What constitutes "top"?

What makes a topic or post “top”? Number of views? Number of replies? Perfect spelling and grammar? Moves the average reader to tears-- what?

When I see a list that says “Top (Whatever),” I want to scream, “By whose standard??”

Well, by whose standard is something on here labeled top by the software?

Jeff Atwood’s.

I don’t have the algorithm, but it seems to be a combination of number of replies, number of likes, and number of views.