Re: Changes to [Popular This Week]

#21

HereBeTreasure Wrote:
CloverCloverClover Wrote:
HereBeTreasure Wrote: It's nice to see that royalroad is starting to move in a direction away from singular stories basically hogging frontpage real estate for years on end 

Does anyone remember Arcane Emperor and Everyone Loves Large Chests? Literally stapled onto the frontpage for god knows how many years


I mean, I think RR does a lot to try to avoid this. It's just a complex problem with no easy solution. Any ranking list is going to have to depend on some measure of popularity somewhat; the problem becomes that this popularity creates a feedback loop, where becoming more popular makes your story more visible which makes it more popular which makes it more visible. If you depend on too *simple* a metric of popularity, this leads to a very stagnant front page. However, divorce front page placement from popularity altogether, and the lists cease to be a reliable metric by which readers can find good stories. RR tries to solve this by having various, complex measures of popularity (the rising stars lists, etc). But it's not something easy to do.
Eh the solution is really obvious and not that difficult, scribblehub already does it

Once you hit the frontpage, you can start to receive a decay value that subtracts from your popularity that continuously increases until you're kicked off the frontpage. Once you're off the frontpage the decay value decreases, like a rising and wading tide. 

You stay on the frontpage too long, your value decays until you're off the frontpage. Or rotate the frontpage between two versions like scribblehub did. I feel like this is already a solved issue with many proven solutions, not some complex mystery
It's definitely not an already solved problem. A decay value is a good idea, but how do you set it? How do you implement things for literally anything that's not on the front page? There are, after all, plenty of fictions that receive bumps in visibility here without being on the front page itself. What happens if you find that some fictions require a greater decay rate than others if you don't want them to be stuck on the front page? What if you find your decay rate needs to increase over time?  What if it just ends up being a cycle of the same set of 30 or so fictions being on the front page, dropping off, then getting back on?

As for rotation, like say if you alternately show a random 10 samples from the top 50 list - that might just make the top 50 stagnant; it might take readers longer to notice but it's still going to be the same set of fictions stuck in the visibility-popularity feedback loop. None of these are *bad* ideas, but they're just guesses and different things people try to counteract the same fundamental problem. And we really have very little idea which one is most effective; nobody is meticulously documenting or analyzing all of the little tricks and the effect they have. And to make things more complicated, what works for one website may not work for another. It is definitely not something with a set solution. I wouldn't mind if RR implemented some of scribblehub's decay system or something, but I'm not going to pretend it's anything other than just one more thing in a bag of tricks you can throw at the problem. 

Re: Changes to [Popular This Week]

#23

CloverCloverClover Wrote: A decay value is a good idea, but how do you set it? How do you implement things for literally anything that's not on the front page?

Same system as now for the most part, with one difference. Not an expert but I'm pretty sure the current popular this week ranking is based off of a weighted average of Page Views Per Week and other less important variables. All of these are calculated to create a single weighted number, let's say 50,000, which determines popular this week ranking. 

For example let's say Azarinth healer is always at 50,000, Beware of Chicken is at 45,000, and Primal Hunter is at 40,000. 

So you take this raw 50,000 number and subtract a decay number. Each day the novel stays on the frontpage, that decay number inflates. 

The end result is that a novel like Azarinth healer will be on the frontpage for 3 months out of 4, instead of 4 months out of 4. Sounds reasonable right? Still popular, but not suffocating other options. You take 3 months, then give 1 month for some other novels to take a breather in the spotlight. 

------

Eventually this combats the situation where you see a novel on the forntpage every single day for such an unreasonably long period of time that it starts to become irritating like Arcane Emperor or Everyone Loves Large Chests.

I say this from a reader's perspective, not an author's perspective. 

Re: Changes to [Popular This Week]

#26

Edge Wrote: Val’s Solution:

Popular Stub List Ranking. We can throw them on there, and call it a day.


