If you reply to my first writeup on this topic, please read the following one first: at the bottom are several important changes to the initial proposal

My excuses for posting this rebuttal in a separate node; I cannot merge it with my writeup here, since that would take over the entire front page. I will merge the 2 writeups as soon as my first writeup is no longer on the front page.

I would like to address the issues that everyone has brought up in reply to my writeup: many of you have brought up valid points that definitely need to be worked out if we would change the Level Advancement system.


I agree that my proposal to use the median reputation is quite sensitive to mass-downvoting. GangstaFeelsGood is right that a small number of carefully chosen downvotes could drop someone's median quite easily. A mass-downvoter could simply downvote all the nodes that are exactly at the median to achieve this, and it wouldn't take many votes. On the other hand, one single downvoter would never be able to drop the median by more than 1, even if he downvotes ALL the nodes a user makes. But someone who is attacked by 2 mass-downvoters is indeed in a lot of trouble.

Unfortunately the problem of mass-downvoting by itself is not easily solved. Therefore, the method to calculate an "average" node reputation will have to be more robust with respect to mass-downvoting. Please note that in this writeup I use "average" to refer to a proper measure of central tendency, and not the mean reputation.

You can incorporate more robustness into the calculation of an average reputation by including a larger part of the node distribution. But there is a trade-off between robustness and accuracy:

  • Incorporating more datapoints of the node-distribution (or in the extreme, all nodes) shifts the average to unreasonably high values. It would "value" the Toilet seat writeup about 200 times higher than a decent factual writeup with a reputation=2.
  • Incorporating fewer datapoints of the node-distribution will make the system more prone to mass-downvoting. Or mass upvoting...

yerricde's writeup is very interesting: in his calculation we ignore the bottom 25%, ignore the top 25% and calculate the mean reputation of the middle half. This is indeed a more robust calculation. It ignores the writeups that for some reason plummeted to low reputations, and the ones that soared to very high reputations. It calculates the mean on 50% of the node base, and is thus quite stable with respect to mass-voting.

I do not agree with 1010011010's method of calculating an average reputation; Node distributions are NOT smooth continuous curves. Let me give you an example. Say, my lowest reputations are at 0, my highest are at 10:

#Rep          #Writeups
0             30 *
1             24
2             31  
3             27
4             19
5             20 * 
6             13
7             17
8             11
9              8
10             6 *
If we use a 3-point approximation, the numbers marked with asterixes are used to calculate an "average" (30, 20, and 6). Now one of the 11 rep nodes gets C!ed, and two people upvote the node. This is what my distribution will look like:
#Rep          #Writeups
0             30 *
1             24
2             31  
3             27
4             19
5             20  
6             13 *
7             17
8             11
9              8
10            11
11             0 
12             2 *
Now the three midpoints to calculate the "average" are 30, 13 and 1... So I gained two upvotes, but my average dropped significantly. Thus, the method will fail, primarily because the node histograms are not "smooth continuous curves". And what if we increase N, the number of midpoints? You then end up with a mean, shifted too much towards the higher end.
"Using median size as a reference it's perfectly possible to fit four ping-pong balls and two blue whales in a rowboat."

That is a very bad analogy that 1010011010 makes. We are trying to determine a value that statistically is the best representation of a population. In other words:

If I aselectively pick an object from a collection of four ping-pong balls and two blue whales, what object is the most likely selection?

Of course, there's a 66% chance of picking a ping-pong ball. Thus the ping-pong ball is the best representation of the population. Your example is extreme in every way; no noder would ever have a node distribution with only 4 writeups at a reputation=2, and 2 writeups at a reputation=500 (if we assume that a whale is 250x bigger than a ping-pong ball ). Or at higher node counts: 100 writeups at rep=2 and 50 writeups at reputation=500...


Tes and Shanoyu make some good points on the legacy of the XP system. E2 is not just about writing nodes, but active involvement in every way. XP is a convenient way to express this involvement, even though some people attach far too much value to this statistic: or as the Voting Experience System says: XP is an imaginary number granted to you by an anonymous stranger. Treat it as such.

It was, and is not my intention to get rid of the XP system. The major objective of my proposal was to reward good writers, by moving them faster to the levels. Good writing needs to be rewarded.

