It appears that The Mud Connector (aka TMC) has implemented a method of rating the topics on its discussion forums. While I appreciate offering the community an opportunity to do a little self-policing and moderation, I can’t help but wonder at the actual usefulness of the system.
“TMC members can now rate discussions threads from 1 to 5 stars, 1 star indicating that you feel the thread is a meaningless pile of trash, 5 stars indicating you feel the thread is very useful.” — The Mud Connector
If I were to be honest with myself, I’d most likely rate every thread on TMC as a 1. The vast majority of threads are uninteresting and contain very little discussion that isn’t laced with ego-driven, off-topic drivel. The only truly worthwhile postings on TMC are those that involve the least amount of discussion: the Mud Promotions and Mud Staffing Board. On the flip side of the coin, every post can be useful from the right point of view. The MUD community is rife with meta-gaming and there’s a lot more to consider than a forum thread’s face value.
I typically find that self-policing in such small communities tends to lead to very polarized user cliques, where a few relatively large groups of users dominate the moderation and quickly rate down any threads that contain any elements unapproved of by the clique as they vie for forum dominance. It’s for this and similar reasons that I’ll likely not take advantage of the rating viewing threshold, so that I might at least retain the full ‘fair and balanced’ view of the threads.