Disqus Ranks

The community here at AVC has been a testing ground for a new feature that Disqus will be rolling out throughout its network shortly. They call it Disqus Ranks. Anyone who has been in the AVC comments in the past two or three months has seen pieces of the Ranks service coming together.

Here is how it works:

1) the blogger and/or publisher uses a nice new tool provided by Disqus to score each community member. it looks like this (note that I will in all likelihood change these settings over time):

Disqus scoring

2) the blogger and/or publisher can turn on "ranks" in the comment threads. these ranks appear in the header of each comment. this is what we have been seeing here at AVC for the past few months.

3) the blogger and/or publisher can create custom ranks for the community using a range of conditions and metrics. these include absolute leaderboard position or any of the individual items being measure (shown above).

4) i did that yesterday. and i messed it up. i somehow made everyone "welcome back stranger" for most of the day yesterday. sorry about that. the folks at Disqus helped me fix it yesterday afternoon and now we have what I set up working. that is:

me – Bartender

top 10 – The Entourage

top 50 – The Gang

top 100 – The Regulars

top 250 – The Semi-Regulars

top 1000 – Familiar Face

top 2000 – Welcome Back Stranger

first comment – Newcomer

I'd like everyone's feedback on these names and the scores associated with them. I'd also like suggestions for other ranks. We can assign names to all kinds of behavior, first to comment, spam reporting, liking, replying, etc.

You can see that I've been working with a bar theme. I've always seen the AVC community as Cheers, a place people come hang out, have fun, talk about stuff, make and maintain friendships. So for now anyway, I'm going with that.

I think that's it. Let's disqus.

UPDATE: I've been playing around with Ranks as people are discussing them and giving me ideas. When I update the Ranks, they go away for a few minutes and the new ones come back. So you may not see them from time to time. Also, I added a new Rank called instigator for those community members who start conversations. Disqus makes me an instigator. I will try to get the bartender handle back but it is gone for now.


Comments (Archived):

  1. gregorylent

    would love to know what i said that people “liked” … can’t find it in my disqus profile

    1. leigh

      ha – yes that would be nice.  likes seem to just kinda happen and you really have no idea who or what comment was liked 



        1. leigh

          says number of likes but not who liked which, i don’t like 🙂

          1. ShanaC

            Better to be anonymous, I think.

          2. Donna Brewington White

            You can find out anyway by going to the comment and clicking on the “likes”  — BTW, I think “socialite” works for you, but you are more than that.

        2. ShanaC

          I wish the interface handled pingbacks…..

          1. Tyler Hayes

            How so?

          2. ShanaC

            They’re just not there, they are treated as part of wordpress functionality.  I think they should be moderated, and treated as reactions.

  2. Philip J. Cortes

    Love the bar theme!  I’d love to see the following (all specific to this blog):1)  Most likes2)  Most replies 3)  Most replies from Fred4)  Highest comment/like ratio5)  Leaderboards of some sort, where you can see rankings for all of the above.   Could be fun to see how you move up or down on any given week. 

    1. fredwilson

      some of that exists in the community boxsee the attached image to this reply, look for it at the top of the comment thread, click on it

      1. William Mougayar

        I like that community box. It’s a great snapshot, especially the newcomers. Can you expand the lists to the top 10 instead of 5.And what it that Notifications number next to it? Seems like a random list of replies, or are they recent replies I haven’t replied back to?

    2. leigh

      not sure i like the idea of most replies from Fred – feels too much like grade 7 – want to make sure this remains a community tool and not a popular crowd tool if you know what i mean…..

      1. Philip J. Cortes

        Yeah – that’s the thing with any type of gamification – drives people in different ways.  Some people go bonanza over leaderboards, others are turned off….I think that if you include “most replies from Fred” in a place where you have to go looking for it – you could keep the community element on the front end, but those who really care can go explore and dig up the stat?

    3. Chuck Watson

      The problem with the score board idea is that it WILL get gamed. There needs to be a method of measuring the quality of the posts by a user, not quantity. I think the “like” system is good for this and is hard to game.

  3. leigh

    Can you make specific names for specific people?  Still think Kid, GRIM, JLM and a few others require their own community handles…..

    1. fredwilson

      i’m not sure, but that is a fantastic suggestion. kid is the bouncer, for example

      1. awaldstein

        Nicknames personalize and offer that familiarity to everyone and encourage conversation. Binds the group to the person. Love this (thanks @leigh )!Leader boards which these grouping are…I’m not certain how they affect behavior in any tangible way.As long as they are fun, they have value. If they end up a competitive Klout type of ranking, I’m not drawn in.I was more interested and honored to know that somehow I was in the top 5  ‘liked’ commenters and in that rarified group with AndyS, JLM, CharleC and yourself.

      2. awaldstein

        Love the individual nickname idea. This binds the community to the person and will encourage engagement through familiarity. (thanks @leigh:disqus )! These groups are really a form of a leader board. Whether they help behaviorally, we’ll see. If they are fun, great. If they are competitive and ranking badges like Klout, personally not drawn in.Most interesting to me was that dashboard. Truly surprised and honored to be in the top five most ‘liked’ with that rarified group of JLM, Charlie, Andy and yourself. Big thanks to the community on this vote of confidence.

        1. JLM

          While I am honored to be in the company of such folks, truly honored, and it was inevitable that something like this would happen, I miss the anonymity of being able to comment and perhaps be unknown.I will ponder on this.

          1. markslater

            unknown?you are known the world over. see this pic in my office:

          2. Satish Mummareddy

            Thats amazing.

          3. fredwilson

            mark sent it to me yesterday via emailof course i loved it

          4. JLM

            Thanks, that is fun and funny!  You made my day.

          5. ShanaC

            I want one!

          6. Robert Holtz

            That completely rocks on every level.^^

          7. awaldstein

            Interesting. But in fact, without the ranking, frequent visitors have a familiarity with the community members by name and gravitar. I would bet it’s in your nature to do what you do here–have and express your opinions. You would become known simply by the force of your persistent commenting.

          8. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          9. Mark Essel

            I’m sure you can log in with a new pseudonym and regain that anonymity for a while.Of course us regulars will recognize you by your “voice”.

          10. ShanaC

            You are making me tempted to test this.  I think I could disguise my voice long enough…

          11. Donna Brewington White


        2. Mark Essel

          Where’s the dashboard, is it available via the community interface?

          1. awaldstein

            Top of comments on the right, right under ‘Next Post’. You are in the top 5 there I believe of most comments.

      3. Matt A. Myers

        It’s titles idea from MUDs way back when. Usually your character would have to reach a minimum level (“rank”) before you can edit it on your own. Some MUDs would let that be Level 3, some you’d have to be Level 50 for that privilege. Ahhhh memories.

        1. dz

          scannkill rabbitscanwkill rabbitSpent way too many hours doing that.

    2. awaldstein

      Great idea. See comment to Fred below.

    3. William Mougayar

      Like a Vanity license plate? Maybe could be available only to the top 10 as that way, it’s known for sure they are definitely a top 10. 

    4. Dave W Baldwin

      Not speaking for @fredwilson:disqus , but this will transform over time.  Personally, I’d offer a Vanity Plate for a contribution (Vain one picks charity) that gives you plate for determined time period.  Start strong with time period being biweekly rather than monthly.

  4. Dennis Buizert

    I have been debating whether putting ranks on comments is really adding any value. In how much are they really a measurable device?But if I have to believe the screenshot this might actually work in an accurate way.Looking forward in seeing this grow and evolve. I love Disqus and this blog and I’m honored to be part of the experiment 🙂

  5. JimHirshfield

    What rights and privileges come with these rankings? Free shots of Scotch with every second round? 😉 Hmm, what’s the digital equivalent?When’s open mic night?

    1. leigh

      if there was Scotch involved i’d be more likely to get competitive.  I bet @fred would only serve the good stuff 🙂

      1. JimHirshfield

        🙂 cheers

    2. Cam MacRae

      I’m enjoying a wee dram of Laphroaig right now. Not on the house, mind.

      1. JimHirshfield

        To your health!

        1. Cam MacRae


      2. ShanaC

        I grew up with that.  I’ve even had it at cask strength.You should try other Islays.  I prefer highlands, but I am not the primary drinker of scotch in my house (my dad is)Also, you should know the little booklet that comes with the bottle allows you to redeem a 1×1 foot plot of Laphroig. land.

        1. Cam MacRae

          Oh I have! And I keep trying them again and again to renew my disgust!Laphroaig is my favourite, but I’m quite partial to Bowmore and Ardbeg too. I’ve usually got a Highland and Speyside on the go as well.

  6. Tom Labus

    It’s like group nicknames which is hard to do.

  7. William Mougayar

    Couple of things:1) Is that snapshot of the tool dashboard reflecting the exact dials that you have settled on for this community, or just using it as an example to show us? The reason I’m asking is that I would favor not disclosing your various knobs and dials because some users will game the rankings if they can. (btw- I’m glad that the length of comments doesn’t even figure on that list)2) Labels. The ones I’m having trouble digesting intuitively are Entourage and Gang. The hierarchy is not obvious. How about Inner Circle and Platinum Member as possible options. 

    1. fredwilson

      yes, those are the settings for nowbut i am going to change them

  8. Guest

    I think you might need to designate a body guard & a bouncer for fun, especially if you are rolling with an entourage.  This bar has a little more traffic than Cheers.  🙂  

    1. awaldstein

      Kelly…your teaser for ClosetGroupie is really terrific. Well done! You should certainly use it as your (handle) next to your name.

      1. Guest

        Thanks Arnold!  Done.  It will no longer be a teaser in about three weeks.  🙂

    2. fredwilson

      kid mercury is the bounceri think i’m going with andy swan as the body guardif i was in a dark alley, i’d want andy next to me

      1. Guest

        Great & tall choice.   

      2. JLM

        How about The Rangers or Fred’s Rangers?

        1. Donna Brewington White

          That’s not bar-themed JLM.  And more Texas than NYC.  Like it or not this is a NYC bar even if virtual.  Cheers!

      3. ShanaC

        I miss kid, barring the last few days.

  9. Guest

    I think “Reading the blog” every day even via RSS should be rewarded. For example I have read almost every post in the last 2 years but have refrained from commenting because, it is easy to get sucked in to long conversations while trying to work.I agree with Disqus on avc being a BAR. And I have not figured out how to work productively while sitting in a BAR all day. :)But I’ve read every single blog post.

    1. Laurent Boncenne

      I second that, I visit this blog at least twice a day, once to actually read the post and a second time to read the slew of comments.It’s tough to always comment on every posts, sometimes it’s better not to comment when you don’t have something meaningful enough to add to the conversation (and I don’t want to be the guy who writes a thank you comment just to score better. I value this community and the comments are a big part of it.)

      1. Jon Knight

        Laurent took my words and made them readable.I keep AVC at the top of my reader, and I doubt I’ve missed a post in 3~4 years. Truth be told: I don’t know as much as many of the folks here, so I keep my  mouth shut most of the time… or else someone says already what comes to my mind and I’m relegated to either becoming a parrot or just ‘Like”-ing what someone has already said.In this case, I just want to see where I am in the mix… Thanks Fred!

        1. fredwilson

          i absolutely want to include people such as yourself in ranks. i think lurker is a good name. what do you think?

          1. abhic

            I think ‘Lurker’ is gonna be an apt rank for a number of us, including me. Only two silos get read every day in my Google Reader -> AVC & TC. Sucks that I have to visit Hacker News separately to really enjoy the experience of the comments etc.

          2. lynne

            I really look forward to reading aVC every morning. To date, I’ve not commented. That would also make me a lurker, but I don’t really like that name. Barfly is better. Or, Consumer.You recently wrote about the number of people who were on Twitter but who were not posting, and their importance — as they are still an essential part of the social network. Same here. Readers who do not comment are the audience that makes what you write have such an impact.I too wonder if the ability to “rank” would significantly impact the addition of new comments for the sake of commenting. I’d have to believe most of us here are the competitive sort.

          3. Laurent Boncenne

            The “lurker” implies they’re taking from this community without giving anything back, but here, it’s only a matter of time before most of the newcomers start engaging and adding to the conversation. Casual or something similar would be more appropriate, then again it’s only titles and ranks….

          4. fredwilson

            doesn’t calling them lurkers encourage them to engage and stop being lurkers?

          5. Laurent Boncenne

            @fredwilson:disqus  (can’t reply to you directly, the thread is already too long.)Probably, but personally if i’m called a lurker, I get this kind of guilt and shame for not being “good enough” somehow…A rank to encourage (lurkers) to engage more by writing  meaningful comments should be more inviting and less reproachful in my opinion.Something close to “it’s okay my friend, you’ll be here for a long time, take a chair, lean back and enjoy, ready when you’re ready =)”

      2. Panchabuta

         Laurent, Second your thought. Visit the blog twice almost daily, once in the late evening here in India when Fred usually posts for the day and the following morning when the thread has all the comments.I do agree that comments are a big part of it and most times its valuable to read through them, though there might not be much to add.

    2. William Mougayar

      Maybe a category called “Observer” for those that punch in, but don’t order drinks or stay around to discuss. Or even “Voyeur”….but I’m going on a limb now. A key goal of this community is to discuss things. If you just want to consume and not discuss, that’s fine, but probably won’t earn you high status points.

      1. laurie kalmanson

        The term of art is lurkerOr going with the theme, barfly

        1. fredwilson

          i believe a barfly is someone who hangs out regularly at a bari like lurker better than observer

          1. Lev Berlin

            There’s also the classic “Wallflower”, for those that hang out and observe but don’t often participate. Big fan of the Cheers inspired bar theme, and of course the gaming aspect of the Disqus ranks. Inspired me to write my first post on the blog after following the RSS for a long time 🙂

          2. ShanaC

            A) Welcome.B) I dunno, if it were me, I am not sure I would want to be called a wallflower in most situations (including ones where I am actually a wallflower)

          3. Mark Essel

            Heyo Lev, glad the commenting changes drew your input. 

          4. laurie kalmanson

            lurker is internet native; agreed.

          5. laurie kalmanson

            there was a movie titled “barfly” on the marquee for a long time at the waverly; every time i turned the corner, i wondered why they were showing a flick about someone with digestive issues: barf-ly. then i read a review.

