Home Read/WriteWeb’s New Comments Feature: SezWho

Read/WriteWeb’s New Comments Feature: SezWho

At the beginning of this week we introduced a new comments
feature on Read/WriteWeb, called SezWho. Basically
it introduces comment rating, reputation and filtering to this blog. SezWho was created
by one of our occasional writers, Jitendra Gupta – whose team
installed it onto R/WW. You can check out the full list of features in the SezWho FAQ, but in this post I want to summarize
how it improves R/WW’s community.

How SezWho works on R/WW

A good example of SezWho in action is on our post entitled Is Facebook
Worth the Hype?
, which was published yesterday and so far has 33 comments. In fact
here is comment number 33, by Greg Smith:

You can see above that Greg’s comment currently has a rating of 3.3 (out of 5). Also
you can check out Greg’s history of comments on Read/WriteWeb, and the rating each one
got, by hovering your mouse over ‘Profile’:

Note that Greg’s SezWho profile can be utilized over other sites too – i.e. his
profile is not centered around R/WW, but around Greg himself. In other words, it is a
distributed system that can be used across multiple sites.

The power of SezWho on a blog like ours is that any person can rate any comment. You
do need to supply an email address, via a pop-up that should only appear once. I actually
queried Jitendra about the need for an email address, as I wondered why SezWho doesn’t
allow people to anonymously rate comments. Jitendra replied that “anon ratings become
really easy to game and one commenter can mess up the entire system by repeatedly rating
their own comment”. He said that “we are using the email address to identify the users”,
but ultimately it also “makes the system more robust and trustworthy, while providing
users incentives to have a good reputation.”

So how do you rate comments? At the bottom of each comment, you’ll see this:

If you thought the comment contributed something to the post, click ‘yes’ – which
increases the rating of that comment. This allows other readers to then filter
the comments on a post, to only show the ones rated highly by other readers. This comes
in handy when the post itself is quite long and there are a lot of comments – e.g. Josh’s
Facebook Hype post that Greg commented on. The filtering is done at the top of all the

Underlying Technology

Jitendra told me that the key technology is SezWho’s scoring algorithm, which mimics
the way reputations are transacted in the real world. Says Jitendra:

“We weigh the ratings from highly rated users more highly than ratings from other
users. We are also planning to support context sensitive reputations, such that a user
reputation in one area (e.g. technology) does not automatically translate to a high
reputation in another (e.g. politics).”

Jitendra said they have over 50K users with profiles currently. They are growing
rapidly, via individual sites like Read/WriteWeb – but they are also “doing deals with
big social media hosting companies”. SezWho supports WordPress and MovableType platforms
at this point, but they are working on /BB and vBulletin. Plus they will eventually
make their APIs public.

Conclusion – and your feedback requested

I mentioned recently that improving community on Read/WriteWeb is my number 1 priority
for the site; and SezWho has certainly given our comments some ‘wisdom of the crowds’
functionality. Rating, reputations, filters – these are all features we regularly see in
the web products we report on and analyze at R/WW. So SezWho allows us to experiment with
the same technologies in our own community. Plus of course, SezWho is a very ‘read/write’
technology – as it highlights the comments of our readers and hopefully encourages more
community as a result.

There are more things coming on R/WW to enhance the community here, but for now please
tell us what you think of SezWho.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

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