Help » FAQ » Popularity


What are popular photos?

Popularity is how photos are sorted on Capture My Chicago. It's a way to measure the community's interest in a photo. It is not a measure of a photo's quality, since that's impossible to do (art is subjective, and surely not something measurable by an algorithm). Instead, it's a set of photos that have gained the interest of Capture My Chicago users right now. As in life, popularity is fleeting, so expect photos to move in and out of popularity and check back regularly to see new popular photos!

What are upcoming photos?

Upcoming photos are high-scoring photos submitted recently. Photos in upcoming are new and earning a lot of votes, so check them out and cast your vote for the ones that catch your eye!

What is popular/upcoming used for?

The primary reason to use a popularity ranking and pull out upcoming photos is to show you, the user, great photos within various collections (categories, groups, etc.). Beyond that, our editors use it as one of many factors when highlighting photos in online features like the Photo of the Day and Showcases, or when pulling together photos for real-world publications.

How is popularity determined?

We can't tell you the full details of the popularity algorithm because it is proprietary to Capture My Chicago. Plus, spelling it out in detail would give people an opportunity to game the system. That said, here are a few key components of popularity:

Votes: As you might have guessed, every time a photo receives a "dig it" vote, its popularity increases. A vote is the largest determining factor in a photo's popularity. More votes is better, especially in a short amount of time. If you're a photographer who wants your photo to show up in popular, ask everyone you know to vote for your photo. If you appreciate a photo, give it a "dig it" vote to help its chances of appearing in popular.

Time: Popular photos are always changing, which means time is a major component of how popularity is calculated. Check back daily to see new popular photos.

Other stuff: The algorithm also considers just about everything you can imagine, from comments and loves to views and time since previous vote. In the end, we think it's a good mix of photos that are of interest right now.

All of this said, we encourage you to give little time, thought and energy on how popularity works. Just like your mom told you when you were in junior high, popularity isn't everything. We built it to highlight photos on an ever-changing basis. We did not build it to be an absolute measure of the quality of a photo. That would be silly. Computers can't measure quality of art.

How are my photos doing?

Check out how your photos rank on your dashboard page (under the your top photos tab). There you'll find all your photos in a sortable table. You can sort your photos by their current popularity, total votes, loves count, number of comments or the total awards won.