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There is a constant issue here at deviantART.

We've given it a name: FairExposure.  It is based on the idea that every deviant and deviation should have a fair chance at getting seen and noticed. We actually apply this concept to other aspects of deviantART as well, such as employees, departments, etc.  Everyone, everything, deserves FairExposure.

Ranking deviations on deviantART based on raw popularity works, just as popularity works in the rest of the world.  However, as some of you may know, there are many problems with popularity as it pertains to 'fairness'. One major issue is that it inherently favors the already popular: That which is popular is more likely to be seen, and thus gain even more popularity.   

I have recently launched a new popularity metric on deviantART.  It is something I've been working on for some time, and it is the first algorithmic rank metric solution to the problem of FairExposure on dA.  This new rank metric does not actually address the problems associated with popularity as I mentioned above.  It instead addresses the problem that the previous rank metric (raw favorites count) had other problems.

Raw favorites as a rank metric has had one problem that I felt was really unfair:  different styles and types of art appeal to different users on deviantART and those users use the favorites systems in different ways.  Thus, comparing the number of favorites on one type of a deviation to another was like comparing apples to oranges, as the saying goes.  If anyone does question this assertion, I did quite detailed analysis of the system to prove my assumptions.  These analysis actually have given me much more insight into the problem of FairExposure on deviantART and lead me to thoughts about the next set of improvements.

The new popularity metric that was launched yesterday attempts to address this problem of different styles and types of deviations.  I'm the first to admit that this new metric is not entirely fair, however I do believe that it is more fair than the raw favorites system that was in place.  The new system is still based on favorites, and actually does preserve the monotonic ordering of deviations by favorites within any single category that does not have subcategories.

Addressing the issues of FairExposure by a more fair popularity metric is just one way to move toward the goal of FairExposure on deviantART.  There are many ways to approach this. For example, a better search engine, more user friendly browse interface, thumbnails in notes, and a collaborative filtering suggestion system are all forward progress in the pursuit of FairExposure. ;)



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hpuff Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Hey, I see you're answering questions on this, thanks a lot for spending time doing so, your answers to other people have already helped me understand more about how this works.

I have just one issue with the system. I actually suspect that it may be a bug, but it might actually be somehow intentional. I read a few other people post journals and forum threads with the same issue so I wondered if you could help me out?

I understand that the system picks popular works (based on favs) from each category, so that the front page is a nice mix of anime/manga, fan art, and all those popular types, along with lesser known architecture, fractale, etc categories. I think this is a good thing.

However one of my images seemed to disappear today. It got me quite upset actually because it became my most popular work to date, and I thought I actually had a chance at achieving that almighty goal of seeing my work on the front page, or at least close to it. I was dismayed to find lots of images with less favs than my work, which is how I came to look into this Fair Exposure system.

I then went to the specific category I submitted it to Fan Art > Digital > Drawing > Movies and TV. I couldn't see it on the front page there, either, and in fact there were plenty of pictures with less than half the favourites count mine had. I went through a few pages, and still couldn't find it.
It seemed as though my picture had disappeared completely from the category browser.

Am I right in thinking (or hoping) that this is a mistake? Since this Fair Exposure system works on showing as many categories as possible, that going into a specific category it should simply be ordered by favourites count?
Or is there more to it that that? For example, the keywords or title I gave my picture?

I hope you can take the time to answer this one, it's really making my brain fizz!!

Thanks :)
mccann Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer

There was at least one bug, which we fixed recently, that may have caused the problem that you noticed. (Unrelated to keywords or title, etc) Sorry about that. We're trying to keep things bug-free.

Congrats on your popular works!
hpuff Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Yes, I saw that, and my work has still vanished completely. Whilst now it's certainly far from the front page, when browsing to look for it, it's just not there. Everything seems to be in the correct favourites order in a specific category, but when I go to where works have the same fav count as mine, it isn't there. I even used Way Back to go to the specific day I uploaded it, and again it's not there.

I saw one or two others at least having this problem with work vanishing.
So I don't think this on is 'fixed' yet, something is still wrong :(

I can't seem to work out the correct way to report this (since the bug fix was credited to someone's comment on the FE journal, rather than a conventional bug report), so I'm telling you now, I hope it will still be looked in to.
mccann Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer

We looked into this more. We suspect it's bug caused by, when publishing to dA at a later date.

