mauler's Occasional Report on Everything2 Wealth Distribution and the GP System

Seven years ago, at the height of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, I ran some numbers comparing wealth inequality on Everything2 (as measured in GP), with wealth inequality in the United States (you can find the original writeup here).

A few years later, I ran the numbers again to see what, if anything, had changed (you can find that writeup here).

Now, since it is has been just about exactly 10 years since the GP system was first introduced, let's check in and see where things stand today, and how the GP wealth distribution on E2 has or hasn't changed.

As of this writing, there are 1489 E2 users in possession of at least 1 GP, up from 1380 in 2014, and 1159 in 2011. Of these 1489 users, 142, or just shy of 10 percent, have 1 GP and 1 GP only, and 751 users--the bottom 50%--each have 13 GP or less.

Meanwhile, the richest 1% of users today--a total of just 15 Everything2 users--control an incredible 543,066 GP between them, or an average of 36,204 GP each.

With 1,188,335 total GP in circulation as of this writing, this means that the richest 1% of Everything2 users control nearly 46% of all the wealth on E2. This wealth distribution is very similar to the richest 1% in the United States owning about 40% of all of the wealth.

However unlike the real world, which has trust-fund babies like Paris Hilton and vast differences in compensation based on profession, as exemplified by the monstrous annual bonuses "earned" by Wall Street executives, most wealth on E2 is gained through actual effort and hard work and is gained at the same rate of compensation by all. For the most part, the richest E2 users gained their wealth through massive amounts of voting on writeups, which is generally the surest and fastest method to gain GP on E2. Although there are a few shortcuts to GP wealth, such as blessings from administrators, even these GP grants are almost always awarded for feats of meritorious service open to all users, such as participating in E2 Quests.

Compared to the last time we ran these numbers four years ago, the GP system on E2 seems remarkably stable. The size of the pie has gotten slightly larger, with 250,477 more GP in circulation (a 21% increase), but there are also 109 additional users with at least 1 GP (an increase of 7%). This is down from a 19% increase in users with at least 1 GP in the three year period from November 2011 to November 2014, so user growth has clearly continued to decelerate.

Whereas GP wealth inequality on E2 plunged in the initial three-year period from the introduction of GP in November 2008 to November 2011, with the wealth of the richest 1% decreasing from around 80% to around 45%, E2's wealth distribution has remained remarkably stable since then; the richest 1% held 44% of all GP in November 2011, 45% of all GP in November 2014, and they hold 46% today. The (extremely) slight increase over time since 2011 reflects the fact that our richest noders are also among our most active noders, and therefore gain GP slightly faster than others.

Even with the size of the 1% increasing slightly from 14 to 15 noders, the average net worth of each member of the 1% increased by 6,083 GP, up from 30,121 GP four years ago - again, these are some of are most active users!

Overall the average net worth of all noders with at least 1 GP increased slightly, from 680 to 798 GP, suggesting an annual inflation rate of around 4%. When we ran these numbers four years ago, the inflation rate for the previous three-year period was just 0.5%, which suggests either that that today's noders are more active than before, that they are spending slightly less GP than they used to, that the awards for quests and contests may be higher in recent years compared to in the past, or some combination thereof.

Nevertheless, a 4% annual rate of GP inflation does not seem especially high, especially compared to the absurd levels of XP inflation the GP system was originally created to fix, so on the whole the GP system seems to still be functioning quite smoothly, as it heads into its 11th year of existence.

Last night I stayed up really late texting a friend of mine. This morning she called me pretty early, and we picked up in a phone conversation where we had left the night before. I don't know how long we talked, hours would be my guess. At some point I asked her what she often asks me, if she is being hard on herself and failing to give herself credit for the things she has done. We were talking about parenting, how we had been raised, how we were raising our children, and I told her that in my opinion she was taking on too much and not being very realistic about her time and energy. She feels bad that she is not working and I forgot to remind her that while she doesn't have a nine to five desk job, she is getting paid to help take care of her mother who had back surgery back in May. It's not a ton of money, she hasn't had the greatest relationship with her mother who has had trouble with alcohol in the past, but she is doing lowly, menial, hard work, and that is tough.

Yesterday was a strange day at work. Normally we only have one person scheduled on Sunday, so I guess the guy I was working with didn't know I was going to be there. That was awkward and for a moment I wondered if I did have the wrong day, and felt super stupid. Then it turned out that I was scheduled, and maybe he felt like he should have known that although I can see how it would be easy to miss since our schedules seem to change quite a bit with the store hours being reduced. He was doing his thing, I was so tired I felt drugged, but eventually I went in back and started cleaning out the supply closet. I had to ask for help with the heavier things on the top shelf, and of course I was dressed up while cleaning because it wasn't like I could quick change into anything to do some dirty work that needed to be done. I'm not a miracle worker, but I was able to restore a semblance of needed order to the enclosed space.

