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

Mostly no. Only in exceptional cases where the essay is as good or better than rated mainspace articles and, crucially, where a group of editors have recognised this, not just the author. Similarly, essays ideally shouldn't be in the same categories as mainspace articles, although again there may be the odd worthy exception or two. I think we could do with a Help page on essays, outlining some guidelines and boundaries. ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:24, 19 October 2011 (UTC)
No. They are usually the work of a single contributor and "do not necessarily reflect" and stuff--User:Brxbrx/sig 22:27, 19 October 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. Just as it's important to allow all essays, to permit dissenting opinions and avoid groupthink, it's also important that they don't get official seals of approval or disapproval in the form of stars.--ADtalkModerator 22:32, 19 October 2011 (UTC)
Essay: Way to make your own view on something. Brainstar: Community approval/disapproval of an article. Sorta ironic that you would want to combine the personal; space area with community judgement --Mikalosa (talk) 22:38, 19 October 2011 (UTC)
I agree for the most part, except there are exceptions, of which Essay:Social Effects of the Theory of Evolution is one. That one does have community approval. As a general rule, however, they shouldn't get them. Peter talk, or type, or whatever... 22:41, 19 October 2011 (UTC)
Agree w/weaseloid. Tytalk 23:08, 19 October 2011 (UTC)
We're not here to support people's vanity. Articles get graded because of their value to the site, which is a wiki and therefore a collaborative effort. Promoting individual essays or "owning pages" à la Ken is not how we operate. Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic?Moderator 13:34, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
Actually Ghengis, we have in the past, and it's a VERY good way to operate. This site has some really thoughtful people, who have really interesting ideas. Things that don't belong in articles but are still valuable. They should be promoted, they should be highlighted -- if good enough, they should even be considered for front page status now and then. Why? cause it's something we do good, really good, that Wiki P doesn't or can't. Why does someone come here? it's not to learn facts about evolution or Ray comfort, it's to get a particular point of view, find really good arguments against woo, and be challenged. Essays help do that. When I've edited pages that were alrady written, like the abortion page, I have always included good essays that provide a point of view, a personal history, etc. Pink mowse.pngGodotHave you tried turning it off and on again?". 13:50, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
Yes and no. Here's the thing; we post opinion pieces and essays to the WIGOs all the time. We share that information, that viewpoint, and expect others to read it and be interested. Why, therefore, do we say that what we produce ourselves can't be the same? I could write an essay on a blog elsewhere, someone submits it to WIGO, it gets voted up (or as it's me, down) and people read it. We take information and we disseminate it. What is the theoretical difference between this and just cutting out the middle-part and keeping it all within the MediaWiki framework? Why would essays written on this site be deprived of the reward of publicity (if they're good enough) when we happily do the same to others. Eventually the mainspace will cover most topics, some well, some not. But other important things can be covered as just a personal opinion, why discourage that? It's not an encyclopedia, after all. ADK...I'll forsake your noseblower! 14:24, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

If someone likes an essay and wants to throw together some sort of barnstar and slap it on the talk page, why say they're not allowed to? Aren't we against having too many rules governing this sort of thing? If the argument is whether they should appear in the essay itself, I guess the short answer is who really wants to go through the process of putting together some sort of policy on this? Probably no one. DickTurpis (talk) 14:20, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

For me, Dick... Brainstars say something about the community involvement in an article. When an article gets a silver or gold the community has said "we've looked at it, and it represents what we think a silver or gold RW article is". But Essays are not community projects. They are not always written with style and panache even if they are topically very interesting. They don't always represent a majority opinion, though they may be important to challenge the majority. A christian evolutionist who writes about how he has felt atheists pick on him, for example. any system (if any) we use to look at essays should be separate from the system that rates community projects. Pink mowse.pngGodotHave you tried turning it off and on again?". 15:32, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
My experience with barnstars is at Wikipedia, where they're thrown around haphazardly on talk pages every time some likes something someone did. It's sort of silly, but if people want to do that here I see no reason to make a rule against it. If people want to start a rating system for essays like we have for articles it sounds like more policies and rules and voting and all other sorts of evil incarnate. DickTurpis (talk) 17:49, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

Yes, with an if... no with a but...[edit]

Actually, I'd say yes. But under a slightly different system. As we're not offering grades for essays, a progressive, multi-levelled system isn't needed. Also, as we don't collaboratively improve on them, a system of promotions isn't necessary. However, a system of featured essays would add a new dimension to the site. I don't want to just encourage mainspace contributions, I'd really like to encourage more essay writing. If someone pulls a great idea out of their arse, then why not say so? The fact that they're marked as "essays" singles them out already, all you'd need is a single brainstar, probably the silver one, that transcludes a "featured essay" category. So really, this would be just setting up a "featured essay" category and sticking an icon on it, rather than integrating it into the rating system. ADK...I'll meditate your reindeer! 23:11, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

