Today, to the excitement of people who still actually read things, Scoopinion launches. For the last few months in private beta, the Finnish team has crowdsourced a rating for over half a million “high-quality” stories on the web. These ratings aren’t just thumbs up, thumbs down, or 1-10 on a sliding scale. They’re specific data on reading behavior, article-by-article, paragraph-by-paragraph, browser-by-browser. They’re heat maps on these very words you’re reading (or, um, not).
“People want to read good stories as much as they ever have,” says founder Johannes Koponen. “It’s just that they may not have had tools to find them easily.” By following the reading behavior of the community, the Scoopinion add-on is able to tell whether a story online is “technically” engaging and immersive (yes, this is quantifiable).
When you sign up, it quickly analyses your reading behavior based on your browser history. Then it quickly builds you a reading feed that’s increasingly personalised and consistently high-quality. Culled from a “white list” of over 700 publications (from Vogue to The Verge to the Jerusalem Post), the result is a feed of stuff that’s been read start-to-finish, not just shared, clicked, and liked.
More feature stories. More opinion. Less news
They’re calling it a “global initiative to save journalism”. While it may sound lofty, this new alternative for aggregation might very well assist in the undercutting of access-based journalism, as well as the indiscriminate hosting sites that aggregate it. “Quality journalism flourishes when the focus is on the content instead of clicks,” the team emphasises. “The results from beta testing showed that users spent four times as much reading stories they found on Scoopinion as opposed to stories found elsewhere.”
For the team’s thought-process behind the Scoopinion solution, read some of their blog posts:
• “Reddit is flawed” or “How I learned to stop worrying and love the crowd”
• The journalism manifesto
• Making our data useful to journalists