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Where Did The View Counts Go? Answered

I was browsing the featured instructables and I noticed that in the little bar below where the title and thumbnail are located the views the instructable received were no longer listed. Instead only what appears to be the number of favorites was shown. I think that is a cool little feature, but why remove the view counter? Couldn't both the number of views and favorites be shown? Personally, I kind of like being able to see how many views an instructable has received as I browse. 

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sspence (author)2013-12-21

Great to see the views back. Thank you. I like the Popular listing as well, but I notice if you sort by popular, they don't sort in any particular order.

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Kiteman (author)sspence2013-12-21

They sort in order of popularity.

Popularity is a short-term metric, to do with how many views and comments a project gets, and how fast it gets them. An active comment-thread can make a project "popular" months or years after publication.

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sspence (author)Kiteman2013-12-21

Except they aren't sorting, they are all mixed up.


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Kiteman (author)sspence2013-12-21

They are sorted, just not by visible data.

They're sorted by the recent activity on that project, which is a combination of views, comments, favourites and the frequency of all three (it is possible to be high on the popularity list with only a few dozen views and a couple of favourites if they happen quickly.

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wilgubeast (author)2013-12-18

Two things are happening with the data we're displaying on projects:

First, the old "which type of Instructable is it?" icon has been replaced with the total number of steps. The new project editor doesn't have the arbitrary steps/video/photo project type breakdown, so this change supports the move to simplify the creation of Instructables. The number of steps is slightly more useful to people actually wanting to read or remake a project: now you can ignore single-step projects AND get a sense of the complexity of a project at a glance.

Second, pageviews are an ineffective way to judge the quality of a project. Projects, even less than stellar ones, steadily accumulate pageviews over time. Sorting by pageview is just too noisy: on one side, you're seeing the best of the best (your sweet potato fries, 5x5x5 LED cubes, play dough, etc.); whereas on the other, you're seeing flip phone photographed projects from 2008 propped up by the accretion of views over the last five years via search or a misleadingly attractive main image... and a high pageview count display just reinforces those clicks.

To replace pageviews, we wanted something that was a better indicator of a project's quality. Number of favorites correlates strongly with pageview data, and it has the added bonus of reflecting what the members of Instructables actually prefer. We trust you all to surface great stuff, because you're familiar with what works, what doesn't, how you like to see projects presented, and what sorts of projects you like to see.

As Kiteman stated below, "this isn't YouTube." Pageviews are a very noisy signal when trying to determine the quality of a project. While people do "vote" with their clicks and eyes, we think that showing the Favorites numbers is a better measure of quality. It's not like we've stopped counting pageviews; we're just not displaying them on projects in the grid view.

A couple of notes:
-Not including views and favorite and number of steps and whether a project was featured was a design decision. Something had to go, or the clutter would have been overwhelming.
-To make the favorites data more robust, we need more people to make use of the Favorite feature. Accessible projects accumulate more favorites than complex ones, so we need our sophisticated members to use this feature so we don't inadvertently water the site down. (If you're reading a forum topic about a design change, you're probably one of our sophisticated members.)
-This is a step in an iterative process to make it easier for readers to evaluate a project from the grid view. If this experiment flops like Fosbury, we'll try something else to make the site easier to browse. (There is a push at HQ to bring back view numbers. Probably because jessyratfink has 15 million-ish views.)

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makendo (author)wilgubeast2013-12-19

I object to the "number of steps" simply because it strikes me at the least useful criterion I can think of on which to judge the quality or depth of a project. I've never really cared whether a project is photo/video/steps (and I applaud the move to get rid of this distinction) but I really don't think it needs replacing with some other artificial metric (lots of steps means good? bad? easy? hard? hopelessly prolix?). Favourites is OK if you want to encourage the more trivial projects, but it's as least as distorting as the view count and I'm not really sure just how strong the correlation is that you speak of (my beer crate has as many favourites as my treehouse, despite a 100x disparity in views). It's also prone to manipulation, so given the shameless vote-begging that goes on here, I expect we'll soon see authors asking readers to fave their projects...
Also, the problem with your expectation that members are using the favourite button to indicate that they like a project is at least slightly misguided - I use it to bookmark projects that I think I might like to execute one day, so many projects that are fantastic go entirely unacknowledged by me save for incrementing the view counter.

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M3G (author)wilgubeast2013-12-18

I feel that for new users and occasional visitors to the site a view count is an easier way to gauge the success of an instructable than the number of favorites. Views are a more universal measure than favorites.

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Kiteman (author)M3G2013-12-19

Wilgubeast's point was that the number of views is not an accurate measure of a project's quality or popularity, because older projects still accumulate views over time, often purely because they draw in hits from Google.

My most popular project is over 5 years old, but it happens to be Google-friendly, and draws in hundreds of hits a day, even though there are other, similar projects that are much better.

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Deeg (author)wilgubeast2013-12-19

What about bringing back the rating? (I assume it's gone because I don't see any place to rate an instructable but then I could just be blind.)

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Kiteman (author)Deeg2013-12-19

Rating was replaced by the favourite button.

