Got inspiration from Twitter. We could have something like Trending Thread/Topic( of the day/week/month etc) in certain forums or for over all forum. Maybe just a sidebar widget.
Trending topic can be calculated based on Most view/replied in certain time period.
Sorry if this been already suggested, as I could not find a similar suggestion.
I was thinking having Trending topics for each individual section. I cant think of any location tho.(maybe make them Sticky? or another row for Trending Topics.)
We could also setup a criteria like Most view + Most Answer + Most Like in Less amount of time.
You might want a Top 10 trending topics (with maximum 2 per individual forum ?)
Some forums have almost all activity in one forum ... so you'd have to structure trending topics based on the nature of the site itself.
I think its location will play a major role for its success. Better location will of course have more impact, this feature can highly encourage user to increase posting and more involvement.
I like the separate page idea, but how we gonna promote that page? If we put it as a sidebar widget then it wont display anywhere other than forumhome. This feature should be exist on forumhome, forumdisplay and showthread pages, without changing its location on each page(well, at least not on forumhome and threadlisting page).
P.S: we can also encourage users by giving them Trophy points if their made topic becomes a Trending Topic !!
One way it can be done is where every 5, 10 or 20 minutes a static file is written containing a multidimensional array with each sub array containing the relevant data for the topic that is determined to be trending by whatever computation a person wants to use.
That data from the static file can then be called and processed into whatever element is going to contain it and there can be a timeout string for the cache that can basically works out to be if currentTime is 5 mins or more after cacheTime , update cache.
So basically at 5 minute intervals it will only hit the db a max of once and that is only when someone requests a page with the trending data after the 5 minute update period so really a max of 20 hits to the db per hour for it to compute an update once every 5 mins.
I am not sure if this suggestion have went through dev( @Kier | @Mike )'s eyes yet or not, but I am still thinking that we still need this.
The biggest challenge of every forum is to keep it interactive. Usually section above the fold gets all the attention and threads on first page. Tag and Quote alert does help a lot to gain user's attention but (unfortunately) that is not enough. This "Trending Topic" will definitely increase user engagement, which is what we all want.