Dec 7, 2006 at 3:21 pm #1220612
BPLRank v0.2 was installed today.
This is beta. Please read this thread before posting here so you understand the history of BPLRank.
The last rank was next to meaningless and quite contrived relative to the current version.
What is BPLRank?
A measure of a user's combination of (contribution + participation) at BPL.
Contributions are currently indicative of content contributed to the BPL website, including forum postings, reader reviews, articles (print + online), and other types of information / web contributions that may or may not be publicly available here.
Participation is currently defined as your length of tenure here, and considers in part your status as a premium member, pro member, staff, and print subscriber.
Before v1.0 is released (which will be tied to a benefits program), we intend to upgrade the current algorithm to reflect the quality of a user's contributions, and further refine the value of a user's participation to BPL.
Your BPLRank may rise, drop, or stay the same, sometimes with a little drama, over the next several weeks. You haven't been penalized, it's just a new algorithm.
The BPLRank is based on a numerical (logarithmic) scale of 0 to 10*, and because of the emphasis on your tenure here and welcome participation in the community over time, padding your rank will be somewhat difficult. As we install peer-driven quality controls, it will become even more difficult.
BPLRanks will be updated once daily, sometime in the middle of the night "Montana Time".
Thanks for your patience throughout this process, and working with us in what has been a fascinating and interesting social experiment.
* Note on the scale. This is a normalized scale that considers the fraction of (contribution + participation) relative to the whole (contribution + participation) of all members.
A rank of 10.0 in a community of more than one person is therefore impossible to attain.
But we can die tryin', can't we? ;)Dec 7, 2006 at 3:49 pm #1369886
Very nice adjustments to the algorithm.
Relative Ranks appear to be coming along nicely and are approaching more of what one might expect.
Not a complaint; just a suggestion: maybe "BPL Staff" should get an initial offset "bump" to reflect their obvious expertise as some of their rankings are lower than certain other Forum Participants whose contributions should not be considered as authoritative, IMHO, like my rank vs. Roger Caffin's rank for example. I'd guess that he doesn't give a hoot about rank. I only mention it in the interest of more accurately indicating relative value to newbies who happen along in the coming days. Just a thought.Dec 7, 2006 at 4:20 pm #1369895
@bdavisLocale: Mt. Lassen - Shasta, N. Cal.
I am a "newbie" here and to UL gear and techniques. When I see a rank associated with a person's name I tend to believe they know what they are talking about and doing.
Whatever the 'old algorithim' was, I ended up a 6+ …. ????
So I wondered, who am I listening to out there with a number that is the same or less than mine. I'm an idiot at this and I have the same or higher rank.
Me, I am still just trying to survive the deluge of gear in the mail that I have ordered as a result of all the articles, reviews and such here.
And, learn what UL really is and can do for me and my partner so we get out there more.
Most importantly, I enjoy the community, even if as an Esq. I write and speak a lot … but I love this online community — it is very high level — sitting here next to my woodstove, typing on my hyper fast computer with DSL … while I contemplate how not to hurt or kill my partner or myself in this great place.
The info and people at this site are the single best place to go on the Net that I have found for increasing and improving our ability to enjoy nature and whatever it is that make us go out "there." So compliments to Dr.J, as I now know pj calls Ryan, and the staff, and the community.
So, I just enjoy watchin ya'all figer all this out and how to make it work for all of us otherin's. 'n I think it is funny to watch my number go up and down … I gotta get back to readin about gear 'n such, after finishing a 4 week long grueling appellate court brief about the government lands 'n how they manage or mismanage them. (Readin 'n postin here kept me alive during that grueling event when I couldn't get away to "get out there.")
Hopefully, I won't even know what my rank is for a few days while we go out and test all this new found knowledge that I/we got from connecting to this site … to say nothin of the gear …
… oh my … my partner is gonna kill me when the bills come in … but I want my bushbuddy soon … so I'll just have to raise my rates.Dec 7, 2006 at 7:37 pm #1369927
@aroth87Locale: Missouri Ozarks
That's good to know. I logged on and saw that my ranking had dropped from 4+ to .34. I was scared I had offended someone important, but this new rank more accurately reflects my participation here. It makes me feel like I should post more and submit some more reviews to boost my rank.
