Software

Crazy Web2.0 features I wish TR could build


Longtime readers will recall that I come up with some crazy site feature ideas every few months or so. Well, it's been one of those days...
  1. Implied news filter: TR harvests news from about 200 RSS feeds everyday. What I'd like to do is take a daily snapshot of every feed, and then tabulate common links. I'd spider every page linked in every feed. Then, I'd rank each link based on the number of feeds it appears within. Long story short, any link that is popular enough to appear on multiple sites would rise to the top of the list. The result would be a "best of" news list that updated over time. Hello internal Techmeme, only without the blog slant.
  2. A read+rate global hot list: Take every link served on TR, and count the number of times it is clicked. Each click is worth 1 point. Put a Digg-style Recommend button on every asset. Each recommendation is worth 5 points. List the highest-scoring links, based on a rolling 24-hour window. Plant the list on the front door of the site, and call it Best of TechRepublic. Bingo: Instant internal Reddit/Digg hybrid, and a reason to check the site everyday. (Note: I'm curious to see what this would do to discussions, as every post in a thread has its own URL. It's entirely possible that a post buried deep in a thread could make the hot list.)
  3. User-controlled suggestions: Our news autotagger tracks about 100 topics, over 100 companies, and over 100 explicit IT products. Run the same autotagger over the global hot list. On every user profile, instead of our freeform Technologies and Interests fields, let members pick specific Topics, Companies, and Products to track. Replace our current Suggestions that runs off an Amazon-style observed-behavior algorithm with a personalized News list, and Popular Content list. Each list would be filled by the Implied News and Global Hot lists, respectively, filtered against your personally chosen autotags. Now you've got a reason to visit your Workspace everyday, because it has "personalized" content.
Crazy, eh? Yeah, I thought so.

About

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

2 comments
zetacon4
zetacon4

It seems to me that you would get unnaturally exaggerated top ten items. Also, how would you organize this list so it could be truly useful to TR members? My personal experience with TR is guided almost exclusively by browsing the email messages sent out by their automated news digests. At some point, a TR member would be spending way too much time hunting for useful content. Just my take on creating too fancy of an interface. The page content now is much better than it used to be, but it's still a hassle dealing with all the ads and side panels and other visual distractions their server scripts throw in a page. But, it is much better than before this latest improvement cycle. Keep up the good work TR scripters.

Jack-M
Jack-M

At the end of your sensible ideas you said :"Crazy, eh? Yeah, I thought so." I think not. It's doable, makes sense and would allow readers of TR to utilize their 'workspace' much more effectively. A good idea whose time has come. JackM