Three sites that seek to cultivate your OPINIONS and convert them to user generated content

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Opinions – everyone has them. And although they  have somewhat of a negative connotation on the internet, where they can be easily conflated with ‘facts’, having ‘something to say’ largely means marrying educated opinions with facts.

Opinion is the new black, apparently, which is why it is not surprising to see a slew of new sites that want to cultivate readers’ ‘opinions’ as their primary source of user generated content.

This article will present three opinion-focused sites: Poutch, Slant, and Getcomparisons. It will discuss the concept used for each and (of course) give our opinion!

1. Poutsch: “collect, express, and make sense of opinions”

Poutsch is a community-based, general question site where users ask questions such as “who is your favorite beatle?” and “what is the best US national park to visit?”. What is interesting about it is that you can streamline how you get answers from the community into survey-style dialogs, rather than the open ended comment style responses you see in Q&A sites.

This is actually a very clever idea, and goes a long way towards limiting trolling activity and pointless arguing that you might worry about when you think about people expressing their opinions online.

Poutch Screenshot2

Poutsch has a social media component where you can follow certain members of the community, find or invite people you know and the like (you can even see charts that show you how much you agree with each person on topics you’ve participated in).

Our opinion: The streamlined, survey style interface for getting responses from the community is a brilliant idea, getting the information that is needed without an accompanying 500 word essay that may present an entire world view and insult anyone who might disagree with it 😉 .

Poutch Screenshot3

Poutsch has a social media component where you can follow certain members of the community, find or invite people you know and the like (you can even see charts that show you how much you agree with each person on topics you’ve participated in).

Our opinion: The streamlined, survey style interface for getting responses from the community is a brilliant idea, getting the information that is needed without an accompanying 500 word essay that may present an entire world view and insult anyone who might disagree with it 😉 .

2. Slant: a “Wikipedia of Opinion” based on votes

Slant is, quote, “a collaboratively edited resource that helps you quickly make decisions”. It seems to be designed very much in the Wikipedia model, with users suggesting and creating topics and subsequently editing them – except that the editorial validation component that is central to Wikipedia is not there. There are two reasons why this might not be too much of a problem (1) each question presents several alternative answers that are voted on, so presumably the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ in sheer numbers might shine through in the voting, and (2) the topics discussed are largely technical/programming/web development in nature, limiting the politics/religion/history factor that motivates people to troll and push their particular point of view.

Slant Screenshot1Slant Screenshot2

At first glance, Slant does seem like a clone of Q&A sites as Quora or StackOverflow, where members of the community can provide answers as well as vote them up or down. Slant is different, however, it is not answers but options that are voted up or down (see screenshot above right).

Our Opinion: This is a good idea, but we envision spamming issues in the horizon if it gets really popular. At first glance it seems like just another Q&A site and the differences are not instantly apparent.

3. Getcomparisons: solicits user generated head-to-head product comparisons

This site is designed for such questions as “iPhone 5 vs. Galaxy S4”, “Google Drive vs. Dropbox”. It is community based, so readers either submit the questions themselves or request them.

Getcomparisons Screenshot1Getcomparisons Screenshot2

What is great about this site is that it lets readers add attributes, which are the parameters to compare one option against another (e.g. price, screen resolution, CPU speed, or what have you), which it obtains from the users. In other words, it lets the readers push what they care about, and then everyone can jump in and add their own opinion/ratings, both as prose and as a  5-star-based quantitative rating.

Our Opinion: Generally, the system is very well done. Having said that, it does seem like Getcomparisons needs a complete interface overhaul, with a little more attention paid to esthetics and user experience.


Have an opinion on this ;), or do you know of a website or service we missed? Please share them below.