toot: now with Arabic interface and improved voting feature

It’s the beginning of March. Spring is on the doorsteps :) . Ok let’s get to the point..

Yesterday night, we launched an Arabic interface for toot. In the Arabic interface you will still see Arabic and English blog content mixed up and we intend to keep it this way. We simply believe in a culture of bilingual excellence. Segregating the Arabic from the English content will result in some people using one version of the site missing out on great content in the other version.

We also completely revamped our voting mechanism. The system we had was too easy to, err, abuse. Now, voting for a blogger results in an email confirmation being sent to your email account, and you’ll have to click a link in the email message to register your vote. We also placed other restrictions to prevent rapid successive voting (RSV). For example, we now installed anti-RSV technology that will melt your keyboard if you try to rig the vote. :)

Our tech wizard, Jad, has also been busy re-writing much of the code of toot to make it faster. The site now can achieve speeds of over 200 km/hour!

On another front, we’ll soon be announcing a blogging related competition.. I can’t tell you more about that just yet. But stay tuned.

Lastly, I hope you all have heard about the toot flickr group. Have some flickr pics you want to share with toot users.. just add them to the group.

If you still have not checked out toot I encourage you to do so now. It’s the best starting point for exploring the arab blog universe. We are eager to get more feedback from everyone.

That’s it for now..

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7 Responses to “toot: now with Arabic interface and improved voting feature”

  1. Techhash » What the toot is happening there? Says:

    [...] e been tooting; if you surf over to toot you will notice a couple of newly introduced features. First there’s a link to the Arabic Edition of toot on the homepage; and I have to ask wh [...]

  2. ohoud Says:

    Nice,I totally agree with the idea of not seperating the Arabic and English posts!

    Keep up the great work:)

  3. Haitham Says:

    Hello Ahmad,

    I just want to applaud you and the team for the great job you all are doing.

    On the other hand, I have few points that I would like to share with you:

    It is clear that the old voting mechanism was not best that can be for reason you mentioned, but my concern is not the mechanism, but the concept itself.

    It is not clear why voting exist. As I read in itoot ‘about’ page, it says that “votes help us (you) select bloggers on “what’s tooting”.

    Now looking back at the voting concept, the posts which are voted at are not fully published at toot. Therefore, I assume that a voter will have to go back and forth to read all what the post says then come back to vote. I’m afraid that many will not always return back for this purpose. Having said that, I know that some bloggers would not prefer to cross publish their post, so they always like readers to go to there blog, for sharing comments, etc…

    Second, votes are accumulated be blogger, not per post selected in ‘what’s tooting’ or the other sections. Therefore, the accumulated number of votes is actually misleading for the readers. I’ve seen in many cases a big number of votes under a post not really worth what accumulated votes the ‘blogger’ (not the post) got from a previously great post that deserved the high votes. Therefore, accumulated votes are not a good idea.

    Third, since the “what’s tooting” section is suppose to the “posts” which got most votes that day, then how come we see posts published there the moment they are published at the blogger blog? Itoot about page says that’s what helps selecting “what’s tooting”, but that’s not what the mechanism looks like.

    Forth, there is no clear statement that says how long and which time of the day is a post selected in “now reading” or in “what’s tooting” section. Some times a post remain there for more than other posts, plus you know that readers are coming from different time zones, so one can claim that it is not fair to select a post in one of this section at a particular time of the day, while other post in different time.

    If you ask me my suggestion, I would recommend the following:

    1.Make vote per post, not per blogger and each time a new post from the same blog is selected say for the ‘now reading’ section, the count is reset. On the backend, the top 10 accumulate the votes for ranking. I know that the last is happening, but the first part is not. It’s always a new post by a blogger with accumulated votes from previous posts, which entice a reader to vote for that anyway. Human nature!

    2.I’m sure you divide the day to different parts when it comes to “what’s tooting”. Say you have four periods a day, have the existing front page as the present period, while add three more new pages which shows “what was tooting” in previous periods of the day.

    3.Inform the blogger that his post is tooting. Simplest thing would be a pingback to the original post (if s/he has one) or by automated email.

    4.Ideally, the selected 100 blogs can be provided with a java script that they can embed in all there posts so that voter can vote when they go to the blogger post, instead of coming back to itoot. Also will spread the word of toot and you will have 100 bloggers marketing it for free!

    5.Provide an RSS feedback for all the sections of itoot, not just for your blog part. This is something that I’m always missing, and wondering if it will ever be added.

    I have a lot more to add, but I guess I rambled a lot today :-) so excuse me. But believe me, I like itoot and would be happy to see more goodies of it.

    Please allow me just one last note. itoot slogan says “Arab blog network”, but I see few non Arab blogs, so… is it Arab or you have a different definition of Arab blog than the blogger being an Arab?

    Anyway, as I said, good luck, and wishing you all the best.

  4. Tololy Says:

    Superb! I particularly like the new voting system since I have been,err, harassed by people because of that. I say make the voters pay a certain fee for voting, that way only the serious and sincere can do it.

  5. yanone Says:

    i like the “Jewish Girls in Your Area” ad by google on top of your page ;)

  6. Dalia Says:

    I object!

    Please try not to alienate us UAE bloggers who still suffer from the capitalistic monopoly of proxy powers..

    i.e. flickr is blocked in the UAE - PLEASE try to find an alternative – at least till ‘du’ launches and we see what happens there..

  7. bakka Says:

    Magnifico! Good work guys, props to you and kudos for my friend Jad, Salute.

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