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Fortify Trending Pages - Increase Transparency Within ATS - Add This Feature

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posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 05:20 PM
Greetings ATS Members and Staff,

This suggestion should be considered and found to be a potential solution to a problem. I understand Trending Pages is still in it's early stages, hence the following post.

The recent addition of Trending Pages has granted us the ability to track in real time the number of members viewing the most visited topics on ATS, right down to the number of members that are viewing a particular page in that thread. As many of us know Trending Pages can be manipulated to artificially inflate these numbers, adding uncertainty to it's worth in gauging a topic's actual interest.

This vulnerability is directly counter productive to the (assumed) intent of it's implementation to such a degree that one member with a series of clicks can deceptively direct the attention of everyone viewing Trending Pages to a topic of their choosing. Considering these facts, I'm left wondering how many people use the feature at all.

Moderators may or may not already have the ability to detect this activity. The rest of us do not and remain none the wiser as a result. As it stands now, the front page of AboveTopSecret displays a list of all members whom are online at any given time.

[color=108044]My suggestion is to display the names of all members viewing each page within every thread on ATS along with a count beside their name of how many instances of that thread they have open, especially if it can be done so in a minimalistic manner.

This will not only discourage members from abusing the vulnerabilities of Trending Pages - Effectively increasing it's value to the community, but also bring a certain type of transparency which would make the ATS experience more engaging and interesting for myself, and hopefully others as well. I cannot think of any negatives to offer against this suggestion.

One may exclaim, "It's no one's business what thread I'm currently viewing!", to which I would respond, "It's already known when you are on or off line, and when you created your last post and where. The feature would be implemented in such a way that a member's current thread viewing cannot be actively tracked."

Whether you agree or disagree with this suggestion, please weigh in if you've got something to say! I know it was a long read, I won't do TL;DRs here.

posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 05:34 PM
What does this say about people like me who follow a thread. I refresh my myats page often and if a new post is made in a thread I am following I go to read it. That means I could visit a single thread hundreds of times. Thousands of times in some threads like this one . It would be nice to know how many people have read my threads or other threads ie numbers of unique visitors, but naming members and their number of visits doesn't really mean anything in my opinion.

posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 09:08 PM
reply to post by Agarta
Hi, based on your response I'll attempt to clarify as it appears you've read me wrong.

Many forums on the internet display in real time who is viewing a thread you are visiting, usually at the bottom, it's a fairly common feature.

It is not a running count of your history of total visits to that thread that I'm proposing be visible to other members, but how many instances of that thread a member has open at that time. The purpose for which can be found in the original post.

I'll give you an example of what I'd like to see. Imagine at the bottom of a topic there's an icon (or sans icon, a list of names just as is on front page now), that reads "Who's Viewing This Thread?" Upon clicking or hovering over said icon, a list of all members who are on the same page as you at that moment are displayed. You notice among the list of various ATS members viewing the page the author of the thread with a number in parenthesis beside his name 'ATSThreadAuthor (24)' indicating they have that many tabs of that thread open at once.

The Trending Pages feature counts visits to threads this way now. Let's see the names behind the numbers within the thread itself, and all threads on ATS, is what I am suggesting here.

Thanks for chiming in.

posted on Jun, 23 2012 @ 07:30 PM

Originally posted by Sek82

As many of us know Trending Pages can be manipulated to artificially inflate these numbers, adding uncertainty to it's worth in gauging a topic's actual interest.

I'm not altogether convinced this is true. As an experiment, I opened a fairly new (but obscure and little-flagged) topic in my browser in at least 50 concurrent instances. I left them open and watched the "trending topics" for about 15 or 20 minutes. The topic I had open never appeared in the list even though many of the listed topics showed considerably less than 50 current visitors.

If there is a way to "game" the system, just opening the page several times simultaneously does not seem to be the way.

posted on Jun, 23 2012 @ 10:14 PM
reply to post by Shadoefax
I tested this briefly before posting the thread to confirm it. It would be silly to create this suggestion without knowing it's the case.

Were you logged in when testing it?

posted on Jun, 23 2012 @ 11:17 PM
reply to post by Sek82

Yes ... I am logged in automatically whenever I visit this site.

I don't mean to imply that what you say is not true, only that my experiment provided a different result. For instance, I did not wait any length of time before opening each new tab. I just clicked my middle mouse button (I have Firefox setup that way) approximately 50 times in rapid succession to open each instance. I suppose it is entirely possible the ATS forum software can detect this "flooding" from the same IP address and ignore them in the count.

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