Many folks wondering if time we start writing a story affects how long it has to accumulate recs to get on recommended list

ptressel's Avatar


24 Apr, 2018 05:20 AM

Lots of folks in one of my groups are wondering about an odd thing, and I got elected to ask... This may be wild speculation in an attempt to explain a phenomenon that's really due to something else entirely, but...there's a tiny chance it could also be a bug -- one timestamp in place of another. So, here goes...

Folks have acquired a feeling that the time one first creates a story in the editor (e.g. saves it for the first time) affects how long that story has to acquire recs, to get on the recommended list...rather than the *publication* date. Some folks have taken to working on their story in one editor, and when it's just about time to publish, they open another (empty) editor page, copy everything from the completed story in, and publish the fresh one. That way, they speculate, the "clock" for gathering recs starts much closer to the time of publication.

Now, that could be pure myth, or folks are Imagining Things. But they see stories on the rec list with less than 20 recs, while their story is being left behind with 2-3 times as many. Folks wonder, maybe there's a preference for "newsy" stories, written quickly, not essays that take a week to research. And so, a Ritual develops to appease the Problem. (Like "sync three times before shutting the system down".)

This also affects whether we can have stories queued up in advance for one of our regular series. We were hoping to prepare some Timeless (e.g. historical) stories that could be used if a scheduled author gets sick.

Or, maybe the wrong timestamp was used -- maybe the current time is being compared against the creation time rather than the publication time. This is such as popular type of bug that I figure there isn't shame in suggesting the possibility.

Rather than go on with the Ritual if it's not relevant --or-- in case there is actually a bug, we figured we should just ask. So...

Are we imagining things, and the rec list clock starts with the publication timestamp? and are the vagaries of getting on the rec list just because we don't grok the algorithm, and it takes into account more than just rate of acquiring recs and total recs?

We're not asking for the rec list algorithm to be explained ;-). (I used to work for Google, and the pagerank algorithm is strictly need-to-know.) Except for that one thing -- does it depend on the original creation date? And if so, was that a bug? If folks don't have to enact the Ritual of copying over the story to a new editor page, that'll save some time, and reassure us that our pre-written "timeless" stories are usable as-is.

Thanks! ;-)

  1. 1 Posted by siab on 24 Apr, 2018 07:46 AM

    siab's Avatar

    Well, I don't know the answer. At least, not for sure. There is one thing you can check, though, and that is how many queued diaries regularly make the Reclist. Because a diary that is queued certainly has the same properties wrt creation and publication times, and they're a hell of a lot easier to check. There are also a number of regular diaries which are group edited, so they can take a fair amount of time to finish before publication.

    In the first instance, at least some of the pootie diaries, the Saturday Morning diaries, the Daily Bucker (I think), and Top Comments.
    In the second, Black Kos and the War on Women diaries.

    That's just off the top of my head - I'm sure you'll find more wandering around. Those seem to make the Reclist on a fairly regular basis, though there's lots of variation depending on subject. So my guess is that the bug you're suggesting is unlikely.

  2. 2 Posted by ptressel on 24 Apr, 2018 05:41 PM

    ptressel's Avatar

    That's a good point, siab. The queue time is after the creation time. So if we have both the queue time and publication time, that would provide a lower limit on the difference between creation time and publication time.

    /me goes to check something...ok, the publication time seems to be the time shown on the published story. I don't know if we can see the queue time outside of groups we belong to. Once the story is published, it's out of the queue, so that info would have to be gathered before publication, by someone in the relevant group. Hmm...

    If someone in one of the bigger groups that has a regular publication schedule happens to read this...maybe they could comment on how long they typically have a story being edited prior to publication.

    (I haven't performed the Ritual myself, and am lazy, so don't want to. I will admit to having done the "sync three times" ritual, but in that case, there was suspicion that standard Unix had an actual bug, where it didn't wait for disks to by sync'd before shutting down. That was a loooong time ago...)

    Occurs to me that the stories we see with < 20 recs in the rec list may be future front page stories, and go on the rec list automatically. Or something. :D

  3. 3 Posted by siab on 24 Apr, 2018 06:12 PM

    siab's Avatar

    To your last point - no. Because the third factor here that you're not adding in is what else is happening at the same time. When fewer diaries are being published, it's a hell of a lot easier to get on the Reclist with only a few Recs, if they come reasonably rapidly after publication. 3 am is a great time to make the Reclist with under 10 recs, assuming your diary is of interest to those who hang around at night.

    Conversely, you can write a dynamite diary in the middle of an influx of diaries and have it scroll way down the Recent list in the time it takes someone to read and rec the diary before it. When 20-30 diaries get published within an hour, the odds of any of them making the Reclist can drop substantially. And when a dozen great diaries come up in an hour or two, a merely good one doesn't stand too much of a chance, even though it might manage it in a slow period.

  4. Support Staff 4 Posted by Daily Kos Staff on 24 Apr, 2018 09:21 PM

    Daily Kos Staff's Avatar

    Y'all are funny about discussing the ritual behaviors provoked by attempting to suss out the unknown.

    As far as the Rec List is concerned, however, I can say that the length of time any story remained in draft form prior to publication has no bearing on its likelihood to make the Rec List.

    That was not the case once upon a time, however, so perhaps people are hearkening back to an earlier era. Rituals do persist after the apparent initial motivation disappears, after all.

    The second comment that siab added is also relevant. Much depends on the flow of traffic and the news cycle. Fortunately, otherwise deserving-posts are often rescued to the Community Spotlight, which is a distinction that can keep a post "live" longer than it would be on the Rec List.

  5. Daily Kos Staff closed this discussion on 24 Apr, 2018 09:21 PM.

Comments are currently closed for this discussion. You can start a new one.

Keyboard shortcuts


? Show this help
ESC Blurs the current field

Comment Form

r Focus the comment reply box
^ + ↩ Submit the comment

You can use Command ⌘ instead of Control ^ on Mac