          6. laurie kalmanson

            also: amazon and ebay add a level of abstraction / feedbackamazon: xx% positive reviews.granted, it’s transaction based, but it’s a number scoreebay: stars and percentagethe benefits of both: at-a-glance feedbacksimple implementation that strips it down for comments: a single star icon next to reply/thumbs … on hover it expands to 5 stars … select.

          7. laurie kalmanson

            also: amazon and ebay add a level of abstraction / feedbackamazon: xx% positive reviews.granted, it’s transaction based, but it’s a number scoreebay: stars and percentagethe benefits of both: at-a-glance feedbacksimple implementation that strips it down for comments: a single star icon next to reply/thumbs … on hover it expands to 5 stars … select.

        2. Jon Knight

           Then again, in keeping with theme…. who would be “bar lint”?I’ve been told by some that THAT is my correct designation.(What does it take to get a drink in this place?)

          1. laurie kalmanson

            closing time …

      2. fredwilson

        i like observer. i think i can get to that using the “visiting pages on the site” plus the “comments”, high on the first, low on the second

      3. Dale Allyn

        Not sure “status” or “status points” are a high-value goal in a community of this quality. My (unsolicited) opinion is that AVC is a great testing ground for such elements, but should eschew them once developed and refined for use elsewhere. The disqus dashboard and profile has good tools and can be improved, but I have such respect for the AVC community that I feel this brings it down a little. That said, I have always enjoyed the “Cheers” bar model here. 🙂

    3. leigh

      more like a Greek Kafeneon then a bar 🙂

    4. fredwilson

      disqus doesn’t see the RSS activity unfortunately

      1. Harry DeMott

        Is that something that eventually happens? I’m like Satish above – I read every day on RSS – but only click through and comment when I feel like saying something.Now I’m not as shy as he is – so always writing something – so I do click through a lot – but it would be great to really get the full view

        1. Satish Mummareddy

          The problem for me is that once I post one comment, I get sucked in and spend way too much time getting involved in the comments. Good for Disqus, bad for my productivity. 🙂

        2. fredwilson

          i think of you as a regular Harry

          1. Donna Brewington White

            Apparently, so does Disqus.

    5. JLM

      Pretend you’re drinking Arnold Palmers.

    6. ShanaC

      It should be like working in a coffee shop

      1. Satish Mummareddy

        I’m more of a “work in the library” kind of person. 🙂 I tried working at coffee shops and seem to get distracted by other people’s conversations. 🙂

        1. fredwilson

          my problem is i’m in meetings non stop from 8am to 6pm

    7. Donna Brewington White

      I see that you are a Guest.  I wonder if @Disqus:disqus distinguishes between the different “guests” (by IP?) so that your “lurking” is even registered?It would be nice to have something to identify you by when you do make the occasional comment.  I understand about the temptation to get “sucked into long conversations” while trying to work.  Guilty as charged.  But turning off the email notification would help avoid this, then you could come back when you have time. But, then, like me, you may find yourself commenting to multiple posts at once. My new version of multitasking.

    8. Michael Kharwin

      I agree with you! The same situation with me

  10. Laurent Boncenne

    We need a “Happy Hour” rank for this community, gotta love the happy hours!I think the question of ranks tho will only be answered over time, you need to see how it will or will not change the commenting behavior and adjust accordingly.

    1. ShanaC

      Happy hour is a time based thing though.  I think “Happy hour” should be the point where the most comments are happening

      1. Laurent Boncenne

        Agreed, but is it even possible to have such a thing? It would definitely be something here. would definitely be something to better connect between us possibly…

    2. Donna Brewington White

      It would be really fun if there was a way to figure out who the “Happy Hour” crowd is at AVC.  Maybe that is the semi-regulars. I want my rank to be “closes the place down.”  Well, not really.  And it doesn’t close anyway.  24/7 bar — only in New York could a place like this originate — at least in the States.

      1. Laurent Boncenne

        Well, sorry to disappoint, but there are 24/7 bars in Russia albeit not much, but those exists =) I once found one in St-Petersburg a long time ago who had private rooms you could have and rent DVDs to watch with your friends and get drinks…As for figuring out who the happy hour crowd is, I’m sure one of us can do something with the APIs from chartbeat and disqus combined, since chartbeat is realtime it might be doable. Though the answer might be “around 5pm for each timezones”…The AVC bar is the best of both worlds, it’s like challenging your comfort zone everyday, yet mostly meeting the same people everyday and going away with much more than you expected. I’m glad i’ve been there for the last 3 years (as I’ve learned so much), and I hope we will all still be there in 3 years!

        1. Donna Brewington White

          I knew someone would bring up Russia.  Isn’t that the place where they set up a bar during a funeral — or am I getting my ex-Soviet countries switched?I’m not sure Happy Hour at AVC would be consistent with real life — might be 8:00 a.m. or 9:00 p.m., for instance.  But was also thinking about those people who represent the Happy Hour crowd by the way they participate, not so much when.DITTO on your last paragraph!

          1. Laurent Boncenne

            That’s usually a cossack tradition (to celebrate the passing of someone loved on his own grave, to remember him and show him in “the afterlife” that he is always loved) and I think they also do it in Kazakhstan if I’m not mistaken. (usually ends up with everyone being completely drunk =D)Generally though, an Orthodox funeral is a bit more “fun”, It’s a great way for people to get together and support the family and close ones…re- Happy hours, there’s so much fun stuff we could do around this community, i’ve been thinking lately about a custom “avc community feed reader” where you get a one place to read fred’s posts and posts from members of the community, everything linked with disqus and meetup…(but then again, i’m always thinking about crazy stuff like this so it may be a bit far from practical haha!)

  11. William Mougayar

    If “being first to comment” is totally on the left (Not Important), why not remove it completely. It gives a false illusion that it’s being considered.

    1. Aaron Klein

      I think that’s the Disqus settings screen and Fred is just choosing not to value that. (Wise.)

      1. fredwilson


      2. William Mougayar

        Yup, better to have the actual settings hidden. The last thing we want is users gaming these knobs and dials. 

        1. Matt A. Myers

          I don’t think users normally see them? It would be what the moderator states as valued participation.

  12. Aaron Klein

    This is a great community building feature for Disqus.One of may constant frustrations with my blog are the people who hit the back button from my posts and comment on the Facebook link to my post.I want the comments and discussion on my blog and this creates user incentive to do that.

    1. awaldstein

      Aaron…you think that these badges will change Facebook netizen behavior?Keep me in the loop on this but my bet is that it won’t.There are natural groupings around topics on Facebook that seem happy there. For me they are wine and travel and my pictorial affair with NYC.  Maybe it’s the type of sharing, maybe it’s the global nature of FB. Don’t know.These topics are starting to naturally migrate to Tumblr for me but for in depth discussion around the social web, business and marketing, this all lives on my WP/Disqus blogs. Commenting systems on Facebook are just inadequate for real conversation.

      1. ShanaC

        For me it is anything college related.  or girl related.  occasionally computer related.

        1. awaldstein

          Some stuff like,’how are you’, ‘ran the marathon’, ‘dedicating the weekend to de kooning and tasting cremant’ are just catching up and laying the breadcrumbs for your life out to share.Horizontal Facebook friendship based communities migrating to Tumblr are perfect.Want to have a discussion that crosses these friend population and verticalizing into contexts and spurs a conversation? The scene changes.It’s about certain populations and certain contexts demanding conversations and dynamics differently. And a platform to satisfy the needs of the exchange.Be interesting to see how these badges change stuff.

          1. ShanaC

            I’m interested in seeing how the badges work too.  I’m even more interested in the idea of horizontal versus vertical friendships (I don’t have that community on tumblr yet). One of the very very interesting things about both facebook and twitter is the variety of people that answer you.

          2. awaldstein

            Great point about what you call horizontal and vertical, what I usually think about as ‘friendship based’ and ‘interest based’.As a filter, vertical/interest based is key. In the process of searching out people with shared interests (social web and wine for me), I’m finding new friendships with a broad based interest footprint that deepens the connections. Like life…connect over business and also deep into natural wines. Connect over wine of the Jura, but also into deep powder skiing and fanatical about the photographs of Margaret Bourke-White. All this evolves into the explicit/implicit nets. We ask for info on X but implicitly also are interested in the Y and Z of our interest footprints. Social data needs to be parsed and offered up to us without asking.

      2. Aaron Klein

        Arnold, a very late reply here but there are some Disqus problems that prevented me from seeing or replying to this comment. (Other than getting the email notification and knowing it existed!) Here is the reply I wrote to you three days ago:No, not exactly. I think it’s just a matter of inertia, or lack thereof. If you haven’t created a Disqus account, there is a hurdle to do so. (And yes, you can single sign on with FB or Twitter, but the psychic effort for the user still feels big, I guess.)So anything that incentivizes a regular blog reader to choose to comment on my blog where I own the comments, as opposed to in Facebook where they eventually disappear, is a good thing from my perspective.

        1. awaldstein

          Thanks for following through Aaron. I was interested in your response.I never thought about this from an ownership perspective before you’ve mentioned it.I always parsed this by the type of population and the context. I always thought about this as channel and context and behavior specific.Still not convinced that badges will do this but I’m open to learn something new. I’m heading to your blog to check it out.

  13. Anne Libby

    I love this.   Great and fun here on AVC — and more generally, a tool community managers can use to set the tone for the kind of conversation they want to encourage.

  14. Abe / Outlier

    It’s sort of odd that you can’t log into your account without posting something… (at least on an iPad)

  15. Abe / Outlier

    And even logged in I can’t see these rankings…

    1. fredwilson

      hmm. what browswer are you using?

      1. Cam MacRae

        They’ve been and gone for me too :(Safari 5.1 on OS X 10.7.1Edit: Seems to be fixed.

        1. Muneeb Ali

          It’s neither a browser issue (tested on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari — who cares about IE anyway eh?) nor has anything to do with being logged in. Just do a “hard refresh” in your browser (Shft + Cmd + R in Chrome/Firefox on OS X) to reload the page and get the new Disqus scripts. Your browser is probably using a cached copy of the script. Also, I’m mainly commenting just to see my own name – guess it’s going to be “Welcome Back Stranger”!

          1. Cam MacRae

            I think Fred was tweaking it. See comment above.

      2. Abe / Outlier

        Originally Atomic Web on the iPad but using Safari now and still don’t see them. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong place?

        1. fredwilson

          i just redid all the ranks and disqus had to recalculatethat means they get turned off for a whilei do know they aren’t visible on mobile browswers

      3. JLM

        Nothing shows up on an iPad.

        1. fredwilson

          ranks not available on mobile browsers yet

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          2. ShanaC

            Why?Actually, follow-up question – Does the mobile version or the regular version drive more interactions?  (Interesting study in ux)

          3. panterosa,

            Why not yet on iPad or mobile? My Internet has been down all day and so I followed this debate on an iPad, with no ranks shown, on a post about ranking, which feels rather inane.Also, while I thing bartender and bar is good, considering most traffic is in the morning I would liken it more to kaffeeklatsch, making Fred the barista.

  16. im2b_dl

    what about the “neighborhood drunk”

  17. OurielOhayon

    this is a brilliant idea. something that will give weight and authority to commenters in a friendly way. maybe a badge would be cool. this could be “gamified” ie leaderboards…

  18. Eric Leebow

    Overall great idea. The first comment should be called “Newbie” and I’m not sure about the word “The” in front of each. Not sure what each means when just looking at the word. Possibly a chart or graph can be shown.

    1. fredwilson

      i agree about taking out “the”and newbies instead of newcomers seems right too

  19. BradDorchinecz

    I’ve always found the most important posts are those that introduce an original, unique idea that takes the discussion in another direction and receives lots of replies.This would be measured by “receiving replies to comments” above, and in my book, this would receive high importance.Maybe these are the “Instigators”? Not sure what the bar term would be…..

    1. Dave W Baldwin

      Good one.  Guess you could go with Antagonist, Protagonist, Troller and so on.

    2. fredwilson

      i like instigators

      1. JLM

        Maybe you should consider an “open mic” day every so often.Takes the conversation in a direction and takes a bit of creative pressure off you for a day.

        1. fredwilson

          that has been suggested in the pasttwo ways to do thatguest posts – you have an open invite anytime you wantsomething written by me that just says “go for it”one thing i think i might want to do is allow anyone with a specific rank in the community to be able to guest post here. gotta think that through a bit more. but your invite stands. i believe you’ve done in once before

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          2. Ro Gupta

            Long-form post by the FG is a dream of mine — ideally with at least one infographic.I want to see all caps and missing verbs on a Techmeme listing.

          3. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          4. ShanaC

            @FakeGrimlock:disqus  I know about infographics.Wouldn’t you like to have good english grammar?

          5. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            @ShanaC:disqus NOT INFOGRAPHICS IN GENERAL. GRIMLOCK INFOGRAPHICS.LIKE http://yfrog.com/h3ae9tqj OR http://yfrog.com/kjrx3vwj

          6. ShanaC

            @FakeGrimlock:disqus ahhhh.  I love those….

          7. Pete Griffiths

            My vote goes for Grimlock.  A long post in CAPS would be a trip.

          8. JamesHRH

            You just opened up an alley for gaming of the rankings – according to me – and destruction of the community, according to GRIM, ands others.

          9. FAKE GRIMLOCK


  20. Ben Sesser

    The inner circle (top 10) should be “Bar Flies” — In keeping with the theme, top 50 could be “Regulars”.

    1. Ben Sesser

      Also, your ability to drive this type of conversation about Disqus’ new feature so fast is a seriously awesome benefit to Disqus.

      1. fredwilson

        yeah, they know that

    2. fredwilson

      good suggestion

  21. Siminoff

    Awesome new feature

  22. markslater

     i’ve always wanted to be in a gang

    1. JLM

      The desire to be in a gang is one of the driving organizational forces of humanity.The choice of your gang is one the most important decisions you will ever make.One of the best defenses against terrorism is providing an alternative gang for disaffected Arab youth — a long term strategy.The pathetic pictures posted around the world of KSM and OBL were very subtle indictments of how “uncool” their Al Qaeda gang had become.A young person who works w me immediately noted — damn, what lame electronics.Sorry to go Freud on you.

      1. Rohan

        Agree! We love the concept of being in ‘groups’ and ‘gangs’. Why else do people support sports teams with crazy fervor?

      2. ShanaC

        That is because we all want to feel like we belong to something.  It is part of being human to bond with others…

        1. Robert Holtz

          true dat. 🙂

      3. JamesHRH

        Going Maselow, really.

