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Golden Age of Articles

By farl in Meta
Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 09:02:09 PM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)

Sometimes stories that get posted are brilliant. Sometimes not. But of those that are really good, no matter what, after a while, they get drowned in the deluge of new stories posting to Section Areas and to the Front Page.

What I am interested in is having a sort of "Greatest Hits" or "Golden Oldies" section where great articles from the past get reborn, and live on the front page again.

What this would involve, is a section (maybe on the bottom) of the Front Page where these articles would randomly come up. They would be there for a few days to a week, before they randomly get cycled out for other stories in the "Golden" list. This would allow rotation of the stories and keep "fresh" articles on the page.

Several options have to be considered:

How to become "Golden"
  1. Acceptance %. Based on the ratio of acceptance to non-acceptance in the initial voting on the article. This indicates a willingness of people to read the article. Probably acceptance percentage is that 90% of total votes be "+1".
  2. Comment Activity. Based on the amount of comments an article gets. This indicates a "life" to the article and shows that people are not only interested in reading it, they are interested in discussing it. Probable acceptance level is anything with over 200 or 250 comments.
  3. Editor Mod. This is where the owners/editors of Kuro5hin step up and say "Oh, this is a great article, let's make it Golden." There are good and bad parts to this idea, but it is very workable.
How "Golden" Works
  1. Time on Front Page. Once a week, 5 articles are picked at random from the "Golden" list and put on the bottom of the front page.
  2. Staying on Front Page. At the weekly check, any article that has generated a certain amount of interest, gets to stay on the front page. A good way for this would be to see any article that generates more than 50 to 100 NEW comments since in the week. Anything that actively debated needs to stay on the Front Page.
So let's have discussion about possible implementation ideas, and whether the readers of Kuro5hin actually even like the concept.


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Is this idea good?
o Yes! 26%
o Yes! But the requirements for Golden need work. 47%
o No! But if the requirements are reworked, it might be okay. 11%
o No! 14%

Votes: 88
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
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o Also by farl

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Golden Age of Articles | 28 comments (27 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
Good idea, but comment activity is a BAD indicator (4.66 / 9) (#1)
by klash on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 05:54:33 PM EST

250 comments says a story was controversial, nothing more. Jin Wicked's "Programming is Not Art" is hardly a "Golden" article, but I would wager it has at least 200 comments. Likewise for anything politically hot.

I love the idea though. I think criteria #3 is best; hand-selecting articles would really show off the ones that are clearly in a class of their own. The 3-part chronicle of a professional gambler comes to mind.

True (4.00 / 4) (#2)
by vambo rool on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 06:17:14 PM EST

n or more highly rated comments with m or fewere low rated comments might be better.

[ Parent ]
Or (none / 0) (#17)
by sean23007 on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 12:13:17 AM EST

a good n/m ratio might be even better. Although they are kind of the same thing, the n/m ratio means you don't have to define a certain level of controversy in order to let an article live. Of course, a minimum number of comments should be one of the requirements, but a ratio allows the consideration of many more possible articles than a fixed limit.

Lack of eloquence does not denote lack of intelligence, though they often coincide.
[ Parent ]
OTOH (5.00 / 7) (#3)
by enterfornone on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 06:27:46 PM EST

It really sucks to see stories slide off the front page while people are still commenting on them. Perhaps rather than (or in addition to) "Golden Stories" there should be a "Most Active Stories", with the stories that have had the most comments posted in the last hour/day etc.

efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Dated news? (none / 0) (#4)
by Kasreyn on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 06:40:49 PM EST

What about articles referring to current events? Will we really care to see some hugely discussed news piece (like, say, K5's 9-11 coverage) keep cropping up again and again after it has lost all relevance?

That quibble aside, I kinda like the idea, but I'm mostly indifferent. Perhaps a "hall of fame" of "golden" articles would be a better idea, much as we might loathe to take an idea from the other site. =P My vote: 0 for now, I'll let the other K5ers decide on this one.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Current events (4.00 / 1) (#12)
by wiredog on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 07:56:31 PM EST

Some "current events" stories retain relevance. Take a look at my first story, from January of 2001, or my first comment, from Oct 2000, which was attached to this story .

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
What I'd like to hear (none / 0) (#5)
by medham on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 06:41:09 PM EST

Is what people think are some other candidates for "golden stories." I like reading through the K5 archives to find out what the community has had to say about various issues, and a little help from those with geologic communityhood could go a long, m-fing way.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.

Good idea, but "comment activity" is dan (none / 0) (#6)
by svampa on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 06:56:02 PM EST

Do you mean comments that the story had when it left the front page? or do you mean the total comments?

If you chose the second one, a history that has a lot of comments would get still more comments, so old good articles would be in the top, and increasing distance every time they reappear in frontpage.

Clarification on Comment Activity (none / 0) (#7)
by farl on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 07:14:17 PM EST

To clarify a bit (from what i understand your question to be):

An article automatically gets put into "Golden" status when it hits a set amount of comments. Say 200, or 300 or whatever.

