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Maybe it’s just me, but I think that perhaps when the speed of new submissions is at a certain rate that perhaps the amount of Sphinns needed for a story to go popular currently being used might be a little high. As I post this, the last 25 "hot" stories span over 50 hours of "going hot" (from "Went Hot: October 7, 2007 - 7:30 am" to "Went Hot: October 9, 2007 - 10:43 am"). I went 10 pages in, and before the stories seemed to be going hot at a slightly faster clip back then, with only a little over 24 hours being represented on a single page.

Thoughts?
Comments34 Comments  

Comments

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from JohnWeb 3696 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I agree, the home page is a bit stale, personally I spend more time on What’s new.  If I recall this has been brought up before and they were satisfied with the rate.  It’s based on some sort of complicated non-linear model which related to moon phases or something like that.

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from tamar 3696 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I think your point is valid, but it will take some time for the admins to find the "sweet spot" for stories.

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from mvandemar 3696 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Actually, I was thinking that submission rate, or even maximum Sphinns of all non-hot  stories in the past 24 hours, could be used as part of the threshold algo, rather than a fixed number. That way they wouldn’t need to tweak it, it would be self adjusting. Make sense?

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from DazzlinDonna 3696 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Yes, a week or two ago, my story would have had a chance to go hot because the number of stories pouring in were much less.  But today, my story was sent packing to page 2 before I could finish my cup of coffee.  Once it’s off that first page, it doesn’t have much of a chance, even if it got close to the required number of sphinns, because no one sees it.

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from matt608 3696 Days ago #
Votes: 1

20 sphinns was a good amount for page1...

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from AndyBeard 3696 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I wrote a similar discussion post when it was raised from 15 to 20, when there were typically 3 days worth of articles on the front page.If someone feels their article is so worthwhile that they want it promoted, they are going to do everything in their power to encourage it, but we will always see posts that might deserve more readers slip thorugh.The bar is now set at 22 and won’t represent a barrier for certain types of content.

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from kevgibbo 3696 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I agree, it can also take 2 days for a story to hit the frontpage too so by the time it’s reached the bottom of the homepage it could be 5-6 days old.

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from kevgibbo 3696 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Although maybe if the homepage just displayed the top 20 stories instead it would kick off the older topics, I think tamar’s right it’s about finding the right balance to keep the quality high and content fresh which can’t be easy for a website rapidly growing in popularity.

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from ViperChill 3696 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Ive seen this suggested a few times but I’ll write it again, if we could show the hottest upcoming stories on the homepage then more stories are likely to get attention.

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from nowsourcing 3696 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Glen’s point is a good one.  If a story had 10 sphinns in a short period of time, perhaps that would be enough to bring it to the homepage.Or, maybe all we need is to remove hot stories from the homepage after 24 hours, like Propeller does.This community is still growing at a nice clip (looks like 3900 registered users at this point - if you look at http://sphinn.com/network/ and multiply 78 pages @ 50 per page), but this won’t necessarily mean quality.  I don’t envy the jobs of the admins here :)

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from evilgreenmonkey 3696 Days ago #
Votes: 0

We’re constantly adjusting the algo for going hot, trying to find the "sweet spot" as Tamar pointed out (no jokes please!). The day, month and probably conferences all change how many users are active on Sphinn and therefore the number of Sphinns per story. We don’t want everything to go hot, I’m a believer in quality over quanitity (and hate Top 10 style lists), although we all want fresh good quality news that’s available on the homepage.

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from Harith 3696 Days ago #
Votes: 0

evilgreenmonkeyWith all due respect, you are not addressing the specific issue. When Sphinners lose interest in "a bit stale" front page and prefer to go directly to What’s New, there is a problem to be resolved. Once that is done, you may take all the time you need to find all the "Sweet Spots" on this planet ;-)

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from Eloi 3696 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Well Said Harith.

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from Gamermk 3696 Days ago #
Votes: 2

For the Sphinn Power User the Front page is always going to be stale. The fact that you use the What’s New section is good! It’s what keeps the site going.And honestly... I don’t know what you guys want.. every morning I check my RSS Feeds and every morning Sphinn has at least 10 new hot items on the frontpage for me to read.

