I wonder if the algorithm for Smart Shuffle has recently changed. I often have one or two podcasts which have a lot of back episodes I want to listen to. So I download all of them in the queue. Also I have podcasts without any back episodes so I auto download new episodes. When I previously did Smart Shuffle Old to New, I had one episode from each podcast at the start and then the rest of back episodes. Now I have a new episode from one podcast, 11 back episodes from another, then a new episode from the third podcast, again 11 back episodes from the second podcast, a new episode from the fourth podcast and so one. So not sure what is going on.
Yes, the smart shuffle was updated. It landed in AntennaPod version 3.0, which is currently rolling out.
The code change is here, and the page also explains quite well why & how it was changed: Rework smart shuffle by ByteHamster · Pull Request #6030 · AntennaPod/AntennaPod · GitHub
I see . The old algorithm worked better for me, because now all new episodes are buried between back episodes, so I constantly change the sorting from Smart to Date. But I can see the point of the new algorithm especially if you have mostly back episodes in the queue. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to please everyone. Ideally I would prefer to be able to sort some podcasts from old to new and others from new to old and download them in this order to avoid too many episodes in the queue. But I remember this point was heavily discussed.