Legacy Voting and experience system
    or 'things were different when I was young'
    or 'how things used to be 'round here'
    or 'a slice of Everything 2 history which I think would be a shame to lose...'

E2 has always been a beast in constant flux, but all in all, the Voting and Experience System has proved remarkably consistent. It hasn't been completely static, however, and I find it interesting how E2's history can be seen as a number of iterations around the theme of . The most recent change, on October 29, 2008, we saw a series of changes: Now, you either have votes (50 of 'em, from level 1 onwards), or you don't - and you either have the power of Ching (but only one of 'em, from level 4 onwards) or you don't.

... But I'm getting ahead of myself; back when I was a young baby-noder, things were very different indeed. For one thing, you'd have to write 150 write-ups to cast your first C!...

The original experience / level system (1999 - 2000)

Originally, your level was determined only by the number of XP you had, and the first C! you received would give you 400xp. The experience and level system was a novel idea, designed to get people hooked on this writing site thing, by turning it into a game of sorts.

Pretty awesome stuff, but the system soon started showing cracks when people started vote-dumping (voting randomly on stuff just to get rid of all their votes so they could reap the sweet, sweet XP reward). It soon became clear that XP alone wasn't a very useful way to do things, and pretty quickly afterwards, write-up requirements were added to the mix.

Experience and levels 2.0 (2000-2002)

Under the second incarnation voting and experience system, your level was determined by how many write-ups you had, and how many experience points (XP) you had amassed.

You could gain XP in a whole raft of different ways: Posting a new write-up (10 xp), receiving a C! (3 xp), spending your votes (a 1/5 or so chance of 1xp per vote), spending all your votes (0.5xp per vote spent), and getting golden trinkets from e2gods for Services to E2, participating in quests, etc.

The 'spending all your votes' xp bonus was replaced later, as it encouraged people to continue vote dumping. The system was replaced with a 1/3 chance of 1xp per vote, so casting 100 votes per day over 100 days would net you an average of 3K xp.

The problem became that noders who'd been around the block a few times rapidly started amassing more XP than they knew what to do with, and that more often than not, the write-up requirement would be the bottleneck to leveling up to the next level.

Having said that, you may have noted that there aren't that many write-ups around on the site from 1999-2000; that's not because nobody posted anything back then, but a writeup could be anything from a single sentence to a couple of paragraphs, so a lot of the older write-ups have been superseded by more elaborate and complete write-ups.

 # Title       XP req   WU req   Votes  C!
 1 Initiate         0        0       0   0
 2 Novice          50       25      10   0
 3 Acolyte        200       70      20   0
 4 Scribe         400      150      30   1
 5 Monk           800      250      45   1
 6 Crafter      1,350      380      60   2
 7 Artisan      2,100      515      75   2 
 8 Seer         2,900      700      90   3
 9 Archivist    4,000      900     105   3
10 Avatar       7,500    1,215     125   4
11 Godhead     13,000    1,800     150   4
12 Pseudo_God  21,000    2,700     200   5
13 Pedant      38,000    4,500     300   5

The Honor Roll (2002 - 2008)

What people came to realise was that the above system was, frankly, insane. 700 write-ups in order to get 3 Chings to hand out is a bit mad - if you write a node every 3 days, it'd take you 6 years to reach the rank of 'seer'.

More seriously, though, there were noders who were contributing incredibly high quality content, but who obviously were being actively punished by the high number of write-ups required: A consensus started brewing that if you deliver 30 well-researched, well-received, 3,000-word masterpieces, that's of more value to Everything2 than if you node, say, 30 descriptions of Magic: The Gathering collectible cards.

As a solution, the Honour Roll came into place in March of 2002 - a project where Professor Pi was heavily involved. The Honor Roll was a system which calculated the interquartile mean of your writeups' reputation. The mathematics of it all go well above my head (words like probability density function normally have me running for the hills), but the upshot of it was that if your average write-ups rank well compared to the average across all of E2, you could get a better Level Up Factor.

In other words, if you're not eligible for the honor roll, you need the number of write-ups in the list above - but if you have a higher merit (which is, in fact, the interquartile mean of your write-up reputations), the requirements drop gradually. With a reasonably high merit, you could have a level-up factor of 0.75, which means that instead of 515 write-ups to reach level 7, you'd only need 387 of 'em. If your merit is freakishly high, you could achieve a level-up factor of up to 0.5, which means that you'd only need half the original number of write-ups: 258 or so.

