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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hot List

There are some very cool new features especially our hot list feature coming out soon on the eLearning Learning Content Community. The site is beginning to take into account social signals. In other words, we are using what is happening:
  • with the content out in the network
  • on the eLearning Learning
  • searches that land on us and that occur on the site,
  • and various other kinds of behaviors.
Together these social signals indicate that the content is likely of higher quality (or at least of higher interest). Thus it belongs in both a best of list and a hot list. This is going to take some work to get it right, but we believe it will help to highlight various hot list content.

We are particularly excited that this capability will soon allow us to have a weekly post that highlights hot list for the week. This will be something like:

Hot List for the Week of 1/2/2009 - 1/9/2009

Hot List Posts Hot List Items
Hot List Keywords

Notes on the weekly hot list.
  • The posts come from the primary sources for this group. Other items come from other sources.
  • Keywords are based on occurrences this week in addition to other social signals.
I'm not always sure I can explain why certain things are going to be in the hot list for the week. The social signals seem obvious in some cases, but not always clear to me in other cases. Still I would claim that most of those posts are pretty good ones - certainly I'm happy seeing that list. Similarly, it's interesting to see what keywords are getting to the top each week.

I'm very curious to hear any reactions to this idea of a hot list.


Stephen Downes said...

It's interesting watching you guys try some things I've thought about for a long time.

The layout for the E-Learning learning site is interesting - the five column format reminds me of the old Arts & Letters Daily (sounce of the inspiration for OLDaily's name). I know ads mean money, but I'm not sure I'd place an ad front and centre like that. Looking for more artwork.

You are getting very good placement on Google searches - Google gives Google love to sites that give Google adword love.

Is everyone in the 'sources' list a signed up contributor?

Oh, and putting your own sit in the 'sources' list is nice and recursive (so the programmer in me likes it) but generally misleading.

Anonymous said...

Hello Tony,

Your idea of selecting the hot lists on a weekly basis is most welcome. I am sure this initiative will motivate fellow bloggers and community owners to share their knowledge frequently. I have recently launched a Web site for e-learning professionals. Through one of the section titled 'Planet's Pick', I select my favourite bloggers and blog posts on a weekly basis. Its my pleasure to select you as my favourite blogger for the previous week. Have a good day. Expecting more innovative and useful information in your blog and community...

E-Learning Tyro

Tony Karrer said...

Stephen - I still don't quite understand how you can do what you do. The sheer volume of information that you process is amazing. In some ways, we are trying to use some social signals within a much smaller domain what you are doing with a combination of manual and automated approaches across a much larger domain. If there were a bunch of people like you in the world - or even 20% like you, the combination of their ability and greater automation might be scary.

I'm still trying to figure out layout. Ad money, unfortunately, is the cost of doing business. It's a trickle, but an important trickle.

I'm 99% certain that everyone who is a listed source is a signed up contributor. Virtually everyone said "Yes" when I asked. We do include pages that are outside of these sources when we think it's interesting content. We never show more than a snippet and link directly to the original source. It's not as good as your manually produced thoughts/summaries, but it's the best we can do and we'd certainly take down a page if someone complained, but it's doubtful that anyone would. For example, I'm sure that your 10 years post is on the site and well liked by the system (lots of social signals on that one). It should be surfaced by something like this.

And, I don't think that having eLearning Technology listed as a source is at all misleading. Probably there should be some kind of highlight or something like that saying that I'm one of the organizers. I don't think it's misleading when you point from OL Daily to one of your Half an Hour posts - I actually appreciate it. You only do it when it's something good. I think eLearning Technology is one of the good sources around the topic of eLearning. :)

@eLearning Tyro - that's good to hear.