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Top Answers? Which geological era?

    General discussion

  • OK, technically this isn't an EW question, but it is an EW forum question. Is it just my admittedly failing memory, or have basically the exact same few answers been the "Top Answers" highlighted in the dialog box on the right for the last few weeks? Click on one or two, and it seems that they haven't been updated since March or so. One would think that this might be an automated feature requiring no human intervention (actually, one would hope so), but that doesn't seem to be the case.

    Any idea what's going on?

    cheers,
    scott

    • Moved by Anna Ullrich Wednesday, July 16, 2008 3:51 PM not Expression Web question
    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 6:28 AM

All replies

  • The only "top answerer" or "top poster" I've seen from March is something "migrator" which is the automated process for bringing in the old newsgroup posts. When someone posts on an old migrated thread it seems to bring the migrator back into the top section.

    When you click to get the full list of "top" anything it seems to take you to the poster list for all the MSDN forums not just the one you clicked on it in. One of the many things I don't like about this group.

    BTW, there is a forum section dedeicated to forum issues you can get to from the top level of the Exprssion "community" forums that is monitored for forum issues by MS personel. You may have better luck getting answers to your questions there.
    MS MVP Expression
    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 2:25 PM
  • I believe it is automated, but flawed. At least from the stats I have seen. It also appears that there was a way to cheat the system some time in the past, as some of the posters have tens of thousands of answers, despite the fact it is very hard to get someone to even mark a correct answer as an answer.

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    Think outside the box
    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 3:39 PM
  • Cheryl D Wise said:

    The only "top answerer" or "top poster" I've seen from March is something "migrator" which is the automated process for bringing in the old newsgroup posts. When someone posts on an old migrated thread it seems to bring the migrator back into the top section.

    When you click to get the full list of "top" anything it seems to take you to the poster list for all the MSDN forums not just the one you clicked on it in. One of the many things I don't like about this group.

    BTW, there is a forum section dedeicated to forum issues you can get to from the top level of the Exprssion "community" forums that is monitored for forum issues by MS personel. You may have better luck getting answers to your questions there.


    MS MVP Expression

    Right, I see that Anna has moved it. However, I believe that you misunderstand me. I was not speaking of "Top Answerers," the list of people replying to posts, but rather "Top Answers," the list of answers which appears directly above the "answerers" section and has contained a list of five answer topics which seem to have remained unchanged for months.

    Given some of the topics that I have seen discussed, I find it difficult to believe that no other topics/answers have rated "top answer" status in that period. Is this space something that someone put in place and then went off and forgot about? Is it administered by a human, or determined by, for example, the total number of replies to a given topic? I mean, what's going on with it?

    cheers,
    scott


    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 4:53 PM
  • paladun said:

    Given some of the topics that I have seen discussed, I find it difficult to believe that no other topics/answers have rated "top answer" status in that period. Is this space something that someone put in place and then went off and forgot about? Is it administered by a human, or determined by, for example, the total number of replies to a given topic? I mean, what's going on with it?



    Top Answers is automatically generated and is ordered on "Popularity", which is a combination of # of views and # of replies.

    HTH
    Matt
    Matt Fraser, STO Forums Software Developer
    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 5:41 PM
  • Hmm, interesting. A combination of number of views and number of replies, and each item listed is a link to the original article. Anyone ever consider the circularity involved here? Each visit to one of the links in the list adds a view, which, of course, goes to the total that keeps it in the list.

    Anyone consider a periodic forced reselect, perhaps using a rolling two-week or one-month window or something to keep the list reasonably current and reflect currently prevailing concerns? I mean, one of these five is from March, the remainder from February! One has as few as three replies, another eight, and the most recent reply I could find was over a month ago, on June 11. Surely there has been something posted during that time which ought to go into "Top Answers."

    It's just that I have seen conversations that run upwards of five or six pages (see the one on WiMP/audio started by Oliver Black) which have not made the list. I have seen important posts about known issues, workarounds, KB articles, etc. that in my opinion could and should replace any one of the current top answers. In fact, as far as I can determine, the list has not changed in several weeks or longer (I only joined a few weeks ago; it's been the same since).

    If the algorithm is so ineffectual that it basically ignores threads of that length, and threads with a good deal more import than what is currently shown there, then my personal opinion is that it is a good deal less than worthless and the space it currently occupies could be put to better use.

    Just my opinion... ;-)

    cheers,
    scott

    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 6:19 PM
  • Note that if you are in a forum, the list is scoped to that forum.

    I'll take a quick look and make sure the query is doing what it's supposed to.

