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Ratings & Comments Now in Public Testing
LunarSpotlight  2013/04/27



Remember how you used to be able to rate songs in GSR4? Well, that much beloved feature of the past has come back better and more advanced than ever before! In GSR4, we would get anywhere from several hundred to over a thousand ratings on songs every month. In fact, it's what the Gensokyo Radio Live shows depend on as feedback from our listeners to recommend songs for us to play. Think of it like a way to choose what you want to listen to during the next live show, except you can do it anytime and put forth as little or as much effort as you want towards it.

With the new rating system, we've put in some technical bells and whistles to help ensure that ratings we receive are valid and as a result of our users actively listening to the station. The previous system had some of the same features, but we'll go over some of what the new system includes.

User Validation
We've improved the system where you must be registered and logged in to rate (and soon, comment on) songs. This was certainly how we did things before, but we've added an extra layer of validation to make sure that people don't submit false ratings.

Rating Overwrite
This is a new and previously requested feature of the ratings system. Listeners are now able to rate songs they've previously rated in the case that musical tastes have changed over time, the wrong rating was submit the first time, or whatever the case may be. The system makes sure that you want to change your rating before you do so, and it prevents you from submitting the same rating twice in a row.

Listener Percentage
Another new feature to the ratings system, there is a new check where a listener must have listened to a certain percentage of the song that's playing before they are able to rate. Currently, the required percentage is 25%, but is subject to change. This is aimed at preventing ratings that are based solely on intros or selective sections of a song which may be different than the overall song. It's true that we might have slightly less ratings submit to us because of this, but it also means that the ratings we do receive are more realistic and accurate.

Internal Listener Verification
When a listener submits a rating, it will check to make sure there is an association between the listener and their IP address. Internally, we keep track of where listeners are from through IP address logging, which is information that ShoutCast provides. In the past, this has enabled listeners to see how much time they've listened to the station, but we've worked the system further to allow us to give listeners more detailed information. In order for any of that to work properly though, this internal association needs to be there, so the rating system will help to ensure that listeners are set up the way they should be.

Multiple Listener Location Protection
The system is able to detect if a listener has more than one subsequent connection to the station from more than one location. We generally discourage more than one connection from a listener at a time, and if this is the case, the ratings system will prevent ratings from being submit until the number of connections is down to one in the case of multiple location connections. If a listener has multiple connections from the same location, there is a built in divider which will split time listened to give a more accurate depiction of how much time a listener has actually tuned in to the station during a particular song.

Song Recency Check
The system will now check to make sure that the song a listener is trying to rate was played recently. Currently, a song must be within the last three songs played to receive a rating. The system does not currently allow listeners to switch back to previous songs to rate them, but it has been coded with the ability to expand for that functionality if it becomes in demand.

If you're one of those people that have been waiting for this feature to go live again, wait no further. The wait was due in part to the fact that I've been in school this semester and have had much less time than what I had in the past to work on website-related things, but also due to the complexity of the new system. This system is in "beta" for the time being just because internal testing can only go so far, and we depend on feedback from our listeners to tell us what works and what doesn't work so well, so please let us know about any issues you run into in the comments below. We hope this works well for our listeners, and we also hope to let you know about the next Live show coming up in May, so stick around for that.

Thanks for listening! ~