We fixed that bug just recently. (For front page)

Will have to look into how WayBack is affected.

Thanks again.
saevuswinds Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2012  Student Writer
I dont agree with this at all! Why cant there be an under-appreciated folder too?
coruskating Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2011
Andrew, when one posts a deviation and then can not find it by its name, or by looking through all things posted in a general category where it should appear over the last 8 hours... etc., and the only way to fish it out is by the only to an author known key word and the last branch of a subcategory (so poetry will not do, but the last 8 hours of a prticular say political or obscene poetry may)... -- there is a problem with your algorithms. The same second I publish (literally within 1 to 2 seconds a couple of people fave a selection, which is never ever read thereafter, certainly never ever added. Statistical chances are next to one in a trillion billion ... You have a flawed search and display engine... for deviation. Surely when one posts up a poem, it shoud appear under its title and under all (a few dozen) poetic items posted in the last 8 hours. Nothing to do with popularity algorithms. I can not find it having written, named and published it, how can 2, 3 people find it, read it and add it as a favorite at the speed of light?! Sheer lunacy.
Animegirl300 Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Okay. So if a person were to use the search button NOW: it SHOULD have all the artwork involving the searched word in order of more favorites correct?
Or is it broken up even in general search by the categories it would be placed under?
I ask this becasue I've noticed that my own art will fall through the cracks when I search for it in the search engine: old art of mine with less views, comment, AND favorites will still be ahead of newer works with more of the same categories.
Would you be able to explain the occurrence?
turq-dorian Featured By Owner May 12, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I just realized that my comment did nothing.

Just LOOK at all the people on this page who are dissatisfied with this system - way more than the number who are satisfied, and the ones who understand the system the most are the ones who are the most dissatisfied. The ones who are satisfied are the ones who don't seem to take into account the fact that artists sometimes actually make a living off their art, or try to, and that popularity might have some value with regard to their number of sales.

These comments are from two years ago. And yet, nothing was done - the system still more or less works in this manner. Well. I have another suggestion: democracy. This site is run by admins but it's made for the people, right? At least, it should be. My suggestion is that admins listen to what people have to say about what they'd prefer from the site - if these comments aren't enough, perhaps you could have a poll.
turq-dorian Featured By Owner May 12, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I think this is kinda silly - what's the point of having a popularity page if it doesn't show what's most popular? I think it would be better to just leave the popularity down to the number of favorites and then perhaps create a new search system that allows you to look at other artwork that doesn't get as much exposure. This could be called something like "Obscure" and it shows you deviations from that day/week/month that have under, let's say, 50 favs, and it shows them to you by rank of popularity - it has to be done like that or else a lot of bad art will probably show up when people click it, and then people won't want to click it.

I bring this up because, as a user, I would love to have the option to see a full page of less-than-popular art when I search (rather than having to click through pages and pages based on "popularity sort-of"). It's nice to be able to see and comment on artwork that doesn't get as much attention, because then it means more to the artist, you're more likely to be able to have a conversation with the artist about it since they don't have a bazillion other comments to address, and art that is less-popular is often incredibly high in calibre and also more unique in style than popular art (here's some proof of this phenomenon - I did it with number of pageviews but I bet it would work with number of favorites: [link])

I also feel this new system is a bit unfair to semi-popular artists who would have made the front page based on the number of favorites they got, but they didn't. Making the front page is pretty sweet and if you got that many favorites your art most likely deserves it - sure it attracts even more attention to your gallery but creative talent SHOULD be rewarded.
kate-n-bd Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2011
I totally agree with you. All this 'fair exposure' has nothing to do with being fair. I'm sick of all the crappy stuff that goes to the front page, the old system was much better.
Molnja Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2010
on the one hand i think its a good idea to make a new matrix and give more people the chance to be viewed (hope its correct)
but on the other hand I think, that if I want to see the popular work of 1 day/1 week/all time I want to see the most favorite work.
and I didnt figure out the system of this matric, why is some work better renked then other?
is it just a matter of luck?
YoghurtYoma Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2010  Student Traditional Artist
oh crap!

sorry...I'm really interested in what you say, except that I have a little language problem: since I am not English but Italian, I use a translator on-line for longer messages and complex .. . This journal is one of those.
Since the translator is not effective, I did not understand certain passages.
I know it's a lot to say, but you can say it in simpler words? I thank the attention and effort if you decide to help a poor ingorante like me:)
JayWeaver Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2009
I was viewing the WayBack, and I know about this.

