To get on the front page you need 5 recommends, 500 words and 4 photos!
It's been something the moderators and I have discussed a few times. We want a fair system that allows the best quality blogs to get on the front page - that is something that is subjective so not everyone will like the changes.
I believe these changes will be for the best.
If your blogs have dropped off - it's not personal!
The best way to gain recommends / followers - is to post in the forum and recommend the blogs of others.
We have also increased the number of blogs displayed to 10 - in all of the front page tabs - and we've made many internal changes that promote blogs when they are recommended.
[Edited: 2011 Nov 21 10:34 - Ali:1 - typo]
It's about time that a form of QUALITY CONTROL
is put in place. I must say that a lot of blogs which turn up on the front page are not really that deserving and sometimes can be outright offensive (too much negativity and whinging really). And please don't pull out the FREEDOM OF SPEECH stuff cos it only gives it a bitter taste.
If you really want to have high quality blogs on the front page, you can set the bar higher by pooling the blogs qualified or marked for front page and screen them further for quality.
Good Luck !
I don't like Kaleb's tone, but he makes a good point.
I love how there's more blogs on the front page! Good call.
Definitely for the best.................it keeps the standard high, allows more publicity for the better Travelblog writers and I'm sure will encourage other writers to up their efforts to get on the front page.
Very happy about the extra blogs on the front page..........it always seems I add my entries the same time as 8 other people and they disappear off the front page within an hour or two!
Hopefully my blogs aren't the ones that are negative and offend!
This will make sure most of my future blogs dont feature on the Front Page. I am not much of a photo taker and most of my blogs only have one photo in them. I dont mind much, because it has always been more about travel for me than blogs on Front Pages. Hopefully, the others who have been bumped off the Front Page will feel the same. 😊
Just out of sheer interest here, how many people will have been bumped off? I mean, what percentage of people who were eligible are now not?
Hope this makes sense.
I'm all for quality over quantity, so applaud this move, but my one worry is it'll make it very hard for new bloggers to make the grade. There's a Catch 22 where you need 5 recommends to be on the front page, but without being on the front page 5 recommends are bloody hard to get! I know in my case it took 18 blogs just to get 3 recommends. As I'm not a particularly prolific Blogger by this time my travels were almost over... 3 blogs on the front page later, though, and I suddenly had 13 recommends!
Couldn't we have a sliding scale to favour the new guys where say you need only 2 recommends for the first 10 blogs, 3 for 15, 4 for 20 etc? That way good new talent could shine, while others who just happen to have 3 mates on Travelblog would quickly drop off again.
(and yes, I do realise that even under my new suggested system I still may have just personally missed the grade way back when, but maybe that would have been for the best!?!)
We still have the Blogger of the Week to allow new bloggers to be recognise new talent. The tab for this still exists, as does the thread on forums.. In the case of good quality bloggers, they are often nominated for Blogger of the Week and then eventually get enough recommends to be on the front page. This change will still allow that, but will potentially just make the Blogger of the Week tab contain different blogs to the Front Page (some days recently, they are exactly the same).
- For newer bloggers who are chasing the Front page, there are other ways to attract those recommends:
- Recommend bloggers yourself. Most of us look who has recommended them and check out their blogs,
- Post on the forums. People check out bloggers who crop up in conversation
- Nominate other bloggers for Blogger of the Week or on the Blog Treasure Hunt
- Post enough blogs, photos or forum posts to get an award
Hopefully along with blog quality, this change will also encourage more community.
> Just out of sheer interest here, how many people will have been bumped off?
> but my one worry is it'll make it very hard for new bloggers to make the grade.
As K&K state above - that's why we have all the initiatives like Blogger of the Week - please please nominate, recommend and vote when you see a good new blogger. There is no downside to recommending another blogger - other than seeing their entries in your control panel 😊
We appreciate the effort to improve the quality of blogs on the front page. One comment would be that quantity doesn't always get you quality (ie: word count). Many of our favorite blogs are less than 500 words and they are great because they are short and to the point without much rambling. Too many words can dilute the quality as much as too few words. As you say, it's all subjective anyways. This is just our preference, others may have plenty of spare time to read long-winded blogs though. Perhaps a cap on the maximum number of words might also be an improvement?
I think the worry is that is now harder to get a blog noticed. Fair enough that people can be nominated for Blogger of the Week etc, but with the sheer amount of blogs uploaded each and every day, the chance of this happening is quite remote.
For me personally, I waited an eternity to get the 3 recommends needed for the front page (the amount needed at the time) and then in the space of about two weeks, I got a further 5 recommends. So I was extremly lucky with my timing because this only happened fairly recently.
Having said that, I can see the need to refine the process and perhaps this maybe the easiest (and perhaps fairest way.)
AfricaBound mentions that there ought to be a cap on lengthy blogs - but I disagree. Who is to say that a blog of a certain length is going to be long-winded anyway? Some of the best blogs I've read on here have been fairly lengthy. It's the quality of the writing that counts, surely?
Speaking of the Blogger of the Week, and how it can promote those who have not yet appeared on the Front Page, here is the nomination thread for it. Nominate bloggers or add a second or third nomination to the ones already nominated.
This is a sure way to make your opinion count, because the number of nominations and popularity count when choosing a winner, when there is more than one good one to choose from. As well as that, the blogger may not have been noticed at all, if it wasnt for you.
