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Release Notes for May 14, 2013 - Recommend and Trending Now

New in Today's Release: The "Trending Now" module, which is on the right hand side of every discussion page on the desktop site, now shows the Most Recommended Discussions for that board, from the past day.

Up until today, this module showed the 5 most recently updated discussions from a specific board. So, if you had been looking at a Site Talk discussion like this one, you'd see the 5 most recently updated discussions from Site Talk.

Now, this module will show the 5 discussions with the highest total number of recommends in the past day, from a specific board.

The formula we are currently using takes into account the total number of recommends made in the past 24 hours (regardless of whether they were dispersed amongst several posts or all on a single post), so the idea is to surface discussions that are active, engaging, and recent discussions. It's very possible that we will tweak this formula in the future, but for now we are giving this a try.

We encourage people to use the recommend button any time they see something that they think was worth reading, particularly if it's helpful, interesting, or informative. Now when you do this, you'll be helping to populate the module that will allow people to see the most engaging, current discussions on any board at a quick glance.

Feel free to ask any questions here, though keep in mind that features like these will almost definitely continue to evolve, and there may be some questions that we won't be able to fully answer—but we will definitely do our best!

Dave MP

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  1. We encourage people to use the recommend button any time they see something that they think was worth reading, particularly if it's helpful, interesting, or informative. Now when you do this, you'll be helping to populate the module that will allow people to see the most engaging, current discussions on any board at a quick glance.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Naturally, I'm already confused. The top Trending Now post to the right of this OP is listed as having 21 replies, of course that's not 21 people and has a total of 4 recommend hits on it. Yet directly underneath this OP, the next OP has 123 replies and considerably more recommend hits. So how did one OP out do the other as popular based on this more recommends formula? These popular topics aren't in any particular rating order.

    Second, why would you tally individual comments with a recommend over the original question (OP)being recommended. I would think the popularity of a topic would come first over an individual CH's comment that may very well be in reply to something slightly off to completely off topic to the original OP, which happens quite often. So, what exactly is the basis for highlighting a populated thread of individual recommends if the #'s may not reflect the focus of the OP? Don't OP's get archived in the Search by subject heading?

    Appreciate the reply, Dave.

    2 Replies
    1. re: HillJ

      We're counting new recommendations in the last 24 hours. A thread that's older may have accumulated recommendations over time, but not have as many in the last day as the thread that ranked ahead of it.

      Different types of threads are likely to have different patterns of recommends. People are unlikely to click recommend on an original post if it's a question, whereas they will recommend a good answer to that question. On the other hand, they may click recommend on an original post if it's a great review of a place. Right now, we're trying not to split hairs too finely on how we call out recommended stuff. A thread that's getting some recommend clicks likely has some good info in it that people will want to see. We'll keep looking at this stuff and potentially change it in the future, though if there's other things that might work better.

    2. This thread is currently in the Trending Now box for the SF Bay Area board.

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2141...

      "...so the idea is to surface discussions that are active, engaging, and recent discussions."
      And it is none of the above.

      5 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          That discussion is still marked as trending this morning, with one recommend on it. It may be that recommend was made in the last day, and there aren't many recommends being used on the SF board, and that was enough to bump it up into the top trending threads? Given that likely scenario, I don't think that using the amount of recommends a particular thread has gotten is a true barometer of what's currently of interest to board members.

          Perhaps the algorithm needs to take into account when the thread was started (that one was started Aug 11, 2002) and whether there are any recent posts on the thread (that one has its most recent reply on Sep 26, 2002). If it's an older thread like this one, maybe there should be a minimum amount of new posts (3?) to indicate it truly is interesting to today's audience, and not just a zombie thread brought back from the dusty crypt by one person who just stumbled across it and didn't realize how old it was.

          1. re: Chris VR

            Yes, one would think that if the idea is to highlight "recent" discussions, there would be some last post date check at a minimum among the parameters you've mentioned.

        2. re: Melanie Wong

          If a thread from 2002 on the Site Talk board is trending now on the San Francisco board, then it does sound like something is broken.

          1. re: Chris VR

            I moved the thread over to Site Talk, since it was more of an 'introduce yourself' thread, but your theory is correct -- there aren't a lot of recommends being used at the moment on the SF Bay board.

            Right now, there are relatively moderate volumes of recommends being used on most boards, so there are going to be anomalies like this. As more people use recommend, those little one-off weirdnesses will tend to be drowned out in a higher volume of overall data.

        3. With these two fresh eyes looking at the Trending Now, I'm just confused again by how this idea is determined or worth reading and why the Recommend tally even matters in this context.

          But, to see specific CH's posts called out as two examples of "not trending" in order to question if this is even working only illustrates for me why the Recommend feature is not necessarily positive chowdom a good deal of the time.

          Color me confused on this feature.

          1. As of today, the "Trending Now" module is present on all board pages, as well as discussion pages.