Monday, July 14, 2008

Is Skribit useful?

The answer to this question depends on what you are using it for. The Skribit widget you see in the sidebar of my blog allows readers to suggest topics for me to write about. It also allows readers to voted on suggestions. However, in all the time this widget was in the sidebar, I got only one suggestion from a reader. Most of the time I used it to allow people to vote for topics I intended to write about.

I cannot say that my suggestions got a lot of votes - the record is 5. However, it gave me an easy way to write a to-do list, and even to get opinions about it.

The bottom line is that while this widget has a use, it is not the use it is marketed for. Moreover, even if I had more visitors and more suggestions I doubt it would be any good. This is because the widget only allows 140 characters for a suggestion. When people are forced to say something using only a small number of words, it is harder to understand what they want. For example, if I got the following suggestion: "What are vectors?" I must admit I wouldn't know what to write. The question is very simple, and seems well stated, but is it about vectors in physics or about vector spaces?

Because of this I no longer see this widget as a way to get suggestions. I am not removing it, and if I will get a suggestion, I will probably write about it. But the main use of this widget will be as a to-do list, and a way for my readers to vote on my ideas.

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