Hello readers and authors!

A quick announcement on a renaming, and a new way to find fictions!

First of all, Trending (Referred to as "Old Trending" for this blog) is being renamed to "Rising Stars", to better reflect what it measures - the new, rising stars of Royal Road. Nothing else about it is changing - just the name!

Right now, there's a bit of an awkward gap for novels once they leave Old Trending, now Rising Stars. They're too small to hit popular this week but too old to be on trending. Discovering these novels can be a bit tricky, and authors can sometimes feel like their story is hard to discover. Hence the creation of "Trending" (called "New Trending" for this blog post).

New Trending uses complex black magic to try and pick the popular stories that aren't too popular. Stories that end up on Royal Road's front page, for example, will rarely if ever make it onto the list. However, it should show the somewhat popular stories - we could even say the trendy stories - that are a fantastic and worthwhile read. We are likely to tweak the list's settings more over time, which will probably cause huge swings in the ranks.

We have also removed Hot Fictions and the voting system - given the data, we've decided that Unique Views would already approximate the votes very closely, and we may re-add Hot Fictions as a list later based solely on unique views - this isn't a simple decision though as we feel there is a significant overlap between Popular This Week and Hot Fictions, while at the same time they fulfil different roles.

The voting system highlighted some interesting facts for us though, including how many people really interact with the website actively, and how much authors could influence said rate.

In summary:

  • Trending is now called Rising Stars
  • A new category called Trending is being created, to try and fill the gap between Rising Stars, and Popular This Week // Best Rated.
  • Hot Fictions and the voting system is gone

We understand that the change around the name Trending will cause some confusion, and we have been grappling with this decision for quite some time as we've always felt that Trending didn't quite suit the list based on its role.

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Comments(77)

THANKS FOR THE CHAPPY

Cool! Mid-term discoverability has always been a real challenge on RR and other sites. Nice to see a step that aliviates that! 

Sounds great to me! I definitely agree, I've always noticed authors talking about how awkward it can be to gain more audience once off the trending list, this sounds like a great way to solve that problem! Round of applause all around :)

Wow, this came just as my barely front-page novel is about to leave Old Trending. Nice timing!

But regardless of that, I like the change, though I wonder how the reader base will distribute itself between New Trending and the other lists. The total number of views remains steady, after all.

Ooh, now I can find those somewhat more obscure gems that get lost between the cracks!

Looking forward to see the future of it!! (: 

Oh, well, as long as it's complex black magic, that's fine.  If it was simple black magic, I'd call shenanigans and tomfoolery.

But, really, next time, just use blue box magic. 🔢

Cool! Hopefully it'll become easier to find well-written stories that are more than, say, a month old. All for it.

Also, the new Rising Stars icon is very clearly a falling star, which is a bit of a mixed message...

Thanks for the chapter update. Nice to see efforts beiing made to make it for readers and authors to find good stories to read.

I think this is a step in the right direction, though a lot of the issues with discoverability of stories could be fixed via adding a few more options to the search:

  • Set search to 'advanced search' as default, with an option to go back to basic,
  • Include another parameter for number of chapters alongside rating and pages - I get that weekly and monthly serials may lose out on this so I'd also suggest,
  • Include an option for release frequency, i.e. every 1 days, 3 days, 7 days (etc)

I'd also shrink the boxes down a bit to be more in proportion with the amount of text that's in them:

 

Though that's just personal preference.

    My picture got eaten and there's no option to edit, so here's the link:

    I too think that advanced search is the way to go. The objective should not be who will and who will not be on some kind of a list, but to match together people who are searching with stories they are searching for. From that point of view the advanced search function can never be too advanced, the freakishly advanced features can always be hidden in some convenient way.

      To put forth some ideas. . I noticed a lot of authors use many tags, but that way the meaning might kind of fizzle out, because the information of some kind of weight is not present. I would sugest to make the authors order their tags based on relevance, that way when someone writes a romance, ocmedy, action, horror, tragedy, sci-fi, isekai, blablablah. .. he has to decide the weight of it and order it. If well executed, this might provide people with more clues what the story is actually about, not only know that it is about. .. almost everything. :)

      kanadaj
      Admin

      This is nice sophistry on its own, but the reality is that users are lazy - in fact, the average user is too lazy to even read the list of trags we have, nevermind actually searching for them. You either hand them what they should read on a silver platter, or they just won't read.

      This naturally doesn't apply to everyone, but applies to enough people that premade lists are exceedingly important.

      True, though I think more people would use them if there was some way to narrow it down to a few, important tags, rather than the giant lists we have now. Maybe more segmented tags, like having separate space for setting, tone, story format(ie long chapters with infrequent updates and vice versa), etc. 

