This is a follow up with additional observations from my post earlier today.
This is the off-topic throwaway comment/annotation I made on this main page article. The thread was in the number one position even before Charlie Jane made a comment on it (since it’s the only thread with an author comment it will stay in the number one slot if I understand correctly). At the time I write this the thread has 30 of the 100 total comments on the post. It is one of the two comment threads that someone will see right away when they click on the post. And it isn’t even about the content of the article.
I like making those kinds of comments and when my comment was one of many in the older commenting systems it was no big deal. But now my throwaway comments can bump a thoughtful comment further back in the order of comments. Am I lowering the quality of discussion by pushing that thoughtful comment back? How many clicks is the average user going to make to read comments? I don’t know. I need to think really hard about making those kind of comments now.
In other article where I recommended 2 or more comments in a thread, those threads have all been at least the third thread and all spent significant time in the first two spots. I don’t assume that was solely my doing but those comment threads moved to the front positions right after I made my recommendations. By pushing those threads to more prominent positions, I set them up to be seen by more users and recommended by more of the Privileged Users.
I have no idea how the commenting algorithm weighs the recommendations of a comment or thread but it seems I was able to shape the discussion in a few articles today without anyone knowing I was doing it. Since I’ve outed myself here, if you’re clever you may be able to figure out where I’ve been using my power but the average user would never know.
And I’m still not comfortable with this.
But enough seriousness. Here’s bouncing Katy Perry.