There has been a lot of discussion about some new features that have been added to Rojo, an online feed reader. One feature getting the most buzz is the ‘new’ relevance feature.
I don’t get it. For one, I have been a Rojo user since the shuttering of the excellent Searchfox, and I have had a ‘by relevance’ option for months. It was never clear exactly how ‘relevance’ was being determined, if at all. In response to a comment that I posted on techcrunch someone pointed me to this write up on readwriteweb that includes the following:
First, the purpose of “relevance” is to do for feed reading what smart search engines (like Google) do for search results — figure out what to put on the front page. Many readers are overwhelmed by the number of new stories coming from their feeds every day. So Rojo Relevance is about sorting those by “relevance” rather than date, to put the good stuff on top.
So basically, as Rojo defines it, relevance is absolutely useless to me and should more accurately be called ‘popularity’. I want it to be relevant to what I am interested in, not the beauty contest/what-everybody-else-is-reading dogpile. That represents value to me.
I’ll say it again: that was the beauty of Searchfox: it paid attention to what I read and ordered my river of news according to that, so that everytime I sat down to read, I was greeted with what I wanted to read first. Searchfox also was smart enough to mark a page of links as read as I advanced pages; this way, if I was interrupted in reading, I could simply hit refresh and get any new postings as well as the unread ones from my previous session. Apparently this is a very difficult concept for Rojo and others to understand and implement.
Can someone please implement a real relevance ranking in a feed reader and not another implementation of digg?