56 votes

Daily Tildes discussion - is "activity" sort still holding up as the default?

Howdy. Things are still very busy (which is why I'm falling behind on plans like getting the code open-sourced). The TrueReddit thread yesterday went very well, and I still have hundreds of invite request emails piled up from it. We're also now up over 2000 registered users, and activity is very high for such a new site - there have already been over 100 new topics posted today alone, and over 2000 comments.

As part of that, one of the things I'm trying to get done very soon (in the next few hours, I really hope) is splitting off these "official" posts into their own dedicated group, so people can feel free to unsubscribe from ~tildes without worrying about missing important announcements. There's a ton of activity in ~tildes with suggestions, bug reports, questions, etc. which are all great, but I understand if people would rather not have that filling up their home page and only go to check on it specifically when they feel like it.

On a similar note, since I asked everybody to read a super long, in-depth talk transcript yesterday, I'll keep it simpler today:

Do you think the "activity" sort is still a decent default?

I feel like it's working pretty well (and you can change to other sorting methods and time periods if you like, though it doesn't save your choice yet), but it's definitely leaning the site more towards "forum-like" activity, with the threads more towards the "discussion" end than links, articles, and so on.

So is this still good for now, or should we think about switching the default over to "newest" or "most votes", and let people just pick "activity" on their own if they're interested in that more forum-like experience?

42 comments

  1. [8]
    rkcr Link
    I think "activity" is still best while the userbase is small. Otherwise we'll stagnate on just a few posts. That said, I take back what I said when you originally added "activity" - I think there...

    I think "activity" is still best while the userbase is small. Otherwise we'll stagnate on just a few posts.

    That said, I take back what I said when you originally added "activity" - I think there does need to be a 5th option, which is some sort of weighting between recent activity and votes. It's weird that someone can bump a post with 0 votes from 5 days ago with a single comment, essentially knocking something with 20 votes and lots of activity down.

    33 votes
    1. [7]
      Optimus_Vir Link Parent
      Sounds like you want Reddit's hot feature haha. I don't know if that would count as "becoming mini-reddit" too much.

      Sounds like you want Reddit's hot feature haha. I don't know if that would count as "becoming mini-reddit" too much.

      7 votes
      1. [5]
        Axord Link Parent
        "Do not include features reddit has" seems like a poor design principle to me. Asking "would this hurt civility" and "would this hurt conversation quality" strikes me as the appropriate filter...

        "Do not include features reddit has" seems like a poor design principle to me. Asking "would this hurt civility" and "would this hurt conversation quality" strikes me as the appropriate filter questions.

        36 votes
        1. Lazarus Link Parent
          ^this very much- one of the things reddit got absolutely RIGHT was discoverability of engaging content.

          ^this very much- one of the things reddit got absolutely RIGHT was discoverability of engaging content.

          11 votes
        2. [3]
          Optimus_Vir Link Parent
          Not my rule. Not that it's Tildes either, but I saw a thread in which @Deimos was saying he was against adding some certain feature because he didn't want Tildes to become a smaller copy of Reddit.

          Not my rule. Not that it's Tildes either, but I saw a thread in which @Deimos was saying he was against adding some certain feature because he didn't want Tildes to become a smaller copy of Reddit.

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            Deimos Link Parent
            Oh, I may have done a bad job of explaining myself then. I'm certainly not opposed to adding things just because they also exist on reddit. But what I don't want to do is bring over features from...

            Oh, I may have done a bad job of explaining myself then. I'm certainly not opposed to adding things just because they also exist on reddit. But what I don't want to do is bring over features from reddit solely because that's what people are familiar with.

            19 votes
            1. Optimus_Vir Link Parent
              Ah, I see. Sorry, I must've misunderstood.

              Ah, I see. Sorry, I must've misunderstood.

              5 votes
      2. Deimos Link Parent
        Probably not quite - reddit's "hot" doesn't take activity/commenting into account at all. It's entirely a combination of the post's score and how old it is, where the age effectively "pushes down"...

