Wattpad Ranks/Tags/Genres - Will the issues ever get fully addressed?

question

#1

I’ll start with my question, and then expand: Does anyone know if Wattpad has any active plans to work on their broken tags/ranking? Not with the current bug, but I mean in general. What priority does the ranking/tag system have? Do we even know?

The Issue: The Tags/Ranks often break, and it’s been that way since September. They are also constantly clogged with the same stories, and it makes searching for new stories a huge chore, versus a fun adventure.


I see a lot of authors on here, including me, that are trying really hard to work with the algorithm that Wattpad has given us - publish often, get votes/reads/comments/follows between publishing chapters, and your rank goes up in the tags. That’s a fair algorithm. With enough hard work, an author can use that to their advantage.

That hard work seems to go to waste for many, however, as when the ranks are constantly broken, the strong following/performance a chapter might get climaxes with no impact on their rank. I have seen some authors start and finish a book in this time-frame on here, and their story did not benefit from the ranks at all, because they didn’t function for them. Which means their story still sits under 5k reads, despite them being good stories, frequently updated, and completed. (I know 5k reads is a lot, but for the quality of these? It should easily be more) I have a feeling that if the ranks worked better, then they might have gained more of a following. Which, in turn, would also have diversified the overly saturated tags.

And yes, there are those that say “Ranks don’t matter, just writing what you enjoy does!” But that’s not always true. If I wrote solely for my own pleasure, I would not be on Wattpad. I think many others are in the same position.

So, that led me to think: does anyone know how much of a priority tags/ranks are? Like does Wattpad have any plans to work on making them better? To address the constant clogging of the same stories, or to address the fact that they always break, and are broken for a week or more at a time? Or is a band-aid issue where they just keep changing the band-aid because Next and other programs takes priority?

This is less of a complaint (I mean, it does feel good to type it out :rofl:) but it is a genuine question as well. I guess I’d like a little more transparency on what is happening with the ranks, as right now, the most transparent we get is a section on the Help page that states they are working hard on the problem. Which I am sure they are, but it’s starting to become enough of a recurrence that it is starting to make me wonder how much effort they are putting towards the issue as a whole.

I also completely understand that Wattpad can’t do everything at once. They do have to make a priority list. At this point, I’d rather just know where the priority for the ranking system is. At the moment, it feels like a broken system that will pretty much stay that way for the foreseeable future, and I kind of wish we had more of an announcement to address this, versus the same Help Page statement once or twice a month.

I think helping writers with their expectations on the site would be greatly appreciated. And since ranking in the tags is an integral part to story exposure on this site, I wish it was more transparently addressed. I’d rather be told, “We are aware, but don’t have any actions planned to correct the deeper issue at the moment” versus silence. Does anyone else feel that way or is it just me? It could always just be me :joy:

AS OF 2/27/2019 we have an update! It’s in post 211 in this thread, and also quoted here:

From @gabby

Hey! I’m Gabby from Support! :wave:

I mostly deal with Accounts/Writing related issues which is why I tend to jump in on threads relating to those areas because those are my speciality. @vivian has been working with our developers on tagged rankings, which is why if you’ve sent in a ticket about the rankings you’ve most likely gotten a reply from her. :blush: I may be biased but I thinks she’s pretty great, but this isn’t about how great I think Vivian is…

Tagged rankings- what’s the sitch? Where’s the transparency? I just want you to know that we’ve seen you, we’ve heard you, we’re reading your tickets and threads about it. We’re not ignoring you! And I’m really sorry if it’s seemed this way. I wanted to post this to give you some answers and to hopefully bring more clarity and transparency to what’s been happening with tag rankings.

Let’s start with our bug escalation process - the escalation of a bug varies a lot depending on different aspects (how many users are affected, how much does this impact their ability to use the platform, is it reproducible?) but once there’s a Known Issues article on it, you can usually bet that we’ve made our developers aware of it so that they can work on fixing it. As you can see, we’ve had a Known Issues article on Tagged Rankings for a while, but all we’ve really said is “developers are working on it”. And that’s because, well, developers are working on it. We promise that isn’t a lie! We are continuing to prioritize this bug above other smaller bugs, which means that we have had developers working on fixing the issues every week since we first escalated it!

Unlike a program (like Next) where there can be decisions made and conversations had that we can share, the bug fixing process isn’t as linear. For instance, for the past month we have made some progress and experienced some setbacks with fixing hot list errors. So if we were posting weekly updates on the tagged rankings issue, it would probably sound something like this:

“Our developers are testing a fix for this issue this week. Hmm… looks like it didn’t fix it.”
“Our developers are try to fix this again with this other test! Oh that only worked a little bit but still lots of other areas to tweak to get the rankings working again!”

