A Response to kthejoker's recent editor log


MY own Proposal to Revamp the XP / Level System

Obviously there were problems with the old system (hence the current one), and now we see that there are issues with the current system as well. Requiring hundreds of writeups to attain levels high enough to get your homenode picture seems unattainable for many noders, and even with the maximum possible merit bonus which would require you to only submit half the number of required writeups - well, half of hundreds is typically still hundreds. No matter how much you love E2, and no matter how much time you spend here, most people simply don't have enough time to sit and write quite that much. Yet we see incredible writers here that are sitting at level 3 and 4 that many believe should be rewarded a little more.

It should be noted that I don't have any specific problem with kthejoker's idea (although in its current state, it would requirement me to submit almost twice the number of writeups to reach the next level than I need right now). This was simply an idea I came up with for a leveling system for a site I was thinking about a while back.

Proposed System


It is my opinion that in the current leveling system, XP is basically useless. Obviously it has uses for bragging rights, the joys of XP whoring, the notificiations you receive let you know when you have received votes, you can spend it in the E2 Gift Shop, etc., but for leveling it means nothing. Let me give you an example:

  • For the new level 1 user to reach level 2, they need to create 20 writeups - no if's, and's, or but's (i.e., no merit/honor roll bonuses available). With 5XP given for creating a new writeup, that's an automatic 100XP they will have earned by the 20th writeup. If you add bonuses for votes and C!s received, the number could easily be higher. Since they only need 50XP and will already have 100XP by the time they post their 20th writeup, XP means absolutely nothing to the level 1 noder.

  • For the level 2 user to reach level 3, they need to create a total of 40 writeups (or 20 more). Again, with 5XP given for creating a new writeup, that's a total of 200XP just for creating their writeups. Since they need 250XP, the must only earn an additional 50XP. So technically, XP means at least a little to the level 2 noder, however we must assume that for 40 of a user's writeups to remain on the site they must be getting at least a few upvotes, possibly a few C!s, and they've probably been spending a few votes. 50XP is practically nothing to earn - (statistically speaking) 6 days of voting, or an average reputation of 4 per writeup.

  • To reach level 4, we are back to XP meaning nothing - they need a total of 100 writeups and 500XP. 100 x 5XP per new writeup = 500XP. Nothing to earn.

  • The only jump is when you reach level 6, however, if you have been around long enough to reach level 6, you probably already have enough XP to reach level 9 or 10. It is likely that the only thing holding you back is that pesky writeup count.

Reputation-based System

My suggestioned change is to use your total reputation (i.e., the sum of the reputations of all your writeups) to determine your level. This could also be supplemented with rewards for C!s with each Ching equal to a specified bonus to your reputation. This system would encompass all of kthejoker's components for a good leveling system:

  • Attainability - this system is very attainable. If, for example, the total reputation required to reach level 2 was 100, this would be equal to a user submitting 20 writeups with an average reputation of 5. If however, we get an incredible new writer, they could level up by posting 5 writeups with an average reputation of 201.
  • Clarity - There are several possible systems for setting up the leveling requirements (described below), however, any method would have a simple chart listing the level and the reputation required. Your current total reputation could be displayed to you much like XP or Merit is now.
  • Positive Reinforcement - Technically, my system does not meet kthejoker's requirements exactly, however, I also have to question his reasoning on this issue. If there is no negative reinforcement, then there is also no proportionality which means he doesn't even meet his own forth requirement (below). If you submit something good, you should be rewarded (positive reinforcement). If you submit crap, you should be punished (okay, "punished" is too harsh, but you get the idea). With that said, my system positively reinforces any writeup with a positive reputation (i.e., if the reputation is greater than 0, it helps you move up in levels). Conversely, if your writeup has a negative reputation, it pulls down your total and hurts you from moving up to the next level. A reputation of 0 does not help or hurt you. Typically, the negative reputations won't even come into play because the editors will likely nuke any writeups that gets into the negative range2. While we would have this potential negative reinforcement, it would not suffer from the problems we have with merit because having any writeup with a positive reputation deleted would subtract from your total rather than having the potential for increasing your average (or IQM in the case of merit).
  • Proportionality - As described above, users who submit higher quality writeups will move up in levels much faster. Submitting average writeups still helps you - just not as quickly. Submitting terrible writeups hurts you. Proportionality is fulfilled.

Level Requirements

As I mentioned above, there are several options for setting up the leveling requirements:

  • Static System - the E2 staff could look at the users on the site and determine some set figures and requirements for each level. While extremely simple to set up and code, the system would require numerous "tweaks" over time to make sure people aren't moving up too quickly or too slowly.
  • Dynamic System - Find the user with the highest total reputation value on the site (or pick someone in the 75-90 percentile to remove outliers). Divide this number by 77 (2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10+11+12, a grouping for each level except 1) to get N. You then need N total reputation to get to level 2, 2N more total reputation to get to level 3, 3N more to level 4, 4N to level 5, etc.