But how come the deviations have 1 view and one favorites?

Even the wayback for today doesn't show the top deviations in the past 24 hours/3 days.

Still shows deviations from inactive users with 2-5 pageviews.

What gives?
I want to see popular art submitted at that time. Isn't that the point of Wayback?
JayWeaver Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2009
I was viewing the WayBack, and I know about this.

But how come the deviations have 1 view and one favorites?

Even the wayback for today doesn't show the top deviations in the past 24 hours/3 days.

Still shows deviations from inactive users with 2-5 pageviews.

What gives?
I want to see popular art submitted at that time. Isn't that the point of Wayback?
DrawUsCloser Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2009   Digital Artist

I hope you won't consider this question silly, because it's something I've been wondering about how the system of exposure works, on a "per piece" basis.

Using the last 10 pieces I submitted in only the past 2-10 days, no earlier, no later, as fair examples for my question, here's how many Views I got per piece:

1 - July26 - 694!
2 - July25 - 265
3 - July24 - 219
4 - July23 - 329!
5 - July22 - 694!
6 - July21 - 149
7 - July20 - 163
8 - July20 - 146
9 - July20 - 140
10- July19 - 514!

How can I get only 140 Views on one piece and 694 Views on another, when all the pieces were submitted in the same week? More Views means more Favorites and, especially appreciated, more Comments, so I'm wondering what it is I've done to get almost 700 Views on some pieces, versus only over 100 Views on others. I can't imagine that it's because some pieces actually move people enough to actively link their friends to see those pieces as well, so...

I hope you can provide me with an insightful answer!=)

WNPhotography Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2009  Professional Photographer
I do not understand.
I have a deviation more popular in favs, views and comments than the top deviation when searching "squirrel". How come it doesn't display top?
xxXX-Carbon-6-XXxx Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hi, not sure if this is the right place or if u'll see it but here goes.

Can you make a pie chart graph giving a break down of the categories? Perhaps a drill down might also be good. In this way you can see in an instant what area dominates DA and how tastes are changing?
mccann Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
There are 1000's of categories, and they change over time.. bit difficult to visualize without some sort of clustering.
xxXX-Carbon-6-XXxx Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You could even do a simple count of works in the categories. Traditional/photography/23,674 Traditional/painting/16500 etc
Xicos-chan Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2009
^^ sounds exciting ^^ and different. im curoius to see hwo this will come up ^^
CookiemagiK Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I must say that until I read this I never really understood why things looked "out of order" in some categories and I thought it was just a glitch for all this time. Thank a lot for clearing this up :)
Spiritlobo Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2008  Student Writer
First off, that I hope that you won't mind answering a quick question. I know you must really be tiered of hearing this, and I hope I am not taking to much time. Please bare with me, I'm still a little bit confused.
As a basic summery, this means that those who are in the popular section, but not with as many views as the more popular will get their own spot in the limelight. Is this correct, or am I mistaken?
Thank you.
mccann Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
The algorithm currently only works on categories. It helps prevent the top results from being dominated by any single category.
smLLan Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2008

[link] << This my work i submited 1w 22h ago. But , it isn't looking Most popular deviations in Typography submitted in the last 1 week. WHY? There is the problem in the DeviantART. I am informing one week. But somebody isn't interesting! Thanks.
sinademiral Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2008
It isnt fair.
Favortte system is like a democracy, Fair is democracy? Isnt it?

Look here,

In last 2 photogarphs of me, i have watched them where they take place in popular page (in last 8/24 hours) but i cant see them.

Before of last photo of me, i thought that there was a problem, then it can solved. But now, i have stil have same problem. Devart does'nt love my photo?

Here is the time of my last photo [link]

Submitted: 8h 39m ago
File Size: 245 KB
Image Size: 245 KB
Resolution: 400×600
Comments: 6
Favourites & Collections: 40 [who?]

This photo doesnt take place neither in 8 hours nor in 24 hours popular photogarphs. There is a photo with only "9 favs" can be seen, but mine isnt?

How can this system be fair?
Any special metrics for me?
TheAL Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Is it just me, or does this not really explain how it has changed? :confused: Fundamentally, it does, but not in detail - or in a way that makes the situation seem different. Anyone else finish it and get, "New algorithm, favs still determine popularity?"