I'm all for "featuring" essays, but I don't like the idea of using the brainstar system. Essays are not collaborative, nor do they reflect everyone's view. I'd far rather we just highlight good essays from mainspace articles, but not "grade" or "rate" them. And since we can't touch them, if there's typos or something, but it's a good article, doesn't that reflect badly on the community? I would either use a differnt system, or just say "good essay on this topic" in the mainspace article.Pink mowse.pngGodotNo, That's not the same thing. You just don't get it". 23:59, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

Would it be possible ...[edit]

To make a single rating -- not brains, but like a small icon we can put on essays. I was thinking something like "Worth reading". not a rating system, cause essays are personal and shouldn't be judged in a rating system, but some way to say "this is crap" or "this actually has something worth while to think about". --Pink mowse.pngGodotHave you tried turning it off and on again?". 13:53, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

Like button[edit]

What we need is a voting system visible on the essay page.

  • x voters like this essay, y voters think it's poor and z voters would rather be in the pub. --BobSpring is sprung! 13:58, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
Just like the wigo vote thingy. Tytalk 14:00, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
The thing I dislike about the voting is that invariably it means "vote up if this confirms my previous opinions and biases". It's bad enough on blogosphere items but essays would be far worse. It would only encourage people to write what people wanted to read, rather than what they wanted to write or something more challenging. ADK...I'll execrate your bevel! 14:18, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
Whatever system of approbation we had could receive the same criticism.--BobSpring is sprung! 14:55, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
Just stick two wigo's on it. One for opinion, one to congratulate style and oration.--User:Brxbrx/sig 14:33, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
That wouldn't help much. See WP's article feedback thing. If they disagree with what an essay says, people will likely vote it down no matter what the criteria are -- Nx / talk 14:59, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
I am worried about "voting". I really think essays are often personal and I would hate (speaking for myself) people to say "Tanya, this essay sucks and i'm voting it down). That's quite a different feeling than just not highlighting it. I just think if we are out reading things, and we find something that's inspiring, or makes us think, and is from one of the many RW editors, it's a good thing to show off. Again, many people around here have written some really interesting things - things I don't always agree with, but which make you take a second thought. and it's not always about quality of writing, which is again why it should not be brain star. Some of us don't write as well as others, but the ideas are really insightful. (and some of us have neither well written nor insightful essays). But i do really hate the idea of rating other people's personal thoughts, cause it becomes rating them... --Pink mowse.pngGodotHave you tried turning it off and on again?". 15:00, 20 October 2011 (UTC) edit con
Then the like buttons would be voluntary. Problem solved, amirite?--User:Brxbrx/sig 15:01, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
How would that solve anything? What do you think the importance or lack of, about essays? That's where your point has to start, brx. so often, you personally run off with "ideas" around here, without asking why the issue matters in the first place, so your answers rarely fix or help anything that is really going on. The first questions is 1) Do we even want essays, then 2) if so, why. I know my reasons and i'll shout them every time I can. But i'm not the mob, and maybe the mob doesn't want essays. But a "like" button doesn't help anything. it just creates more in fighting. Pink mowse.pngGodotHave you tried turning it off and on again?". 15:12, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
Here's an example, although I failed miserably at formatting properly and just gave up and left a wall of text. Oh, and I used old wigo buttons--User:Brxbrx/sig 15:21, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
And what "problem" have you solved? What is the issue you are trying to address with WIGo
The problem of having an essay rating system. I used WIGO because it conveniently fulfills the same function as a like, dislike, neutral opinion button.--User:Brxbrx/sig 15:37, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

Destined to fail...[edit]

...due to edit wars over whether controversial essays are profound and well-written or huge hunks of bullshit. The only exception I would make are the side-by-side refutations in essay space. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 15:05, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

That's fine, but this is why i thought a simply statement "some editor (not the author) thinks this essay is worth reading) would be good. The thing is, Neb, we have such good essays. not the "side by side" which are often as crappy as every other article, it's just harder to see cause it looks so cool, but essays about being an atheist; essays about being pro-life yet liberal on most things; essays about coming out (though I can't find that one anymore - it was here when I first edited, 2 years ago). This kind of opinion, of personal experience makes us different than the WPs of the world, and it's that difference that will keeps us noticed. At least it's why *i* came here. Instead of whining about essays, we should be encouraging our editors to write them, and when they are good, say so. --Pink mowse.pngGodotHave you tried turning it off and on again?". 15:10, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
I am not whining about essays, but they are most definitely not articles because they are written from an individual's POV, and any rating for them should be given by the community not drummed up by a sole author. Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic?Moderator 17:41, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
Sorry. shouldn't have said whining, not at all respectful of me. and you are very right. I don't think the author of a work should be the person saying it's valuable or not. Pink mowse.pngGodotHave you tried turning it off and on again?". 17:44, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
I think that saying marking your own work as "good quality" shouldn't be allowed can go without saying. ADK...I'll pull your love! 00:50, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

What I favor[edit]

...would be a "gold star" system, in which people can nominate great essays for the "best of essays" category and a gold brainstar of some sort (probably different from Goldenbrain.png, like the one we have for funspace is Balloons.svg). The requirement would be they would have to be exclusive to RW, i.e. not published elsewhere first.

