That title isn’t meant to be vague. It refers to the Hot Posts and Hot Blogs lists on the front page. I think we’re not alone in getting a little tired of seeing the same items showing up for hours or days at a time. It was time to shake things up. The rankings are still in order but now they vary with every page load.
We’re now showing a random, top-heavy sample of the top posts and blogs. That is, we display more items from rankings 1-10 than 11-20 and so on. Rank 1 is always shown in the top spot. The next spot is a random selection from ranks 2-3. The next one is from 4-6, then 7-10. Thus even the 50th most popular post can be on the home page about one tenth of the time.
The odds that the page will show the same 10-item list are something like 3,628,800:1 against. The probability distribution is shown here:
item | odds | ranks 1 | 1:1 | 1 2 | 2:1 | 2-3 3 | 3:1 | 4-6 4 | 4:1 | 7-10 5 | 5:1 | 11-15 6 | 6:1 | 16-21 7 | 7:1 | 22-28 8 | 8:1 | 29-36 9 | 9:1 | 37-45 10 | 10:1 | 46-55 11 | 11:1 | 56-66 12 | 12:1 | 67-78 13 | 13:1 | 79-91
I could get even more technical, explaining how we make the lists when there are not enough ranked items, but the odds that you’ll be interested are 14,285:1 against.
I hope this makes the front page more interesting for regular visitors. The complete rankings are still available at BOTD, updated hourly and archived nightly.