As a Newbie I saw a number of my write-ups which I thought were pretty good, but had lower rep scores than some of my mediocre efforts. Now, months later the vote scores on most of my contributions are pretty consistent with each other. Broadly, the better ones have been found and earned more votes, while the worse ones have fewer. I have concluded that the voting system on E2 works, more or less, if you give it enough time.
I've tracked the rep scores of many of my write-ups over time, and looked at hundreds of other contributions to the nodegel. Thanks are due to those who made it possible. Here are some conclusions about how the rep point score changes with time, and what influences it. Everyone above level 2 or 3 will know most of this, so it is aimed primarily at newcomers.
First, the obvious stuff
- Quality of writing
- Technical competence: grammar, spelling, capitalisation* and so on.
- Competent HTML
- Accuracy (where relevant)
* Yeah, I'm English, so this is English English, not American, but thanks for noticing :)
These things apply to all nodes, creative, factual, opinion or otherwise. Good writing, which is technically competent and with worthwhile content and sensibly laid out will always get positive voteseventually. There are plenty of places on E2 which describe these aspects of your contribution. Try these.The Perfect Node, E2 HTML tags : Quick Start, How to get your stuff voted up, Everything University
..And the not-so-obvious stuff
- Hard links
- Soft links
Links are important. There are some excellent write-ups which have poor hard links, and as a consequence have been voted down by people who feel these things are important. As a newbie, you might think that is anal-retentive and snobbish. You might be right, but links are part of the culture of this place.
As to soft links, it turns out that they are going to be critical to gaining exposureand therefore upvotesin the weeks and months after the original posting. Look at these links for advice. The perfect node, Node integration, Link and link, E2 FAQ: Integrate your writeups
In order to get more exposure, try to link your new writeup to as many other things as possible. If you cross-click between two nodes a few times, then the respective links move up the softlink table. Aim to get 48 softlinks in each of your nodes and thus get yours linked to 48 other nodes.
Titles are also important. More advice here: Pick titles carefully, One example of why you should pick titles carefully, Choosing a node title, choose short titles
Beyond that basic advice, however, the best guarantee of getting long-term upvotes is to do a killer writeup in a node with a title that people will return to time and again, or click on when they see it in the softlinks. Look at Jupiter, or Sunspot or Alan Turing or cunnilingus FAQ or fisting, or Milla Jovovich and check the rep scores on each of the writeups. Learn by example. And note how these titles are short and to the point.
Once these basics are in place, the next obstacle is getting the exposure, because a write-up can only attract votes, if people find it.
Time and Cool! factors
- How long the item has been up
- How many people saw it in the New write-ups list
- Chings and ed cools
Again, these things apply to all write-ups. When the node is on the new writeups list, it will attract attention, which should lead to votes. The more people who see your contribution, the greater chance it has of being voted on. Even so, many good contributions drop off the bottom of New Writeups with just 2, 3 or 4 votes.
Getting a Ching! is good, but getting Editor cooled is better, because of the exposure. It is very hard to quantify how many votes the chings and Ed-cools are worth, partly because an Ed cool is assigned to a whole node, not just a single write-up, and partly because it is such a variable process. One of the top reasons for giving an Ed cool is to bring a worthwhile contribution to the attention of more people. I don't presume to offer other reasons. If you want to know, ask. They won't bite.
There is a huge variation in the rep scores of Ed cooled write-ups. A few poor contributions are on negative rep points, some great write-ups are still below 15 rep points and a few are on astronomical figures. There is a band between about 20 and 40 where many of the good contributions lie. It is worth visiting those nodes, partly to see what the editors here regard as good, but also to find the excellent writing which is sitting at low rep points. Even a level 2 can make a difference by voting on the Ed-cooled stuff.
The value of a simple Ching! is less than an Ed cool, but it is even harder to quantify. Five or 10 votes is not uncommon, but if an item is Chinged once, and then again some time later, that will probably add another batch of votes, as different noders check out the cool archive.
And then, simply time. If a write-up is in a node with good softlinks, then over time, people will come across it in the course of their normal probing of the database. If you have successfully linked your node to other popular or similar nodes, then you can expect more traffic, and more traffic means more votes.
What other people do
Sometimes, you will have a good, but under-rated write-up sitting at a rep of say +6/-1. All of a sudden, every time you load a new page, you are getting more XP. You check your recent write-ups, and find no change, but then notice that forgotten old write-up has jumped right up into your top ten rep scores. Why?
- Others adding to your node
- Someone linking to your node
The first one is the most likely. If someone adds to your node, then the whole node gets more exposure, which brings your contribution to the attention of more people. If they like what they see, your old efforts will once more earn their reward.
The same can happen if someone has a really popular node, and links it to yours, or even if someone mentions the node title in the catbox. One day someone will come across your work, and like it so much that they will go through the rest of your list, and read and vote. There are so many people who want to recognise and reward good writing here on E2 that it happens surprisingly often.
This is probably the most difficult to assess.
- Time of day you posted the item
- Who else is on
- Interest factor of the subject
- How the kitten feels to day
Like it or not, if you stay here for more than a month or two, you will have made contact with gods, editors, M-noders, wannabes, fellow noders and others.Through this contact, and through your contributions to the nodegel, in the catbox, on #Everything, by /msg, you build yourself an image and a reputation. This reputation will affect how others perceive you.
As in life, also on E2. Some people are popular: a lot of people take the effort to check out their stuff, and that leads to upvotes. Others are not so popular, and people simply don't make the effort to seek out their work, or if they find something bad, they have fewer qualms about downvoting. Nevertheless, popularity or otherwise makes little difference to the progress of each of your write-ups. A popular person will get higher average scores for the same write-ups than a less popular person, simply because more people look at their stuff, but in general, your better efforts will score more highly than your less good ones. Don't compare yourself to other people (especially other popular people) but to yourself. Aim to better your own scores over time. Look at your good work, and try to understand why it got the votes. Look at other peoples' work and see why it is on the page of cool.
There are good daylogs, mediocre daylogs and downright dreadful daylogs. Too many people upvote the mediocre ones. Not enough people downvote the terrible. The first three or four entries in the daylog will get a lot of votes, both up and down. On the whole, entries which are well-written, or have something to say get voted up. Such logs frequently score around +30/-10 or more. Compare that with typical rep scores of 20 to 30 on the Page of Cool.
Don't take the rep scores on daylogs too seriously.
Downvoting is not a nuke request
The bar has been raised. There's a feeling out there that downvoting is impolite. Let me offer a counter view. Downvoting the bad is helpful: it's natural selection in action. If this place is going to be the best there is, then each of us needs to think about how we are going to help make that happen. Downvoting contributions which should be better is one way to help that process.
This write-up written, formatted and edited in Dann's E2 offline scratchpad