Then when it gets circulated onto the front page (or wherever this section goes), it has its CURRENT number of comments noted, and then after a week, it can then see how many NEW comments there are. This would purely track comments over the week period.

[ Parent ]
Criteria (3.75 / 4) (#9)
by EricHeinz on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 07:18:43 PM EST

I think it's a great idea but has to be implemented well or it will fail quickly. The number of comments should be only counting its last X number of days on the front page, otherwise as was said before the oldest articles will accumulate so many comments that a few stories will almost always be up front.

I disagree with the notion that if a story is controversial moreso than really "golden" it shouldn't be eligable. If the k5 crowd chooses to discuss a topic continuously then it should continue to be put in the lime light. If the majority wants a story to be gone, simply stop commenting.

I guess the big question comes down to the final mark of golden. I'm a bit wary of letting only a select few choose because I think it should come down to a popular vote of sorts. Perhaps it can be voted on again, as if it were once again in the submissions bin? Just a thought.

sha boom boom
One small change (4.00 / 2) (#10)
by John Milton on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 07:22:17 PM EST

This really wouldn't be bad if the story was placed in a side box on the front page. A better idea would be to let people pay to bring an old story to the front again for a day. It would be on the front page, but it wouldn't be too conspicuous. I'm sure a few desperate individuals would shell out money to see their old stories revived or make a nice "I told you so." It could actually be lucrative for rusty.

"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Text Ads! (5.00 / 1) (#22)
by wiredog on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 08:11:11 AM EST

I'm not sure if that's turned on yet, but that is one of the uses for them.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
+1 Section. (1.50 / 6) (#11)
by m0rzo on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 07:26:13 PM EST

Good idea. I like it.

My last sig was just plain offensive.

Great idea! (5.00 / 1) (#13)
by nr0mx on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 08:08:42 PM EST

This way, the newer entrants to the site also get to look at the best stories that were discussed before their day, and to say their bit. Many are the times when I end up following a link ( normally on a comment to a current post ) to an older story ( you guessed it, posted before I came to roost ), which turns out to be a great post.

Hopefully it'll also bring down the frequency with which similar storylines are rehashed by every new entrant ( though I much doubt it ) ;)

Who knows, going through 'great' stories in succession might also throw up some neat observations on what confers the elusive greatness, and be a reminder of what is possible.

A "Best of k5" (none / 0) (#24)
by TON on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 01:32:39 PM EST

would really help set the bar for good story writing. It should help with the perception of crap coming out of the queue.

"First, I am born. Then, the trouble begins." -- Schizopolis


[ Parent ]

good idea (4.00 / 1) (#14)
by highenergystar on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 09:17:25 PM EST

well here goes my first comment on kuro5hin. as a longtime lurker i have read many of the articles and comments i must say that the quality of both the articles and of the comments are double plus good. The idea of an archive/repository for the best stories is a great one. i would like to suggest as rules to make 'golden'.... articles are proposed in a thread (that runs for a while on the bottom of the front page. editors pick up a couple of articles at a time put them to vote as to whether they should be golden. injecting my favorite bias, i think that the 3-part gambling series should definitely be included :)

Not to pick nits... (none / 0) (#16)
by localroger on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 09:27:38 PM EST

...but it was a four-part series :-)

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

someone beat me to it (none / 0) (#28)
by irksome on Sun Feb 24, 2002 at 06:05:28 PM EST

I was going to suggest that these stories be the first inductees ... In the time I've been reading K5, those are the only 4 stories that I added to the "hotlist". Not because anyone's posting new comments, but because they are a good read, well written.

I think I am, therefore I'm not.
[ Parent ]

Comments won't work (4.75 / 4) (#15)
by psicE on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 09:18:09 PM EST

Another reason why the comment-ratings wouldn't work: Many of the best articles were posted before the blackout, and before the huge surge in users; back in April 2000, it was rare to have a story with over 50 comments, whereas now that's typical. As the userbase increased, so did the average number of comments per story, so newer stories would be weighted higher than older ones, defeating the point of a "Golden Age" of articles.

Precisely. (none / 0) (#19)
by nr0mx on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 01:08:07 AM EST

For the same reason, the % needed to make the grade will change with time too. I would think that as the user base increases, it would get harder to meet a higer acceptance %. But, if you do not attempt to retrofit the % back, it should be fine. i.e. Once a story gets in, it is not judged again. So its the % at the time of entry that matters, not earlier or later.

It reminds me of the trend with Hollywood movies, where every year old movies get pushed out of all-time high earners list, the major reason being the increased viewer base.

[ Parent ]

K5's Favorite Articles (3.00 / 1) (#18)
by Luke Francl on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 12:49:00 AM EST

My idea to implement this is to develop a simple scoring metric based on what people have in the Hot Lists. For example, I have "Essential Programming References", "Qualities of a good URL", "Website profitability: an economic analysis", "Acts of the Apostles", "Truth, Trolls, and Big Lies" and "A Casino Odyssey" parts 1-4 in my Hot List.