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from SearchBuzz 3696 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@DazzlinDonna -- I believe you hit the nail on the head.  Many more stories that have the potential to get "HOT" are sliding down a greased slide on the ’whats’ new page due to such a high submission rate.......they move too quickly.  Though, the other side to that, which is postive, is the fervor which community members are submitting articles. I usually go directly to the ’whats new’, ’most sphinns so far’, to see what is close to becoming hot, feeling those posts most exemplify my above example.Also, the ’time stamp’ for new submissions begins once you start the submission process, so if you take your time to come up with a creative title and story description, but have sumbitted the story url, your post may even start 4 or 5 stories down the ’what’s new’ page.  I have become somewhat discouraged to submit stories due to some of these issues.Also, I find tendencies of people not wanting to support other ’what’s new’ stories if they have a ’competing’ story on the page.  I have discussed this issue with a few other Sphinners.   I am not trying to be negative, I absolutely love this site and concept.  Sphinn is like my new ’rss’ reader thanks to the great community contributors and moderators.  ;)    I hope to be able to contribute more in the future....   Thank you to all for a great site!!

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from Gamermk 3696 Days ago #
Votes: 0

As this site grows there are only 3 things that can really assure your item gets hot.1. Luck2. Strong Heading3. Your Reputation That’s it. On one side, we have "my topic isn’t getting the opportunity to get hot!" on the other we have "my topic isn’t staying hot long enough!" The latter has to be favoured to some extent otherwise it’s not worth submitting in the first place. Everyone can say how the info isn’t current enough or that it’s too hard to get to the front page, but it’s pointless for information to hit the front page so easily that everyone is there and no one gets decent exposure.Rather than blaming the system, work on #2 and #3 on my list. How can you improve your odds?

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from planetc1 3696 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Let’s not forget the positive effect this is having on the sphinn community. I suspect everyone is working just a bit harder to...1) improve their content2) improve their headlines3) improve their reputation4) reach out to other sphinn members for supportThe result is better quality content and more importantly, improved skills that can be applied towards work being done for clients. I have learned LOADS here that I’ve been able to apply elsewhere, thanks to many of you.

Avatar Moderator
from graywolf 3696 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I feel like I’ve said this million times before but great content alone isn’t enough, you need to promote yourself/your story. Locking William Shakespear in your basement writing stories no one sees isn’t the answer.When a new movie comes out you’ll see comercials on TV. Chances are you’ll also see the stars on morning news shows, late night talk and comedy shows, you’ll probably even see them on a magazine cover or two. It’s a well thought out and planned marketing event, and you need to do the same with your stories.Of course everyone can only take so much of any one person promoting themselves at any time and if you saw Bruce Willis promoting a new movie every week it would stop being special, so pick and choose your moments.Does being popular help, of course it does, but it’s no guarantee of success just ask the producers of Gigli starring Ben Affleck and J Lo. Is there a lot of competiton sure there is, but again how many movies come out each week. All they hype, star power and marketing in the world can’t save a bad movie.You need that combination of content, marketing and timing to suceed.the line between shamless self promotion and friend spamming is a fuzzy moving target, in fact it’s probably a little different for  everyone, but you do have to compete a level equal to your peers or you’ll never stand out.

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from TimDineen 3696 Days ago #
Votes: 0

The problem with the guiding factors here being headlines, reputation/support and luck is that merit is not one of the top factors. I ’get it’ that maybe it’s necessary for people to ask their friends for votes or otherwise promote their Sphinns outside of this site, but I’d rather level the playing field or at least find a way that those posts by unknown authors who write great articles get the chance to rise to the top. (Note: often articles are posted by people other than the author, so you can’t always blame the author for a bad headline.)The exact opposite/wrong way to level the playing field would be if the What’s New page were to be sorted by most-popular or friends-only.I ’get it’ that (so far) that’s how social media works... but that’s one of two things I dislike about how SM works. (The other is that topics which are argumentative or controversial rise faster and higher than useful information even if it’s brand new or ground-breaking.)

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from Gamermk 3695 Days ago #
Votes: 0

A clever headline is merit.Reputation is based on merit.It’s not about asking friends to sphinn your stuff. It’s about branding yourself and everyone knowing that when you submit something its worth reading.

Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 3695 Days ago #
Votes: 1

You can blame me :)I nudged the bar up a bit (forgot to tell you Rob! -- I meant to but jumped on a plane) because we had so much hitting the home page. I think there is a sweet spot out there. Generally, we’ve been aiming for about 10 to 20 items to hit the home page per day. That’s just my gut feel for where the sweet spot should be -- interested to hear what others things. We were doing well over 20, so I took it up a bit. I’ve just brought it down, which should help freshen things up. But it does have to keep going up over time as we have more members coming on. When we started, something like 5 Sphinns would make a topic hot. But the number of Sphinns does feel like it should be tied to the number of members -- so more members, the Sphinns go up simple to keep the bar at the same level.

