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Thoughts on points calculation/topic participation

Hi folks,

I don't participate much in these discussions, so I've probably missed some news here. But I just noticed that some people suddenly climbed a lot of spaces in the monthly/yearly leaderboards by topic. The particular example is for the Office 365 topic and Joe Winograd (Joe, if you are reading this, apologies for using your name as example, I mean no disrespect!).

Because I don't recall seeing him participate in O365 questions, I took the liberty to check his profile in order to discover how he suddenly become #2. The number of solutions he has authored for this topic since the beginning of the year is 5 or so, which doesn't add up to the score. So I guess the bulk of his points are generated from articles/videos. Nothing wrong with that, I'm just trying to figure out what changed and why he suddenly overcome people that are very active in the O365 space.

Looking deeper, from what I can see from his profile he has a total of 8 videos/articles tagged with O365, and none of them are posted this year. I can see the logic of granting points per article view/click and how those can add up. Still, I feel it's a bit too much - being able to take the second spot in a fairly active topic, where many other experts participate and answer questions regularly, with just 5 solutions and some not so recent articles/videos.

Obviously videos/articles and other ways to contribute are important, so I'm not asking to disregard those. But perhaps you can consider making some changes to the points calculation system? If an article click should grant you points, why shouldn't clicking on a question with confirmed answer do the same, or similar? Personally I regularly run into such on Google search, so I wouldn't necessarily consider them that different from articles, especially when it comes to finding a solution to a known issue. In fact, being able to find so many answers from EE experts on Google is what got me interested in participating here in the first place - the answers experts have given here over the years helped me a lot so I decided to give something back :)

Anyway, I realize priorities can shift, that answering questions might not be as beneficial as it was years ago and so on. I just think it can be a bit discouraging to have someone occupy a top spot based solely on "past" contributions, and downplaying the importance of previously answered questions as well. Thoughts?

P.S. Again, I don't want this to look like attack against Joe - he's been around for quite some years and has double my points, has several awards and so on, so he's obviously a valuable contributor!
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Rank: Prodigy

Expert Comment

McKnife2017-07-31 04:09 AMID: 2040432
Hi Joe.
"Deservedly so — for a "good" article that impacts those TAs." - Imagine I write an article in the security TA. Only security, no other area. I earn an amount of points and this boosts me in the security TA. You choose 5 TA, why should it boost you in all 5? I am not saying it is wrong to choose 5. But it should only boost your rank in one area for fairness reasons.

"what's a "good" article?" - I could show you dozens of bad articles that don't show the slightest personal note, no innovative ideas, nothing that you will not find at least 10 times elsewhere if you only google for it. A good article for me is something that I share because I feel it is innovative or at least emphasizes an else overlooked technique or at least a very detailed how-to that cannot be found round the corner.

"I disagree. It's a reasonable way to provide an incentive for authors." - Look, imagine I start adding links to my articles in each of my comments - just like a signature, as in "you might also want to have a look at these in case they are related". I would "earn" half a million points maybe per year, as with every tiny assist, I would gain 500 extra points from now on. There is no border between "comment was helpful, link was not" | "comment and link were helpful" | "comment was not helpful, but link was". There should be, although it might be complicated.

I think it's absolutely ok to promote one's articles if they fit in, but the points we gain by that should result from views and endorsements on the article, and nothing else.

"The whole point system, or just the point system for articles/videos?" - the whole point system. It produces point hyenas that destroy thread by thread. I am sick and tired of this constant "you might also want to try this and that and..." before the asker has even returned with the slightest feedback.

Rank: Prodigy

Expert Comment

Mark Wills2017-07-31 05:32 AMID: 2040453
For those of you who can, check out the release notes. Interesting developments regarding points.

Joe, Suffice to say, they have brought the challenges upon themselves. Despite (or cynical person might say in spite) of attempts from those who truly care about the heartbeat of the community, it would seem that the defibrillator needs a recharge. They no longer listen but deliver change au-fait-accompli.

