Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Changes in the Koinup "coolest" algorithm

The "coolest" algorithm is the "Koinup item algorithm" that assigns to any images and videos posted on Koinup a specific weight. Its has been built with the purpose of ranking contents and displaying some of them with more frequency in the front-pages of the website. The "coolest" algorithm is the reason because some works are more frequently seen and displayed than others on the website. The algorithm was based on democratic criteria such as the number of favs and comments.

If you login today, probably you may notice that the list of Koinup coolest works in the various pages dramatically changed. This happened because we upgraded the algorithm in order to include new criteria and elements in the measurement of the specific weight of the contents.

Koinup turned gradually itself from a basic photo and video sharing service to a more advanced social media platform. The website is providing many ways to "interact with" and "share" contents, from the upload of videos and photos, to the creations of widgets, to the add of images and videos to pools & groups, plus many other social actions, as well.

We wanted that "coolest" was an exact representation of these actions and of the many and multiple way people interact with works on Koinup. Unfortunately, before the upgrade the algorithm only measured approximately the number of favs and comments. This could sound good, but it was otherwise very easy to game the algorithm and moreover, it wasn't exactly a complete way to measure the performance of works on Koinup. So, we looked into the issue and we built a more sophisticated "coolest".

With the new algorithm, there are many more factors suitably assessed before the weight is assigned to an item. But first let me tell you what we had in mind when we started to think that new "coolest"

The purposes of the upgrade were the following:
1. Giving more people the concrete chance to be displayed in the coolest pages
2. Allowing more genres of art and creativity to spread out from the ground
3. Making possible that also newcomers could have a chance to be featured in the coolest pages

If you look at the coolest pages, so far, it seems that works displayed are more heterogeneous and various. So, we think that we're moving in the right direction.

The main areas of intervention on the "algorithm" are the following:

1. The algorithm is now able to distinguish between various kind of comments. If before it was only important the absolute number of comments, now its more important the number of commenters (same for fav.)
2. The algorithm is now able to distinguish between the timing of actions related to a specific work. If a work persist to attract comments and favs for a long period of time, it's a sign that such a work has a real value and with the new algorithm these kind of works display better than other that attract comments and favs only when they are published for a few hours.

We hope you can leave us your feedback and/or make some constructive critics. We're open to discuss the changes and improve further the job done. So, lets open the forum! thanks!


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