8 Patterns

School’s Back!

school's back

We’re back! Yep school’s in and for the next 8 weeks you and I will be discovering and hopefully discussing O’Reilly’s 8 patterns of best practice for developing Web 2.0 applications as interpreted by Wendy Warr

  1. Harnessing Collective Intelligence
  2. Data is the next “Intel Inside”
  3. Innovation in Assembly
  4. Rich User Experiences
  5. Software above the level of a single device
  6. Perpetual Beta
  7. Leveraging the Long Tail
  8. Light Weight Models and Cost-Effective Scalability

Each week we’ll discuss and analyse these by comparing them against a specific site or application and we’ll do so in a sequential order. Naturally that means this week we’ll be chatting about #1, “Harnessing Collective Intelligence” with particular reference to coderater.net.

Harnessing Collective Intelligence

Let’s start off by defining “Collective Intelligence”. To my mind this is best described as “collaboration” or “teamwork”, where a connected user base work implicitly or explicitly together to create and refine a product or products. Harnessing this Collective Intelligence is the real trick and there are a number of different best practices to follow in order to do this. Some of which are detailed below.

  • Rewarding the User
    • Make it easy and efficient to use
    • Provide valuable and insightful content
  • Involve Users
    • Explicitly through creation or collaboration
    • Or implicitly where the user’s actions contribute in some way, e.g. likes, page visits, click throughs etc.
  • User Trust
    • Allow all users interact in some way, e.g. comment, rate, favourite etc.
  • Evolutionary Design
    • Ensure that that the more your application is used the better it becomes, ratings, views, favourites etc.
    • Folksonomy & Tagging

Coderater.net is a platform that allows users to quickly and easily upload, rate and share code snippets and has been designed specifically with all four of these best practices in mind. Think of other applications such as SourceForge or Snipplr

Firstly the site name itself immediately gives the user some insight but once you’ve read the top three words on the site you know exactly what its purpose is and what it sets out to do.

And within these three words, you’ve already successfully achieved the goals of the best practices set out above.

The only downside to a platform such as this is that to provide any real value, the site needs users and content. As it is only in its Beta form at the moment this is precisely what it lacks. A couple of things that I also think would make the site easier to use and potentially help inspire people to add content are a few design revisions. For example the navigation menu is on the right hand side sort of half way down where there is nothing that immediately draws the eye towards it, plus the overall layout of the site could do with a bit of work.

Conceptually I think this is a great site with the potential to become a very useful tool that developers across the globe could make great use of. But what about you? What do you think could be done to harness their collective intelligence? And are there any other considerations should be addressed?

Laters…

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About andrewdcook

Project Manager/Animator/Beer Snob

8 responses to “8 Patterns”

  1. adamhijazi says :

    Hi there,

    I think a site like this is fundamentally a good idea but how do you know the quality of the code that is being uploaded is any good? It could be wrong – is there any sort of moderation that goes on here? How often are people likely to contribute code? I mean, when I see a site like this I think about uni students scrambling to get assignments done and searching at the last minute for solutions for pieces of code they cannot get through themselves on the internet.

    Do you think there is enough incentive for people to contribute? Do you think it should be moderated or users should be able to earn points or some other metric indicating that they are indeed worthy of posting useful content? I presume this could possibly be covered by the “rate” alternative you mentioned. How does that work exactly?

    One more thing about a site like this also, do you think it would be about harnessing collective intelligence or more of a competition between different coders? Are people likely to work together in this sort of arena?

    Cheers!

    • andrewdcook says :

      Hi Adam,

      You raise a number of excellent questions and I’ll aim to answer them all 😉

      The concept is that moderation is done by users, so once you’ve downloaded the code the idea is that you rate it as either working or not working, and if you’re capable and think it’s worthwhile you can modify the code. How often are people likely to do it? Well that’s just guess work really as the site is only beta at the moment. But it wouldn’t surprise me to see a similar set up to the way Wikipedia works evolving here, so the 95% of the site’s users are likely to be the consumers so to speak and the remaining 5% active contributors. But having a rating system for the site’s top/highly rated contributors is a great idea, similar to eBay’s top seller perhaps. And the incentive to contribute code could very well be this rating system, which can most certainly act as a competition. I know a fair amount of coders (if not all) that would undeniably relish being on the top of a leader board as the contributor of the highest rated and most downloaded code. Gamification is definitely a worthwhile technique.

      Cheers for the comment man, heading over to your site now 🙂

      • PrapatW says :

        Hi Andrew

        I think there is so much environmental aspect involve with code such as OS, languages, libraries, version, and a lot more. The code might be working for some people and not for many others. I think it would mess up with the code rating. I believe it is a good start though and a good Web 2.0 site. We just need for more people to contribute to see it working.

        Prapat W.

      • andrewdcook says :

        Hi Prapat,

        You’re right there are a lot of variables that could skew that data, but i would suspect that those who the site is targeted towards should have the relevant expertise to avoid such issues. But it is very relevant point you make as the target audience is limited by this.

        laters

  2. bronwynsc says :

    Thanks for sharing this info – I didn’t know anything about this site. Are there other examples like this? Is it better than the competition?

    I totally agree that their biggest obstacle is getting a user base. Do you know what they are doing to promote the site or do you have any suggestions on what they should do?

    I like your post about Harnessing Collective Intelligence – you made it easy to understand.

    • andrewdcook says :

      Hi Bronwynn,

      yeah there are similar sites, sourceforge.net and snipplr, both of which have been around for a lot longer than coderater.net so obviously their user base is quite a lot larger.

      I don’t know what they are doing to promote their site exactly, I’d probably spam my personal network first and get chatting on forums to begin with, but there are many different options depending on the budget.

  3. Simon CodeRater says :

    Andrew, Thanks for the post and thanks to everyone who added comments.

    The idea behind this site was to share code but further more, allow people to tell others if it works and to improve the code with additional comments.

    If you are like me, you would have wasted hundreds of hours trying to find some code that works for a specific problem on a specific platform by searching through many forums. The problem is that much of the code isn’t that good and it would have helped to add in a few more lines of comments or compress the code to something more elegant.

    For everyone reading this, I ask you to simply have a go at uploading some code you have that you think other people will find useful. The website has been configured to that the code is picked up in search engines. A few points from some other forums also helps this as well.

    Finally, this is not a commercial venture. Just something to help others.

    Thanks again and good luck with all your coding.

    Cheers,

    Simon

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  1. The Long Tail of Leverage | Andrew Cook - May 8, 2013

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