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Bias in frontpage 'Featured Guides'

Creator: Etyrnal February 19, 2018 7:24pm
Etyrnal
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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep February 19, 2018 7:24pm | Report
I don't want this to come off as rude, I just want to have some understanding.

Currently, PsiGuard's Malphite guide is featured on the frontpage of Mobafire. There are TWO other great guides with substantial amounts of Upvotes & views. Why is their hard work being overlooked? Why are they not a featured Malphite guide?

I'm also bringing this up for my own guide. I waited a long time for Taliyah to be a Free To Play champion. She has only been free to play 1 time in her near 2 years of release. In the same week that she became free and eligible have a guide on the frontpage of Mobafire as a Featured Guide, a BRAND new Taliyah guide showed up. It garnered support from PsiGuard, with him even going as far as commending it. It has half the UpVotes that my Taliyah or other Taliyah guides have and has substantial less views. My guide for Taliyah has been on Mobafire since 2 weeks after her release and has been updated with every patch. Still, my guide or any other Taliyah guide with great reviews, votes, and views was bypassed for the guide supported by PsiGuard.

Am I being a big baby about this or is there just clear Bias' happening here?
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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep February 21, 2018 12:44am | Report
I'm not entirely sure if this thread is intended to be addressed to me or if you're trying to start a discussion with other community members. If your intent is to poll the community, then feel free to ignore my response. If you're looking for a direct response from me, here it is. It's gonna be kinda long.

Self/Friend Features

First I'll deal with the self-features, or features of guides whose authors I'm friends with (or at least friendly with). I realize that this seems a conflict of interest. After all, if I'm in charge of selecting each week's featured guides and I also author a number of top guides, wouldn't highlighting those guides be (self) favoritism? When I first became responsible for the featured guides every week, I talked with other staff members (and a few community members) about self-features and whether or not they would be acceptable. There are benefits and drawbacks to both sides. If I try too hard to avoid picks that may seem biased (featuring my own guides or those authored by people I know), then a ton of guides are disqualified from the front page. If I feature guides that make me seem biased, then obviously something like this happens. After talking about this with the staff, it was decided that self-features (and friend-features) would be allowed.

To try and minimize how much I feature my own guides, I tend to tie-break any two guides of similar quality and feature another user's instead. In fact, I have a number of "rules" I've set for myself to help me be consistent with whose guides I feature each week. Sticking to these rules is the best way I can treat different guides from different authors equally. Here's what I tend to take into account when I select featured guides:
  • Guide quality (most important and also most subjective)
  • Guide relevance (how up to date is the guide? Does it include removed content or old tooltips?)
  • Is the champion on freeweek? I try and stick to the freeweek rotation when possible.
  • Total number of past features
  • Date of last guide update
  • Date of most recent feature
  • Whether or not I've already selected another of that author's guides for the same week (I try to avoid featuring multiple guides from me, Vapora, Jovy, Goliath or any other guide authors with several top guides).
  • Guide publish date (I tend to feature new guides that are written for the current patch over established top guides that receive minor updates from patch to patch).
  • How much I've featured the author before (I've featured Vapora and Jovy a lot since they write guides for bot laners which come on rotation more often. If I find a new guide author with a fantastic guide, I'm more likely to feature them for the first time than a new guide from Vapora or something).

I don't really take into account a guide's ranking, number of votes or its current score. In order to highlight the best guides on the site, I can't always just stick to whatever the top-rated guide is. Sometimes the top-rated guide is outdated or another guide is better, but hasn't had a chance to garner more votes yet. When I come across an author I've never seen before who's written a new, high quality guide, that's pretty much the best outcome when I look for guides to feature.


Taliyah Guides

Now I've already talked about featuring guides written by authors I know. I happen to know nMinus and have played with him in game. I also have a ton of respect for his Taliyah play and I saw how much work he put into his guide. More than just hard work, I feel he ended up with a really good result too. The guide looks terrific, it's super detailed and I have absolute faith in his information. I've commended very few guides on the site and his is one of them.

I have other guide author friends whose guides are often up for a potential feature, but I often pass over them despite pretty good guide quality because there's something wrong with the guide. I'm sure Vapora or Yamikaze could tell you how often I've either asked them to quickly fix a small error or an aspect that needs a quick update, or I'll simply see that too much is out of date and have to pass over the guide for that week. It's a lot easier to feature guides from authors I know and trust, but they still have to pass the same quality and relevance checks I do to other guides.


Malphite Guides

Every week I go through about 30-40 guides or so -- skimming some, fully reading others -- to determine which three guides to put on the front page. It takes me a while to narrow down the list and organize it according to quality, relevance and number of features to help me make my final decision. This is a bit time consuming but I continue to check out new guides (or just guides I haven't seen yet) because I don't want to just recycle the same handful of guides every week to play it safe. If it was as simple as just quickly picking out guides from myself and people I know, it would take me a lot less time and effort.

