Voting for XP, or 'VFX', is a somewhat vague term which refers to the practice of voting gratuitously on writeups in the database. It's an unavoidable side-effect of the new voting/experience system which requires a whole heap of XP to make the next 'level' and gain certain powers.

Our new system, as of this writing, requires 3000 xp to move from level 5 to 6. Assume you are on E2 every other day. And you earn 10 xp per visit (from posting, up votes on your latest node or previous nodes). So that's a tidy 600 days, nearly two years, before you can jump up one whole level. But don't panic. Because if you spend all your votes (all 45 of them) you can cut it down to a tidy 93 days. Whew! Okay, so now you decide on your every other day E2 visit, to judiciously spend those 45 votes. You carefully read each new post and cast an up or down vote. Let's say it takes you 5 minutes to read each post and judge it. So that's 3.75 hours of reading E2 nodes. Hrm. I like E2 but I don't want to devote, weekly, what amounts to a part-time job reading and judging E2 notes.

Enter Voting for XP! Assuming you can't write a script to automate some random node clicking/voting, you can narrow those 4 hours down to 5 minutes with a few simple techniques. First, find radio-button rich nodes. Day logs are your best bet.

For example a visit to the May 18, 2005 found 6 voting radio buttons. It took me exactly 30 seconds to visit the link, unload 6 votes without reading a single write up, and getting the page reload. I gained 1 xp for my efforts. Oh yeah, you can bring economy to your mouse movements if you either vote up or vote down all nodes. Since I'm not totally addicted to E2 but merely an every other day adherent, I can repeat this process on the day log I missed. So again, lets say I get rid of 6 more votes in thirty seconds.

Twelve down and 33 more to go! And it only took me one minute. Now I open all the New Writeup nodes in tabs. Firefox really does make using E2 easier. I can simply up vote or down vote the nodes, including older nodes found there. But I'm not totally an XP whore. Single paragraph write ups I down vote. Lots of topics can be succinctly explained in one paragraph and short nodes are sometimes far more worthy of an up vote and cool than someone's 3 page story about losing his/her virginity at a Korn concert. But I don't want to take that risk. We're VFXing for XP. Nodes that are more than a paragraph and seem to provide some factual information, I up vote. Nodes that appear to be fiction, "this really happened to me", or poetry, I down vote. I'm a factual noder and I need to be quick. This took me 2.5 minutes to accomplish. The coffee node slowed me down but it was also a rich source of voting radio buttons. With the coffee node I got into the pattern down voting every other node, on the assumption it's commentary on the node above. Maybe it wasn't. Who knows?

I unloaded 26 votes in that time. I'm within spittin' distance: seven more votes to go! Now I open up 7 random nodes. Some are just node shells but that's okay. I click on the first soft link at the bottom. It takes me 1.5 minutes to dump my remaining votes. I'm past the post! It only took me less than 5 minutes to contribute to E2. Hazzuh! I'm exhausted!

I could have been writing a node, of course. But let's say I got all the nodes I need to get to the next level. I just got this whole pile of XP I need to acquire. So instead of adding to the DB, I'm encouraged to spend the next three months doing nothing more productive than randomly up and down voting nodes. Of course in elder days, you were on the other side of the fence. You have all the XP you need but you have a dearth of nodes. The solution was Noding for Numbers. Muahahahah! I'll node the zip code database. Oh wait. They're all marked destruction? Yeah, the check on that was down votes and editors. We got lots of editors and they're quite good at spotting things.

But the check on voting for xp? Well, nothing. So. Don't do this. Ever!

(And let the fair judging of this node begin...)

A Three Part Response to anyend in which Kyle Raises Several Points of Interest To None But Himself

Part The First

I shall begin with a limerick.

Although Level 5 to 6, I agree,
Requires three thousand XP
  your math must include
  your new writeups, dude,
Otherwise we'd never go free.

Let us now imagine three level 5 noders.
One of them has a merit of 24.0, earning them a Level Up Factor of .5. Kudos!
One of them has a merit of 16.0, earning them a Level Up Factor of .75. Bravo!
One of them has a merit of 10.5, earning them a Level Up Factor of 1. We still love you!