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Deeg (author)wilgubeast2013-12-18

I like the direction you're trying to go but count me as someone who'd like the PV count back; I tend to be a data junkie and I'm interested in all sorts of ways at quantifying my instructables. I have probably overheated a few of your servers while fooling around on the stats page.

I'm not sure if I like trying to push people to use Favorites more. I tend to use it for the few Instructables I want to flag and come back to--sort of like a bookmark--and don't want to fill it up with Instructables that I like but probably won't ever look at again. I'd prefer a separate "like" vote.

One possible metric you could show is the ratio of Favorites (or "likes") to PV.

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jessyratfink (author)2013-12-17

Right now the only things in that bar are number of steps and favorites.

Some of us on the staff miss the views, too, and they may come back. I'm not sure. I think this is just an experiment. :)

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sspence (author)jessyratfink2013-12-17

Very displeased with the loss of views.

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RuiSantos (author)sspence2013-12-18

I agree I like the views feature.
It allow us to track the success of our instructable and which one would resonate more with the community.
I hope they add this feature again.

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wilgubeast (author)RuiSantos2013-12-18

You can still track the success of your projects by pageview. On the project page itself, the view count hasn't gone anywhere.

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sspence (author)wilgubeast2013-12-18

And when you have 17 or more instructables, how convenient is that? Just add the view count back and we will all be happy. keep the page count, even add the favorite count if you want.

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Kiteman (author)sspence2013-12-19

On your own page (or any list page), you can still sort by views.

Also, you can track the day-by-day traffic to your projects by using the Stats tab on your "You" page.

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sspence (author)Kiteman2013-12-19

Not sufficient. That's very inconvenient. How hard is it to just put it back the way it was?

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Kiteman (author)sspence2013-12-19

No idea, I don't do code.

Why not give the change a few days, see if you can cope with it?

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sspence (author)Kiteman2013-12-19

I do code. and No, I will not "cope with it". There's other places to put my tutorials.

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wilgubeast (author)sspence2013-12-19

There certainly are. Which is why we're collecting the opinions here as the stat display evolves. Your feedback and input are important, and we're already suggesting changes to keep the focus on having community members favorite projects while at the same time preserving the "rawer" data that comes from pageviews.

Normal caveats apply: if our overall numbers go up due to a change, we'll stick with it. Even if it's unpopular for a time (sorry guys.) If the numbers go down or stay the same, we'll bring back pageviews and tweak the display in other ways.

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Kiteman (author)sspence2013-12-19

I'm not sure you'll find another as good as this, but it's entirely up to you.

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Kiteman (author)sspence2013-12-17

I'm curious: why?

I'm not trying to start an argument or anything, I just want to understand how other members use or experience the site.

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caitlinsdad (author)Kiteman2013-12-17

Are you referring to the normal users..wait, the multitude of casual everyday browsers and iblers?

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Kiteman (author)caitlinsdad2013-12-18

Yes.

I have a radically different experience of the site compared to the other 15 million that land here every month, and sometimes I need to remind myself of that.

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sspence (author)Kiteman2013-12-17

It's how I gauge the success of a campaign, or decide what kind of instructables to post.

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M3G (author)jessyratfink2013-12-17
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jessyratfink (author)2013-12-18

Also, just so everyone knows, you can easily see the view counts for your own instructables.

Head here to see them.

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Kiteman (author)2013-12-17

I'm guessing that "this isn't YouTube".

Does anybody actually choose which projects to read based purely on the number of other people who have read them?

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I raise this question in parallel:

Does anybody actually choose which projects to read based purely on the number of steps?

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Not purely, but it does influence me if I am scanning quickly - the number of steps gives a rough guide to the scale or complexity of the project.

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M3G (author)Kiteman2013-12-17

I personally don't, but it is kind of interesting to see the number of views each instructable has recieved, and when there are multiple similar projects sometimes the one with the most views is the easiest to understand. 

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kelseymh (author)2013-12-16

The number of views appears to have been replaced by some other number, with an unknown meaning. Perhaps this is a bug in the latest rollout.

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Kiteman (author)kelseymh2013-12-17

That seems to be the number of steps - the views are still visible on the project itself.

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caitlinsdad (author)kelseymh2013-12-16

I believe when you apply Planck's constant, Avogadro's number or pi into the equation you get something meaningful. On the view profile page, you now get the number of steps in an ible next to the 3 panes icon but no heart icon like found on the featured listing. Yup, that crack team of Autodeskibles devs and the eagle-eyed QA team at it again.

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M3G (author)kelseymh2013-12-16

Thanks for the reply! I assume the number is the amout of favorites because of the heart icon, but the numbers don't seem to match up :/

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kelseymh (author)M3G2013-12-16

There's two numbers: the one next to the heart is supposed to be the number of favorites, but it will generally lag behind the value shown on the I'ble itself, because of server-side caching. There is a second number, which is displayed next to the "type" icon (step-by-step/photo/video). On the most recent page, most I'bles don't have any value here, but some do, ranging from 3 up to 12 or so.

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