One of the first things that I wanted to do with the music4dance project was to build a system where dancers could vote on whether a song worked for a particular dance style. That morphed into something more like “do you like to dance style x to song y.” Which still seemed like a pretty reasonable system. And I started using heart symbols to show like/indifferent/don’t like for the dance style entries on each song.
But then Amanda (the music4dance intern) pointed out that there wasn’t any way to actually say that you liked or disliked a song. So we implemented a top-level like/indifferent/don’t like for each song and I used the same heart symbols. But then things got confusing, since you could vote to like to dance a particular style to a song as well as make a song as something that you like.
I still think that there is a value in both of these attributes. For me the overriding value of the like/dislike a song is to be able to dislike a song and not have to see it again. Especially for a song that I may have particular bad associations with – a song that was massively overplayed in a dance studio, for instance. These are particularly troublesome as they are probably overplayed because they are well suited to a particular dance style, so I certainly don’t want to exclude them from other people’s searches by voting them down for matching that dance style.
In any case, this came to a head while I was implementing the quick voting mechanisms where you can like/dislike a song anytime you see it in a list – any kind of search results or dance style details pages. Once I got that feature in, I saw that it was so much easier to like/dislike a song than it was to vote on whether you find a song dance-able to a particular style. And that made me sad, since I think the dance-able vote is much more interesting (and also why you would be looking at a site like this rather than a purely music rating/referral site).
So I added in the voting link to the songs in any list where there is a single dance being listed. This includes the dance style pages as well as any searches where you choose just one dance to search on (like for instance, this list of all of our East Coast Swing songs). And while I was doing that, I started using the shoe symbol rather than the heart symbol for voting which helps with the ambiguity.
Well this all works, and I’m reasonably happy with the results. But I’m not sure I’ve minimized the number of clicks that you would use on average. Should I assume that you like a song if you vote it up as a good Cha-Cha – you could still explicitly dislike it for those cases where you actually don’t like the song even if you agree that it’s a particularly good song to dance the Cha-Cha to.
Why don’t you give it a try and let me know what you think. Go to your favorite dance page (find them here) and try both voting on the songs as dance-able to that dance (by clicking the shoe icon) and liking/disliking them as songs (by clicking the heart icon) and let me know what you think. Feedback is always welcome via the music4dance feedback form or our company email firstname.lastname@example.org.