Following is my reply to an e-mail I received from a Level 1 noder. His concerns were with my original proposal of changing the Level Advancement system. The noder feared that his writeups on a less-popular topic would hurt him more than it would do him good. As a result, he would possibly not post these writeups, and it would alter his noding behavior. I am sharing my reply in the hope to remove some of the questions and doubts that some noders may have.

Hi [Name witheld]:

Thank you for your comments. I understand that I have stirred up quite a bit of commotion with the initial proposal. On the other hand, this has given me a lot of feedback: suggestions and comments on what people want to see, and how to arrive to a fair and relatively simple Level Advancement system.

In Everything Statistics - September 29, 2001 (2) I have implemented some changes, to address several serious issues that were brought up. Unfortunately, it is more difficult to get feedback from lower-level noders... I understand the fear of "repercussion": like almost everyone on E2, I was facing these challenges when I started noding. But I do encourage you to give me your feedback on the Level Advancement system, especially after the modifications that I have made.

My goal has never been to change "noding behavior". I became motivated to bring some positive changes to the Level Advancement system after looking at all the XP/reputation statistics. Like you said: you reach "XP-Nirvana"; it becomes a pointless criterion to use for leveling up.

As a result: after reaching Level 2, the only thing holding you back from leveling up is writeups. This is where some noders will begin to wonder: do I spend 5 hours on writing a great factual node on, for instance The Fall of the Roman Empire, or do I spent that time on 20 writeups with the lyrics of Favorite Rock Band? The former will receive 10+ upvotes, one or more C!s; the latter perhaps 3 upvotes, and certainly a few downvotes. But gaining XP is never the issue...

I am NOT judging either type of contributions. I believe there is place for a huge diversity of writeups. There is a place for a huge variety of writers; archivers, novelists, factual content writers, poets... you name it. But the current Level-Up system does not treat everyone equally; if the barrier to level up is ONLY the number of writeups, it does not encourage quality factual writing.

It is not fair to those who DO put in the extra effort, and do so consistently. Take a look at riverrun's writeups, or junkpile, sneff... take a look at your mentor's writeups. I ALWAYS read these people's work, since I know that it will be worth the time. They spent the extra time making a thoughtful writeup, and they should be rewarded for it.

I understand that implementing a punishment/reward system would severely alter the rules of the "game". Based on the many comments, I decided to move away from that proposal. What I propose now is a reward-only system. The BASIC rules of the game don't change. You still level up with the same number of writeups and XP as in the present system. But there is a reward system (what I called the Honor Roll). People who continuously write well will be rewarded. They have to write fewer writeups in order to level up.

In the current proposal, NO ONE will drop a level; NO ONE is forced to change their noding habits in order to level up at the same rate they do now. Voting on nodes is still encouraged, because the XP requirements remain in place.

Bottom line: feel free to add those [topic name witheld] nodes you had planned. In fact, being a chemical engineer, I'll be looking forward reading them! It will not damage your progress on E2 in any way; on the other hand, you're highly encouraged to turn those nodes into masterpieces of craftmanship, and have the chance to level up sooner.

Feel free to e-mail me with any comments or questions.
Best Regards,

Professor Pi