That would be a feasible option, or maybe even call it a 'Hall of Fame' for those who are massively popular but have moved sections of their work to KU but are still maintaining a portion of their fictions on RR.

It would solve a big part of the argument from their side: Being recognized as contributing to the site's exposure (since this seems to be a concern that has cropped up and argued about) by KU users who want to read further than what is currently available via KU and coming to RR to read further. 

I wholeheartedly agree with the shift needing to take place with the Popular this Week feature, but those with stubs do draw an unknown portion of readers. A Popular Stub List Ranking or Hall of Fame does not need to be on the front page, but maybe even as a featured page in the Reading menu among 'Best Rated', 'Trending' and 'Ongoing Fictions'. A scrolling feature (of those on the list) could be on the front page, drawing attention to this. Since some of the authors were asked to do reviews of RR, those could also be featured there. 

When you choose to go the KU route, you know what you are doing. You choose exclusivity, but for many of them RR is where they began. That's why a dedicated section may be a suitable solution. It could even be potentially used to draw more attention to RR and to all of our works. 

Its just an idea.

Re: Changes to [Popular This Week]

#27
It  would need to be on the frontpage or you would still hear complaints. Even that might not be enough, since they would be seperated from the regular "Popular this Week" into a new category, and the new category wouldn't be as popular.

Also, calling it "Hall of fame" would make it seem like the goal of any RR story was to move it to KU. I'm not sure RR wishes to send that message!

Re: Changes to [Popular This Week]

#29

Ararara Wrote: Also, calling it "Hall of fame" would make it seem like the goal of any RR story was to move it to KU. I'm not sure RR wishes to send that message!


Thanks for pointing that out, its a good point, I hadn't considered that. It would have to be a popular stubs section then. But if it were on the front page its still taking up that real estate... Its one of those damned if you do and damned if you don't situations.

Then I suppose the only real alternative, if no acceptable middle ground is decided on, is to make it more clear that if you make a stub you forfeit the chance to remain on the popular lists with that title. As I said in my last post, if you choose to go KU you know what you are doing and its not like it is difficult to find the rest of the story here, a simple search takes care of that. Or even simpler, an author search, a direct link even.

But when it gets down to it, the right thing is being done for the greater RR community. Its a shame that a simple thing that can help so many is being reacted to in such a way. I can understand the frustration and the viewpoint, but what is beneficial to the few, takes from the majority. The majority deserves that chance too, to be seen on Popular this Week, instead of it being locked out of it to the point of it being effectively unattainable. 

Re: Changes to [Popular This Week]

#31

JMMatheis Wrote: Thanks for pointing that out, its a good point, I hadn't considered that. It would have to be a popular stubs section then. But if it were on the front page its still taking up that real estate... Its one of those damned if you do and damned if you don't situations.

Then I suppose the only real alternative, if no acceptable middle ground is decided on, is to make it more clear that if you make a stub you forfeit the chance to remain on the popular lists with that title. As I said in my last post, if you choose to go KU you know what you are doing and its not like it is difficult to find the rest of the story here, a simple search takes care of that. Or even simpler, an author search, a direct link even.

But when it gets down to it, the right thing is being done for the greater RR community. Its a shame that a simple thing that can help so many is being reacted to in such a way. I can understand the frustration and the viewpoint, but what is beneficial to the few, takes from the majority. The majority deserves that chance too, to be seen on Popular this Week, instead of it being locked out of it to the point of it being effectively unattainable.
Thing is, unless R.R has some kind of contract to keep them on that list through such means, then I don’t see another reason. Moreover, not opening the Popular List to more people can cause damage down the line. So, it is a good idea removing Stubs from having a chance on the list. That list should benefit those who are currently full time on R.R, since this site relies on having readers and writers to maintain itself.

Re: Changes to [Popular This Week]

#32

HereBeTreasure Wrote:
CloverCloverClover Wrote: A decay value is a good idea, but how do you set it? How do you implement things for literally anything that's not on the front page?