      4. andyidsinga

        I agree totolly that folks want to belong to something. Thats all good.But sometimes folks like to come to their favorte bar/coffee shop/book shop – hang out a bit, say hay, and avoid all the gimicky bullshit. To me community rankings are like a safeway club card or coffee shop punch card …but a really big neon vest version you’re are forced to wear over top your other clothes.Hey eveyone be just like me and one day you’ll get a gold club card and free 8oz latte with your fast lane pass and cool water proof vest.

    2. Pete Griffiths

      As JLM points out it is a very fundamental human drive.  My concern however is that to the degree that the system brings ‘gang members’ to the fore, it runs the risk of making new entrants feel excluded.  

  23. William Carleton

    This is really cool and I especially like how it looks like the blogger can easily adjust the weight given to each factor.

  24. Dave W Baldwin

    Have fun with this Fred.  It is cool to see where this will go.

  25. Steve Hallock

    I suppose the idea is to provide an element of fun and an incentive to post more, but this type of game seems more likely to produce all sorts of nasty unintended consequences.People posting just to get their stats up, people not posting because their stats are too high and are a reminder they’re spending too much time here, people resenting that their stats aren’t as high as the other guy’s, etc.  I don’t personally see the upside to be worth it, but maybe I am simply being a turd in the punchbowl after waking up too early with the baby this morning.

    1. William Mougayar

      Over time these things equalize. 

      1. Steve Hallock

        but who and what is lost in the meantime? 

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Steve — Just clicked over to your website and realize that I’ve done this on more than one occasion trying to find out who this guy is making these astute comments.But, it helps now to see your badge and to sort of “place” you in this community.  Now to get you from semi-regular to regular.  How do we game that?

          1. Steve Hallock

            Hi Donna,Thank you for the very kind words.  Sadly my blog is a bit out of date at this point.  It has gotten neglected for various reasons.Getting from semi-regular to regular is an interesting, relevant point.  My personal use of AVC is that I read every day.  I comment only when I feel like I have something useful to say or add.  Unfortunately I rarely read the full comments, my posts are almost always in reference to the original posts rather than in discussion.  Clearly I miss a large part of the site that way, but unfortunately time is our scarcest resource.  I would imagine many are in a similar position.I also happen not to be working in the tech or finance areas at this point (although I used to and would like to again) so I’m sure if this were more relevant to my work I would have more time to participate and more to add. Best,Steve

    2. Jon Atrides

      The bottom line is that people will care more about what other people actually say than their status. Any status races/insecurities will fade in comparison to whether someone is substantially contributing to the discussion or not. So in a way its a fun tool for creating a digital social structure.

      1. Steve Hallock

        Yes, that’s the bottom line for the majority, but the nasty unintended consequences are what happens at the margins.

    3. JLM

      The “gamesmanship” element and observation is very insightful and it’s implementation is subtle.Well played!

      1. Steve Hallock

        I watched a car forum I used to frequent get nearly ruined when they allowed users to start giving each other “reputation points”.  The whole thing became about rep and things got out of control.  Competition, even subtle and unimportant, does weird things to people especially online.

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


    4. Cam MacRae

      I’m leery of it too for the same reasons. On yesterday’s post I remarked that I’m something of a refugee from Hacker News. HN (or Startup News as it was) started off with an amazing and powerful community, but didn’t scale and a whole litany of problems (groupthink, hero worship, immaturity) arose despite PG’s best intentions. These days karma scores on comments are hidden, although they’re still used to sort the wheat from chaff.The thing about game mechanics is that people tend to play.

      1. ShanaC

        Something I find is that people tend to play even when the game mechanics are hidden.  (I see this with hacker news now).  I get the feeling people sense out rank of various people in any sort of social setting.  Does displaying the game mechanics make the game better or worse to play?

        1. Cam MacRae

          For my wants and desires, worse.

        2. LE

          I say worse. More people have the knowledge to game the system.Related to this for example on HN if you care about your karma it’s probably safer to not give a reply that is negative or disagree  with someone who has a karma where they can downvote you. The same comment all else equal to someone who can’t downvote you is “safer” once again if you care about your karma.  If you know this I would imagine it will change your reply to comment habits.On AVC my guess (with nothing to back this up other than a hunch) is that going contrary to an established community member will limit the likes because of the halo effect.In any of this there is the halo effect. Mark Andressen postinga comment as Mark Andressen will get a different amount of likesthan posting as Mark Smith. 

          1. ShanaC

            I honestly don’t know.  There is at least one memeber, @prokovsky:disqus  (?) who has a history of pissing many people off (actually, where did she go?)  She gets tons of responses.  I’ve also said controversial things in the past.I will tell you personality that I like something because usually it is smart or nice.  I’m not going to change that either.Though you are right, if it turns us all into yes men, I may have to call the “Yes Men” to see that righted.  By agreeing all the time, we could end up very wrong.

          2. fredwilson

            prokofyshe will be backshe shows up at opportune times

          3. Donna Brewington White

            “Mark Andressen posting a comment as Mark Andressen will get a different amount of likes than posting as Mark Smith.”Maybe…I was very proud of this community the day Seth Godin showed up and people took him to task for a comment he made.  No one kissed his feet, that is for sure.



      1. Matt A. Myers

        I’ll definitely be leaving AVC unless my rank is “GRIMLOCK’s Adopted Son”

      2. Aaron Klein

        I’d have to respectfully disagree.Anything measured will incentivize more of that behavior.But that’s not “gaming” the system in and of itself.And that’s why the ranking is not as simple as “number of comments” – no one is going to reach the highest tier of status without good engagement from others, and quality in what they contribute.

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. Aaron Klein

            But you don’t use the Like button to give rank to yourself.You use the Like button to give rank to others.And if we all agree to like each other’s posts in sufficient quantity to give each other significantly more rank, we all inflate equally…and no one’s rank really changes.Seems hard to game.

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          3. Matt A. Myers

            Shhhh.. stop pointing out my strategy..

          4. JamesHRH

            Aaron – you are going to end up on the EAT LIST!GRIM missing one element. There is no monetary or status benefit to these rankings.If Fred held a ‘devotee level’ private dinner once a year, this system would get gamed like crazy, for sure.

          5. raycote

            OK !Nest down one more level and let us all rank(second guess) other peoples LIKESNEST. . NEST. . NEST. . 

        2. Cam MacRae

          You’re right, but behaviour also gets optimised towards the incentive, so non-measured but desirable behaviours slide into decline.So you tweak the system, add a few inputs, change a few outputs. Rinse and repeat.At some point the system becomes a black box by necessity, and if handled badly, morale etc. lowers because people can’t readily determine what is being asked of them.I reckon whoever works out how to get this kind of system to not blow up spectacularly should be crowned King (or Queen) of the Internets.

        3. ShanaC

          This is the kind of thing that could incentivize multiple behaviors though.  Including potentially being purposely provocative.

    6. Donna Brewington White

      So relate to the “up early with the baby” days.  I’m here to tell you that there is life beyond this. Hang in there.I think there is a BS meter built into in this astute community so that false activity for the sake of “gaming” will be sniffed out pretty quickly.However, as far as self-regulation as a result, that’s another thing.  I do know that when the community box was created, I would hold back on comments to try to get OUT of that box. I didn’t like having so many comments without a high correlating number of “likes.” The new rankings help me to act more freely, knowing that overall participation is being gauged and I can participate in the “community” element which I’ve come to love here. Which might just involve saying hi to a friend who stops by or commiserating with a young father who’s gotten up early with the baby.The rankings affirm and even reinforce my friendliness which may not always involve making the most profound comment — especially as someone who is a lurker of sorts in the tech community. Now, if the intent is to discourage my type of behavior, then the rankings need to be adjusted.

      1. Cam MacRae

        Self-regulation is another confounding factor these sort of systems can introduce. Take GRIM’s example of gaming Like, but imagine you stop Liking insightful comments lest you be thought of as some kind of ladder climber. Now we have 2 problems: Liked unlikes and unliked Likes.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          I’m inclined to think that self-regulation would be a more likely response than intentional gamification.

          1. Cam MacRae

            I hope you’re right. So long as this place remains is cozy bar sized, you probably are, but if it becomes a casino mega-plex…

  26. Joe Lazarus

    I like the concept of rewarding contributors. One possible issue with the UI, though, is that it may not be clear to newcomers that the names you assign to the rank groups have to do with participation. For example, someone just visiting AVC for the first time may think that Fred Wilson’s profession is “bartender”. There might be a better way to display the ranks so it’s clear that they have to do with community participation rather than some sort of self-defined profile attribute. For example, maybe show a participation level icon by default and only show the labels in the hover dialog box with some text that explains what the label indicates. The concept is cool, but the UI may confuse people not already familiar with Disqus. 

    1. fredwilson

      great point Joei hope daniel and the team pay attention to this comment



        1. leigh

          it’s bc no women work on the sr. leadership or design team @disqus:disqus   http://disqus.com/about/ps. i don’t mean women are better at design – i mean that diversity is key to a better team. take it or leave it. that’s my opinion. i actually actively and consciously ensure my teams have diversity across the board. Different cultures, socio-economic backgrounds, gender. The results of all those different experiences and what they bring to bare on a team increases the chances of excellence.

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          2. leigh

            Diversity leads to stronger ecosystems.  Period.  

          3. JamesHRH

            @leigh:disqus ‘Diversity leads to stronger ecosystems.  Period.’Daniel is not building an ecosystem.

          4. Robert Holtz

            Agreed. The slippery slope of casting someone into a position mandated by diversity in isolation, is objectifying the candidate, even if it is positively and empowering, just as much as any racist or bigot who would be holding them back. I don’t agree with objectifying potential hires in any context.Talent is gender neutral, race neutral, age neutral but organization POSITIVE.  Talent is all that should matter.

          5. obscurelyfamous

            I (and everyone at Disqus) would love to work with women in those roles, and I’m confident that we will. But we don’t care about gender.So if you know qualified women, let them know that Disqus wants to meet them: disqus.com/jobs

          6. leigh

            I knew this comment would make y’all role your eyes.  I find it hard to believe in this day and age, that the only qualified talented woman you’ve found is your office manager.  Diversity will lead to better a team.  Always.  Sometimes you have to work to make that happen.  Not caring one way or the other won’t.

          7. Donna Brewington White

            “Liking” @ccrystle:disqus ‘s idea about @ShanaC:disqus is not enough — had to comment!  Her community management sensibilities would be a tremendous asset to @Disqus:disqus combined with her other abilities.Sorry to put you on the spot, but couldn’t bypass this opportunity.  (Thanks, Charlie.)As someone who identifies talent for a living, I am keeping my eye on her!

          8. leigh

            Here you go Daniel – a backhanded apology -http://leighhimel.blogspot….

          9. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          10. JamesHRH

            I am hiring them all Daniel – sorry about that 😉

          11. ShanaC

            I’m not sure what to say @ccrystle:disqus and @donnawhite:disqus .  umm, *blush*

          12. Guest


          13. leigh

            Ok i’ll edit mine too 🙂 🙂

          14. dz

            Is diversity defined solely by gender?The Disqus team have people from multiple ethnic and cultural backgrounds. People who went to college, who didn’t go to college, from poor families and from rich.  Is a team with a mix of males and females but that is uniform otherwise more or less diverse than a team of males that are not uniform otherwise?Obviously, being diverse in all metrics is good and something that everyone wants — but is it fair to pinpoint a problem on a lack of diversity when the team is diverse based on 2 of 3 of your own listed measures?

          15. leigh

            Nope diversity is all things – you have many of them covered.  Little obviously weak in one area though…For context, I had been arguing with someone who likes to roll their eyes a lot at the gender issue in particular – that’s when I noticed your team – one of many in fact (including Google’s sr. team).  It’s ok, he still rolls his eyes at me and we are still friends.  

          16. Donna Brewington White

            What you describe is fantastic!  But gender is a different animal in the diversity scheme.  And I’m from the era that tried to minimize that reality.  It is only recently that I’ve become a convert.

          17. VIVIMETALIUN

            OIE BOA NOITE TUDO BEM 🙂

          18. Guest

            I ran engineering for a startup for 5+ years and I know how difficult it is to recruit the good female engineers/UI/UX people. Good people are in high demand every where and are hard to recruit to a startup in the first place. Good Women are even harder to recruit in the tech world because they are fewer of them.And I remember now why I stopped coming to avc.com. Over the last year or so, every topic of conversation turns in to a lack of women in tech and how men contribute to it issue.

          19. leigh

            wait – i wrote point taken – I take it back – I think your comment is a bit unfair. Personally i’ve prob. mentioned the gender thing twice – and maybe there are been other mentions from others but come on, not THAT many. it’s still an important issue. …..and……now i’m done. movin’ on……

          20. Donna Brewington White

            That’s about 360+ topics a year — accounting for the occasional days off when Fred takes a breather.  I’m thinking that we’ve had at least a few of these when gender has not been an issue.

          21. JamesHRH

            I have only been here over the last year and see no evidence to support this statement.None.

          22. JamesHRH

            Leigh, respectfully, I fundamentally disagree with your diversity list.You need different personality types. You need the maturity that makes a great teammate. You need teams that can go top/down, bottom/up, protect/defend & attack/compete.Gender, race, wealth – important diversity traits at large companies, but secondary at a startup. We are not building a model community at my startup, we are building a culture. It is wealth, gender and race neutral. It is capability based and ability driven.Oh, and everyone had better have a ton of startup experience, a ton of functional experience and they need to have ‘making the company work’ as one of their 3 or 4 life priorities (barring a wild card of bad luck that limits their priority list to 1 or 2).

          23. leigh

            IMO diversity is important across the board – more or less so for start-ups I’m not sure – but for UX design more generally (which i do know something about), I actually think it’s really important particularly if you are attempting to build an experience across geography, groups of pple etc.. BUT… since i’ve never built a successful start up i’m not going to fall on my sword on this one and i’ll take your word for it. 🙂

          24. JamesHRH

            @charliecrystle:disqus I built this philosophy from several arenas, but mostly from the work of Nitin Nohria, now Dean HBS. His books Driven & What Really Works are the basis for these ideas.I just don’t think gender is a primary diversity issue: mode of thought is the primary diversity issue. And coming together is more important than where you are coming from, in a startup.Its not unimportant, but its not a need to have, in a startup.