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from Harith 3695 Days ago #
Votes: 0

graywolfWith all due respect, your post is really irrelevant to the main issue of this thread. Either you haven’t understood the main point of this thread or you just wish to ignor it.The Sphinners who are taking advantage of the current 22 sphinns rate are mostly the "popular names". If Sphinn going to continue on "demanding" 22 sphinns to go "Hot Topic" we are going to miss many great contents of new fellow Sphinners just because:- The fellow Sphinner who submitted the story isn’t "popular" yet.- The fellow Sphinner who submitted the story isn’t as good promotor as Bruce Willis.- Other fellow Sphinners have been very "productive" to submit 5-7 submission in a row pushing other submission within very short time out of the first page of "What’s New".

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from Gamermk 3695 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@Harith:"The fellow Sphinner who submitted the story isn’t "popular" yet."1. Everyone has to do their time. Social Media rewards those that have taken the time to become "popular". People are popular for a reason and its not because they submit bad content."The fellow Sphinner who submitted the story isn’t as good promotor as Bruce Willis."2. As the person submitting a story you can take the time to craft a great headline, you can take the time to promote that thread, you can respond to comments on it, you can tell your friends everywhere to read it, or... you can do nothing. Results are often directly related to Effort."Other fellow Sphinners have been very "productive" to submit 5-7 submission in a row pushing other submission within very short time out of the first page of "What’s New"."3. What’s the issue here? If they sumbit 5 amazing stories... great! 5 amazing articles! If they submit a couple average stories and a couple crappy ones... we’ll learn. The community is smart. We can get "ad blindness" for users too.The biggest issue I have with your comment is that its very much coming off as for your personal gain. If the front page is filled with only the "popular members"... who cares? As long as the content is strong, that’s what matters. Social Media is not about Marketing. It’s about content popularity contest.

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from MiriamEllis 3695 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I keep trying to figure out if there’s a good time to submit to Sphinn. This week, I submitted an article I thought was newsworthy, about Google being sued. I submitted it just before going to bed late at night. When I woke up, it was burried in no man’s land, pages down. Yet, someone stumbled it and I had 498 people read it. So, clearly, the subject was of interest, but I think my timing was just bad on Sphinn and almost no one got to see it. I tend to be a night owl and do my Sphinning in the wee hours, but if most people jump out of bed in the morning and start Sphinning, maybe I’m at cross purposes with the crowd.Has anyone else noticed this issue?Miriam

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from Harith 3695 Days ago #
Votes: 0

GamermkThanks for detailed feedback. However when reading it I thought:Welcome To Sphinn Exclusive Coffee Club :-)"3. What’s the issue here? If they sumbit 5 amazing stories... great! 5 amazing articles! If they submit a couple average stories and a couple crappy ones... we’ll learn. The community is smart. We can get "ad blindness" for users too."C’mon give me a break. Sphinn has become a "Number Game" and you know it. The more you submit the more possibility that one of the crap you submitted will make it to "Hot Topics""The biggest issue I have with your comment is that its very much coming off as for your personal gain. If the front page is filled with only the "popular members"... who cares? As long as the content is strong, that’s what matters."Not at all. I have no problem in making it to Hot Topics. I’m mostly worried about the new Sphinners friends.

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from mvandemar 3695 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@Danny (and others)...My main point was that the algo could be tweaked to account for the variations in traffic. Everything that you guys use to decide where the bar should be at (total sphinns and submissions within a given period) is entirely detectable via algorithmic means. We are not even talking complex data... just speed, number, and dates of submissions and sphinns, and number of stories to go hot in the previous 24 hours. That’s it. My suggestion is to set a bare bones minimum and adjust it upwards based on traffic in the past 24 hours. Make it a variable calculated on the fly, not a fixed number.Also, I do like what ViperChill suggested as well... what about a sidebar on the front page showing just the titles and number of Sphinns (not a Sphinn button, just a link to the submission) of the top 10 submissions that haven’t gone hot yet?