        Probably not quite - reddit's "hot" doesn't take activity/commenting into account at all. It's entirely a combination of the post's score and how old it is, where the age effectively "pushes down" posts over time.

        8 votes
  2. [3]
    aphoenix Link
    I switch between activity and newest. I think that activity does some interesting things like revive popular threads from a week or two ago. I've been a bit surprised by comments from a thread...

    I switch between activity and newest.

    I think that activity does some interesting things like revive popular threads from a week or two ago. I've been a bit surprised by comments from a thread that's 2 weeks old and still getting attention (apparently people love board games).

    I do find myself switching a fair bit to see what's new though, because the active things seem to be a bit more static than the new things.

    18 votes
    1. tripp Link Parent
      This is how I've enjoyed the site as well. Activity first, then flip to Newest throughout the day. Regarding the old threads, with a small but growing number of subscribers, I suspect many people...

      This is how I've enjoyed the site as well. Activity first, then flip to Newest throughout the day.

      Regarding the old threads, with a small but growing number of subscribers, I suspect many people will be looking at the older threads and adding their comments to the discussion. This will likely continue until the volume of new posts become overwhelming and new accounts will simply jump into what's current.

      11 votes
    2. Lazarus Link Parent
      I do the same, though I’d like some sort of balance between the default of “all time” and “last 3 days”. Like if folks start fervently discussing a 3 week old thread, I want that to pop- but I...

      I do the same, though I’d like some sort of balance between the default of “all time” and “last 3 days”. Like if folks start fervently discussing a 3 week old thread, I want that to pop- but I don’t want a couple stragglers to dredge up old news.

      2 votes
  3. Optimus_Vir Link
    I enjoy it as a default sort and switch between it and New to maximize the content I see. The only trouble I see with Activity is posts being stuck up there for long periods of time when they are...

    I enjoy it as a default sort and switch between it and New to maximize the content I see. The only trouble I see with Activity is posts being stuck up there for long periods of time when they are of a nature that one wouldn't want to necessarily see the new posts on it. For example, a giveaway. A 'hide' feature would be nice for that.

    13 votes
  4. [3]
    Silbern Link
    It works well for now, but has the disadvantage of constantly recycling old posts that you've already seen and read before, only with a new comment or two. It's not particularly helpful,...

    It works well for now, but has the disadvantage of constantly recycling old posts that you've already seen and read before, only with a new comment or two. It's not particularly helpful, especially on larger posts where finding the 2 new comments among 68 is not very easy, so I prefer to sort by new. I do think we should introduce an option to allow people to save a default sort, since it'd only be automating what we already do anyway (I still don't understand why Reddit doesn't allow you to easily change sorting order). I'd also like to soon see the ability to unsubscribe from certain tildes, since our community is growing; for example, I hardly ever see anything that interests me personally coming out of ~music or ~movies.

    10 votes
    1. [2]
      Vibe Link Parent
      We can unsubscribe already. Just go to the specific tilde, expand the sidebar, and click on the "subscribed" button to toggle it.

      We can unsubscribe already. Just go to the specific tilde, expand the sidebar, and click on the "subscribed" button to toggle it.

      12 votes
      1. Silbern Link Parent
        Awesome, thanks! I had no idea, now I've been able to clean up my feed.

        Awesome, thanks! I had no idea, now I've been able to clean up my feed.

        4 votes
  5. ian Link
    I'm really appreciating the default sort! Maybe when we grow a lot more it may need to be looked at, but for now I like it.

    I'm really appreciating the default sort!

    Maybe when we grow a lot more it may need to be looked at, but for now I like it.

    9 votes
  6. [2]
    J-Senior Link
    I like it. I'm getting a wide range of posts of various thread sizes, which I prefer to the constant "saturated" threads of Reddit's Best.

    I like it. I'm getting a wide range of posts of various thread sizes, which I prefer to the constant "saturated" threads of Reddit's Best.

