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About Commenter Ratings
About Commenter Ratings

Outlines the factors that influence Commenter Ratings on Stitch, and what members can do to improve their rating

Andrew Dowling avatar
Written by Andrew Dowling
Updated over a week ago

Unlike the many generalized public discussion forums available on the Internet, Stitch’s discussion forums are not built to be general purpose Internet forums for combative debate and argument. Stitch’s forums have been built for the sole purpose of enriching the lives of our members, and giving them opportunities to connect and find like-minded companions.

Our goal is to create an environment where every member’s experience of the community is positive and rewarding.

It only takes a small number of unpleasant comments to ruin the experience of Stitch for everyone, so Stitch requires higher standards of behavior from members than you may be accustomed to on other websites.

To enable this, the Stitch system determines a Commenter Rating for all members, based on the comments they post to the Stitch Discussion forums, and on Stitch Groups and Activities.

Members who have a positive Commenter Rating, such as Good or Excellent, can participate freely in online discussions on Stitch.

Membes who have a low Commenter Rating, such as Needs improvement or Unsatisfactory, will face restricted access to online discussions on Stitch. (These ratings have previously been referred to as Somewhat divisive, or Divisive).

The restricted access for members with low Commenter Ratings is outlined in the following articles:

What determines my Commenter Rating?

Each member’s Commenter Rating is calculated by the Stitch system based on its assessment of how well the member’s comments meet the standards of behavior expected from Stitch members. Those behaviors are outlined in detail in the Stitch Community Guidelines.

If a member’s comments always exhibit the “encouraged” behaviors listed in the guidelines, they will earn a positive Commenter Rating. Encouraged behaviors include:

  • Being kind

  • Being welcoming

  • Being supportive

  • Being patient & understanding

  • Being friendly

  • Helping resolve conflict

  • Promoting good behavior in others

  • Enriching other members' experience

If, on the other hand, Stitch determines that an unacceptable number of comments exhibit the “discouraged” or “prohibited” behaviors listed in the guidelines, that member will earn a low Commenter Rating.

The list of behaviors that the community discourages is quite broad, and includes:

  • Being disrespectful

  • Being unkind

  • Being unwelcoming

  • Being offensive

  • Being insensitive

  • Being domineering

  • Being rude

  • Creating conflict

Note that Stitch’s focus on ensuring kind and welcoming behavior at all times means that you only need to post a small number comments exhibiting one of the behaviors above to earn a low Commenter Rating. Members need to contribute to a positive environment all of the time, not just some of the time.

Members who breach the guidelines with comments that exhibit “prohibited” behaviors on multiple occasions will earn a low Commenter Rating.

How is my Commenter Rating calculated?

As outlined above, your Commenter Rating is based on the comments you post to Stitch across an extended period. It is calculated based on a combination of:

  • The number of your comments that have been found to have breached the community guidelines

  • Downvotes from other members

  • Machine learning

  • Manual moderator review

Currently, reviews are conducted on a weekly basis, but in the future we will increase the machine learning component of the system to give members immediate feedback when they post a comment.

It is important to note that the number of “likes” or “downvotes” you receive does not directly determine your Commenter Rating. Stitch's machine learning algorithm, plus the manual review from Stitch moderators, are in place to prevent the system from being abused.

It is not possible, for example, for someone to earn a low rating because they were targeted by other members. Similarly, it is not possible to earn a high rating by asking other members to “like” your comments.

If you post comments that are found to breach the Community Guidelines multiple times, despite the warnings you receive on each occasion from Stitch, it will lower your rating significantly.

Please note that the Stitch algorithm is designed to have a very low tolerance for negative behavior, so you can earn a low Commenter Rating even if the majority of your comments are positive. In order to achieve our social goals, the Community requires positive behavior at ALL times.

Can I get a bad rating because other people disagree with my opinions?

No. You can’t get a low Commenter Rating simply because other people disagree with your opinions.

If a member downvotes you because they disagree with your opinions, and your comment was expressed in a way that was consistent with the Community’s expectations (being respectful, being kind, etc) it will not contribue to your Commenter Rating.

If, however, Stitch determines your comment exhibits one of the behaviors the Community discourages or prohibits, it will contribute to your Commenter Rating.

Is it possible for groups of members to “gang up” on another member?

No. Members who join together to downvote comments from a single member across multiple comments are easily detected by the system. Downvotes from members who form such “voting circles” are ignored by Stitch. Such members will receive low Commenter Ratings themselves, and may be suspended from Stitch.

The same is true for members who form voting circles to attempt to artificially increase another member’s commenter rating.

I have actively tried to fight against bad behavior on Stitch. Why do I deserve a low Commenter Rating?

Stitch only analyzes the tone and content of comments to determine its Commenter Rating impact, not its intent. So even if you have been acting with the best of intentions, if the behavior in your comments breaches the Community Guidelines, it will result in a low rating.

Unfortunately, some members who experience negative behavior on Stitch respond in ways that are combative, argumentative, dismissive, or rude. They may feel they are doing the right thing, but in fact they are escalating and contributing to the negative behavior.

If you have engaged in impassioned, combative arguments with other members on Stitch, it is quite possible that you made the mistake of posting comments that did not meet the community standards.

When you encounter negative behavior in the community, your best recourse is to do one of the following:

  • Report it (if it’s a severe breach of the community guidelines)

  • Downvote it (if it’s an example of behavior the community discourages)

  • Ignore it

If you do need to reply, make sure your comment is in line with Stitch community guidelines (being respectful, being kind, etc).

Examples

While there is an infinitely broad range of comments that can contribute to a low Commenter Rating, most of the time members recognize when a comment has breached the Guidelines. There are, however, two categories of comments that contribute to low ratings most often, that are worth highlighting.

The first are comments which say something negative about a proportion of the population of members of the Stitch Community. Examples include comments like:

  • “Why do all Americans always think everything is about them?”

  • “All of Republicans / Democrats are idiots”

  • “Trump supporters are crazy”

  • “Women have never been very good at these things.”

  • “Israelis are behind all these problems”

  • “Anyone who supports Hamas is a terrorist”

  • etc

The second category are comments which include invective, insults or unwelcoming comments directed at a single individual in the community, regardless of what that member may have previously posted. Examples include comments like:

  • “You are an idiot”

  • “You don’t belong in this discussion”

  • “I’ve told you not to post in this forum, you need to go somewhere else”

Can I improve my rating?

Full members of Stitch with low Commenter Ratings can continue to participate in members-only discussions, and if they consistently adhere to the standards of behavior required of all members as outlined in the Stitch Community Guidelines, their Commenter Rating will improve and they will eventually be able to access Public discussions again.

Limited members with low Commenter Ratings cannot participate in discussions but can continue to attend Public activities and reply to messages they receive from other members.

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