Also, I think using favorites as the main basis for ordering deviations in the browsing gallery is too unfair. Like this journal entry already admits, it just makes already popular people more popular. Why not base it on a mathematical derivative made from a combination of favorites, anonymous views, non-anonymous views, downloads, and comments? Heck, I dunno. I just know that I have some deviations with killer views and virtually no favs. :(
mccann Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
As I've said before.

The algo that is in current production doesn't attempt to addresss the problems with 'favs' based definition of popularity. It just attempts to balance popularity across the variety of categories.

Certainly popularity could include other metrics as well, such as comments, views.
MrPlaid81 Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I have two drawings on the same subject (Wonder Woman) and one is more popular than the other (in regards to search) though the other has more favs. Is this Fair Exposure working against myself?
mccann Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Popularity is relative to a category.
MrPlaid81 Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'll have to check my notes, but, I believe they're in the same category.
Nameda Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2008  Professional General Artist
hmmm I cant say I get any fair exposure at all
not even my best rated dev with more than 30 faves in the first 24 hours made it anyway near to the frontpage instead tons of stuff with less faves and a bunch of crap was in front of me I appeard after 20 or so pages (I am subscriber so 120 per page) so where is that fair?
another deviant here gets 4000 in that time. She is popular (and deserves to be as she is amazing) but how shall I get a fair part exposure and hopefully ever sell a print when I dont get attention.
DDs are given more than rarely too. Most gallery directors seem not to care and than again some crap gets a DD which makes you shake your head in disbelief.
I am here since 2006 and with hard work I got up to 7000 views I know I am surely not one of the best artists arround, but I am not bad either so how I should get my piece of fair exposure?
I am in 30 clubs to get a bit of exposure upload regularly take part in contests.... but the system itself didnt help me a tiny bit yet
Its a pitty as I like dA a lot otherwise and the folks here helped me to get better and I found some really lovely friends, but fair exposure I havend found yet
gorkath Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2008
I was directed here by the help desk in order to answer a question I have about ';popularity'. Unfortunately I am no wiser.

If one were to search using the word ';pregnant', then choose category "photography", then "people and portraits" and then "classic portraits", why would this [link] not be seen on the first page, despite the fact that the title (and keywords during submission) contain the word ';pregnant'.
platinummyr Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
So... how does this work? And what changes with this system?
SojournInNYC Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Hey I was redirected from the help desk:

I dont get it. It says something like the already popular are getting more popular (40 hits with 1 fav is not really popular at all [that is what my dev that didnt show up had]). Is there a way (in the algorithm) that the pic will make it into the pop some time?
it's just sad to see all the 300hit 35 favs and then the next one is a 10hit no fav....makes me wonder if the system works.....
thanks for answers
mccann Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
The system attempts to give the 'best' of each category a chance.

Thus, the 300,10,200 thing..
SojournInNYC Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
now that makes sense. thanks for the reply
Bucinhas Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2008
I'm very disapointed with this because I'm a big deviation browser myself. If my work will get more popularity or not, that doesn't matter to me, maybe people should browse in the newest section, or maybe you should create a new frontpage section along with daily dev, popular and new, called Fair Exposure
bolsterstone Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2008   General Artist
In reply to Aviadreams and a couple of others, it doesn't really represent "newcomers/potentials" either. What it does do is slant the popularity in favour of the types of artists which have the greatest number of categories -- photography. As a result, we are seeing lots of nude photos, self-portraits and photomanips.

And it has led to groups of models, photographers and other collaborators to take advantage of this quirk in the FairExposure algorithm to allow the same cluster of works to get their material on the first few "popularity" pages. (Anyone remember the same cosplay bit at the start of this month which featured five pieces on the first page -- all that was different was just the categories in which they were submitted.)

To me, as one who has been actively working at encouraging others to visiting less seen pages, I would suggest that, even in terms of giving newcomers' exposure, the system is not working yet.

I guess as George W. once said, "Fair is not always equal."
turq-dorian Featured By Owner May 12, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
bolsterstone Featured By Owner May 12, 2011   General Artist
Long time problem. Partially fixed - but still a long way to go. Eh?
turq-dorian Featured By Owner May 12, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Yeah, a long way to go.
KOLNstyle Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2008
There are around 58.8 million entries within dA. I don't really care about the ranking algorithm itself; I don't care about popularity or anything like that. What I'm interested in is implementation of such a system on a massive scale.