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from Gamermk 3695 Days ago #
Votes: 0

1. Of course, it’s a numbers game. It hasn’t become, it always has been. If I submit something amazing, people are going to check my profile and see if I have anything else really cool submitted. The more quality submissions the greater chance that each submission will get the sphinns required for some real coverage.2. The system is great for new Sphinners. They can submit a bunch of stuff and it goes into the what’s new section just like everyone else. The hardest part about being a new Sphinner is they don’t know the what’s "trendy". Should I talk about Blogrush this week? A new user who just saw this might think its huge news... regular visitors know better.The only way that I feel you have a point is if you prove there is Bad Content in Hot Topics -or-If you can show me a number of amazing articles with fantastic headings that didn’t make the front page.Regardless, keep in mind even if Sphinn isn’t necessarily ready for 22. Eventually it will be. As the user base grows... so must the Sphinns to be hot.

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from g1smd 3695 Days ago #
Votes: 0

>>  and prefer to go directly to What’s New, there is a problem to be resolved.  <<I mostly look at What’s New to see stories soon after they are posted. I rarely look at the front page.Of course, if no-one goes to What’s New then nothing will ever be voted on.  The amount of time that stories stay on the front page is not a major issue, I see some other sites with up to a week, maybe ten days. 

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from g1smd 3695 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I also visit comments and live a lot to see what stories people are commenting on. That picks up a lot of older stuff that is still active.  Other than that, I probably do still miss a lot of good content.

Avatar Administrator
from MattMcGee 3695 Days ago #
Votes: 0

1. It’s great that so many people are passionate about Sphinn.2. I’m with g1smd in the previous comment. I get the front page stuff in my RSS and never visit the front page itself. 3. As the community grows, the users’ behavior has to adapt. If you’re interested in finding new stories, new writers, new blogs, and giving them some support, you have to go beyond page one of "What’s New." It’s that simple. When I have time, I’m hitting the 3rd and 4th pages just to keep up.4. Harith - it’s a fact of life that popularity rules the day on social media. I’m sure many of us have submitted great things to digg or wherever, but because we don’t have Tamar’s reputation :), our submissions go nowhere. Ergo, if you want to help the less popular Sphinners, you have to do what I said in #3.5. Miriam - most certainly there are better times of day, and even better days, to submit.

Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 3695 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@harith, I simply continue to see plenty of stories go hot on the basis of the story merit itself, not just that someone is popular at submitting. That helps -- no doubt -- but it is not the only factor. I also disagree that the more you submit, the more likely one of your "crap" topics will make it up. Actually, if you’re submitting a lot, the moderators are noting that, sometimes wiping out stories if people who are new do too many in violation of the news guidelines. Just submitting a lot is definitely not helpful.@miriamellis: No idea if there’s a "good" time, but I also can only stress again we’re looking at making rising stories on the What’s New page more visible plus will have other things we hope will help over time. We’re almost done with the needed software upgrade that had to happen first. In fact, some of that should be visible now. Hopefully, the site is feeling more responsive.@mvandemar: I wish the Pligg software was so sophisticated to account for traffic variations. It’s not. As for the top 10 idea. Yes. Yes, yes, yes. I’ve said about 10 times in different threads that this is coming. We hope to have it in place by the end of the month.

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from Harith 3695 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Danny,"Actually, if you’re submitting a lot, the moderators are noting that, sometimes wiping out stories if people who are new do too many in violation of the news guidelines. Just submitting a lot is definitely not helpful."But I still wish to hear an argument justifying that Allowing Sphinners to submit more than once a day is of benefit to the community ;-)

Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 3695 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Harith, I’ve posted several times that we expect to make it so that those new to Sphinn won’t be able to post more than once per day, to force them to actually understand how the community works and reduce spam.But after a set period of time, say a week or so, keep that going? Why? If someone is finding unique and good material, I see no reason to limit them. We do have guidelines asking that members not submit too many items in a row. But I have no argument to prevent people from submitting more than once, other than those who are brand new, because I see no reason to do so.

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from mvandemar 3695 Days ago #
Votes: 1

<blockquote>@mvandemar: I wish the Pligg software was so sophisticated to account for traffic variations.</blockquote>@Danny - Pligg is completely open source. If you tell me what variables should be taken into account I will take a peek and see if it’s a quick fix, and ask over at the Pligg forums (although sometimes it takes a while to get an answer there, or did last time I was active on them). I mean, if the application pulls the current threshold from the database, and you don’t have to hardcode it into the PHP every time you change it, then it’s simply a matter of changing the SELECT statement to one that pulls from a couple of different places and calculates out the number. It might be a little more involved than that, since I don’t know at this point if every Sphinn has a timestamp on it, but it shouldn’t be too bad, really.

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