      User suggestible tags might help. I use Novelupdates pretty regularly and the tags there are extremely useful and specific. It also helps that they are not hidden. On RR it took me a long time to realize that there was more than just 'fantasy action adventure' available.

      @kanadaj

      First off, that's not a good attitude towards problems, or consumers, as it excuses away problems that may not be simple to solve as impossible to solve instead. Second off, as a user who doesn't read tags on here, but does on novel updates, Scribblehub, and a number of other sites, it really is very difficult to get much of an idea on what a novel is about and what it may contain with the current tag system; even when using the advanced search, the novels vary wildly and rather independently from the tags they possess.

      As a reader who has been here since it was basically a well ordered forum, its been getting increasingly difficult for me to find niche novels, outside of randomly checking recent posts.

      The site has simply grown too large for the old systems of finding novels to work effectively, with similar issues with the review system merely compounding the problem.

      Anyway, thanks for your time reading this, and your work on the site over the years, I would have had a far more drab time the last while if this site had not been around. I hope you have a good day.

Great idea! Are you planning on releasing more information on how to actually make it onto the New Trending page after leaving the rising stars one?

 

These updates look great. I'm glad the Hot Fictions and the voting system were removed. The front page was really starting to get overcrowded.

Good. I have one of those fictions that’s too old for old trending, but way too small for the other categories. Thanks for working on something to help people like me!

The hot fiction was a good list for the novels that have long chapters (usually once a week). Right now the authors that write long chapters won't be able to make it in any list. If you compare the hot fiction and the popular now, the main difference will be the novels with long chapters. 

I'm not sure how that can be fixed, maybe make the popular now depends on pages read instead of chapters read. 

Thanks for all your efforts

Glad to see an attempt for more fiction visibility with the New Trending feature. I'm not sure how hard this would be to implement, but one feature I would like to see is a way to exclude fictions you've marked as not interested or already follow from lists like popular weekly. I like using that list, but often when I scroll through the first ten pages around 75% of the fictions would be eliminated if those two criteria could be excluded, which would enable me to see more fictions that are popular this week instead of stuff I already follow or don't want to read.

Makes sense to me, the amount of overlap on the front page always bothered me, and so removing some sections and adding the new one should greatly improve the usability of the page. Suggestion: the "recommended for you" list isn't something I use, as, as far as I can tell, it only references genre preferences, but doesn't filter whether the books recommended are actually any good, so either the tag system needs overhauled to be more dicerning, or it needs some sort of reader or rating threshold, or even have it rolled into something like a "what others like you read" chart. Thanks for your work and for reading!

Looks good to me. 

Really appreciate that there's an effort to help stories get discovered instead of letting things stagnate. 

I just realized that New Trending is the new list of trending fictions that are too old to fit on old Trending.

I think that's definitely a step in the right direction. Though,I think it needs some tweaking. I've seen a few stories on the lists that have been dropped after a few chapters years ago. Or stories like For Loki's Honor that are pretty popular on their own. I don't think that these kind of stories should be on the list.

    kanadaj
    Admin

    There is a surprisingly small list of fictions that actually fit the conditions of the list. It's also extremely hard to mathematically define something that's "good and well-known but not too well-known"... It's a bit of a counter-intuitive thing and very, very hard to tune

Thank you, the changes seems good at first impression.

the new trending is a really good idea I think  :)

This sounds fantastic! I personally love the idea for the "new trending" as it should in theory make it easier to find any good stories I've missed!

Good, you can still filter the lists with any tag by changing the url directly. 

So just a name change?

that's actually quite good. that said, you might want to add a page limit? currently there is a story with 20 pages that is sitting at the top. I don't that's appropriate. 

Why not make a hot fictions that ignore stories already added to favorites, ignored or read later. That would pretty much allow trending novels to cycle through everyone but keep it fresh for those with the trending already added. 

thanks for the update, black magic!

A late comment:

I think that calculating unique views can be somewhat misleading. I have several novels that I support on Patreon. So they are in my Follow list in RoyalRoad, du I read them on Patreon, as I can see some chapters in advance. Often I don't read them again on RoyalRoad, Simply, every so often, I open the last chapter and click on set progress.
I don't know if there is a significant number of people that do the same, but this behavior can skew the numbers a bit.

Yes, yes, but what about the new background art! I can't find an announcement for that.

Huh, kinda sad that the voting system is gone. I quite liked it

The new art is very pretty, but I'm not a huge fan on how it works as a background. The sky at the top is too bright and different from the blackness of the trees and mountains. It's a bit jarring, and is much more noticible when reading than the old art.