Same system as now for the most part, with one difference. Not an expert but I'm pretty sure the current popular this week ranking is based off of a weighted average of Page Views Per Week and other less important variables. All of these are calculated to create a single weighted number, let's say 50,000, which determines popular this week ranking. 

For example let's say Azarinth healer is always at 50,000, Beware of Chicken is at 45,000, and Primal Hunter is at 40,000. 

So you take this raw 50,000 number and subtract a decay number. Each day the novel stays on the frontpage, that decay number inflates. 

The end result is that a novel like Azarinth healer will be on the frontpage for 3 months out of 4, instead of 4 months out of 4. Sounds reasonable right? Still popular, but not suffocating other options. You take 3 months, then give 1 month for some other novels to take a breather in the spotlight. 

------

Eventually this combats the situation where you see a novel on the forntpage every single day for such an unreasonably long period of time that it starts to become irritating like Arcane Emperor or Everyone Loves Large Chests.

I say this from a reader's perspective, not an author's perspective.


Just chiming in to say that this is a great idea. Even if those stories come right back, that month of exposure could do wonders for smaller authors.

As for the thread, I mean yeah. Reserve visibility for works that are wholly readable on the site. It's a no-brainer and shouldn't be controversial at all.

Re: Changes to [Popular This Week]

#33


CloverCloverClover Wrote: What if it just ends up being a cycle of the same set of 30 or so fictions being on the front page, dropping off, then getting back on?
This is pretty much what it would be, but 30 fictions on the frontpage is significantly more than 5 lol 

CloverCloverClover Wrote: What happens if you find that some fictions require a greater decay rate than others if you don't want them to be stuck on the front page?
That just means that the story is more popular and deserves to be on the frontpage for a longer time. But, decay will eventually add up. Whether you make the decay linear or exponential, or linear for the first two months and then double that linear rate for every month thereafter, can be mathematically adjusted. 

I am not a programmer and this is a horribly butchered while loop just to get the point across, but I'm pretty sure this can be done with something along these lines

While fiction_time_on_frontpage <= 60 days, then decay_value = 60 * linear_value

While fiction_time_on_frontpage > 60 days, then decay_value = 60 * linear_value + (fiction_time_on_frontpage – 60)*2*linear_value

This line of code (if properly written, i apologize) would ramp up the decay to twice as fast for fictions that are above 60 days on the frontpage. And it use the exact same formula in the reverse to decrease decay value. 

Re: Changes to [Popular This Week]

#34

HereBeTreasure Wrote:
CloverCloverClover Wrote: What if it just ends up being a cycle of the same set of 30 or so fictions being on the front page, dropping off, then getting back on?
This is pretty much what it would be, but 30 fictions on the frontpage is significantly more than 5 lol 
CloverCloverClover Wrote: What happens if you find that some fictions require a greater decay rate than others if you don't want them to be stuck on the front page?

That just means that the story is more popular and deserves to be on the frontpage for a longer time. But, decay will eventually add up. Whether you make the decay linear or exponential, or linear for the first two months and then double that linear rate for every month thereafter, can be mathematically adjusted. 

I am not a programmer and this is a horribly butchered while loop just to get the point across, but I'm pretty sure this can be done with something along these lines

While fiction_time_on_frontpage > 60 days, then decay_value = 60 * linear_value + (fiction_time_on_frontpage – 60)*2*linear_value

This line of code (if properly written, i apologize) would ramp up the decay to twice as fast for fictions that are above 60 days on the frontpage. And it use the exact same formula in the reverse to decrease decay value.


Well that's sort of my point. I do have a little bit of general scientific knowledge about these sorts of things; a decay rate is not impossible to implement but it could be a lot more complex than you might think. Not that it's a bad idea, in fact I think it's a very good one, but it's not so simple to do and would require a bit of adjustment to get the efffects you want to see - and any adjustment you might make could possibly be interpreted as unfair to the fictions currently on the front page. 