    Matt
    Matt Fraser, STO Forums Software Developer
    • Edited by mattfras1 Wednesday, July 16, 2008 6:38 PM spelling
    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 6:26 PM
  • paladun said:

    Hmm, interesting. A combination of number of views and number of replies, and each item listed is a link to the original article. Anyone ever consider the circularity involved here? Each visit to one of the links in the list adds a view, which, of course, goes to the total that keeps it in the list.

    Anyone consider a periodic forced reselect, perhaps using a rolling two-week or one-month window or something to keep the list reasonably current and reflect currently prevailing concerns? I mean, one of these five is from March, the remainder from February! One has as few as three replies, another eight, and the most recent reply I could find was over a month ago, on June 11. Surely there has been something posted during that time which ought to go into "Top Answers."

    It's just that I have seen conversations that run upwards of five or six pages (see the one on WiMP/audio started by Oliver Black) which have not made the list. I have seen important posts about known issues, workarounds, KB articles, etc. that in my opinion could and should replace any one of the current top answers. In fact, as far as I can determine, the list has not changed in several weeks or longer (I only joined a few weeks ago; it's been the same since).

    If the algorithm is so ineffectual that it basically ignores threads of that length, and threads with a good deal more import than what is currently shown there, then my personal opinion is that it is a good deal less than worthless and the space it currently occupies could be put to better use.

    Just my opinion... ;-)

    cheers,
    scott


    OK, I looked into the Expression forums specifically. The Answers on the home page DO have the highest popularity. I wonder, though, if we should weight replies more heavily than views for the poularity vote. I'm not sure that IS the proper thing to do, since the idea is to highlight the threads that people are looking for the most, and most people who are looking for the answer to a problem would never post once they found the answer...

    I think we thougt about a sliding timescale, but the question is how big to make that window. It's very possible that a post on how to do something posted now will still be completely relevant (and something that a lot of people are looking for the answer to) a year from now.

    What do you think?

    Matt
    Matt Fraser, STO Forums Software Developer
    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 6:48 PM
  • mattfras said:

    OK, I looked into the Expression forums specifically. The Answers on the home page DO have the highest popularity. I wonder, though, if we should weight replies more heavily than views for the poularity vote. I'm not sure that IS the proper thing to do, since the idea is to highlight the threads that people are looking for the most, and most people who are looking for the answer to a problem would never post once they found the answer...

    I think we thougt about a sliding timescale, but the question is how big to make that window. It's very possible that a post on how to do something posted now will still be completely relevant (and something that a lot of people are looking for the answer to) a year from now.

    What do you think?

    Matt
    Matt Fraser, STO Forums Software Developer

    Hmm, yes, it is possible that an answer may still be relevant after a year. No disputing that. The problem is that it may not be the only thing relevant, and that other, more recent issues never get a shot at top answer listing, since they inherently start out hundreds of views behind in popularity.

    Consider the current situation; not one of those top five answers has an entry or reply subsequent to the release of EW2 Final (RTM), an event which brought a lot of new users (including myself) into the forum, with new questions, a number of which deal with, for example, the newly available PHP support. These questions will never have a shot at appearing in that list.

    In fact, given their current lead in views, I find it difficult to imagine that the current top five would ever be supplanted. There's a psychological issue at play here, too. I'm a gearhead-type MCP who came here from DMX 2004 and Visual Studio/VWD. One of the first things I did after joining the forum was to check out those top answers to see if they addressed issues I might encounter, or features about which I wanted to learn.

    In other words, they toted up another set of views not because they were the most relevant, or sought after, but simply because they were there and captioned "Top Answers." Had they been any other five answers, in exactly the same circumstances, I would have checked them out, too.

    One thing I don't know, and can't take into account when considering how this might otherwise be implemented, is exactly how "popularity" is determined. If it is, indeed, simply views and replies, then I suggest that the selection method is flawed. You say above that the objective is to "highlight the threads that people are looking for the most." Using these criteria, that is not necessarily what you are doing, since there are several things other than search results which contribute to the views of these threads.

    Perhaps a different approach is in order, one which I believe would help overcome the inherent bias in the current method. Instead of using views and replies, or in addition to those criteria, how about taking into account the actual search terms entered over the course of a period of time?

    In any event, I do believe that a sliding time window would offer the best combination of relevance and opportunity for new topics to enter the list. After all, even with a sliding window, a truly sought-after (i.e. highly relevant) topic will still bubble to the top, and might even provide answers which are even more relevant (say, because they include information about EW2 which wasn't available previously).

    cheers,
    scott


    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 7:50 PM