At the time of writing, the Honor Roll level-up factors were:

merit  LF       merit  LF
   13  1.0000      26  0.5730
   14  0.9930      27  0.5570
   15  0.9708      28  0.5439
   16  0.9364      29  0.5335
   17  0.8938      30  0.5252
   18  0.8472      31  0.5187
   19  0.8000      32  0.5137
   20  0.7548      33  0.5099
   21  0.7132      34  0.5071
   22  0.6761      35  0.5049
   23  0.6437      36  0.5034
   24  0.6159      37  0.5023
   25  0.5925      38  0.5016

Which, again, at the time of writing, the honor roll calculator is showing that, for me, "Your merit is: 34.8151 Your Level-Up Factor is: 0.5053 (leveling-up 1.9791x faster than without the Honor Roll)"

The honor roll reflected some fantastic mathematical geekery and a lot of statistical masturbation which some of us really enjoyed, but it had a few unintended side-effects: Despite tools to calculate your score for you, it became quite tricky to understand exactly what your level would be at any given point, and of course posting a new write-up would be a nail-biting-worthy affair, as it per definition started at a reputation of zero, which in some cases might take your merit down enough to nudge you into a lower level-up factor, which might lead you to lose a level (albeit temporary) when you post a write-up... Not a great place to be, and actually quite a disheartening experience overall.

One of the other unintended side-effects was that some people (myself included) started culling off their badly performing write-ups, in the battle to get ever-closer to that perfect 0.5 level-up factor. Some noders believed that the Honor Roll posed a genuine challenge and pushed towards raising the bar here on E2, but others felt that it took some of the irreverence and fun out of E2 - Poetry, for example, is received with a lot of mixed emotions, always attracting a lot of downvotes (or perhaps it's just me and my lack at writing the stuff...), whereas long factual pieces would almost be guaranteed multiple Chings and a significantly positive reputation.

XP/GP system (2008 - )

Then, late in 2008, the experience and levels system was simplified significantly. The mathematics went out the window, and you now only had to worry about 2 numbers: your XP and your number of write-ups. Of course, seeing how easy it was to receive XP under the old systems - often for things that had nothing to do with your actual quality as a writer - The Powers that Be decided to take a long, hard look at the experience points system, and devised a much fairer system indeed.

Under the 10/2008 system, you could gain XP by posting a new write-up (+5xp per w/u), by receiving a C! on a write-up (+20xp per C!), and by receiving upvotes on write-ups (+1xp per vote). The only way of losing XP is if a write-up you wrote gets deleted - in which case you lose the 5xp gained from posting it in the first place.

In addition to XP - which were now tightly tied to your prowess as a writer, E2 introduced GP (it has never been officially stated what the 'G' in GP stands for, but seeing as how you only really benefit from GP's by spending them in the E2 Gift Shop, I think it's probably fair to assume the G stands for Gift, so GP are Gift Points). If you're level 2, you can invest your GPs into buying votes, C!s, or giving them (or GP) away to other noders (depending on levels and availability, etc)

Finally, the new batch of updates increased the number of levels attainable from just over a dozen to infinity - all levels beyond 91 are named 'Transcendant', and there are quite a few levels where you level-up without changing your title (levels 19-21, for example, you're a Poobah).

New October 2008 level-up requirements:

