No discussion yet? Le gasp!
I’d like to drop by to say what I’ve said many times already, which is that you can’t possibly underestimate how much tag rankings helped the discoverability of small subgroups that previously fell within large genres.
Specifically, I’m talking fanfiction. For those who don’t read or write it, I can understand that you wouldn’t have seen this (and sadly for me might not care), but I remember the days when the fanfiction genre was dominated by One Direction fanfics and other similar things. I remember that my community, which reads and writes Pokémon fanfiction and had all but zero interest in One Direction, started a petition to get Wattpad to make a separate genre for Real Person Fanfic (based on celebrities) vs traditional fanfic (based on tv shows, books, video games, etc.). All because we were invisible. You could scroll for miles and never find a book from the one fandom you actually wanted to read. And we were far from being the only fandom to feel that way.
With tags, we can now click on the name of ANY FANDOM WE WANT and get a great big list of stories that are actually what we’re looking for! Fanfiction is one of the genres on Wattpad with the largest amount of stories in it and also, I’d argue, one with the most diversity that you just couldn’t even sift through previously.
I’ve heard plenty of arguments from people who hate the new system and want to go back to the old way, but it seems like a lot of them are people who happened to benefit from the old way. And from my perspective, a lot of authors were benefitting at the cost of other authors who were equally or even more deserving. And at the cost of the readers as well because if you really wanted something to read, you would pick something you could find, even if it made you a lot less happy than the hidden book would have.
I realize you’re asking about the algorithm as well as the tag changes, but, well, I honestly don’t even know how the old one was working because, as I mentioned previously, neither me nor any other person I knew of in my entire community ever got into the hot list at all. We didn’t care about it. We totally ignored it because the entire thing was hopeless. Would we have gotten more exposure if we had ranked in Fanfiction vs ranking in the “pokemon” tag now? Maybe? But I have no way of knowing because it would never happen. Honest truth.