    8 votes
    1. NubWizard Link Parent
      Same, it also gives me that forum vibe that you see with traditional message boards. If a topic is worth talking about, it should stay at the top of the list so you can keep part of the discussion.

      Same, it also gives me that forum vibe that you see with traditional message boards. If a topic is worth talking about, it should stay at the top of the list so you can keep part of the discussion.

      7 votes
  7. RespectMyAuthoriteh Link
    I think keeping the activity sort for now makes sense. One thing that might be helpful is an indicator of when the last activity was so we can scroll down to when we last logged on. It could be...

    I think keeping the activity sort for now makes sense. One thing that might be helpful is an indicator of when the last activity was so we can scroll down to when we last logged on. It could be shown next to the current time since posted, for example: "Posted: 2 days, 4 hours ago / Last Activity: 47 minutes ago"

    8 votes
  8. [2]
    clerical_terrors Link
    I like the activity sort but it seems to have the side-effect of pushing still valid threads down, resulting in some questions being reposted. Not sure you could easily resolve that though.

    I like the activity sort but it seems to have the side-effect of pushing still valid threads down, resulting in some questions being reposted. Not sure you could easily resolve that though.

    8 votes
    1. zowesiouff Link Parent
      I agree, I don't think any sort can resolve the repost issue, because there will always be more content than what's shown by the sort, it's more a matter of ~ having more content than what's...

      I agree, I don't think any sort can resolve the repost issue, because there will always be more content than what's shown by the sort, it's more a matter of ~ having more content than what's possible to show in a few pages of screen real estate than the sorting in itself.

      Having some kind of basic search would be great, but what would be even better would be using that search automatically to notify users before they post about those already existing threads: not blocking the submission, just adding an extra step in the posting process: "Are you really sure you want to repost this?". This would be quite similar to the idea of having some kind of inflammatory-comment detection already discussed around here, but at the post/topic/thread level, not at the comment level, and with a different kind of source ( repost detection instead of inflammatory comment detection ).

      1 vote
  9. [3]
    Gyrfalcon Link
    I think activity by far gels the best with the goal of longer and more valuable discussions on the site, rather than just links and images to off the site. To address some of the requests for...

    I think activity by far gels the best with the goal of longer and more valuable discussions on the site, rather than just links and images to off the site.

    To address some of the requests for weighted activity sorts, perhaps make a trio of activity, activity-newer, and activity-older. That could let people decide if they like it the way it is, if they want longer running threads, or if they want to see more new threads with activity.

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      Deimos Link Parent
      I think you can probably already mostly do that by just changing the time period (in the dropdown). For example, if you use "activity" but set it to "last 12 hours" it will still sort based on...

      I think you can probably already mostly do that by just changing the time period (in the dropdown). For example, if you use "activity" but set it to "last 12 hours" it will still sort based on which topics were mostly recently active, but only including ones that were posted in the last 12 hours and not the older ones.

      2 votes
      1. Gyrfalcon Link Parent
        Admittedly, I did forget about that option. However, I was thinking that it would be a softer thing. Even if I prefer newer content, if an older thread is really blowing up then I want to see...

        Admittedly, I did forget about that option. However, I was thinking that it would be a softer thing. Even if I prefer newer content, if an older thread is really blowing up then I want to see that, and the same for the opposite end of the spectrum. I'm not sure how technically feasible that might be, but it was just an idea I had thinking about the sorts.

        5 votes
  10. [4]
    Mumberthrax Link
    I think keeping it on activity as default is fine for now. If people want to see the top-voted stuff, or the newest, they can click on those. I seem to be switching between activity and newest...

    I think keeping it on activity as default is fine for now. If people want to see the top-voted stuff, or the newest, they can click on those. I seem to be switching between activity and newest because to me, the discussion is interesting - and i assume commenting on older posts or posts which didn't generate much activity to begin with is not likely to provoke much discussion. Activity is where the discussion is actively happening, newest is where it has a potential to happen.

    Although on particularly large discussions, it can be hard to tell exactly where the active discussion is taking place when it gets bumped. If it were a linearly sorted thread, I could just scroll to the bottom, but since it's a mess of trees, it's hard to find it.