Level  Level Title          XP Req  WU Req  Votes C!
    0  Initiate                  0       0      0  0
    1  Novice                  500      10     50  0
    2  Acolyte                 900      20     50  0
    3  Scribe                 1500      30     50  0
    4  Wordsmith              2300      40     50  1
    5  Crafter                3300      50     50  1
    6  Artificer              4500      60     50  1
    7  Chronicler             5900      70     50  1
    8  Encyclopedist          7500      80     50  1
    9  Archivist              9300      90     50  1
   10  Polymath              11300     100     50  1
   11  Literatus             13500     110     50  1
   12  Laureate              16000     120     50  1
   13  Guardian of the Word  18500     130     50  1
   14  Protector of the Art  21000     140     50  1
   15  Keeper of the Seal    23500     150     50  1
   16  Panjandrum            26000     160     50  1
   17  Panjandrum            28500     170     50  1
   18  Panjandrum            31000     180     50  1
   19  Poobah                33500     190     50  1
   20  Poobah                36000     200     50  1
   21  Poobah                38500     210     50  1
   22  Grand Poobah          41000     220     50  1
   23  Grand Poobah          43500     230     50  1
   24  Grand Poobah          46000     240     50  1
   25  Vizier                48500     250     50  1
   26  Vizier                51000     260     50  1
   27  Vizier                53500     270     50  1
   28  Grand Vizier          56000     280     50  1
   29  Grand Vizier          58500     290     50  1
   30  Grand Vizier          61000     300     50  1
   31  Optimate              63500     310     50  1
   32  Optimate              66000     320     50  1
   33  Optimate              68500     330     50  1
   34  Princeps              71000     340     50  1
   35  Princeps              73500     350     50  1
   36  Princeps              76000     360     50  1
   37  Hegemon               78500     370     50  1
   38  Hegemon               81000     380     50  1
   39  Hegemon               83500     390     50  1
   40  Monarch               86000     400     50  1
   41  Monarch               88500     410     50  1
   42  Monarch               91000     420     50  1
   43  Divine Monarch        93500     430     50  1
   44  Divine Monarch        96000     440     50  1
   45  Divine Monarch        98500     450     50  1
   46  Renunciant           101000     460     50  1
   47  Renunciant           103500     470     50  1
   48  Renunciant           106000     480     50  1
   49  Mystic               108500     490     50  1
   50  Mystic               111000     500     50  1
   51  Mystic               113500     510     50  1
   52  Soothsayer           116000     520     50  1
   53  Soothsayer           118500     530     50  1
   54  Soothsayer           121000     540     50  1
   55  Visionary            123500     550     50  1
   56  Visionary            126000     560     50  1
   57  Visionary            128500     570     50  1
   58  Seer                 131000     580     50  1
   59  Seer                 133500     590     50  1
   60  Seer                 136000     600     50  1
   61  Prophet              138500     610     50  1
   62  Prophet              141000     620     50  1
   63  Prophet              143500     630     50  1
   64  Sage                 146000     640     50  1
   65  Sage                 148500     650     50  1
   66  Sage                 151000     660     50  1
   67  Enlightened One      153500     670     50  1
   68  Enlightened One      156000     680     50  1
   69  Enlightened One      158500     690     50  1
   70  Ageless Master       161000     700     50  1
   71  Ageless Master       163500     710     50  1
   72  Ageless Master       166000     720     50  1
   73  Immortal             168500     730     50  1
   74  Immortal             171000     740     50  1
   75  Immortal             173500     750     50  1
   76  Bodhisattva          176000     760     50  1
   77  Bodhisattva          178500     770     50  1
   78  Bodhisattva          181000     780     50  1
   79  Divinity             183500     790     50  1
   80  Divinity             186000     800     50  1
   81  Divinity             188500     810     50  1
   82  Demigodhead          191000     820     50  1
   83  Demigodhead          193500     830     50  1
   84  Demigodhead          196000     840     50  1
   85  Godling              198500     850     50  1
   86  Godling              201000     860     50  1
   87  Godling              203500     870     50  1
   88  Avatar               206000     880     50  1
   89  Avatar               208500     890     50  1
   90  Avatar               211000     900     50  1
   91  Transcendent         213500     910     50  1

At the time of writing this, there are 1278 Initiates, 247 Novices, 85 Acolytes, 71 Scribes, 54 Wordsmiths, 61 Crafters, 31 Artificers, 36 Chroniclers, 20 Encyclopedists, 31 Archivists, 22 Polymaths, 14 Literatuses, 14 Laureates, 16 Guardians of the Word, 14 Protectors of the Art, 11 Keepers of the Seal, 19 Panjandrums, nine Poobahs, 15 Grand Poobahs, two Viziers, three Grand Viziers, three Optimates, two Hegemons, one Monarch, one Renunciant, one Seer, one Prophet, one Sage and one Godhead.

But what about the editors?