McKnife, who the heck do you think you are ? I see significant points in your name, I see you are a PE, I see you using multiple TA's on Articles, I see no real Bio apart from a tang of sour grapes.

While I would love to agree with you on more than just one of your comments, I find the tone quite difficult to endorse. It is a pity, because we do need more lateral thinkers in positions of influence who can carry a good argument and present the right idea. But it seems to be tarnished maybe CaptainAhab has returned...

But seriously, why the huge chip on the shoulder ?
Rank: Prodigy

Expert Comment

McKnife2017-07-31 06:16 AMID: 2040462
Wow. I am speechless. Maybe it's because english is not my native language or that we are not living in the same culture, but I cannot see why I need to be asked " who the heck do you think you are?". I did not intend to do harm to anybody here. If I call a system "crappy", I still don't intend to make anyone feel harmed - sorry, if this made a negative impact on this discussion.

I am at work, and don't have much time now, but I will add a further comment.
Rank: Prodigy

Author Comment

Vasil Michev (MVP)2017-07-31 06:37 AMID: 2040468
@Joe, again apologies if my thoughts above leave the impression they are directed against you, that's not my intention. And I would urge all participants here to keep the discussion civilized.

A good article for me is an article that has clear objectives, delivers on them, and in an easy to follow manner. It has nothing to do with views or points or whatever. My personal blog is full of examples that are NOT good articles - but being my personal blog I dont care that much about it. When I'm asked to write a article as a guest blogger, the situation is very different and mirrors what you mentioned above - it can take a significant amount of time and effort to prepare a good article. And such articles definitely need to be "ranked" by more that just views/clicks. Or you (the article author) can easily get discouraged to continue contributing with such "good" articles here on EE.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's really unfortunate that we have a system in place that mostly results in extremities - you either hit the jackpot with that 100k+ points article, or you end up doing 30 more articles that can barely contribute the same amount of points, together. Perhaps McKnife is right in his desire to shut down the point system, or at the very least have it overhauled...
Rank: Prodigy

Expert Comment

Mark Wills2017-07-31 07:42 AMID: 2040489

You haven't done any harm here. My retort was poorly worded and meaning to reflect upon some of your own comments (which are not dissimilar to my own thoughts).

You criticise multi-TA's and yet you have benefitted with your own Articles.
You are an active PE (according to the "who" pages) and assume the sometimes very vibrant discussions in the PE threads still happen.
You are cynical of 'too many addicts' and 'point monsters' and 'points hyenas' and yet have amassed a significant number yourself.
You invite us to read your hoax-style Article "How to become a top expert" which seems to have been deleted, not unpublished.
Then, trying to get to find out more about you, your Bio is pretty devoid of tangible insights, other than points.
You have been part of the EE community for quite some time, you must know the basis of gamification and the points system is fundamental.

But then there is also the underlying strength and a huge reliance on being trustworthy in any healthy community. To wit, I must apologise for betraying the sentiment expressed earlier by Vasil : "One of the reasons I've chosen to devote some of my time to EE is that most of the experts here are honest and respectful" and heed the request to keep it civil.

Has the points system gone overboard ? Yes, I do agree with you. Should UIS change ? Yes, I agree with you... and the list goes on. If anything, we seem to be in violent agreement...

I used to think of EE as an exclusive country club, whereby swimming in the EE pool was a privilege. To borrow a line from Amex "it pays to belong" and certainly wasn't for everyone. But we have opened the doors to one and all, and the pool is more akin to the local public swimming hole, complete with the bodily waste we try to swim away from...

Apologies McKnife, I mean you no harm, no disrespect. Just upset to see your words echo my thoughts that maybe it has finally gone too far.
Rank: Prodigy

Expert Comment

McKnife2017-07-31 01:55 PMID: 2040973
I was focusing on article usage and point rewards for articles. I will not comment on analysis of my profile or own activity for the sake of the thread and I think I spent already enough lines to once more illustrate my views on article usage.
Mark, since you seemed interested, I will send you the article "How to become a top expert" as a private message.