    Edit: maybe an addition to the comment sorting could be to include an "activity" sort. :D

    6 votes
    1. [3]
      Vibe Link Parent
      It would be super helpful if the newest few comments were highlighted for all users. That way we could quickly see where they are in long branched threads. The "newest" sort seems to only work for...

      Although on particularly large discussions, it can be hard to tell exactly where the active discussion is taking place when it gets bumped.

      It would be super helpful if the newest few comments were highlighted for all users. That way we could quickly see where they are in long branched threads. The "newest" sort seems to only work for top level comments.

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        Deimos Link Parent
        You should enable this setting: https://tildes.net/settings/comment_visits

        You should enable this setting: https://tildes.net/settings/comment_visits

        10 votes
        1. Vibe Link Parent
          That's awesome, thank you. My mistake for not checking my settings.

          That's awesome, thank you. My mistake for not checking my settings.

          5 votes
  11. Ganymede Link
    I really enjoy sorted by Activity and think it makes Tildes feel more lively/community-driven. I also often switch to Newest when I'm actively looking for newer topics, so I'm pretty happy as-is.

    I really enjoy sorted by Activity and think it makes Tildes feel more lively/community-driven.

    I also often switch to Newest when I'm actively looking for newer topics, so I'm pretty happy as-is.

    6 votes
  12. BuckeyeSundae Link
    I think a larger priority than the default method of sorting votes needs to be a search mechanism (for either tags or keywords or both) to make finding relevant threads easier. The big trend we're...

    I think a larger priority than the default method of sorting votes needs to be a search mechanism (for either tags or keywords or both) to make finding relevant threads easier. The big trend we're starting to see the last few days is one toward reposts on vague discussion topics as new, excited people want to get in on discussions that are two or three or four days old and decide to make their own. I think there will come a day (when rep is implemented) that switching over to votes makes sense as the default, but as Aragorn once said, "it is not this day."

    6 votes
  13. tori Link
    i'm sorting by newest, but that's just personal preference.

    i'm sorting by newest, but that's just personal preference.

    5 votes
  14. Arbiter Link
    At first I didn't like activity sort, but now I sorta of enjoy being able to see that there is a reason to go check back in on a post. It'll be interesting to see how it feels with more comments...

    At first I didn't like activity sort, but now I sorta of enjoy being able to see that there is a reason to go check back in on a post. It'll be interesting to see how it feels with more comments and posts.

    5 votes
  15. ZaphodBeebblebrox Link
    So far, Activity seems fine. For the sorting time period, could you add week and month? I know they can be entered manually in custom, but they are common sorting time period that it feels strange...

    So far, Activity seems fine. For the sorting time period, could you add week and month? I know they can be entered manually in custom, but they are common sorting time period that it feels strange to not have.

    4 votes
  16. jackson Link
    I think activity is a great default for while the site grows. Once it reaches a lot more activity, we'll need some sort of non-personal algorithm to weight votes/comments/recent activity/votes on...

    I think activity is a great default for while the site grows. Once it reaches a lot more activity, we'll need some sort of non-personal algorithm to weight votes/comments/recent activity/votes on comments.

    I think it'd also fit great with the theme of the site to have your personal default sort be settable. If I want most votes in 24hrs, that can be mine, while you have yours set to Newest.

    4 votes
  17. Algernon_Asimov Link
    I'm going to add my voice to the people who are enjoying the 'Activity' sort. I'm not sure it'll scale well when there are hundreds of posts and thousands of comments per day across multiple...

    I'm going to add my voice to the people who are enjoying the 'Activity' sort. I'm not sure it'll scale well when there are hundreds of posts and thousands of comments per day across multiple groups, but it's working fine for now.

    4 votes
  18. elf Link
    I'm liking the activity sort. Eventually you may want to move to some special blend of activity/votes/recency, but you should definitely keep activity as a large factor! This sorting method gives...

