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Determining related answers for an existing answer
Answer ID 1499   |   Last Review Date 12/12/2018

How does Oracle B2C Service build the related answers for an existing answer?


Answers, Relationships, All versions


The Related Answers feature uses session data and contextual relationships to suggest solutions related to the answer being viewed. 

  • Related answers are listed at the bottom of the Answer Display page. In Customer Portal (CP) end-user pages, the related answers display under the heading Answers others found helpful.  
    Knowledge engineers can also manually relate answers to other answers from the Relationships tab when editing the answer. In the Customer Portal, manually-related answers display in the same section as the system-defined related answers. Manually-related answers are listed first followed by the system-defined related answers.

To illustrate how related answers are determined, one metaphor is referred to as the "ant world view". When an ant travels from one location to another, it leaves a very faint chemical trail to serve as a future reference to the path it took. If the ant finds food, other ants may follow this chemical trail, and, as they do so, they will lay down chemicals of their own and strengthen the trail signal. The more ants that follow the trail, the stronger the trail becomes over time. Similarly, if the trail is not followed by other ants, the chemical trail becomes weaker over time.

The Related Answers feature works in a very similar manner. When an end-user visits the Find Answers area, their path through the site is tracked by the clickstreams table. Presumably, if a customer visits the site and does not find their answer on the first try, they make additional attempts to find the information they need by viewing other answers.

The clickstreams data documents the implicit relationship between the answers they have viewed. As more and more users travel between answers which contain related content, these strengthening relationships are reflected in the clickstream data. Once enough data is accumulated to indicate a very strong relationship between two answers, each answer appears the list of Related Answers when viewing the other answer.

Clickstreams table records all end-user activity for the Customer Portal page set.

As with the "ant world" example, if a link between answers is not reinforced, its link strength gets weaker over time and the relationship between the answers is weakened as well -- that is, the link strength decays over time. This is referred to also as "data aging".