21 October 2010

What does posting quantity imply about quality?

Many interactive forum systems prominently associate posters' avatars with counts of the number of posts their originator has made in that forum.  I'm not sure how useful this is, except perhaps to encourage authors' continued loyalty and output by conferring a form of accumulated status.  As a reader, it would be convenient to have a concise assessment of the quality of a commentator's posts, but the number of posts seems an arbitrary approximation.  If a world-class expert enters a forum to make a single insightful observation, his or her "1 post here" score would deprecate its value in favor of someone else with less expertise but more exposure in that community.  For me, I've been using email on a daily basis for several decades; as a very rough guess, I may have sent somewhere around 100,000 messages in this period. I'm not inclined, however, to add a message header with a counter that advances for each one to indicate my ongoing usage.  If I received such a message, I think I'd find it more obnoxious than indicative of substantive and increasing value within.

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