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User Profile and Nerd Rank Changes

A few weeks ago, a loyal OmniNerd posted an article asking if the Nerd Rank system was broken. Upon further review, I decided the answer was both yes and no. It was “no” in the regard that it was technically giving credit to users as it was intended to do, i.e., if you generate high volumes of quality content then your Nerd Rank will reflect that. However, it was “yes” in that while I like the secretive nature of the system, its total lack of transparency makes it a bit hard to follow.


An example of a user’s content contributions to the site.

I made a few tweaks to the site to begin addressing the pseudo-broken nature of the system. First, I tweaked the Nerd Rank algorithm to not give as much historical credit as it had been. I won’t say how much, but there’s a reason I was still in the top 5 despite my lack of recent contributions. So, hopefully it feels a little more up-to-date now. Second, I added two insightful charts on the user profile pages. They show how much a person has been contributing in terms of content and discussion. If you’re curious why VnutZ is dominating the Nerd Rank system, just take a look at his profile and you’ll quickly understand.

The one aspect I’ve not yet disclosed is my content grading algorithm. Behind Nerd Rank is a thing called Content Rank. Your Nerd Rank is essentially your interactions with the site plus the sum of your Content Rank. While I feel Content Rank is very objective and I don’t mind sharing the details, I’m worried that disclosing all the details will open a can worms as you just can’t please everyone all the time. I suppose I’ll leave that to you. After all, OmniNerd is your site. If you want the gory details, I’ll provide them. Let me know what you think.

As a side note, be sure to check out the addition of “similarly tagged content” at the end of all the articles now. We get a lot of traffic on our old articles, so this should help people find the new stuff too.

Similarly tagged OmniNerd content:

Information This article was edited after publication by the author on 22 Nov 2009. View changes.
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nicely done by dwon

Barry will be singing your praises.

But honestly, it does look very nicely done.

2 Votes  - +
Voting Statistics by Jackson

Ok, so the first time I viewed a user page (mine, Brandon’s and Occams’) I thought, “that is pretty neat.”

But I guess I missed the voting up/down statistics before. That is pretty awesome.

I remember way back in 2005 or maybe 2006 there was a big blow up about the way comments were being moderated. The Nerd-It method, while perhaps taking some of the formal awesome-ness away from the site did open it up to more user interaction and giving us non-moderators the ability to say how we felt about certain comments.

But the flaw was you didn’t really know any specifics about your nerd-its. We just got a cumulative view. The stats on how our content was received each week is just awesome.

This has been quite an impressive overhaul. Better yet, now I may survive the Great Purge (sorry, best link I could find for it) after all.

Now, I am not sure how I feel about the historical contributions being weighted. It seems like if you have ever submitted an article (not SPAM) you shouldn’t ever fall to Lost Nerd status. But I don’t know how difficult that would be to modify. It seems really strange that willwaddell and some of the other ex-regulars would have that rank. I mean, I rarely agreed with willwaddell, but he did put an enormous amount of effort into those articles. So, to sum up, I think historical contributions should still count for something at least. And perhaps they do, but without delving into the nuts and bolts of the “nerd rank” (which I have no desire to do) I wouldn’t know.

I would like to nominate WillWaddell for the first lifetime recipient and have his nerd rank of 10 retired, so his handle and contributions live on forever in OmniNerd infinity. Do I hear a second?

I just dropped a massive change set in the application code for Nerd Rank. I made the calculation simpler and much more transparent. On any user page there’s now a Nerd Rank tab that will give you a lot of insight into why that person has the current rank they do. It’s a little ugly now as it shows 3 months of trend history but there’s only today stored in history (NR history was not previously tracked), but that will work itself out over time.

I tried to incorporate feedback from this thread. History is considered and the scoring is in stepwise fashion such that perfect performance on a lower “step” will never outweigh the next step (i.e., recent voting never outweighs historical articles).

Let me know what you think. I think it’s a step in the right direction even if it’s not perfect. At least now you have a better idea of where those Nerd Rank numbers are coming from and can offer more specific feedback.

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