Which is just another way of really saying that, yes, developers are working on it, and it’s taking some time to create a short or long term fix. I’m not sure if communications like that would really be meaningful for you, but if it is, your perspective on that is appreciated!

We had people ask for a timeline, and we really do wish we could give one, but unfortunately, that’s not something we can really share either. Not because we don’t want to, but because we truly don’t know how long a bigger issue like this may take to get fully resolved. It’s not that we know that there is x bug and it’s going to take y time to fix it we just need the time to fix it (which would be the best , we want these bugs fixed just as much as you, I think Vivian wants it more than anyone). It’s a lot of trial and error - we hope that it will be fixed this week, but we can’t guarantee it, so we don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up. Because if we say we’re implementing a fix, and it doesn’t work, then it just looks like we’re being dishonest. And we don’t want that either!

Tagged rankings are a really complex system which means that errors in the rankings take quite a lot of time to both understand the root cause, and actually implement fixes for so unfortunately it’s not as easy as a few hours of developer work and then, viola! But wouldn’t life be wonderful if this were a quick fix…( daydreams )

That’s not to say that we aren’t looking for ways to better communicate issues like these, and we are trying to expand and shift are processes, especially with longer-term bugs like this one. And we’re listening to you guys! Again, we’re just looking for ways that we can update the community in a way that’s meaningful (which sounds very generic but I hope the rest of my novel I’ve posted here makes it known that it’s coming from a hopeful place).

Anyways! Run down of an update that we can give now, which is really the best we have for the moment:

Are developers actively working on fixing this? Yes.
Do we know when this will be fixed? I wish (so, no).
Are we listening to you? Yes!
How are we going to be updated on this? I know it hasn’t changed since posting, but we’re hoping to better utilize the Known Issues page going forward with more updates going forward. And if you have any suggestions on how you’d like to be updated please let us know!

If you have any questions, let me know! :blush:

This is seriously appreciated Gabby. Thank you for acknowledging the many users that have grown frustrated, and for understanding how some things can be frustrating :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :sob: I am sure dealing with frustrated users, is frustrating in itself :joy: It means a ton to me that I can rely on a Wattpad authority like you for help!!!


Ask the Ambassadors Anything
Story rankings are abusable?
Does story ranks important?
Agents' thoughts on querying work posted previously on Wattpad
Wattpad Tags and Rankings Broken
a curiousity about the ranking
#2

I have officially given up on ranking. It triggered when I saw that some promotion of a penis enlargement pump which shouldn’t have been on wattpad made it past my story in one category.


#3

I’ll sound like an idiot, because I don’t know, nor care, a great deal about rankings.

First question: is there any data, besides anecdotal evidence, that they are “broken?”

Second: What’s the nature of the break? That the rankings don’t adjust to changes in real time? Given the sheer mass of work on the site, how can we assess that?

Third: Are there biases built into the algorithm, e.g. favouring sponsored writers, ambassadors, or others affiliated with WP? I did some quick stats for a couple years of the Wattys and concluded that ambassadors or other admins had a roughly tenfold chance of winning. Might that also be the case for the rankings?

Since I’m one of the few who do write for fun without wanting to get prizes or zillions of readers, I don’t really have an axe to grind except the cutting edge of fairness.


#4

Girl, the rankings take forever to change!
It started since the tag system started in September. Notice how right now the rankings are the same for almost 3 weeks. Whereas in the old system it used to change every other day. It’s clearly broken!


#5

I don’t think fixing the ranking are on their priority list tbh. The books that are on there are the ones making Bank for wattpad. They implemented a paying feature and a new logo design. Two things wattpad didn’t need at least not before Fixing the system.

If someone from HQ can prove me wrong by making a statement then my hopes for this site will be restored. But as of now only the stories that were high in ranking before the bug started are staying there and the rest of us are falling into the bottomless pit


#6

I’m one of them :raising_hand_woman:
I worked my ass off trying to complete my story before its first anniversary. I wrote and published 6 chapters in 10 days and also marked my story complete. I got the usual comments and votes from my readers. However, my story was never ranked bc the ranking system didn’t function at that time :sob:
I was told that if I completed my story I would notice an increase in read count and votes. That never happened. My story has been completed for 40 days and it never got any ranks in the genres like it used to get before September.


#7

The anecdotal evidence is evidence, because every time it happens, they make a Help Page stating that it is broken. Each time, the break lasts, on average, for 3-7+ days. I am not sure what more evidence we could use. That’s basically hard data in itself, since it’s coming directly from Wattpad admitting, in that timeframe, this it is indeed broken.

See the link above. The nature is usually that they freeze and don’t get updated as they should.

That’s always up for debate, but that doesn’t seem to be an honest issue. It’s mostly just that anyone can tag their book, and so when you have 100+ werewolf/billionaire/mediocre novels with 1 million + reads as the top books in nearly every category, I mean, at some point, you gotta wonder if there isn’t a better way to organize things.


