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Business Consulting For The 21st Century Via A Holistic & Intelligent Approach

Pounding nails with a screw driver

Answered => “What is the best way of collecting and allowing users to vote on submissions for an online publication?” on Quora.

http://www.quora.com/WordPress-Plugins/What-is-the-best-way-of-collecting-and-allowing-users-to-vote-on-submissions-for-an-online-publication

=> My answer…

Nick Ciske’s answer is damn solid. So rather than reinvent that wheel I’d like to take a couple different swipes at it:

1) You say users can submit content and then there are also users who can vote. But it doesn’t sound like these are the same people. Correct? How many are in each group? Is it 50 and 5 or even 500 and 50? Or are the submitting users anyone (i.e., thousands)? And the voting group more like a board of editors?

There are plugins that can set content display rules by WP user role. That is, what Editors see would be different than Contributors. As for voting, would a simple FB Like or Google Plus + do the trick? Or as Nick recommended there are voting plugins. Would a certain number of votes mean the article would be seen by all automatically? Or would you still want to flip that switch manually?

I suppose that still doesn’t solve the submit content need. Unless of course the default post-sign up WP user role was Contributor. Then anyone one could sign up and submit, yes? That could lead to a certain amount of junk posts but that would be the case with the Gravity Forms solution as well. Either way someone is going to have to do clean up. The only different is the WYSIWYG – more or less. And even that can be toned down or (just about) turned off.

I’m just trying to keep it as simple as possible. While forcing people to sign-up before they can submit does add a layer it might also serve as a screen. That is, only those who are serious will make the extra effort.

2) That being said I’d like to do a 180 and suggest that you have the wrong tool (i.e., WordPress). Having a solution and then fitting it to a problem is not really the best way to go about things. Perhaps there’s a free / low cost off the shelf PHP script designed to do what you’re looking for? This all sounds like a riff on Threadless.com. While I can’t say for sure I’m willing to be a couple beers at happy hour that there are a handful of me-too scripts out there that are designed specifically for the business model you’ve described. They might not be free. But then again, free (i.e., WordPress) isn’t free if it takes an excessive number of hours to retrofit into a working solution.

Don’t get me wrong. I love WordPress. It’s flexible and powerful too. But just because it makes a great screw driver – the tools, not the drink – doesn’t mean you should try to pound nails with it. Perhaps you should see if there’s a hammer available before you start pounding away with a solution (that is ultimately in search of a problem).

Please let us know what you decide and how you make out.

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