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How Questions are sorted on Atlassian Answers?

Mirek Community Leader Sep 15, 2014


Before using Confluence Questions the mechanism was sorting by recent activity (edit, comment, answer, ..) and newest on top. That was working quite well.. Currently we are having 3 tabs: Popular, Recent, Unanswered..

I am wondering how this sorting is working in practice by default ..For example .. When a Popular question will be on top? Is this only related to number of answers or comments? When a questions is recent? Is this only on top when it is added and then you need to scroll down event that was recently edited or answered?

Unanswered is pretty clear however here I am also wondering if I will edit the question or add a comment to question (not answering it) will this be added to top of the list or stay somewhere in the bottom..

Any idea?

3 answers

2 votes
Joe Clark Atlassian Team Nov 06, 2014

Sorry for taking so long to answer this, I needed to do a little bit of research on how it actually works smile

The short answer is that the "Popular" filter uses an EdgeRank-style algorithm to determine popularity.  There are 3 components to the edge rank: affinity, weight and decay. The three values are summed together to produce a final rank score.

  • Affinity: Represents how relevant a particular piece of content is to a particular user. Confluence Questions uses the topics that the user is watching to represent affinity.  Therefore, questions in topics you follow will be shown as more popular to you than questions in other topics.
  • Weight: Represents how popular the content is in general.  Confluence Questions sums the up-votes, comments and answers on a question to determine its weighting.  Questions with more of these will show as being more popular.
  • Decay: Represents how old the content is.  Older content is scored here to become less popular over time.  New comments or answers on an old question can bump or reset the decay value and make the question appear "newer" again.

Right now we cannot include page views into determining the popularity of a question, because we are not keeping track of page views within the Confluence Questions data model. If is implemented, we can look at changing this.

The Confluence "Popular" tab on the Dashboard uses a very similar algorithm, but has some differences:

  • The Affinity value is calculated differently (it boosts content created by users you follow to represent affinity, unlike CQ which uses topics you follow). 
  • Up-votes and down-votes are not included in the Weight score (only comments)
  • The Decay algorithm may follow a different curve


Hope this helps!

0 votes
Mirek Community Leader Sep 16, 2014

I think the algorithm is much more complicated than we think.. However my preference is that questions with more overall traffic should be in this Popular category. By traffic I mean view, votes, comments and answers.. and also not older than specific time because we will always see there the same questions there..

Looking at confluence Popular tab it should be working pretty similar but it isn't. In Confluence for sure it is based on votes, likes, comments ..

Do not forget that there might be also a personal aspect for example Popular questions are different for every user based on their favorites categories or watched questions.. or it might be simply a BUG ...It is very hard to determine that...

BTW. I would like to have also another category called "Newest" because Newset != Recent ..

0 votes

Also very interested in this... I've been unable to find the documentation, although it is very different than the previous OSQA implementation.

Mirek Community Leader Sep 16, 2014

Exactly.. That is why I am asking since currently it is a little bit confusing for me. I am seeing questions in Popular section that are having 0 votes and 0 answers.. Is this a popular question?

Maybe it is the number of views, which makes them popular... I'm curios about that...

Mirek Community Leader Sep 17, 2014

Unfortunately we do not see number of views.. Hard to say.

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