I've been thinking lately about where Social Mandarin should grow too. It's current incarnation is good, but it needs more. After being featured on Penn-Olson, the author added that it would be cool to add more Chinese content with a difficulty tag. I postponed that advice for a while, but yesterday I just thought, why not? It's a good idea. I took the whole Sunday to implement it, learning even more coding and discovering the deep hole that is Drupal.
You can, and is required, to add a difficulty level to the content that you submit. The old content, will slowly be added difficulty ratings (over 550+ links!). What I hope will happen, is that it will allow for submission of Chinese content itself tagged by difficulty. Found a cool pop song? Submit it to Social Mandarin tagged with a difficulty level. Social Mandarin is now filled with blog content, which is great and definitely a big part of the community, but I'd like it to branch off into authentic content too.
Currently, there's four difficulty ratings: Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced. This in itself is an experiment, as these are mostly arbitrary and based on the submitter or me who'll change the old links. If you think about it, what does Beginner really mean? If I do a post about vocabulary lists, it's not difficult to learn, thus it's "easy", but maybe the words are of low frequency and only focused on Intermediate learners? It'll be interesting to see how people rank content.
The ability to list links based on difficulty is definitely on my to-do list. I first got to work on my research proposal!