New "Top Stories" feature and suggestion for more?

You might have noticed that I’ve removed the “Stories of the month” feature that I had implemented just days earlier.

The reason is, that I was not really happy with it and I got similar feedback (by @bak2jak2). The two obvious problems were, that the list was too static (it only updated once a month) and long series, which span over multiple months, could show up over and over again.

What I wanted, though, is a place where people can discover great stories they might have missed, or re-experience them once again. And that’s why I’ve implemented a different, hopefully better “Top Stories” feature. It will be up on Saturday, October 6th, simply because that’s a good time to start the regular cycle.

The feature will present the top rated stories of half-a-year. From October to March 2019, the first half of 2018 will be presented (the 3 month delay should be enough for the ratings to settle down a bit). After that, it will be switched to the second half of 2018 and so on.

Only 3 stories (or series respectively) are displayed, but these will be exchanged every week, namely on Saturday midnight. So you’ll get to see three new surprise story/series each week.

The order is completely random, but all of the stories are selected from the list of the top rated 78 stories/series of the first half-year (26 * 3 = 78).

If a series contains multiple stories rated high enough to be in this list, it will still only be presented once (and it takes only one entry in that list of 78).

At some point, probably after the first half-year has been completed (i.e. in spring 2019) I will add a new menu item where you can always return to a full representation of that list.

I hope you’ll like it this way. If not or of you have further suggestions, just answer here, I’m happy for any feedback.

Another idea that I’ve been playing around with, is a way to show some random selected stories from the past, completely unrelated to its rating. This way I’d like to resurrect some of the older stories on the site. This will come soon afterwards, I guess. A Guest just suggested the very same thing … :slight_smile:


Hi Martin,

Maybe I’m overly sensitive, but I feel the phrase “best stories of the year” is inappropriate. What determines the quality of “best”? Isn’t what you really mean is the stories that have the most positive feedback, or the most comments? (I recall that a couple of poorly-written stories also have a lot of feedback.) If you have invisible counters for every stories, perhaps you can come up with a “most viewed” (because one can’t determine if one has just viewed or read the story).

Apologies if I seem overly pedantic. I have had more than one conversation on Discord with people who, like me, agree you are doing an over-the-top job at enhancing this website!

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Well, I understand and I’m with you. The reason why I’m not publicly presenting a sorted ranking list, is exactly that one.

The thing is, that the room is limited, especially in the selection button on the main menu. “Top stories of the 1st half-year of 2018” is quite long as it is. If you have any good suggestion, I’m all for it. I could use “Top rated stories…” but that’s not much different, is it?

Anyway, when going through the stats, I’ve seen that there are stories with ample amounts of ratings and others with very few. I have a minimum of 10 ratings (for each category) to even take a story into consideration, but alone because of that, some stories fall out of the list even though they’d be quite good actually.

The number of ratings seem neither be related to the overall average of the ratings, nor with the number of hits (i.e. readers). Maybe, though, how many people actually read the WHOLE thing, because the rating is at the bottom…

So, I guess what I’m saying is: PLEASE RATE. Even if you don’t like a story. Any rating is always better than none.

If it’s called “Top Rated Stories” and not “Best Stories” I have no issue with it. I would avoid the word ‘best’ because it implies a level of subjectivity.

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I never meant to call it “Best stories” … :slight_smile: The posting above was actually just a mistake.

But you think that “Top stories…” doesn’t suffice, you want me to call it “Top rated” stories, right?

Yeah, I think ‘Top Rated Stories’ works better than simply ‘Top Stories’, because it makes it totally clear why those stories have been displayed over others.

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How about a weekly “rate an oldie”-list as well?

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To continue off of what I suggested before if you’re planning on doing best rated stories from half a year maybe when you bring back the older stories you can restrict it to older than half a year or maybe even an entire year? It would be cool to see 3 old stories pop up every week.

I’ll also just throw out another suggestion. What about introducing straw polls to GSS? Either on the front page or in the stories if the author wants to. I assume most people don’t bother going to the forums or if they do most don’t bother commenting. It could be a way to get some quick, easy feedback or a fun community activity. Like you could put a quick poll asking people if they like the new changes and it would only take them a quick second to answer.

Maybe you could even create a forum where people could suggest questions and answers that could appear on the front page poll. It could also be a way authors could get more interactive with the readers on the site other than using comments and ratings. The author could create their own polls to put in the stories to ask their readers specific questions. Ehh idk I think it would be fun.

Yeah, I’m going to add that, I was planning this for a long time already. I just want to slow down the changes on the site a bit, to not overwhelm people. Let the “top rated” stories sink in for a month or so.

When I’m going to present the “random stories from the archives”, I plan to select 5 or so random series which are from 2017 or older and this list will be updated once a week. So I’ve pretty much got the same idea as you, Guest

About the straw poll: It’s actually quite a bit of work to implement that. I don’t mind that so much, but I’m afraid it’s not going to be something that will be used much. But I’m open to it. If there’s any author who’d like to see that, please let me know here in this thread.

A poll on the front page would take a lot of space. Right now, I could always put up a “Newsflash” and refer to a poll here in the forum. But honestly, in my experience, people don’t follow those links that much. I’d say 1 in 20 visitors are bothering to click those links I put up right now. The forum is not used that much, most people are just looking to get their steam off, I guess… Which is fine of course :wink:

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Ok, the ‘Stories from the Archive’ feature is live now. I hope you like it this way. Each week you’ll get to see a new selection of 10 stories.

Please use this opportunity to add the stories’ category (in case it’s missing), add some more descriptive tags, and also to rate those old gems.


I was just wondering if it’s possible to put the date when the two new top stories sections (whatever it’s called hehe) have been updated. So I can know when it was last changed.

Currently, the menu items (“Top rated” or “From the Archives”) on the main page are having a ‘bouncing’ effect when their content has been changed since your last visit. They keep bouncing until you click on the respective menu to see a given selection at least once. This only works if you don’t put your browser into “Incognito” mode or otherwise block its LocalStorage - if you do, the menu items will keep bouncing each time you visit the site.

I could add a date, too, of course. I’ll take your suggestion into consideration.

Having said that, I’m currently not 100% happy with how those selections are created. I’ve put quite some time into their implementation, especially for the “Top Rated”, to make sure all the 78 top rated stories (26 * 3) are shown at some point but in a completely random order. But the problem is that the list of top rated stories is not static - it changes because people are adding new ratings all the time. I don’t want to go too deep into the technical details, but because of that, the selection can potentially change inadvertently before it’s supposed to be changed.

Same can happen with the “from the Archives” list, but for different reasons (like when I manually correct stories which aren’t properly linked into a series).

Thanks for your suggestion and please, if you have any other idea to improve this, don’t hesitate to let me know!

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