Popular knowledge-sharing platform Zhihu has introduced a user credit system in a bid to incentivize good behavior.
Similar to Alibaba’s Sesame Credit system, Zhihu Credit is part of a “credit craze” sweeping through China’s internet and technology companies, as they get on board with the government’s plan to introduce a broad “social credit system” by 2020.
Seven-year-old startup Zhihu is unknown in most parts of the world. In China, it’s an indispensable component of the country’s growing internet and information ecosystem. Founded and led by former journalist Victor Zhou, the knowledge-sharing platform is best known for its Quora-like Q-and-A function.
Yet to describe Zhihu as a “Quora clone” would be to overlook both its unique role in China’s digital society, as well as the steps it has taken to expand its services and establish itself as the central node for credible knowledge on the Chinese internet.
Zhihu’s offerings now include electronic books and paid live streaming. The company also launched “Zhihu University,” which offers paid online courses in business, science, and humanities and career coaching. According to the company’s representatives, the online university has more than 6 million paid users.
Following a soft launch in July, Zhihu Credit became a standard feature for all users the week of October 15. Its Chinese name literally translates to “salt value” (盐值).
“We use the term ‘salt,’ because to us, all the users, with their professional knowledge, experience and unique understanding of world, are like the salt to the sea,” explained Dayun Sun, community management director for Zhihu. “By establishing Zhihu Credit, we want to help our users live, grow, and build their influence with their professional expertise and insight.”
Zhihu’s system is made up of ratings in five categories, each evaluating a separate aspect of Zhihu user behavior, based on the application of different algorithms to the full set of Zhihu user data.
- Basic Credit: This dimension relates to the basic profile of the Zhihu user, essentially their resume.
- Content Creation: A Zhihu user’s score in this dimension is determined by the quantity and quality of the content they create on the platform.
- Friendly Interaction: This dimension refers to the level of civility with which a Zhihu user interacts with other members of the community.
- Community Behavior: While the “friendly interaction” dimension applies more to informal courtesy, “community behavior” refers more to compliance with official terms of service.
- Community-Building: This dimension refers to the degree to which a user contributes to the monitoring and curation of the content on the platform. Users can increase their score in this dimension by productively up-voting and down-voting answers to questions, editing content, and reporting on other Zhihu users in a way that is accurate.