Why do some comments have a star?

Every so often, someone posts a really funny comment, and I feel stupid just posting the remark "Haha, that was funny" or even worse "LOL". So I'm going to try giving them a star instead.

Chris Blackwell wins the first star.

Hopefully people won't post comments just fishing for a star. (I realize that this is a vain hope and that I will probably have to cancel the star program within the week.)

Comments (28)
  1. Pi says:

    I also don’t feel comfortable writing "haha", so I mostly use phrases like "good one", "not bad", "that was unexpectedly funny", "I am ashamed admitting, I laughed at this" or whatever feels appropriate.

    But a star is OK. Seems like a good raymondchenny solution.

  2. Nish says:

    You should not have announced it, and instead let people slowly figure it out over a few weeks time.

    As for Chris Blackwell, I guess this will give his resume a good boost. "I had the first starred comment on The Old New Thing blog."

    (trying again, last comment seems to have timed out)

  3. asf says:

    So, did the blog support this already, or did you hack it in?

  4. Karellen says:

    When I see things I find amusing/agree with/disagree with/etc… on the tubes, but have nothing further of value to add, I generally go for a pseudo-slashdot-moderation response and leave a comment/reply along the lines of "+1, Funny", or "-1, Lame", or similar.

  5. Mark (The other Mark) says:

    When I see things I find amusing/etc on the Internet, but have nothing further of value to add, I generally don’t post anything.

  6. tsrblke says:


    Well this is his blog.  And this is really no different than the "Featured Comments" on any other blog.  A simple way to cut though the clutter.  After all Blogs are about self expression and what not, and this just allows a little editorial nudge.

    Meanwhile, my friends and I always figured this was accomplished though replying to comments.  I in fact got the "First one in our group to have Raymond Reply to a comment" award for my group.  +1 Geek Cred to me.  (Same day I got my first Woot Quality Post as well.  So it was a +2 Geek Cred day, actually).

  7. BenC says:

    One question, why is the star two separate GIF’s?

    [Because I stole the “rate this post” star. -Raymond]
  8. J says:

    Mark (The other Mark):  Right on.  Although I understand the urge people get to show approval for a particularly good comment, it really just ends up with a lot of noise.  I like Engadget-style comment systems that let random passer-bys do thumbs-up or thumbs-down to good or bad comments.  But then for some oddball reason you still get people who feel the urge to give a thumbs up and then post a comment saying "+1!".

    Of course the blog owner is special and I don’t see it as noise when they post a reply just to affirm a good comment.

    The star is a good start, but I’ve always imagined what it’d be like if Raymond could categorize comments like slashdot ratings.  I’d think his ratings would look like "Funny, Insightful, Good counterpoint, Dumb, Clueless, Didn’t understand the post, Needs reading comprehension, Annoying, Angry for no real reason, Yet another comment about the suggestion box, and Show me teh codez."

  9. Kyle says:


    I does also give him the flexibility to give half a star for a good, hearty chuckle…

  10. benjamin says:

    In the world of Raymond Chen, those that make poor posts get a star so others can spot them easily and know not to follow their example.

    Those that make good posts get a punch in the mouth. Raymond wouldn’t want them to get too full of themselves.

  11. Gabe says:

    The only problem with it being a graphic is that I can’t search for it with Ctrl+F to find the one or two possibly good comments on a given post.

  12. Wow, I’m honored! I just hope this doesn’t set some kind of precedent that I need to be witty every time I post a comment, as I think I’m usually pretty dry.

    As to my resume, I don’t think it will help all that much, but perhaps it will lift my name in search engines a bit (the vast majority of the hits are for the founder of Island Records, who I am most definitely not.) There is one word you can add to the search to make me the best hit, but I’ll leave the reason as an exercise for the reader.

  13. quick, think of something Raymondchenny funny….

  14. Are you going to put stinklines on troll and inflammatory comments then too?

  15. Stefan Kanthak says:

    So you get star wars instead of flame wars amongst your readers/commenters?

  16. chris says:

    Hopefully people won’t post comments just fishing for a star. (I realize that this is a vain hope and that I will probably have to cancel the star program within the week.)

    I fail to see how this is a bad thing. If people are encouraged to make good comments to get a star, how is that a problem?

    [As originally phrased, stars were for just funny comments. Though I’ve already started using them for “insightful”, “helpful”, etc., so go ahead, aim for the stars. -Raymond]
  17. hlian says:

    Let’s try and get a toothpick for nitpick comments.

  18. Larry Hosken says:

    Nitpick comments already get toothpicks. It’s just that the toothpick is really small.  You need to look closely to see it. And you need a really good sense for detail.  Reeeeally good.

  19. Stargeiser says:


  20. Chris, I find you by searching "Chris Blackwell vb"!

  21. Tsk. You’re always terribly negative when predicting how people will comment. :)

  22. Lawrence says:

    Want to find out whether Raymond agrees with other prominent bloggers, like Joel Spolsky? Easy!

    With the new Star(tm) method, just copy and paste a blog post from another author into Raymond’s blog, and see if it gets a star!

  23. peterchen says:

    As usual, when introducing a reward, people will optimize behavior for the reward, rather than the thing to be rewarded. Quantum particles, all of us!

  24. spike says:

    "… I will probably have to cancel the star program within the week"

    That would just make the stars an even rarer, so posters will be encouraged to fish more, since they may be disappearing.

  25. 640k says:

    Where can I buy one?

  26. CmraLvr2 says:

    Raymond’s Chinese Theater walk of Stars.

  27. I fail to see how this is a bad thing

    It’s bad in that it encourages swinging for the fences every time.

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