Re: Has there been any changes to how the Trending list works?

#1
Hey. So I just checked out some of the books on the Trending list yesterday, and the interesting thing to me was that a couple of them had their first chapter released 23 days ago. I read from somewhere that your story needs to be at least 1 month old (I assume it's 30 days, not by the end of a specific month) to be eligible for Trending. Perhaps the algorithm for Trending has changed somehow. 

If anyone has any idea about how Trending works, please let me know!

Re: Has there been any changes to how the Trending list works?

#4

Zethuron Wrote: Yes, trending has gotten a massive overhaul in how it works. With at first sight the 30 days rule removed, with there being seemingly no age restriction anymore for trending, so in theory even fresh stories less than a week old can now enter trending.
Oh and also the must have a cover rule to be eligible for trending is gone now.
peoeyesparkle Any hope for a second chance???


DrakanLaugh Yeah, right...

Re: Has there been any changes to how the Trending list works?

#5
Has anybody made any progress on determining what the new algorithm is?

I've been looking at the various genre trending lists to try see if I could make a good guess at it. It doesn't seem to be based on percentage increase in ratings any more, nor can I make heads or tails of what the ordering could be. Sometimes stories with thousands of followers that ended years ago are sandwiched between active, month old stories with only a hundred followers each. This makes me assume that the new metric is the raw increase of some stat, such as number of new ratings, but that doesn't seem to make sense either.


Consider the trending list for drama. Spot #50 is taken up by a story that was finished four years ago, yet it's considered trending more than drama stories like The Solar Towers: Telilro and The Last Woman on Earth which both got dozens of ratings in the past two months. Or consider drama spot #49, which is trending more than its own re-write, also tagged as drama, that started being posted two months ago. What kind of reader interactions did these old stories get that are causing them to trend more than new ones which seem to be doing well for their age?

This is a concern for me, because trending is THE major vehicle for getting eyeballs on new stories. Under the old system, something as innocuous as naively posting the first ten chapters all at once and asking for reviews/ratings in the last one could end in getting 30 ratings in your first two days if you were (un)lucky, essentially dooming you to never hit trending. Without even a vague understanding of what I should be targeting (try to gather more readers on my own? ask current readers to leave ratings/reviews/comments in an author's note?), it's difficult to say whether or not I'm making a similar kind of structural mistake in how I'm posting my own story.

Re: Has there been any changes to how the Trending list works?

#7

WaifuMill Wrote: Consider the trending list for drama. Spot #50 is taken up by a story that was finished four years ago, yet it's considered trending more than drama stories like The Solar Towers: Telilro and The Last Woman on Earth which both got dozens of ratings in the past two months. Or consider drama spot #49, which is trending more than its own re-write, also tagged as drama, that started being posted two months ago. What kind of reader interactions did these old stories get that are causing them to trend more than new ones which seem to be doing well for their age?

The new algorithm is a headache and a half to quite figure out even if you had the formula.

I am still making adjustments to it, but obviously, those old stories being on the list without any actual activity is undesirable, and a patch for this will be released soon has been patched away. This change also made those 2 stories appear on the list, and this has been valuable feedback on stories that should likely have made it to the list but haven't.

In the future, the trending algorithm will not be publicly revealed because:
  • It resulted in an unhealthy ecosystem around it with authors asking for timed reviews to get on it
  • Paired to the above, it resulted in authors actively gaming the system - mass review swaps, actively asking users not to rate before a certain time period, etc - to have a severe advantage over those who did not
  • It resulted in authors demanding why they weren't on it based on their misunderstanding of the system
The new Trending algorithm is far more flexible than the old one, and it may be adjusted by us at any point to improve the quality of the list. What the list tries to achieve hasn't and won't change, but how it goes about has and may again in the future.

That being said, the new algorithm has:
  1. No cover requirement. This was a decision because this was a requirement that wasn't very well communicated. That being said, while we do not want to increase the barrier of entry for uploading a new story, we strongly feel that a cover art is necessary for fictions to do well, so we will probably add a heavily emphasized recommendation for it to be added at initial submission, and possibly a reminder to the dashboard too.
  2. No minimum fiction age requirement. 
  3. No timing requirement. You get on the list when you get on it, not 30 days later, so there are no timing tactics to follow anymore.
  4. No hard cut-offs for any stats we use to filter out things like older fictions. This is in big part the reason why the Drama Trending was full of older fictions, since even being older, they ended up scoring too high in the new algorithm, so I had to add an additional penalty calculation. This is not a hard penalty, but a mathematically calculated one to compensate for the higher general activity of older stories.
My personal recommendation therefore:
  • Write what you want to write, when you want to write
  • Post it when you feel ready
  • Don't worry about schedules or whatnot affecting your chances with trending - it won't
  • Get a good, fitting cover - having a visual cue attract the readers' attention is priceless
  • Ask for reviews in your chapters if your readers don't review
  • If you are struggling to find readers, ask for some review swaps and feedback from other authors
  • Rating yourself with alts will get you banned. Seriously. I won't enjoy it, and you will enjoy it even less.
-----------------------------

Edit 1st April 2021:

Since this post keeps getting referenced, a minor thing to add.

Due to how major authors' new works spike hard on release and then plateau hard, we recommend authors with a significantly large existing following (anything above a few hundred followers as of now I think, but I'm just guessing at the numbers right now... I'd say this goes for anyone with more than 500 followers, definitely above 1000) to start with a 5 or more chapter batch on the first day of their new fiction depending on their length.