Eventually the work day passed, but that five hour shift felt like an eternity. I asked if he wanted to leave early, saying that I could take care of things on my own, but he stayed, why I have no idea since he could have gotten out fifteen minutes before he did, but in all honesty I was grateful because it's dark at night and having another person nearby on the walk to the back of the building makes me feel better and safer. After the phone call with my friend I tried to take a nap. I laid down, got comfortable, but sleep was elusive. My boss sent me a text saying that the supply closet and kitchen cabinets looked great, and I have no idea why, but that was a trigger for a whole host of emotions. I was going to tell him that the assistant manager had helped, and perhaps that's what I could have and should have done, but that isn't what I actually did.

I am a super emotional person. I always have been, and there are times where I can be cool and rational, but there is always deeper emotions at play. Nothing spectacular happened at work yesterday. This morning wasn't very eventful either, but suddenly I was crying really hard, and I don't even know if I can identify where it came from. I was thinking about my old job and went back to read May 24, 2018 to see if I had really written those words, or I had just imagined them. Sometimes it feels like I'm stuck on this freight train of run away writing where it ends up looking like a huge spinning circle where the tracks all loop back onto each other. I don't write about how I feel very often, and I think it's helpful when I do. But I don't always know, and it's difficult, so I avoid it. It's like a character of mine says; she can handle the jerks, it's people being normal and nice that get to her. 

It felt good to cry hard like that. My friend said crying hard was like water pouring out of her, I think of it in other ways, but the idea remains the same. There was a healing, a release, an acknowledgment of past pain, and a clearing of the future clouds that will undoubtedly arise. I really can't believe I hated my job and was so depressed that I was writing about ending it all. That scares me, and next time I am going to reach out to my therapist and let her, or another professional, know what is going on, I don't know why I didn't previously, but from experience I know that you feel so overwhelmed, worthless, and antagonized that it seems like your life doesn't really matter one way or another, except you know people are going to be pissed if you end up being the body that they need a death certificate for before they can rightfully claim any of your assets.

Maybe I'm not making a ton of money, I'm scared about the future, worried about money, I have no idea what is going to happen, nobody else does either, but I'm proud of myself for getting out of that place when I did despite it being months later than I should have departed. If I want my insurance coverage reinstated I need to go back and get copies of my pay stubs and I wonder if knowing that I will have to reach out once again is bringing me down and helping those memories resurface. Today I can say that while I have had some days that weren't fantastic, overall this new job has been a much happier, and more positive experience. I genuinely love and care about the guys at work, and I think that even though they get frustrated with me, they love me too. It's strange, I thought my old boss was fabulous, and I still miss her quite a bit, but my new boss is also a keeper.

I could have kept some of those things to myself, but I chose to share a private part of my life, and in some respects, I'm glad I chose to be brave even though I'm already inwardly railing on myself for going there. It's not right for me to do the same thing I'm accusing some of them of doing; showing up at work because that's what people expect when you have all sorts of things going on in your personal life. Life is hard, but it is also very good, and I'm so happy that those darker and more malevolent times are a memory today. Normally I don't think that the assistant manager and I have a lot in common, but maybe there is one way where we are similar because this has long bothered me about him. Now I get that you're not going to dump everything on a relative stranger, but when my boss told me that he had opened up about a thing or two in his life I said that nobody has a perfect life and I saw right through the superficial layer of everything is cool attitude.

Things happen for a reason. I firmly believe this. It's funny how I can be so blind at times. It was almost infuriating to work with him at times because I knew that he was living a lie. I'm used to being fantastic at my job, and it was a blow to my ego to have someone who was so much younger than I was appear to have their act so much more together than my own. Even though I knew that the perfect girlfriend, great job, good looks, charisma, etc..., are no guarantee that someone is happy, he wouldn't budget. Initially I tried to talk to him, and I have to admit that I came down on him pretty hard on several occasions when perhaps I could have been more generous or gracious. He didn't retaliate and he could have. Eventually we settled into a pattern where I didn't even try to talk to him about anything other than the most trivial of matters and since I am a major sports fan, but he doesn't follow any teams at all, it made for some very quiet shifts.

I remember him lashing out one day over something that I hadn't realized would be such a sensitive topic. I refused to get into it with him, let him do the talking, and tried to remain calm, but inside, I was far from unemotional. The next day he had off, then he came in and I was the one who wasn't in the best mood ever. If there is a lesson to be learned in any or some or all of this, maybe it is that rather than thinking the people who act like they don't care at all are some of the ones who care most deeply, and the ones who spread positivity and joy, are the ones who are hurting on the inside. It does rather feel as if I've jumped out of the frying pan straight into the white hot flames, but this time, we are all in it together. The die has been cast, there is no turning back, and I for one am proud of all of us.



P.S. I am completely drained from today. So happy I have off tomorrow, and genuinely hope I didn't scare anyone or make anything worse for myself, or anyone else.


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