I’m not a tech wiz; I’m speaking purely from ideas lol. I’m sure there could be more covered but if YouTube is able to do it, Episode could try to make it work too.
How it would work
I think the same system that tracks where stories are ranked could have the ‘recommended for you’ job. First it’ll be detected by genre (not necessarily a must, it could rely more on tags as there will be a bigger selection).
Afterwards, tags relating to the story (which would need to be improved in the portal: ability to add more tags + have plenty of pre-set tag sub categories) will be what is driving recommended stories.
If there is a group of similar relating tags like: agent, spy, assassin… Instead of just looking for one ‘tag’ it could recognize others that are similar & recommend based off of that or even go further to what also relates to those but is slightly different (ex: crime in this case) & so on.
It doesn’t have to just be done systematically, the reader can also do it themselves with a setting they can alter. Special requests like art styles, stories with multiple genres in 1 - all would be based on tags & they can be able to turn it on/off as they please. Most importantly their preferences are remembered but will evolve as they read more stories.
Nevertheless, the “recommended for you” feature is still meant to deliver stories… GOOD stories with the reader’s preferences in mind & basic to high levels of reader retention but not based off of reads at all - that’s what the trending section will be for anyway.
I think what you said is great addition & can be part of the feature as well, “readers who read this also read: [set of stories].”
Stories that are trending don’t have to be recommended but rather stated while the ‘recommended for you’ feature is in action, “check out the new trending stories in [genre]” like episode does already for featured stories lol.
Individual trending stories shouldn’t be targeted for promotion as that’s actually sort of counter productive with this feature… Small stories have a lot to offer too! So the bar would be set for stories with less than 1k reads up to a million+ but those stories would need to not be trending anymore & for a while to keep it fair.
I’m sure if episode does decide to do this they will have a better executed plan but I think this is pretty good for a start.