          25. Kim

            Hi Leigh –  I wrote a fairly lengthy comment in response to your blog post (http://bit.ly/nivFWW) so I won’t say it all again here and clutter up AVC 🙂  Please feel free to reach out to me directly at any time!  (apologies for replying sort of in the wrong place here; I couldn’t reply to your comment that linked to your blog because it was too deep in the thread) 

          26. leigh

            ah great.  thanks kim.  replying as we speak 🙂

        2. obscurelyfamous

          We have flukes in our UX because we have a lot of dated product flows that need revamping. We have new projects in the pipe that is all about refining and reinventing.

          1. JLM

            This community at AVC which is adept at using, appreciating  and embracing the capabilities for Disqus to take a deep breath and become not just a utility but a true community builder as well as a curator of the best thinking on the Internet.It is exciting to see this happening.Dream the big dream.  Stay hungry.  Go for the kill.

          2. fredwilson

            rest assured Daniel is all about those three things

          3. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          4. JamesHRH

            GRIM rarely wrong and he is right about UX and Dev connecting, to be sure.But, with this feature, I think people will figure it out (and that;s OK, if its only a little figuring).But, I would suggest that refining is far more important than reinventing, at the UX level. There is only so many things that Disqus needs to do well for the customers of your customers (assuming the bartender is your customer and we are his customers).There are lots of things you can do for your customers, though.

          5. Robert Holtz

            I appreciate the candor with which you approached that response.  This problem comes up a lot in a lot of organizations.

        3. David Clarke

          A glaring @disqus:disqus UX deficit which for me is a tell of the curious sloppiness you rightly refer to is the fact that people’s lovingly composed auto-haikus are mostly cropped in their avatar display– whatever happened to word wrap? Even robots @FakeGrimlock:disqus can’t seem to sum it up in the available 30-some characters. It seems designed for those for whom twitter is too verbo

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


    2. leeschneider

      Agree Joe.  My initial reaction is that it’s hard to distinguish between Regular, Frequent Visitor, Semi-Regular, Instigator.  Would be neat to hover over the rank and see exactly what it means.

  27. Douglas Crets

    Disqus is by far the best commenting system I’ve used. I love how it’s like having your own microblog within a blog. And it follows you everywhere. Another portable identity service for the win. 

    1. Nuno Maia

      …and its not a silo. You can export all your junk :)Besides they have kickass dev/support team.I always liked Disqus.FB comments is a plague.

      1. Douglas Crets

        Yes, I have always been very frustrated about how Facebook comments work, at TechCrunch for example. Don’t get me started. You can’t interact with people or really get to know them on the TC site because of how FB comments work there. Bad move. 

        1. Jonah Price

          I know you said not to get you started, but I’d be interested in a more in-depth analysis comparing FB comments to Disqus. Have you written anything else on the matter?

  28. Jon Atrides

    I dig! How about switching “Semi-Regulars” to “Occasionals”?Harking back to the hot topic of real identity vs aliases on the internet – such a feature will add value to the aliases that commenters are using, as they are rewarded for consistently using such a profile.

    1. fredwilson

      good suggestion. i will think about it

  29. Douglas Crets

    One thing I would like to comment on in the disqus format is this: that little box that signals notifications of people’s responses to your comments. It would be great if that would pop up in the comment box, or next to the avatar, so that it’s available to me every time I make a comment. Sometimes I will click on the notification window and see several replies, but when I click on the reply someone has made to my comment, it takes me to the comment itself (that’s great). But now that I am that comment, I don’t have easy access to the other notifications I still have not read. When I go back to the notification window, my clicking on one notification has made the remaining four or five disappear, and I am back to zero without a clear understanding of what comments remain, or which I need to read. I know that’s not an AVC issue, but since you are testing Disqus and have a line in, I thought I’d mention it. 

  30. William Mougayar

    While we’re having fun chiseling at the rankings, there’s a bigger theme that’s emerging as an outcome of dressing-up these rankings. It’s about giving each blog community a real identity. By deepening the identification and labeling of the characters, the blog community has a clear shape and a story behind it.

    1. fredwilson

      yup and you may notice that i’m changing up the ranks as you all give me ideasthat’s causing a bit of confusion so i updated the post to explain

      1. William Mougayar

        So, Disqus allows you to bind a Rank category to a specific set of measures, but not all of them? I thought the user falls in a given band based on a weighted average of all the scores.  

        1. fredwilson

          i can do both

          1. William Mougayar

            Ah…The plot thickens.

          2. dz

            We’ve tried to make it both flexible and powerful.  Owners can adjust how metric are weighted into the overall score and leaderboard position.But owners can also create ranks that work directly off those metrics.For example, a site owner can decide that hey, “liking” should be the currency of my community, and create ranks that only take the number of likes received into account.

          3. Donna Brewington White

            “the currency of my community”Really taken with that concept.

        2. Mark Essel

          I had assumed the same, glad you asked the question and clarified the scoring.

      2. Donna Brewington White

        When you say that you are changing up ranks — Are you just changing the “names” of the categories or are you also changing the score range within each category?

        1. fredwilson


  31. Douglas Crets

    Also, when will @Klout Measure @Disqus participation, or do you think the Klout thing is lame? 

    1. fredwilson

      it is getting better but their scores don’t square with my views of most people



    2. Nuno Maia

      Klout is lame.Imaginary numbers for fragile teenage egos.

  32. Saad Fazil

    i guess i am a stranger at best

    1. fredwilson

      don’t be a stranger!

    2. ShanaC

      Everyone starts out somewhere, I see this post as a weakness that we are not drawing people into commenting.  What can I do, or anyone else here, do to get you comment?

    3. JLM

      And therefore a new and fresh voice with perhaps a keen and as yet underrepresented voice?Hell, yes, bring it, friend.  Welcome home!We are all strange and now you’re no longer a stranger.

    4. Donna Brewington White

      For now…

  33. Dan Lewis

    This is a great addition. When we (my cofounders and I) worked on the now defunct armchairgm.com, we were toying around with user ranks, and finally came up with a bunch of honorifics and stuff.  It definitely helps engagement, but Disqus is doing it way, way better than we did.The only concern I have is that it’s the hierarchy isn’t obvious the way you’re doing it, but that actually may be a good thing.(And yes, I’m posting today, somewhat, to find out what my honorific is.)

  34. Douglas Crets

    Is there an Arrington rank? 

    1. fredwilson

      he has only commented here a few timeshe’d be “welcome back stranger” i thinkbut if could give him a custom rank, i wouldi’m a fan of his although i recognize his weaknesses too

  35. William Mougayar

    Not sure I like “devotee”. Sounds too romantic. 

    1. fredwilson

      yeah, that’s the one i’m not set onnot sure about barfly either

      1. Matt A. Myers

        barf-lyEdit: Devotee sounds religious/cultish..

      2. Donna Brewington White

        Those are the two that I’m not quite resonating with.  Although I am a devotee. 😉  Just not sure I want to be called one.  Makes me think about people “drinking the kool-aid.”

      3. JamesHRH

        f you think about it, the bar analogy is great.I have been reading and then participating here < a year, and I am a regular. You can get to be a regular in a bar in that timeframe.You probably aren’t part of the Gang, but you can likely get there in a few years (just like a bar, too). You probably can’t come late and be Old School (pitching that hard now!) and I doubt I will ever be Top 10 here – just like a bar (not a life goal, BTW ;-)So, its always good if the dynamics of the analogy hold in surreality & reality.

    2. leigh

      don’t like devotee – it says i spend too much time here vs. i’m a useful contributor 

  36. jfccohen

    There should be a section called “Promoters” or something like that to show the people who share articles/comments the most frequently – I know that’s not inherently tied to interaction with comments, but it would be a nice extension to how people interact with the blog.  Certainly a meaningful person if they are spreading the gospel of the site, especially if they are sharing interesting/clever comments.

  37. awaldstein

    Amazing comment string if you think about it.The community is market testing this feature. The direction for community online is being written in this sandbox in real time.Of benefit to Disqus, to avc, to each of our blogs and to each of us.This is magic.

    1. fredwilson

      yeah, this is teaching me a lot about community

      1. awaldstein

        And I Fred.A great educational sandbox to play in.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Me three.  Amazing.  Love this.

  38. aarondelcohen

    This is very cool.  Part of me thinks you should be able to set your own, part of me thinks we could benefit from standards across the whole network.  I also think it’s crucial for there to be a place where I can aggregate all of my disqus ranks and therefore know which communities are most important to me.



    1. fredwilson

      occupy wallstreet is cool



    2. ShanaC

      you should read about the yippies.  I think they threw money into the NYMEX during trading hours to protest, something?

    3. Laurent Boncenne

      wait, Fake Grimlock sleeps now in the fire?



  40. Rohan

    This is a lot of fun. I was actually looking for it on my own Disqus dashboard today. Waiting for it to be open for all bloggers too! 🙂

  41. Douglas Crets

    If blogs in specialty areas, or market industries areas like VC, or tech or, let’s say cooking, become an important part of the learning curriculum in a web-based education system, I wonder if someone’s credibility on the AVC blog, for example, could be used as an application reference to belong to the learning community of another blog.Let’s assume for a moment that a web-based curriculum would have as a core component blogs written by the students learning from experts, who are also writing blogs. then a commenting system that also serves as a reputation assessment, or a credentials provider, would be a key feature of that system. How cool would that be? I would have to participate in a lively debate-filled, problem-solving blog culture in one or a dozen blogs, to become an alumni of AVC Learning Centers at the Fred Wilson School of Designer Living. you see where I’m going with this? 

    1. Aaron Klein

      That would be pretty darned cool. Difficult to game, since you can judge this kind of ranking by the engagement that person has with others in the community…

    2. Matt A. Myers

      Yup — I fully well plan to use my AVC Rank on my CV..

    3. JLM

      Very interesting comment and concept.

    4. raycote

      I think, in some more advanced / organically unified form, that will become a pivotal, reusable mechanism, across a vastly interdependent, purpose driven, neural-network-like array of social networking functions that taken collectively will define the substance, the toure de force, of our looming noosphere!

    5. ShanaC

      Giving rankings on learning message boards isn’t uncommon.  I’ve just never seen it lead anywhere.

      1. Douglas Crets

        It could be because of how it’s been implemented. It doesn’t lead anywhere if nobody does anything with the ranking or engagement. 

        1. ShanaC

          so why bother?

          1. Douglas Crets

            It’s not a question of why bother. It’s a question of why haven’t they bothered? I think that when this stuff was first being implemented, people thought of them as publishing. You put something out there, and it is published. Imprimatur. It is the truth. doesn’t work that way on the web, and it shouldn’t. Ranking and credibility is a constant thing. It’s like a relationship with someone — you don’t just go on a date and say, “okay, that’s it, you’re my boyfriend. relationship. you get that seal of approval.”If you’re smart — hell, even if you’re dumb — you are constantly moving and adjusting to that possibility and making it happen or not making it happen. It’ snot about the stamp, it’s about the process. I think that people have not created or they have not maintained a process by which ranking means something daily, not just for the sake of having the stamp or the badge. And that reminds me that badges and getting this ranking is very important. If it was not, why did Google buy Zagat? You can do this too in education. But you have to make something that means something. Where is the zagat for K12 education? Well, it doesn’t exist, because it’s run by the Government. If there ever was a “brand” that was way too generalized, washed out, meaningless and incapable of stnading for what it is supposed to stand for, it’s government. I am not saying that education should be privatized. I am saying that it can be funded by the government, but run by people who not only care, but can bring panache, style, innovation and iteration to the system. Right now, it is not happening, but I wonder if we brought a new kind of credibility and ranking system to it, something even like GetGlue or whatever, if things would change.  Education must change. It’s my baileywick for the next quarter century, at least. 

          2. ShanaC

            A badge doesn’t really satisfy what you are saying.  Real ranking do.  Or real relationships.  And real rankings come with their own problems, as you’ve alluded to. (NCLB…)  Meanwhile, I associate your sense of relationship maybe should have a gyroscope in it – should our relationships online move the same way…As for Zagat – why does Google want to make little signs for stores- for the content.  Yelp would have been a better fit (and watch as Zagat moves to a more yelp-like structure)

    6. JamesHRH

      It is quantitative not qualitative.An here it is just fun, IMO.

  42. Elia Freedman

    At what point do we start rebelling against being typed and pigeon-holed by every service on the web?

    1. fredwilson

      this is a bit more than typecasting. it’s adding some fun to the engagement.

      1. Elia Freedman

        I am here every day and almost every day I feel I walk away with some value. But the minute we are ranked and categorized, it changes the dynamic of the engagement. Yes, you can say it is for fun and maybe it is. But there are many who will care more about the status and others who will be turned off by their lack there-of.I tried hard to participate at Hacker News. I posted articles that I thought the community would find interesting, I tried to participate by adding insightful comments, I voted up comments that I thought were good ones made by others. And then I was blackballed for some unknown reason and my desire to even be on Hacker News disappeared. I felt cast out by my group. To this day I still don’t feel the same about that place.I already am concerned about that here. I am probably a Stranger here because I primarily read via RSS. But I am more than that. I do read every day, I comment occasionally, and have even taken the time to email post ideas. But I don’t get credit for any of that (except comments) and the fact that I even care is bothering me.Maybe the flaw isn’t this. Maybe it is me. But all the same, I don’t want to feel toward this blog what I now feel toward Hacker News. Everywhere I turn I feel like my actions are being quantified, being ranked and organized, that I am being pitted against every one else. And I never worked that way. I am an entrepreneur partly because I never was part of the clique, part of the in crowd, that I always saw the world a little differently.Fred, we have never met in person yet you have inspired me to keep looking for opportunities. I am inspired by you and often by your commenters and while I may not be as active as some, I always felt a part of the Fred Wilson gang. Now, because Disqus has decided a ranking system, I don’t know how I will feel about my place in your world moving forward. I don’t know how status will make this site feel more or less inviting to me.I just don’t want Hacker News to happen here.

        1. JamesHRH

          Elia – moderator is engaged on a daily basis. He also has long standing track record of answering emails (hell, he even posted how to structure an email to guarantee he would read it).No worries.And the categories are bar based. I mean, that’s a clue…….And if you don’t chip in much, but you come all the time, you are a lot like the security guys in Star Trek or the guys from Cheers that no one can name. Part of the deal, but not a big part, which is cool.