And the overall effects - where it's just the same 30 fictions or so leaping up to the front page, dropping off, and then coming back on, well....I don't know that this is really much of a solution. It might be better than no decay rate at all, but I still think it's insufficient. Remember that the front page isn't *everything.* My prior, and I think it's a reasonable one, is that the current system - and really any popularity system as currently implemented - doesn't really reflect the quality of writing on the site. I think there are *tons* of stories that people would be interested in reading, but which have problems cracking through the visibility-popularity feedback loop that keeps some fictions currently stuck at the top for a long time.

 What I think you should aim for is a system that's dynamic enough so that completely new fictions regularly rise to the top; not merely a cycle of the same 30 or so fictions dropping off and coming back on. Perhaps this could be done with a combination of decay rate, and a tracking measure of *how many clicks a fiction has received from being on the front page*. That way, if a fiction is on the front page for a while, and then decays off, it becomes more difficult for it to get back on there. 

I think there could also be a Hall of Fame list, as another user suggested - but not for KU stubs, but rather for fictions that have managed to remain on the front page for 3 months or a month or whatever. 

Re: Changes to [Popular This Week]

#35

CloverCloverClover Wrote: And the overall effects - where it's just the same 30 fictions or so leaping up to the front page, dropping off, and then coming back on, well....I don't know that this is really much of a solution. It might be better than no decay rate at all, but I still think it's insufficient. Remember that the front page isn't *everything.*
I think we're considering things from a different perspective.

Practicality standpoint– A simple solution is more likely to be actually implemented. 

Dev Intent standpoint– The intention of the frontpage is to bring website readers to guaranteed you'll-have-a-good-time reads. So blockbuster novels do have a place on the frontpage. What is currently the issue is the complete monopolization of frontpage space by a handful of novels that I can literally name off the top of my head because I've seen them so often. 

Strictly better standpoint– This solution is strictly better than the current one, despite not being perfect. 30 novels on the frontpage is strictly better than 5, and the top 30 are by no means bad novels. 

Frontpage is actually everything standpoint– The frontpage brings so many views that it's absurd. The difference between the last novel on the frontpage and the first novel on the second page are night and day, I know this firsthand from rising stars and popular this week. It's unfathomable how big the difference is. 

Reader perspective– I talk about this issue mostly from a reader's perspective. It gets tiring when you're looking for something new to constantly get bombarded with Arcane Emperor, ELLC, Wandering Inn in the past, and now Azarinth healer and pals. Like yes I get that they might be good, but no story is good enough to warrant years of frontpage exclusivity. 

Re: Changes to [Popular This Week]

#36

HereBeTreasure Wrote:
CloverCloverClover Wrote: And the overall effects - where it's just the same 30 fictions or so leaping up to the front page, dropping off, and then coming back on, well....I don't know that this is really much of a solution. It might be better than no decay rate at all, but I still think it's insufficient. Remember that the front page isn't *everything.*
I think we're considering things from a different perspective.

Practicality standpoint– A simple solution is more likely to be actually implemented. 

Dev Intent standpoint– The intention of the frontpage is to bring website readers to guaranteed you'll-have-a-good-time reads. So blockbuster novels do have a place on the frontpage. What is currently the issue is the complete monopolization of frontpage space by a handful of novels that I can literally name off the top of my head because I've seen them so often. 

Strictly better standpoint– This solution is strictly better than the current one, despite not being perfect. 30 novels on the frontpage is strictly better than 5, and the top 30 are by no means bad novels. 

Frontpage is actually everything standpoint– The frontpage brings so many views that it's absurd. The difference between the last novel on the frontpage and the first novel on the second page are night and day, I know this firsthand from rising stars and popular this week. It's unfathomable how big the difference is. 