This is because having too little content will reduce your ability to rank on Trending if they are too short page/word count-wise. The system is tuned to not allow overly short fictions on trending as easily to avoid a brand new, single chapter story of some super popular author appearing on trending with no content to give to new readers to judge it by.

This is a non-issue for new or smaller authors, though even for them it's probably a good idea to start with more than the initial chapter as there is not much to gain at that point - people won't be able to properly evaluate if they want to continue reading your work.

This recommendation may change at any time without warning. The new Trending is set up to be easily tuneable and further edits may be made in the future that invalidates this point for it, but even then it's probably a good idea anyway since you won't gain much traction if you only have a couple chapters to show.

Re: Has there been any changes to how the Trending list works?

#11

kanadaj Wrote:
  • Don't worry about schedules or whatnot affecting your chances with trending - it won't


  • Many thanks for all the information and for all your hard work on this website.

    So I spent a month researching how to get onto Trending, scheduled all my stockpiled chapters to post starting next week in such a way that I could maximise my chances of getting onto Trending (lots of chapters posted for a week to hopefully get 25 stars' worth of ratings, then less frequent releases, then another mass release just before the 30 day mark), and now the algorithm has just changed!

    Please might you just share some of the stats that are involved in hitting Trending, to help me with re-scheduling chapter releases? 

    For instance, as well as doing the things you recommend (which I will), what sort of things should I be aiming to achieve? Views? Ratings? Reviews? All of the above? What should take priority?

    Many thanks in advance for any more information you are able to give, without telling us the algorithm precisely.

    Re: Has there been any changes to how the Trending list works?

    #12
    I'm glad to hear about these Trending changes because the culture around Trending had been pretty unhealthy up to this point, with a lot of "obvious pro authors gaming it" plus extra toxicity when fans of one Trending story "battled" against competitor stories.

    I'm also glad for the genre selector which can show some pretty interesting stuff. The romance genre, for example, has my own Hands Held in the Snow currently high up on Trending despite having ended in August. It's only received two ratings since November and only about a thousand views, but it's still doing pretty well. The romance genre is, of course, one of the least-populated genres, so it's not that big an achievement. But I like that older stories can pop back up on certain parts of Trending, as long as there's some interaction for them. This new addition alone has already brought 3 new readers to the story in the past week, according to stats, so that's awesome!

    Re: Has there been any changes to how the Trending list works?

    #13

    Faenon Wrote: So I spent a month researching how to get onto Trending, scheduled all my stockpiled chapters to post starting next week in such a way that I could maximise my chances of getting onto Trending (lots of chapters posted for a week to hopefully get 25 stars' worth of ratings, then less frequent releases, then another mass release just before the 30 day mark), and now the algorithm has just changed!


    I believe that this was the reason that the trending algorithm was updated - to decrease peoples' ability to game the system in this way, giving them a leg up on authors who don't. My recommendation would be to just write the best story you can write, and the rest ought to take care of itself.

    Re: Has there been any changes to how the Trending list works?

    #14

    Vowron Wrote: I believe that this was the reason that the trending algorithm was updated - to decrease peoples' ability to game the system in this way, giving them a leg up on authors who don't. My recommendation would be to just write the best story you can write, and the rest ought to take care of itself.


    Fair enough, and I have tried to write the best stories I can, but just trying to figure out what is best to do with my stockpiled chapters. There has to be some more specific advice to follow in order to maximise visibility and readership accumulation. For example, the FAQ under the Support tab at the top of the RR navigation bar still recommends daily releases for around a week to gain traction. I'm just wondering if there's any more specific advice along those lines to follow.

    Re: Has there been any changes to how the Trending list works?

    #15
    Ok, so I opened a support ticket about this and got referred to this thread...

    Here's my final question, I think the most important one, which I think is worth answering:

    Does number of ratings as opposed to quality of ratings still count towards Trending? If a story gets lots of activity and ratings, even if they are low, can it still get on to Trending, or do the ratings have to be high?

    (Edit: Asking for a friend. Not. The thing is, I am going to start posting all my stockpiled novels soon, and they certainly get better as they go along...)

    Re: Has there been any changes to how the Trending list works?

    #16
    If you start posting your stockpiled chapters, I'd recommend to not upload too many at once. Once a day should be fine. Maybe twice if you grab different time zones with it and you have enough chapters to keep that up for at least a week.

    I didn't even try for Trending and I'm on it at the moment. I just went for visibility. (Taking part in the Writathon, uploading at different times of the night to reach overseas,...) And of course, I always try to improve my earlier chapters if something new comes up or gets pointed out to me. Just write the best I can manage and revisit the older stuff with the new things I learned.
    Readers will judge your story on these first few chapters most of the time, so they're important. Especially if you do better in later chapters.
    Interesting Synopsis and a Cover are important too of course. 
    I also included an estimate for when the next chapter would come up in my author's notes. Shouldn't be a problem if you have a stockpile. ;)

    I'm not sure about the 'quality' of the ratings. But does it really matter? The only way you could influence those is by writing better, right? ^^ Well, there always will be a few people who don't like your stuff, no matter how good the story might be. That's just different tastes and preferences. 
    If you tagged the story correctly, the viewers who find you through the advanced search (when you're not getting much visibility yet) tend to like a story more than someone who just randomly found it though. Being able to include one of the new tags helps a little bit with that.
    Still, most new views will come whenever you upload a new chapter.
    So... good luck!