        2. fredwilson

          that has been the consistent negative feedbackand my response (for now anyway) is the flatten the hierachiesanyone who comments regularly is a regularanyone who comments infrequently is a semi regulari’ve added a few special ranks for first time visitors, regular readers who almost never comment, and people who inspire conversations here

          1. Elia Freedman

            Thanks for listening, Fred.

  43. Matt A. Myers

    To Fred & Disqus: For Fred’s benefit, and other moderators, it would be good to allow for different ‘Rank profiles’ to be created – either for situations where a moderator wants to very temporarily change them for some fun/special event, or while they’re deciding and building new rank titles; Without this ease then experimentation won’t happen as much.

    1. ShanaC

      There isn’t an official moderation system.  it is really ad -hoc.  The only people with real access is Fred and a couple at disqus….

    2. fredwilson

      that’s a cool idea

  44. David Semeria

    To be honest I liked the top-10, top-50, etc method more.At least you know where you stand with this.With the new system, it’s not clear that being a barfly is in some sense better than being a member of the entourage, etc.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      I agree too… or maybe it needs to be a spectrum of when you see # rank vs. custom name — so once you’ve stuck around awhile.. People who don’t feel apart of the community yet won’t necessarily feel anything special or fun about them.

    2. fredwilson

      i’m trying to remove absolute hierarchy

  45. tuyenvo

    Seems interesting.  Adds a nice indicator for commenters to assess “quality” of comments.

  46. Dalia Lasaite

    Wow, this is a great idea from Disqus!

  47. Scott Yates

    Commenting mostly to see what I’ll be, but one question:Will this be a part of the profile that Rapportive, FullContact and the other contact-related companies will be able to pick up on?

  48. jmcaddell

    Fred, I think this is a great idea, and i’m not just saying that to boost my ranking. Kind of 😉

  49. Dale Allyn

    It’s always interesting (and fun) to see experimentation and evolution, but I’m not a fan of much of what’s emerging in this feature. I’m sure it’s fantastic for some, but for me it doesn’t make me feel “welcome”. I’m NOT saying I don’t feel welcome at A VC, just not a fan of popularity contests or gamification of communities, especially high quality communities. I feel the ranking system has the risk of showing any visitors who come to “listen”, and tend to only comment when their position on a topic has not yet been posted, that they’re an outsider… or not one of the regulars. When if fact, they may be extremely “regular”.As one decides to engage the “game” I expect you’ll see more “I agree” and  “+1” comments (we’re already seeing it) and similar engagement. Most forums have such metrics by at minimum showing the number of comments posted by a member, date joined, etc., but for a community the quality of A VC I feel these types of new ranking elements may cheapen the whole. Time will tell. {edit to clarify last paragraph}

    1. ShanaC

      Here is a question leading out of this.  Gamification is already happening.  How do we steer people into talking with each other, as well as being welcome to opposing viewpoints?Maybe the listings should only be seen by high ranking people or just the moderator?  Maybe we should only allow for flagging the new people so that there is a systematic way to get them involved?

      1. Dale Allyn

        Shana, I’m not sure of the ideal solution, and I expect that it should vary depending the on the culture of each community. I’ve seen these types of systems change the culture and even the purpose of communities, so I am vary wary of them. I am also extremely concerned about how timid users feel in any online community. There are many gifted “orators” on the web (AVC is a great and humbling example), but some people are just finding their “voice”. They should be nurtured and encouraged because they have something value to contribute: their point of view. So for me, in a community of such quality as AVC, rankings of members is tricky at best. I’d prefer that such data are available in the profile so that comments are presented “naked” and for those interested in learning more about the commenter they can drill down. Perhaps clicking through to the member profile should be more enticing. I know that my views on this topic are out-weighted here – at least among the vocal, which in and of itself creates an interesting dilemma of analysis.  (edit to add dropped words)

        1. Tyler Hayes

          “There are many gifted “orators” on the web (AVC is a great and humbling example), but some people are just finding their “voice”.”This exact thought has been on my mind, and in my Field Notes, a lot lately.

          1. Dale Allyn

            That’s good to know, Tyler. I think it’s a worthwhile place to invest thought. 

          2. VIVIMETALIUN

            OLA TUDO BEM COM VC?

          3. ShanaC

            I’m trying to decide if I should be flagging this….

          4. Donna Brewington White

            Seeing as this person has only made two comments and both of them today and on AVC, I think it’s suspicious.

          5. Donna Brewington White

            Oh wait, wonder if it’s a lurker deciding to speak up? Nah, push the button.

        2. ShanaC

          I guess the only way to know if this works is to experiment with the labels.  It sounds like what you’re looking for is labels that help create bonding experiences.  The problem I am seeing is that labels generally don’t create bonding experiences – they are biproducts of bonding.So what do we measure and where to create bonding experiences.

          1. Dale Allyn

            Shana, I guess I’m a bit of a stick in the mud here. I like your name as a label, and I like your comments for the bonding cement. 😉 As I’ve mentioned elsewhere in this thread (and others) I feel that AVC can operate a bit differently and prefer these data to be in the profile. I also think the ranking label of the badge could be removed all together and it could be a mouse-over trigger to what it shows now for stats and a bit more. If they are to remain, the actual labels themselves, while meant to be fun, need a bit of thought in my opinion. And I tend to agree with Liad regarding the zero-sum approach (see his comments in this thread). I’m always thinking about those who feel a bit intimidated to participate, and want to make sure that “the fun” does not keep them from joining the conversation. Edit to add: I think there are different discussions going on here, or at least there could be. I have frequently said that the AVC community is one of the best on the internet and can (and should) operate a bit differently than most others. If this discussion is to help Disqus find a way to work in these “features” across the platform, then I think there are different experiments to employ.I’m giving this a lot of thought because the broader concept affects the project I’m working on now. We’ve spoken to a lot of people, extremely bright professionals in several fields, who won’t participate in online discussions for various reasons and want to respect their sensitivities to help increase their participation.

  50. LE

    I can see the potential for some blog sponsorlinking the earning of swag to people with high comment scores.I’ve always thought that people who rank highly on postingon various sites are a unique demographic that could be turned into cash by marketers and used for some revenuegenerating purpose.I’ve also thought that blogs should allow advertisersto sponsor a post or posts.”Disqus Ranks – Sponsored by Indeed.com”.As a way to earn revenue if this was offeredby bloggers I can think of many people that would take advantage the post sponsorship possibility.Last I heard Fred earns $30,000 from advertisingwhich he gives to charity.If you look at that on a per day basis it’sonly $82 per day. I’m sure the value of theAVC audience is easily $1000 per day if notmuch more. (Even if you don’t agree with thatnumber you have to say the right number isn’t $82.)

    1. laurie kalmanson

      gawker media commenters have followers; that’s a notion of status = equivalent of friend; also <3 or favorites. in olden dayes they awarded stars (shiny!) based on # followers; later iterations gave starred commenters superpowers to promote comments from obscure threads into “featured discussions”here’s a link that describes the tiered commenting system, from gawker; http://gawker.com/5311027/g…and an editorial commentary on ithttp://blog.plasticmind.com…

  51. Dan Cornish

    This is much better than the first iteration. This is how great software is built.  Great focus

  52. raycote

    This is, I guess Disgus’s attempt at——- USEFUL GAMIFICATION ——-1- a dynamic set of formal rules, settings and interactions2-  that bring pleasure to the players3- through the process of mastering the interaction dynamics between the rules and settingsMy personal strategy for mastering this particular setof interaction dynamics, rule and settings1- Visit multiple page including many old posts each day2- Have a hair trigger at reporting almost anything I dislike as spam3- Always make multiple augmenting comments on my own comments4- Be first to visit each day in hopes that Fred will at some point decide to assign some pity-vote points to this metric5- Get second & third accounts, shower myself with likes6- Post even more drivel than I usually do7-  Before reporting almost everything as spam remember to like itI would also like to request  that following handle be added to the rankings———- STATUS HOUND ———–ALSO————– BAR FLY ————–

    1. Dale Allyn

      I entered a comment addressing some similar views (currently trapped as spam I think, so it may show up later). 

  53. LIAD

    Does creating a zero-sum class system bind our community together? Does it make our community welcoming to newcomers?Does it encourage good behaviour?I’m not sure it does.

    1. Dale Allyn

      Liad, I agree with your concerns here, the biggie to me is your second line-item, although all are important. At minimum, every commenter should have a “badge” or “gravitar” or whatever it’s being called. As stated previously, I’m not fan of such labels in a community of this quality, but I’ll continue to watch what effects it has. 

      1. Austin Clements

        Agreed. Sure, assigning labels in a community may encourage the most active participants to be even more active. But on the other hand the newcomers, lurkers, and observers they may feel like their comments may not get catch anyone’s attention because of the label attached to their name.I’d guess the long term effect is just a greater dispersion of activity between the ‘have likes’ and ‘have nots.’

    2. Pete Griffiths

      This is a concern I share with you.

    3. fredwilson

      i think it should help if there isn’t over hierarchy (what’s the difference between a regular and a semi-regular?). and everyone should have a badge of some sort

      1. LIAD

        I don’t see how zero-sum rankings can ever engender community.Rather than facilitating collaboration, they force the community into competition.My loss is your gain – that’s not something which appeals.Surely absolute ranks are better. You hit the criteria, you get the rank, regardless of whether 1 or 1,000 other people hold it too.100 comments/50 likes/10 contiguous daily visits etc – there are countless criteria to hook absolute ranks off.Ditch zero-sum – Let everyone be a winner.

        1. fredwilson

          i agree with the spirit of your suggestioni think someone should be a regular or welcome back stranger or newblieunless you are an instigator or a lurkerhow does that sound?

          1. LIAD

            1. maybe trying to dial in all the diverse criteria to a single all encompassing rank is impossible.2. old school forums would hand out multiple badges, one for each individual criteria.3. Are the current ranks meant to be informative to others or big-up the commenter themselves. ‘Welcome back stranger’ – talks to the commenter – but does nothing for everyone else.4. Lurker has negative connotations for me. It’s one step from voyeur, which is one step for stalker.  -we’re creating a social system & hierarchy from scratch here, there are bound to be teething problems.It’s like the old jewish joke… Ask 2 a question, you get 3 answers.

          2. fredwilson

            yeah, but all this feedback is incredibly useful to me.my gut says ranks can improve the community but i need to figure out how to tune them

          3. Robert Holtz

            I’ve got a good one for “instigators”…Ever attend one of Wayne Dyer’s events? Have you heard the term “Scurvy Elephant”?(Hint: It’s a compliment).I’ll tell you the story if you don’t already know it.

          4. fredwilson

            do tell

          5. Robert Holtz

            As a kid, Wayne always saw himself as a bit of an instigator in the classroom.He came home from school one day and asked his mother, “What’s a Scurvy Elephant?””A Scurvy what?” asked his mother. “A Scurvy Elephant,” he repeated, “My teacher says I’m a Scurvy Elephant in the classroom.”Bewildered, his mother called the teacher and said, “My son tells me you called him a Scurvy Elephant. What does this mean?”The teacher said, “Oh that Wayne always gets things wrong. I didn’t say he was a ‘Scurvy Elephant’; I said he was a ‘Disturbing Element’ in the classroom. He gets all the other students activated.”He goes onto say how disruptors/instigators are the greatest gift to the world because they shake up conventional thinking and get people talking and rethinking things.Dyer defines a Scurvy Elephant as “a person of unusual character who is characterized by the ‘tribe’ as willing to step out of the known into the unknown because they are ‘independent of the good opinion of others’ and willing to instigate new topics and new ideas.”They are the very folks in society who trigger long-lasting and beneficial change. They stir things up. They are on a quest to challenge the status quo.I aspire to be a Scurvy Elephant in my own life. And in a social community of intellectual debate, and advancement of knowledge, it would seem the ideal badge of honor.Maybe its too much of an “inside joke” for AVC but maybe not.Put it this way, when you said “Instigator” my mind was right there with “Scurvy Elephant.” Once you know and embrace the term, it is interlinked to anytime people talk about something innovative as being “disruptive.”It is a charming story at the very least especially since it is not made up. True story.

          6. Satish Mummareddy

            I read something today. “60% 0f people among 120 engineers I managed think they are among the top 20% of engineers at the company.”It applies to communities as well. When no ranks are displayed I bet more people feel like they are among the top10 people at avc.com (for example I’m 59 but I always felt like top 10. :P). Similarly a 500 person might have felt like a top 100. Now we all know where we REALLY stand. :PAnd I’m not sure if that helps a community be more inclusive.

      2. Robert Holtz

        To tell you the truth, when you first turned on the ranking labels, I hated it.  When I first started to frequent AVC, I was a complete newcomer but I instantly felt that by contributing meaningful posts and “liking” other people’s posts, I had become at least an instant peer to everyone who was helping to drive the big conversation.But then something interesting happened.  I kept posting and watched my ranking go up.  When it told me I was in the TOP 50, I was like, hey I’ve made a bigger contribution than I thought and it made me want to make sure I frequented AVC more than before.  So while it was initially off-putting as a contributor, it also became a social motivator to get in and participate more than I was before.But I worry about that sometimes.  There are moments where I like to drop in, read what people are saying, and I don’t feel like I have anything valuable to contribute on that particular topic.  The rankings create an artificial pressure to make noise just so you don’t lose your place in rank.  I’m not crazy about that aspect.  I think it encourages quantity of content over quality of content.Now one of the things that I’m glad to see is that DISQUS is giving YOU the controls to dial-in precisely which factors determine the ranking.  I was curious about the weights and biases of such a system and it is very clever to give that to the instigator/bartender.So I’m mixed to be honest with you.  Speaking purely about DISQUS and its feature-set, I’m 100% in support.  I think it is great they are evolving and advancing their product and I can see a lot of contexts where such ranking would be a total plus.  But for AVC, my mind is not made up either way.  I see it as both a plus and a minus.  It is sort of a game changer for how this particular community works.  If this isn’t already in there, I think DISQUS should have a setting where the rankings are happening but they are only seen by you rather than published to the world.  I would separate out the statistical insight it gives YOU as a publisher/moderator when someone is posting but it does force us willingly or unwillingly into a bit of a class system.What is uncomfortable about that is the class ranking can slip just because you keep on posting and people keep responding and if you’re like me and get busy and can’t check in everyday but only so often, it is sad to know that even if I THINK I’m keeping up, I am constantly losing my rank.  That is an unpleasant pressure that didn’t exist before at AVC and I attribute it entirely to the ranking system.  Fred, based on the philosophies I know you have the the openness with which you received me from my first day here, I’m not convinced yet that slotting people into classes serves your particular goals for a community.That said, I can also see how your die-hard supporters and devotees, many of which have been with you for years and years, should also be entitled to some kind of public recognition as pillars of your online community.It is a very multi-dimensional thing.I’m trying to make the best of it and go along.  There are a lot of moving parts in this grand experiment between how the system itself is evolving, how you refine the settings to your liking as a community leader, and how the data reflects out place in this AVC world based on our collective activity.  Right now, all I know is AVC is made different by this change but I am still not clear on whether this change is a plus or a minus.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Thoughtful comment, Robert.  I know you’ve already expressed quite a bit here, but your last sentence intrigues me.  “Right now, all I know is AVC is made different by this change…”If you have a moment, could you elaborate?

