Favorite count vs. comment count in popular posts November 21, 2008 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Pony: Unless I'm wrong, it seems that inclusion on the 'popular posts' page/rss feed is limited to highly favorited threads. Can we get threads with a lot of comments included on that page/feed as well, even if they don't have a lot of favorites? Or a separate page for that sort of thing?
posted by Who_Am_I to Feature Requests at 10:53 AM (9 comments total)

You may be opening yourself up to a page that includes posts with a flame war or derail or joke pyramid that the mods haven't caught yet. Comment quantity doesn't indicate quality. Neither does favoriting, for that matter, but there seems to be a closer correlation.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 11:26 AM on November 21, 2008

Yeah I wouldn't necessarily take number of comments as a barometer of quality. But there have been some great long discussions that I only caught because one comment (more often than not Astro Zombie's) got a lot of favorites, while the post itself only had a few.
posted by Who_Am_I at 11:31 AM on November 21, 2008

There really isn't a good correlation between lots of comments and how good a post is and I might cautiously say there's an inverse relationship. The way to get something on the "popular" page is to favorite it, not to comment in it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:58 AM on November 21, 2008

Well just browsing the front page there is this post with over 100 comments, including some interesting discussion and insight, but only 6 favorites. I would have missed it if I weren't slacking at work today. I guess there are really two kinds of popular posts: the ones with solid content, and the ones that generate discussion (of course they often overlap). My impression is that people are generally favoriting the first kind and not the second, but I (and I imagine other people) am interested in both. Maybe you guys don't want to highlight a post just because it's generating activity, and I can understand that, I just wanted to put it out there as a possible alternative metric.
posted by Who_Am_I at 1:15 PM on November 21, 2008

Yeah I totally understand your point and the rift here is that while some posts with many comments are noteworthy just like the one you pointed out, there are also many posts with a lot of comments that are terrible. I feel that if we pulled out many-comment posts in some sort of formal sitewide fashion, it would be implying something about these posts [i.e. that people should pay attention to them extra for some reason] that didn't reflect how we actually feel about many of the specific posts.

Personally I feel that the time I spent chasing flags and moderating the huge unweildy terrible Sarah Palin threads are days of my life that I will never get back, so I admit that I may hav a personal bias here. Maybe this is a sort of thing that one of the existing Greasemonkey scripts could be expanded to do. In many cases the Recent Comments tab does highlight some of the active threads on the front page which is another way to look for these sorts of posts.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:57 PM on November 21, 2008

I would have missed it if I weren't slacking at work today.

What a good time for a joyous retort to the hilarious jessamantra: SLACK MORE.

The way to get something on the "popular" page is to favorite it, not to comment in it.

Along these lines, one user is easily capable of 100+ comments whereas 100 favorites usually* takes a mob. It's the difference between rabidly insane and popular.

*There's gotta be some User out there with 100 socks.
posted by carsonb at 4:08 PM on November 21, 2008

If the RSS is triggered by a high number of comments, the feed will attract more readers, and those readers will leave more comments, and it's going to be one damned unwieldy thread.

(Also, FYI, there is a Greasemonkey script that highlights the FPPs with lots of comments, so you'd just need to skim the front page to find 'em.)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:42 AM on November 22, 2008

If a post is not outstanding but generates a good discussion, then you would expect some of those comments to be favourited. So perhaps a list based on the number of users who favourite comments within that thread would achieve Who_Am_I's purpose?
posted by robcorr at 5:44 PM on November 23, 2008

At the time of writing, this thread has 184 comments and two favorites, for a F/C ratio of 0.01 (zone of painful beanplating). Has anyone calculated this metric for the whole site? Are there any interesting trends?
posted by anthill at 10:01 AM on December 5, 2008

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