Improving the Suggested User List

Improving the Suggested User List

The Suggested User List (SUL) recently attracts more deserved criticism for its mechanics, or lack thereof. It's basically a static list rewarding the included with more and more circles to be included — leading to obscene numbers in the millions — thus creating a bigger and bigger divide in the still young community. As in, the rich are getting richer… greetings from #davos .

Thanks to +Alex Schleber for pointing me to the interesting discussion that most seem to want to avoid: "Google Plus is not dead, but the honeymoon may be over." No, Google Plus is alive and kicking, and I hope it stays that way, but the points are valid, and some fine-tuning is due —

Two Observations on the current SUL

1. Photographers. There is and has been from the beginning on, a number of truly great photographers on G+ and on the SUL. Of course, Google Plus has a nice photo displaying capability, much nicer than some of its competitors, and it comes natural to feed the streams with good photography. But even more so, good wasn't enough: It had to be HDR. Quite naturally, we want bigger, louder, faster; so, the more saturated the eye-candy, the better. Don't get me wrong, I love both +Thomas Hawk 's and +Trey Ratcliff 's pictures, but you have to admit that the general, non-professional public will casually admire (+1) and prefer a thick HDR over a beautiful but understated black-and-white picture.

2. Curators. I asked this question before, in a satirical way, but still: Who is +Maria Popova ? Again, don't get me wrong; the content is great and reshared many times over, but: Since I understand the SUL as a list of rolemodels for new users, what's the community value of a large quantity of editorially uncommented content with comments (interaction) turned off, other than mindless resharing? And while I understand teh crucial need for stuff to reshare, shouldn't the SUL promote actual personalities?

Since when does quantity equal quality?

As laid out by +Damien Walker in "Is it possible our heavyweights have significance due to their huge following but no relevance?" a huge number of followers doesn't necessarily improve relevance — (Compare PageRank: It's not the sheer number of links pointing to a resource but their diversity and own rank.)

Dear +Vic Gundotra, please continue caring about our great little community and try to ponder the advantages of a simple SUL that removes the quantity and enforces quality —

Heuristic #1: For each user, divide comments, reshares and +1s by the # of followers.
Heuristic #2: Calculate the interaction based of +mentions divided by comments by the addressee.
Heuristic #3: Geography. Not as in the General Assembl of the U.N. but proportionally, by # of users by continent or country, for example.

Rotate the SUL in short cycles (weekly or even daily) based on the heuristics above. This enforces the creation of good and regular content as well as it rewards interaction with followers.

Maybe, +Robert Scoble, you find a way to support a SUL such as the one proposed here. I liked your reasoning for turning down the inclusion in the SUL much better than the pseudo-mocking your own corruption. Now that you belong, what happened to the mantra of change from within? Imagine how all of the G+ community would race and engage and create and write to be on the list, for just one day! That'd sound more like +Robert Scoble than the tongue-in-cheek.

By the way, +Max Huijgen, how many Europeans are on the current SUL?

Disclaimer #1: Ego. I understand that talking about the list touches egos and vanities, so I checked my own, and No, I don't want in. To cite a contemporary metaphor, the gazillion of followers aquired via the SUL are the 99%, which I don't want to broadcast to. I, personally, want to narrowcast to the 1%. Again, quantity vs. quality.

Disclaimer #2: Style. Consider this whole raw rant a written HDR, loud and saturated with dropped names. We all have short attention spans.

Damien Walker – Google+ – Google Plus is not dead, but the honeymoon may be over. In…
Google Plus is not dead, but the honeymoon may be over. In my post below I describe how G+ has become about as engaging as the town graveyard. It’s worth…

Read it in all its glory on Google+

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