"Featured Comics" and "Popular Now" Tabs Suggestion

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"Featured Comics" and "Popular Now" Tabs Suggestion

Postby MK_Wizard » May 4th, 2018, 8:42 am

I love it here and I love the people here, but I have one issue with the "comic spotlight" system; it always features the same comics as the "most popular" ones or at least most of the same ones. I think that there is a missed opportunity there to showcase different hidden gems which sadly remain hidden because people aren't made aware of them and some of these gems have been here for years. I think Smackjeeves would benefit if this subsection was replaced and divided into two subsections;

Featured Comics: It is a bit like "comic spotlight" except it features comics that are picked by the staff and site managers. They are not necessarily popular or well known, but are exceptionally well done so featuring them gives them a chance to get seen. Also, it would have rules that if a comic has already been featured, it you can feature it again until some time passes (months maybe?) and the featured comics list gets updated once a week or every two weeks. I've seen other webcomic hosting sites do this and both the sites and communities did well for it.

Popular Now: It is a bit like "popular comics" except it showcases the comics that are popular right now based on traffic, rates and subscriptions rather than what has the most of all that ever. This also is a great way for things to get featured because it encourages people to read rising stars who are not new, but have just been discovered. Maybe an automated system would update this list, but it would be worth it. Maybe we'll still see some of the same comics that are the most popular, but not as much which will offer more variety.

All in all, I think Smackjeeves should have these types of lists on the home page because like I said, everyone can have a chance and being there, everyone can have a turn and it also sets the bar for showcasing a variety of comics rather than the same ones all the time. After all, part of what makes Smackjeeves great is that we feature all kinds of comics and we are unified for it, but when you see the same comics features getting all the attention and always being on the same lists everywhere, that defeats the purpose and gives the wrong message to newcomers. We're a community so why don't we have two sections that showcase our diverse, rich and beautiful community? It will help us grow and it will helps Smackjeeves grow, no?
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Re: "Featured Comics" and "Popular Now" Tabs Suggestion

Postby eishiya » May 4th, 2018, 8:53 am

There doesn't seem to be a difference between Featured Comics and the Spotlight, except that comics can't be Spotlit multiple times. Most Spotlit comics were chosen by Admin (the one "site manager", SJ has no other staff), and many of them were comics that he found, rather than suggestions from the forum, because people don't use that forum section enough ):
I've suggested to Admin about Spotlighting multiple times, but his goal is to create more variety in the Spotlight via new comics rather than repeats. The big Spotlight banner rotation is a way for comics that were spotlit a long time ago to have some attention again, since it includes both new and old Spotlights.

The way you're describing Popular Now sounds like how Most Popular currently works; it doesn't look at the entire history of the comic, but just the past N days. The same comics just keep popping up because popularity is a virtuous cycle. Sometimes unknown comics show up near the top because of Reddit and the like, so a single day's traffic can have a big impact, it's just usually not enough to beat the stably-popular comics. The other tabs are meant to counteract this, they're much more fluid.
Hot & Upcoming used to be a section looking at new comics that were seeing upticks in popularity, which sounds closer to what you want, but this has since been merged into the Discover tab, which includes those plus recommendations based on your Favorites.
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Re: "Featured Comics" and "Popular Now" Tabs Suggestion

Postby MK_Wizard » May 4th, 2018, 9:02 am

I see and I appreciate the input, but for featured, there would be one new limit that I am suggesting which is don't feature the same stuff over and over again. I appreciate that other people noticed this too namely the people on top because I find it sad that the comics get featured over and over again if not unfair. Everyone should get a turn to be featured and I think even the most popular people here don't want to take opportunities away from people.

The Discover Comics doesn't really help me much either for variety I'm afraid. I see the same stuff there too all the time. Maybe a third tab suggestion that is coming to mind now is "Hidden Gems"? About the Reddit thing, maybe the system behind popularity needs to concentrate solely on Smackjeeves rather than other sites?
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Re: "Featured Comics" and "Popular Now" Tabs Suggestion

Postby eishiya » May 4th, 2018, 10:35 am

I don't see what you mean about the same comics being featured over and over again in the Spotlight? It randomly shows the spotlight banners of comics that have uploaded them, favouring recently-Spotlit comics. If there's repetition, it's likely because many of the Spotlit comics haven't uploaded Spotlight banners, or because there haven't been many new spotlit comics (Admin spotlights comics approximately once every 1-2 weeks). You can find all the Spotlit comics in the Spotlight tab, and there's no repetition there, and no banner requirements, so you'll not miss out on comics that haven't uploaded Spotlight banners.

The Discover tab being samey needs to change, perhaps less weight needs to be given to comics similar to one's favs, especially if one has only a small number of favs. It might also be weighing popularity too much...? I'm not sure how it works, but I too haven't found that tab very useful. I think improving it would be better than adding new tabs. Discover and Recently Updated are meant to be the tabs where you find a big variety of stuff, with the former being geared towards your tastes, and the latter being effectively random.