AdamDec 7, 2006 at 9:42 pm #1369950
Interesting Facts about v0.2.
Of the top 65, the average time each user has been registered is 2.89 years. BPL has been "online" with this site (registered users) for 3.47 years.
In that list, the person with the shortest "tenure" has been here 1.19 years.
Who was BPL's first registered user?
Not me, can you believe it?
Alan Dixon beat me to it!
Of the top 14, the average tenure is 3.26 years (out of 3.47) and 8/14 are the more senior staff of BPL (ryan, ksawchuk, kenknight, halfturbo, cmcrooker, rcaffin, djohnson, MikeMartin, and sevengen).
More interesting is those in the top 14 who are NOT staff:
bfornshell, verber, pj, mlarson, and kennyhel77
Few would argue that this group well represents BPL's seniormost Premium Members. They've been with us for an average of 3.18 years. pj skews this figure. He's a relative young buck: 2.19 year tenure. So take pj out, and the other four have been here 3.38 out of 3.47 years: basically, they've been here since the start.
So, the point of this message:
To this group of four old dogs and one middle aging pup, a huge, huge, thank you for sticking around and providing real leadership in the BPL forums.
Just for kicks I went through and read some old posts from you guys. It was a lot of fun.
EDIT: fixed as per djohnson's note below!! Sorry Doug! I was thinking you were under another username…Dec 7, 2006 at 10:20 pm #1369951
@djohnsonLocale: Washington State
Cool info Ryan!
Going to have to bump the staff top 14 to 9/14 though- I'm djohnson.
But I certainly know the posts from this crew: bfornshell, verber, pj, mlarson, and kennyhel77…that's for sure! Thanks for all the great conversations!Dec 7, 2006 at 10:58 pm #1369956
Bill's first post is a RIOT!
No, "hi everyone, I'm bill" or "neat to be here, this is my first post" or anything.
Let's just start right in with "Here is a lightweight piece of homemade gear".Dec 8, 2006 at 1:17 am #1369960
very informative knowing about the "heavy hitters" among Staff and long time Forum Participants.
Re: my prev. comments on Rank. It should be easy for anyone to notice the RED BPL-STAFF indicator and in these cases, hopefully, regardless of the indicated RANK, a reader will probably give more credence to the content of the post.
Thanks for posting a link to BF's first post. It's SOOO Bill, as the young'uns say. Ya gotta' love that guy. He's so creative.
>>"2.19 year tenure"
Yeah,…ever since i was very young my mother told me i was an anomaly. There's always one out lying datapoint to skew the curve. Figures it would have to be me. The story of my life. In signal processing, often these "outlyers" are referred to as "noise" and can be safely ignored. Seems appropriate in this case too!!
Great Job on the rankings. Looks like another iteration of the algorithm, making my prev. comment about BPL-Staff ranking perhaps moot. Excellent.Dec 8, 2006 at 3:16 am #1369963
@bfornshellLocale: Southern Texas
That date back in 2004 brings back memories.
That day was suppose to be Chemo number 2 and Radiation treatment number 15 but my White Blood count was 1.4 and to low. Both treatments were put off to the following Monday. I was able to have a weekend at home without all the "throwing up" and all the rest of the bad stuff from the Chemo.
The good news was that with 35 Radiation treatments and one more Chemo it KILLED the cancer and I am still around. I am still dealing with a few side effects but I have the greatest team of Medical personnel helping me with them.
I am back to where I can go hiking again so life is looking good.
As for that pack bag in the picture, at about 10 ounces it sure was heavy. My next pack bag was out of this new stuff called Cuben Fiber. The Cuben Fiber pack bag weighed just over 2 ounces. Cuben Fiber is now being used to make history in Super Ultra Light gear.Dec 8, 2006 at 1:52 pm #1370014
OK, after watching and tinkering with the new algorithm over the past 24 hours, we've settled on the final bits for v0.2. We'll upgrade the algorithm to v0.3 after the first of the year.
