July 30, 2001

C! Changes

I don't entirely like it. But I don't hate it either, and I think it can be fixed.

The Changes

As I understand it:

  1. The number of C!s available at each level was slightly reduced
  2. A C! is now worth 3 XP instead of 10
  3. Every user now has an opportunity to C! any writeup, rather than it being an exclusive operation by the first user to C! a writeup

There is no UnC! despite much chatterbox debate, and a lot of -1C visible in the database.

I will argue from this base of understanding.

What C! means

What is the meaning of a C!? I think if has come to serve two key purposes:

  • A one-time shot of bonus XP for particularly good work, given by any user who's leveled high enough
  • Added exposure for a good writeup that may have passed unnoticed by the community

I think the ability of any user who's contributed enough to the community to significantly reward another user is a key element of E2. I've always liked this egalitarian part of E2. I'll return to this idea under Impact below.

I think that the ability to discover old gems buried in the database and put them onto the front page is another very positive feature. I've sometimes wished that writeups could not be cooled until they were no longer on Everything New Nodes, or at least the New Writeups list. This might reduce, say, the usual race to cool any new writeup by junkpile. But I digress.

Of course, C!s can be abused too, used like vote tag in a small group of friends or to make the front page say "Serve women popsicles made from pee". (Yes, I de-pluralized popsicles. I am a party pooper.)


It's hard to argue when I don't know what the rationale was for the changes. I wish we'd talked this through beforehand¹.

  1. I've often thought there were too many C!s. But note that I almost never almost use all of mine in a day. Someone who values a C! as a primary reward may feel otherwise. I have seen people talk in the catbox about "dumping" their C!s at the end of day, which I feel is a bad thing, as it detracts from the reward aspect of the C!. In short, I favour the reduced number of daily C!s.
  2. As stated, I like the ability of users to significantly reward each other with C!s. I think 3 XP reduced the value of a C! and makes it a penny-ante reward.
  3. I think that this change blurs the line between a C! and a vote, and in fact makes the C! into a sort of super-vote. I think this is a bad thing. I note that I'm trippin' my nut sack into a frenzy of dik play has seen a lot of C! activity already. Hopefully this was not the intent of the change.


What I would do if I ran the zoo:

Gods should gain the ability to bestow C!s

Since we can top up a user's votes, why not C!s as well? This would be a feature I would use. Used with care, this could be a meaningful reward from the gods, just like added votes are today.

Increase XP value of a C! to 5

I think the XP value of a C! should be 5, not 3. To me 5 XP is a meaningful reward from another user. 3 XP is noise.

Change how multiple C!s work

Multiple C!s can be a positive thing, if we can prevent "C! swarming". I'd like to see this implemented as follows: Only one C! would be permitted on a writeup, but the C! would expire after some time had passed (say, one month). This would allow truly cool writeups to be rediscovered and returned to prominence, but would prevent the sort of nonsense I'm trippin' my nut sack into a frenzy of dik play has already shown us. I think the total number of C!s given should still be tracked and displayed.

User search changes

If multiple cools stay, I think it would be good to be able to do a user writeup search by "Most Cool" to see what's getting a lot of C! action, and by "Least Cool" to see what's not getting any attention. (Perhaps datagirl has a writeup no one cooled yet!) While I'm on the topic, I'd like to see user search by "Most Active" and "Least active", too -- so I can see what's getting a lot of voting action, and what's languishing in obscurity.


I like to see E2 change and evolve. I think this change misses the mark out of the gate, but can be tuned to become another significant step forward for E2.

Further discussion can be had at C! Changes, for those who can see it.

  1. As a longtime user, and someone who does thankless cleanup on this database every day, I feel a bit offended. This was a somewhat seismic change to a community I value, and I'd like to have been consulted beforehand. I think I've earned that.

July 22, 2001

Today I "banned" (mercy killed) all Unglued MtG card writeups from the database.

Unglued was a 'joke' expansion pack for Magic: the Gathering, released in Aug. 1998 and available until Feb. 1999. It featured 94 cards with humourous, bizarre, game-breaking effects. The expansion symbol was a cracked egg. All Unglued cards are banned from all tournaments.

Many noders have questioned the value of any MtG card writeups in the database. I think that as long as MtG is played, properly annotated card entries, deck strategies and so on can have value. However, I feel that the Unglued writeups had little or no value. Partly this is because no one would ever play with them, except as an occassional change of pace. They cannot be used in tournaments or even a 'serious' game.

