I found the previous writeup a bit disappointing. Not because I disagreed with it, but because it wasn't very well done. E2 is all about writing, creating, and communicating, and it was not a good example of that. So...

The Other Users nodelet shows you all of the other users on-line. You would expect this to be a pretty straight-forward function, but there has been a ongoing kerfluffle over the correct way to order Other Users. Originally, it was ordered by who had the most xp -- whoever had the most was on top. Later on (years ago) it was changed to random order, and then still later, it was changed to be ordered by who had posted a writeup most recently.

As far as I am concerned, the Other Users sidebar is but a dim grey light on the gigantic control panel facing users, a control panel crowded with a multitude of brightly colored flashing lights. It is probably the last thing that they bother about. While I do like that it is no longer random, and I agree that ordering it by xp would be one good way of doing it, I do not think that it is an important issue. However, since this is important to many people, here is a general overview.

Ordered by XP
Pro: xp does measure something, and, if we have the site set up correctly, it is measuring something of real worth -- a user's experience on the site, which should be correlated with general knowledge about E2 and its expectations. You can't get a high rep if you don't get E2. Con: There are a number of users who have high xp because they have been posting lower-quality writeups for years, or who posted writeups that were well-loved a decade ago, but are not really in line with what we expect from an E2 node today. The site changes too fast, and an ancient M-noder may not know any more about what is going on with the site today than either a decade-long lurker OR an observant new user.

Ordered Randomly
Pro: There is no real pro, other than discouraging people from taking Other Users too seriously. Con: If we are going to have Other Users, it's nice to have it contain more information, rather than less.

Ordered by the Last Writeup Posted
Pro: This encourages those who watch Other Users to node lots of stuff, and we want people to node lots of stuff. Con: The last person to post a writeup is right there on the new writeups sidebar. This isn't really a new source of information, it's just there for the bragging rights. And we don't really want Other Users to be about bragging rights, do we? And if we do, shouldn't you have something better to brag about than 'I posted a writeup'?

Ordered by Contribution to the Site
Pro: This would get back to the original ideal, but find a way around the traps inherent to xp. Con: We don't really have a good way to measure recent overall contributions to the site. Perhaps the last person to get a C! should be at the top? Those with a writeup in the Cream of the Cool? Perhaps it could be sorted by reputation of most recent writeup? Perhaps sanctifications? Any of these would target good E2 participation skills better than the current system -- but all of them would leave someone unhappy.

Ordered by Usefulness:
Pro: if the Other Users is intended to help new users find help and inspiration, perhaps Content Editors should always appear at the top, with the rest of the users ranked by the rep of their most recent writeup. This would give a good idea of who to look to for 1. help and 2. inspiration. Con: this is rather different than anything else we have done before, and limits most users ability to reach the top of the list.

Ordered by Alphabetical Order
Pro: a good, predictable, and easy to use ordering. It just makes sense to everyone. Con: this is rather different than anything else we have done before, and limits most users ability to reach the top of the list.

Ordered by Whatever You Want Pro: You get what you want, by means of selecting your preferred options in user settings. Con: this would probably be hard to code, heavy to load, is rather different than anything else we have done before, and limits most users ability to reach the top of other user's lists.

However Other Users is done, it should be done for a clearly stated reason, and done in a way that will perform the stated function effectively. Any suggestions should focus on the how and the why, and should not focus on changing things back to the way they were in the hopes that everything will be just exactly the way it was.

Generally speaking, this sort of thing can go in suggestions for E2, rather than a letter to the editors. But this is a case of special interest to many noders, so the discussion was started here instead.

When I was "new" here and logged in I saw my user name at the bottom of the Other Users list. I just thought the order of the list was due to the sequence users had logged in. I know there are 'better' writers here, and if THEY know it too I doubt that they really need to see their name at the top of the list to bask in any perceived glory.

Under the current system having your name at the top of the list is only a transitory pleasure, as the next new writeup knocks your name off. The advantage of the present system is that when a writer sees their name fall on the list it might spur them on to write more. I think the message is: Don't rest on your laurels.



PS: Could the Users' XP be shown in brackets (like the symbols for Content Editors, etc.)? That would be one way to clearly distinguish the highest-ranked writers, if the need for such information is deemed necessary.

PPS: Hey, you didn't really need to start new users at ZERO!

Hey, I just remembered, I am an Editor here and for all I know I’m writing this to myself.

Anyways, I feel the need to chime in.

When I first arrived here at E2 over 10 years ago I was as they say, like a lost puppy. My first couple of posts got deleted pretty quickly and rather than get discouraged I decided to put my nose to the grindstone and suffer the slings and arrows of those that were in charge. I’d look at the user base then and wonder what it would take to climb to the top of the ladder and see my user name appear with other noders who were much more accomplished than me when it came to writing.

As time passed and my skills (hopefully) improved I slowly, methodically saw my name inching up the users list and for some reason this encouraged me to write even more. What I thought at the time was “harsh feedback” was soon replaced with the knowledge that it was more like tough love and for me to earn the respect of my peers became a personal challenge. For what it’s worth, the feeling I got when I got a Ching! from what I thought was one of my harshest critics was one of the more rewarding experiences I’ve had during my stay here. As a matter of fact I wish I had a snapshot of the day I was finally sandwiched between jessicapierce and witchiepoo on that list and even though that took years, I felt like I had finally “arrived”. (Apologies in advance to Jet-poop and dannye but when I got sandwiched between them it just wasn’t the same.)

Remember, back in the day, if memory serves me correct, we’d average about 50 to 60 names on the users list at any given time and to see my name slowing rising up said list gave me a sense of pride and accomplishment. Maybe that’s because I have a somewhat competitive streak or maybe it’s because I’m still an adherent to the “Earn your bullshit” school of thought.

As I read the previous write ups here I’m advised that “Any suggestions should focus on the how and the why, and should not focus on changing things back to the way they were in the hopes that everything will be just exactly the way it was.” and “Don't rest on your laurels”.

No disrespect intended to the previous authors in this w/u but I’m calling bullshit on that. And here’s why.

First of all, I was taught from an early age that respect has to be earned. It’s not a birthright to be served on a first come first serve basis. To put it in more practical terms, just because I showed up at work, logged onto the system and did my job, I wouldn’t expect to see my name emblazoned on the door nor promoted to CEO after my first day on the job.

Second of all, E2 wouldn’t be what it is (or isn't?) today without the sweat and labor of those who toiled here in the early days. Like I said, I’m still in awe of many, if not most of the users who broke ground here and have, for whatever reasons, decided to stop writing entirely or moved on to greener pastures. I have many of them to thank for both entertaining and educating me along the way.

Besides, it gave me something to shoot for and probably contributed to my longevity here. After all, when the doors finally do close and the lights go out I’d rather be remembered for that than to be considered a one hit wonder.

This one goes out to all of the noders, past, present and future who either took the time or will take the time through either their feedback or example to help me become a better writer and improve not only my skills but the content of the site itself.

In closing, I’m sure that we all work hard here and those that continue to contribute in the form of writing or comments usually have the best interest of the site in mind. It is also not meant to be an indictment of the current policies or procedures when it comes to how the users list should be ordered or structured. If you’re looking for answers from me all I can say is that I don’t have any.

But, if you take a quick look in the mirror and see the number of quality writers and people that the site has attracted and subsequently lost over the years then yeah , I guess I’m for the so called good old days when one was judged by the body of their work rather than a smattering of efforts randomly submitted that change the order of things on a day to day basis..

Respectfully submitted and thanks for listening,


Dear Editors,

Can you believe this shit? I can't.

Love and sympathies,

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