I am trying to understand what is defined as "popular" and "trending" in websites that provide content. Some seem to list content that has more comments as being popular within a timeframe, but some seem to define popularity of content based on the number of views within a specific timeframe. Similarly with trending content, but this seems more towards content that has the most views within a timeframe with less focus on comments.

Is there a clear definition of what the user should be seeing when they click on a "popular" or "trending" menu selection?


I don’t think that there can be clear definitions for Popular or Trending (who should define it?!). I guess in many cases such algorithms are "secret" and take several characteristics into account.

But why not make it clear?

  • Most viewed
  • Best rated
  • Most commented

If you also want to use several characteristics (e.g., an algorithm that uses the views count and the time after which the first n comments werde made), such clear labels won’t work, of course. So choose, for example, Popular, and if you like you can describe on the corresponding page how it gets decided which content is popular. I guess it depends on your users if they are interested in this at all (for many sites, a description of the algorithm is probably irrelevant).

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