Reader perspective– I talk about this issue mostly from a reader's perspective. It gets tiring when you're looking for something new to constantly get bombarded with Arcane Emperor, ELLC, Wandering Inn in the past, and now Azarinth healer and pals. Like yes I get that they might be good, but no story is good enough to warrant years of frontpage exclusivity.


Well, that's why I'm saying that the decay system alone might be insufficient. 

Like if you're a reader, who wants to have some diversity in what they're recommended - and you're bothered by the front page being dominated by the same set of fictions - then *presumably* you have already gone and clicked *past* the first page onto the second page of recommendations. It might not be all that much of a benefit to you if the same set of 30 fictions are just cycled in and out of the top 10 on the front page. What would be of interest to you is if good reads - and my working theory is that there are plenty of good reads out there who just don't get much attention, and are having trouble breaking into the visibility-popularity feedback loop - regularly floated up. 

If you have a raw popularity score, minus some decay term for how long you've been on the front page -which itself decays when you get booted off - and then minus an *additional* term that tracks the total amount of attention you've received from the front page, in terms of clicks or time - you'll still likely have a mess of fics that tend to cycle on and off the front page, but it should be a lot easier for *newcomers* to make their way up there, as well - since the more time a fic spends cycling on and off the front page, the more of a penalty it has compared to a newcomer who hasn't had any attention yet.  

Re: Changes to [Popular This Week]

#37

CloverCloverClover Wrote: . It might not be all that much of a benefit to you if the same set of 30 fictions are just cycled in and out of the top 10 on the front page. What would be of interest to you is if good reads - and my working theory is that there are plenty of good reads out there who just don't get much attention, and are having trouble breaking into the visibility-popularity feedback loop - regularly floated up.


What I think you are suggesting is fundamentally different from the existing system. Instead of having 5 novels or 30 novels in popular this week frontpage, you might be suggesting like 1,000 to have a chance. By the 1000th book the quality and mainstream appeal is going to be drastically different. That's why I'd guess that this has no chance of being implemented.

What I'm suggesting is a bit more similar to the original system, while also tapping the devs on the shoulder to remind them that RR has a lot more novels than it used to have, and that splitting 5 frontpage slots between 5,000 novels and 5 slots between 30,000 novels is quite different. 

I think that the quality and mainstream appeal of the top 30 is not that much worse than the top 5.

However, the 999th novel may actually be worse for the site if it's on the frontpage due to lacking wide appeal or quality. For example if a well written romance novel appeared on the frontpage. Even if it is well written, it lacks widespread appeal given the audience on this site. And that would be detrimental to the site, as the devs have said they want to focus on their niche. 

Re: Changes to [Popular This Week]

#38

HereBeTreasure Wrote:
CloverCloverClover Wrote: . It might not be all that much of a benefit to you if the same set of 30 fictions are just cycled in and out of the top 10 on the front page. What would be of interest to you is if good reads - and my working theory is that there are plenty of good reads out there who just don't get much attention, and are having trouble breaking into the visibility-popularity feedback loop - regularly floated up.


What I think you are suggesting is fundamentally different from the existing system. Instead of having 5 novels or 30 novels in popular this week frontpage, you might be suggesting like 1,000 to have a chance. By the 1000th book the quality and mainstream appeal is going to be drastically different. That's why I'd guess that this has no chance of being implemented.

What I'm suggesting is a bit more similar to the original system, while also tapping the devs on the shoulder to remind them that RR has a lot more novels than it used to have, and that splitting 5 frontpage slots between 5,000 novels and 5 slots between 30,000 novels is quite different. 

I think that the quality and mainstream appeal of the top 30 is not that much worse than the top 5, but the top 5 just benefit from the feedback loop. However, the 999th novel may actually be worse whether it be quality wise or appeal breadth wise.


