Voting for XP, or 'VFX', is a somewhat vague term which refers to the practice of voting gratuitously on writeups in the database. It's an unavoidable side-effect of the new voting/experience system which requires a whole heap of XP to make the next 'level' and gain certain powers.

Our new system, as of this writing, requires 3000 xp to move from level 5 to 6. Assume you are on E2 every other day. And you earn 10 xp per visit (from posting, up votes on your latest node or previous nodes). So that's a tidy 600 days, nearly two years, before you can jump up one whole level. But don't panic. Because if you spend all your votes (all 45 of them) you can cut it down to a tidy 93 days. Whew! Okay, so now you decide on your every other day E2 visit, to judiciously spend those 45 votes. You carefully read each new post and cast an up or down vote. Let's say it takes you 5 minutes to read each post and judge it. So that's 3.75 hours of reading E2 nodes. Hrm. I like E2 but I don't want to devote, weekly, what amounts to a part-time job reading and judging E2 notes.

Enter Voting for XP! Assuming you can't write a script to automate some random node clicking/voting, you can narrow those 4 hours down to 5 minutes with a few simple techniques. First, find radio-button rich nodes. Day logs are your best bet.

For example a visit to the May 18, 2005 found 6 voting radio buttons. It took me exactly 30 seconds to visit the link, unload 6 votes without reading a single write up, and getting the page reload. I gained 1 xp for my efforts. Oh yeah, you can bring economy to your mouse movements if you either vote up or vote down all nodes. Since I'm not totally addicted to E2 but merely an every other day adherent, I can repeat this process on the day log I missed. So again, lets say I get rid of 6 more votes in thirty seconds.

Twelve down and 33 more to go! And it only took me one minute. Now I open all the New Writeup nodes in tabs. Firefox really does make using E2 easier. I can simply up vote or down vote the nodes, including older nodes found there. But I'm not totally an XP whore. Single paragraph write ups I down vote. Lots of topics can be succinctly explained in one paragraph and short nodes are sometimes far more worthy of an up vote and cool than someone's 3 page story about losing his/her virginity at a Korn concert. But I don't want to take that risk. We're VFXing for XP. Nodes that are more than a paragraph and seem to provide some factual information, I up vote. Nodes that appear to be fiction, "this really happened to me", or poetry, I down vote. I'm a factual noder and I need to be quick. This took me 2.5 minutes to accomplish. The coffee node slowed me down but it was also a rich source of voting radio buttons. With the coffee node I got into the pattern down voting every other node, on the assumption it's commentary on the node above. Maybe it wasn't. Who knows?

I unloaded 26 votes in that time. I'm within spittin' distance: seven more votes to go! Now I open up 7 random nodes. Some are just node shells but that's okay. I click on the first soft link at the bottom. It takes me 1.5 minutes to dump my remaining votes. I'm past the post! It only took me less than 5 minutes to contribute to E2. Hazzuh! I'm exhausted!

I could have been writing a node, of course. But let's say I got all the nodes I need to get to the next level. I just got this whole pile of XP I need to acquire. So instead of adding to the DB, I'm encouraged to spend the next three months doing nothing more productive than randomly up and down voting nodes. Of course in elder days, you were on the other side of the fence. You have all the XP you need but you have a dearth of nodes. The solution was Noding for Numbers. Muahahahah! I'll node the zip code database. Oh wait. They're all marked destruction? Yeah, the check on that was down votes and editors. We got lots of editors and they're quite good at spotting things.

But the check on voting for xp? Well, nothing. So. Don't do this. Ever!

(And let the fair judging of this node begin...)