    I'm liking the activity sort. Eventually you may want to move to some special blend of activity/votes/recency, but you should definitely keep activity as a large factor! This sorting method gives ~s its own flavor and helps it not feel like just a reddit clone.

    4 votes
  19. Awoo Link
    I like it as a default, and think it will work out for a while yet. People here are very active redditors, so I think people are okay with switching to the other sort options. That will change...

    I like it as a default, and think it will work out for a while yet.

    People here are very active redditors, so I think people are okay with switching to the other sort options. That will change if/when you open the floodgates where you'll want to set the order to represent votes I believe.

    2 votes
  20. joelthelion Link
    After using it for a few days, I noticed it gives too much importance to survey-like posts, that tend to attract lots of comments for a long time. I still think it should be part of the default...

    After using it for a few days, I noticed it gives too much importance to survey-like posts, that tend to attract lots of comments for a long time. I still think it should be part of the default search, but not be given all the weight. An ideal default search would be a combination of votes, activity, and age, I think.

    2 votes
  21. [3]
    zowesiouff Link
    I think activity sort is great, I just would love to test out something: instead of bumping the thread each time there is activity, could it be bumped relative to the amount of new activity? This...

    I think activity sort is great, I just would love to test out something: instead of bumping the thread each time there is activity, could it be bumped relative to the amount of new activity? This personnalises heavily the sort, which might give newer threads a higher chance against survey-like threads, but it's also most likely a cache-killer from a tech pov :D. In some threads where there are hundreds of comments, and one or two new comments, it's likely that it got bumped for a simple "conversation" reply, not because a new idea / branch was explored. It's much more interesting to revisit a thread when there is more interesting content to go through imho.

    ( I might actually userscript that, by "hiding" threads that got bumped but that wouldn't match some level of "new activity", but it wouldn't have the same impact on "newer threads" unless everyone was running the script .. the power of the "default" :D )

    1 vote
    1. [2]
      Deimos Link Parent
      How are you thinking? Like, if it's a 200-comment thread and it gets 1 new comment, does it bump a small amount up the list but not to the top? Or it doesn't move until it gets 10 new comments and...

      How are you thinking? Like, if it's a 200-comment thread and it gets 1 new comment, does it bump a small amount up the list but not to the top? Or it doesn't move until it gets 10 new comments and then goes to the top?

      1. zowesiouff Link Parent
        The idea is to bump it if it's worth (re)visiting, so ideally it should be bumped: if there is lots of new ideas to read: if you haven't visited it yet, there is always lots to read so it'll stay...

        The idea is to bump it if it's worth (re)visiting, so ideally it should be bumped:

        • if there is lots of new ideas to read:
          • if you haven't visited it yet, there is always lots to read so it'll stay high for a long time while other folks are interacting in the thread
          • if you have visited it, it needs to be bumped based on some kind of metric of "worthiness" of new comments, I haven't modelled this but you want something that's enough to make it possible to go to the top, but not dependent on the absolute size of the thread ( otherwise it's similar to introducing some kind of "thread size" decay which is probably equivalent to a "time decay" which is what the activity sort tries to fix in the first place :D ) [0]
        • if the new content is deemed interesting enough by the community: a comment highly voted should be worth more than a comment that was "noise"-tagged
        • if there is no other new content, it's better to have a thread that has some new activity than any other "stale" thread, no matter the time the order they were posted in ( this should answer your question: it should be bumped proportionally, not in one gigantic step )

        [0] Pushing this idea even further: if there are lots of comments "clustered" together in the same thread, it probably means a new idea, debate or perspective is being discussed: there is probably more value in revisiting it than if it's the same number of new comments but all spread throughout the thread, each "responding" to the various sub-threads.

        1 vote
  22. brighteyes720 Link
    Personally it should be some sort of weighted activity sort. Say for example, if the post is say over a day old, less weight should be given and then it should be exponentially given less weight...

    Personally it should be some sort of weighted activity sort. Say for example, if the post is say over a day old, less weight should be given and then it should be exponentially given less weight with time.