Well, first I dispute the idea that the quality of writing or mainstream appeal declines a lot outside of the top 30. I think part of the weakness of any popularity system is that it's very *noisy.* You can *on average, across many fictions* expect that writing quality will increase with a fiction's rating, but a pure popularity system is actually a very poor measure for that on an individual level. We should also not confuse "is currently popular" (what the current rankings measure) with "potential to become popular." Popularity is *correlated* with writing quality and mainstream appeal, but is not a perfect *measure* of those. And that's really the fundamental problem - we use popularity as a proxy for all these other things we'd like to measure for (because those other things are *difficult* to measure for, and subjective, popularity is the best we can do), but it is actually a *separate measure entirely*, and what's worse, popularity *reinforces itself* independent of the qualities we're trying to use it as a proxy for. I'm not saying popularity is completely de-linked from quality, but there is - and this extends to everything - a certain degree of "People like it because it's what a bunch of other people like". Not necessarily even because of any social effects, but because of the simple snowballing effects of *notice*. That's why I think any popularity system needs *something* to shake up the self-reinforcing effects of popularity, if what you want is a system that regularly delivers to readers recommendations for fresh, good stories. I don't think introducing a penalty term that sticks with a fiction in addition to a decay rate for time spent on the front page will necessarily mean as many as 1000 fictions are cycling on and off the front page. But a few hundred, definitely.  

Re: Changes to [Popular This Week]

#39
In regards to the OP, I believe the author is making the point that he feels betrayed by the timing of the change (just after the going to KU and taking down chapters) and how it was not communicated (despite being asked to write a testimonial for the site). I think the author is justified in feeling hurt about it. Kanadaj also acknowledges that the failure to communicate was a mistake. Kanadaj also lists several reasons for why this mistake occurred, which sounds reasonable to me, but does not negate the fact that a mistake was made. Nor does it negate that humans are fallible and not all mistakes should be seen as an unforgiveable sin. It should especially not be assumed that it was a deliberate oversight without sufficient proof. Especially since while this site neglected to inform the affected authors, even puddles4263 (the author of The Legend of Randidly Ghosthound) notes they did not inform RR they were removing chapters to move to KU either. 

Having said that, also agree that the change to exclude stubs makes sense. I also hope it stays this way. I believe the Popular This Week list is for users to get to the homepage and immediately see popular stories that they can immediately start reading on the site. Not stories that they can partly read on the site before being forced to go somewhere else and paying for it. I don't think authors who go to KU are evil people, but I don't think their stubs should be on the Popular This Week list either as that is not what the list is for. I also give kudos to some of the authors affected by this who acknowledge that this change makes sense. Especially those who are negatively affected by this change but still maintain their objectivity in recognising how sensible this change is. Which at the time of writing this includes puddles4263 (the author of The Legend of Randidly Ghosthound) as seen by how he wrote this in his note on the matter: 
puddles4263 Wrote: "And when asked, the admins here talked about how they didn't want popular to be filled with stories that new readers would need to go off-site to start reading. That makes sense to me."
Based on this, I do also think that some commenters (particularly on the announcement linked in the OP) are a little too dramatic on what has happened and how bad this change is. I agree that it should have been better communicated, disagree on whether the change itself was bad. Agree that it makes sense for people to be hurt when not communicated to, disagree on how 'bad' some people think this failure to communicate was, especially considering it was mutual.


Which also possibly brings up another subtopic that this thread seems to have gone on and which I have an opinion that might not be popular here: I don't see a problem with a semi-static Popular This Week list that takes a long time to change. These stories have a mass appeal. I don't like all of the stories on that list, but I don't think they should be dropped from it simply because they have been there too long. I see this list as helping people find stories that a lot of other people have read recently. I don't see why this has to be something new and frequently changing. In fact, I think if it changed too often I would think that RR readers are flip-floppers simply chasing the flavour-of-the-week rather than having semi-static views on what they do and do not like. 

