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Some big changes are in the pipeline for Sphinn, which I’d like to discuss with you further and also talk about our existing functionality.
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from evilgreenmonkey 2346 Days ago #
Votes: 7

One issue that has been discussed quite a bit recently is the signal to noise ratio on Sphinn, which can either be attributed to Sphinn members only wanting to see articles on a specific type of marketing (e.g. Search Marketing, SEO, SMM) or a viewpoint that the posts submitted to Sphinn are primarily created to indirectly promote the submitter and their blog.The first of these points can easily be solved already by using the top navigation bar. It sounds like an obvious point, however few people according to our statistics actually use the category filtering to find articles relevant to their needs. Sphinn will always be an internet marketing discussion site rather than pure SEO/PPC, although that doesn’t mean you can’t customise Sphinn to make it so. Simply click on ’Search Marketing’ and then ’SEO’ in the top navigation and Sphinn will become an SEO discussion site for you. If you see a post wrongly categorised, let us know via the contact form and we’ll re-home it where appropriate.The second point is a little harder to address, although something that we’re working to improve. Sphinn is not an article directory for any old rant to be posted on, and we’re also not a key to Internet Marketing celebrity status. Before posting a story to Sphinn, ask yourself - "Will someone that I do not know actually find this useful or learn something?". It may seem that posting to your blog everyday and then submitting to Sphinn (no matter what quality the posts may be) is a good way to get your name out there, although this may come back and bite you on the backside as new filters are launched in the near future.From the reader’s perspective, do not be afraid to Desphinn an article that you think is low quality or offers little value. There are no negative repercussions if you use Desphinning sensibly and you’re actually helping the community rather than calling it/someone out. To make your negative votes more powerful, we have now implemented a 1:1 ratio for Spinns/Desphinns in the What’s New section and will be reviewing the current 5:1 ratio for the Hot Topics. Your Desphinns are as important (if not, more so) as your Sphinns, as this will ultimately help to rebalance the noise in a community that I feel already has a good signal.In regards to future changes, I refer to our pending launch of "My Network". Currently the ability to stalk users and become Sphinn Friends holds little value, however this is about to change. You will soon be able to filter Sphinn so that you only see stories submitted, Sphunn or commented on by your friends in your network. The beauty of this is that not only can you filter out your own perception of noise by creating your own trusted network, your friends can also still introduce you to Sphinn members that may not currently be in your network by them voting on their stories. The pressure will now be put on the Sphinn submitter to post good enough content to stay in people’s networks, making quality rather than quantity key once again.Finally, we also hope to launch a Sphinn newsletter soon. This will most likely be a weekly round-up written by me, summarising the top stories of the week along with my own viewpoints on the matter. More information on this to come shortly.

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from jeffquipp 2346 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Awesome Rob :) Look forward to seeing some of the changes in action.

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from swags2804 2346 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Sounds like there’s some exciting changes in the offing. I must admit I was wary about the Desphinn function when it was first mooted, but even if i still don’t agree fully with it, it’s not turned out to be the community divider I first envisaged, with a mature, responsible usage.Like Jeff, I look forward to the ’My network’ function and newsletter immensely :)

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from jaybong 2346 Days ago #
Votes: 0

The newsletter sounds good, some more editorial - as opposed to community - filtered content would help.How about selecting the top content from Sphinn (hot, what’s new etc) within the SearchCap everyday. I know the purpose of Sphinn is for the community to vote what it thinks is the most important - but I follow the SearchCap because it can generally be counted on to not point me to crap, so maybe the Sphinn selections could be an extension of that.

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from JamesDuthie 2346 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Really glad to see the development of ’My Network’. The friends feature has been practically redundant in Sphinn and seemed to serve little purpose. One of my favourite uses of StumbleUpon is to Stumble/filter my friends favourites, and I’ve often thought I’d love to see the same functionality in Sphinn. Sounds like a great new feature.

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from discuit 2346 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I too would like too see a network feature, especially if it you can group people by locale.

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from BrettBorders 2346 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Great points! I’d like to see the quality on Sphinn continue to rise.I don’t see this happening until you <b>make Desphinn anonymous</b>... just like Digg, Reddit and SU. Quality content will always survive and get promoted, no matter if some anonymous lurker has a grudge! Regardless of what you say, there ARE repercussions for using Desphinn... Big ones. I’ve been unfollowed and unsubscribed and damaged relationships for desphinning. The stakes are prety big in a small, tight-knit community. I suspect 90% of people won’t Desphinn even if they want to.

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from graywolf 2346 Days ago #
Votes: 6

>make Desphinn anonymousI hate that about digg, IMHO there’s nothing wrong with saying "hey dude this isn’t up to grade" even if it’sa one of your friends. Constructive criticism helps people learn from their mistakes, and challenge themselves to get better.It’s the American Idol syndrome if somebody had the nerve to say "hey dude I like you and you’re  my friend but you really can’t sing" there would be a lot less crappy dissapointed singers on TV.As long of course as people actually desphinn when it’s deserved and not do to the clique or he desphunn me I’m getting him back mentality.