This is how I'd break down a system like this.

  • Let r(dev) be a function which "rates" a deviation and assigns it an adjusted numerical score which could be stored within a byte.
  • Let e(dev) be a function which "rates" two equally r(dev) valued deviations and returns a boolean which decides which one is higher ranked in terms of the other.
  • Let devl be a wrapper class for a binary max-heap of length x, with x being the number of deviations allocated for a category, and the ldev being a field within devl which represents a the lagging Deviation in the leaderboard.
  • Let Deviation be a class which represents a single deviation and its associated data

  • Select the fields needed for r(dev) and primary key of a restricted amount of entries from a database. Store them in either a wrapper class or within a data structure like a Map or an array.
    • Reason: One needs only the necessary fields for r(dev) to run, thus selecting the other fields is unnecessary and is a waste of memory in any case and most probably bandwidth too, if your computation machine isn't the database machine. A wrapper class around the data would be used for convenience's sake.

  • Run r(dev) on those and store them within devl with the max-value of the binary heap being the current leader and the min-value of the binary heap and the min-value stored within ldev.
    • Reason: The purpose of this step is to get a selection of seed values for the rest of the algorithm. A binary heap is used for it's efficiency, as we're going to be inserting values in the middle of the data structure and at the front and the end, and thus we would need to shift all elements over by one whenever we add a single entry. The lagging deviation is stored in ldev for efficiency because we're going to be looking at the lagging deviation of the leaderboard first in order to evaluate whether a a ranked deviation belongs on the leaderboard or not.

  • Select the next set of values from the database which would exceed the ldev if r(dev) was calculated for them. Run r(dev) on them and assign them slots on the leaderboard if they exceed a requirement. If the r(dev) value of a Deviation is equal to the r(dev) value of another Deviation, then run e(dev) on the two Deviations to determine which Deviation gets the higher position. Once inserted, update the value of ldev and run delete-min on the heap in devl. If that query returns nothing, then select the set of values from the database which would equal ldev and run e(dev) on them to determine which one gets the lagging position and do NOT insert the value into the heap yet. Instead, update ldev with the new lagger and continue to do this until the end of the set is reached. Then update the leaderboard by replacing the minimum deviation with the current one.
    • Reason:This is assuming you can calculate the lower bound for the function r(dev) given an r(dev) value. The pruning narrows down the candidates which need to have r(dev) ran on them and placed. e(dev) resolves conflicts. ldev is updated first so that one doesn't have to go do an operation of O(log n) each time a new lagger is found.

  • Repeat on all deviations for the category and then return the leader list.
    • Reason:It would be useful to go through all data, would it not?

That was probably a total waste of my time because one could also just run r(dev) on a set of limited deviations, instead of all 58.8m or so deviations and then store them in a table and select from there. I think it was also a waste of my time because the chances of you reading this are quite low. Oh well. Looking back, I probably could have done something far more constructive in the 45 or so minutes I spent on formulating this reply. To whomever reads this, I hope you enjoy it.
SMerle Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2009  Professional Photographer
It is totally beyond my limited comprehension but I did read it and am assuming that the current data being evaluated is random depending on input of data. So, my chances of getting viewed is not based on popularity but what category I placed the image in? :confused:
bolsterstone Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2008   General Artist
It seems to be well-thought out and logical. :-)
aviadreams Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2008
I think it this "popular" browsing should be renamed "newcomers/potentials" and return the "popular" browsing back to the way it was :)

I feel that superb art seekers would get annoyed and might look down on not-so-good artists.

I don't want people looking for great art get annoyed when for example they just saw my crappy sh!t on the popular page. instead of friends i could have won new enemies :XD:

(Nyahaha~ Just my dreamer situation, but seriously that situations possible in the case of another artist)
Cyantre Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2008
This is great news!
Yesterweek Featured By Owner May 30, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Interesting...I really hope it works for the daviants out there that aren't so popular.
saraikunsagi Featured By Owner May 23, 2008
I disagree with this system. It has a major fault; the littler deviants will be ignored. A desktop screenshot from a popular artist could be up on the frontpage, when some of the better art is down lower on the food chain. You could post a "New Talents" category, giving the smaller deviants fame. Just a proposal.
Ratafluke Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2008
At least some little deviants have more chances now, with the old system it was even worse.
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