Many people have PM'ed me with outstanding feedback to help shape this algorithm. Almost universally, you requested that the BPLRank place significant emphasis on (1) tenure at BPL (as registered users, members, industry professionals, and staff) and (2) access to premium members' articles here, with the idea that tenure in a community allows one to develop long term trust, and that access to premium content here gives one access to a body of knowledge that can be used to communicate to others helpfully. v0.2 weights these factors accordingly.
Some notes about BPLRank ranges in general (note that these notes replace any numerical analyses presented in the thread above, but don't dramatically change any results).
BPLRank Range 0.00 to 0.33: This range typically represents folks who have been at BPL for < 1 year and/or who participate infrequently in the community here.
BPLRank Range 0.34 to 0.99: This group has an average tenure at BPL of 1.7 years, with a range of 0.3 to 3.4 years.
BPLRank Range 1.00 to 1.99: This group has an average tenure at BPL of 1.9 years, with a range of 0.4 to 3.4 years.
BPLRank Range 2.00 to 2.99: This group has an average tenure at BPL of 2.5 years, with a range of 1.3 to 3.4 years.
BPLRank Range 3.00 to 3.99: This group has an average tenure at BPL of 2.7 years, with a range of 1.4 to 3.4 years.
BPLRank Range 4.00 to 4.99: This group has an average tenure at BPL of 3.1 years (range 2.2 to 3.4). About two thirds of this group is BPL Staff.
BPLRank Range 5.00 to 5.99: This group has an average tenure at BPL of 3.4 years (range 3.3-3.4) and so far, is comprised entirely of BPL Staff.
BPLRank Range > 6.00: So far, only one fool falls into this range, which isn't good. Obviously the algorithm is broken, or does some kind of hyperbolic spasm towards one of its limits, so…anyway…we're working on that.
At this time, it is very important for everyone to realize that BPLRank is not necessarily representative of one's backpacking experience, but should be viewed as one measure of the extent to which people here have been involved with BPL over the long run.
v0.3 will be released in early 2007 and will result in minor disruptions to the scale as we evaluate contributions by BPL authors (staff and non-staff) and various measures of "impact" of those contributions at BPL.
By late summer of 2007 we'll install the algorithm's peer review subroutines which will be designed to evaluate the quality of postings, and the users' contributions, by the community.
Thanks for being patient as we implement BPLRank live and in stages. It's important for us to install each subroutine carefully and precisely, so we understand how it responds to community dynamics.Dec 9, 2006 at 5:26 am #1370097
Great Job on the Ranks overall and the "step-wise" refinement process to your algorithm. Please give my congrats to the "one fool" (whoever he might be ;)Dec 9, 2006 at 8:05 am #1370110
@tarbubbleLocale: dirtville, CA
phew, thank heavens. i was in despair, figuring my rank meant most of my posts sucked. they may still suck, but at least now my paranoia will have to find a new food source.Dec 14, 2006 at 12:49 am #1370921
Went from 4.3 to 0.15… weak…
Clearly time is the deciding factor… then again you could have just displayed the user's join date. This system is stupid and confusing to new users.
Ranking in general is stupid.Dec 14, 2006 at 2:02 am #1370926
Ditto on the above "lame" post.
I too saw a dramatic loss in "rank", and see that people who pay automagically get higher rank even if they are bright and shiny newbs.
When the ranking by other users starts up, it will turn into the same popularity contest it is everywhere else that uses "peer ranking".
Whats wrong with having a join date and a post count? You know, like EVERYWHERE else? KISS principle and all that. Don't fix what ain't broken and such. Reinventing the wheel comes to mind.
Stupid and confusing… yup, that about sizes this rank system up.
