Suggestions For Front Page Trending Stories Today Algorithm

Update: I've made a decision on the new algorithm and it's pretty simple. It will be the latest updated stories at the top but only for stories with five subscribers or greater. Just five people have to think your story is worth following to get included into the Trending section. Since the goal was to ensure that spam stories and nonsense stories don't make it to the front page and those stories don't normally get subscribers, this should have the desired effect while still allowing the majority of people to get their stories on the front page. I think I got too hung up on using the most popular algorithms other sites are using when I should've just made one more appropriate for AFF. I think this change should satisfy most of you.

As for the previous "popular today" algorithm, I still think that has value in providing quality content. I'll keep that as one of the options under the Popular section.


I'm sure all of you have crossed into the new year already (unless of course you're going by Chinese New Year) so I can confidently say Happy New Year to all of you. 

The topic of discussion today is what to do with the front page trending stories algorithm. The reason that the front page stories was changed from latest updated to a more customized algorithm is all due to spam and test or nonsense stories. Especially in the case of spam stories unrelated to fanfiction that advertise handbags and shoes for money, those used to end up blanketing the frontpage for hours until a new antispam measure is created against it. Other times, nonsense stories make it to the front page just wasting space.

The way the trending stories algorithm currently works is that the stories with the highest number of votes within a four hour timeframe will be displayed in the order of highest votes during that time period until the next four hour interval occurs when the front page is wiped for a new set of stories. For example, in the beginning of a four hour time interval, every story starts off with internal zero votes. If someone votes for a story, that gets that story to the front page unless another story gets more votes within that time period. At the end of the four hour time interval, every story starts from zero again. Note that even stories with no subscribers, no comments, and no views can get to the front page as long as someone votes it up. The rationale for this approach is that most people wouldn't vote up spam or nonsense stories so those should never make it to the front page no matter how much a bot tries to spam the site with handbag ads. It also gives the added bonus that the story is probably interesting if someone liked it enough to vote for it and it should be fitting for the front page.

The problem is that this approach is pretty easy to cheat if you know what you're doing and you could be on the front page for days with a little patience and no life. I need a more robust approach that can't be cheated so easily.

So the question is what kind of stories do you think deserve to be on the front page? What factors in a story are important to you? Keep in mind that the approach must take into account that spam and nonsense stories cannot make it to the front page and the front page must also change often enough to keep it interesting. I welcome your suggestions in the comments.



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Oh, now I understand.
Thank you! ^^
[deactivated] #2
oh.. so that's what is happening now.. but i like the cool changes happening in the site^^
thanks for updating. :)
I just want the front page to be like it was before.the things I'm fine with to be on the front page is featured stories,tags,and the ads. its just the page is so full.but if you don't want to change it,I understand,I appreciate your hard work jason (:
I think some people do not check out the trending stories (myself included). I do go to the front page to check out the announcements. The advertised and most upvoted story does turn up on the side so yeah, i'll go with DeviLaugh and say that you can just abolish it.
And just out of curiosity, how do you cheat to get on the front page? I won't try it, I'm just curious.
Well, I never go to the front page unless I want to see if you any announcements like when I saw this one. My AFF bookmark is for my profile. I’m not interested in what is popular or what is new, I just want to read fanfics about what I am a fan of. If I wanted to read any story with any person and an interesting plot, I'd read a normal book.

My suggestion is something radical. Just get rid of it. Why do we need to have it? Among the individual tags people can already choose between the latest, newest, completed, oldest, views, subs, comments, votes, chapters, oneshots, and mature fics. Why does the front page need to further do so? I read fics based off of who they are about, so I don’t really have problems with spam and shops.

This would also eliminate the problem of cheaters trying to get their fic attention. Instead of gearing the site towards reading what is popular or giving people a chance to get more attention, try to gear it towards reading fics about what we are fans of. Since AFF is already so social, if I need any suggestions, I can just go to one of my friends or read a blog.

Instead, just put all the tags on the front page. Or just make it strictly for announcements. Or make the front page personal for every user.

I don't know, I feel like because there are so many people that abuse the system, the only solution would be something completely different.
etchasketch #6
i agree with mangerine on the karma thing. 100 karma points is a lot and sometimes i read an amazing story with a good plotline, well developed characters, and good grammar but i cant upvote it. :/ just a thought. i like the algorithm though cause it gives everyone a chance.
thependragon #7
I really like the new change to most popular stories. Upvoting also is definitely a good add to the site, but I feel like maybe the 100 karma points is unnecessary due to the fact that 100 points is quite difficult to achieve. If you feel the points is a must, then maybe lowering the value will be a bit better to newcomers (since there are a lot of people who don't even have 100 points). Or another idea is increasing the points of commenting on stories and such to 5 or something. That might make it a bit better.

And as for the most trending stories on the homepage, I actually like the latest updated stories a lot more, because that gives other stories a chance to be seen than just the "popular" ones.