It would be fairly easy to write an algorithm to determine which articles are the most popular based on how many people have them each article in their Hot List (another cool feature would be "Articles you might like", where if Alice and Bob both have articles A and B in their Hot Lists, Alice could be notified that Bob also liked article C...but I digress).

On a slight tanget, I think this is one of the areas where weblogs are really lacking: the site has no memory. Once an article is off the front page, it's basically gone for all intents and purposes. Having a "Favorite Articles" section would help this problem. So would being notified by email when a story has new comments.

Wiki's don't experience this problem because by its very nature a Wiki is a gestalt of the community's experience.

Something similar on scoop.k5.org (5.00 / 1) (#26)
by ramses0 on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 07:42:54 PM EST

Hi. Hurstdog was cool enough to code up the following feature on http://scoop.kuro5hin.org/ one night (look at the lower left-hand side), supposedly it's not running on K5, probably because it's a 'heavy' query and it was just a quick hack.

It still runs into problems that it's a fairly static list, perhaps to be reserved for an ?op=special page, but I really do like the idea of a "golden" story rotation (maybe with a nice gold border/header?), probably with title and intro, just like a normal story display. It's a testament to the quality of users on K5 that we're even discussing something like this right now. ;^)

The toughest part is only *how* to get stories into this rotation. Editor pick seems to be the most sane, but least in keeping with the "spirit" of the community nature of K5. Any other ideas are welcome.

[ rate all comments , for great ju
Parent ]

Great idea, bad requirements. (none / 0) (#20)
by arcade on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 01:33:15 AM EST

The idea itself is great. The 'golden articles' should have its own 'tab' on the top of Kuro5hin, just like "Everything", "Diaries" and so forth.

I'm not that interested in having it posted to the frontpage, as that is for 'news' imho, but that is just me.

However, what should determine where it is put? In my opinion, it is the +1 to -1 score, and then the average score of the comments. I'm not sure how it should be weighted, but the comment ratings should really count.

If an article basically is a three-line question on how to solve something, and the comments are blood brilliant, all-rated-to-5.0 ..then its golden.

Also, an article can't become golden before it has been here for more than a week or something like that.


Agreed. (none / 0) (#21)
by Jel on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 05:47:06 AM EST

Agreed. Also, some articles are good precisely because they are controversial. How do you decide?

If stats are available on the total time each article is read for (ie, before a session requests another link), then that could be helpful. But it would need a lot of thought to be really fair.

I'd hate to see K5 become a certain kind of site just because a certain kind of article gets put in the golden section, and people start thinking that's what K5 is all about.

[ Parent ]
This is well-suited for a "collaborative filt (5.00 / 3) (#23)
by karjala on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 11:35:54 AM EST

I think this is the typical situation where one could (should?) implement collaborative filtering, and this is what I mean:

1. You declare your preferences by voting +1 for the posted stories that you really enjoyed. This could also work if you were asked to rate the stories (1 to 5).

2. At the end of every day (or week) the system collects these preferences, relates them to others who have voted similarly on the stories you voted, and produces a personal list of other recommended stories.

The list could be formed by having the system first attempt to estimate what you would have voted for the other stories. There are statistical methods for this kind of estimation already, and they're simple.

The metric that defines your proximity with other readers could be statistical co-variance in the votes or something else.

my 2c

I really like this (none / 0) (#25)
by jesterzog on Mon Feb 18, 2002 at 03:25:45 PM EST

I really like this idea of promoting certain historical stories for people based on what they've voted for in the past. It might be a bit more difficult to get right than it seems though, since there's not a one-to-one relationship between people and what they vote for.

Is anyone out there familiar with any research or papers that have looked at good algorithms for profiling users like this? Maybe there's even room for some academic funding of k5 if there are researchers interested in trying out different algorithms.

One final note, I think that when people vote, they should have the option to decide if they want that vote to go towards their profile of what they like. Ideally the whole thing should be opt-in, and then able to be turned off on a story-by-story basis. This is both for the obvious privacy objections that will come up, but also because people often vote stories down for reasons other than whether they like the topic. (eg. Grammatical.)

jesterzog Fight the light

[ Parent ]
brought up before... (none / 0) (#27)
by thadk on Tue Feb 19, 2002 at 12:56:18 AM EST

I was just running a search for something and a similiar suggestion came up from a while back and I wanted to point people to it. The ideas not new and I really think it's a good one. Hope it actually gets accomplished this time around.

Suggestion: "Best of" or "All-Time Classics" of kuro5hin by Marble

And I picked up on Hotlists, which were discussed as a method for making the Golden list...kewl. I really shoulda read the whole FAQ at some point.

Golden Age of Articles | 28 comments (27 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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