I can think of lots of essays we'd like to endorse as well written, moving, insightful, interesting, etc... Essay:I'm Only Human comes to mind as an example. Blue Talk 17:30, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

A golden fountain pen or quill for the icon. -- Nx / talk 19:04, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Would it be possible, or even wanted, to have some sort of star rating system built into the template so that it read "Readers have rated this essay, on average, 2.79 stars". That way we could keep the really bad ones without being seen to endorse them and, on the other hand, the goodies would get the reconition they deserve. I know this works for some adult story sites I stumbled across and don't visit reguarly, oh, no. Bad Faith (talk) 19:16, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Star rating systems suck. Like/dislike rating systems are slightly better, but still suck. We could use the wigo system (which is a like/dislike system, and thus sucks, but that's what we have. We also have the sliders, which could be changed to stars with some css magic probably). -- Nx / talk 19:21, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Thumb-up.pngBad Faith (talk) 19:38, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
The problem with any sort of anonymous WIGO-like voting system is that some people might try and stack the votes in favour of their own essay. Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic?Moderator 19:43, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
I echo genghis above and also feel that the essays are too wide ranging for successful ranking. how do you define a "gold" essay? Being on-mission? An essay doesn't need to be on-mission. Because you like the topic? Well written? Aceace 19:49, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
"Well written, moving, insightful, interesting, etc..." as I said above, would define a gold essay. There needn't be a specific set of criteria like we have for gold articles. We operate on similarly unspecified terms in lots of areas, like article deletion. If someone felt they should nominate an essay for gold, a loosely regulated vote should happen, though it should probably be a policy not to nominate your own essay. Blue Talk 20:35, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Reasonable as ever, Blue. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 20:54, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Oh Stabby, you flatter me. Blue Talk 21:04, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
I mentioned this before, i think, but we should have a nomination system. not stars, not "rate this", but "is this good for a list of 'must reads" especially in various topics. the idea that an essay should be "well written" bothers me just a bit. If someone writes a moving essay, but isn't native english, it might deserve attention. making a list of essays people recommend would be, i think, useful. Pink mowse.pngGodotAround, around, around, around, over, and under and through 21:11, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
That is essentially exactly what I'm proposing. Blue Talk 21:25, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Some of our essays could really add to various topics. Abortion, atheism. So I'd also like to see if individuals would be willing to "nominate" themselves (as it were) but with the understanding that we can make minor changes to make it more gramatical, or fix typos and spelling errors. That if the article is something we want to highlight with links from various pages, it should be allowed to go through a minor editorial process?Pink mowse.pngGodotAround, around, around, around, over, and under and through 21:52, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Good idea. Blue Talk 23:18, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

RATING essays - bad[edit]

by the way, i'm strongly against any type of rating or ranking system for essays. In some cases, they are very personal things. Something someone wrote (like I wrote about my abortion) that could be emotional or important to them - even if they suck to everyone else. a "ranking' or "rating" system other than just "really worth reading" or "highlighted essay" could really hurt, accidentally. Imagine if the "I'm only human" essay actually sucked. it would be horrid to log in, as dumpling, and see that i'm not even worthy of one star. (I agree, by the way, that hers and Ty's are really good essays about personal stories).Pink mowse.pngGodotAround, around, around, around, over, and under and through 21:15, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

I sort of like the idea of finding a way to show community approval but can't think of one that isn't open to manipulation. Consequently if people think essays are good they can say so on the talk page. --BobSpring is sprung! 21:29, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
DeviantART manages to feature and publicise user-generated content quite well. But actually going about entrusting people to feature suitable articles would possibly resemble effort, eugh. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 21:47, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Somehow I think this golden quill thing will be something I just implement one day and people will just get used to it, like the copper brainstar. Blue Talk 23:20, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
...I'm okay with the idea of the golden quill.--Dumpling (talk) 07:00, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
No. Really. There is already too much butthurt about people thinking that their contributions are not being recognised enough. Single user contributions should not be rated, either up or down. Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic?Moderator 09:01, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
Who's butthurt? I've got buns of steel, baby. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 09:16, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
Here, try this elaborately-decorated sombrero for size. Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic?Moderator 09:39, 18 January 2012 (UTC)