    EXAMPLE: Let's say the highest total reputation for a user was 11550. Divide this by 77 to get 150 (yes I chose a number that divided evenly). This would mean that to reach level 2 you would need a total reputation of 150. To reach level 3, you need 150*2 (plus the 150 from the last level) for a total of 450. To reach level 4, you need 150*3 (plus the 450 from the last level) for a total of 900. A full chart is below:

    • Level 1: 0
    • Level 2: 150
    • Level 3: 450 (150 + 150*2)
    • Level 4: 900 (450 + 150*3)
    • Level 5: 1500 (900 + 150*4)
    • Level 6: 2250 (1500 + 150*5)
    • Level 7: 3150 (2250 + 150*6)
    • Level 8: 4200 (3150 + 150*7)
    • Level 9: 5400 (4200 + 150*8)
    • Level 10: 6750 (5400 + 150*9)
    • Level 11: 8250 (6750 + 150*10)
    • Level 12: 9900 (8250 + 150*11)

    Note that you could alternately use other methods for determining the requirements for each level such as using the standard deviation, the mean writeup reputation, or other methods. You could also determine the interquartile mean of all the writeups on E2 and multiple it by the number of writeups created by the noder with the most writeups to get the "highest total reputation" value listed above. Regardless of the ways the numbers are calculated, the concept remains the same. Also note that all users with a total reputation of less than 0 would have to be excluded from the calculations.


  • DTal says re November 16, 2007: Read and approve of greatly. Hits all the right buttons. I would like to point out, however, that if negative reps prevent one from leveling up, a CE wouldn't need to remave a writeup; they'd do it themselves. In fact, one could even give them the option to leave negative rep writeups, at their own expense, if they really think they should stay.
  • kthejoker says re November 16, 2007: Actually, the goal of the system isn't to help people level up. It's to help get people hooked on the site and want to participate more. XP is the crack, not reputation.
    • in10se says But it's really the votes and C!s that give you XP (yes, I know there are a few other ways). If "Total Reputation" (you could give it a sexier name) was displayed like XP, and notifications were given when it changed, it's really the same concept.
  • eien_meru says re November 16, 2007: There is a slight problem. Writeup reputation is a bit fragile in the database; whenever stuff gets ressurrected and such rep gets fubar'ed. But that's a minor problem, really.


Please note that I am not calling for the banning of XP - simply a modified leveling structure that rewards great writers without some of the drawbacks of the merit system.

1 Obviously these are just example numbers, the E2 staff could easily modify these figures
2 There are, of course, exceptions to this "rule".

Given the current state of affairs and what it has spawned, this node probably won’t be too popular. But if I was an outsider looking in, I wouldn’t have a clue as to what most, if anything, anybody here was talking about. Forget the fact that these kinda write ups regularly dominate the Page of Cool. Yeah, if I was an outsider, I'd consider this place a little too self indulgent for my tastes and be on my merry way.

To me, therein lies the rub.

In saying that please keep in mind that I don’t in any way, shape or form mean to insult, slander, debunk, defend, offend, pretend, mystify, glorify, justify, classify, sanctify, dignify, rationalize, canonize, blasphemize, emphasize, subsidize, finalize, validate, denigrate, fornicate, consecrate, obfuscate, alienate, delineate, antiquate, acerbate, repudiate, mediate, meditate, legislate, amputate, resonate or berate any noder here for his or her own opinion on the subject of XP, voting, chings, proposed enhancements and our future..

In fact, I admire and respect each and every one of you who took the time to try and make our world an idyllic place for writers and readers to share their experiences in a utopian world where both critics and authors can call it a day and go share a beer or two without any hard feelings. A place where egos are tossed aside and skins aren’t so thin that the slightest barb will cause somebody to bleed out and become fled. Where grudges and personality conflicts don’t exist and where everybody’s opinion carries the same weight and each person is treated with the dignity and respect afforded them just because of the fact that they’re human. A place where we can all come and gather to drink from the same well and share both our fortunes and misfortunes as if they were the same. A place where innocent new writers can test their words without fear of recrimination or criticism and where seasoned veterans aren’t owed any allegiances.

Get real

I've always thought of myself as a pretty simple guy and while sometimes the simplest solutions seem almost too simple I’m gonna try and offer up one of my own to try and help solve the latest perceived conundrum that we’re experiencing.

We, all of us, should spend more time writing and less time gazing at our navels in bouts of introspection or contemplating our fate in the c-box. How do you think that makes us look in front of anybody that stops by for the first time? I’m guessing some will be intrigued enough to maybe open an account but the vast majority will just move on. Shit, if I looked at the place today for the first time I might be tempted to do the same.

I’m a firm believer that good writing will attract good writers. If it takes some effort to get the word out then fine, get the word out.

In the end though, just like in the “real world” people will come and people will go. Some will be missed and others forgotten and those of us that remain will still be beating our heads against the wall trying to figure out why.

To put this in military terms, I hope this won’t cost me a stripe but I’m just not one of those guys.

That doesn’t mean I don’t love the place or the people any more or any less than anybody else here. It’s just the way it is.

jaybonci, a guy who was here since the beginning had this to say in the c-box the other day as yet another debate raged on about the things I mentioned earlier.

”Maybe there aren't solutions. That's a serious statement. I'm not trying to be facetious.”

Neither am I

Peace out home slice!

Love and kisses,


I’ve never got to courage to tell my family that I’m a raving bisexual. They don’t now the real reason I got sacked from a job I loved, they don’t know I’m a chain smoker, the fact I’ve continually stolen money and personal items to fund my compulsive spending sprees. Everyone whose tried to get close to me I’ve gone out of my way to hurt and take advantage off. All my relationships have been wrecked by my wanton drive to experience drink, drugs and sex with other people.

And people wonder why I hate myself.

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