In a recent blog comment, Paul M. Watson asked:
"I’d be interested in more detail on how you compute the scores [which determine a feed’s attention]. Nothing that gives away your competitive edge of course but just some generalizations of what you are tracking that amounts to attention."
FeedDemon’s algorithm for determining a feed’s attention rank has changed since I first wrote about it, but it’s still very simple. I certainly don’t think I’ll be giving away any competitive edge by posting details, so here it is:
Feed Attention Rank =
(NumFeedVisitsExplicit div 2)
+ (NumFeedVisits div 4)
+ (NumPostVisits div 5)
+ (NumFollowedLinks div 3)
+ (NumEnclosureVisits div 2)
+ (NumPostsEverFlagged * 2)
+ (NumPostsEmailed * 2)
+ (NumPostsAddedToNewsBins * 2)
+ (NumPostsAddedToSharedNewsBins * 3)
NumFeedVisitsExplicit = #times user visited a feed by explicitly clicking it
NumFeedVisits = #times user visited a feed through automatic navigation (ex: clicking "Next")
NumPostVisits = #times a post in that feed was visited
NumFollowedLinks = #times an external hyperlink inside a post was clicked
NumEnclosureVisits = #enclosures (podcasts) downloaded from the feed
NumPostsEverFlagged = #posts user ever flagged
NumPostEmailed = #posts forwarded via email
NumPostsAddedToNewsBin = #posts added to a clippings folder ("news bin" in v2.5)
NumPostsAddedToSharedNewsBin = #posts added to a clippings folder that has a shared RSS feed
NumPostsAddedToWatches = #posts picked up by a FeedDemon watch
One of Paul’s concerns was that high output blogs which he skims through without reading would get ranked too highly. I attempt to counteract this in several ways, with admittedly mixed success. The most obvious way is by giving post visits the lowest weight in the algorithm (NumPostVisits div 5). And I give the highest weight to actions such as flagging, clipping or emailing a post, since those actions are proof that you find the post valuable.
One potentially important thing that’s missing here is that I don’t "decay" attention over time, but in reality this happens automatically. For example, if you stop paying attention to a feed that has a high attention rank, its rank will stop increasing, whereas the rank of feeds you do still pay attention to will continue to increase.
This is illustrated by the screenshot from my recent post about the attention report in FeedDemon 2.6, which shows that I was paying the most attention to the feed for the TopStyle Support Forum (since TopStyle 3.5 was in beta at the time). Now that TopStyle 3.5 has been released and I’m working on FeedDemon 2.6, the TopStyle feed has fallen to second place behind my feed for the FeedDemon Support Forum:
I’m curious as to how accurate FeedDemon customers find the new attention report. Does it for the most part reflect the attention you’re paying to your feeds, or do you find it wildly out of sync with the feeds you’re really paying attention to?