Personally, I prefer seeing the latest updated stories on the front page vs. the trending stories. Like others have pointed out, the popular fics already have more exposure by default, and it seems like it's just getting harder and harder lately for unknown authors to have their fics seen. :\ The trending section felt somewhat unfair too, since there were a handful of stories that were featured there day after day after day. It was always the same story or multiple fics from the same author (sometimes 6-7 fics by one author on the front page at a time?). It was kind of overkill.

And I agree with the others who don't want to see graphic shops, contests, etc. on the front page. Perhaps you could implement a system where they're separated, sort of like how stories can now be marked as oneshots? :)

As for M-rated stories like everyone else is talking about, I know you're doing everything you can to keep them on the site as is, so thank you~ But would it be possible to make a featured section for past M-rated features? Like this section for the regular features:

Also, I don't know if you intentionally left it out or not, but there's no gold star for a rated feature in the author's story list itself. Like, this author's story is the rated feature this week, but on her story list there's no star by the title:

Would it be possible to add that in, or was that intentional? Anyway, thank you for all the hard work you put into this site :3
I really agree with Lilviscious on the Rated M stories. Now that the Rated M stories are separated from normal ones, I can only read them when I really want to. I have to chose which kpop star I want to read about now. Before when Rated M stories are mixed with normal ones, I can easily find good Rated M stories without having to care about the characters and all that (before, I usually find stories on the front page of AFF). I don't really read a fanfic based on the characters the story are featuring. It is more to the title and the story plot.

So now, I don't really read Rated M stories anymore, unless it is recommended by a friend / featured, or I really want to.

I’d like to see Rated M stories get more attention on the site too.

Maybe you can make it so that the user who ticked the 'I wish to view stories with mature themes and I am over 18' option can view Rated M stories mixed with normal ones? While those who did not tick that option will not see Rated M stories unless they click the Rated M browse option on the toolbar?

Thank you so much, and I hope this suggestion is also useful :)
I think legitimate STORIES should be on the front page instead of shops, fact "stories", and (of course) spam.
I think updvotes aren't that reliable. A lot of readers don't have +100 karma and can't upvote stories. So this isn't a good way to sort worth reading fanfics.
The front page is a little messy in my opinion. You have stories, graphic shops, writing workshop all together. Everything which isn't fanfic shouldn't appear on the front page and should have their own popular section instead.
Thank you for improving AFF and Happy New Year ! :)
I was thinking of having a different page for different purposes such as a different page for Contests where people go through there to find contests, also a page for graphic shops and etc. because when I read trending stories or most popular stories I think of stories not graphic shops or contests and there are a lot of those that should get it;s own page like a popular page just for graphic shop fic..

Also, Happy New Year to you sir. I hope you have an awesome year and may god bless you!
Also, I have the feeling M rated stories are underrepresented. There is a M Rated browse option added to the top not too long ago, but when I view the ranking lists, there is no M Rated stories included. This is quite a shame, because I've read several stories that are Rated M because of several good reasons of course – but they are often just as good as the non-rated stories. I’d like to see M Rated stories get more attention on the site as well, even if they’re to not be viewed by underaged readers. And let me tell you a lot of the M Rated stuff is written by that audience anyway (and it can be just as bad as the normal stories).

This has become far too long and I’m not even done yet, seeing as this is the first time I come forth with my opinion. I hope this was somewhat useful, thank you for your time!
When I look at the front page, the first thing that comes to mind is that it’s so very crowded. There’s a lot of things going on; tags, featured stories, advertised stories and whatnot. I don’t spend a lot of time on the front page because I simply don’t know where to start looking. I do prefer to have new stories on the front page however. This seems to be the only way to have a moment of fame on the front page nowadays and I believe new stories deserve as much attention as those that are already popular.

Or perhaps not even. I don’t truly understand why stories that are immensely popular are always in the spotlight. This makes it even more difficult for others to stand out. Of course if a fanfiction is good, you want to share it and praise it, but can’t we find a way to separate popular from new fictions? The front page is crowded as it is, so why not throw in a section of new stories, popular stories like the trending section we have going on right now?
Happy New Year to you too and thank you for everything you've done in 2012 to make AFF a better place. It's nice to see you are continuing this so early in the new year as well =] Thank you!

As for the question asked about the front page and criteria for stories.. it's a bit difficult to please everyone, but I have read several comments below and think that most people agree on the fact that the amount of upvotes or subscribers is not the best way to judge whether a story is good or not.

One-shots often don't get subscribers, simply because people use this feature not only to 'favour' stories, but to keep updated of further process. Obviously a one-shot does not have that second element and therefore subscribes are low.

Even now, I finished a chaptered story a few days ago and have already seen the drop in subscribers to this story. This this mean my story suddenly became bad? No, it's simply because readers will no longer receive updates and therefore drop the story altogether.

It will always be difficult to determine which stories are ‘worthy’ to be featured, but please take this into account. Also, the amount of views to a story can be interesting as well, because some people don’t leave any other evidence of their presence at all (this is what we call silent readers).