I do see incredible value to readers and authors on increasing visibility for other stories. But I believe that is what "latest updates" and "rising stars" are for. Both of which are above the Popular This Week list. I also note that "RECOMMENDED FOR YOU" list appears above the Popular This Week list and never mentions any of those stories there. And similarly the best reviews list seldom mentions any stories on the Popular This Week list, but often does include new stories. I don't think the Popular This Week list should be compromised to give another avenue for new/other stories. It serves a valuable purpose as a way for new and older users to find reliable favourites (hopefully those that you can wholly read on this site) and should remain so. 
For new and other stories, I hope there are increased ways of identifying other gems, but not by compromising something that serves another purpose (i.e. the Popular This Week list). I acknowledge that there is a snowball effect. However, there is also one for stories that aren't on the Popular This Week list (e.g. those on the 'Rising Stars' list). I hope this site continues to improve and find more opportunities and avenues for other stories to be given more exposure (e.g. separating best rated between ongoing and completed). But not at the expense of the Popular This Week list which helps newer and not-so-new users find regular favourites that are still uploading new chapters relatively regularly.

Re: Changes to [Popular This Week]

#40

CloverCloverClover Wrote:
HereBeTreasure Wrote:
CloverCloverClover Wrote: And the overall effects - where it's just the same 30 fictions or so leaping up to the front page, dropping off, and then coming back on, well....I don't know that this is really much of a solution. It might be better than no decay rate at all, but I still think it's insufficient. Remember that the front page isn't *everything.*
I think we're considering things from a different perspective.

Practicality standpoint– A simple solution is more likely to be actually implemented. 

Dev Intent standpoint– The intention of the frontpage is to bring website readers to guaranteed you'll-have-a-good-time reads. So blockbuster novels do have a place on the frontpage. What is currently the issue is the complete monopolization of frontpage space by a handful of novels that I can literally name off the top of my head because I've seen them so often. 

Strictly better standpoint– This solution is strictly better than the current one, despite not being perfect. 30 novels on the frontpage is strictly better than 5, and the top 30 are by no means bad novels. 

Frontpage is actually everything standpoint– The frontpage brings so many views that it's absurd. The difference between the last novel on the frontpage and the first novel on the second page are night and day, I know this firsthand from rising stars and popular this week. It's unfathomable how big the difference is. 

Reader perspective– I talk about this issue mostly from a reader's perspective. It gets tiring when you're looking for something new to constantly get bombarded with Arcane Emperor, ELLC, Wandering Inn in the past, and now Azarinth healer and pals. Like yes I get that they might be good, but no story is good enough to warrant years of frontpage exclusivity.


Well, that's why I'm saying that the decay system alone might be insufficient. 

Like if you're a reader, who wants to have some diversity in what they're recommended - and you're bothered by the front page being dominated by the same set of fictions - then *presumably* you have already gone and clicked *past* the first page onto the second page of recommendations. It might not be all that much of a benefit to you if the same set of 30 fictions are just cycled in and out of the top 10 on the front page. What would be of interest to you is if good reads - and my working theory is that there are plenty of good reads out there who just don't get much attention, and are having trouble breaking into the visibility-popularity feedback loop - regularly floated up. 

If you have a raw popularity score, minus some decay term for how long you've been on the front page -which itself decays when you get booted off - and then minus an *additional* term that tracks the total amount of attention you've received from the front page, in terms of clicks or time - you'll still likely have a mess of fics that tend to cycle on and off the front page, but it should be a lot easier for *newcomers* to make their way up there, as well - since the more time a fic spends cycling on and off the front page, the more of a penalty it has compared to a newcomer who hasn't had any attention yet.


There is also a lot that can be done with the 'raw popularity score' itself to make it less self-perpetuating. Have it include reader retention for example or the ratio of readers to followers. Anything that can be measured that is disconnected from the raw numbers of views would allow smaller stories to breakthrough. Ratings do that to some extend already I guess, but just one divisive part in a story can cause a handful of people to 0.5 star. As it stands it feels too prone to abuse.