One of the more common confusions on the boards is what 30 day and 90 day rating score are, how they are used, and how one qualifies for writing stars – or how many stars one qualifies for.

First, if you didn’t know, you can find your scores (including writing) on your My Helium page.
Second, the rating scores and amount of rates needed to get stars is explained on our help wiki.

But, again, the question most commonly asked is “What’s the difference?”  Many users are confused because they’ll have many rates in the last 30 days and a high score, but a much lower score for their 90 day average and will be confused why they have only 1 star.

Basically, this is how it works:

  1. We check your 90 day rating score and amount of rates done in the past 90 days.  Do you qualify for any stars (done more than 30 rates and have a score >= 75%)?  If so, apply stars and done.  Else, go to 2.
  2. We check your 30 day rating score and amount of rates done in the past 30 days.  Do you have a score >= 75% and >= 10 rates in that time span?  If so, apply 1 star.

So again, we only check the 30 day score/rates if your 90 day score/rates doesn’t qualify you for a star and your 30 day total can only qualify you for, at max, one star.

The basic idea behind it is to allow new users to quickly come in, make a few rates (as few as 10) and start earning revenue payments right away – keeping them active and contributing to the site, which helps everyone.

I hope that helps.

Our esteemed Mr. Rozen mentioned that the new rating star algorithm tweak has been released.  That is all.

Today I found another great board post that I wanted to repost.  This one is done by Lerrina Collins and is response to a very popular thread on the boards so far.  I had not heard Lerrina on the boards at all, and she had an interesting take on rating coming from a viewpoint of being very discouraged just a couple of weeks ago.

If you enjoy her thoughts, please take a look at some of her articles.  Thanks again Lerrina for letting me repost this.

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to make a ‘pro’ comment on rating. A couple of weeks ago I was a very frustrated Helium member, having lost my only star and unable to figure out why. As a result I contacted the ‘help’ desk and posted a few comments on the forum hoping to stir the pot and get some answers.

The help desk responded – kindly. And, while they gave me the ‘general’ information we all hear and read about, they made one point which is the basis for this post. They said most of the comments in the Forum are negative, written by disgruntled raters who are unhappy with the system.

While I personally believe the rating system has its issues (obviously I’ve had a few hairpulling moments), I also appreciate the sheer volume of Helium users and the obvious effort which has gone into making the system as user friendly yet fair as possible.

Since those posts I have obviously upped my rating stars. And, it has come from following a few simple principles – basically what has been posted in this thread.

Thus I am writing to encourage others who may feel frustrated with the system to keep plugging away. Watch your rating scores and pay attention to what increases or decreases your stars. I believe this is the most effective way to find what ‘works’ for you and fits into Helium’s mold.

For me this has been:

  1. Rating a few every day. This is the one change I made which appears to have made the biggest difference.
  2. Ask yourself if the article’s writer IMMEDIATELY gets into the subject. In other words, without knowing the title, would you be able to discern the article’s subject within the first paragraph (two at the max)?
  3. Look for paragraphs which are of a reasonable length (3 – 5 sentences, usually) and sentences which are clear and easy to read.
  4. Grammar and punctuation are also important. Misspelling and sentence structure count. However, while some grammar teachers go bananas over these things, it doesn’t appear they are as important as I would tend to expect.
  5. Interesting reading seems to be another point which, while important, isn’t key.

I’ve noticed some talking about using skips. While I’ve tried to use them infrequently, I can’t really tell any difference in my rating score – one way or the other.

I hope this helps others out there who, like me, are struggling to do a good job rating. I also wanted to be sure and say something positive after having been vocal in my negative response. We all like to hear some praise once in awhile!

Lerrina

So I was talking to Mr. John Rozen here at Helium about the perpetual “what is a quality rate?” question.  Mr. Rozen, if you don’t know, is the vice president of operations here (i.e. anything he says re: rating, stars, quality rates, can be taken as “the word of God”).

At the risk of opening Pandora’s Box, I’m going to sum up what he told me when I asked for more transparency in what a “quality rate is” because the final point he made to me has been banging around in my head.  The following is a paraphrase by me (i.e. don’t take it as “the word of God” or a quote Mr. Rozen directly) – you are forewarned:

When defining a quality rate we take many factors into consideration.  Things like spelling, grammar and other commonly accepted writing standards (by the web and publishing community as a whole) along with user preference (i.e. what the majority picks for a given pair) are all taken into account along with other factors.

Each factor is weighted to a various degree in the calculation, new factors are added and old factors removed, and the weight of each factor changes as we tweak both the rating engine and the quality rate algorithm over time.

However, over time we’ve found that it all evens out – i.e. ranking settles to pretty close to what it should be and good raters are rewarded accordingly – as long as the user simply reads both articles and honestly chooses which one they feel is better according to their standards.

I bolded the last part to emphasize a certain point.  In the end, the most important thing with rating is to answer the simple question at the top of the page honestly – “Which is better, A or B?

If you do that honestly and consistently it all evens out over time.

So the next time you’re staring at that rating screen, I ask you to do the following:

  • Stop worrying and stressing over your rating score.  Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.  I know, we’re talking real money here – but have faith.
  • Don’t ask yourself “Which is more important, grammar or on topic?”, “What do I think most of the other people have picked?” or “Do a few spelling errors destroy a good article?”  It’s not good to talk to yourself and even worse if you get an answer.
  • Don’t beg and please for the “secret sauce” to the quality rate algorithm.  I tried threatening John for this and he makes Chuck Norris look like a pansy.
  • Don’t worry that “speed raters” are skewing the curve – a claim that gets more preposterous the more people try to defend it simply by the law of averages (i.e. both extremes cancel each other out and the median settles out).  Do you really believe there are huge groups of people simply plugging in whatever they want and somehow consistently achieving success and getting rich off Helium?  I’m sort of insulted if so, since you are basically saying that we’re all really, really dumb here to not catch that.
  • Simply ask yourself – “Which do I feel is a better article… A or B?” and rate accordingly.

I hope you realize that I was poking fun at some of the things that are said all the time about rating because – I feel – sometimes, some people, take it way too seriously.

I know from personal experience that life is too short to always be stressing about things you have no control over.  As difficult as it is – and, again, I know personally how difficult it can be sometimes – you just have to do your best, have faith, and accept things as they come – as cliche as that sounds.

And if you simply can’t, maybe you should walk away.  No, that’s not an ultimatum or a “if you don’t like it, take your ball and go home.”  All I’m simply saying is that life is about choices and you have to make the right choice for you – the one that makes you happy and that you can live with.  We simply can’t please everyone – believe me, I wish we could.

I really hope that helps.

Very sincerely and respectfully,

Eric

Reposted from the boards, straight from the man who would know:

I will take a look at the description in the user guide, but the business case we were trying to solve was to make it possible to get in the game with 10 rates. A very dry and logical description of the implementation would go like this:

===========================================
There are two ways to earn rating stars:
1) Complete at least 10 rates in the last 30 days and maintain a 75% score or better and get 1 star.
2) Complete at least 30 rates in the last 90 days and qualify for up to 5 stars based on the chart provided in the user_guide.

The 90 day and 30 day periods are evaluated daily for the prior 30 and 90 day periods. The evaluation which results in the most stars will determine how many rating stars you have earned.
===========================================

So, some quick guidelines:
– It is not valid to mix and match scores and counts from different rating period calculations.
– Pretty much if you qualify for a star in the standard 90 day period, the 30 day period has no value other than to confuse.
– You can only qualify for 1 rating star with the 30 day calculation.(no bonus stars, no levels)

John Rozen
VP of Operations
Helium