New mod portal sorting heuristic?

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Anachrony
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New mod portal sorting heuristic?

Post by Anachrony »

I've noticed some changes in how mods are sorted in the mod portal. It seems like it's changed within the past month or so. When sorted by recently changed, most downloaded, or trending, it's not really very linear for the thing it's supposedly sorted by. It jumps around for no clear reason.

I've noticed this for a lot of search results recently, but I first noticed it with waterfill. If I sort by recently updated, first it will show the 2 mods that are an exact name match for waterfill, then all the others. That's not new, it's always done that. But now it will also show Waterfill Retexture, which was modified 2 months ago, before Noxys Waterfill, which was modified 7 days ago. Then Better Waterfill, from 3 months ago, then Safe Waterfill, from 12 days ago. Then 2 from 3 months ago, and then 1 from 2 months ago.

It all seems very random now. Like whatever extra layer of sorting it's doing with the search term, it's become such a fine distinction that it's overwhelming the thing that it's supposed to be sorting for. Some of these I can guess why the heuristic thinks it's a closer match, but some of them I really can't even guess. With the gap between Better Waterfill and Safe Waterfill, for example, I can only guess it's because one has the full word "better_waterfill" in the directory name, while the other is abbreviated to "safefill". I think brevity is a virtue in directory names that have to be repeated within the mods lua scripts, and I don't think it makes sense for a search engine to prioritize more verbose ones. And then if you sort by most downloaded, the order is quite different, but still not at all sorted by most downloaded.

My suggestion would be to add a 4th sort tab, for closest match, when searching for a specific term, and then apply whatever kind of extra algorithm is in use now. But then when searching for a term and sorting by recently modified, trending, or most downloaded, let it actually sort by that criteria, and not whatever else is going on. It would also be nice if the trending search on the mod portal page behaved more like other sort criteria rather than just show you all the mods and switching you to most downloaded if you try to search for anything. With the in-game mod search you can actually search for something and still sort by trending, though again, the sort is actually pretty random now because it's prioritizing other weird criteria over the thing you're trying to search for.

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