"If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.
If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” Sun Tzu, The Art of War
I joined Everything2 at a moment of crisis. We lost a teacher. We lost a friend. We lost an innocence. Multiple inner-circles meadowed about in respectful isolation across the vasty prairie of the nodegel. Factual writeups flourished. Lies languished and were lavished. Poetry posed as if a nude model before a class - allowing, daring? - its audience to observe its imperfections and thereby to learn about themselves. Butterfinger McFlurry was deleted, or received another ching, depending on which editor had the latest cup of coffee that day.
It was wild.
These days the Noding Speedometer tells me, based on my current xp, average days/wu, and average xp/wu how many writeups & days it will take before I achieve a new level. Back then, personal experience taught me to post a new submissions precisely five minutes before server refresh. With most* users using the default theme (25 new writeups displayed) five minutes maximized the odds my writeup would still be in the "top third" of the list at server refresh, and thereby directly maximize the odds said writeup might receive a ching before being pushed out of the new writeups nodelet.
Which was approximately 30 minutes.
That was the half-life of a new writeup in 2002. Half an hour.
With 3,000 surviving writeups per month - 100 per day - approximately half seemed to have been submitted in the 'magic hour' around server refresh. The New Writeups nodelet could refresh its top 25 view twice some days during that first hour. Sure - there was tension and conflict when some suggested the community increase its standards for quality (Raising the Bar). Sure - there was more conflict - and some abandonment - when xp and levels were doled out to users who bought in on higher quality submissions (Honor Roll). But nothing - in an era of the site where a 'good' factual would earn +35/-5 and a 'great' factual would earn +60/-8 - ever matched the excitement of seeing that first C! hit a writeup, cross-listing it to the Cool Archive, and (effectively) trippling or quadrupling the number of impressions your writeup would earn.
Like I told you. Wild times.
Things have... cooled down somewhat. In August of 2004 there were 1,137 surviving submissions and we haven't seen a comma since. These days - barring the exceptional velocity with which the community contributes during November's IRONNODER quest - 200 surviving writeups is a banner month. July 2018's 205 is the fourth highest month - ex-November contributions - of the past six years. July, itself, enjoys quite a bump every year due to Brevity quest, as indicated in the seasonality chart illustrating declining contributions from 2008 - 2013, as well as a stabalizing period 2013-2018.
These aforementioned charts, as well as subsequent visualization references, are posted to the public Google Presentation "Site Trajectory Visualization". All data within that dashboard is either extracted or derived from Site Trajectory 1 and 2 from the E2 Tools and Toys Category. Just mouse-over the link here to see the reference slide number, accomplished by employing the abbr tag
The most stark insight from said data is that the current population of Contributing Users has pulled up out of the nose-dive of production from 2008 thru 2015. In fact, if we momentarily treat 2012 as an 'above the line' outlier, we see that 2008-2015 fits a linear trend with an R2 = 0.97... rather clear correlation. The ensuing series 2015-2018 defies regression analysis, because the range of values is so close to the average of the series (all four years are very similar). The lower limit appears to have self regulated at 1,500 new, surviving writeups per year.
Where I see the greatest opportunity for E2 is within Contributing User motivation. There have been previous fine-tuning passes with respect to rewarding users with xp on different scales, and rewarding users with level advancement under different programs and ratios and changes therein. I question none of those decisions made on behalf of the health of the Community. What I respectfully challenge is the premise that the Community is motivated by xp and Levels alone.
The final visualization I'll call attention to is Writeup per Contributing User by month (2008-2018). What I draw from this metric is that contributing noders average between 2 and 4 writeups per month over the past eleven years. That is a remarkably static result for a dynamic population of random individuals. You'll be quick to note that July and November violate that range for almost all years. That tells us that contributing users contribute more during a month in which a well-known quest is being executed. Clearly, the point of Iron Noder is to massivly ramp-up production. However, the other quests which are run annually do not have the same volume requirement, and still nudge up individual production (on average).
I suggest we take advantage of this behavioral trend and call for volunteers to organize and execute a greater number of quests (or Content Rescue Operations) during the months in which annual Quests are not slated. Accounting for the summer vacation lull of August/September, 2019 (and years forward) could look something like this:
All we would need are four (or five) brave individuals who would be willing to create a quest category, compose the annual Quest writeup, and track specific quest progress (for the purpose of documenting winners' circle, gp rewards, and such). Let me know if you'll be one of them.
IronNoder 2018: 03/30