          1. Robert Holtz

            Thank you Donna.  I always appreciate reading your posts.What I mean by that is, to Fred’s credit, he has curated an environment where he values the fair and civil exchange of ideas between anyone from any walk of life who might contribute a thoughtful insight on the conversation at hand and that contribution is no less or more valuable if this comes from someone completely new to AVC or if they are a fixture here.  When I arrived here, I instantly picked that up from Fred’s vibe and found it very inviting and approachable.So here I was thinking I had some status around AVC but the day the rankings system came into place, it divided us into subgroups and the unsaid suggestion of such a rank is that the weight and relevance of one person’s comments differs from one contributor and another NOT on the content and insight of their words but on the frequency of their interactions.  Offline, some of the people whose insights are the ones I value the most are from those who rarely speak.  Everyone knows some smart guy or gal who seldom speaks up but when they DO feel elevated to say something, it is often the most important insight anyone else has made.  Without a ranking system, that happens organically here.  WITH a ranking system, when that often quiet person chimes in with a piercing truth that moves a discussion or an intellectual debate, in my opinion, ranking that person as a “Welcome Back Stranger” reintroduces a distance that a forum like this is supposed to eliminate.Further, whenever you give human beings status, recognition, or achievements through automation, you always risk those systems being “gamed” or manipulated into false representations.  That is why Google changes its PageRank criteria every so often in what is known as “The Dance”.  The random changing around of the criteria THEORETICALLY prevents false positives that were manipulated into ranking highly rather than organically so.  This is why I made the suggestion of the curator/moderator HAVING this analysis inside their dashboard but not necessarily publishing it to the users.  People are less apt to “game” stats that they don’t see or don’t know exist.  But when you attach badges, it isn’t just about the conversation anymore, it is about social standing.As I said in my prior post, I still haven’t decided if on AVC, the addition of rankings is a plus or minus but I can say for sure it isn’t a push.  Prior to this change, AVC was flat and Fred put himself in the center not at the top and as a host and instigator not as a ruler on high.  He in fact actively polices when one person condescends another which I think is part of the success of AVC.  It was a society of equals.  I just don’t see how you can stay true to that concept once you start ranking people.The other aspect is the fact that the posts keep rolling by so if you’re away, your rankings slip.  It adds a “What have you done for me lately?” aspect that for good or for bad changes things.  Just in my prior post, I mentioned how I was in the TOP 50 before.  But now I’m only semi-regular.  If I get busy next week, will I slip into Familiar Face?  Is that going to give me the incentive to post more so I can hold my own or will I stop posting because I don’t want to play the ranking game anymore?Understand, I separate between what is good for DISQUS and the power of their platform and what is good and right and quite-frankly SPECIAL about AVC.  I haven’t been able to reconcile those yet.  In any event, what I meant by my comment is that it is a whole extra thing to think about that wasn’t a factor before on AVC and by its mere introduction, now it is.

          2. dz

            Quick note that Fred does not necessarily have to be the top.  The “Bartender” rank is given to the person with the highest score (as determined by the sliders and metrics shown in Fred’s post).  In short, it’s given to the person whose leaderboard position is #1.As such, theoretically, someone else is able to overtake Fred’s score and become the bartender.But I think that the fact Fred *is* position #1, and by a significant margin, shows the care and effort that he’s put into the community at AVC.I’d wager that in most of the good communities on the web, the site owner will be ranked #1 (or if not, very highly) on the leaderboard.  Because good communities grow around a blog when the blog author actively engages with the commenters.

          3. Robert Holtz

            I agree. Fred will likely always have the #1 spot and that is as it should be. He really is the hub of this wheel.Since you’re here, I wonder if you might indulge two pet peeves I’ve had about DISQUS on AVC:1) As of a few months ago, at least through Firefox on a Mac, the comments window does not scroll to fit much more than a small paragraph. If one wishes to write more, they are advised to use a separate text editor and copy and paste it into place. That’s annoying and maybe you can fix it?2) It seems ridiculous that at a certain point you can’t REPLY to someone because the page can’t indent anymore. It is fine if indenting stops but the reply button should never go away. There are times I want to thank people or just terminate a conversation correctly and can’t or I end up replying to someone else or to the same person in a different part of the thread. Or as I’m doing here, I’ve tricked the system using my dashboard to navigate to your reply to me so I can reply to you… but I’ve left the AVC interface to pull that off. Also when you reference someone’s username in the dashboard, it doesn’t do the @name labels.Sorry for doing what amounts to a tech support call here but since you’re here, it means you care and since you care, I figured you’d be glad to have the feedback.And kudos on the ranking system and the constant advancements. Even though we’re saying what we’re saying about AVC’s goals, I think we’re glad that DISQUS is thinking about these things and always working on improving the product. That means a lot to us not just as members of the AVC community but also as DISQUS users across our social graphs. So thanks.^^

          4. Donna Brewington White

            I’m glad I asked.  Powerful comment, Robert.  Thanks.Sounds like one of the things you are saying is that it’s hard to get away from the sense of being graded or classified in some way and this will produce different reactions in different people — ranging from more competitive behavior in some to more passive in others. Of course there are those enviable few who are completely indifferent.  I think the thing that registers most from what you’ve said is the possibility that the rankings could negatively influence the genuineness of this community and  people’s perception of their value to this community…as well as have a negative impact on what makes this community special.While I admit that I felt affirmed by the ranking — because I honestly did not think I’d come out where I did– I have been looking at it as a measure of my investment and engagement, not so much of the quality of my particular comments.  I would say the same for everyone else as well.  And yes there are people whose quality and engagement are both high, but many whose quality is high and engagement is low.  The rankings don’t measure that.  Do they need to?   And regardless of what the rankings are intended to represent, the perception could be quite different. 

          5. fredwilson

            what i take from this is i need to be careful of the hierarchies, keep them really flat, and make sure everyone gets a rank no matter who they are

          6. Robert Holtz

            Yes. I think it is wonderful the folks at DISQUS have added these features. They are intended to DEVELOP community and I believe they can. But as the curator, you need to dial those settings in to the kind of interactions you wish to cultivate.To that end, if this rank system is to be used to support and even fortify AVC as we’ve known it and wish to continue to see it, the rankings needs to be as flat or peer as possible and advancement needs to be based on things like LIKES and responses back than number of posts/visits alone.The current labels you’re using put an emphasis on frequency of visits. But there again, that’s why DISQUS is giving you the tools to make them what you want.I think you’re onto something with the Cheers reference. I like the image of walking in your tavern, pulling up a stool, and joining the conversation.Fred, thanks for being such a conscientious caretaker of AVC. As @dz was pointing out, your ranking as the Bartender is one you are apt to maintain because you do really take the time to make everyone feel welcomed and it is part of what makes people want to come back.

          7. Dan T

            I’m not sure why it is that people like being “rated”.  But that is part of why I am putting in this comment – I’m not sure what rating I have 🙂

          8. Donna Brewington White

            @tyler:disqus — nvm — found the comment, my bad

    4. andyidsinga

      you nailed it Liad.

  54. Dale Allyn

    @disqus I attempted to add my 1¢ to this thread, but apparently it was deemed spam (again). I sent a note to support, but your form states M-F hours, so thought I’d add it here.

    1. Tyler Hayes

      I’m still here and on top of it. Approved. Sorry about that.

      1. Dale Allyn

        No worries, Tyler. Thanks for getting to it so quickly. This process of trapping my comments as spam, then me commenting that it happened, followed by me thanking you for fixing it will help me in the “contest”. 😉

      2. JamesHRH

        Tyler – avatars missing for a bunch of folks?

        1. Tyler Hayes

          Sorry, not sure how I missed this reply. Can you send a screenshot of what you’re seeing to me [email protected]?

          1. Dale Allyn

            Hi Tyler. Sorry to butt in here, but I witnessed what James was describing. His avatar and a few others were rendering as the generic “head shadow” (like my avatar ;), but have since gone back to normal – at least as I view the page. This lasted more than just a single page load. Refresh didn’t fix and it lasted most of the day. Not sure when it cleared up, but I did notice that it did several hours or even a day or so later. HTH

          2. Tyler Hayes

            Glad to hear it cleared up. If this happens again go ahead and shoot us a message at http://disqus.com/support and we’ll take another look. cc @jameshrh:disqus 

      3. Dale Allyn

        It happened again. Sent a note via support form and Twitter, so I’m sure you’ll fix it. Let me know if you’d like any info or actions on my end to troubleshoot it.

  55. Pete Griffiths

    Looks like a perfectly fine start.  Now the learning starts.  It’s ‘lean disqus.’

  56. Pete Griffiths

    I think there is value in this but am a bit concerned that the system will be gamed.  It just seems to be the way of things and in this era of personal branding the tendency has been exacerbated.I haven’t read about gaming such systems lately but if I am correct publishing such clear criteria, whilst helpful now to explain a new feature, only makes it easier for would be gamers to play.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      I wouldn’t worry too much about gaming here. The BS meter is pretty effective in this group. 

      1. Pete Griffiths

        You can’t stop gaming by the group having BS meters.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Why do you say that?

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          2. Donna Brewington White

            I’m not saying that someone can’t do it.  I just have a hard time believing that it would be effective over the long run with this particular group.You don’t think this particular community would see through that?Do you seriously think someone playing this as a game would last long enough here to gain any prominence in this community?

          3. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          4. Donna Brewington White

            Well, do the rankings attempt to measure “status” or is it “engagement”?  I know it could be considered semantics, but there is a distinction.  And @fredwilson:disqus  will need to make (or has already made) that decision on some level.With both, complicity is required from the community.  The individual’s actions alone aren’t enough to gain the ranking — we have to help them gain that ranking.See I just don’t think that someone can make the investment needed to gain ranking, status or engagement in this community without there being some sincerity and genuine interest on their part.  And I don’t think we are stupid enough to be taken in by someone doing this as a game.  Anyway, what’s the pay off relative to the investment required ?  That is, if it is a game.

  57. cfrerebeau

    Wondering if using Disqus Rank impact the quality and number of comments/commenters somehow.I could see how a well organized and flag as such community could scare away a “lurker” who is hesitating to comment.Although I am reading almost all Fred posts either on the site or through RSS I barely comment. So I guess, in my sense, Ranks is enticing me to comment more often. 

  58. Jan Schultink

    Posting a “great post Fred” comment to see what badge shows up next to my name.

    1. Jan Schultink

      That sounds about right.

  59. Doug Kersten

    Hmmm…I do read your posts every day but don’t have much time to comment.  I do comment sometimes though but mostly I think I am a member of your audience.  Which is not necessarily a bad thing.  It is definitely not worthless, either to you or to me.

    1. fredwilson

      You are an observer or Lurker. Do you prefer one or the other?

      1. Doug Kersten

        I don’t prefer either.  Observer means I am just watching and not doing anything with what I am learning.   Lurker is kind of perverted, like I am trying to hide the fact that I am here.  I prefer indirect participant.  I think about what you and your commenters write, I visit the sites that you discuss, research ideas when I can, and try to understand their meaning in the overall scheme of the Internet and what I am doing.  I also promote your site to others.  There is still a transfer of value even if it is not as transparent as open discussions in the comments.I guess, based on my badge, I am a semi-regular…hah.

        1. fredwilson

          you are a regular now dougi changed some things up this morning

          1. William Mougayar

            The bands still don’t make sense to me. There’s a regular with a placement of 128 and 229 comments, and another one a placement of 11 and 3000 comments, both in the same band? Unless you’re still experimenting. Ideally, you need to see a statistical distribution of your commenters to be able to slice it equitably. It doesn’t have to be a round number like 10, 25, 50. Could be done in percentile. It’s much easier if Disqus allowed you to say: After you ranks are computed, Top 1% is A category, then top 5% is B, then 10% is C, etc…

          2. fredwilson

            i want to flatten the hiearchies to take the gaming out of the system

  60. Yalim K. Gerger

    Is this new feature going to be available for all users or just paying customers? Will retweeters get rewarded? 

    1. fredwilson

      i believe it will be available to all

  61. Toby Downton

    I love this concept, made me want to comment just to see my rank!

  62. Mike

    Fred, please read this:The new labels/ranking system is great for a community that already knows each other (I know JLM, Fake Grimlock, Andy, Shana, Kid Mercury, etc.) but it’s useless without a VISIBLE Dashboard/Leaderboard. I should be able to see what the labels/rankings mean, who are top contibutors who was the top instigator this week, etc.The Leaderboard is the key that ties any kind of ranking system, ala Stackexchange, Digg.com, Hacker News, etc.

    1. fredwilson

      the community box needs to be more visibleit’s here, but nobody can find it

      1. William Mougayar

        Agreed. I think Disqus already provided the ability to display the top commenters as a sidebar widget. Do you plan on making it visible now? 

  63. jkrums

    As others have commented, I mostly read via Feedly/rss and then go to the page for the comments. I think this is a great feature for those that are actively commenting and contributing to the community. It let’s newcomers know who has been an engaged user and has helped build the community. Looking forward to testing this on my site soon.

  64. jmcaddell

    Fred, it occurs to me that this type of feature is something that adds to the distinctive voice of DISQUS as a service, to reference one of your key requirements of a great Web service. (it adds to the voice of the blog community as well.)Regards, John

  65. Andrew

    Obviously I just want to see what I am on here.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Me too. 

    2. Yalim K. Gerger

      Maybe we should be able to see our rank without having to post a comment.

