cancel
Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Highlighted
Level 7
Report Inappropriate Content
Message 1 of 5

Misleading feedback pie chart in the new user interface

I'm a little confused now. I think the feedback pie chart reflecting user experiences in SA's new user interface is partially a little misleading. In itself it's a good substitution for the old rating summary, but there are glitches.

Let me explain. Previously, with the old interface, if you gave a site no rating at all (i.e. only wrote a review without clicking on any of the rating radio buttons), your review was not considered either positive or negative. Also in the old days, when there still was the (old type) summary of user ratings, those were not counted in at all in the summary. But now, with this new interface, all those left-out ratings are interpreted as "other security issues" in the pie chart, which can clearly be seen as a negative rating. And of course this applies to all the thousands of old left-out ratings since the beginning of SA (that are still left, of course).

Many users who have not given a site any specific rating in the past years surely haven't thought it would be considered a negative rating. In fact I think most of them have left out the rating exactly because they haven't wanted to give the site either positive or negative rating. I know I have done this, mostly because a) none of the options has been appropriate, or b) I haven't had enough information. And now they are all shown as if I had thought there are "other security issues" with all of them.

A couple of examples to show what I mean:

http://www.siteadvisor.com/sites/msgpage/milfbeach.net

http://www.siteadvisor.com/sites/msgpage/zelenogradskiy.org

These sites are/were victims of joe jobs. Of course I could be blamed of not rating them as "no security issues", but at the time of rating I hadn't investigated the sites closely enough to know that. I just wanted to warn others about the pitfall before they blame them of spamming. So, I chose not to give them a rating at all, and now, to my surprise, my nonexistent ratings are interpreted as "other security issues".

What I'm trying to say with all this is simply that

a) left-out ratings should not be counted in when building the feedback pie chart, or

b) there should be another, neutral category where left-out ratings end up (and possibly yet another, distinct and selectable category for "other security issues"), or perhaps even

c) there could be another, distinct and selectable category for neutral ratings.

The way it is now will make it difficult for me to rate some sites in the future, especially when it comes to these joe job victim sites. Joe jobbing has for some reason increased a lot in the last few months, and sometimes I place the victim sites in the grey area. I'd still like to post warning reviews for them, as I've noticed they collect negative ratings for spamming quite soon if I don't. Some joe job victims are even false negatives by TrustedSource, e.g. http://www.siteadvisor.com/sites/pp-ua.org. It's no wonder, as such victims naturally end up on many blacklists for no fault of their own. And the bad guys know that, too – that's why they are doing it.

4 Replies
Reliable Contributor
Reliable Contributor
Report Inappropriate Content
Message 2 of 5

Re: Misleading feedback pie chart in the new user interface

That's a good point, and it's something I hadn't noticed. There was a brief period a while back when suggestions for modifications to the new SA interface were being actively canvassed, but I didn't notice this at the time. I've put it down for dicussion in the next conference call, although I don't anticipate changes to the layout can be made any time soon.

Highlighted
Level 7
Report Inappropriate Content
Message 3 of 5

Re: Misleading feedback pie chart in the new user interface

Thanks, Hayton. It's nice if you can pass this issue over to someone to ponder. I think a "neutral" rating would be a needed addition, whether it's a distinct option or just an interpreted left-out rating.

I only noticed this a couple of days ago myself, as the (quite few) reviews I have posted in the last months were mostly posted using the old interface. I even used to reload the page several times to get the old interface at the time when you got either one randomly, because I was more familiar with it. I would probably have noticed this earlier, hadn't I been so stubborn.

Another thing that came to my mind is the difference between the old rating "This site is good" vs. the new "No security issues". I could easily think about a site which has no security issues, but which I wouldn't consider "good" anyhow. But I can understand that the new wordings of the rating options are probably directed more towards security issues rather than "common" opinions.

Highlighted
Level 7
Report Inappropriate Content
Message 4 of 5

Re: Misleading feedback pie chart in the new user interface

Hello Nodus,

In the old days (i.e. SiteAdvisor.Com v1), the user feedback section solicited feedback on site security, which is summarized in the current (i.e. SiteAdvisor v2) pie chart as belonging to the following categories, for which I've added emoticons. 

  • No safety issues 
  • Adware, spyware, or viruses 
  • Excessive pop-ups 
  • Phishing or other scams 
  • Bad shopping experience 
  • Browser exploit 
  • Spam 
  • Other security issues 

Many users who have not given a site any specific rating in the past years surely haven't thought it would be considered automatically a "negative" rating, and people reading the current pie chart should not consier "Other security issues" as a negative reading.  The "Other Security issues" may have indicated that somebody had something good to say, or something bad to say, or something noncommital.  Only by reading the actual commentary would allow readers to benefit from this security information categorized as "other".

When leaving out one of the other categories and submitting feedback about the security of the site, user's comments are summarized in the neutral category of "other security issues."  If this category were not included in the pie chart, many people's feedback would not be visible from the primary site report screen, and customers who were interested in realizing that people took the time to submit some "other" comment would not be aware that they would benefit from reading the details of these experiences.

