Two months ago I announced the formation of the tfxp group, with the stated goal of examining the history and present of the level/experience system on E2, and submitting a proposal for its reform in light of the current state of the site. I promised to wrap it up by the end of February. On that count, we did not quite make it. We submitted the proposal with a two-week delay because several of our members ended up getting very tied up with Real Life during the latter half of February. I nonetheless consider the project a success because we did what we set out to do and did not stray excessively from the expected timeframe. Which itself sets a precedent for E2--it can be done and the lessons learned from this project will
be applied to future ones.
Several days ago we submitted a draft for what we consider to be a sensible, elegant, and extensible system of XP, levels, and privileges. Katherine will review it and let us know where it needs polishing. If we get her blessing, we'll take our math experts (which will likely be in10se, Professor Pi, and RainDropUp) and have them crunch the numbers from the database that we've made available to them, and then analyse the current figures in order to establish reasonable initial values for the parameters of the new system. Which, by the way, we've dubbed Plan 13.
I do not yet want to publish exactly what we came up with because there may be some desirable refinements or critical points that katherine will find and point out and which we will address in camera. When this is done, the archive of the deliberations (currently 368 posts in the forum) will most likely be made public in the interest of transparency and in order to let future groups benefit from the record of what our group did right and wrong. The proposal has reached deep into the past and into E2's tradition, featuring some features of Nate's very first incarnation of the XP/level system and some of Kyle's WB system but otherwise is original in its outlook and methods. For example, we went to pains to see how we could integrate the Gift Shop and at the same time address concerns about its effect on inflation and its social role. Downvotes and the value of C!s were discussed in detail. Whoever ends up running the system on a permanent basis should probably have a firm grasp of economics. There will probably be many more votes and fewer C!s in circulation. The role of XP will be
redefined and may be recalculated from day one (we do have the necessary records). And... well, let's wait and see what we have after katherine's comments are in.
Does the proposal satisfy everyone one hundred percent? Probably not. But we hope that it's something that everyone can accept and embrace as being fair and (why not?) fun. We all have our little pet topics when it comes to the level system. For example, the group's proposal does not address some of my own exceptions to the old systems, such as the inequity between old and new users, which I strongly criticised. I've nonetheless signed off on it with the conviction that my objections have been noted and have not been dismissed lightly. I believe that the same goes for the other group members. Bottom line is, sometimes my (or someone else's) concerns were either unfounded or something that we can ultimately live with. This does not mean that we based the system on half-arsed compromises. Within some
disagreements, the arguments were often sound and sensible on all sides. In these cases, we generally went for the most flexible choice, that is, the one that can be reversed with the least disruption. In all these cases we expect a trial period to show whether we made the right choice. We expect that, once everyone out there has access to the archive and can see the reasoning and the debate, they'll agree that we made rational decisions based on what we think will serve the site best in the long run.
We may not be done yet but I think that this is a good time to thank the other eleven members of the tfxp group for their input, both within the group and behind the scenes, and for the spirited but civil debates that took us that far. Personally, I'd like to particularly thank passport and mauler, whose initial proposals formed the foundation of the eventual draft; and golFUR for leading the project through its first stages. Not that anyone did poorly. Sam512 and in10se started out with very different and very interesting general proposals with some very interesting ideas, some of which made it into the draft. It would have been nice if we could have devoted more time to analysing them but, since we have a pretty extensible system in the works, more of their suggestions may well make it into the system in the end. Everyone pitched in. Even if it was just opinions, we depended on that sort of feedback to spark discussion on the various suggestions so the opinions in themselves were as valuable as anything else.
Expect news as developments occur. Of course, we still have no guarantee that our proposal will be accepted as the best choice for the future or that coding time will be found soon. But I think we can be optimistic about both. That's all for now.