Forum: Should A New Question And A Question With A New Answer Always Be Placed On The Top?
gravatar for lh3
7.8 years ago by
United States
lh332k wrote:

If I am right, at StackExchange, a new or newly edited question and a question with a new answer will always be placed on the top. On the other hand, the new BioStar has a ranking system, which seems to prefer popular questions, though admittedly I do not know how exactly it works.

Personally I much prefer the StackExchange way. For a Q&A site, the key feature is to get a question quickly answered and to update its users with latest answers. In the BioStar ranking system, if a specific/hard question cannot attract attention in a few days, it is likely to be buried forever.

For example, I answered a question on the difference between samtools and gatk asked 4 days before my answer. After I answered it, the topic was on the 3rd page. Except the OP and a couple of others involved in that thread, few were aware of the new answer. I know it was on the top of the "Recent" page, but personally I rarely click that tab and on that tab, my answer would be quickly pushed to 2nd page by comments. Note that I am not saying that my answer is anything good. I just think in the angle of both a questioner and answerer, this behavior is a little frustrating.

In my view, we should revert to the StackExchange-style question ordering. It is more appropriate for a Q&A site.

(As a side note, I found StackExchange's search was more accurate. This could be just my illusion and I couldn't access the old site any more to confirm this. Also, the StackExchange's similar/related question sidebar was quite useful. I wonder if we could implement something similar or just grab their code.)

EDIT: Interestingly, when I log in, the questions are sorted by creation time by default; when I don't, the questions are sorted by "rank" and my this post is placed at the 8th place in this ordering. I forgot how the questions were sorted when I checked that samtools-gatk question. But anyway, I prefer the StackExchange ordering. Furthermore, the views/votes/answers ordering discourages small subfields and recent questions. "Sort by edit" is also a little confusing. I am inclined to removing them.

EDIT2: Edit to see if this puts the post on the top. -- Yes, it is, the SE behavior.

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ADD COMMENTlink modified 7.8 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 84k • written 7.8 years ago by lh332k
gravatar for Istvan Albert
7.8 years ago by
Istvan Albert ♦♦ 84k
University Park, USA
Istvan Albert ♦♦ 84k wrote:

Well unfortunately there may not be no easy answers that would solve all problems - as soon as one method is implemented some other very odd behavior becomes readily apparent. For example nowadays there is a lot more activity on the site than before - thus pushing older questions to the top based on new answers would move the recent questions to the next pages - thus biasing against them.

The rankings are implemented with a the methodology described here How Reddit ranking algorithms work. This is the default ranking, this combines upvotes, views and the age of the post into a single rank. There is also a drop-down menu on the top right where one can apply different types of ordering rank/votes/creation, although sort-by-most-recent answer is not one of the options. I'll look into adding that. Note that this sorting is 'sticky' once applied it will stick over the entire session and all other listing pages.

It is important to note that most of the content is found via searches and not by reading the every post - so a good answer will not stay hidden - in a way we experience a curse of success - the more posts come in the more difficult is to only see what one is interested in.

That being said I do agree with the sentiment that the ranking/ordering and grouping could/should be improved. I am currently designing/planning an overhaul of of the Biostar platform to make finding/categorizing content easier. For example this will include mechanisms that allow users to watch topics and users or tags.

ADD COMMENTlink written 7.8 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 84k

Reddit is a social news website. It aims for attracting users on popular topics. A Q&A site serves a very different goal. A question should not be ordered by popularity. A field-specific or hard question/answer may not be popular, but it could still be good one. StackOverFlow has much more activity than us, yet it still keeps its classical ordering.

I visited the biostar every few days. Previously I could quickly know what was happening when I was not online. Now I find it much harder. The home page tells me little about recent activity. The "recent" tab gives too much information for me to get a quick overview. Nonetheless, perhaps it is just me.

ADD REPLYlink modified 7.8 years ago • written 7.8 years ago by lh332k

ok, we'll try to add this feature into the sort menu within a day or so and we can test it and see how it all works out

ADD REPLYlink written 7.8 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 84k

The default sort order is now by activity - users with existing sessions that already have 'rank' in their session will need to override that and select 'activity'

Activity means to the most current timestamp at which the question was either changed or has received an answer.

ADD REPLYlink written 7.8 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 84k

Will comments push the question to the top? SE does not; otherwise ordering will be changed too frequently. EDIT: I see. Comments will not push up the questions. This comment does not change the ordering of this post. That is good. Thanks!

ADD REPLYlink modified 7.8 years ago • written 7.8 years ago by lh332k
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