In order to help promote understanding of the relationship between the user experience contained in the "User Feedback" section of the site report, and tha actual security rating at the top of the page which is assigned by McAfee, Inc., the following text is shown:
"Here's what others think about this site. This doesn't change how the site is rated, but it gives you an idea of other people's experiences."

I have italicized the text that lets readers know that the user feedback is not directly correlated with the site rating shown--in other words, any spammer attempting a Joe Job to influence McAfee's rating of a site does not succeed, although readers will be able to see that such manipulation is being attempted.  [Anti-automation techniques such as a CAPTCHA have been implemented as a layer of protection against people who would want to grossly manipulate the public perception, also.]

P.S.  The current rating of "No security issues" vs. "This site is good" reflects that McAfee's site rating reflects the security status of the site, and is not a value judgement on the "goodness" of the site.  However, the user feedback allows our customers to share this additional information that reflects their own judgement.  When their experience is not on the security categories, but on "other", I have found that the feedback frequently correlates to the poster's experience of "goodness."  YMMV.

Highlighted
Level 7
Report Inappropriate Content
Message 5 of 5

Re: Misleading feedback pie chart in the new user interface

Thank you, Comet. That was quite a comprehensive explanation of the revised rating system and McAfee's purposes thereof. Much appreciated.

Comet wrote:

Many users who have not given a site any specific rating in the past years surely haven't thought it would be considered automatically a "negative" rating, and people reading the current pie chart should not consier "Other security issues" as a negative reading.  The "Other Security issues" may have indicated that somebody had something good to say, or something bad to say, or something noncommital.  Only by reading the actual commentary would allow readers to benefit from this security information categorized as "other".

Well, it may simply be because I'm not a native English speaker, but still the phrase "other security issues" makes me think there are some kind of security issues with the site in question, just not any of the ones described in the other categories. And if there are security issues, something is not right and I should be concerned. I hope it's just an incorrect language interpretation from my part.

On the other hand, also the chosen color in the pie chart for "other security issues" – brownish orange – makes me think it's something I should be concerned of. All the negative rating colors are in the red-orange-brown area, and this one somehow seems to fit with them. So, I'm still getting a negative feeling of that category. If it shouldn't be taken as negative, I think e.g. grey would have been a better color there.

In order to help promote understanding of the relationship between the user experience contained in the "User Feedback" section of the site report, and tha actual security rating at the top of the page which is assigned by McAfee, Inc., the following text is shown:

"Here's what others think about this site. This doesn't change how the site is rated, but it gives you an idea of other people's experiences."

Now that's a very good addition. There have been a lot of situations in the past where I, as well as many other reviewers, have had to explain exactly that to site owners who have thought our ratings have been the cause why their sites have gained a negative (TrustedSource) rating. Maybe not that much anymore.

But I still think it would be even nicer if we could at least remove our own erroneous ratings, or even better, edit them. I'm sure you know that things don't always remain stable, and a site suffering from security issues today can be completely OK tomorrow. It's kind of weird that the user reviews stay there "for good" in cases like this. Of course we can write another review and rate the site accordingly, but then the old rating would still be counted in the pie chart and make it inaccurate.

in other words, any spammer attempting a Joe Job to influence McAfee's rating of a site does not succeed, although readers will be able to see that such manipulation is being attempted.

Yes, I'm aware that the user ratings don't affect McAfee's ratings. I just meant that joe jobs are intended to make an innocent site look bad in every possible way, and that includes the erroneous user ratings from users who just rush to rate these sites down for spamming right after one has dropped into their inbox, without any further investigation. The purpose of my reviews is mostly educational in these cases – to prevent extra false negative ratings, and to spread the word so that people would understand the issue better. As long as joe jobs work, they won't stop.

The real problem is that the McAfee's rating may still turn negative in these joe job cases, possibly because TrustedSource uses some spam blacklists where these joe job victims have ended up to. I have seen several times in the last few months how McAfee's rating has turned from "grey" to "red" or at least "yellow" soon after the joe jobbers have started their campaign against the site. Different countermeasures against spam are just not prepared enough to handle joe jobs yet, and that's probably why the bad guys are increasingly taking advantage of them.

But all this would probably need a thread of it's own, this issue does not directly apply to the rating category issues we were talking about. I'm glad you took the time to give me some view on McAfee's purposes regarding the rating system. Thank you again.

How Many Badges Can You Collect?
Ready for a little competition? Members like you are earning badges and unlocking perks for their helpful answers. Are you? Click here to find out.

Community Help Hub

    New to the forums or need help finding your way around the forums? There's a whole hub of community resources to help you.

  • Find Forum FAQs
  • Learn How to Earn Badges
  • Ask for Help
Go to Community Help

Join the Community

    Thousands of customers use the McAfee Community for peer-to-peer and expert product support. Enjoy these benefits with a free membership:

  • Get helpful solutions from McAfee experts.
  • Stay connected to product conversations that matter to you.
  • Participate in product groups led by McAfee employees.
Join the Community
Join the Community