New system, who this?
The ratings as they are now address a unique set of questions that are hard to represent by any other system. However, based on the feedback gathered throughout the years we have concluded that there is a place to improve the ranking system, or introduce another one with different criteria.
In order to try that, we will do a test run of a voting system. As the name suggests this system will be based on votes for a fiction given by the users. The new voting system might replace one of the existing lists, keep existing as a separate list, or be removed entirely once we have more data.
How does it work?
It has been said above as well, but just to repeat: this is an experimental system. It might change every hour, day, or week. It is also possible that the results gathered from this test will not line up with the expectation. In that case, it is possible that it will be reworked or shelved. It is also possible that the system will work well but not enough to replace any existing rankings, in which case we might add it as another way to get visibility.
For now, the system will work alongside the existing rating/review system. On every fiction page and every chapter of a fiction there will be a vote button. By pressing this button, you vote for the fiction. In this case, a vote expresses that you liked the fiction enough that it should be on the multiple ranking lists available on Royal Road.
UPDATE: For clarity, you can only vote for each fiction once every 2 weeks. The button on the chapter page does not vote on the individual chapter, and is only there for convenience.
Votes have a limited lifespan of about 2 weeks to begin with, after which they expire and the readers will need to vote again for it to count; this should create a dynamic environment.
Separate ranking list.
For the test period, there will be a separate ranking list available for everyone to see. This ranking is detached from the existing ranking list in every way possible so the effects of the new system can be seen clearly and the results can also be compared to the current review and rating-based ranking system.
The rankings are sorted based on the number of votes gained in the past 2 weeks and will be visible in a separate tab as well as on the front page of Royal Road.
We hope the system will be received well and that the results stack up to the expectations we had when developing it. The new, experimental rankings created by the system might bring some unexpected results as well. Keep an eye out if there are any stories you did not read yet, perhaps there is something that catches your eye!
UPDATE: Do not post chapters just to gather votes. We'll be removing all such chapters going forward, as it's filling up people's feed with noise. It's okay to ask for views in author's notes, it's not okay to make chapters just for it. Please have some respect for the readers.
UPDATE 5 July 2021
Looking at the results and additional statistics we've collected, we are removing Hot and the voting system - it's been showing up some interesting results, but ultimately the result is so close to a list simply sorted by unique views that it's not worth keeping a list that achieves more or less the same, but at the same time giving more reason to cheat or nag the readers to authors.
That is not to say that the result is useless. We've been looking at the collected data and are working on a new list that gives a more unique slice of the fictions on the site, primarily aimed at stories that are already out of Trending, but not large enough to show up on Best Rated or Popular This Week. It's a difficult task due to the nature of the numbers involved (Trending is giving massive boosts in views, and Best Rated gives massive boosts in most other stats, so it's difficult to work out something that's not biased towards one of these lists) but we are confident that we have reached a good starting point for this and will be able to have something out soon.
We are also considering adding a new list alongside Popular This Week which ranks fictions based on the unique views rather than the total accumulated views. This would put popular stories with fast releases at a disadvantage, so we do not want to simply replace Popular This Week with such a list, but it would result in something much closer to Hot.