  66. Mark Essel

    I’m enjoying the notifications in addition to the email update of replies. I’d really dig a solid standalone disqus iOS app if the team is considering it focusing on the information available on the disqus.com domain and for fluid commenting.

  67. Guest

    I don’t see how zero-sum rankings can ever engender community.Rather than facilitating collaboration, they force the community into competition.My loss is your gain – that’s not something which appeals.Surely absolute ranks are better. You hit the criteria, you get the rank, regardless of whether 1 or 1,000 other people hold it too.100 comments/50 likes/10 contiguous daily visits etc – there are countless criteria to hook absolute ranks off.Ditch zero-sum – Let everyone be a winner.

    1. laurie kalmanson

      “like” = supply 1:1 number of readers; not zero sum at all; same for reply

    2. dz

      The system also allows absolute ranks.  Though the default ranks given to site owners are what you term zero sum ranks (ranks based on leaderboard placement), the rank creation and management interface that site owners use (including Fred) allows ranks based on absolute measures.These include the example you gave: 100 comments and 50 likes.

  68. BrianD

    Yes an person making a comment just to see how low they rank.

  69. laurie kalmanson

    first! has no value. heh.

  70. Donna Brewington White

    Overall, Fred, I think this new feature is a lot of fun and a community enhancer. I like the grouping of scores you’ve come up with.If I am understanding this correctly, the rankings measure engagement, not necessarily quality. For the most part, there have been few surprises in terms of someone’s ranking which gives the feature credibility.  I understand the sentiment of those who are the logged out users and have value even though rarely commenting, if at all. But the question goes back to what is it that is being measured and/or reinforced? Engagement?It helps to have a sense of someone’s engagement level as a point of reference.  What we as individuals and as a community choose to do with that knowledge is another thing.Part of the beauty of AVC is that it really is a community and not just a forum so you are going to find some of the behaviors you’d find in a community for better or for worse.  There is a code of behavior in communities whether formal or informal.  I haven’t seen anyone last long who tries to bring an element here that goes against that unwritten code.  BS doesn’t fly for long.  I don’t think that adding badges or numbers or game mechanics will change the essence of this community.    One of the things I found so incredible about this community when I first arrived and why I’ve remained is the genuineness that I experience here — this and the brilliance and diversity of thought.  Okay, and it’s fun.  Having interacted with at least a dozen or so AVCers outside the “walls” of this blog and having met several in person, this perception has been reinforced.Specifics:  Not sure about barfly or devotees.  Gang wasn’t bad.  Crew?  Barfly doesn’t quite capture the contribution of that Top 10 group. Entourage wasn’t bad — but is there something better? The Band?  I mean, they are part of what keeps us coming back like in a “real” bar.  They are “Investors” in this community but that’s not bar-themed.  Like the idea of a few special names — i.e., bouncer, piano man, sage etc. Would someone be instigator on occasion or is that a permanent handle?[Edited.]

  71. Saad Fazil

    i have to say the leaderboard definitely makes me spend a bit more time looking at comments than i generally would! that said, i see a rank for everyone except myself. what am i missing? 

  72. Dan Sweet

    test, rankcurious.

  73. JamesHRH

    Devotee……..Old School?Fun feature, for sure.

  74. lauraglu

    I don’t love how the design has my eye drawn to the category of the person talking rather than their comment, or even their name. Would prefer a bit more subtlety.

  75. Aaron Fyke

    “Late to the Party” would be my typical status – on this, or most other message boards.  However, I’d love to know the lurker/participant ratio and how these people should be treated.  Is it 90:10?  99:1?  I know I read MANY blogs, but fortunately, or not, only comment on a few.

  76. Dale Allyn

    This has been a very successful thread for Fred and for Disqus. It’s great to see this dialogue. IMO the actual labels need work (in addition to the presentation of them) because terms like “semi-regular” are a bit off-putting. At least they are to me. I’m not wanting to be negative here – I love such explorations. But for one who visits AVC every morning, rain or shine, reads every comment, but chooses not to comment often or may defer to the more “popular” participants, it feels weird to be called “semi” anything. I push URLs from AVC several times per week, and share discussion which emerge here. My business experience is somewhat varied (import/export, S.E. Asian vertical markets, certain scientific studies and market integrations, etc.), but not great for open discussions in some cases (security issues as well somewhat off-topic), and my startup activity is in stealth mode, so I keep my head down a bit (in terms of comments) for now. Still, as I’ve said elsewhere in this thread, social rankings is a delicate business. Gamification is dangerous to any community. We (in the U.S.A.) have 575 people in Washington D.C. who represent the product of gamification of a community. Please proceed with caution. AVC is not (IMO) your average forum, and shouldn’t be treated as such. The Disqus team is great and has an opportunity in what their pursuing, and I think we all want to support their efforts, but please don’t lower standards for short-term commercial value. (btw: been on AVC well over 12 hours today [in a tab] but I’m “semi”… ;)edit: fixed dropped words

  77. Dale Allyn

    @disqus and Tyler Hayes: it happened again. Comment disappeared at approx. 11:50 pm PDT. Probably marked as spam. Guess I need to polish my comments a bit. 🙂

  78. Bala

    Incentive to engage… Like the idea, also a way to segment your customer base

  79. Dave Pinsen

    It’s amazing how many comments a post about comments has generated. 

    1. RichardF

      Dave, I just noticed your strapline….really,  really good elevator pitch.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        You mean “Helping investors hedge with Portfolio Armor”?Thought of that as more of a description than an elevator pitch, but thanks.

    2. fredwilson

      could only happen on the internet

  80. RichardF

    I think there are really two issues that the Disqus system is trying to deal with as one and not really doing either particularly well.  Attendance vs CommentingThe issue of the person who comes to the blog regularly and doesn’t comment.  I don’t like the word lurker it has negative connotations.  I think there needs to be a separate badge for attendance.  It might be as simple as being Regular, familiar face etc.  However I disagree that anyone who reads on RSS should be included.  You have to turn up to be part of a community and in this case that means coming to the blog.  I guess recording this could either be via an explicit check in, which I quite like the idea of or the Disqus cookie.As far as commenting goes, I guess the “like” algorithm is a good way of ranking the quality of someone’s comments.  I also think some form of community voting (positively rather than negatively) of a person could be included in the weighting.  So if you achieved e.g. regular status you could then vote for someone.  This might work on a points system, so the more points you accrued the higher your rank.  The reason I think this could be good is that if you look at someone like Grimlock who has recently become part of the community it will take him a while to reach barfly status.  Yet the quality of his comments in my opinion should put him in the top ten easily, right now.Lastly I really dislike “devotee” I’d rather be an “aficionado” a “crew” member or even a “fanboi”! or just a regular.  I don’t like barfly either but that’s not something that is likely to concern me.All of the above relates to AVC I do think that on a general level what Disqus are offering bloggers now is fantastic.

    1. fredwilson

      i have just changed a bunch of thingsmost everyone who is active here will be a regularthose are are sometimes active will be a semi-regularwe will say welcome back stranger to those who are very infrequentlurkers are those who read a lot but rarely commentnewbie will be those who are coming for the first timeand then we’ll have instigator for those who inspire a lot of replies to their commentsi’d like to add more of the latter type ranks over time

  81. aanwar

    This is awesome,  it’s a better way for you to get to know AVC members by rank. 

  82. William Mougayar

    With all this, Disqus is breaking new ground in re-defining a new category: Blog Community Measurement. 

  83. Ruth Benjamin-Thomas

    Being on the other side of the world – I get to read your posts at a decent hour – and yes – I too l have looked forward to them everyday for the past couple of years.As for the term lurker – that’s exactly how I feel most of the time – but….after two years, it is probably time I got off the fence and ordered a drink.Cheers!

  84. jer979

    I love this…the “gamification” of comments. A nice tool to drive community engagement. I want to have this on my own blog.The best thing for Disqus would be if I could post a comment to the blog directly via Greader, so I didn’t have to click over. Distributed Disqus comments….

  85. John Petersen

    Love the ranking system. I am a regular reader (mostly through RSS) and infrequent contributor. That being said, I know my ranking is going to be the lowest level and that makes sense to me.I try to read your posts everyday or at least catch up every few days if I miss something, but I never have time to read through all the comments every day. I am building my company and barely have time to sleep, let alone read the 100s of comments.But here is why the hierarchy is great.As I go back and read old posts that are suddenly very relevant to me and my company, I take the time to read through all the comments. There is valuable information in there from both you and the community. The ranks put some perspective around who posted the comment.Very helpful and a great new feature.

  86. Douglas Crets

    Fred and co., you may find this discussion of H levels at Quora to be useful to this discussion. In short, a little bit about how quora defines relevance and usefulness as a ranking. http://www.quora.com/Who-on…

    1. fredwilson

      thanksi’ve never spent much time on quorado you like it?

      1. Douglas Crets

        I don’t think my responses through email are making it onto your blog. I’ve responded to three people this weekend, and I don’t see my response here. I will cut and paste what I wrote to you now:I like it for several reasons, and I still feel I am adjusting to it for several reasons.I like it because: 1. It opens up the field for knowledge exchange. Like one of your investment portfolio companies, it’s a collection of real experts who have a deep understanding AND real experience in the fields they discuss.2. It is an interesting case study in a new way to get accurate information on events of recent history. For example, people who invest in Facebook, or who were chief development management of Yahoo! or other companies, can provide context around how some news has been reported.  It’s kind of like everyone can be Barbara Walters to people they find compelling, and those people will find the question about them and answer it, if that makes sense. It probably doesn’t have a few things figured out, like, how to rank the seriousness and the relevancy of questions and their answers, though I think it tries to do this in a crowdsource way. It allows for voting and editing of the answers and questions. Something feels missing, though I don’t know what it is, exactly.On another note, I think Quora is a step in the right direction of social search, and I can see it being a piece of some kind of mash up of other sites like it, producing a real repository of active knowledge exchange. I find the whole topic area that Quora plays in to be fascinating. 

        1. fredwilson

          thanks. that is very helpful

  87. Douglas Crets

    My comment replies to previous comments are not making it onto this blog, so here is my response to a recent comment by Satish Mummareddy:I dnt think believing you are this or that means anything in relevancy to a community. The nature of a commujity is what you are to that community is imoprtant as you fit into the sum, rather than who you are as a part. Relationships require more aelf definition and correlation to the others view. I thonk we are seeing the development of a weird kind of web world of multiple relationships as one, as the practice and spirit of our times. Make sense? 

    1. Donna Brewington White

      I don’t know that Satish will see this — so adding  @satishmummareddy:disqus as a ping!Really appreciating your comments Douglas. The discussion of Quora gave voice to some of my own thoughts.

      1. Douglas Crets

        Thank you. I am a little late in responding to you, but I am not being sent notifications of responses to my comments through email. Disqus has hiccups every now and again. Thanks for reading with me. 

  88. jvermes

    Sustainability in this growing marketplace of ideas (and those who make them) depends on a properly implemented and administered control regime.A ranking system administered with a light and wise touch by the good Professor provides a standard framework for valuing and standardizing the principle scarce resource. This is, of course … attention from the Professor himself.Without such a system, the smooth running of the marketplace depends purely on carefully tuned control inputs from the Man Himself – a sharp word here, a smoothing of ruffled feathers there, a hearty “Ahoy matey” from time to time, and so forth. The ranking system ultimately is Fred, whether it is expressed by ad hoc wordsmithery or standardized tools. Standardization will do what standardization always does: it will remove some chaos from the mix and create the conditions for emergence based on a new shared sense of order.There will be winners and losers. So be it!Get on with it and see what happens.Then deal.

  89. K_Berger

    I was pretty critical of the rankings when they first came out but have tried to keep an open mind. And theoretically, I still agree with all the comments about making people feel like ‘outsiders’ and gaming the rankings.However, I believe I am commenting more since the rankings started.  The underlying reason is that contributing makes you more a part of a community. Also, a way to pay back the group for what I gain is by adding to it. But I don’t think I would have done that as much or as quickly if the rankings weren’t there to measure myself by.  I think another deterrent for gaming the rankings is that the things we value as part of this community means we won’t try to game it. And anyone else coming just for that purpose won’t care about being on top of a group they care nothing about.So, despite my initial misgivings, Fred’s desired result has been achieved.  Kudos.  Of course, this only works if my comments actually add any value for anyone. :)I do like the bar theme a lot. The one problem I have with the instigator tag is that it hides the regular ranking anyone has achieved.

    1. fredwilson

      disqus has made the decision that you can only have one rankso i’ve decided that if you can achieve a “special” rank (ie insigator), it supercedes your regular rank

  90. Prokofy

    This looks like a fun MMORPG Fred and I will be back to study it more later but I couldn’t grasp it at first take, maybe I need the cheats & walkthru page.Elsewhere in the news, boy, I bet you’re glad you got out of that Twitter thing alive:http://techcrunch.com/2011/…I love it when you say “take money off the table” because in your line of work, that’s what you need to do.But I wonder if you ever have a company that does well and has an actual business model that makes a profit so that you make money that way — instead of convincing the next line of rubes to buy you out.

    1. fredwilson

      i think something like half of our portfolio companies are making profits at this point.

  91. falicon

    You can label me…but you can never define me. 😉

  92. Tracey Jackson

    I find most blogs have a regular or semi regular group who are willing to post and end up chatting with each other. I wonder if the lurkers will come forth less if they are labeled such. Joiners will be happy. I think it’s an interesting feature and I like your Cheers theme. Does it not give people a leg up and if they are regular their comments will be taken more seriously than a newbie, thus newbies will shut up?  It opens a lot for disqusion.

  93. Tracey Jackson

    How come I don’t have any status?

    1. Dale Allyn

      Tracey, I see it as “welcome back stranger”. Perhaps a browser refresh will help you see it. 

    2. fredwilson

      i need to add one for people who are not newcomers or lurkers but have not yet obtained semi-regular statusgot any suggestions for the name?

  94. Dale Allyn

    Fred, I think you’re making some nice modifications and tweaks as the exploration evolves. There’s been some great feedback from the community IMO. I wonder if “semi-regular” would be a bit more inviting if that set were instead called something like “frequent guest” or “frequent visitor”. I know you tweaked the line b/n “regular” and “semi-regular” and feel it’s an improvement (and not because it changed my status). I would have preferred the “frequent visitor” label when in that set and would still be fine with it.  (Not suggesting the removal of “regular” though, it works okay IMO). Just a thought.