Now, if they give you the keys to the janitor's office, you've got enough crazy things on your plate, but of course, it comes with perks, too... Or at least, it used to... I was an editor for a while, and back then; as an editor, you'd get access to the Voting Pit Stop, where you can top up your votes with another 500 at the click of a button, and your well of Ching never runs dry - I had 3, a number which'd decrease to 1, but then stay on 1. Ah, those were the days.

Of course, those days have changed, too, and I have on good authority from a current editor that they get the same 50 votes and 1 C! like the rest of us. Aw...

A note on this write-up

There's a strong feeling within E2 that you're not supposed to node about noding, but I thought it was a bit sad that this bit of history seemed to be about to get lost in the mists of time. Also, parts of this write-up are based on my (somewhat hazy) memory, so if you have a better recollection of dates etc, please do let me know!

Of course, all you really need to know about all of this is that The voting system doesn't work because I'm drunk and that fucks it up...

Note... I've got a load of messages about this w/u sitting in my inbox, and I'm slowly working my way through them to further correct this piece. Thanks everybody!

SharQ's writeup got a lot of attention when he first posted it back in November, but it was full of errors and gaps, leaving many of us puzzled where in the world he came up with some of his information. A few of the most puzzling errors were corrected early on, but after a little while SharQ seemed to have grown frustrated and given up on making any more corrections, and indeed, has not even been seen on E2 for quite some time.

However, because this is getting cited more and more as some sort of authoritative history, I wanted to set the record straight on a few items. I fully expect that this writeup will be deleted in due course, when SharQ either returns and revises his writeup, or someone else comes along and supersedes it with a more complete and accurate account. In the meantime, I'll note some discrepancies and additions below (please message me if you think of others and I will add them to the list)...

  • The original 2000-2002 system gave only 1 XP for submitting a writeup (not 10 XP), and that XP was lost if the writeup was deleted. It is also well worth mentioning that until 2002, there were "curses" (-10 XP, -1 karma) for bad behavior, and there was "killing with penalty" (-5 XP when a writeup was deleted, instead of -1).
    • alex adds that killing with penalty at -5 XP was the original default option, and a special box had to be checked to kill without penalty.
  • The 1/5 chance for voting was not "or so" - I can confirm that it was exactly 1/5.
  • Originally there were only 11 levels, with nate as Level 11 "Godhead", and requirements were thought to be so high that only nate would ever be level 11. However, Pseudo_Intellectual eventually blew past level 11, so two new levels had to be created. This is why we had the somewhat odd situation of there being something higher than a "Godhead" in the old system, and you can actually see that the titles of "Pseudo_God" and "Pedant" were clearly invented specifically with P_I in mind!
  • Other than the addition of the Honor Roll, as SharQ describes, XP/writeup requirements were completely static from late 2002 until 2005, when writeup requirements and XP requirements were dropped significantly, and level 13 was entirely eliminated, on grounds of being too impossible to ever achieve with the new "raised bar". Then in April, 2007, kthejoker unilaterally altered the system, increasing the bonus from casting a vote from 1/5 to 1/3, and eliminating the vote dumping bonus for a time, but then restoring it (in an even more XP-inflationary way), with a new system whereby users got 5 XP instantly for every 10 votes cast, plus 10 XP at the end if they used all of their votes - this totalled even more XP than before if you used all of your votes, and allowed diligent voters like aneurin, sid, and Segnbora-t to zoom up the EBU over the next 1.5 years.
  • This history would also not be complete without mentioning the short-lived "Writeup Bonus" system, invented and introduced by kthejoker in January, 2008. It was intended as a replacement for the Honor Roll which would not give benefits for deleting writeups, but actually just existed alongside the Honor Roll in a confusing state of affairs which lasted 10 months until the new system came in.
  • To be more precise with dates, infinite Ching was taken away from editors at the end of November, 2007, and the voting pitstop was deactivated in the second week of November, 2008, right before SharQ posted his writeup.
  • As for SharQ's count of different titles, drawn from the Level Distribution node, there are actually 2 godheads on E2 (nate and dbrown). There is also one Arcanist (thefez). Also, I think it is important to mention that Level Distribution only counts users who have logged in within the past 30 days!
  • Also, note that it is now possible to get up to 5 C! per day at higher levels.
  • Tem42 reports that when voting was originally implemented back in the E1 days, for a short time it was possible to vote more than once on the same writeup.

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