yonatan-zunger According to Google+ Chief Architect Yonatan Zunger, Google+ will now send you notifications for new comments in large comment threads, but only when a new algorithm determines it is likely you’d want to see such notifications Google+ used to stop notifying you when a comment thread in which you had participated reached 100 comments.

In some cases this was a good thing. Some threads of popular posts end up being little more than dozens and dozens of “nice post!” comments. Getting notified of all those is nothing but annoying. So Google had made an arbitrary rule to cut off notifications after a thread reached 100 comments.

However, many users had complained about ending up in the dark about comment discussions they wanted to keep up with. Perhaps they had been engaging actively and then were later dismayed to find out the discussion had gone on without them.

So Yonatan sat down at his awesome new keyboard–which he claims practically called out to him, “You must code!”–to craft a new algorithm. Now you will get notifications of comments beyond 100 in a thread, but only under conditions where it is likely that you would want to see more comments.

According to Yonatan, some of the criteria in the new comment notification algorithm are:

  • Your comment was one of the last 10 comments (approximately, there are subtleties here) on the thread, or
  • You were explicitly +mentioned by the commenter, or
  • It’s your thread, or
  • We have some other reason to believe that this particular comment or commenter is going to be especially important to you, or
  • A bunch of other relatively rare but important corner cases.

He says that he first rule is the most important one if you’re on a generic conversation.

What do you think about algorithm-izing comment notifications? Is this a good compromise? Where else could Google+ or other social networks use this kind of noise filtering?

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