Further simplifying the columns: quality score > view count

(Adam Capriola) #1

Continuing the discussion from Suggestion: # of likes in a topic in the tool tip:

I’m digging the removal of the Likes column (the glyph being gone in particular make the display less noisy), however I do think @boomzilla makes a good point that views aren’t all that well quantified. (What is a view? Are there different types of views? What does each individual view mean?)

I think the goal of showing stats, like the number of views and likes, is to convey some information about the quality of a topic. If it’s a particularly engaging discussion, it should stand out from the rest.

Any notion I have of what a view count implies is the result of years of frequenting forums and coming up with some arbitrary notions in my head that certain disparities between posts and views are good or bad. (The same can be said for posts vs. likes.) I have no idea how accurate my assumptions are and this unknowingness is part of the reason @codinghorror wanted to use a ratio to give likes more meaning.

But the heatmap on the posts column so far isn’t indicating to me at all a ratio of posts versus likes. It does stand out to me though and seems to be calling to me that a topic is, well, hot. Hot in the sense that it’s a topic to be looked at; a quality topic.

I know there are discussions on fixing the heatmap to be more telling, but why not instead remove the views column too and come up with some kind of “quality score” that incorporates likes and views. Use that quality score to assign the heatmap to the posts column. Keep the coldmap for now simplified activity column and I think it will be easy to glean info at a glance. (Hot and cold together means the topic has had staying power. Etc.)

Views and likes without context are somewhat crummy indicators. Even with context (a post count), how reasonable is it to expect users to come up with the same conclusion about what they mean? I think creating a universal metric is worth consideration. The individual stats can still be displayed within the topic and I’m assuming at some point there will be advanced searching with sorting by views and likes and whatnot, for those who want to do so.

(Dave McClure) #2

I like this idea.

I mentioned something similar here:

I could get on board with hiding the views column by default too. And while I personally agree that all the reduction is a good thing, it might be worth considering allowing these columns to be shown with CSS on forums that want to show them.

Should views column be removed?

Except that they’re simple and people understand what they are (well, except for Disco-views). The user can make up his own mind instead of wondering what the heck he’s looking at.

Complicated metrics are going to have more pathological cases, IMO, and it’s going to make people scratch their heads. If you want to try some out, fine, but put the “simple” stuff in there, turned on by default and allow an opt-in CSS edit to turn on the more exotic stuff.

(lid) #4

Less is more, but more less is nothing

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #5

I always figured this is where we were headed, but I don’t think we need to tackle this one just yet. One column at a time!

Should views column be removed?
(PJH) #6

/me waiting for the first person to suggest removing the Topic column. “All those letters make the page sooo noisy it’d be cleaner without them”…

Should views column be removed?
(Michael Downey) #7

A blank page where the topics appear now would be much simpler and wouldn’t confuse users with all that information.

(Michael Downey) #8

Try that on YouTube and see what happens. :wink:

Views matter to people’s emotions, even if they don’t matter in any quantitative sense.


At least on YouTube views have more meaning. In a forum, views don’t mean quite as much.

(Michael Downey) #10

Views on YouTube are calculated by a proprietary algorithm which most people believe is constantly evolving. Nobody knows exactly what it means. Kind of like Discourse.

But it’s still possibly the most important “metric” for producers and viewers.

(Soviut) #12

I’ll chime in my support for a “heat score” that factors in views, posts, likes, age and last activity, as I mentioned here: Should views column be removed?

It’s far easier to represent and style topics by heat versus multiple factors.

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #13

The all-in-one proposal scores extremely high on the Easier Said Than Done scale. I’d have to see a very convincing mockup to join in on that one.

(Jeff Atwood) #14

Ah, but they do!

This is exactly why the second date (first post) was removed from Activity in the topic list, and Likes was removed from the topic list. People complained that they weren’t “simple”:

  • Having two dates Makes You Think “what does this date mean? why is it different from the other date? which date should I focus on?”, which I came to agree with. (Personally I really like first post date, but I began to see their point, and it could be considered TMI.)

  • Likes is such an ambiguous number and only really has meaning if you divide it by the number of posts… which, again, Makes Me Think. Not simple. Likes was easily the least defensible number in the topic list. Who cares if a topic with 8 posts has 3 likes? Were they on the topic, the first post, or the replies? Were they all on one post or was it 1 like spread amongst 3 different posts? What possible meaning does that add? It’s straight up info-porn.

I am all for simplifying the topic list, it is an essential and arguably the essential view in Discourse. But I think the column list we have now is quite defensible, all the “low hanging fruit” of columns people were (rightly) complaining about as not simple, have been removed.

But as you said, smushing everything (posts/views) into one column as some kind of amorphous metric seems a bit too far in the other direction.



I could make a case for ambiguous…I think…I don’t recall seeing anyone make that case, but I assume that’s people liking post #1 vs liking individual posts?

I call BS on having to divide.

Here’s a shocker: people like porn.

Wow. Is there an explanation somewhere that explains how Discourse counts views? Because that column really, seriously confuses me. And I really can’t understand the decision making process of removing a column that a few people removed with some easy CSS. I could see swapping the default and allowing site admins to unhide the column, especially since you were still sending the raw data down the pipe.

The drive towards v1.0 just seems like so much flailing around.

(Michael Downey) #16

I really don’t want to restart the debate, but it’s disingenuous to call “Date of First Post” a “complicated metric” or not “simple”.

(Jeff Atwood) #17

Not spreadsheet (numbers) porn. At least not many people do. Maybe accountants? Tax preparers? Dan Bricklin?

(Jeff Atwood) #18

Still, two dates “Makes You Think” because you have two dates to process. Which is which? Which one should I be looking at? And it’s true that the date the conversation started is less relevant overall than the date it was last replied to. I think the argument there is quite defensible… one date is simpler than two.

If you have to pick one date for clarity and simplicity, clearly you’d pick Last Post date. And then coldmap it. :wink:


I would pick it, but I probably wouldn’t bother to “coldmap” it.

(Michael Downey) #20

If only we had a way to label columns … maybe even put it above each column. We could call them “headings”… :wink:



(probus) #21

Most of the complaints (I read) here were about the way the dates were presented in a single column.

Actually, the Users column is still left untouched.