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from MattMcGee 2346 Days ago #
Votes: 15

The changes sound good and I hope they’ll help, but tools and features will ultimately not determine the level of quality on Sphinn. The biggest thing Rob said, in my opinion, is his point about thoughtful consideration of what you submit and what you Sphinn.1) What you submit: It’s pretty obvious that many users are watching celebrity blogs like hawks, and jumping at the chance to submit ANYTHING that Joe SEOstar writes because it’ll probably go hot. This really has to stop. I’m as big a fan of those folks as anyone, but not everything they write deserves to get submitted here. I don’t know what the solution is to this, aside from exercising your own personal responsibility to make Sphinn better.2) On a related note, we have Sphinn superstars who submit junk because they know it’ll go hot with their name attached to it. a) The Sphinn superstar has to take more responsibility for what s/he posts, too. The overall quality of Sphinn is more important than your "Gone Hot" count.b) Everyone has to take more responsibility for what you vote up.c) Everyone has to be more willing to desphinn low-quality items, even if Joe SEOstar wrote it, submitted it, etc.The solution here, again, is personal responsibility. But I also wonder if removing the display of how many stories have gone hot from the "network" page would take some of the competition out of Sphinn. Any thoughts on that? Or if we want to keep a ranking of users, maybe factor in other things, like thumbs up/down on the users’ comments, etc.Thx for reading.

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from seanmag 2346 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Great comments Matt.  Generally speaking, I think you’d be hard-pressed to see people desphinning an "SEOstar", but fortunately that’s the least of the problems.  Usually their stuff is pretty good.Glad the Desphinns are @ 1:1.  Personally, I’d like to see a 2:1 on the hot topics.

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from Gamermk 2346 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Glad to see DeSphinns are now 1 to 1. Question: If a topic has 22 Sphinns and 5 DeSphinns... is it going to go hot now like it was before?

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from Michelle 2346 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I think graywolf’s points are tied to what Matt and Seanmag address about ’seostar’ posts. stop feeding the monster (ego) - if an seostar submits low quality content - desphinn it. if they can’t accept the criticism, are they really a ’star’? honestly, they know what they’re doing when they submit stuff like that here - and i’m pretty sure they can take the heat if people call them out on it. Have the courage of your convictions (in posting and desphinning). @gamermk - if a topic goes hot with a net sphinns count of 22, once it is hot, the other ratio kicks in and it takes (at the moment) 5 desphinns to knock it back. Using your example above, let’s assume an item goes hot with 22 Sphinns (no desphinns); it would subsequently take 5 desphinns (and no additional sphinns) to kick it back to the What’s New page.  Once there, it now has a net sphinns count of 17, and will require 5 new sphinns to go hot again. If the item has 22 sphinns and 5 desphinns - it’s net is 17, and it needs to get 5 more sphinns, with no desphinns, to make it to the hot page.  Essentially, it’s the net sphinns count - at any given moment - that determines the status (hot or new) of a story.

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from Gamermk 2346 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I understand that Michelle, but if what I experienced was correct there was a story (or two) with 21 Sphinns and 8 DeSphinns leading to a net of 17 (since it used to be 2:1). One would assume that at this point it would take 5 additional Sphinns for the story to go out, but from what I saw the next Sphinn taking it to 22 made it go hot. Perhaps, I dreamed this I dunno. Can anyone else confirm experiencing similar functionality?

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from JohnWeb 2345 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Gamermk here’s the sphinn that did that; http://sphinn.com/story/32238

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from marketposition 2345 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Speaking about ’signal to noise ratio’, maybe you’ll groan a bit at this, but does Spinn have to be about articles only? Can it be discussions as well, more like the old threadwatch? I liked some of the noise there. It’s similar here but you have to have an article submitted to start a discussion on a specific topic. I guess I could find any old or new page about a related topic to put the mini description in and start a conversation, but that seems a bit more noisy than needed.

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from evilgreenmonkey 2345 Days ago #
Votes: 2

@marketposition - This feature has been available from the start of Sphinn. You can find it by clicking Submit and then "Start Discussion". In fact, this post is a discussion rather than a blog post. :o)

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from marketposition 2345 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Lol. Great, thanks! It’s always the obvious things that aren’t so obvious...

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from Halfdeck 2345 Days ago #
Votes: 3

"The first of these points can easily be solved already by using the top navigation bar."What if I wanted to read everything submitted to Sphinn except posts about Twitter? What if I want to only read about advanced SEO articles isntead of just SEO articles in general? Can the top nav bar do that? No.Lack of tagging feature also means that if a story falls under both "water cooler" and "seo", some people will submit it under SEO, adding to the noise.Depending on submitters to improve their submission is as hopeless as asking SEOs to stop buying paid links. When there’s profits to be made and fame to be had, people will bend the rules as far as they will bend.What about adding the ability for members to create "factions" or "groups", each group focused on a particular niche? For example, Jill Whalen could start a "elite SEO/SEM" group. Members of that group can tag articles as relevant to their group.

