Jacob O'Bryant
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New feature: recommendations on the website
5 December 2020

You can now go back through all the essays you've received via email but haven't rated explicitly (i.e. by clicking "add to favorites" or "show less like this"):

Example of reviewing essay recommendations via the website

Just go to essays.findka.com/review. There's also a link to that page in the emails (under Reminders) and on the settings page.

I spent a lot of this week preparing for the re:Clojure conference. I gave a talk and a workshop on Biff, the web framework I made while working on Findka.

Now that that's over, I'm back to working on Findka. We need a larger stream of new essays. Usually, new users submit some articles when they sign up, but most don't continue to submit. We had a bunch of new users (and submissions) in October when Findka was on Hacker News, but it's tapered off since then. Fortunately, retention is alright. We've held steady at about 80 weekly active users and 20 - 30 daily active users. But we're running out of good essays to send users from that HN cohort.

So basically, I need to do more manual curation and submit articles myself. I subscribe to a handful of newsletters (like this one!). To automate things further, I'm going to add a simple RSS aggregator to Findka. You put in your RSS feeds, and then it'll intelligently sample from the backlog of each feed (using a bandit algorithm). It'll present you one article at a time, just like in the screenshot above. I'll use it to spoonfeed myself articles from patio11, slatestarcodex, etc etc. (I'd include Paul Graham, but I've read all his already...).

Anyway, I'll make this publicly available so anyone can use it. When you like or favorite an article, it'll start getting recommended to other Findka users too. I think this'll help keep the submission rate sufficiently high. Heck, maybe this could even be a selling feature. I've often thought about having something like this but haven't seen it anywhere so far. Most RSS aggregators just give you a bunch of separate chronological feeds, which is kind of silly when you think about it.

I don't write this newsletter anymore but am too lazy to disable this signup form. Subscribe over at tfos.co instead.