Is the DN algorithm placing too much value on time?

6 years ago from , UX Designer

Over the last year or so we've seen more and more stories soar to the top of the Designer News front page even though the content is of low quality. These stories have only 3-4 upvotes and/or 2-3 comments, all from voting rings (usually you can track it back to accounts that all have the same employer, or who are otherwise affiliated).

At the same time you can have stories with 20+ upvotes and/or comment numbers in the 20s-100s sitting at the lower part of the page. These stories are often ±24h old.

This led me to think that perhaps the algorithm ranking the stories is too heavily geared towards new posts. I understand that a news site needs fresh content surfacing, but in my opinion quality stories or stories with a long discussion (i.e. tons of comments) are far more interesting than another meaningless blogpost designed only to drive traffic to a certain website. 24 hours is not a very long time for something to slip down and go unnoticed by a large part of the DN readers. Therefor upvotes and comments should provide a higher value to the algorithm than how new a story is imo.

What are your thoughts on this?


  • Joe CJoe C, 6 years ago

    I, for one, am not able to check DN every day, so having popular discussions kept to the top would be a real benefit and encourage me to engage more I think. I remember there used to be a "Discussions" tab? This was a collection of stories with a lot of comments. Not sure what happened to it.

    I really enjoy reading meaningful discussions on here, but I think it's just not that easy to spark with so much content coming on going. I often spend more time reading the comments on a Brand New review, even if half of them are bad jokes. There's some real valuable comments on DN sometimes, sometimes it's difficult to catch it.

    9 points
    • Oskar Levinson, 6 years ago

      I hear you. I also often spend more time reading the comments than the actual story. I had completely forgotten about the discussions tab, I wonder where it went?

      3 points
    • Daniel FoscoDaniel Fosco, 6 years ago

      Agreed 100%

      1 point
  • Interested Curious, 6 years ago

    Agreed. The stories floating at the top are usually not even worth discussing, promo, or bad medium articles.

    5 points
  • Daniel FoscoDaniel Fosco, 6 years ago

    One thing that could help was publicly showing which users upvoted posts, when, and which company they're from.

    Would make it look really bad for vote-rings and spammers, and make it much easier to detect and take down by admins.

    2 points
  • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, 6 years ago

    Just checking you know about Stories › Top › Week?

    Maybe the only change needed would be making that the default for the home page, or even storing the last selected state for each person, so everyone can see whatever they like (I don’t mind the high churn of the top stories).

    1 point