Why are Popular Favorites scrambled? April 14, 2011 10:19 AM   Subscribe

I don't usually have time to read all of the questions on AskMeFi, so I rely on the Popular Favorites (24 hours) tab to screen the submitted questions for those found most interesting by other MeFites. The problem is that because of the way they are sorted I sometimes miss some.
Would it be possible to sort them chronologically by the time and date of submission, the most recent being at the top of the list? That way I could scroll down the list until I get to the question I remember from my last browsing session. What do others think? Thanks!
posted by Daddy-O to Feature Requests at 10:19 AM (12 comments total)

The problem is that the threshold for inclusion on the list is constantly changing. Sometimes it takes 20 favorites to get on the list, sometimes 50. It just depends on how much favoriting is going on. That means it's tough to calculate back to know when exactly something got on the list.

It isn't a static list that things get added to and removed from at regular intervals. The page is a calculation that happens when you load the page.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:26 AM on April 14, 2011


Seems like it makes more sense to order them by number of favorites. I guess what pb says about it being generated on the fly means there isn't an RSS feed you could subscribe to?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:30 AM on April 14, 2011


No, there's no feed for popular Ask posts within the last 24 hours. That's something we could add if people want it. The closest now is a feed for All Popular Posts across all sites in the last seven days.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:33 AM on April 14, 2011


pb, thanks for explaining the obvious to me. I now understand how it works and why the premise of my question is faulty. Thanks!
posted by Daddy-O at 10:33 AM on April 14, 2011


nah, it's not obvious. It seems like it should be like a billboard chart. Things are added at a particular moment and things are removed at a particular moment. But the list isn't published at a particular time—it's published continuously for everyone who loads it.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:47 AM on April 14, 2011


I could have sworn I found such a feed, but it turns out I did a bit of client side hackery with XPath.

xmlstarlet ed -d "//*/item/link[not(contains(text(),'ask'))]/.."

Someone could probably make this in Yahoo pipes.
posted by pwnguin at 10:59 AM on April 14, 2011


It isn't a static list that things get added to and removed from at regular intervals. The page is a calculation that happens when you load the page.

It seems like the generated page could at least put the posts in chronological order by the date they were originally posted.

Not a perfect solution, but given that most posts get the bulk of their favorites in the first 48 hours it would make the ordering slightly more useful.
posted by Meta Filter at 11:43 AM on April 14, 2011


The posts are currently in order by the number of favorites—it's not a random order. I think it's useful and expected to show the posts in that order on a Popular Posts page.
posted by pb (staff) at 12:19 PM on April 14, 2011


Changing the order is likely to be way more confusing to people who are used to "most favorites on top" which is how we've been doing this page since it has existed. So I get that there are a few sensemaking orders, but I don't think chronological is any more sensemaking than what we have.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:19 PM on April 14, 2011


Fair enough.
posted by Meta Filter at 1:06 PM on April 14, 2011


That was meta.
posted by doublehappy at 4:01 PM on April 14, 2011


MetaFilter: a calculation that happens when you load the page.
posted by hippybear at 12:54 PM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


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