Goodbye topic-specific questions, hello tags
As part of a broader effort to streamline Hunch and make it easier to use, and based on lots of user feedback, we’ve just transitioned topic-specific questions (also called “refiner questions”) into a tag format on results pages.
We understand that for a lot of contributors this is a big change and will take time to get used to. At first, the reasons behind this change won’t be so obvious, but as we release major new features over the next few months we think you’ll understand why the tag model works much better. Some details:
1) This change does not affect THAY (“Teach Hunch About You”) questions. We often hear users describe THAYs as fun and even “addictive.” They will continue to be a core part of Hunch even as we transition to a tag format for topic-specific questions.
2) How this change affects users looking for recommendations: We had about 1.5M visitors come to Hunch last month seeking recommendations. While the topic-specific questions our contributors provided the system were excellent, our technology that attempted to choose which question to ask in what order never really worked as well as we wanted.
A common complaint we received was, for example, from a user looking for a new car recommendation and the only features that mattered to her were price and that the car is made in America. In our old model, she might have had to skip over 5 or 6 questions before the relevant questions were asked. With tags, she can just click on a price and “made in America” and then see a personalized list of recommendations filtered by those tags. (Note that right now we just list tags on the left by frequency of occurrence – in the near future we plan to group them more logically).
3) How this change affects future contributors: For the thousands of active contributors to Hunch, the largest change is that when you add results you’ll no longer have to ‘train’ the results to apply to all the topic-specific questions. This should make contributing to Hunch a LOT easier. In a future release, contributions will largely come via our Hunch Bookmarklet. Once you have the Bookmarklet, you’ll simply enter the name (what you are recommending), a short commentary (why you are recommending it) and tags. This will reduce the work required while also making more explicit that by adding something you are recommending it to others.
4) How this change affects past topic-specific questions: Over the past few weeks we’ve used a combination of automated processes and old-fashioned human sweat to convert as many topic-specific questions as we could to the new tag format. This worked for many, but not all topic questions. You’ll keep any banjos you’ve earned from past topic-specific question contributions, whether or not the question was able to be converted to the new tag format.
5) What this change enables going forward: Tags will let us greatly simplify the organization of the site. For example, there are over 250 topics on Hunch today related to getting a recommendation for a movie. We have nearly a dozen unique listings for the movie Fight Club alone. Having so many topics full of movies and multiple listings of each one makes it confusing for new users to know where they should add a movie they’d like to recommend. Merging of topics is very difficult when each has different questions. With tags, we can easily merge topics to streamline the site’s taxonomy and further streamline contributing to the site.
6) How this change affects our API. Tags allow the Hunch database to interface better with both mobile platforms and other sites across the web. Most sites organize their data through some sort of tag or labeling system. Using tags as the primary way we organize information will make our data fit better with partners and make the Hunch API more accessible to developers.
While the transition will take some adjusting to, we hope that long term you’ll think it’s worth it. We know certain things are rough around the edges right now (using tags to filter by price doesn’t work that great, for example). That’s why we invite you to please leave any questions or comments in this forum thread. Thanks for all your help and contributions.