Wednesday, September 4, 2019

New Filtering and Simplified Highlighting

Filter stories with the Show drop-down.
You can now filter stories in a table to show only the ones recognized with SF/F ๐Ÿ†awards, ๐Ÿ“™year's best anthologies, or prolific ๐Ÿ‘reviewers. Click the "Show:" drop-down list in the table header and choose one of the options (see image on the right). This is an easy way to dis-aggregate scores to see which stories received the most recognition by each type of recommendation for readers who favor one type over a combined score of all three.

Example: The image below shows the 2018 Best SF/F Novelettes filtered by ๐Ÿ†Winners & Finalists (left), ๐Ÿ“™TOC Only (center), and ๐Ÿ‘Award Worthy & Recommended (right). The story "Nine Last Days on Planet Earth" is high in all three lists because it broadly appealed to award voters, year's best anthologists, and prolific reviewers, so it's marked with a red border to show how much the three lists differ in other stories.

Top of the award list is "The Only Harmless Great Thing", which didn't make the top of the year's best list or the reviewer's list possibly because it was sold as a "single" rather than part of a magazine. Top of the year's best list is "Intervention", which might have gotten less visibility for awards and reviews as part of an anthology rather than a magazine. Finally, the #2 story in the reviewer's list is "What is Eve?", whose absence from year's best anthologies or awards is a surprise.

Left: ๐Ÿ†Winners & Finalists; Center: ๐Ÿ“™TOC Only; Right: ๐Ÿ‘Award Worthy & Recommended

Highlight Recommended By...
Another big change was moving the "Recommended By..." drop-down list from the hidden (expandable) part of the floating toolbar into the main "Highlight..." drop-down list (see image on the right). That'll reduce the clicks needed to highlight by recommender from 4 to 2 and also make it easier to find for new users.

Besides these two big changes, there are three smaller changes:
  • The search box has been moved from the hidden part of the floating toolbar into the "Jump To..." drop-down list.
  • The (Publication) link for non-RSR-reviewed stories (ones with no image) is now expanded by default to show the publication.
  • When the Recommended By: list of ๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ“™๐Ÿ‘ is expanded by clicking the Details link, there will be a Summary link to contract the list back to emojis-only.


The new filtering makes it easy to analyze the best SF/F short fiction from 2015-2018 and make a few observations (click on the links to see the the stories discussed).
  • ๐Ÿ†Winners Only: Since RSR started in 2015, the most awards won by a story is three (out of 13 we track), with two stories achieving that in 2016 and 2017. For 2018, five stories have won two awards each, with two winners left to be announced (British Fantasy in Oct, World Fantasy in Nov). We could get a 3- or even 4-award winner this year if "The Only Harmless Great Thing" (2 wins) or "The Tea Master and the Detective" (1 win) win one or both remaining awards.
  • ๐Ÿ†Winners & Finalists: Since 2015, the most award nominations earned by a story is eight, by "The Ballad of Black Tom" in 2016. This year we have 8 stories with 4 or more nominations (1 with 7), which is similar to 2017 (9 stories, 2 with 6), 2016 (7 stories, 1 with 8), and 2015 (7 stories, 1 with 6).
  • ๐Ÿ“™TOC Only: Since 2015, the most year's best TOC inclusions by a story is four (out of 14 we track). This happened to 5 stories in 2015, 2 stories in 2016, 4 stories in 2017, but no stories in 2018. The number is also down for inclusion in three year's best TOC, with just 2 stories this year versus 4-7 stories in previous years. One reason might be the absence of Gardner Dozois' year's best anthology if his choice of stories tended to overlap with Rich Horton's or Neil Clarke's.
Feel free give us feedback in the comments. Thanks.

11 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Thanks for having the (Publication) link expanded for "other publications." Another place I find myself clicking to expand those often is on the monthly ratings pages where a magazine has more than one issue per BCS, Strange Horizons,

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I'm curious why you want to see the issue number in the monthly ratings because following the link to the story will usually show the issue there as well.

      I decided to reveal the publication for non-RSR reviewed stories because I wanted to easily see in the Best SF/F page which magazines might be a candidate for RSR to review in the future (by doing a text search so the browser highlights the text on the page and shows the number of hits).

    2. So I can see which stories are the earlier or later ones before clicking through. And before the issues were hidden in the (Publication) links, I would do a text search on a monthly page for the issue number or the month for Strange Horizons and stories (since some of those will be from the end of the previous month). Especially when looking at Jan 2019 now and not wanting to find myself going to a 2018 story.

    3. I see. It's good to hear how our users use our site. Let me think it over and see if there are other ways to surface the info while minimizing clutter. Alex Brown's reviews save the magazine info to the end, which works better than I expect, though in our case we have the estimated reading time after the blurb... (Also, I remembered the better reason for showing the publication for non-RSR reviewed stories is to give them credit since there's no cover image.)

  2. Maybe a toggle which could expand all the links in a section and then hide them again? Not a big deal though.

  3. Definitely like the new filtering, now that I've had a chance to play around with it a bit. Those Best of and YTD pages can get pretty unwieldy. Sometimes it can be hard to find what got highlighted in the complete list -- so it's nice to be able to narrow it down.

    While I'm asking for ponies :), I'd also like to be able to see an entire year of a particular magazine in one table. I thought of this when looking at the semiprozine and short fiction editor finalists during Hugo voting.

    1. Good to hear! As for all the stories of a magazine in a table, I assume clicking on a magazine's issues (under the magazine's name in the Monthly Ratings) one after another from Jan-Dec is too slow? I stopped making the complete stories table per magazine a year or two ago because they'd need to be manually refreshed as awards and year's best TOCs are announced, but the work I did in July to bring in new recommenders and improve scoring also auto-updates the recommendations in a story table, so I can consider doing it early next year for this year's stories.

    2. Hmm, thinking about it some more, I realize that I don't really need that particular pony. As long as I flag and rate stories as I go through the Monthly pages, then I can sort My Ratings page by publication and see everything from the year that I have read or want to read from a particular magazine. And, of course, I can also use the filters and highlights there too.

      But I'll let you know if I come up with some other crazy idea to throw at you! :)

    3. Cool, I knew that :-) but I wasn't sure if you were talking about magazines you don't usually read so I thought in terms of the old complete stories tables and forgot to mention the My Ratings page and grouping by Publication.

    4. Yeah, I'm not completely sure what I was thinking either. ;)