    1. fredwilson

      good suggestion. i will make the change

  95. awaldstein

    451 comments.Is this the era of community? No question.

    1. fredwilson

      is this the community of the era?

      1. awaldstein

        A non-trivial question Fred.I talk community. Try and use it as a business design tool. Think and write about it a lot. But yes, when you need to point a finger to one that really works, you surf your way here to avc.com.Lots of reasons for this.But besides your leadership ( a big one), the thought that comes to me is three things: 1) the depth of the context as how life and business change through our connections to the internet); 2) the breadth of that context as it covers everything from education to us as people and encourages sharing beyond the topic (i.e.,Jura wine, the Ridge @ Bell on Ajax) and 3) this is not overtly a business with a transactional endgame. Interest and ideas as the product is a freeing dynamic that pays more and more often than commerce. An open marketplace for ideas.So, congrats! avc.com now has a new badge bestowed on it by this community member himself, ‘The community of the era’.And thanks…Love participating in things where value back is proportional to value in.

      2. awaldstein

        A non-trivial question Fred.When I have to point a finger to an example of community dynamics that works, that is greater than the sum of its parts, I surf over to avc.com as the epitome of the idea.There are three pieces of the puzzle that make it work besides your leadership.1.The depth and dynamic nature of the context, that is how life and businesses are impacted by the ever changing connection to the internet. There are no right answers. Conversation as discovery is the solution. 2. The breadth of that same context as it effects most everything fromeducation to pricing models. And encourages the extended interest footprint of the commenter to surface. Personality is the pulse of the discussion.And 3., this is a free marketplace of ideas, not couched in a transaction. Ideas are the currency of exchange and this frees and gives back more, and more often than simply a slide to a purchase. So yes, this community member has given avc.com the badge of the ‘community of the era’ ;)And the rest of the community has voted with its engagement.

      3. awaldstein

        A non-trivial question Fred.When I have to point a finger to an example of community dynamics that works, that is greater than the sum of its parts, I surf over to avc.com as the epitome of the idea.There are three pieces of the puzzle that make it work besides your leadership.1.The depth and dynamic nature of the context, that is how life and businesses are impacted by the ever changing connection to the internet. There are no right answers. Conversation as discovery is the solution. 2. The breadth of that same context as it effects most everything fromeducation to pricing models. And encourages the extended interest footprint of the commenter to surface. Personality is the pulse of the discussion.And 3., this is a free marketplace of ideas, not couched in a transaction. Ideas are the currency of exchange and this frees and gives back more, and more often than simply a slide to a purchase. So yes, this community member has given avc.com the badge of the ‘community of the era’ ;)And the rest of the community has voted with its engagement.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          I don’t “like” I “LOVE” this comment! FTW

        2. Donna Brewington White

          …and I’ve reposted it!  http://tumblr.com/xsm4s7am81  cc: @fredwilson:disqus 

          1. awaldstein

            I’m truly flattered at this, Donna…thanks.

  96. guest

    I have read avc everyday since 2007, but have commented only twice. 

    1. Dale Allyn

      If I were @ShanaC I would ask “what can we do to encourage you to comment more often”.;)

      1. guest

        joining a community requires commitment. i fear commitment 🙂

        1. Dale Allyn

          Haha, no strings attached here. Hopefully the content will be enough to keep you here. 🙂

        2. ShanaC

          Commitment can be freeing.  No pressure, unless this is the right sort of freeing for you

      2. ShanaC

        Am I really like that?

        1. Dale Allyn

          In a good way, Shana. I think you’re very kind and welcoming to AVC visitors. 

          1. ShanaC

            I try, I know what it is like to not be included…

          2. fredwilson

            she’s #1 for a reason

    2. fredwilson

      let’s see if we can make it threewhat don’t you like about commenting?

      1. guest

        I come to learn for the most part. I prefer to be anonymous and I don’t want a trail of comments that may come back to haunt me. Needless to say, I really enjoy commenting and most compelled to comment on cultural, political or economic topics. 

        1. fredwilson

          we don’t require real names herefake grimlock, kid mercury, prokofy, and many more are legends in this community without ever sharing their real name

          1. guest

            Grims and Kid are two of my favs. Will be brainstorming for an alias…future participation in the works. 

          2. fredwilson

            this conversation made it to the front pagehttp://www.avc.com/a_vc/201…

  97. Tracey Jackson

    I don’t think “Welcome back stranger” works if say you commented a few days ago. This might need some work and I agree with the guy if you read it every day and don’t comment you should get some points. It takes time to read blogs each day and yours are very specific. There are many days when I can’t comment as I have nothing to contribute and am just learning. 

    1. fredwilson

      i agree. i have to fix that one. this is a work in progress.

  98. Keenan

    I’m just excited for them to be rolling this out. I’ve been wanting this feature for quite sometime. I think it has huge potential to increase the community element of a blog.People like to have a place in communities. We like to know where we stand in the group. Most of us bitched about it in H.S. but the truth is, in most communities we all look for our place in the group and it makes us feel more comfortable one we’ve found it.  Disqus now does this for us in Blog communities and for big ones, like the here, that is a big deal.  Well done Disqus.  

    1. fredwilson

      welcome back stranger 😉

  99. Emeri Gent [Em]

    I like the analogy with the bar, especially since being a bartender was my first job, though I hasten to add that it was also the first job I was also fired from.  My experiences behind the bar depended whether I was put in the village bar or the nightmare of working the disco bar.  I was 18 at the time, which is perfectly OK in England.  So bar-tending has fond memories for me as well as a few which were not so fond at the time – bartending teaches you that everybody has a story, and a bartender has to be in part, a connoisseur of the human soul. I don’t think the analogy would work by type of drinker but I do think that there is something to be said about grading, brand & flavour of the drink.  That is where colour coding might be applicable.  Perhaps a heat map that has the bartender as white, top 10 as yellow, top 50 as orange, top 100 as red, top 250 as purple, top 1000 as light blue, top 2000 as dark blue and the remainder black.I do recommend that anyone who has not done bartending, do it for a little bit – it definitely provides a different insight into the human condition, types of community and social exchange. My chief lesson as a bartender was that as a teetotaler, how easy it is to choose the wrong occupation, especially one who is a bonafide non-drinker.[Em]”emeri gent” @thoughtspaces

  100. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

    I love this. It’s what’s gotten me to comment more frequently again, as I want to hang on to my Top 100 rank.

  101. Robert Thuston

    very cool.  I agree with the distributed weighings.  I think they correspond with the behavior we would like to encourage.  467 comments speaks for it.

  102. Tracey Jackson

    For the “Welcome Back Strangers” how about “Drop Ins”?

    1. fredwilson

      hmmyou have a way with wordsbut you knew that!

  103. RacerRick

    Based on that screen grab, my strategy of replying first looks to be nullified. 

  104. Douglas Crets

    Fred, do you m ind if use this picture in a screenshot for my RWW post? If not, let me know, and I can remove it. Thanks!

    1. fredwilson

      go for it

  105. Reykjavik

    Glad to see that Disqus is maturing commenting into the social tool that we all thought it should be.And any coincidence in the big uptick in commenting today and the ability now to have it quantified in some sort of ranking? Quantifying things always seems to have that effect.

    1. fredwilson

      not sure. we’ll see over time.

  106. andyidsinga

    ugg .. initial reaction : ranking community members – complete bullshit.

  107. Dev @ Women Magazine

    That’s am innovative idea, love to see that happen in disqus.

  108. Moosa Hemani

    This sounds good but its seems like there is no butter for th guest members…

  109. Nathan Hangen

    I’ve always liked Disqus, but was concerned it couldn’t bring enough to the table to be profitable. However, looking at the way the Disqus team innovates, I can see that there’s no one else that seems comments in the way they do. A product of making it your only business, as opposed to a feature of your business (FB comments)?This is an awesome feature.

    1. fredwilson

      they would be profitable now if they weren’t tripling down on the opportunity in terms of hiring

  110. Douglas Crets

    Here is the small story that I wrote about this: http://www.readwriteweb.com…Note that GRIMLOCK is becoming a loyal fan to my writing at RWW. I feel honored. 

    1. fredwilson

      the grimster on RRW!!!

      1. Douglas Crets

        Yes! How can it be so!? This guy must love tech news. 

  111. Stephen

    It just came to me today, not sure if it was dicussed earlier, the ability to see your rank on a comment as at a point in time. So the rank displayed on each comment made would be based on the date of the comment. Which means on different posts I would have different ranks, based on the frequency of my comments. I figure the way it is now, everybody has one rank, which is shown for all their comments.

  112. guest

    I’m Mr. Guest. I thought 200+ comments were a lot…500+ is overwhelming. This will further encourage my habit of “Ctrl-F Fred” in the comment section.

  113. Tereza

    Wow I’m hanging onto the ranks with white knuckles.  Boo hoo hoo.

  114. Michael Kharwin

    Well, interesting feature from Disqus. It will definitely be a good widget for any blog platform. I suggest I will be indicated as Newcomer here

  115. Michael Kharwin

    thnaks for great post

  116. Michael Kharwin

    great post!

  117. Guest

    Nice explanation.

  118. fredwilson

    i gather you don’t like itanother suggestion i got for the top ten is “barfly”

  119. fredwilson

    and your vote for the top ten is?

  120. William Mougayar

    OK, as long as the hierarchy jives after that. 

  121. JLM

    I have to agree with the Wiseman from Lancaster.I want to be The Secretary of Offense.Of course, the men in Hell this morning were clamoring for ice water.So take what you can get.

  122. fredwilson

    you are an instigator overriding your barfly statuswhich is entirely appropriate

  123. Aaron Klein

    You know, AVCers, we all need to be careful. It’s possible that President Rick Perry’s future Secretary of Defense, or Treasury, or Commerce, is our very own wise man, dispensing his prose from the barstool daily. 🙂

  124. ShanaC

    I really want to be “The Socialite”.

  125. JLM

    The Rangers because the motto of The Rangers is — Rangers lead the way!I once served in a very small unit whose motto was “Our business is death and business is very good!”It actually used to freak me out because it did not discriminate sufficiently and I kept envisioning my death as being within the chalkstripe of the definition.

  126. JLM

    Sorry, Charlie, you ARE The Wiseman from Lancaster!

  127. Matt A. Myers

    But what relevance does ‘instigator’ have as an explanation of the person’s involvement in the community vs. Top 10? (Even though those two aren’t related)

  128. JLM

    Spirit of full disclosure, I am bundler #2130 and on the ground floor of Veterans for Perry, a Super Pac.We have secured some unbelievable veterans in support and this is going to be a lot of fun.  Not running against anyone but focusing on obtaining support from veterans for a veteran.Why?I am opposed to long drawn out expensive wars and think the policy initiative should be — go to war only after you have exhausted all other alternatives, have thought carefully about having to tell someone’s Mother their child is dead and then make the most violent, shortest, least expensive war possible, use spec ops like a mad man and immediately turn the aftermath over to the UN.  Stop rebuilding other nations.I would only accept Sec of Offense.  I have known Rick and Anita Perry and their family for 20 years and will do whatever I can do to help.I will keep YOU posted if you desire.  Right now, he is in a better position than anyone could have imagined 60 days ago.I will not bring my political voice to AVC unless asked or challenged. Full disclosure only.

  129. ShanaC

    Umm, for the purpose of my education:How do SuperPACs actually work in practice?  People keep talking about the corruption of money in politics, but I don’t want to say anything until I really understand how a PAC works in practice (not in theory)

  130. JLM

    @ShanaC:disqusSuper Pacs are able to organize w/ the permission of the FEC and to solicit and receive unlimited funds from individuals, corporations, unions, etc. —- by virtue of the recent Citizens United Sup Ct decision which was decided since the last Presidential election cycle.This is a new chapter in Presidential fundraising.  An obscene level.These entities cannot coordinate w/ a candidate but can do about anything else to influence the electorate on issues or any kind.Unlimited money — obscene amounts of money.  From corporations.I am personally in favor of total fundraising disarmament.  But it is not going to happen soon.  So let’s get in the game.

  131. ShanaC

    ugggg to your explanation.  I’m surprised more pacs don’t distort media buys…..We’ve created a nuclear cash war…..uggggg

  132. Matt A. Myers

    We should game this system Charlie.. You can get #2 placement, I’ll take #3? 😉 We could try to take Fred’s bartender spot – but that might require actually hacking Disqus.. 😛

  133. JLM

    @ccrystle:disqus —You have the comfort of being perfectly right.Your position is perfectly correct.

  134. fredwilson

    speaking of our military, did you see this JLM?http://m.whitehouse.gov/the…i suspect you have, but if not, you should read itamazing

  135. Elia Freedman

    Thanks, Charlie. I don’t feel like I am expressing myself well. I just don’t want this place to lose what makes it special. Fred has created an amazingly open environment where smart people are encouraged to participate. On any given day, the best comments rise to the top. This doesn’t happen on other sites. On other sites, the rank becomes more important. (Hacker News is just one example.)I am not my rank… and I don’t want to be remembered this way.Thanks for listening.

  136. awaldstein


  137. Robert Holtz

    She is.@ShanaC:disqus = #2 only behind the man himself, @fredwilson:disqus at #1.  @FakeGrimlock:disqus has slipped to #20.

  138. fredwilson

    i changed some of the algorithm by moving the sliders yesterdaydidn’t want to have the algorithm out there

  139. ShanaC

    Errr.  recently I’ve been able to put in 4-6 hours of learning to program too?

  140. Donna Brewington White

    I think he is referring to the “community box” which has one list for most frequent commenters and another for most likes.  Arnold is on the most likes list — along with you and the others he mentioned.

  141. JamesHRH

    very funny.

  142. JLM

    The guy lives in Austin now.  This is the face of bravery, real bravery.I just wish they could make these awards in a more timely manner and THIS is what Pres Obama should have done at a joint meeting of the Congress.

  143. fredwilson

    i agree with the spirit of your suggestioni think someone should be a regular or welcome back stranger or newblieunless you are an instigator or a lurkerhow does that sound?

  144. David Clarke

    Seems a shame not to have the algorithm out there in the public domain– this community is clearly already engaged in proto-DEO (Disqus Engine Optimization). And if @dz:disqus would be kind enough to elaborate on the half-life of the various parameters we should be able to stage a (transient…) coup by all agreeing to like the same comment(er) one day.