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Karma & vote strength in 2018

Feb. 12, 2018

Hey all,

First of all, I'd like to thank you all for putting up with the glitches that have been plaguing us in the past several months. What started as a way to stabilize the website, unrolled as a continuing series of troubleshooting one issue after another.

Here's a short timeline of the key events:
- Several months ago ManageWP.org started having stability issues. Our investigation found that it was hitting the hosting resource limit due to suboptimal code. Most of these issues revolved around the way karma is calculating everything but your blood cell count.
- As we dug into the karma algorithm we managed to simplify the calculation, but also fixed the calculation errors that caused karma to balloon for some users.
- After some celebratory high fives, we realized that the karma calculation, now fixed, is actually bad. It siphons karma from contributors, rewarding passive activity. That's why our most prolific users ended up with very low vote strength

So at that point we had a choice:
- Roll back to the original karma algorithm, and bring back stability issues
- Tweak the current algorithm
- Roll up our sleeves, rip out the karma algorithm and replace it with a meaningful algorithm that rewards active contributors

So we opted for no.3, cleared up the schedule for several developers, and got down to business. We should be able to get the new algorithm in place in the next few weeks.

What can you expect?

Karma will be retired
While a fun little gamification, it's not a contributing factor. The vote strength is the true value there. And since both of them are based on the same stats (i.e. shares, upvotes, etc.), we will focus on the vote strength. The higher vote strength you have, the more impact your upvote will have.

Vote strength will be tiered
Based on your activity, you will be placed in one of the 3 tiers:
- Average vote strength: the default strength that you start with
- High vote strength: an active contributor, with a fair share of shares, upvotes & comments
- Exceptional vote strength: the most active percentage of the member base

Inclusion
Sharing rights will be given automatically after certain amount of activity. This will help new users become active, since in the current state a moderator has to approve the request manually.

Better moderation
We're introducing a couple of tools that will make moderation easier, and at the same time we'll log all the actions so we could go back and see why a moderator removed a particular article.

Feedback loop
We will definitely need your help fine tuning the new algorithm. We will also need to start a conversation on what constitutes a good article, because our article guidelines are also due for an update. Expect more feedback posts in the future, and we're also looking at setting up a Trello board to discuss various topics.

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Those are our plans for 2018 in a nutshell. Let me know your thoughts, since all of you as much members of the community as I am.

Comment
18 votes   Flag
Phpbits Studio

Thanks for the update! Did you convert the original Karma Points to the new vote strength or we'll start again? Also, what is your new support email? I can't seem to get a response, my post privilege got removed. Thank you very much!

Reply
M Asif Rahman Ⓦ

I would like to propose finding a way to honor old user as well, so besides dropping all stat, maybe apply the new algorithm on old data or keep old data, apply the new rule on new input.

Reply
Nemanja Aleksic

Yes, I probably should have pointed out:

The new algorithm will use the existing data, so people with long track record will already have a higher vote strength.

Please drop me a line at nemanja.aleksic@managewp.com - our spam filter was getting more aggressive lately.

Reply
Kobe Ben Itamar

Great to know you guys are willing to invest a substantial amount of the company's resources into improving ManageWP.org.

I think that at this point it has become almost irreplaceable for most of its members and it would have been a shame to have to watch it slowly decline due to bugs/an incompetent algorithm.

Reply
Ahmad Awais

Finally, I've been waiting for all this to happen for so long :)

Glad to see you folks are coming around and spending time on this community project.

Here's what I think you should look at:
- Emoji Support: This site is an emoji-racist :P I can't use emoji here.
- Bad Algo: Members listed at the top in the member listing are normally not very active. I think I have explained this to you in details over the chat we had @Nemaja
- Homepage Doesn't update anymore
- Maybe go React if you can spend that much time and build an application that can be used both here and on mobile?
- Comment Flag messaging is not right. When I flag a comment it kindov feels like I am flagging the post itself.

Looking forward!

Reply
Nemanja Aleksic

Thank you for your feedback and support, Ahmad!

No dice on emojis, tho. I've seen your Slack messages and Facebook posts - you need an emoji intervention :D

Reply
Ahmad Awais

Why no emoji? Don't be an emoji-racist :( #HAHA — that's an article I've been thinking about writing.
But seriously, dev stuff is boring enough, we should add a few emoji to be more expressive.

Reply
Matt Pritchett

Question - is there any policy (not that I'm planning on doing it, as I have no employees) against having your employees upvote a post? I've been curious about certain blogs doing this (I have no proof since votes aren't named specifically) as they seem to have multiple "lower" quality articles high on the trending list at times. This isn't an accusation against anyone at all, I'm merely curious.

Reply
Nemanja Aleksic

No policy, right now but it's something that I'd seek to discourage. On the other hand, this is a strictly volunteer project, and I'd hate to have someone doing background checks and vetting people's employers, just so we could stop them from ranking a bit higher.

Reply
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