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    • I feel that the combination of feeds and sort modes is a bit confusing.

      There are four different feeds ("For You", "Featured", "All", "Following"), two of which come with three possible sort modes ("Interesting", "Active", "New") while the other two can't be sorted, for a total of eight different combinations.

      The major problem I have is that I mostly want to use the combinations "For You"&"Interesting" and "All"&"New". That means that, to navigate from one to the other, I have to click twice because the choice of sort mode sticks between feeds.

      A short-term solution for this might be to allow for each feed to have its own sort mode - but then, I wonder if there isn't some amount of redundancy in these combinations, which could be streamlined a bit. For example, isn't "For You" already the stuff that is "Interesting" to me? And if I already saw the interesting stuff in my "For You" feed, to I need to sort "All" the same way, or wouldn't it be better if "All" was always sorted using one of the other two modes?

      A secondary problem is that I tend to forget about the "Following" feed, because it is the only one not accessible via a text button but instead via a star icon. Perhaps the currently three different navigational elements (icons, tabs, pull-down menu) could be combined into just two?

    • I would like to pick my preferred landing spot, I tend to go tot new/all to look for interesting stuff. To that end my cake bookmark is to the all feed not the normal landing page.

      The for me is limited and I miss new topics or different conversations, I could put a huge follow list but that is extra work!

    • That post doesn't mention sort modes, though - and much less my concerns about the UI independent of any content considerations.

      Regarding sort modes, I wonder if all three are really useful for both feeds they are available in. For example, what does the combination of "For You"&"Interesting" do? Supposedly, "For You" already is the sort of stuff I find interesting (or I wouldn't have followed in the first place).

      Of course there are probably ways to sort supposedly "even more interesting" stuff before "somewhat less interesting" stuff, for example by not only checking if I follow at least one of the conversations of a topic, but by counting how many of them I follow. But then, how does this sort mode sort the "All" feed, which I only have a need for to see stuff that I didn't already see in my "For You" feed?

      Is it really sensible to sort "everything" by some assumed "interest value"? How sensible is it to point out that "interesting stuff" is, by default, sorted by this "interest value"? Depending on the answers to these questions, there might be an opportunity to clean up the UI a bit - not to remove one or another thing that someone might find useful, but to rearrange the individual parts.

      Another thing I'd like to point out is that neither "Following" nor "Featured" can currently be sorted. One reason for that might be that it isn't too useful to offer an "interest-based" sort mode here - but I think that it would be useful to sort these feeds by either the creation or last-reply timestamps, which basically is what the other sort modes do.

    • Regarding the sort mode "Interesting", I currently see the following at the top of my feed:

      First conversation is 8 hours old, has 1 post (which means that "last-reply" is also 8 hours ago), belongs to two topics one of which I'm following.

      Second conversation (this!) is 16 hours old, has 4 posts (the last of which is 3 hours old), belongs to one topic that I'm not following, but was created by me.

      Comparing these two, the first one obviously gets higher scores for:
      > conversation age
      > number of topics I'm following

      whereas the second conversation should get higher scores for:
      > number of replies
      > time since last reply
      > activity in replies/age
      > my participation in the conversation
      > the fact that I started the conversation

      Now, this is only circumstantial evidence, but I think that the second conversation should be considered to be more interesting to me than the first.

    • The most important thing to understand here is that sorts are not filters.

      The various feeds present various filtered views of conversations. For You only contains conversations in topics you follow. Featured only contains featured conversations. All contains every conversation.

      Within each of those feeds, we have to choose what order to display the conversations in. Order matters a great deal because people are more likely to see the conversations near the top of the feed and less likely to see the conversations near the bottom of the feed. So even though the For You feed ultimately contains all the conversations in the topics you follow, that's not enough to make it good. We also need to display them in an order that helps you find the ones you'd most like to see first.

      The Interesting sort mode is an attempt to do this. It's an algorithmic sort (not a filter) that ranks conversations on a variety of signals, including the age of the conversation, the number of posts, and the number of reactions.

      Each signal is weighted differently. Age is weighted heavily for more recent conversations, but the weighting of a conversation's age falls off rapidly. The result is that newer conversations can rank pretty highly even if they don't yet have a lot of posts or reactions, but as they get older, that effect rapidly decays and the number of posts and reactions becomes more important than the age.

      We do it this way to create a balance: a conversation can't get posts and reactions until people see it, so we need to help people see new conversations. But not all new conversations are good conversations, so if an older conversation has a lot of posts and reactions, we may want to bubble that up above newer conversations because it's more likely to be interesting.

      There are a lot of tradeoffs involved, obviously.

    • Ah, so this is less "Interesting [to you]" and more "Interesting [to everyone]". Understood, thanks for clearing up that misunderstanding! :)

    • @Vilen Thanks for reminding me of this post via thumbs-up. I just saw the new hash icon and that "Following" now is a 1st class citizen. Nice!

      EDIT: Sort modes are sticky as well, yay! :)

    • Based on your feedback and after some internal prototyping we now have a solution. We've decided to combine all conversation feeds (For You, Following, Featured and All) under a single tab. This makes it much easier to switch between conversation feeds.

      We took it even further and the sort order within each feed is now persistent. For example: you can have "For You" feed to be sorted by "Interesting", "Following" by "Active" and "All" by "Newest" and it will stay that way on any device you use.

      How's that @Factotum?

    • This is great - thanks @Vilen and everyone else! :)

      I will play around with this for a while, but I think this will really enhance my navigation on this site.

    You've been invited!