Could it be as simple as “early posts are near the top of the page and therefore everybody sees them”?
That, and early posts have more time to accumulate votes. The early post advantage is the hypothesis. TotalFark provides the opportunity for an early post. Fark could attempt to reduce that advantage by taking certain steps, but the load on the servers would be large and why would Fark, Inc. reduce the value of TF?
I’m actually pretty encouraged that the hypothesis is not strongly supported by the analysis (p-values are “large”). In my natural state, I’m a ‘liter. I like to think I have some chance…
(note that as the analysis is run over all entries that garnered votes, in every contest, p approaches zero which means that there is a definite early post advantage. In this case, however, the analysis include entries with only one or two votes)
I’m guessing that there is a definite and strong correlation between TF’itude and landing in the top-three, but I haven’t tested that (yet).
(Great Noodle, I really am a dork)