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So we made a very small tweak to the XP/Leveling system. Whereas it used to require 500 XP to reach Level 1, and 1000 XP to reach Level 2, it now requires 400 XP to reach Level 1 and 900 XP to reach Level 2. All other level's XP requirements have remained unchanged.

In light of the decline in E2's active userbase, the purpose of this very modest change is twofold - to get new users into the system faster, and get more votes into the system sooner.

There is some backstory to this change. When the XP/Leveling system was overhauled back in 2008 the final plan that the tfxp usergroup unanimously approved actually had Level 1 status starting at 300 XP. Thereafter, the XP requirements to reach each new level smoothly ramped up by 200 XP per additional level until flatting out at 2500 XP required to reach each next level starting at Level 12. However, at the last moment, right when we were going to put the plan into action, alex, who had already approved the plan, changed his mind about 300 XP and decided it was a bit too low and insisted that it be increased to 500 XP or else he would withdraw his consent to allow the plan to go forward.

So that is what we did. And 500 XP was probably fine at the time, but I and others in the tfxp group always felt that starting at 300 would be slightly better, to get new users into the system quicker. And now, with very few new users even reaching Level 1 (if you don't believe me, go to Everything's Best Users and set it to "show new users" to see how many new users have reached level 1 in their first two years), and votes on new writeups at roughly half the levels they were in 2008, lowering the XP requirements seems even more sensible now.

The only reason we didn't revert back to the original tfxp plan now is that it would require changing all the levels' XP requirements, which would be disruptive to a lot of people, whereas starting at 400 XP allows us to only change the first two levels, while keeping a sensible progression of XP requirement increases.

To see why, let us compare the current requirements with the previous requirements and the original plan:

Level2008 final versionnew adjusted versionoriginal tfxp plan
Level 1500400300
Level 21000900800
Level 3150015001500
Level 4230023002400
Level 5330033003400
Level 6450045004600
Level 7590059006000
Level 8750075007600
Level 9930093009400
Level 10113001130011400
Level 11135001350013600
Level 12160001600016100

As you can see, the original tfxp had the aesthetic beauty of starting at 300 and smoothly ramping up by 200 per level in the following progression of XP needed:

300 500 700 900 1100 1300 1500 1700 1900 2100 2300 2500 ...

Whereas the modified version insisted upon by alex started at 500, stayed at 500 for three levels, then suddenly and inexplicably jumped by 300 XP to 800, and then increased by 200 XP after that for a while, before one last jump of 300 (from 2200 to 2500) as follows:

500 500 500 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000 2200 2500 ...

The new system, as currently implemented, not only lowers the requirements for the initial two levels sligthly, but also smooths out the progression a bit, so we start at 400, and increase by 100 for the first two levels, before increasing by 200 after that, as follows:

400 500 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000 2200 2500 ...

I still prefer the elegant consistency of the original tfxp plan, and I do think starting at 300/800 would be better for the site at its current stage, but going back to that plan at this point would actually require increasing XP requirements by 100 for every level after Level 3, which would probably be ill-advised, so we'll stick with 400/900 for the time being.

I should mention that from time to time people suggest that maybe we should just give votes to everyone as soon as they sign up. This would certainly achieve our goals of getting more votes into the system and getting people voting sooner. However, there is a serious danger to giving votes out right away or even making the Level 1 XP requirement too low, which is that it would make it too easy for malicious users to set up hundreds of dummy accounts and immediately vote their own writeups to the heavens to gain extra powers or else massively downvote those of their enemies. This was what alex was worried about, and he was not wrong.

In this day and age, one could easily write a simple script to create 1000 accounts and have them all automatically vote on your writeups every day. It would completely undermine the E2 system, which is premised on one meatspace human = one vote, and on leveling up to new powers gradually over time through excellent writing. So as much as we would like to get new users voting as soon as possible, we do have to set a fairly high bar for getting votes, and make it require some actual writing that passes muster with editors and other users first.

In other news, I created THE HALL OF THE IRON to keep track of how many times people have made it to IRON NODER status. If people are interested, I may add another table showing the total number of "iron nodes" submitted per person across all years (regardless of whether they ultimately reached IRON NODER status or not).

Sadly, it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to fulfill my pledge to complete this years Iron Noder Quest. I seemed to have come across a case of writer's block and just can’t seem to get unstuck. Rather than submit a bunch of what I’d consider subpar write ups and bore our readers to death, I thought I’d do us all a favor and bite the bullet and admit my failure.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy though. As I wander through the database I often come across write ups that are in need of some TLC or a firm hand so this is what I’ve done so far this month to try and clean up the site for both our current and future generations of noders and visitors.

Write ups that were in need of some love…

Go on! It's got raisins in it! (place) by heyoka – removed some references and links to a website that no longer exist

Insomnia (idea) by Flechette - fixed formatting to make this easier on the eyes to read and fixed some grammar

dream-catcher - moved all write ups to dream catcher and made appropriate firm links

Led Zeppelin (thing) by Orange Julius - removed references to a write ups that no longer exists within the node

Timothy Leary (person) by witchiepoo - removed references to write ups that no longer exists within the node and changed some verbiage to make it more coherent

S Club 7 (thing) by mellamaphone - fixed some html tags that were showing up in the w/u

Mike Nichols (person) by kthejoker – added date of death

Golden Years (thing) by Orange Julius - removed reference to write ups that no longer exists within the node and changed verbiage accordingly

Ken Takakura (person) by Shro0m – added date of death

Glen Larson (person) by flambeau - added date of death

European Space Agency (thing) by station23 - updated to change number of member states in first sentence from 15 to 20.

Heart and Soul (idea) by themusic – removed references to write ups that no longer exists within the node and reworded accordingly

firewall (thing) by hramyaegr – fixed some typos

The demise of the internet (idea) by MrFurious - removed references to write ups that no longer exist within the node and reworded accordingly

Pissing contest (idea) by eric+ - fixed some verbiage

Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers (person) by Sputnik - added date of death for Tom (Click?)

Car Talk (thing) by cbustapeck - added date of death of Tom (Click?)

Taxi Driver (thing) by j-rock nowhere – fixed some typos

Zen Arcade (thing) by Orion - removed references to write ups that no longer exists within the node

Write ups that were in need of a firm hand...

Scopes Monkey Trial (thing) by SheThing – removed, write up has been superseded

Emerson, Lake and Palmer (person) by soren.harward - removed, write up has been superseded

racial profiling (person) by some_guy – removed with msg “this doesn't really add anything to the topic at hand. I'm removing it to drafts

StarOffice (thing) by Ray Dassen - removed, write up has been superseded

Gay dudes dig big brawny guys (idea) by WolfDaddy – removed with msg “I'm removing this. For the most part, it seems to be a reply to a write up that no longer exists within the node. You can now find it in your drafts. Feel free to edit and repost it if you so desire”

Chicken Club Sandwich (thing) by Winky – removed a one liner with msg “We can surely do better than this.

Entering Marion (place) by fuzzy and blue – removed with msg “I'm removing this due to E2's policy regarding lyrics and copyright”

marching band (thing) by Tsarren - "I'm removing this since it references a w/u that no longer exists and has since been superseded.

marching band (thing) by TubaMan - "I'm removing this to drafts, this seems to be a highly personal account and doesn't do the topic justice."

To date, that’s all I have for November. I’ll try and do my best to do something like this in the months to come (I probably should have been doing it all along) and I encourage other members of the CE’s to do the same if they feel so inclined.

As always, if one of you comes across anything that is in need of repair or you think needs to go away entirely, feel free to shoot me a message and I’ll be glad to take a look at it.

From my table to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.


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