It'll really be swell when people with higher rank start getting preferential treatment *rolls eyes*Dec 14, 2006 at 2:51 am #1370931
>>"When the ranking by other users starts up, it will turn into the same popularity contest it is everywhere else that uses "peer ranking"." [emphasis mine]
my thoughts exactly. though, i do appreciate the ideas behind BPL's desire to introduce rankings. which brings me to the next quote…
>>"It'll really be swell when people with higher rank start getting preferential treatment *rolls eyes*"
BPL intends this "preferential treatment" to be a 'reward' for helping BPL to be successful. One possible 'reward' is more $$ off gear in their store. They already offer members discounts. I don't think anyone would think that this is inappropraite. Certainly, it's w/i BPL's rights to do as they please with their own organization/company/website. i don't think anyone would argue that.
the rank system is still in a prototypical stage and is still experiencing some growing pains. i believe that it will improve with age and constructive responses from Forum participants.
my take is that i will (and do currently) ignore 'rank'. i'd like to see changes to it as i (and others) have previously stated. however, i really participate in the Forums to learn from others and share info with them, and for the comraderie of like-minded individuals. BPL is for me, when i'm not out in the forest, a refuge from the insanity of my working life.Dec 14, 2006 at 9:30 am #1370977
Good points on the "peer review" turning the ranking system into a popularity contest.
But, I'm wondering if there is an alternative to evaluating the *value* behind a person's post, rather than just the quantity of their posts.
Now for some definitions.
"Stupidity is the quality or condition of being stupid, or lacking intelligence."
"Intelligence is defined as the product resulting from the collection, processing, integration, analysis, evaluation, and interpretation of available information."
If stupidity and intelligence are opposites, then posting "Member since YYYY" and "# of Forum Posts: NN" would have to be considered "stupid" rather than "intelligent" by the above definitions.
BPLRank, as it stands now, is an algorithm that meets the above definition for intelligent more so than the above definition for stupid.
REI gives end of year dividends based on the quantity of purchases a customer makes during the course of a year. It's a stupid algorithm based on the above definition. But, I like it!
Consider this statement, had you posted it here:
"It'll really be swell when people who buy more stuff at REI start getting preferential treatment (higher dividend returns) *rolls eyes*."Dec 14, 2006 at 9:47 am #1370984
>>"It'll really be swell when people who buy more stuff at REI start getting preferential treatment (higher dividend returns) *rolls eyes*."
DrJ, they say that the pen is mightier than the sword, and…
The ancient Samurai believed that one test of mastery with the sword of was to kill with a single cut (giri). I believe that you are one with the sword, er… i mean the pen.Dec 14, 2006 at 11:06 am #1371004
Im not an REI member, nor do I use those those neato "shopper loyalty cards" at the grocery store, so that pen dont cut too deep. If you want to give loyalty discounts, have at it, but wrapping everything up into some "rank" is repugnant. Imagine walking into REI with a big number hung over your head, visible to all, everywhere you walked, to everyone you talked with. Think about it… seriously.
Intelligence comes from the mind, not some algorithm imitating one, please do not patronize me with your convenient definitions. Give an intelligent mind the tools it needs to make an intelligent choice. Entrusting it to some machine, no matter how sexy the code, is stupid.
Does it take an algorithm for someone to look at a post count of 50 and a join date of yesterday to figure out that so-and-so is just "a mouth"? Hardly. On the flip side, someone who has "been around the block" and has a few hundred posts behind their name can generally be trusted to be at least marginally aware of whats going on. Is there some room for error here? Of course, but do you dare say a mathematical equation can do better? Are you really trying to tell people that buying a membership is more "valuable" than being an active forum participant for nearly two years?
How will a machine be able to tell the whether a post accurately and effectively answered a question? Will it cross reference some database of BPL approved doctrine before making its final call on what is good or what is bad? It cant. It lacks intelligence.