But my real complaint, which applies to most of these MtG entries, is this: They were copy and pasted from the Magic database, with a minimum of formatting. Especially the rulings were hard to read. There was minimal, poor autolinking, such as "Black Lotus" instead of Black Lotus. There is no original content or commentary by the noder, who may never have even played with this card set.

Special situations were not well handled. One example is B.F.M. (Big Furry Monster) which is printed on two different cards. Both are required to cast the creature) with text running from one card onto the other and then back. This was not handled at all in the writeup, which held only the text from card one.

Today's lesson: Cut-and-Paste Writeups Will Die. Please add value when you import other people's work, or don't bother - this same info can be found with a Google search.

novalis is gonna have a lot of messages from Klaproth. Sorry about that...

July 20, 2001

Mercy kills while still in New Writeups:

  • At -6: Food for slide, a charitable organisation
  • At -5: If you don't want to touch the puppy, then you should consider touching slide!
  • At -7: benadryl non-drowsy my ass

July 19, 2001

Thoughts on the 'votes cast' feature:

I think it's always good to have more information. The question before the house, I think, is twofold:

  • Does this provide information, or is it merely data;
  • If it has value, how should it be presented?

First, information versus data. Is there any value (beyond curiosity) in the votes cast data? I think that there is. Consider the case of two writeups, both with a reputation of '2': The first has 2 (+3/-1) and the second has 2 (+33/-31). That's data. Now, can we derive any information from it? The first writeup has been lightly voted on: either the node doesn't get much traffic, or the content doesn't motivate people to vote. Still, 75% of votes approved of the writeup. Looked at another way, the single downvote is more likely 'noise' than 'signal' and may not be significant. The second node clearly gets a lot of traffic, and almost half the voters disliked the writeup. Clearly the downvotes are indicative of a writeup that could benefit from review. So, I think that there is real information here, and that it adds value.

So, given that, how should the data be presented?

  • Should all users be able to see this information, or just the author (and editors/gods, perhaps)?
  • Is the display format effective?
  • Should seeing this data be a level power?
  • Should it show in the user search lists?

Making the data visible: I think that if the data is to be present, it should be visible to all. I have two reasons for this:

  • Showing the cast data is as relevant to a voter as showing the reputation. Imagine if the scores from sporting matches were only given as differences: "Arsenal over United by 2" is less satisfying than knowing if the score was 3-1 or 2-nil.
  • People may be tempted to add this meta-data to their writeup text if others can't see it any other way. I don't want to be faced with a lot of "Hey! 300 people voted on this writeup! I am soooo cool!"

Display format: I like the new format: 2 (+33/-31) better than the first try Rep: 33 Cast: 64. I would like an overall approval percentage, but it may be too crowded to add that, and it's not too hard to compute.

Level power: I think it should be visible whenever and wherever reputation is.

User search lists: As an editor, I think I'd use this data if it were in the search lists. It might encourage ambulance chasing and looking for writeups with a lot of downvotes, but those are probably writeups that the editors ought to look more closely at. And as a user, I'd like to see which writeups were seeing a lot of traffic, and which of my little gems was lost in obscurity.

July 7th, 2001:

I did a number of tedious title edits, as usual, including retitling and moving various video game nodes for TheBooBooKitty.

I mercy-killed all of the following 'birthday' nodes, moving the content to Who to send presents to, and when.:

Note: I merely renamed June 27, 1981 by Uberfetus and moongirl to June 27. Perhaps I should have killed uber's w/u, but I refrained on in case the baseball info might interest someone. Since I was leaving moongirl's w/u, I figured what the heck.

I consolidated much of the content of The Everything People Registry : Canada : Ontario. I encourage other editors to clean up the other geographic regions in this manner. I might get to the rest of Canada later on.

I deleted about a half dozen inactive E1 era user accounts, and some other E1 era trash.

I tried to help new users in Noder's Nursery, but they always flee when I speak to them. Sigh.

Note: After a week or so at Editor Log: July 7, 2001, this w/u was moved here.

July 3rd, 2001:

In the interest of full disclosure ... I removed Oh no, I just got Borged by Ater, who is currently not an active user of the site. The reasons for this are discussed on Ater's home node. I have pasted the contents of said writeup into Ater's home node, for those interested in his rather virtriolic ranting. I took the node out because it wasn't really on topic, and there are better, less emotional nodes that explain what "being borged" is all about.

Otherwise lots of tedious title edits and E1 writeup consolidation.

Oh, and the other morning, I killed some trash called "Cat Punishment Guide." Seemed to be simply sadistic trolling. Removed by request and community concensus ... it was at -6 before it dropped out of the top slot in New Writeups. No one cried.

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