user since
Sat Apr 27 2002 at 10:05:17 (22.1 years ago )
last seen
Sun Mar 15 2009 at 00:05:08 (15.3 years ago )
number of write-ups
101 - View ponder's writeups (feed)
level / experience
8 (Encyclopedist) / 4125
C!s spent
mission drive within everything
Quality nodes heal the language barrier across the pond
obscure factuals, computing, prog rock, finance, London, beer
The Unseen University / Sopra group
noda bene
most recent writeup
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Email address

r5pa-fft9 at


Being a Terry Pratchett fan, I took my nickname from Ponder Stibbons, the wizard in the High Energy Magic Building of the Unseen University, who likes messing around with computers and making them do unusual things.

Note that in most other places, I am known as IvorW. Googling for ivorw, out of the first 100 hits, there are 3 that are not related to me.

This includes BookMooch,, OpenGuides, CPAN.


In real life, I am an IT consultant working for finance clients in the City of London. I take many roles including developer, business analyst, sysadmin, QA person, support person - in short a Jack of all trades.

I'm also interested in computing as a hobby, in particular the following:

As of March 2006, I've given up beer. This will be a surprise to those who already knew me. I still like meeting other noders, and I will still go into pubs to meet.

Other groups I am involved with

London Perl mongers
City of London Cogers
West London Trades Union Club

I am one of the three admins for the London site. I am also a major contributor of material to the site, and I am responsible for some of the perl modules that make up OpenGuides.


Here are my thoughts and opinions. /msg me if you strongly disagree, or str

My thoughts about E2
  • General impressions
  • I have been a noder since April 2002. First impressions were that the site is quite élitist, but that it is possible to advance through dilligence. I have come to terms with the élitism, and I view it as a Darwinistic pot, shibboleth, or test, to keep out the riff-raff and trolls, and insure quality of the site.

  • Voting/Experience System

    I had already met the voting, levels and XP system through Perlmonks, but I noticed that requiring a minimum number of writeups slows people's advancement, but this is probably not a bad thing (by contrast, I have reached Saint on Perlmonks in 6 months - the Monastery is purely XP based). Update: Perlmonks has since extended its level hierarchy, hence I'm still theoretically climbing it.

    It seems that beyond the first level, XP becomes almost irrelevant, as you always need more writeups, more writeups, more writeups. The honor roll has made the level calculation more complicated, and introduced a potential borderline yo-yo effect, where adding a new writeup, especially an edit request, decreases the merit and can cause a drop in level, albeit a temporary drop.

    I approve of the honor roll as it is putting quality above quantity. But, I agree with Wertperch's sentiments as expressed on his home node. Just because a writeup is low rep doesn't mean it is bad, and there's no reason to kill it. E2 could lose much information as perfectly good factual writeups are killed.

  • My own standards
  • I am primarily a factual noder. As such, I respect factual nodes of others. I upvote good solid factuals, with correct information, well laid out, and enough material to get my teeth into. I will not usually upvote a three-liner, and if there are already better pre-existing writeups, I may well downvote it.

    I also downvote writeups that are littered with profanities - unless there is much humour and the humour is of good quality. I also have no truck with bare lyrics, game cards and bare metanodes (see below).

    When it comes to poetry, creative prose and imaginative writing, I tend to leave well alone, unless I'm deeply moved. I am a believer that personal experience, as a general rule, belongs in daylogs and dreamlogs rather than in the body of E2.

    I ching good writeups that have been well researched, and are well presented. Also writeups that are informative or rousing.

  • Linking outside
  • I know there are some technical issues with allowing general URLs in the body of normal E2 writeups - cross scripting vulnerabilities. However, I do think it's a great shame that nrmal writeups cannot contain links to external websites. But, the Everything Engine is clever enough that when URLs are made into hard links, you can browse there indirectly.

  • Noding about noding
  • It was a shock to the system that the practice of noding about noding is so highly frowned upon. Most BBS and discussion forum sites encourage feedback from newbies, but I guess the impact of this on the signal to noise ratio would seriously affect the quality of E2. Update: this has been rectified, by the presence of the E2BB website, where NAN and whinging to the E2 admins is allowed.

    Another place to put your personal opinions about noding is on your home node. What you are reading now is an example.

  • Metanodes
  • I hate seing nodes which are just a long list of links to other nodes. I feel that there should be some content, beyond the title, giving details of what it is that the nodes have in common.

  • Splitting the site

    s_alanet's writeup On making E2 distributed set me thinking. It depends on what is being envisaged. If we are merely talking about mirroring the database, in the form of a cluster or high availability pair, I am all in favour. Remote mirroring is another interesting idea, where many small E2s feed from a big daddy E2.

    However, in terms of splitting the database to several mini-Everythings, this seems a lot of work for little benefit. From my experience, partitioning a database is like cutting a pizza. There will always be lots of cheese and topping that falls between the two slices and makes a mess.

  • Noding for the ages

    My first thoughts on this were "Which ages?" Although the intended meaning is clear, this alternative does bring it to mind that people should be targetting the nodes at everyone, not just those aged 18-25.

Nodes I would like to work on

Multiple tuits required. For work in progress, see my scratchpad.

Nodes I'm interested in

Humourous nodes
Music related nodes
Techie stuff
Mind and brain
Miscellaneous Interesting / informative / cool nodes
Books and films

Nodes as yet unclassified

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