Hiding public view counts

On today's internet we're surrounded by numbers: how many “likes” a photo has; the number of times an article was shared; the average number of “stars” an app (or product or restaurant or movie) has received, and how many people have given it stars; how many times an app has been downloaded. On Write.as, right now we show how many views a post has.

Numbers are used for representing many things, but are generally only useful when combined with more data. Restaurant ratings won't necessarily tell you whether or not the food is good, or the service is bad, or some combination of those. App ratings won't necessarily tell you about missing functions in an app, or whether it'll solve the problem you're looking for. Ratings are only useful when paired with written reviews.

The way that numbers allow us to quickly compare things is great when we're in a rush, but bad when we care about discovering new things. A campsite might not have as many stars as Disney World when you're looking for something to do in the area, but you might still have a much more profoundly enjoyable time camping. A musician might not have the most downloads or plays, but could still easily become your favorite artist. An article with few “shares” might still be worth reading, just like one with few “views” might.

Basically, popularity numbers don't necessarily correlate with quality or enjoyment, but still tend to factor in to our natural decision-making. And we at Write.as want to be sure that numbers don't speak louder for writers than their words. So we're hiding public view counts from all posts, anonymous or not. They'll still be available for everyone through our API, but will only be shown to the original author on the web, since they benefit the most from knowing that people are seeing their work.

We hope this change will make the reading experience more enjoyable for everyone, and as always, we'd love to hear your thoughts!