I don't see a problem with Reddit floods bumping up the popularity of comics. It shakes up the ranking a bit, and the increase is only temporary since that traffic isn't sustained. Being near the top for a day or two allows those comics to find more SJ readers that might've missed the comic before, and if the comic's not good, it won't permanently benefit from the visitor flood.

Delivering a set of comics to a reader that are both varied and good is extremely difficult, especially since "quality" isn't a number attached to the comics. The Spotlight is a balance between human creation and giving comics a bit of time in the spotlight. The Popular and Rising Stars tabs both work on the hope that comics with high engagement are pretty good. The unfortunate fact that the same types of comics tend to come up in those is the result of reading trends, and it's difficult to do anything about it other than allow users to filter all the tabs by default (something that has been suggested in another threads).

Another thing to consider is that SJ isn't a very large site. There aren't millions of different webcomics here. The same stuff is bound to come up, especially once you add any sort of filtering for quality/popularity/engagement.
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Re: "Featured Comics" and "Popular Now" Tabs Suggestion

Postby MK_Wizard » May 4th, 2018, 11:05 am

Thank you for the clarification and for listening to my idea. I understand better now.
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Re: "Featured Comics" and "Popular Now" Tabs Suggestion

Postby kayotics » May 4th, 2018, 11:13 am

I'd love to see the comic spotlight updated a little more often, but I also understand that SJ is a 1 person team, so doing a new spotlight comic might not be super high on the priority list.
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Re: "Featured Comics" and "Popular Now" Tabs Suggestion

Postby Famimatsu » May 4th, 2018, 12:12 pm

Agreed on spotlight changing more often. Maybe like once every two weeks, or once a month at least. I think I've seen the general same spotlight since my comic started, with maybe a couple of changes here and there. Perhaps a site news post or something bringing attention to the featured forum? I honestly forgot it even existed until now, and I feel most others may not know of it either.
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Re: "Featured Comics" and "Popular Now" Tabs Suggestion

Postby MK_Wizard » May 4th, 2018, 12:23 pm

I think it's going to take a group effort because like it was said before, SJ is not that big so it shouldn't be too hard. Maybe the whole community can contribute?
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Re: "Featured Comics" and "Popular Now" Tabs Suggestion

Postby eishiya » May 4th, 2018, 3:36 pm

kayotics wrote:I'd love to see the comic spotlight updated a little more often, but I also understand that SJ is a 1 person team, so doing a new spotlight comic might not be super high on the priority list.

AFAIK Admin tries to update it no more than once a week so that each comic gets a decent amount of time at the top. Sometimes it's less frequent than that because he doesn't stumble on good comics all the time. The Spotlight suggestions forum is the best way for us to participate. It would be nice if the suggestions forum was linked from the main site, e.g. if there was a "Suggest for Spotlight" button on the profiles of comics that you have favourited and which haven't been spotlit.

Another "problem" is that the big banner rotation can only include comics that have banners uploaded. If a comic doesn't upload a banner after being spotlit, it won't show up there. This is why you don't see many of the older spotlight comics up there. So, the big banner rotation is overall less varied and updated less often than the Spotlight tab, but this is down to individual authors. It's also possible that if the spotlight favours more recent comics, some authors upload their banners too late, when they're no longer counted as "recently spotlit".
(FWIW I've asked Admin to allow everyone to upload a Spotlight banner ahead of time, and to be able to use it as a header image in profiles and such, but he didn't go for it.)
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Re: "Featured Comics" and "Popular Now" Tabs Suggestion

Postby Famimatsu » May 4th, 2018, 6:15 pm

eishiya wrote:It would be nice if the suggestions forum was linked from the main site, e.g. if there was a "Suggest for Spotlight" button on the profiles of comics that you have favourited and which haven't been spotlit.

I feel this idea would be fantastic, if it were even possible to implement. I'm not sure if ratings do anything in regards to Spotlight, Featured, or even Popular, but bringing in a easier to access function would probably help out a lot of comics. Sure the currently popular ones would get a lot, but stopping them from being spotlit again for a while would easily fix that problem. Maybe even have a way to disable the button for a while, or give it a cool down function of sorts.
I know this is primarily how the "front page" worked on an art site I used to frequent on (upvotes and comments that is) and that seemed to help a lot of newer artists get more exposure.

Again though, I don't even know if this is possible to implement. :c
It's a neat idea though.
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Re: "Featured Comics" and "Popular Now" Tabs Suggestion

Postby MK_Wizard » May 4th, 2018, 6:31 pm

I second that idea and I think we can find someone on this site who can implement it. We just have to look and notify that we are looking for them, no?
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Re: "Featured Comics" and "Popular Now" Tabs Suggestion

Postby AltCat » May 5th, 2018, 6:37 am

I guess it would help to simply have the "just updated" more prominently placed and expanded.