Sorry, but I don't need someone else's math to identify quality, and I think that entrusting too much to an algorithm based on what someone else thinks is valuable is stupid.Dec 14, 2006 at 11:33 am #1371012
Laurie Ann MarchMember
@laurie_annLocale: Ontario, Canada
After taking a look at the ranking system and where people's ranks sit I can't see value in it. It reminds me of my wallet full of points and miles cards that I never use. From the perspective of someone who has a media based site… would it not be more prudent to spend less time instituting a ranking system and spend more time on more important areas of BPL? Personally I'd rather see content than rankings. My other thought is that systems like this should be tested by a focus group on another server before being made public… especially if it is going to be buggy. In my eyes the ranking system will never be a true indication of someone's expertise/knowledge of wilderness backpacking and UL.Dec 14, 2006 at 11:40 am #1371014
JR, you make some good points. In case you didn't see it before, another Poster (not me) mentioned that Membership allows one to be just a bit better informed by giving them access to the Premium content of BPL.com. Being better informed would hopefully help in Forum interactions. Though, of course, your example of 2yrs in the Forums, would permit one to be relatively well informed on UL Philosophy and Gear choices. Maybe the "Membership" is just a way to get exposed to that faster?
If you have the time, please PM me – i'd like to privately discuss more about BPL Membership with you.Dec 14, 2006 at 12:10 pm #1371018
JR, check your email. I replied to your PM with one of my own.Dec 14, 2006 at 12:54 pm #1371024
"would it not be more prudent to spend less time instituting a ranking system and spend more time on more important areas of BPL?"
I agree with Laurie.
Overall I find rankings of little value and if anything misleading. Simple monikers like BPL Staff, Member, Non-Member and data such as the join date and # of posts would suffice.
Which provides the most useful information?
Join Date: July 2006
Join Date: December 2006
As a new user I find the later more useful and intuitive.
[Edit] Darn, still at .03….Dec 14, 2006 at 1:05 pm #1371026
I once had a membership here, and maintained that if the content of the site made the cost worthwhile I would consider buying a membership again. I haven't, in no small measure because the content has not significantly changed from when I decided not to renew membership. It's still vastly overpopulated with gear reviews. Of the last 50 articles posted, only 8 were not gear reviews or state-of-the-market type stuff, and of those 8 only 2 (Do It Yourself Projects to Reduce Canister Stove Weight and Sipping the Waters: Techniques for Selecting Untreated Backcountry Water for Drinking)were actually the kind of content I originally signed up for. Of those 2, only 1 was actually technique based – and that one was FREE!!!!!
Forgive me if I am a bit confused as to how maintaining a membership here could make one any better informed on any topic besides the latest and greatest gear, which for someone such as myself, a "self professed" Spartan, gear is very low on my radar. In fact, I just sold/gave away about 90% of my gear because I never used it. The stuff that still had tags on it Im giving away as christmas presents.
It doesnt take an algorithm to figure this out does it? Should I infer that my failure to get all hot and bothered about the newest LED color or magic metal spoon somehow negates the fact that I have an outdoor resume as long as my arm (as do many others who post here but are not members) and currently devote vast quantities of my time furthering my education on outdoor philosophy and technique as a returning full time student working on degrees in outdoor education and adult fitness? That is certainly the message being sent.
I know I probably sound pretty upset here, possibly even flaming mad. Im not. I just call em like I sees em, and dont pull punches. Just not my style. I refrained for quite a while before letting my feelings on the subject of BPLRanks be known, but now its out and there ya go. This site is a good resource but its not a bright shining beacon in my life. I really don't care what my "rank" here is personally… I just find the whole thing to be really inappropriate. Spend more, get higher public ranking? Really? Dividends and bonus's I can understand…. but public elevation in "value" for those who drop a buck?
I think its counterintuitive, I think it promotes consumerism over education, and I think its just plain in bad taste.
PJ – I have not sent nor have I received a PM from you. I set up a temporary email account at [nospam]JRBPLPM[nospam]at[nospam]shadowslight[nospam]dot[nospam]com You can email me directly from there. I will reply on my personal email and delete the temporary email account.Dec 14, 2006 at 1:56 pm #1371035
Excellent suggestion Steve!
As an older user I find your idea more useful and intuitive as well.Dec 14, 2006 at 4:44 pm #1371057
Give users the option of hiding their rank. Feel free to tell those who do that they will not enjoy extra rank-based discounts. It will be interesting to see how many hide it anyway. I suspect many more than Dr.J. would expect.
The most interesting/authoritative posting I have seen recently was that from Heather Rhodes (designer of the Pacer Pole) with a rank of 0.01.
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