If the ones you nominate are of Front Page quality in your opinion, dont forget to add your recommend, because as Cessna152 describes above, getting from 0 to even 3 nominations, let alone 5 can be quite a hurdle to cross no matter how good a blogger you are. And, I can confirm that Cessna152 is an excellent blogger whom we did not notice, until he one day appeared on the forums. There are plenty of others we(regulars, TravelBlog staff...) will also give our own recommends to too, once we discover them.
Those who feel they should be promoted by becomming a Blogger of the Week can feel free to nominate themselves. If somebody seconds your self nomination, we can consider it to be a valid nomination.
Nominate a Blogger to be next week's Blogger of the Week.
As for the Front Page and the points about who and what should be on it, this creates some of the most lengthy and frequent topics of discussion on TravelBlog. A conclusion has never been reached as to what is the perfect solution. The one in existance, which is essentially democratic, as it allows all bloggers an equal right to vote(recommend) may not be perfect, but it is the one that works best for most. Like any democratic system, those who are elected have generally had to make their presence felt somehow, so the more you appear on the forums, recommend others, comment on their blogs... the more chance you have of receiving more votes. It is not all about quality. Unless you are lucky, it takes both quality and interpersonal skills.
A conclusion has never been reached as to what is the perfect solution.
A Democratic System
of letting readers/bloggers recommend which blogs should appear on the front page sounds FAIR. But I believe that the owner (Ali), system administrators or moderators should also have the DISCRETION to pick and choose high quality RANDOM blogs to appear on the front page regardless of the said criteria.
I figure you rely on your COMPUTATIONAL ALGORITHM for Quality Assurance
to automate the task of displaying qualifying blogs on front page based on the bloggers rating, recommendations, words counts and number of photos ?
Perhaps complimenting this existing process with further screening (proofreading) by Travelblog staff should do the trick !
It will be a lot of work of course ... but it's one way to assure quality.
Hope this helps.
I see you have recommended 4 bloggers Kaleb, and those are excellent and popular choices you have made. Keep up with the finding good ones and recommending them. Everybody likes to receive recommends, even those who have more than enough to get on the Front Page. Keep helping us out by finding and recommending bloggers you like. 😊
Re: Your post above
Yes, I know, the details of this topic could be discussed forever, and generally are here on TravelBlog. I have seen it happening for years, literally. I say, we get on with blogging and reading, and when anybody and not just TravelBlog staff find a good blog, then blow its trumpet on the forums. Start a discussion about it. I know from experience that most/all bloggers like when one of their blogs receives such attention. It may not be the same as being a Featured Blog, but it does put a blog in the spotlight. And, we can always highlight a good discussion about a blog, so the discussion about that particular blog can get some Front Page attention.
But I believe that the owner (Ali), system administrators or moderators should also have the DISCRETION to pick and choose high quality RANDOM blogs to appear on the front page regardless of the said criteria.
A nice idea in principle, but in reality a total non starter. There has to be a happy medium somewhere and I feel and believe that the best solution is the one we have at the present time.
Ali no doubt, has enough on his plate keeping this website running at peak efficiency. Realistically, reading through all the new blogs would be one heck of a task and a very time consuming one to say the least.
Let's say that one of us had the responsibility of carrying out this duty. Who is to say that the blogs that are chosen are going to be the ones everyone else wants to read? Consequently, several of the mods/admins would have to commit to reading all the new blogs and vote on which ones they feel are best. This would simply be impracticable.
Some of the best blogs I've read on here have been fairly lengthy. It's the quality of the writing that counts, surely?
Couldn't agree with you more Jason. A cap on the amount of words permitted would be a serious step backwards.
[Edited: 2011 Nov 23 14:31 - Cockle:46288 ]
system administrators or moderators should pick and choose high quality RANDOM blogs to appear on the front page
Let us not forget that this is a prime function of Blogger of the Week. These nominees are by definition unknown, random bloggers that someone (mostly moderators if you look at the thread, but others of the Travelblog community as well) have vetted for quality. The name may be misleading - while only one blogger each week is chosen, they retain the "Blogger of the Week" status permanently, and all their entries appear on a front page tab. Many (most) do eventually go on to becoming Featured bloggers.
Don't forget there is more than one category on the front page and to check out those tabs as well! The "Most Recent" blogs are where many of us discover new and wonderful talent - both written and photographic. Then, as others have said, being an active participant in recommending bloggers you
discover helps to share their chronicles with all of us.
[Edited: 2011 Nov 23 15:10 - Stephanie and Andras:35953 ]
Let us not forget that this is a prime function of Blogger of the Week
The tools are there. All that is required is for people to use them.
I feel and believe that the best solution is the one we have at the present time.
If improvement is really sought after, then some changes
have to be made, right ?
I believe relying heavily on your computer algorithms to automate selection of featured blogs is simply not gonna cut it for quality assurance.
Your computer program can compute numbers (i.e blogger's rating, number of recommendations, word count, number of photos etc.) and other selection specification/constraints but it can't determine the quality of the content of the blog.
Once the "Blogger of the Week" and other trusted
bloggers become featured bloggers, they can just simply try to meet the required "numbers" and their blogs will automatically
get featured on the front page regardless of the quality of the CONTENT, right ?
What if a trusted blogger wants to use Travelblog as a medium to spread certain ideology, hate and propaganda. Just wondering how you deal with this matter.
Cheers ! 😉
P.S Also, I'm not suggesting that all new blogs
have to be read/screened (Are you kidding ? It's a mammoth task !). I'm merely focusing on the featured blogs.
[Edited: 2011 Nov 24 00:02 - wanderinghobo:220159 ]
[Edited: 2011 Nov 24 00:05 - wanderinghobo:220159 ]