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How are you manipulating your users?

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I was reflecting in the new Features Page / Our Picks page that IPS is refreshing for v5, and I realized that we actually had multiple ways to show our content:

- displaying content by categorization (the traditional forum boards > subboards)

- displaying content by chronology (Activity Streams) 

- displaying content by popularity (Leaderboard)

- displaying content by manual selection (Featured / Our Picks page) 

IPS gives you 4 (!) different ways of displaying content.  In contrast, social media gives you one method - a feed, which usually prioritizes engagement (likes, views, comments, shares, etc).  One of the trending ideas, espoused by people like Twitter and BlueSky founder Jack Dorsey, is to start offering a marketplace of algorithms. 

As much as we critique social media for "manipulating" users, are we not attempting to manipulate our users too with our content? Do we not also offer a marketplace of algorithms with our existing feeds? 

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To build on this discussion, here's an article from Fast Company about the death of the "chronological internet." 

One of the interesting tidbits is that the Internet has become one big "For You" page. In an attempt to surface most engaging content, most sites are pushing down recent content and replies.  


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