Changes Are Coming to the Covenant Eyes Report

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  • Updated 8 years ago
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One thing we’ve heard consistently from our customers is that our numerical method of scoring websites is not intuitive. Because of this, over the next few months we’ll be moving toward a web content rating system, which will affect our Accountability Report and Filter settings. The first phase will happen within a few weeks, and the entire project will be completed by early 2011.

What is the new rating system?

The first big change will be the rating system itself. Instead of a numerical system, we’ll be switching to one that’s similar to the ratings used for movies and video games. For example, sites rated Y (Youth) are generally appropriate for all but young children, while sites rated HM (Highly Mature) generally contain content that’s considered inappropriate for everyone, including anonymizers, nudity, erotica, and pornography. You can find out more about the new rating system, or see it in action on a sample report.

How will this affect me?

Around early December, the new ratings will show up in the Accountability Reports and Detailed Browsing Logs. Once that’s in place, we’ll start rolling out some other exciting changes. Filter users will be able to adjust their Filter settings based on the new ratings system, and Accountability Partners will be able to select a “Report Sensitivity Level” for each person they hold accountable. This means you’ll be able to tailor each report to see only the content you think is relevant. (You’ll always be able to see everything in the Detailed Browsing Logs, of course.) We’ll post more about these changes as they get closer.

Once we have completed these changes, there will still be the ongoing task of enhancing the way we evaluate web content in order to place it into the correct category. We are committed to providing you with a high quality service, and we’ll never stop improving our software.

We are excited about these changes, and believe that they will make your job of understanding the Accountability Reports easier. If you have any questions, please comment below or e-mail us at
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Luke Gilkerson

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  • excited

Posted 8 years ago

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Kevin Nix

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First, let me say I REALLY appreciate Covenant Eyes!

I am concerned, though, that this is somewhat of a step backwards. I review several accountability reports every week and appreciate the numbering system; the letter-based system is much more generic and less granular, which will tend to make the reviewer have to click-in to more sites to determine what the person had viewed. Some sites will probably always rate "M" (such as Craigslist, in the sample report) but that does not mean that the user was viewing mature or objectionable materials. Before, a reviewer could see at a glance if there was something questionable that might have been viewed (the higher the number, the more the concern).

Now, if I understand correctly, all we'll have is the "M", which means we'll have to click on that link, go through the other clicks to get to the page, and view the content in order to make a determination.

As a pastor that works a full-time job and pastors a church, I need to be able to move through the reports quickly and confidently.

Am I missing something?

Again, thanks for a GREAT product.

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Honestly, I'm not too happy about this. The numerical system was nice in that it gave me something that could be calibrated over time. Now, we're going to have to click through to the web site more often to see what's going on. It's analogous to a numerical vs. a letter grade at school.

My biggest gripe is the QuickLook, which attempts to summarize the entire report into one grade. The calculation of the Quicklook was a black box that was poorly understood, but I always had an objective criteria that I could reference in your numerical scoring system. Now you're taking the same approach to grading individual web sites. In my opinion, this is a step backwards.

Instead of doing away with the numerical scores, why don't you give us a choice? Some may choose the letter grade, but I imagine a good number are like me and will choose to keep the numerical system.

All the best,

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Luke Gilkerson

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Hello Kevin and Wes,

Thanks for your comments. Let me try to address your concerns:

First, it may be helpful for you to understand a basic comparison of the old numerical system to the new letter ratings. Previously, scores of 0 to 9 was our "normal" range. This has now been divided into E (Everyone) and Y (Youth). Scores of 0 correspond to E. Scores of 1 to 9 correspond to Y.

Previously, scores of 10-29 were considered "somewhat objectionable." We now divide this into three letters: T (Teen), MT (Mature Teen), and M (Mature). Scores of 10-14 correspond to T. Scores of 15-19 correspond to MT. Scores of 20-29 correspond to M.

Our highest range was 30-67, considered "highly objectionable or highly questionable." This now corresponds to the HM (Highly Mature) rating.

These new ratings help to more closely define the meaning behind each score so there is less misunderstanding. After countless conversations with our users we found many people were placing too much stock in the meanings behind the scores in a particular range. For instance, we found that people looking at scores in the highest range (30-67) were discounting lower scores (in the 30s) and paying attention only to higher scores (in the 60s). In fact, every Web address in the highest range should be closely examined, and the broad range of scores was somewhat misleading. This new system allows us to be clearer about the nature of the content in the whole range. If a URL is rated HM, this means it contains keywords that denote inappropriate content and we think it should be scrutinized.

Second, let me clarify the example of Craigslist. You noticed on our sample report that Craigslist Personals was rated M (Mature). Craigslist Personals is considered a dating site, and the rating M is a minimum score for dating sites. A Craigslist listing for the sale of furniture would receive a lower rating. If the nature of the content calls for a higher rating, it would fall into the HM (Highly Mature) category. This context-based rating will continue just as we have always done, so Kevin, we hope you will even more easily tell at a glance the nature of the content within a site like Craigslist.

Third, let me clarify how this will affect the QuickLook rating. The QuickLook rating is a rather complex algorithm of summarizing the entire report, but in general "Report Looks Good" will mean that almost all of the websites visited have a rating of E, Y, or T. "Review Suggested" means there is little to moderate access to sites that are MT or M and little or no access to HM sites. "Close Review Recommended" suggests there are several visits to websites that are rated M or HM. As we say on our website, the QuickLook is meant to be a guide and not an overall rating of the Accountability Report. As you say, it is important to use all of the data in the Report. For people who look at multiple reports, the QuickLook helps them to know what reports deserve closer scrutiny, and they can prioritize them accordingly.

Lastly, let me invite you, and others, to become beta-testers for this new system. We are looking for Covenant Eyes users like yourselves who have a passion to help people have integrity online and who understand our scoring system well. As we roll out more changes (like the ability to customize reports based on these ratings), we want to hear from our users about how we can make the system better. Please e-mail us at if you're interested.

Thanks for your patience as we adapt to our users’ needs.

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