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Related articles: random or relevance-ranked?

Related articles: random or relevance-ranked?

James Abbott
2013-02-08 @ 11:05
Hello (everyone in the) list,

I'd be interested in your opinion on a topic. I've been tinkering with a
Nesta plugin to serve related blog posts to any particular blog post P one
is viewing. In this process, two versions have emerged: one that selects
related posts based on fairly loose criteria and one that uses a ranking
system to find the most relevant posts to P (let's ignore implementation
details for now).

The former version finds posts that are both very related to P and only
tangentially related, and randomizes the result. Because of the
randomization, each time the page for P is refreshed the "related articles"
list will vary slightly.

The version that uses rankings will serve up posts sorted by relevance
(most relevant first); no changes between page refreshes.

So, which of these versions would you prefer for your own blog posts (even
if you don't anticipate using the plugin):

1) The randomized version
2) The one with relevance rankings
3) The plugin should have both versions and let the user choose.

Thanks for participating.