The first noder has 100 writeups written (to earn level 5) and needs 50 more to earn level 6. Assuming they maintain their merit, they will write 50 writeups x 24 average rep = 1200 upvotes, which translates to 400 XP. A conservative estimate is that they will receive 1 C! per writeup, or 50 C!s - another 150 XP. Finally, they will earn 50 XP for submitting their 50 writeups. Additionally, their 100 well-received writeups from before will accrue another 200 upvotes and another 10 C!s - roughly 100 XP. All told that is 700 XP. They're already 1/4 of the way to level 6!

And in fact, if you assume that all three noders get about 50 C!s on new work and 10 C!s and 200 upvotes on old work, then they all earn roughly 700 XP for their writing contributions (75*16 = 1200 upvotes = 400 XP + 75 XP for writeups; 10.5*100 = 1050 upvotes = 350 XP + 100 XP for writeups). So writing is at least 1/4 of your XP. Of course these numbers may or may not reflect actual values of quality or whatnot, but they do provide rough estimates for the writing contribution towards Level 6.

Part The Second

anyend has provided very good data above for the situation she describes. (Why are you people voting her down so much anyway?) However, she has misrepresented the requirements for advancing to Level 6.

You do not have to gain 3000 XP after reaching Level 5 to reach Level 6.

Say it again.

You do not have to gain 3000 XP after reaching Level 5 to reach Level 6.

In fact, the only requirement is that you have 4000 XP before you can achieve level 6. So, how long does it take to acquire 4000 XP at E2?

Going back to our three noders, let's take the middle one for sake of argument. We will assume that every writeup gets a reputation of exactly 16. Of course, this never happens, but the point is that they are as good a model for a good e2 writer as any.

After having written the 225 writeups necessary to reach level 6's writeup requirement, they will have earned 3600 upvotes (1200 XP), plus 225 XP for their writeup contributions. We'll also assume they've gotten 150 C!s - a pretty good clip, but not unreasonable for someone with 16 reps left and right - so tack on another 450 XP. Let's also assume they did a Quest or two in order to meet their writeup goal and picked up another 50 XP along the way. Finally, we'll assume that they submit a writeup every other day, so it's taken them roughly 15 months to meet their writeup requirement.

Our XP so far: 1925. That's pretty good!

So how much voting would it take to get the remaining 2075 XP?

If your guess is "not very much, Kyle," well, we've got some fabulous prizes for you.

In fact, if our noder simply uses all of her votes every day when she is a level 2 and 3 user and has only 10 and 20 votes, respectively (thus taking up somewhere between half an hour and an hour and a half on anyend's "5 minutes a read" metric), she'll make up a good chunk of the XP.

To advance from level 2 (20 writeups) to level 3 (38 writeups at a .75 LF clip) will take 36 days. So our noder will garner 7 XP a day (1/5 of 10 + 5 XP for using all her votes) for 36 days, or 252 XP.

To advance from level 3 (38 writeups) to level 4 (90 writeups at a .75 LF clip) will take 104 days. So our noder will garner 14 XP a day (1/5 of 20 + 10 XP for using all her votes) for 104 days, or 1456 XP.

Total XP: 3633.

Now of course, our intrepid noder is no longer enchanted by voting, but we've still got to get her to 4000 if she wants her precious homenode picture. So she simply wills herself to use up all of her Level 4 votes once a week. She is a level 4 noder for 120 days (from 90 to 150 writeups), or 17 weeks, so she gains 21 XP * 17, or 357 XP, which puts her at ...

3990. So close!

And then of course, our user merely has to vote on one writeup a day for the 150 days she is a Level 5 noder. She will (statistically) gain 30 XP, thus pushing her clearly over the top to 4020.

Now, to get to Level 7 ...

Part the Third

The important thing here is that gaining XP from voting is now roughly half the weight of writeup-based XP. Which, when you think about it, is how it should be, as the writeup-based XP is based entirely on the premise that other people are reading and voting on your material. The recent rise in XP requirements was created specifically to encourage more voting and more reading.

No, e2 is not the same to everyone. To some people, it's an encyclopedia, to others, a weblog, to others still, a repository for prose and poetry. We are, as we like to say, a "writers' site for writers." But our most important component is not the ability to publish at will, but the availability of a large community willing to devote some of its energy to providing feedback to our work. Increasing votes correlates with increasing real message-based feedback.

So, please, people: vote on other people's work here genuinely and thoughtfully. If you consistently do so here at everything2, I can promise that your experience here will most definitely be anything but a number.

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