#8

This is what I was talking about right here!

I think for me, why I consider it such a big issue, is because it’s a huge facet of the site that helps promote other authors. It’s like their main source of author promotion is totally broken. For those that are here to promote their work, that’s a pretty big issue to have.


#9

I understand what you are saying, what I can offer is how I turned this into something positive. I realized that no matter what I did with the story that it would not rank on the HL of my genre. I tried everything double updates, 4 day a week updates, everything and actually I saw a downward push of the story. No matter what it wasn’t climbing the hotlist the tag system means nothing to me, I don’t care if I am first in rainbows. I made sure to comment, reply to everything. Still no traction even with the giant number of readers and commenters and stars given.

So, I have three books ready to upload to Wattpad, new stories, Mermaid, Vampire, Romance but because of the tag/rank system, I thought to myself why upload to the site when it will be buried and not get the exposure or traction I would like. Instead, I queried a publisher, I sent the stories to agents. I have just gotten asked for the full manuscript submission.

I think that there are opportunities here for all of us if we look at what is best for us. If we don’t like the current state of things we can look elsewhere as well to better ourselves and further ourselves.

This rank/tag system is something that we might have to get used to if this is what they will stick too.

It’s defeating us, this tag/rank. We work and work, hours and hours for our chapter, our books, our characters all we want is something that works properly.


#10

This is true about looking elsewhere. At this point, I value Wattpad for the small fanbase that I have created, and also for the bookclubs/feedback on my stories. But if they don’t work on finding a way to help promote stories that should be ranking well, by either not addressing the faulty tagging system/frequently broken ranks, then I will eventually have to move elsewhere.

The whole point to posting my stuff for free is to gain some traction on the stories. If the site is inherently not functioning, then it only hurts me to have my stories available for free. (I understand that’s not everyone’s motive on Wattpad, but I am sure a significant number do post here for exposure.)


#11

It’s just really a sad thing to see and go through. I wish we could learn more, I wish they would tell us in not a generic way if this is how it will be on Wattpad from now on. That this is what it will be from now on and not give us hope that this will be fixed. Just let us know because then we won’t push ourselves more to upload update after update and think long and hard about posting anything new on the site.


#12

That’s basically what I want at this point. They are not transparent at all with what’s going on, and with a part of the site that is so fundamental to story exposure, I really wish they’d just be honest with us.


#13

Exactly just come out and say, this is exactly what we wanted, it’s working how we like it to work and we are sticking with the format for now. If they say this, tell us there are no plans to change the current situation I would be grateful because then I won’t be hoping for something different it will allow me to focus on other things instead. And I think we wouldn’t be so upset, or disheartened because now we now what to expect.


#14

I agree, as a reader it sucks having to scroll down the list to find something new. Though these last few months the genres on the app haven’t been working for me so I’ve spent a lot of time looking at other people’s reading lists.


#15

It’s funny that you (Whiskeyqueen) liked my comment since I’ve spent a lot of time going through your reading lists and finding new stories. :slight_smile:


#16

Really, LOL…I have to update it. I’ve got so many good books that I have finished but not put up. I’m smiling so big, I’ve helped someone find books…twirling.


#17

Yes, please update it! I’m honestly desperate, I haven’t anything new to read, it’s difficult finding stories that are good and completed!


#18

Wp has so much to work on their engineering side. Tags (useless tags should be eliminated & erotic books or wp can have it in a special place around wp)


#19

Has anyone else noticed this behavior (which might not be ‘broken’, but wasn’t what I hoped for). I added a new story with ten tags that I picked from similar stories. It took two weeks for the story to show up in the hotlists for those tags. Slow, but fine, there is was. I didn’t expect it to rank high immediately, either, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that it did in some minor tags.

Then I read a comment by someone who said, “you’ve got slots for 25 tags - be sure to use them all!” So I added 13 more.

Oops - maybe that was a mistake.

First, the story lost all ranks and was removed from all tag lists. A week later, it got ranked in a few really minor tags. Now, two weeks later, I can find it in a few indexes. But basically it is much less discoverable than it was before. I can see that in far fewer reads per day.

I wonder whether having few, very relevant tags works better than many? Does the system somehow divide the ‘discoverability’ among all the tags, so that the more tags you have, the lower the story will be ranked in any of them (on average)? Just a theory.

Now you might think: okay, remove some tags. But I did try to remove one, and it came back. After two days, it’s back in the tag list. Remove it again, and it comes back again. Such fun!


#20

Thanks. I’m not arguing with your conclusions. Just curious about how this works.

It seems obvious that if I choose a popular tag (werewolf, bad boy, teen romance) my work will be buried. So I choose tags that aren’t as generic.

rank

My question would be how WP ranks the tags themselves. Are they weighted according to how many works are tagged in each category?