“They don’t tell you how to lay out a page or where to put an interactive widget. Instead, they address how to design a reputation system for your social software.”
Why is this important? The patterns are a wonderful resource for any news organisation looking to plan a community element in which reputation performs a role. In my experience, reputation systems are pretty important in encouraging users to keep coming back to your online community – you could argue, for instance, that the number of friends in Facebook or followers in Twitter is one simple example. Plurk more explicitly uses ‘karma’, as does (in a much better way) Slashdot (for more on Slashdot and karma systems I thoroughly recommend Gatewatching by Axel Bruns).
Yahoo say these are “the first of several collections of social-design related patterns that we’re working on,” so worth keeping an eye on what comes next.
To those who haven’t been caught up in the fuss, Plurk is a new microblogging service and rival to Twitter. Users are invited to post about what they’re doing using one of 15 verb prefixes, including ‘loves’, ‘is’, ‘thinks’ and ‘shares’. Indeed, it has found itself so successful among disenchanted Twitterati that Plurk has decided to introduce 15 new verb options. These are:
smokes – e.g. “ryanlimsmokes another wimpy rollup”. In an attempt to generate revenue, users will be charged a 15% tax on every smoke-Plurk. However, due to health and safety regulations they will not be able to smoke-Plurk indoors.
shouts – for users who accidentally leave caps lock on. e.g. “ryanlimshouts GOING HOME NOW”.
lies – for double-bluffing Plurk users.
lurks – for users who are only there to read other Plurks. Lurk-Plurks are invisible.
waffles – for users who, even with a 140 character limit, still manage to talk too much.
dies – for users who smoke-Plurk 60 times a day.
rhymes – for hip hop artists, poets and drunkards.
impersonates – for identity thieves.
mutters – for users who really don’t want to be heard. mutter-Plurks disappear after two seconds.
reincarnates – depending on a user’s karma score, they may be reincarnated as follows:
0.00 to 21.00: a bee
21.00 to 41.00: a big bee
41.00 to 61.00: a wasp
61.00 to 81.00: a small mammal
81.00 to 100.00: a drummer in a tribute band
steals – Plurk “warns users that valuables are left on Plurk at their own risk”.
denies – for users who have been accused of steal-Plurking and Plurk-lying.
shags – Plurk-porn is a further business model being considered by the founders, who promise shag-Plurks will be done tastefully and with great lighting.
gloats – for users with inordinately high karma scores
leaves – for Plurkers who have decided one Twitter service is enough.