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from crazycat 2345 Days ago #
Votes: -1

Many will be open to the changes. Sounds good.

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from MikeDammann 2345 Days ago #
Votes: 0

OK, the Desphinn feature is great, but is it really THAT effective? Looking at a story here that is being Desphunn by quite a few, I still see the Sphinns going up.Maybe members recognize the name of the poster and say "Hey, there he/she is again, I’ll Sphinn her story".Kind of like in that movie where they elect a dead guy based on name recognition.Anyways, my suggestion would be to make Desphinns count more than Sphinns.And I would not make them anonymous.If you really don’t like a story, then stand behind that and express it.Have no fear!

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from charlieanzman 2345 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Rob - Sounds really promising.  Think everyone should read @Michelle above.  One of the most encouraging posts I’ve seen in a long time (paragraph 1).

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from BrettBorders 2345 Days ago #
Votes: -3

There will be no quality control and editorial voting - just talk -  until desphinn is made anonymous.

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from johnandrews 2344 Days ago #
Votes: 0

This was said: if an seostar submits low quality content - desphinn it. if they can’t accept the criticism, are they really a ’star’? honestly, they know what they’re doing when they submit stuff like that here - and i’m pretty sure they can take the heat if people call them out on it. Have the courage of your convictions (in posting and desphinning).but there is more to it than that. Desphinnng with an explanation is a bigger risk than sphinning, because it is more prominant. Desphinning a "star" is even higher risk, because stars tend to be pretty good at what they do, so you might be wrong with your view of it being low quality content. Who wants to take that risk, plus the risk of standing out as a negative, plus the risk of getting labeled as an "uncooperative" by a star and his fanboys, just for the small gain in signal to noise on Sphinn?I doubt desphinn will ever work for its stated purpose, although I can see how it can serve other purposes in the mean time.

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from incrediblehelp 2344 Days ago #
Votes: 1

One small thing I would love is to be emailed when a thread I commented on or created so I can tack the conversation.

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from Gab 2344 Days ago #
Votes: 0

The solution lies in editing the network page. Either dropping number of hot stories, making the points you accumulate from votes more important in the ranking, or even killing the rankings altogether (which would kinda suck for me personally, as I FINALLY made the network’s first page, but all in all it would still be worth it to get rid of some of the crap here).Also, I’d like faster antispam enforcement. Time on the upcoming page is precious, and if that time gets wasted by spam, it really sucks. So I propose a three strikes n ur out [for manual review] rule to that effect. It’s highly unlikely that three spam markers would hit a legit story, and if that happens, perhaps the mods can place it back approximately where it was on the page/give it extra time to go hot.

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from sza 2344 Days ago #
Votes: 1

"just for the small gain in signal to noise on Sphinn?"It’s not necessarily a small gain. As long as a story accumulates sphinns without a single desphinn, readers assume it’s an altogether good story: you may vote for it or just leave it alone. And if there’s a well-known name attached to that story (either as writer or submitter) many will go with "vote for it".When the first desphinn appears for a story, it serves as a stop-and-think sign.People who would have voted for the story without a thought (or even without reading it), those who would have simply followed the crowd, now see a "warning" that it’s not necessarily some undisputably great material.With your desphinn you may not "start the revolution" but at least you send such people "home".

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from rishilakhani 2344 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I am late to this one - but I made sure that I have read all thats been said above  - if I repeat anything its for emphasis. Re:Superstars - Although I love the desphinn functionality, and I would use it to point my negative vote, I still feel intimidated  - I would think twice before desphinning some big names. Also Keep in mind - this is a tight knot community - hence its not hard to find who is who.  I would probably think 100 times before I desphinn a BlackHat - there can be repercussions. On the other hand I like the report spam - I use it and if the mods can see who uses it - you will probably see I am quite generous in my use of it - its anonymous and doesnt detract the value of a post - it just flags it up as maybe being non-kosher. Speaking of spam - I notice that the inclusion of spam in new articles has risen and I use that button more and more often - I seriously think that it may be time to consider not allowing people who have just registered to post - I ALWAYS check when the submitter profile was created (hat tip to <font color="#008000">slightlyshadyseo</font> who made me think of this) and more often than not - most spam was submitted by people who registered on the day they sphunn a story. Finally - I welcome the "my network" facility  - I have long thought that the value of stalking isnt that great - I dont get updates when I am being stalked - nor if anyone of my friends have added anything to sphinn - to date I thought it just looked like a popularity contest - " I have loads of friends"...

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from dedmond29 2344 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I have to believe that a more integrated "my network" function will add value to Sphinn, hopefully as it relates to discussions and comments.  Personally, I would use Sphinn more knowing that there is a greater reason and opportunity to connect with individuals whom I not only respect in the industry, but also meet at events, conferences etc.  That being said, am I correct in assuming that the my network function is in addition to the rest of the navigational elements?  Meaning, it will be just one other way to filter content and submissions (and not necessarily prevent users from discovering new things because someone was not in their network).Thanks in advance and appreciate the discussion.

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