I'll admit, I struggled this week to choose between featuring my Malphite guide or AP WormMaw Mid's. I also looked through the other top Malphite guides but didn't feel they matched the same level of quality. I read through WormMaw's entire guide and spent some time deliberating before ultimately deciding to feature my own instead. WormMaw's a great author and if his Malphite guide is still updated by the next freeweek, it's likely I'll feature his next time. My decision was based on something I'm sure is familiar to you as a guide author -- seeing another author's advice and build choices and thinking "I don't think that's quite right."

Just to spend a little more time on this specific case (since it was so close), I felt that WormMaw's recommended playstyle was a bit too binary and limited readers to a very simple poke-oriented style of play -- one which I feel is inappropriate in some matchups. Some of his items, runes and skill order choices were certainly viable, but I didn't feel that he adequately explored other situational changes to the build. Maybe these grievances weren't enough to justify featuring my guide over his. Neither of our Malphite guides have ever been featured, and I do think his guide is good, so maybe I should have just featured his instead. It's a bit late to change that now, but at the time I made the choice as best I could given my own knowledge of the game.


Bias and Subjectivity

As much as I try to avoid or minimize it, I am going to be biased when it comes to featuring guides. My opinions on what kind of builds and advice are best are colored by my own experience as a player. If I feel that, especially in a close tie, one guide advises readers to do something I think is a mistake, I will usually choose to feature a different guide. If I don't think Vladimir players should build Morellonomicon, I will likely not feature a Vladimir guide that recommends that item. Usually the reasons are more complicated than a single item choice but that's the kind of thing this ultimately comes down to.

As a player and guide author, I'm limited in experience and game knowledge and can't always be 100% sure whether or not I've chosen the ideal 3 guides for the week. I often consult other players I trust to offer their opinions on certain guides I'm considering, especially if they play the champion and I don't. Sometimes they can identify aspects of the guide that are weaker than I realized, other times they reassure me that some of my reservations about an aspect of the guide are unfounded and maybe the Morellonomicon Vlad is definitely viable. Either way, I do try to incorporate the knowledge of other players that I trust when I can get their help.

Sorry that this post has become super long. You probably didn't want to read a huge rant from me when you made this thread. I try and do the best I can to pick the best guides that I can feature each week, but it's not always easy. If you do make it all the way through this post and you're still not convinced that I'm trying my best to pick guides fairly, then I don't have any other defenses or justifications to tell you. If you want, I can bring your concerns to mowen and the other staff members. I don't really know what the alternative would be to our current system since no other staff member plays League regularly and keeps up with meta changes, but if it's important to you, I can make sure a staff member that isn't me sees your concerns.

If you read all this, let me know if your thoughts have changed on the matter. I'm really sorry that I didn't do a good enough job to be beyond suspicion of bias, but I hope this way-too-long reply helps explain the process I use and the goals I have when I pick featured guides each week.
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Vapora Dark
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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep February 21, 2018 1:34am | Report
yeah i've noticed the bias too, glad its not just me. like case in point, three of my champions were on free rotation this week but i didn't have 3 featured guides, like ffs, first the raffle now the featured guides. could MOBAFire's bias against me be any clearer???
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There has been a long lasting issue with exposure of guides that are not of long time members of the site. This simply has to do with the fact that people recognized in the community get exposure much quicker at the start, which causes a huge snowballing effect to happen and let's them stay on the front page, giving no opportunity to the new member.

This is the sad truth and looking at the way things are, they are likely not going to change any time soon. I'd suggest promoting your guide to your friends or maybe make a post in the shameless selfpromotion thread. Other than that there is not much you can do.

yeah i've noticed the bias too, glad its not just me. like case in point, three of my champions were on free rotation this week but i didn't have 3 featured guides, like ffs, first the raffle now the featured guides. could MOBAFire's bias against me be any clearer???
Yes, because they are trying to sabotage you behind the scenes instead of just messaging you directly.
Change is gooooood
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PsiGuard
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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep February 21, 2018 1:16pm | Report
Meiyjhe are you talking about publicity in general or featured guides in particular? Dr Eggmund has a featured guide right now and I don't think I've even seen him before, so clearly I don't just feature established authors every week. :/
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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep February 21, 2018 11:02pm | Report
PsiGuard wrote:
Meiyjhe are you talking about publicity in general or featured guides in particular? Dr Eggmund has a featured guide right now and I don't think I've even seen him before, so clearly I don't just feature established authors every week. :/
One example doesn't fix the issue, there has been a huge lack of front page publicity for everyone for years. Just that what remains of it gets dominated mostly by those who are strict members of the community.

It is great that a guide manages to surprise everyone, but there are still too many that go under the radar despite the hard work put into it.

Before we go further on my point, we already discussed this at least dozens of times and it never got us anywhere. Right now I feel people should just know what they get into when they decide to create guides, I do not care for having this discussion again so I will not get into it.
Change is gooooood


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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep February 21, 2018 11:19pm | Report
Most guides suck is why.
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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep February 26, 2018 10:19am | Report
Reading Etyrnal comment, I am thinking : "Mmmmm ... he is right !"

Reading Psiguard reply, I am thinking : "Mmmm ... he is right !"

Reading future replies saying both can't be right at the same time I will probably give this answer : "Mmmmm ... you are right !"

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