Shanoyu claims that this reward system would lead to more "sex with horses" nodes. I do not share this opinion. There are indeed some noders that solely rely on noding "entertaining crap" to pep up their stats, even in the current system, but their numbers are small. Editors and gods notice these people, and eventually their "contributions" get nuked... I do not think that we will get more of these people, but if we do, we will spot them more easily, as they shoot up through the levels, and we deal with their "contributions"..

Modified Advancement System - Reward System

I have given the system some more thought, and I am currently thinking of something like this:

  • The "regular" Level Advancement System remains in place, with XP and #Node Requirements. Perhaps the XP requirements could be adjusted to follow more closely what the average noder is already accumulating.
  • For noders who node above the average reputation, there is an "Honor Roll"; the #Writeups to Level-up decreases for increasing average reputations. Drop back to the average reputation or below, and you end up with the regular advancement system.

This system has the advantage that no one will lose his/her current level: noders are not punished for having low average reputations, but they are rewarded for writing high quality nodes. Noders are still encouraged to participate in voting, to meet the requirements for the "regular" XP requirements for Level Advancement.

This system needs a lot of detailing still; especially establishing a fair and robust method of measuring the "average" node-reputation. I will most certainly take another look at the node statistics, to see what impact a modified system would have.

Many thanks for the comments, questions and suggestions that I have received.

I realized that my explanation on the Honor Roll system was a bit too short. I hope that this explanation clears things up. The following table shows the proposed Level Advancement System.

Note that the numbers given for the Honor Roll and the required "average" are preliminary. This data is just to show the concept. Don't calculate any "potential" level gain based on this data, as the final Honor Roll requirements will be stricter!!!

Level 	|XP Req.	WU Req.		|     "average" x #writeups
1	|     0		   0	|	  N/A
2	|    50		  25	|	  N/A
3	|   200		  70	|	  210
4	|   400		 150	|	  450
5	|   800		 250	|	  750
6	|  1350		 380	|	 1140
7	|  2100		 515	|	 1545
8	|  2900		 700	|	 2100
9	|  4000		 900	|	 2700
10	|  7500		1215	|	 3645
11	| 13000		1800	|	 5400
12	| 23000		2700	|	 8100
13	| 38000		4500	|	13500
  • Every noder advances after meeting the XP and WU requirements (second and third columns).
  • The Honor Roll - Noders can advance levels with fewer writeups if they meet the following requirements:
    1. Meet the regular XP requirements.
    2. Obtained Level 2 through the Regular Requirements.
    3. Obtain an "average" writeup reputation of 3 or more.
  • Level advancement in the Honor Roll goes according to the product of the "average" node reputation and the number of writeups.

The following table shows how the Honor Roll works, giving the required number of writeups as a function of the "average" writeup reputation.

Level	|    "average Writeup Reputation
	|  3	  4	  5	  6	...	>=10
1	|  N/A	 N/A	 N/A	 N/A	...	 N/A	
2	|  N/A	 N/A	 N/A	 N/A	...	 N/A
3	|   70	  53	  42	  35	...	  21
4	|  150	 113	  90	  75	...	  45
5	|  250	 188	 150	 125	...	  75
6	|  380	 285	 228	 190	...	 114
7	|  515	 386	 309	 258	...	 155
8	|  700	 525	 420	 350	...	 210
9	|  900	 675	 540	 450	...	 270
10	| 1215	 911	 729	 608	...	 365
11	| 1800	1350	1080	 900	...	 540
12	| 2700	2025	1620	1350	...	 810
13	| 4500	3375	2700	2250	...	1350

For an "average" writeup reputation = 3, the Writeup-requirements are identical to those of the Regular Requirements. (e.g. 3 x 70 writeups = 210 points). Any higher "average" writeup reputation will reduce the required number of writeups for leveling up (e.g. only 113 writeups at an "average" reputation=4 are required at to obtain level 4). There is a cap for "average" reputations greater than 10. This cap ensures that writeup requirements do not fall below acceptable limits.

The XP requirements remain as they are. In order to level up according to the Honor Roll system, a noder still needs to meet the XP requirements. This rule ensures participation through voting.

When a noder's "average" reputation falls below 3, the Regular Requirements for leveling up apply.


The best method of calculating a robust, accurate "average" writeup reputation is still in the air. I am currently leaning towards yerricde's method of calculating the interquartile mean. I am evaluating the sensitivity of this method towards mass downvoting.

The required "average" reputation for entering the honor roll, and the level points need to be verified. This also depends on the method of calculating the "average"