I find myself rarely scrolling through the news feed on Academia.edu any more. I used to like to review the articles listed, often finding things of interest. But there are two new developments in their algorithms that make my news feed almost painful to read.
First, the same articles are listed over and over again. Someone posted a paper: it is listed, Someone bookmarked the paper: listed again. Someone recommended the paper: listed again. Someone looked at the paper. Someone sneezed at the paper. Someone whispered its title. It is bad enough having to wade through the same papers over and over again. But it is made much worse by the second problem
Second, I now get all sorts of papers listed that I don't have the least interest in. Postcolonial this, materiality theory that, phenomenology here, conceptions of the body there. Ugh, I really don't care about this stuff. I used to tweak my list of interests to keep out this kind of fluff, but now it is all over my Academia.edu feed. I deliberately follow only a few people, to keep down the number of items in my feed. But now there is an explosion of junk mail. The entries all say something like "Ten people connected to you bookmarked this paper." This must mean that, for example six people who follow me have bookmarked "The phenomenology of temporal experience." Well, that is nice for them, I guess, but the probability that I will look at such a paper has several zeros after the decimal point.
I still consider Academia.edu as a useful place to post my papers for people to see. But it has ceased to be a place where I go to learn about new papers. There is so much garbage in my feed--repeated again and again--that I can rarely stand to look at it.
Perhaps if I was more in tune with the anti-scientific trend in archaeology, I'd love getting all this stuff. But I'm not, and I don't.