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Cat|1253d ago |Blog Post|8|

This is a re-post from a blog I wrote for 11x2, but I think you may find it useful!

I struggled with this. What would be the most truly cringe-worthy title for this blog? I hope you're satisfied.

There have been a few earnest inquiries about submissions and their heat lately, so I wanted to cover a few things.

First, how does the heat algorithm work:
a. unique views
b. unique clicks
c. comments
d. time

I'm assuming you are familiar with a-c. The last one (time) is often overlooked- if you have 200 comments, clicks and views over a week, that story is not going to have nearly the same heat as one that has half as many comments, clicks and views in one day.

Next, something we refer to as "artificial heat inflation". This can happen in a couple ways:

1. Comment spamming.
This is the least elegant form of artificially inflating the heat, dropping a bunch of one word, useless comments from dummy accounts onto a submission. It'll give the submission a bit of a boost, usually enough to get it to the front page and sometimes enough to rocket it up higher.

Typical consequence: submission dropped to 0 and frozen, commenters banned, trust rank dropped. On rare occasions where user(s) associated with a specific site do this, the site is blocked from the network.

2. Manipulating the clicks/views
This is what I'll call "how to build a bomb" - in that I'm not going to outline how this one works for you. ;) It can be done, it's nefarious wizardry, and it alters the heat so much that it is no longer an accurate reflection of actual interest.

Typical consequence: submission dropped to 0 and frozen, restrictions/ban, site blocked from the network.

And finally, just to throw you for a loop:

What is NOT artificial heat manipulation:
Effectively using social media.

If a submission is posted to FB, twitter, google+, or similar and the user has a pretty good network going the heat is going to go up as people visit 11x2.

That's important - the heat doesn't go up just because a link was shared. It goes up when people visit 11x2. It goes up even more if those folks click the link to read the whole story, or if they leave a comment. Remember:
a. unique views
b. unique clicks
c. comments

Now, that said, our current heat algorithm was divined before social media had such an impact within our network. As a result, social media is occasionally more overpowered than we'd like and this balance is something that DragonFly is working on. It has been tweaked over the past few years, but it's not a static situation.

But how do we KNOW, you might wonder, which of these methods someone is using? Suffice it to say, admins can. We can view all the activity on a submission and with a quick glance it's obvious if it's nefarious wizardry or interesting tweets.

I hope this is helpful. Mostly, I hope it removes unnecessary mystery and mitigates conflict amongst users. <3

Thanks, guys!

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DragonKnight1253d ago

There has only ever been one time I can personally recall when a story had undue heat, and it was a pointless flappybird guide. Other than that, I don't think that this has been much of a problem here, but that's only to my knowledge. I can't speak for everyone else.

I think the real problem here is unscrupulous approving of pretty much any article that comes along leaving us with endless list articles, multiple articles covering the exact same thing almost word for word, and other non-gaming news. That's more of a problem in my opinion.

Valenka1253d ago

Indeed. I've seen many submissions covering the same content get approved and not reported as a duplicate until hours later, from more well-known members of the community. Nine out of ten times when I come across an approved submission that shouldn't have been, the approvals usually came from members I haven't seen before and some members whom seem to have a habit of just going on approval frenzies, apparently paying no mind to the content at all.

There was once also an influx of Grand Theft Auto V articles in which the respective website from whence it came simply provided a screenshot of a vehicle, wrote a few sentences about it and called it a "guide." I was baffled to see those submissions get approved so quickly and never really got higher than 60 degrees in the heat algorithm. I haven't seen any of them in awhile, so I'm assuming that train has now stopped.

DragonKnight1253d ago

The other day Abriael submitted 2 Bloodborne articles. Both of them were about exactly the same thing. I free Bloodborne theme. Both of them got approved, both of them got top heat. I even asked why the second article was necessary when the first one was literally the same thing, received no answer.

Christopher1253d ago (Edited 1253d ago )

That flappy bird one was actually completely legit. People were searching for help on it, and the N4G article was one of the top results. The views on that thing was almost off the charts.

But, there are others that people may not recognize, but they are definitely abusing the heat.

As far as list articles, same thing we already saw, and what not, I totally get that. I don't think anyone is saying there's just one "issue" with how the site is designed and what people want out of it.

DragonKnight1253d ago

The first one wasn't. Cat adjusted it herself. After that one, I thought the same thing was happening but then was later told the rest of them were legit views.

As for the list thing, I don't think it's the site staff's fault, I think it's the community's fault. We have the ability to report or simply not approve such articles, but there are people here who will go to an article, look to see if it's in violation of any of the submission guidelines, and if it's not they'll simply approve it. They don't consider whether or not anyone actually wants to see it on the site, they just approve it for the sake of approving it. You could change the site a hundred times over, and that prevailing attitude would still be the biggest problem.

Septic1253d ago (Edited 1253d ago )

Sometimes I get my mates to click on a submission once approved (tell them to do so via whatsapp etc).

Or sometimes I tell the few mates on here to comment (enough to get it to 50 degrees). They tend to be proper comments, the contents of which I have no control over.

Is that alright?

I don't use bots or all that shiz. Tbh, it tends to bring more traffic in and I know a few mates now you peruse N4G a lot as a result of my indirect recommendation.

As you can see from my last 3 submissions, I'm hardly getting massive traffic lol (cries in corner).

Christopher1252d ago

If their only purpose is to help gain heat, then they might get marked as spam or off topic. What we want are people who are interested in the topic and desire to contribute without the purpose of just helping you get your story more notice.

I don't want to say "yeah, it's perfectly okay" because then you know sites will start having the same 10+ people comment on submissions just to gain it heat. That's not it. What is okay is if any person who is truly interested in a topic and comments on it. But, if we see a trend where people _only_ post on certain topics and in the same manner, we'll handle it as we see fit. If a person runs through multiple submissions from a single source or on a single items (such as game reviews) with pretty much the exact same comment? That's a good way to get marked as spam and possibly restricted for it.

Septic1252d ago

Ah cheers for clarifying.

Well, in the past I just tell them that the article is up and if they want to offer their thoughts on it, to do so on N4G (if they are on it) as opposed to our site or on Whatsapp.

But I get your point. I'll let the others know.