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The related-questions is an automatic part of stackexchange. The scripts gather a list of questions that are similar to the one being asked.

At the same time, there are many comments like:

related: <another stackexchange question>.

It doesn't seem like the list of related questions is utilized to its maximum potential in its current state.

Idea

Add up/down-vote for "relatedness" on related questions. This would be independent of the voting statistics on the linked questions.

The automatic list is good as a starting point. It updates itself over time with new questions. If there was a system in place that would allow an opinion on the related questions, then we could truly get related questions.

For example, if Question A is about CSS selectors, and Question B in the sidebar is about HTML forms, Question B could be downvoted on Question A's page to show that they aren't all that similar. But if Question A is about jQuery setInterval, and there is a question on how to do setInterval in javascript, then Question B would be upvoted.

There are several possible layouts, one idea is:

pbrush4

Idea 2

Manual additions to the "related questions" list. This may not be necessary, if the comment's link is added automatically anyway. However, the comment receiving upvotes then should be also added to the "relatedness" upvotes, perhaps.


Example:

It would count the relatedness like this:

question Q1, related question Q2. Q1 has 3 upvotes. Q2 has 49 upvotes. Q2 is listed as "related" in Q1.

There is a relatedness count between Q1 and Q2: "Q2 is related to Q1 with weight of n" where n is modified by individual upvotes.

When you/a user vote on that Q2 is indeed related to Q1, that n gets incremented.

edit

There could be several layouts for this, I made 4, but I'm sure a designer can do better:) :

v1, right

v1

v2, left (+ shift-to-inline)

v2

v3, swapped

v3

v4, just-in-time

v4

share|improve this question
    
I think I understand this, can you explain precisely where the up/down vote would go? In the sidebar itself? –  Tim Post Jun 13 '13 at 12:00
    
Would anybody get rep? –  Cody Guldner Jun 13 '13 at 12:02
    
@TimPost will try to create an illustration at night :) –  naxa Jun 13 '13 at 12:03
1  
@CodyGuldner If I get this right, You'd just voting on the 'relatedness' of the related questions, which is kind of interesting. –  Tim Post Jun 13 '13 at 12:05
    
@TimPost yes, that's my point. Please feel free to reword my question if you want for clarity. I'm not native, and done this quickly in working time. :) Of course will attempt it myself when I find the time. –  naxa Jun 13 '13 at 12:12
    
@naxa Send me a ping when you have your illustration, I'm sure I can help you reword it then :) –  Tim Post Jun 13 '13 at 12:24
    
@TimPost here are some illustrations. CodyGuldner helped out too! :) –  naxa Jun 14 '13 at 6:32
    
@naxa Why would you flag a related question? Aren't we assuming that it is a good post? You also didn't leave room for downvoting –  Cody Guldner Jun 14 '13 at 6:35
    
@CodyGuldner they were just bad, i fixed the images –  naxa Jun 16 '13 at 8:24

3 Answers 3

Here is a possible implimentation

The grey boxes on the side would show the opinion of the relatedness instead of the number of votes that the question has.

Sorry about using paint. I am not rich enough to afford Photoshop ;)

share|improve this answer
    
I use pbrush too. thanks for wording :) –  naxa Jun 14 '13 at 6:33
    
this features downvotes, too, which is maybe a good idea. + just realized that the upvote button's shape is akin to those on comments, but downvote is similar to the one on answers and questions. :) –  naxa Jun 16 '13 at 9:23

This would mean that the person following the link to the related question has to come back to the pervious page and then hit the vote button. Not everyone opens related links in new tabs and furthermore browsing is quite a one directional activity, so this might distort the qualitiy of the votes.

Why do you not record automatically if someone followed a link to a related question and stayed there for some time, or maybe even upvoted the question or an answer to the question?

Pulling the upvotes from comments into the related list is however as grand idea.

share|improve this answer
    
You are right about not everyone coming back/using tabs. On the other hand monitoring time-spent on pages doesn't feel right (tracking) and ambigous to evaluate (I walked out to kitechen vs. re-reading the same paragraph without scrolling, etc.). Linking with upvotes soudns a better idea, but the fact you upvote doesn't mean that the question is related in all circumstances. You made an idea however that at top of-the page a yellow bar could appear like the "welcome back <user>" one, which allows to vote on relatedness? (a bit cumbersome.) And after upvote a notification, too, could appear. –  naxa Jun 16 '13 at 9:17
    
@naxa Yeah that sounds like a better idea. –  Franz Kafka Jun 16 '13 at 9:19
    
still, partial weighting from those who come back is still weighting. similarly, not all readers vote up/down (eg. 1000 views but only 20 votes). it is not complete either. but you are right that the conveniece barrier would be higher for voting on relatedness than on questions; but the other possibilities explored so far just add complexity without providing real solution. at least i'm not sure about them, that's a personal feeling. just exploring ideas, though. –  naxa Jun 16 '13 at 9:20

This can't work. What if a new question appears that is more relevant? Everyone would have to vote for it all over again or perhaps it might not even appear on the list because other questions have more votes.

On top of that what kind of algorithm would you use? How would up votes impact down votes? How would votes impact the related question? Just thinking about it makes my stomach ache.

Finally up votes could be abused.

Does it really need to have an up and down vote? I think a down vote to remove irrelevant / unrelated questions would be enough. It would be easy to implement so the development team won't cry bloody murder. On top of that new questions won't be impacted by previous votes from other questions. This would be useful all around since users can contribute to a better related question list.

Reputation can be given when a question is finally voted off the list: 10 point for the first guy 9 for the second ..... 1 point for 10th guy and everyone else.

share|improve this answer
    
How would votes impact the related question? Just thinking about it makes my stomach ache. No need. in the question I write, This would be independent of the voting statistics on the linked questions. This would mean that votes on relatedness would impact the related question in no way at all. –  naxa Nov 17 '13 at 22:50
    
I think a down vote to remove irrelevant / unrelated questions would be enough. This is an interesting idea and I've not thought of it before. But I think I like basing things on upvote because that is encouraging. Basing on downvote sounds like making place for trolling, which is a freaky idea. –  naxa Nov 17 '13 at 22:52
    
Finally up votes could be abused. No they not, see my first comment. –  naxa Nov 17 '13 at 22:52
    
How would up votes impact down votes? I don't undestand what you mean. I was really only thinking about an indicator how useful a related question is to the visitors. I mean no way to votes affect each other at all. A +1 vote raises the relatedness score, independently of either the current question's "main" score or the related question main score; and a -1 vote lowers it, that's all. –  naxa Nov 17 '13 at 22:54
    
when a question is finally voted off the list: 10 point for the first guy 9 for the second Sorry but I think this is a completely bad idea. would this not introduce a race for trolling? a visitor could go around the whole site gaining reputation by removing useful related links from random questions. –  naxa Nov 17 '13 at 22:56
    
"a visitor could go around the whole site gaining reputation by removing useful related links". No. It would take several users to do this. If a user downs a vote that no one else downs he is penalized. If you think about it. People would avoid clicking the down button unless they are sure everyone else will do the same. (- reputation) –  mAsT3RpEE Nov 18 '13 at 10:43
    
"I don't undestand what you mean." What would the up / down votes actually impact? You will have to be very clear before making a proposal to stack exchange. If the up / down votes are simply displayed for fun the idea could be denied. Can you give me a basic calculation of how relatedness would be calculated? –  mAsT3RpEE Nov 18 '13 at 10:48

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