Community leaders often draw attention to some content—announcements, important discussion topics, etc.—by giving it some degree of extra visibility beyond what is normal for content shared within the community. I use the term featured to describe this general status, but it is implemented in a variety of ways, including (with examples):
- Sticky/Stickied Post (Wordpress, reddit, phpBB)
- Announcement (Google Sites phpBB)
- Masthead Ad (Hulu)
- Spotlight (Joomla Extensions)
The Community Bulletin here on Stack Exchange does this for various types of content, including featured Meta discussions. (Please do not confuse the specific SE implementation with the broader concept that is the topic of this question.)
Content that is newly "featured" can draw additional attention from the community. However, if featured content is static for a certain amount of time, it can become stale. After seeing the same item enough times to quickly identify it as something they have seen before, users will begin to ignore it. Users who experience this repeatedly over the course of several visits may develop a habit of ignoring "featured" content and this habit may persist for some period of time after the content itself changes.
With the above in mind:
- How can I determine the best length of time for a particular item to keep its "featured" status?
- What qualities of the content and the community are important factors to consider?
My goal is to temporarily draw the attention of existing members of the community by using this feature to direct voluntary traffic to recent content that I think is particularly important. This practice will continue indefinitely, though not necessarily continuously.