Assembly Line Technologies developed a custom vBulletin product for Detroit Yes, which centered around a one-of-a-kind algorithm that provides an alternate means of sorting the display of forum threads. Typically, forum topics display according to which has the most recent reply. Although this is standard practice, it is not necessarily the most conducive to keeping the most relevant discussion topics in the spotlight; threads that are several years old can be bumped to the top of the list by a single reply. Being a news oriented site, Detroit Yes was looking for a means to sort threads based on activity and popularity.
The algorithm that Assembly Line Technologies produced looked at a number of factors, such as the number of views and the number of posts (cross referenced with the recency of the view or post), the user reputation of the thread starter and its contributors, the age of the thread, and many other variables to calculate a floating rank value every 15 minutes. The result was an automatically refreshing headline news home page that aggregated the communities most active discussions 4 times per hour. The smart default home page provided a more engaging experience for virgin visitors and helped to boost year over year signup rates at a time when third party social media sites were beginning to overshadow typical forum implementations.