It of course has the second lowest level exposure possible since the objects in it have a naturally very short lifespan and also being both (unless mobile site) have a 1/5 shot at being hidden behind the random tab and then quickly further divided in the scrolled sub-pages. Anyone ever even scroll those for the more long lived tabs?

On a good day they probably then have as little as a ten minutes window on the first page of that random tab. Making them pretty pointless as an entry point at all probably. Things like the "popular" and "rising stars" category also seem counterproductive to nearly anything, including fixing any skewed exposure issues obviously, and would probably then do best serving in retirement.

Maybe this instead would give the updates "five times a day copypasta" or "silent stickmen watching TV" or the "next chapter white space before actual nearly white chapter text page tomorrow" updates an unreasonable edge.

But hoy, what system is ever perfect.
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Re: "Featured Comics" and "Popular Now" Tabs Suggestion

Postby eishiya » May 5th, 2018, 10:49 am

AltCat wrote:Things like the "popular" and "rising stars" category also seem counterproductive to nearly anything, including fixing any skewed exposure issues obviously, and would probably then do best serving in retirement.

I agree with this as a comic artist and a long-time reader. However, I believe the target audience for those categories is people who are new to the site, so SJ tries to show them as much of the "probably among the best stuff" as it can, in the hope that those comics will entice them to look around more. Those tabs are good for that, but unfortunately become annoying once you've been on the site a while, since they barely change, and reflect popular tastes rather than the viewer's tastes.
This would be solved by letting registered users pick their own tabs to be displayed on the front page (e.g. hide the popularity tabs, maybe pin some tags you like). I believe that feature has already been suggested, but doesn't have its own suggestion thread.
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Re: "Featured Comics" and "Popular Now" Tabs Suggestion

Postby AltCat » May 6th, 2018, 7:23 am

eishiya wrote:However, I believe the target audience for those categories is people who are new to the site, so SJ tries to show them as much of the "probably among the best stuff" as it can, in the hope that those comics will entice them to look around more.

This would be solved by letting registered users pick their own tabs to be displayed on the front page (e.g. hide the popularity tabs, maybe pin some tags you like). I believe that feature has already been suggested, but doesn't have its own suggestion thread.


That is an ideal concept sure, but in practice it usually works badly as a fully or even semi automated process because of the tipping mass law of things. If there is more of one thing, there will be much more of that thing. Then if the thing there is more of attract new audience it would be to the things there is most of, and so on. This is not something unique for this site, or comic sites in general of course, it works that way in any venue. Forums, political parties, bars. But helping the process along may be setting up for a future of needle eyeing.

Would it really though? Keywords issue here being "registered users". I'm guessing now, but among new users-readers (again, statistics may not support my assumption) those bothering to register at all would lkely do so way later. And then the introduction has already been further skewed by the process mentioned above. It would of course be more practical road signs for those registered readers, but it would probably not help any inbound tourists.

If a tag system was to be be applied on the creator side on the other hand, that could be a route to diversify that influx a bit. Say there would be an equal divide of genres based on a single tag (like reading only the first tag out of the ten) or a new option with a single selection from a set of the typical pre-defined broader groups. Drama, action, sci-fi, horror, romance, comedy, and so on depending on how many narrowing and subgenres rows there be room for horizontally. Vertical could be nearly infinite of course. Be it these rows in turn are all automatic (popular, rising) or actively (spotlit, recommended) selected, and maybe like the top 5 in a row are spotlit, the following popular for example. All this sounds like more to do of course, but should instead make the active sorting and balancing one bit easier of a decisions process I guess.
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Re: "Featured Comics" and "Popular Now" Tabs Suggestion

Postby Oly-RRR » May 6th, 2018, 6:29 pm

I don't have much to add to what has been said above (I wish the "discoverability" of comics on SJ was smoother both as a reader and an artist) other that I'm noticing a lot of (imho) decent comics with over 20 pages uploaded and less than 10 subscribers. I suspect this happens because it might not be clear to new users how to use SJ (uploading the cover before uploading the pages, uploading actively while the comic is still in the New section, bulk-uploading 5-10 pages but not all 30 pages you have at the time, etc) and I worry this might discourage artists from sticking with SJ but I'm not sure about the solution for this. Maybe a message with instructions in the comic profile creation section? It's a shame that newcomers miss out on exposure just because they messed up the upload order (if that's indeed what happens).

And yeah, true, Spotlight suggestions, though personally I feel a bit awkward suggesting comics more frequently than I already do AND there are comics that deserve more readers but don't fit Spotlight rules for one reason or another. :?
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